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March 04, 2021, 03:07:52 AM

Author Topic: Lab level effects...  (Read 316 times)

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Offline Grace

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Lab level effects...
« on: February 17, 2021, 06:48:38 AM »
I don't normally purchase androids or scientists so I never noticed this before, but I have been looking into research effects recently since I took on an old account in the original uni. I set up an account in a few other old unis, too, to see what was going on, and what I saw was that tech levels appear to bottle neck in the lower to mid 20s on established accounts irrespective of uni speed or age. There is a very specific reason for that and it has everything to do with how the lab formula works and its effect on decreasing research times. To illustrate what I am talking about, I will show you an example which compares the difference between research times at different lab levels with and without bonuses and how bonuses diminish in effect along with the diminishing effects of lab level upgrades. The lab formula is as follows...

Time(hours) =   
(Ore Cost + Crystal Cost) * (1 - Research Bonus%) /
1000 * (1 + Research Lab Level)

This is set-up similar to how capitol works with its effect on reducing build times... Its effect diminishes with each upgrade to the point where the question begs on whether further upgrades are worth the investment or not. It becomes a cost / benefit question which I have found that different players will place their values at different levels while the cost / benefit question doesn't even occur to other players at all because they haven't looked into it.

So here are the diminishing effects on tech upgrade times at different lab levels from wiki...


lab Research time no bonus
lab1 = 100%
lab2 = 66.67%
lab3 = 50%
etc...

So what does that mean for research times? Well, basically it means that if we take a hypothetical tech which takes 100 minutes to complete, it will take 100 minutes at lab level 1. If we upgrade to lab 2 before we start the tech upgrade, the time will decrease by 33.33%. Sounds good, right? The differences are meaningful enough to justify the upgrades at the lower levels, but by the time you get to higher lab levels... at lab 50, for example, the time decrease is only 4% and decreases merely by another 3.92% if you upgrade to lab51.

So what does it mean for a 100minute research at higher lab levels? lol Well you would have to be mad to upgrade the labs to those higher levels for a 100minute tech, but what if the tech was already upgraded a few levels and the time for the next upgrade was now 10,000hrs... which is what some of them more or less are in the established unis. This hypothetical tech which takes the nice rounded number of 10,000hrs to upgrade for the sake of clarity... which is 416.666 days... will speed up a little reducing to 9,608 hrs if you upgrade the lab first, now taking only 400 days. That is a little over 2 weeks saved, but there are 365 days in a year and that 416.666 days equates to around 14months. Is it worth it for that sort of reduction given the time frame involved? Some think it is...

Those time frames were set at basic lab level time reductions without bonuses involved, but what happens if we factor in the 75% bonus cap? This is one element which I did find interesting...

We will have to imagine that the full 75% bonus cap is in effect at lab level 1 to demonstrate this, even though it isn't possible yet at lab level 1.

Lab research times with the full 75% bonus

Lab1 = 175.00%
Lab2 = 116.67%
Lab3 = 87.50%
etc...

At lab 1, the 75% decrease is staggering, but what is also happening is that the bonus itself is actually diminishing in effect with further lab upgrades. Will it reduce by 75% again at lab levels 2 and 3? Nope! Due to the diminishing effect of time reductions involved using the current lab formula, bonuses reduce along with it. At lab level 3, the 75% bonus effect is now at 87.5% compared with 50% for the lab with no bonus. The difference there between having the full bonus and no bonus becomes a 37.5%. The bonus effect reduces further with each lab upgrade until you get to lab 54 and the difference between having the full bonus and no bonus is about 3 %

Side by side for comparison...

lab Research time no bonus

lab1 = 100%
lab2 = 66.67%
lab3 = 50%
etc...


Lab research time full bonus

Lab1 = 175.00%
Lab2 = 116.67%
Lab3 = 87.50%

etc...

So what does all of this mean and why am I sharing this with everyone? Does anyone even care,? lol Well, you should do... because you may or may not be wasting tons of hydro for diminishing returns, but that is a cost /benefit question for you to ask yourself. Everyone will have their own views on this.

It also shows that bonuses are more effective at lower lab levels than higher lab levels, so if you're going to purchase a scientist or you win one in the lucky draw, it will give you a better effect the earlier you use it.

Finally... why are we even looking at tech upgrade times consisting of 10,000 hrs or more? Surely this is not in balance with current levels of inflation in unis which have NPCs?

So how could we bring research times into balance with current levels of inflation in NPC universes?

Well... you would think the obvious good start would be to get rid of NPCs, but what I also found was that tech levels in all unis bottle neck around the lower to mid 20s in every uni, irrespective of speed, age, and NPCs so the fundamental problem with research times being out of balance with the rest of the game has nothing to do with NPCs and has everything to do with the lab formula.

How can we resolve this?... The best way to do it is to adjust the formula itself so that lab upgrades work on tech upgrades in the same way that foundry upgrades work on buildings. I do appreciate that this approach would be disastrous for fresh unis so the best way to do it is to adjust it only in the established unis. Maybe there is even a way for the developers to have this foundry effect take effect on labs when a certain lab level is reached so that the higher level labs become more of a cost / benefit? It would be nice to be able to cut a 10,000 hr tech upgrade in half, lol


Thanks for reading

Grace
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 11:26:28 AM by Grace »

Offline Grace

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2021, 11:32:19 AM »
I edited out the examples of the diminishing effect of the bonus because I noticed I had my numbers wrong, but basically... when you get up to around lab lvl 50, the difference between having the full bonus and no bonus at all is around 3% so bonuses are more effective at lower lab levels.

* Diminishing bonus effect examples added back in

* New section about Lab level thresholds also added for those who are interested in that sort of thing.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 02:12:40 AM by Grace »

Offline Admiral T-Wayne

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2021, 02:49:18 PM »
Hi, Grace,

Note that there no longer are SFC developers.  The whole company consists of the three founders and the very small user support team -- Jason and occasionally Matt.

We won't be seeing any significant changes or improvements to the games.  What we have is what we have.

Further, the mechanisms for choking down increases in certain things, such as obtained research levels and the rate of higher-level lunar building construction, are very intentional.

Offline Got2BTru

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2021, 03:12:34 PM »
I've been wondering the same thing Admiral T-Wayne...I guess I hoped they had *someone* in dev since they're cranking out new Uni's all the time.

It REALLY wouldn't be much work to tie increased ARCNet levels to REDUCE research time(s).

Offline Gavin

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2021, 04:40:27 PM »
I suspect like Admiral T-Wayne has said, I doubt we will see any major changes since they don't have the developers there to make the changes.  Also, if they did, it would likely take away a certain amount of income from those who are willing to plough money in to buying the credits and complete the research.

Offline Got2BTru

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2021, 06:10:24 PM »
You think people are really willing to "plough money in to buying the credits and complete the research"?

I have 1,165 hours left for Shield Tech L25...at a cost of 4.7 Million credits to complete - that would be $400...

Offline Grace

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2021, 07:28:13 PM »
Also, if they did, it would likely take away a certain amount of income from those who are willing to plough money in to buying the credits and complete the research.

Hi, Gavin...

Do you not think that it might encourage more players to autocomplete research if it could be reduced in halves to make the cost of autocomplete more reasonable?

Offline Grace

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2021, 07:43:21 PM »
Further, the mechanisms for choking down increases in certain things, such as obtained research levels and the rate of higher-level lunar building construction, are very intentional.

Hi, Admiral... That is a very good point, but I don't think they intended the levels of inflation we see today when those limitations were put in place. If we think about the mine production in original, targeting live players and raiding inactives going back to the early days before NPCs, a resource barrier likely would have choked research long before a time barrier. I have noticed in other unis recently such as eradeon1 and 2 that even just high level mine production can have the same effect when no NPCs are available. I was laughing to myself looking at an old thread recently from when the game was being beta tested (I will see if I can find it). They actually reset the original uni  once one time in its early infancy because some players got too far ahead running apollo missions. The good old days when the developers cared about game balance :)


Offline Grace

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2021, 09:39:29 PM »
Here is that thread I was referring to were they reset the uni due to the mission pay-outs being out of balance with the rest of the game. It is quite an interesting read and there is a very detailed explanation from Matt (old Matt) which shows they initially cared a lot about game balance.

http://forum.playstarfleet.com/index.php?PHPSESSID=c81rbnu1ij4rgs3g705b1p5vv4&topic=66.msg234#msg234

What has happened since resource availability increased is research went out of balance with buildings and ships. A quick glance at the leader board comparing research points with building or ship points will show this. The addition of the foundry also accelerated this discrepancy in game balance where the resources were available to upgrade reducing build times in half. Research times were never halved to compliment this and maybe that was a good thing at the time given the effect of tech levels on ships, but a better way to do it in hindsight with resource inflation probably would have been reducing the % effect research has on battle and drive techs while also enabling it to be halved with each level. ie 1% per battle tech rather than 10% and 3% per warp upgrade rather than 30% etc...

I do recommend reading some of the early threads from when the game was new and different features were being added regularly. Some of them are quite insightful showing how they initially intended the game to develop. It looks like they lost sight of that after they launched ex1.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2021, 09:43:11 PM by Grace »

Offline Gavin

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2021, 11:46:00 PM »
To Grace and Got2BTru,

Didn't say everyone would take the avenue of ploughing money into the game.  I know when I purchase credits, I get charged a non-sterling fee for each transaction I make, so for me, that alone is incentive enough to keep my purchase of credits on the low end.

I have just spent just over 8,000 hours researching Warp Drive Level 20 and 4,000+ hours on Level 19, so that will be just over 12,000 hours I will not get back from just researching 2 Warp Drive levels.  For me, Level 21 will take me 16,148 hours and 30 minutes to research which is 1.84 years to just do that level.

I quit the game once because I was spending what I considered too much money in the game just to maintain a rank and after some time away, it was nice not to worry about the game, however, I did miss interacting with the players.  I did come back from the beginning and just used my own knowledge of the game to progress up the boards and this time round, over a period of 5 years, I have progressed and grown a lot more naturally.

Would be nice to see the ability to research the levels in a much quicker fashion, however, as Admiral T-Wayne has mentioned, they don't appear to have dedicated developers to make the significant alterations.  I would love to see the research times increase by 25-50% with each completed level rather than the time doubling with each completed level and maybe that is something might be considered if they are able to put that into action.

I have most likely reached a point where for me, permanently retiring from the game would be a better option, but given the current global events going on, I am sticking around since it provides a distraction to the real world events.

Offline Grace

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2021, 02:24:46 AM »
I would love to see the research times increase by 25-50% with each completed level rather than the time doubling with each completed level and maybe that is something might be considered if they are able to put that into action.

That is an interesting idea, Gavin... and might be simple enough to adjust. It wouldn't solve the problem of higher level research entirely because the bottle neck would still come later, but it would at least enable the techs to be upgraded a little higher to bring them a little nearer into balance with other parts of the game. There are NPCs with battle techs in their 30s in some unis so even the NPCs are showing that tech levels are out of whack with rsp.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2021, 02:27:12 AM by Grace »

Offline Gavin

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2021, 03:22:15 PM »
I have noticed in the past that the techs are all over the place for the levels that we are achieving but I think you are going to get that problem regardless of how you solve the problem with the research timings but would be nice to see the percentages they are stating in the tech descriptions correlated with the actual gains you get within the game.  I am at level 20 for my Warp Drive but only get a few minutes of the actual travel time when using warp drive.

I will likely not be remaining for much longer as the game has become stagnant and there are no new elements to make the research of techs interesting any more other than to say I have moved up a level and that I am able to hit something a bit bigger.  Would be nice if they introduced NPCs that simulated real players and made it so they hit random active players in the game or increased the base capacity of the Dionysus Class Harvesters, or increased the base capacity of the cargo ships, etc.  As I have said before, I would love to see extra dynamics adding to the universe however without a dedicated developer, I can't see it happening in any serious way as I'm unaware that any of the existing team have the ability to implement serious adjustments.

Offline Grace

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2021, 03:22:01 AM »
Absolutely, Gavin... I haven't looked into it with other ships yet, but there doesn't appear to be any noticeable difference in the outcome of a battle with differences in battle techs when running a Zeus fleet. At least with drive techs you can see something has actually changed after the tech level is complete. The increase, I think, is based on the base stats of the units rather than their current stats. What you mentioned about merely just increasing levels is also a demotivating aspect of the game. Personally I love starting new unis... the sense of achievement in working through the tech tree unlocking ships and developing planets. I usually get bored and quit once all done is done and there is nothing else to do other than level up for no other reason than to do so. Do you think the game was more interesting in its basic form when it was new... before inflation and fast tracking altered the dynamics... ? when getting as far as unlocking the Athena or completing a foundry level 1 was actually a huge achievement?
« Last Edit: February 21, 2021, 03:31:57 AM by Grace »

Offline Gavin

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2021, 12:19:32 PM »
That was what I was really commenting on, once you've unlocked everything and you are at a level where you can hit most NPCs and get into PvP at a reasonable level, then what is there in the research that will compel you to increase your tech levels to any significant level.  I am at a point where I knew the next level research was going to take sometime to complete so I decided go in with the Warp Drive tech upgrade since I had nothing else to do since I am happy with the AWS I have right now since a vast majority of my play when out of Diplomacy Mode is hitting NPCs.  I also usually look for NPCs that have a reasonable to low number of Plasma cannons as those can make the difference on whether it is worth hitting or not.

Offline Grace

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Re: Lab level effects...
« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2021, 08:47:21 AM »
Hi, Gavin...

Are those plasma cannons heavy on NPCs now because players have been building lots of plasma cannons? I know NPCs are spawned from players, though I am not sure they reflect the actual units involved aswell as the rsp.

Going back to your initial point on tech times anyway... because I guess we are just working with how it is now...

You said it took a little over 8000 hrs to upgrade to warp 20. I am not sure how your research infrastructure is set up nor what your bonus % is, but however it is... (give or take) upgrading 1 lab level on any planet would have reduced that time by only around 16 hrs with a lab upgrade on each planet reducing it by about 144 hrs. That is a small time decrease... pretty much negligible, in fact... given the time frame and the resource costs involved, so where would you say the best cost / benefit was in terms of effective lab level? Where is the threshold? As I pointed out in my initial post, different players place their values at different levels but I am not sure how many of them actually understand how the benefits reduce with each level and how the bonus diminishes when they state those values. Is there an optimal effective lab level which is best value for hydro? You sound like you are good with numbers
« Last Edit: February 22, 2021, 09:49:39 AM by Grace »