and why I have issues with it
Published on March 12, 2010 By ReuelKB In Galactic Civilizations II

Allow me to begin by saying that although this is pretty much my biggest gripe with the game, I certainly don't expect it to be changed anytime soon since it would likely result in non-trivial changes to game balance and ai programming to reflect these changes.  With that said, I'd still like to share my thoughts on this particular issue that I find somewhat frustrating.  On that note, let me begin.


Right now in GalCiv 2, there are two main types of production buildings: factories which produce manufacturing points (mps) and research labs that produce technology points (tps).  Each one has a listed maximum capacity reflecting how many points these buildings can produce at full funding.  Control of this funding is handled through the Finance Management screen and on this screen we have several sliders, but regarding the production buildings the relevant sliders are Production Capacity slider and the Military, Social, and Research Rates.

The Production Capacity slider determines the percentage of the maximum capacity each production building produces.  So for instance, let's say you have a factory with a maximum capacity of 4 mps, then a production capacity of 50% means the factory can only produce a max of 2 mps, and 100% capacity means 4 mps and so on.  The same applies to the capacity of labs.  This can be a very useful slider, since it can help you control your spending.  If you are having financial troubles you can simply lower the production capacity and scale back your output in order to save you money.  The area I have issues with, are the rate sliders, and allow me to explain why.

As I've said, you have three rate bars, Military, Social, and Research.  The military rate slider determines what percent of your mps goes towards ship production, while the social rate determines what percent of your mps goes towards infrastructure production.  Both of these sliders distribute the allocation of mps.  The third rate slider determines what percentage of your tps are being used by your labs.  It effectively acts like a production capacity slider for just your labs, but the real issue here is that it's directly tied to your military and social production rates, despite using a completely different type of production point.  What this means is that you cannot effectively run your labs at 100% capacity without reducing your factories to 0% capacity.  They are acting as if they were producing the same kind of production point.  And this is the part I have an issue with.

To be clear having the military and social production rates be tied together makes complete sense as they use the same kind of production point (mp), but a lab producing tps shouldn't have an effect on how many mps are used (assuming you had enough money to fund both).  Because of this, you could have a situation where you have two planets, one with mostly factories, and one with mostly labs, and if you put the research slider to 100%, you effectively shut down the factory planet, which doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.

It's been several years, but I believe I saw a post by frogboy explaining that this was in place to force you to make a choice in your spending between research and manufacturing, and so the system was working as designed, but I contend that simply giving us the ability to produce factories or labs accomplishes this task.  You see, if I build a factory on a tile, there's an opportunity cost in that I cannot then build a lab on that same tile.  If I choose to have a factory planet, then that planet is not going to be a research planet.

There wouldn't be an issue if there were simply one kind of production building that produced generic production points (pps), then use the sliders to determine how those pps are distributed (social, military, and research).  In a way, this is similar to Civ IV and commerce points.  There, commerce points can be distributed via percentage rates into money, research, espionage and culture.  But you also had the option of using specialists that produced, usually one kind of associated commerce resource.  If you had your science rate at 0%, your science specialist didn't produce 0 beakers.  In that way, you could view factories and labs as different kinds of specialists producing a specific kind of point.  

Ideally, there would be a manufacturing capacity slider, and a research capacity slider (do away with the production capacity slider), then have two sliders to distribute the allocation of manufacturing points (social and military).  Of course doing this would, as I said, likely result in non-trivial changes to gameplay and may require more ai programming to adapt to it and other balance tweaks, so I can understand if the change is not made.  But I still wanted to explain why I have such an issue with this. 

For the moment, I just keep the research slider locked at 50%, and effectively treat the capacities of the labs and factories, etc as half of what they are in order to kind of accomplish the same thing.

I guess that's enough of a rant for now, thanks for reading if you got this far.

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