What is YOUR suggestion then? Specifically?
Just for the record, I told you in the coding extravaganza thread, that this was gonna happen if you do 1:1 instead of .25:1 or .333:1. I also seem to recall you answered my first warning about making changes to trigger a cascade of things which need rebalancing by telling me to go balance my own game.
I DID make suggestions.
...Anyways, I'm ready to put this to the bygones.
We can calculate our manufacturing as:
( Construction + Raw Production ) * (1 +% Bonuses)
In the early game, increasing Construction and Raw Production will always be better, but once those numbers are high enough, then % Bonuses become very important.
For 3 Factories to be competitive with a City and 2 Farms, it needs to produce at least as much Construction as a City provides Raw Production.
I'd suggest 1 +0.5/Level Construction per Factory (The same as Space Elevators). This would give you 6 Construction from 3 Factories, which is not too overpowered compared to 4 Raw Production. This would also then make % bonuses more relevant because of higher Construction values. At some point, you will want those % bonuses, instead of more flat bonuses (assuming that the % bonuses are high enough).
This suggestion is an excellent start.
Moving factories and laboratories to flat bonusses is key to balancing them vs cities (/asteroids). As a best practice I would even suggest this model:
- all common improvements only provide flat bonusses.
- all colony uniques provide percentage general bonus and a flat bonus from taken adjacency.
- player and galaxy uniques provide percentages and/or empire wide percentages.
- citizens provide percentages
- exploration age techs provide flat bonusses
- other techs provide percentages
This begs the question about what will happen to the space elevator. I would tweak above proposal to this:
Basic Factory (BF): 1.5 + .25/level giving 1 adjacency
Space Elevator (SE): 20% + .25/level giving 2 adjacency
for a 3 BF triangle this adds up to 6 manufacturingin both categories.
for a 2 BF+SE triangle this adds up to 5 manufacturing and +20%
Keep in mind, that there is a dynamic balance between flat and percent bonusses. Suppose you get to choose between +1 flat manufacturing and +10% manufacturing If you have 15 flat manufacturing allready, you gain more from adding +10%. If you have two workers on this world allready (+60%) the +10% still only add one manufacturing, but the +1 adds +1.6 due to the workers and is better again.
Let's talk about population: Keep the model mostly as it is now (people hate seeing numbers of things they use to play go down more than seeing numbers of things they don't play go up). Population is interconnected with some many other balance aspects, it is virtually impossible to change it without unbalancing something.
But I would suggest the following balance modification for synthetics:
base pop cap: 10
approval can stay at 100
popcap is increased via technologies:
- up to 15 within age of exploration
- up to 25 within age of war
- up to 40 within third age
- up to 100 after that
It's probably not perfect, but it's an economical stepping stone towards finding the right numbers for synthetics regardless on whether it will be completely tech absed or improvement based in the end.