Author Topic: feasibility of Robot Populations  (Read 1943 times)

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Offline ArcWolf (OP)

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feasibility of Robot Populations
« on: November 09, 2021, 04:08:14 PM »
I've been thinking about this for a while now, what is the feasibility of adding Robot populations?

Here is how i envision it:

  • Robot Pops can only be built. Their Pop growth modifier would be set to 0.
  • Pops would be built in groups of 1000, costing 200 PB/Tons Of Duranium, Corundium and Gallicite in a 4:3:3 ratio. (Subject to balance changes)
  • Gravity Deviation is set at 2. Allowing colonization of bodies between 3g & 0g
  • Maximum Pressure of 40 atm (this is roughly based on US Navy Las Angeles Class Subs "Crush depth" of about 450m or 45 bar/atm. Subject to balace changes.)
  • Max Temperature deviation would be about 300 C (Looked up typical metals to be used in robot construction. Copper/Gold/Tin/lead/steel even silicon. Lead has the lowest melting point at 327 C)
  • "breathable" atmosphere is not needed, however harmful elements, such as chlorine, would increase CC.
  • Pop Density Modifier would be 0.5. Meaning a CC 2 planet could support 2 mil pop per 200 instillations.
  • Research and Factory modifiers are left alone. Though the argument for reducing Research can be made.
  • Robot Pops would have a minimum CC of 1 (similar to colonizing a low gravity world)
  • "Agriculture and Environmental" pop jobs would be renamed "Maintenance and repair", CC would increase % needed like normal pops.
  • Service industries is always 0%, meaning aside from Maintenance & Repair, all other pops go into manufacturing pool.
  • Tech to unlock the ability to build robots would be in the Construction and/or Biology research groups.
  • Robot Pops would be treated (by the game) as an alien pop, so you would have to make a colony specific to their "race".
  • Pops after construction would either have to be treated as components which have to be shipped to a colony and deployed. Or automatically create a colony of that pop on the planet of construction which can then be transported to a new colony.

As of now i can do most of the above via SM mode. The points that i can not are 0% service industries and the actual construction of the Units. The construction can be handled by minimum DB editing. Namely creating a component with no other uses with the correct cost per however many Pops you want to build, build the component, and then delete them and add Pop via SM.

In addition to offering new gameplay, RP & expansion options, this can also be used to give a certain spoiler "civilian" populations.

I know this is a lot to read, but any suggestions, critiques or thought would be appreciated.

Addendum 1:
Currently the biggest problem while dealing with aliens in general (as a new species) is their fixed dependency on water. Same goes for Robotic Races.

Having this removed and or possible to be altered would be already awesome.

I forgot about water dependency. So ideally, no water need for Robot Pops.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2021, 11:17:55 PM by ArcWolf »
 
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Offline Scandinavian

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2021, 04:57:03 PM »
Metals begin to change structural properties long before they reach their melting point. So that's maybe not a great calibration point for the temperature scale.

200 thousand minerals per million pop seems expensive.

The sectors in the game's economic model aren't really what we would understand the terms as in national accounting. What the game calls the "manufacturing sector" is really better thought of as the military-industrial complex of the regime, and the other two sectors as everything not in the mil-ind complex. The distinction between "service" and "life support" makes sense as a matter of mechanical transparency, but not really in terms of verisimilitude. So I don't see a verisimilitude reason for removing the "service sector" requirement.

If the robots have dramatically reduced non-military economic activity, they probably should have reduced research performance. Not zero - there are many ways an entity without sufficient creativity to need consumer goods and services can still contribute to research - but substantial.

Maybe there could be a robot tech tree to make the robots less robotic and more sapient - reducing the research malus and the reduction in non-military job functions.
 
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Offline alex_brunius

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2021, 05:38:20 PM »
Wouldn’t it make more sense to add specialized roles like robot soldiers or robot ship crews before considering generalist robot populations that can flexibly fulfill all roles and tasks of society?
 

Offline ArcWolf (OP)

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2021, 05:40:15 PM »
Metals begin to change structural properties long before they reach their melting point. So that's maybe not a great calibration point for the temperature scale.

Valid Point, I am open to better suggestions.

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200 thousand minerals per million pop seems expensive.

Again, subject to balace changes, but i would not what robot pops to be "free" or "cheap" which ties into my next point.
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The sectors in the game's economic model aren't really what we would understand the terms as in national accounting. What the game calls the "manufacturing sector" is really better thought of as the military-industrial complex of the regime, and the other two sectors as everything not in the mil-ind complex. The distinction between "service" and "life support" makes sense as a matter of mechanical transparency, but not really in terms of verisimilitude. So I don't see a verisimilitude reason for removing the "service sector" requirement.

Perhaps i should have explained better my reason for this. The way I envision it is Robots would pretty much be built solely for the manufacturing sector. When i think of "service industries" i think of things like: Grocery store, Clothing retailers, tech companies, customer support etc. All things that a 100% robotic population would not need (nor care about) for daily operations. Things they would need would include maintenance, energy production/resupply, software & hardware upgrades and support. All of which could be covered by "life supporting" industries.

If you think that should be larger then a minimum of 10% of the population i'll gladly listen to your thoughts.

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Maybe there could be a robot tech tree to make the robots less robotic and more sapient - reducing the research malus and the reduction in non-military job functions.

Sounds like a good idea.

Over all, thank you for your response.
 

Offline ArcWolf (OP)

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2021, 05:46:32 PM »
Wouldn’t it make more sense to add specialized roles like robot soldiers or robot ship crews before considering generalist robot populations that can flexibly fulfill all roles and tasks of society?

I am open to ideas but i want to keep it balanced. What would be the difference between a "Human" Infantry man with Extreme Temperature & Extreme Pressure traits compared to a 'Robot" Infantry man?
 

Offline misanthropope

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2021, 06:44:32 PM »
i have zero against the idea philosophically, it definitely fits the genre.  practically, there is going to be a tricky game-balance issue to solve in getting the build cost calibrated, and what is the payoff in terms of the way the game plays?
 

Offline Kashada

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2021, 08:57:39 PM »
I'd just be happy with robotic crews for those missions I don't expect a ship to come back from
 

Offline ArcWolf (OP)

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2021, 10:45:42 PM »
i have zero against the idea philosophically, it definitely fits the genre.  practically, there is going to be a tricky game-balance issue to solve in getting the build cost calibrated, and what is the payoff in terms of the way the game plays?

That's a fair question. I don't know if i have a solid answer.

What i'm thinking is an alternative to spamming auto-mines. The cost of 1 mine and 50,000 robots to work it should be higher then 1 auto-mine, but this is because Robot would be a flexible workforce. Capable of working Mines, factories, shipyards and any other instillation.
 

Offline Froggiest1982

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2021, 10:46:55 PM »
Currently the biggest problem while dealing with aliens in general (as a new species) is their fixed dependancy on water. Same goes for Robotic Races.

Having this removed and or possible to be altered would be already awesome.
 
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Offline alex_brunius

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2021, 12:27:58 AM »
Thematically robots might also fit as a highly expansive type of spoilers that replicate rapidly and overwhelm/consume anyone not dealing with them asap ( von Neumann probes, Borg from Star Trek and so on ).
 

Offline Scandinavian

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2021, 01:11:47 AM »
Perhaps i should have explained better my reason for this. The way I envision it is Robots would pretty much be built solely for the manufacturing sector. When i think of "service industries" i think of things like: Grocery store, Clothing retailers, tech companies, customer support etc. All things that a 100% robotic population would not need (nor care about) for daily operations. Things they would need would include maintenance, energy production/resupply, software & hardware upgrades and support. All of which could be covered by "life supporting" industries.

If you think that should be larger then a minimum of 10% of the population i'll gladly listen to your thoughts.

There's plenty of manufacturing that is in what the game calls the "service sector." Things like trade goods are produced by populations, but take up no "manufacturing" workforce. So the sector split doesn't actually conform to the individual job function: The life support sector isn't just agriculture and life support; it's "all the ways in which things get harder to do as the planet becomes more inhospitable" - including any reduced efficiency of your mines caused by, say, the workforce having to spend time in a pressure chamber at the start and end of shift. Similarly, the "service sector" isn't groceries, retail, customer support. It's "all the non-military things you need more of (per capita) as the population grows." That includes things you physically need to facilitate expansion, such as rail lines, port dredging and so on. And it includes a lot of things your population needs to consume itself, or wants to divert to non-military uses. So there's going to be a lot of factories in that pool, they're just going to be producing for local consumption rather than the armaments supply chain.

The logic behind the "service sector" growing in the game (other than game balance) is that with a small population you can mobilize a much larger fraction of it for armaments production. This does not necessarily change just because you use a robot workforce; that depends entirely on your justification for this diseconomy of scale. But it seems reasonable to suppose that the effect arises from many sources, at least some of which would be unimpacted by the presence of robots.

Personally I model it as the smaller colonies outsourcing much of their internal consumption to production in the larger colonies, paid for by either direct subsidies from the government or the indirect subsidies from the wages paid to the workers in the armaments sector. As the colony grows larger, the cost/benefit balance of onshoring that production changes due to economies of scale, so it begins to do import substitution that takes up population to run. But your storytelling may have a different justification.

At the most extreme end, you could postulate that the robots do not have such diseconomies of scale at all, but you probably still want to retain the low-population "service sector" fraction. Just have it not grow with increasing population.

If you reduce what the game calls the "service sector," it should probably come with a corresponding malus to the production of Trade Goods, Wealth and anything else that population generates in Aurora by its simple existence. (Note that there is already sort of a model of this in the game, as populations below certain thresholds do not produce certain trade goods, though it is a quite rudimentary model.)

This idea actually opens up another interesting mechanic - the degree of society-wide wartime mobilization would impact the amount of workforce that could be diverted to the military-industrial complex, thereby changing the size of the "service sector," as civilian industrial capacity is mobilized for war materials production. Different populations might have different tolerances for wartime hardship, depending on how threatened they are feeling, how stable the regime is, what their general expectation of hardship is, and so on. Exceeding the level of military mobilization a population will tolerate would lead to dissent.

If you introduce that mechanic, it would simply mean that (non-sapient) general-purpose robots would be a perfectly pliable population, which could be set to any mobilization level. As technology introduces more sapient robot models (for reduced production maluses to research, and maybe some other things), it also increasingly constrains how much you can mobilize them to produce for wartime use rather than internal use before they go on strike. Basically, they become more like organic sapience.
 
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Offline ArcWolf (OP)

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2021, 01:54:37 AM »
A lot of good points.

There's plenty of manufacturing that is in what the game calls the "service sector." Things like trade goods are produced by populations, but take up no "manufacturing" workforce. So the sector split doesn't actually conform to the individual job function: The life support sector isn't just agriculture and life support; it's "all the ways in which things get harder to do as the planet becomes more inhospitable" - including any reduced efficiency of your mines caused by, say, the workforce having to spend time in a pressure chamber at the start and end of shift. Similarly, the "service sector" isn't groceries, retail, customer support. It's "all the non-military things you need more of (per capita) as the population grows." That includes things you physically need to facilitate expansion, such as rail lines, port dredging and so on. And it includes a lot of things your population needs to consume itself, or wants to divert to non-military uses. So there's going to be a lot of factories in that pool, they're just going to be producing for local consumption rather than the armaments supply chain.

Quote
If you reduce what the game calls the "service sector," it should probably come with a corresponding malus to the production of Trade Goods, Wealth and anything else that population generates in Aurora by its simple existence. (Note that there is already sort of a model of this in the game, as populations below certain thresholds do not produce certain trade goods, though it is a quite rudimentary model.)

I failed to mention it (forgot) but with no "service sector" robot colonies would not produce trade goods. Then again, looking at the list of Trade goods, things such as: construction materials, consumer electronics, infrastructure, machinery & plastics would all be necessary to keep a Robotic Colony operational.

Side note: a shortfall of these trade goods does not currently have a negative effect in game does it?

Quote
The logic behind the "service sector" growing in the game (other than game balance) is that with a small population you can mobilize a much larger fraction of it for armaments production. This does not necessarily change just because you use a robot workforce; that depends entirely on your justification for this diseconomy of scale. But it seems reasonable to suppose that the effect arises from many sources, at least some of which would be unimpacted by the presence of robots.

Personally I model it as the smaller colonies outsourcing much of their internal consumption to production in the larger colonies, paid for by either direct subsidies from the government or the indirect subsidies from the wages paid to the workers in the armaments sector. As the colony grows larger, the cost/benefit balance of onshoring that production changes due to economies of scale, so it begins to do import substitution that takes up population to run. But your storytelling may have a different justification.

Makes sense to me, i would not expect new colonies to be 100% self sufficient, and importing goods would be cheaper then building the infrastructure to produce them yourself until you reach a sufficient enough size.

Quote
At the most extreme end, you could postulate that the robots do not have such diseconomies of scale at all, but you probably still want to retain the low-population "service sector" fraction. Just have it not grow with increasing population.


Which is why i would want the minimum "agriculture & environmental" sector to be 10%. In effect rolling the 2 sectors into 1.

Quote
This idea actually opens up another interesting mechanic - the degree of society-wide wartime mobilization would impact the amount of workforce that could be diverted to the military-industrial complex, thereby changing the size of the "service sector," as civilian industrial capacity is mobilized for war materials production. Different populations might have different tolerances for wartime hardship, depending on how threatened they are feeling, how stable the regime is, what their general expectation of hardship is, and so on. Exceeding the level of military mobilization a population will tolerate would lead to dissent.

If you introduce that mechanic, it would simply mean that (non-sapient) general-purpose robots would be a perfectly pliable population, which could be set to any mobilization level. As technology introduces more sapient robot models (for reduced production maluses to research, and maybe some other things), it also increasingly constrains how much you can mobilize them to produce for wartime use rather than internal use before they go on strike. Basically, they become more like organic sapience.

Love the idea. We don't really have a "war exhaustion" mechanic, but an increasing production malus after a couple years in "war production mode" would definitely be interesting.

again thanks for the awesome reply and ideas.
 

Offline Garfunkel

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2021, 01:56:23 AM »
Robots need microchips and chips are not as durable as robots. There's probably wiring and gears and gyroscopes and all that jazz - sure the robot might not care about oxygen but they aren't invulnerable in the sense that you could drop them on any piece of rock. They'll freeze and boil and overheat and even if the shell/skin can withstand the pressure, the "softer" parts might get crushed. But that's just me spit balling about them.

Really, what's the function of robot populations? We have LG infra and Orbital Habs, automines and terraforming and orbital miners and regular infrastructure. While I agree with misanthropope that philosophically it's definite there for a sci-fi game & universe, I don't really see the purpose except for RP.

Maybe once economy is better modelled and colonies can declare independence, modelling robotic populations and AI becomes important.
 

Offline Jorgen_CAB

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2021, 02:33:15 AM »
Why would we ever build robot sapient population outside for the odd scientific purposes. We would just build specialised robots with varying degrees of AI intelligence to perform specialised tasks in society, everything else would be completely pointless. So, some technology that simply reduce the amount of population needed to run ground installation and that is it. Simply a technology that increase the cost if installation but reduce the amount of population you need to run them essentially.

One of the major bottlenecks in the game eventually always comes down to population as that is the only resource you can't just produce more of.

This most simple though would be an automation technology that increase cost of installations but reduce population needs. We already have auto mines for twice the cost, other buildings could be a bit more costly to reduce population needs though.... perhaps three times instead of two times and technology could reduce it down to say 10% population need at max technology or something. So, if you reduce the population need by 10% you increase the cost of installations with 30%.

In my opinion people think so small when proposing sentient human like robots which are extremely inefficient and no one in the right mind would use such a thing. It is way more realistic that you would for example have a central AI in your house to which you then connect specialised drones that can perform all manner of devices, just like we today have robotic vacuum cleaners and lawnmowers for example, but more drones that can perform even more complex tasks in our homes or workplaces. It will be more like a networked environment with an overarching control unit. Using human like individual thinking robots is a huge waste of time and energy and will never happen outside maybe entertainment and research.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2021, 02:42:29 AM by Jorgen_CAB »
 
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Offline ArcWolf (OP)

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Re: feasibility of Robot Populations
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2021, 02:58:32 AM »
...
In my opinion people think so small when proposing sentient human like robots which are extremely inefficient and no one in the right mind would use such a thing....

You never know, lighting a bon-fire in the hull of a wooden ship would never have been done by someone in their right mind, until the steam engine was invented.

In all seriousness, i want to hear why this is a good idea & why it is a bad idea. What works and what does not. In the end if the idea goes no-where, we can reference to others why it didn't, but at the same time some good ideas can come about.

Does it offer anything that can not currently be done in game? arguably no. Does that make it not worth spitballing? no.  I mean, your idea about reducing population needed through automation and increasing the cost of instillations is pretty cool, i don't think i've seen that idea before.