Author Topic: Default TN Start: How do you like to use your instant research and build points?  (Read 1038 times)

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Offline sadoeconomist (OP)

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I'm not quite sure if this is the same number everyone else gets, but I haven't messed with my default settings in 1.12, and I get 80,000 instant research points and 43,350 instant build points with a new race. I want to keep playing with the default options at least until I get some more experience with the game. Having all those points to do whatever you want with opens up a lot of choices, though, to put it mildly.

Are there any specific techs that you beeline for at the start of the game or consider mandatory? With the starting instant research points, I've been getting what I need to build survey ships and civilian ships, some engine techs and minimal jump drive tech, and then a lot of research/construction/mining efficiency techs until I run out. But then, after building a survey fleet, enough freighters and colony ships to keep up with infrastructure construction and pop growth, and some basic ground forces, I still have the vast majority of my instant build points.

I'm uncertain about what else I should be building to really get a strong start economically before I run into any NPRs and have to focus on defense. I'd like to spend all my instant build points at the start if I can, since making ships appear out of nowhere as needed after the game has started doesn't feel quite right. I suspect I might be able to spend a lot of my build points somewhat profitably on tugs and orbital mining platforms and maybe terraformers or jump stabilization stations? I'd have to use my research points to get the techs to build those though. Some orbital defenses for Earth might be good, too, just to be extra prepared. Or should I build the beginnings of a proper fleet at the start so I can start training it and refit my ships as I get more tech? What do you all think is the best way to spend those points to get started?
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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Generally, I think there are a few things you always want to have barring roleplay considerations:
  • Engine: for 500m pop games at least NPE drives, for 1000m pop games at least INPE but I think ion drives are generally the standard for many people. Whether you can get ion drives depends on your choice of weapons. Fuel efficiency is valuable, anything else is more to taste than anything.
  • Weapons: for 500m pop you probably want to get a main weapon up by two tech levels, e.g. lasers up to 15 cm, NUV, recharge rate 3. Depending on the weapon(s) this might be too expensive, especially if you choose to do two weapon types e.g. particle beams and Gauss cannons, but you want at least one tech level in each if this is the case.
  • Sensors + Fire Controls: Generally you want one level across the board if you can afford it for EM, thermal, and active sensors, plus beam FC speed and range if you're using beams.
  • Jump Tech: The bare minimum jump drive is 10,000 RP for Jump Point Theory, Efficiency 4, Squadron Size 3, and Radius 50k. You also want to pick up grav (and geo) survey sensors.
  • Other systems: I like to pick up a level of armor (maybe two on higher-pop starts) as it makes your ships more efficient tonnage-wise. Auxiliary Control is also essential as it lets you assign XOs on many ships which is great for your crews and commanders. For a 500m pop start you're limited, but at higher pops I like to grab science departments as well for the survey fleet. Large Fuel Storage and Boat Bay are both cheap and useful.
  • Commercial Systems: Things like troop transport, orbital modules, tractor beams, and so on are essential, but with 500m pop you may not have enough RPs for these and will have to research them. Decide based on the anticipated needs of your empire, for example I usually get standard troop transport tech to garrison my early colonies.
  • Save some research points for component and ground unit researches! These can add up quickly, especially if you have multiple large engines, jump drives, or ground unit HQs in your starting build orders.

I will rarely research ground unit techs as these are quite expensive and you can leave them for later in the game (your first ground units are likely to be replaced by the inexorable march of technology anyways). Construction, logistics, etc. I will leave for early-game research in most games as they usually work instantly and don't require you to build components to get the benefits.

For build points, generally I suggest being mindful of your logistics before you start spawning in free ships. Pay attention to your maintenance facilities in particular and don't build a 500,000-ton fleet if you can only maintain 150,000 tons of naval shipping. Commercial ships are exempt from this, so you should build a lot of them. In particular you will want a good amount of freighters and some, but not as many, colony ships. It's good to have some jump tenders handy as well for early extrasolar colonization. Similarly, try to make sure your ship classes can be build out of your starting shipyards, or are not too much bigger so you can expand easily. This makes it easy to expand your fleet early on, and ensures you have the ability to refit or repair your ships - a 30,000 ton battleships might sound like a good idea, but if you lack the shipyard to refit it with new tech (and repair its armor, come 1.13 which enforces shipyard size limits for repairs) it will quickly become more bother than it is worth.

Generally, my early ship designs include 2-4 classes of warship (depending on fleet doctrine, starting pop, and shipyards) and a hearty survey fleet. For commercial ships I will usually have freighters, colony ships, tankers, basic troop transports, jump tenders, and then whatever fleet auxiliaries (MSP, missiles, etc) are needed. On high-pop starts I may also have tugs and stations for mining, harvesting, and terraforming if I could afford the research points. Ground forces I usually want to have infantry garrisons, mechanized or armored assault forces, and appropriate artillery + HQ formations of both types. I usually don't build STOs or orbital weapons platforms but those are options too.
 
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Offline froggiest1982

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I'm not quite sure if this is the same number everyone else gets, but I haven't messed with my default settings in 1.12, and I get 80,000 instant research points and 43,350 instant build points with a new race. I want to keep playing with the default options at least until I get some more experience with the game. Having all those points to do whatever you want with opens up a lot of choices, though, to put it mildly.

Are there any specific techs that you beeline for at the start of the game or consider mandatory? With the starting instant research points, I've been getting what I need to build survey ships and civilian ships, some engine techs and minimal jump drive tech, and then a lot of research/construction/mining efficiency techs until I run out. But then, after building a survey fleet, enough freighters and colony ships to keep up with infrastructure construction and pop growth, and some basic ground forces, I still have the vast majority of my instant build points.

I'm uncertain about what else I should be building to really get a strong start economically before I run into any NPRs and have to focus on defense. I'd like to spend all my instant build points at the start if I can, since making ships appear out of nowhere as needed after the game has started doesn't feel quite right. I suspect I might be able to spend a lot of my build points somewhat profitably on tugs and orbital mining platforms and maybe terraformers or jump stabilization stations? I'd have to use my research points to get the techs to build those though. Some orbital defenses for Earth might be good, too, just to be extra prepared. Or should I build the beginnings of a proper fleet at the start so I can start training it and refit my ships as I get more tech? What do you all think is the best way to spend those points to get started?

I agree with you on the ships, although you could still gift yourself a couple at start, it depends on what story you are trying to tell or if you just playing for fun.

So what to do with your building points at the start if you don't like free ships? Very easy: Army.

You'll find out soon that ground units are cheap, you always need more, and they take simply an enormous amount of time to train. Also, the ground units have a very particular setup that is always better to set at the start so that you won't get stuck later. The mechanic is very hard to master and the sooner you start the better. Once you are at it, it also reasonable to believe that a planet ready to travel the stars may have an army due to previous conflicts, peacekeeping, and more. Because of that pouring a bit of RP into the ground research could be a good idea and not in contrast with any cheaty feeling.

If you do that, I would ditch the Jump point Researches as first you'll need to focus on your own system (again unless particular starting condition or RP require otherwise) and before you will be actually able to travel around some time would have passed.

On the RP side, my priority is sensors, 1 weapon, and engines at first with priority given to the field I do not have a scientist. After that is sorted and if I have a few points left I may go for a few upgrades on mineral extraction etc.

In a normal setup I follow the below:

1 - Why I am going to space? Exploration and Exploitation
2 - What do I need to do that? Be able to scan and be in space for a long time along with maintaining or rescuing my ships
3 - What I will do once I find something to exploit? I will have to organize a logistic chain
4 - What if I want to Exploit without minerals? I could colonize
5 - What I will do if I cannot explore any further? I have to find another way to move further

The above are the minimum logic steps that lead you out of Sol and they all require some fixed milestone. I would spend my free RP accordingly.
 
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Online misanthropope

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i mean, if you're storying, do that.  if you're 4xing, you don't have the RPs to build a competent fleet out of the gate and get any economic toys to speak of.  there is a lot, a LOT that can go wrong if you go aggro out of the gate, but it's such a shame to not use all those BPs you're gifted... 

guess it really comes down to whether you find the turtling/ growing phase fun, or you've been there/ done that and it's just a chore.

as an aside, tho i don't relish conventional starts, i have run a couple and noted the state of my development when i hit the 80000 RP threshold.  usually when i play i use SM to (heavily) edit the starting swag to make the proportions (between ships, factories, shipyards, etc) more closely resemble what i would have built.  if im going to play default start, the point is "so you finally knocked off Dear Old Dad, and boy is this place a MESS" and i go full autobuild/ autoassign. 
 
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Offline Steve Walmsley

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I would also decide whether to go missiles or energy and focus on one at start. You won't have enough points to do both effectively. You can build up the other once the campaign begins.
 
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Online misanthropope

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one thing is sure, there are a Godzillion ~5k RP projects that feel like barebones necessities. 

with anything but the slowest research settings, i feel like it is almost impossible for you to build a starting army or navy that won't be hopelessly obsolete by the time you find some aliens to murder.  if you can find a non-research-gimping way to effectively war from the word go let me know about it because that's my jam but i just cant pull it off in A#.

im starting to think the way to go is to spend heavily on tuggable pods of commercial systems:  cryogenics, mining, terraforming, maintenance, or even troop transport.  having to spend 5k at the start on tractors stings, but man tractors are good.  these designs will be useful instantly and useful forever.  3 of these require yet another painful 5k RP sacrifice (pick one at most!), but these pods build slowly, so getting them deployed immediately gains you a lot of time value of money on the research invested.
 

Offline Droll

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...but i just cant pull it off in A#.

A#? What classified version of aurora did you get your hands on?
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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one thing is sure, there are a Godzillion ~5k RP projects that feel like barebones necessities. 

with anything but the slowest research settings, i feel like it is almost impossible for you to build a starting army or navy that won't be hopelessly obsolete by the time you find some aliens to murder.  if you can find a non-research-gimping way to effectively war from the word go let me know about it because that's my jam but i just cant pull it off in A#.

im starting to think the way to go is to spend heavily on tuggable pods of commercial systems:  cryogenics, mining, terraforming, maintenance, or even troop transport.  having to spend 5k at the start on tractors stings, but man tractors are good.  these designs will be useful instantly and useful forever.  3 of these require yet another painful 5k RP sacrifice (pick one at most!), but these pods build slowly, so getting them deployed immediately gains you a lot of time value of money on the research invested.

This is similar to the classic Civilization game-starting quandary - Worker or Warrior first?

It does depend on your game settings quite a lot (both those settings that affect your race, and those which affect the types and distributions of NPR/spoiler threats), but generally an early fleet while likely to go obsolete fairly quickly is also an essential bulwark against early aggression. If you don't meet any aliens until your survey ship gets mauled by Precursors 5 jumps from Sol, then the fleet wasn't really necessary, on the other hand I've had games where the first NPR I met was one knocking on the gates of Sol and I had to mount a tenuous JP defense within the first few years. Obviously it would be ideal long-term to go full economy at the beginning, but it's always a risk to do so unless you turn off starting NPRs and turtle in Sol for a few decades (boring!).

That said, having a decent-size starting fleet is not a loss even if they don't see much action before you jump up a full tech level. On one hand, the crew training you can do in the early game (provided you have the fuel/MSP reserves) will carry over if you refit your ships to the next models which is a significant benefit. On the other hand, keeping your older ships alongside your new fleet ensures you aren't going to be outnumbered by an NPR that started with ships and spent a few decades building dozens more while you slowly teched up to MP drives and 25-cm lasers before laying down your first frigate.

On the flip side, a lot of the early economic techs aren't strictly urgent unless Earth has quite poor mineral deposits - OMPs and FHPs aren't really needed until you've gotten quite a bit of expansion, provided you're smart about developing Earth's economy from the start, and terraforming platforms in the early game are slow enough that you'll need to build infra anyways to colonize Mars or wherever for quite a while. In my 1b pop starts I usually make space in my starting RP to pick up tractor beams, orbital miners, sorium harvesters, and terraforming modules to get off to a fast start but it's certainly not necessary to do so. If anything I would "optimally" prioritize basic troop transports (non-drop), tankers, and such which are not likely to have a shipyard available in the early game due to the need for freighters, colony ships, jump tenders, and so on.
 

Online misanthropope

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i don't think mining modules are well-loved.  given sol's bounty of comets, it's an automine substitute that doesnt require factory time to deploy.  construction factory capacity is very expensive, and offloading maintenance and mining to commercial shipyards- dirt cheap capacity- will noticeably accelerate your early game, despite the increased accounting cost of the modules compared to installations.

colonizing luna with infrastructure while terraforming mars is just the basic formula i have gone with for some time.  luna can soak up all the infrastructure humanity can produce for a good long while.   having a substantial chunk (1/3, 1/2, from a standard 500 million start) of humanity off-terra is one of my milestones for proper development of the solar system.  this is throttled by the time it takes to terraform mars.

wouldn't go for both of these out of the gate, but i feel either is a good investment

starting with ion drives is a calculated extravagance at 80k starting research.  you will really strain your starting endowment to get that and the most-valuable 4k tier military techs (sensor and missile, basically), and i at least find that the ships i build on that tech level are almost not compatible with the ships i build before.  i don't have such a problem with ion ships, esp missile combatants, working with later MP designs. ymmv for sure
 

Offline nuclearslurpee

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i don't think mining modules are well-loved.  given sol's bounty of comets, it's an automine substitute that doesnt require factory time to deploy.  construction factory capacity is very expensive, and offloading maintenance and mining to commercial shipyards- dirt cheap capacity- will noticeably accelerate your early game, despite the increased accounting cost of the modules compared to installations.

colonizing luna with infrastructure while terraforming mars is just the basic formula i have gone with for some time.  luna can soak up all the infrastructure humanity can produce for a good long while.   having a substantial chunk (1/3, 1/2, from a standard 500 million start) of humanity off-terra is one of my milestones for proper development of the solar system.  this is throttled by the time it takes to terraform mars.

wouldn't go for both of these out of the gate, but i feel either is a good investment

I find it depends a lot on your starting conditions. At 500m pop you don't have enough shipyards to spare one for each kind of platform, but you also don't have enough mines on Earth that you need to immediately worry about setting up offworld mining colonies to cover the impending shortages - which also means plans like terraforming Mars before colonizing it are viable. On the other hand at 2b pop Earth will start to run out of some TNEs in five-ish years but you also have enough shipyards (and starting BPs) to push a lot of OMPs and other station classes out the door.

It's also worth noting that infrastructure built early is never wasted just because you could have terraformed instead, as that infra is later able to be shipped to frontier worlds (lots of CC2 planets in the galaxy...) to establish mining or fleet outposts before your terraformer fleet can get to those bodies. Personally I prefer rapid expansion to turtling up in Sol so this is an important consideration for me.



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starting with ion drives is a calculated extravagance at 80k starting research.  you will really strain your starting endowment to get that and the most-valuable 4k tier military techs (sensor and missile, basically), and i at least find that the ships i build on that tech level are almost not compatible with the ships i build before.  i don't have such a problem with ion ships, esp missile combatants, working with later MP designs. ymmv for sure

Ion drives are horribly implausible at 80k, but at 160k (1b pop) or 200k (1.25b pop, but this is a maximum unless you change it manually so applies to 2b pop also) ion drives are very viable. It's very important to know how your starting population affects what you can accomplish with your starting RPs. The flip side is that tech costs don't scale linearly so 160k RP does not give 2x the tech as 80k RP. For an 80k start I might research NPE drives and 15 cm lasers, then for 160k RP I might research ion drives but still only 15 cm lasers for example. One thing which does scale linearly is the number of one-off techs you can take e.g. orbital modules, command modules, etc. so you can add a lot more capabilities to your fleet at 160k than at 80k even if the quality of your ships is only slightly better.
 

Online misanthropope

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i mean, i was speaking to the conditions specified by OP  (including reluctance to spend starting BPs after day 1, which i share).  dangit im gonna stay on topic just this one time.  new year's resolution.

in the early game your cf capacity is a major choke.  taking a bunch of mines or maintenance facilities out of the queue through the magic of fast OOB creation is greatly freeing.  in the steady state i maintain a big chunk of commercial capacity because it functions as dirt cheap auxiliary cf capacity, but any modules you're going to want in less than the ~5 years it takes to get that up and running are an attractive option for starting beeps.  attractive enough, possibly, to justify skimping on a couple otherwise-superior 5k techs to get tractors and mining modules (or tf module, etc) at the start. 
 
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Offline sadoeconomist (OP)

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Yeah, I had a major construction factory bottleneck in my last game so I feel like putting some starting RP into construction speed tech is definitely justified just to try to loosen that up a bit.

Theoretically you could get the ground force construction tech and dump a lot of your starting BPs into construction brigades, too, but I think that might be going a little far, and it might give you cashflow issues.

In the new game I'm working on, I've put together some ship design ideas I hope will work out - I've got an escort carrier designed to the capacity of the larger of my two naval shipyards that could hold either survey craft or fighters, along with a missile-armed destroyer escort designed to the capacity of the smaller one, and both have commercial drives so they can use the same jump tender as my commercial ships. They're very slow but I think they can put up a token commerce/colony defense if needed and I figure I can build frontline warships later once I've got some proper research done. And I was able to design a support ship that can fill the role of jump tender, tug, tanker, supply ship, and rescue ship. By minimizing the designed components needed and reusing them as much as possible, I was able to spend about 5k RP less on them than I did in my first try at the game.

The BP sink I decided to go with was mining platforms - I think terraformers are a good choice as well since they lower the need for infrastructure construction on Earth but I happened to start with multiple very good biology researchers so I thought I'd be better off spending free RP on a tech that was harder for me to get normally. Hopefully I won't need to put any of Earth's construction capacity on mines and I can just rely on comets and asteroids to keep the minerals flowing when Earth starts to run out. That 10k RP for tractor beams and orbital mining probably came out of my engine and weapon techs though, I think I'm going to need to count on not encountering hostiles too soon.
 

Offline RougeNPS

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The idea of universally applicable support ships will forever be appealing to me. But i prefer modularity so i build a basis and then branch out from it based upon need.
 

Online misanthropope

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a nice little benefit of leaning heavily on comets is that you can delay depletion of earth until after you're comfortably in control of some other real estate (and ideally a conquered alien race).  a mine on earth gets you more total tons of mineral than any other site in the solar system, but barring serious military expansion if you're getting enough duranium you probably have a surfeit of everything else.

terraforming mars feels like a big deal to me- a bargain despite the size of the task.  even with the first couple wealth techs being easy to research, im usually hitting a wealth crunch at an earlier date than _any_ of the crunches came at me in VB6.  and financial centers SU HU HU HUCK, getting away from building those wretched things as fast as possible is high on my list. getting trade good and civ eco up makes a huge difference, and it takes a lot of civ capacity to do extra-solar business on a meaningful scale.

using starting RP/BP to shore up areas where your scientists can't carry you is obviously right, but you can also use the bps to build something that requires a mineral that terra is short of.  corundium, i'm looking at you!  but also, neutronium or mercassium.

good luck, commit some atrocities for me?
 

Offline Kylemmie

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financial centers SU HU HU HUCK, getting away from building those wretched things as fast as possible is high on my list. getting trade good and civ eco up makes a huge difference, and it takes a lot of civ capacity to do extra-solar business on a meaningful scale.


If this derails, apologies and please move, but as a new player I'm curious about misanthrope's (and others) thoughts as to why the FC 's suck. And what info or data points you use to judge when you can lay off the FC builds and rely on the growing trade economy solely?

Do FC's suck in relation to the other alternative being 'free' of needing minerals or pop once trade gets big enough? Is it because they take a long time to pay off the investment cost? As FC are presented as the only real option for Wealth when starting, I haven't really explored how good they are since it's the only option I have control of directly. My playstyle is heavily into colonies, so I am very interested in learning break even points of when I can expect the Trade economy to really take over.

Brings up another question I've had forever....How much Wealth is enough?  I know it will change based on Empire size, but is there a standard number or ratio you like to keep as reserve? I know it's the rate of change I need to keep an eagle eye on, but in general do you try to keep your Wealth maxed or 100-200k? With the way building is not immediate in Aurora, I worry less about large immediate costs upsetting my treasury as builds are spread out and use the rate of change as my main barometer.
 

 

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