Like the title says, this is NOT official; it’s NOT a statement from Joshua; it’s NOT authoritative. Instead, it’s our best educated guess based on what we know for certain. Be assured, this article will be modified in order to keep it current with any changes or discoveries, and from time to time it may be taken down or reposted.
The roll-out will not be immediate; instead, there will first be test games and time to gather feedback.
The goal of this new method is to provide a balanced and viable alternative to the present queue for those players that opt to play such games. It is not mandatory; it is not going to go into every single game. It is presumed that, once the new Production Queue is fully implemented, all Campaign games will include the change and some specific Classic games will as well. Since it is to be pervasive, it can be assumed that there is exactly zero chance that bugs, glitches, and unbalancing exploits will be permitted to remain once they are found and documented.
This means you should come back here frequently to check for changes. You should also document bugs and glitches — date-stamp any comments you make and include the game and turn number (if any) that apply to your observations. [Specific items we know of that need investigation are bracketed in the text, like this.]
There are four basic changes, as follows:
- In the games where this is active, the old Priority Build Points (or PBP) queue has been changed to the Priority Queue (or the PQ). Points are now called PP.
- Standard builds (the SQ) will go on more or less as before, with some exceptions.
- Point awards, recycling, and costs have been tweaked. Starbase kills sometimes steal 2 PP from the owner; new PQ builds all cost 1 PP more.
- The Host Order has been changed to facilitate this.
The Priority Queue
Priority builds build first; makes sense, right? PQ builds are constructed before combat (but after recycling) every turn, and you can always spend as many points as you have on them. There’s no more 20-point limit and PPs can never be spent on non-Priority builds. Most telling is this: PQ builds are not subject to the 500-ship limit; if you have the points, you can always build a ship.
To do this, you simply use a planetary friendly code to designate that a starbase is supposed to build at a priority; the codes are the present PB1 through PB9. [Please note that we haven’t tested this, so we don’t know if it’s possible to use, for instance, six starbases all using the code PB9.] Unlike the old PBP builds, there’s no minimum threshold; you don’t need 20 points to build anything unless it costs 20 points..
There are two Standard (SQ) build phases — one before combat and one after. During these, ships will be constructed up to the 500-ship limit. It is highly unlikely that any ships will ever build during the pre-combat SQ phase once the 500-ship limit has been reached, but it is possible. The post-combat SQ phase is designed to replace combat losses that reduce the ship list below 500. It is important to remember that standard builds will be the only post-combat builds.
SQ builds will happen in random order — and yes, the SQ will re-randomize every turn. Starbases that are selected to build but can’t instead award 2PP. [We do not know yet if starbases that have just built priority ships earn these points; we also don’t know what happens if a base that couldn’t build its PQ ship due to lack of points is selected.] Both of these changes are of vital importance; it is now less useful in many cases to build (for example) an immobile SDSF as a filler ship than to leave a base idle.
Point Awards And Costs
PQ builds cost one point more than they do in the PBP system; this is designed for balance, but may cut two ways (more speculation will be presented in another article). PQ builds now cost 1 PP base plus 1 PP per 50 kT of mass. [It is unknown whether the new system measures mass before or after weapon masses are included.]
Just as in the PBP system, PP are awarded based on the mass of the destroyed vessel, at a rate of 1 PP per 100 kT (or part thereof) of mass destroyed. Also similar is this: PP are only awarded when a ship is destroyed by another ship; ships destroyed by minefields, planets, starbases, or acts of the Tim Continuum award no points. Glory devices still award 1 PP plus the full value of all ships destroyed in the blast, and recycling (which still takes place pre-combat) likewise awards the same 1 PP as it does under the original system.
One notable difference is this: Ships that destroy enemy starbases in combat will attempt to steal up to 2 PP from the owner of the starbase — if in fact he owns any PP at the moment. Since combat always happens after PQ builds, it’s possible that any banked PP from previous turns will be used by this point; since planetary combat always happens immediately after ship-to-ship combat, it’s possible that the player will have freshly earned PP to steal.
The Revised Host Order
Click here for the full document on the Planets.Nu website.
The most important difference here is the relocation of PQ builds entirely to a point post-recycling, pre-combat and pre-standard, whereas PBP construction takes place in a completely different order. Bear in mind that this is the same logic puzzle in each of the two systems; it’s just got different timing.
[We have not yet confirmed the effects of this host process, and it’s unlikely that we can so do without a significant sample size.] [We also do not know for certain if there is a PQ subphase during Host Step 107: Second ship build, which is the time designated for PBP builds. It is possible that, even if present but inactive, this could create glitches during especially active turns, so please watch for this.]
Nobody knows the full impact of these changes. We’re as interested in this as you are, folks. Keep checking; keep experimenting; keep commenting. Your efforts will strongly influence the future direction of the game.