New colony system, what do you think?

In last week’s development update, I showed recent work on the planetary colonisation that made the exploration grid visible from orbit. This week I updated it so that you can even direct your exploration efforts from orbit and developed a new resource distribution algorithm, but I ran into a small problem: If you add in enough resources to keep exploration interesting, you’d end up with a ton of colonies to build on each world. To solve this problem, I decided to try out a new system inspired partly by Civilization.

Explore Planet

The old system:

Planets are currently covered in randomly distributed resources and pre-defined city locations. Cities are residential colonies with lots of building space that is used for housing and big buildings like shipyards, while resources are small colonies with 6 building locations. Resources are only accessible in the resource towns themselves and the materials collected are stored in material silos. You’d need to design separate blueprints for each resource and for residential cities, and there’s not really much choice in where your colonies go or what they’re set up to do.

The new system:

The new system covers planets randomly in resources as normal, but players can decide where to build their cities! You can set up a city in any suitable location (on flat land for most races). Resources are no longer mini-cities with building spots, instead you set up an extractor like a mining drill and then tell it which city to ship the materials to. It’s up to that city to use all the resources that are linked to it. There may be a logistics cost for linking a resource to a colony far away, and you would be able to set up trade routes between cities to move resources around more efficiently.

There’s only one type of colony in this system so it’s up to you to decide how to lay it out and balance housing space with industrial output etc. You would only need to design blueprints for the different types of colony you want, for example you could have one for a production colony that uses 4 ore per turn or a residential colony that needs 20 food and 2 coal per turn. To keep things balanced, we would simply impose a limit to the number of cities you can have on a planet based on its size. Instead of having 5 residential cities and 30+ small resource towns pre-placed on a planet, now we’d just have 5 manually placed cities that split the 30 resources among them.

What do you think?

Which system do you prefer, and are there any other issues you can see with the new colonisation system?

About Brendan Drain

Director @ Brain and Nerd
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