Power Creeps update

  • @gankdalf

    I think the optimal case is that I have a pair of rooms with at least 3 sources total that are adjacent with every source within 100 ticks walking distance to each other (so a level 5 EXTEND_SOURCE PC can make a loop around boosting the sources every 100 ticks when EXTEND_SOURCE is on cooldown)

    Instead of mining 1500 * 3 (4500) energy every 300 ticks, I now get 6500 * 3 (19500) energy every 300 ticks from these mines. Let's assume miners/carriers/links/whatever are free and this is pure profit.

    That does sound pretty good. This power seems to be worth 50 energy/tick, or (at current rates), .45 credits/tick. If you are displacing remote miners for the same energy, it's definitely more CPU efficient since there is less hauling.

    Basically I'm getting ~5 rooms of energy for free.

    Now that I have thought some more about it, that seems pretty good. I suspect that most of the other powers do not rise to the .45 credits/tick value threshold.


  • Dev Team


    Spawn capacity only matters if I have something to use it on, which requires land (sources/minerals/victims) and the CPU to move the creeps. Not to mention that there is a range limit here on a room that tends to be more limiting than spawn capacity.

    You can leverage other powers to extend your available tasks list (e.g. EXTEND_SOURCE) without claiming more land and using more CPU.

  • Dev Team


    It's possible power empires will make more sense once the commander/executor comes out (the one that makes raiding profitable? I forget which it is).

    Absolutely. The Operator is just the first part of the big picture.

  • @shedletsky Uh, the biggest benefit with focusing on CL not PL... You get more CPU. Constantly. And in this game, CPU is the single most valuable resource because you can just plain do more stuff.

  • Dev Team

    @davaned Our intention is to tune powers in such a way that they allow to achieve the same economy/military goals doing less actions, hence using less CPU. Control Level is about quantity, Power Level is about efficiency. Extensive vs intensive growth.

  • @artch Could we see some numbers on this? The way I see it, even a player who only owns one room, can easily support ridiculously high numbers of EXTEND_SOURCE power creeps without the need for OPERATE_SPAWN. Like... +200 levels of power creeps just using EXTEND_SOURCE, and then mining it.

    Give them a more realistic 5-7 rooms and I don't think there is a player in the game that has enough power to create enough lv5 EXTEND_SOURCE creeps to need that extra spawn capacity to function. A single room can support something like 5 level 5 extend sources by itself if they are used locally on sources with enough open positions for miners.

    Could you explain when a player actually needs this spawn capacity, not just naming things that can increase it? And even if they did need it, why does it cost enough ops that it would prevent other functions on the same power creeps, such as labs?

  • Dev Team

    @gankdalf What do you mean? EXTEND_SOURCE increases body parts count needed to harvest sources before they regenerate, how can you do this without increased spawn capacity?

  • @artch Because the spawn capacity of a 3 spawn room is ridiculously high. You can maintain 1500 body parts (slightly less in reality) from a single room. You need 25 WORK parts per EXTEND_SOURCE along with the MOVE/CARRY to operate it. This comes out to aprox 50 parts per EXTEND_SOURCE to mine it. If we assume about 100 capacity for safety reasons and 200 capacity for management creeps, we have 1200 capacity to use on miners.

    That's 24, 50 part miners. We can drop 4 of them just in case someone wants to count spawn/travel time overlaps. So we have 20 50 part miners that each can support a power creep each. That's 520 power levels.

    Wait... there aren't 20 spots open around the sources or not enough energy throughput on links? No kidding? Okay, so lets remote mine these instead. Remote mines up to 75 tiles away can be managed by a single 48 part hauler creep without any issues, so lets assume we can only have 1 power creep per 100 part for remote mined super sources.

    safety = 100 parts
    management = 200 parts
    2 in house sources = 200 parts (4 miners), 4 power creeps
    8 outsources = 400 parts (8 miners), 400 parts (8 haulers), 8 power creeps
    100 parts extra for spawn times and other safety

    ... You are still looking at 12 copies of EXTEND_SOURCE lv5, which is 312 power levels

    Once you get into this range, it even starts becoming an issue whether containers can even hold the energy you are outputting, since they hardly can hold what they did before. This is another limitation to this efficiency over quantity issue. It's one of the reasons harvest boosts don't work too great even with the addition of EXTEND_SOURCE. Links and containers are quite limited on what they can do.

    I am obviously not counting invaders, defense, mining minerals, and a few other things, but then.... why in the world do you only have one room. This is the calculation for ONE room. Just reaching RCL 8 should give you 2-3 rooms worth of GCL, so why do you only have one room?

    The point is that you will hit so many other limits ages before you will hit a spawn capacity limit in any situation that isn't war, and even then it is very likely only for a brief period of time.

  • Culture

    @gankdalf Your calculations are wrong.

    8000 energy/300 ticks = ~27 energy/tick 1600 carry/150 tick travel = ~11 energy/tick moving

    You'd need about 2.5 carriers/haulers per single mine at a distance of 75 one way to handle that volume of energy. Take 100 parts off for the two miners at home (who need slightly larger carries to not waste ticks transferring to the link). That leaves you 1100 parts for remote mining. With the numbers above, you can mine 7 sources, assuming a miner with 25 work/1 carry/13 move and a carrier of 32/16.

    I'm also not sure what you're doing with your power creep calculations. 1 PC should handle 3 mines with 100 distance between them. You need 23 levels to reach level 5 EXTEND_SOURCE. I have the highest power in the game at 329 levels and that's still only 14 operators capable of doing that. That gives me the potential to have 42 extended sources (assuming I do nothing else with these guys), giving me a whopping 210000 energy extra per cycle, or 1.05million per generation (roughly 800k/hour)

    So I'll agree with you, I don't really see how this can compare with just getting more rooms.

  • @artch I'm curious about the design choice that led to "ops"

    It seems weird to me that it would only exist for one creep tree, and that its a resource that's tradeable storable etc. It's like its a secondary balancing mechanic for some powers thats not an actual limitation.

    Was it a variant of the classic "mana" resource? How did you guys settle on it? I think that having mana with regen could have the same effect with a fluid implementation. It would allow commander creeps have things like "energy aura" that makes your power creeps regen faster or an overload that burns up all of a power creeps mana.

    So from an interesting game design: what are the gameplay patterns the ops aims to enhance? It gives some consumer vs producer market, but I'm curious to the rest.

  • @hernanduer Sorry I was in a bit of a hurry to explain some of that.

    It was already asked and answered that you could use EXTEND_SOURCE on the same source multiple times, so the thought experiment involved having power creeps camp a source and flood it with the entire 15,000 per regen period. This takes 25 WORK parts to mine (before the default 3,000), which takes 30 WORK parts to mine the full 18,000 before the regen period. I had then allowed for 4 CARRY parts, transfering every 3 ticks because quite frankly I see no reason to care about CPU when I am harvesting 6 sources with a single miner and some links.

    I fudged the math a bit for the remotes because quite frankly I think that the whole equation is trivially solved by "own 3 rooms". The fudge was the fact that the 75 range only applied to 3k sources, and is set by the container size and mining speed (which is obviously much higher with super sources), which I did mention, but didn't go into detail on how it was wrong, since again, the scale and proportion are not even in the ballpark for OPERATE_SPAWN to have any type of a chance.

    Personally, I would like to see how many operators I can get extending the sources in a single room just to see, since in theory if you can fit more miners around a source, you can throw more operators at it. You lose some of the efficiency, since you don't have more +3ks from a new source, but gain the ability to transport it from extremely short range or with links.

    With how it was stated, it doesn't matter if you use your power creep on the far source or the near source. Both will, in theory, net the same total. As long as you can harvest all of the energy before it regenerates, the near source will be more efficient, even if it already has power creeps boosting it.

    ** reference https://screeps.com/forum/topic/2183/power-creeps-update/87

  • @artch Actually another big flaw in the whole GCL vs. PL choice is that PL rate is directly gated by the number of RCL 8 rooms you own. Obviously it is also gated by energy production after a certain point, but if you only have one room, you aren't going to be generating power as fast as the owner of two rooms because you only have one power spawn.

  • I still believe that operate_extensions works better as a power that increases extension capacity so that your creeps can fill fewer bigger extensions. This would result in fatter claim creeps, but in most cases extension capacity isn't a limitation for an RCL8 room's spawning size.

  • Dev Team

    Of course nobody will choose having just one room literally, it was just an example, all players will try to find some balance. But higher Power Level extends your capability of doing more with less rooms. You choose between having more rooms (and spending more CPU), or having less rooms and boosting them with power. Math and numbers are still under discussion and can be changed while testing on the PTR, but that's the idea.

    Commander and especially Executor should be included in this equation to make it work.

    And Power Levels don't correlate to Control Levels 1-to-1, they are not equivalent replacements to each other, but different assets aiming at the same goal - making you more capable to make an impact on the game world.

  • Dev Team

    @davaned The game economy needs more tradeable resources to maintain healthy market, and upgrading capabilities of your base seems like a nice match for such a resource. It won't be a major limiting factor, it's just another simple mechanic that makes this process deeper and more social.

  • Dev Team

    @gankdalf My point is that EXTEND_SOURCE doesn't replace remote mining, it adds on top of it, so you need more spawn capacity to handle new opportunities.

  • @artch

    Before I continue I want to be clear here. I am not trying to be difficult. I really love game theory and enjoy discussing it, but it does get a little annoying when the reason, cause, and purpose are all be summed up in "because". I want to know the actual thought behind it. I have already calculated it based on what I know. I want to know what you know. I can understand not wanting to solve a problem for us, since that is a huge part of the game, however, I feel like either I am not understanding how some of these powers interact, or default room spawn capacity was miscalculated when designing OPERATE_SPAWN.

    I feel like the original query has become less clear as this discussion has gone on. I don't understand (and it seems a few others might be in the same boat) how your description of OPERATE_SPAWN makes any sense.

    Could you give more details on how you see it being used? EXTEND_SOURCE as described does not inherently make OPERATE_SPAWN useful. Actually the way it was originally worded, it's quite likely that it would actually decrease the spawn capacity required for a single room to generate the same amount of energy, since it would reduce the number of haulers wasted on long distance remotes.

    You say:

    Our intention is to tune powers in such a way that they allow to achieve the same economy/military goals doing less actions, hence using less CPU. Control Level is about quantity, Power Level is about efficiency. Extensive vs intensive growth.

    But then refute your own statement with:

    My point is that EXTEND_SOURCE doesn't replace remote mining

    Increasing the size of the sources means that you need fewer sources to achieve the same energy production, or in contrast, can manage more sources for higher energy production.

    It seems that you have only considered the latter, when the former is more efficient, easier to defend, and easier to find rooms that support it. If you have spawn capacity and cpu left over to mine a few more nearby sources, great, but it's likely not going to be more efficient to spend ops saturating this room with overextended remotes when you can just claim a new room and use more short range EXTEND_SOURCE operators there and forget about OPERATE_SPAWN.

    it adds on top of it, so you need more spawn capacity to handle new opportunities.

    What opportunities? OPERATE_SPAWN costs ops. It isn't just about whether I can spare levels on my power creep to increase the spawn capacity for some half efficient long distance remote mines. It's competing with the other operator powers as well. It's even competing with just outright selling the ops on the market.

    You will miss out on opportunities simply by using OPERATE_SPAWN. Is it worth it? Are your long distance remote mines worth more than the ops you are spending to mine them? How much energy do you have to harvest for it to be worth more than 300% production rate on your labs? I'm quite sure this was answered already though... I don't think it is even in question. It's not even remotely (😜 puns) close.

    Of course nobody will choose having just one room literally, it was just an example, all players will try to find some balance

    Um... one room was my example to try and demonstrate the most lopsided balance scenario possible, where even with an absolutely excessive amount of power and absolutely no GCL that spawn capacity still doesn't end up being very useful.

    Obviously nobody only will have one room. That was the point. There are very few situations where more spawn capacity could net an economic benefit, and I think that they are only used because there is free spawn capacity, not because it can be purchased with OPERATE_SPAWN.

    Math and numbers are still under discussion and can be changed while testing on the PTR, but that's the idea.

    So did you not want feedback on the powers in the planner until they hit PTR?

    Commander and especially Executor should be included in this equation to make it work.

    You mean the two classes we aren't supposed to be giving feedback on because you wanted to release the operator first and have us ignore the other two classes while talking about the operator in isolation? :trollface:

  • Dev Team


    If you have EXTEND_SOURCE, this means you've spent some energy on power levels, which could have been spent on control levels otherwise. So having EXTEND_SOURCE means your balance has shifted to more energy and less spawn capacity in comparison to not having it. OPERATE_SPAWN is there to balance it back. Ops cost and other powers parameters may change to make this balance better.

    I want to know the actual thought behind it. I want to know what you know.

    This is understandable, but sorry--not realistic. We'd need to stop developing and start debating on forums full time if we try to satisfy everyone's need for information.


  • @artch Okay so I talked to @o4kapuk a bit. I think I can understand the usage of OPERATE_SPAWN a bit more, although I feel like not many people actually use spawn capacity in this way.

    Assuming traditional 6W1C3M miners, OPERATE_SPAWN makes very little sense. Actually, this is pretty much what was being discussed here. It seems pointless to increase spawn capacity for this. You run out of CPU long before you run out of spawn capacity for more small miners.

    However, if you use spawn capacity to not necessarily make more remote mines, but to make bigger miners, it means that you are spending more spawn capacity on reducing the CPU you are spending per remote mine. I had already considered using large miners, but hadn't fully calculated the spawn load on doing it.

    In this context the power makes sense. It saves CPU at the cost of energy and ops. I still think it is probably a bit underpowered, but It's closer to what I would expect from a power with this context in mind. I am not sure it fits with how I plan on using power creeps, but I can see where it could be used.

    We'd need to stop developing and start debating on forums full time if we try to satisfy everyone's need for information.

    K, that's a fair point 😂

  • Random spitball: What about rework operate spawn as a way to spawn bigger creeps?

    Duration 5 ticks: Spawn is able to spawn a creep body of +5/10/15/20/25 increased body size (doesn't stack). When spawn has the buff it is able to start spawning a larger creep but doesn't require it for the full spawn duration.

    Allows you to have spawn some huge creeps. Make it fairly expensive, but now you can save cpu by having some huge creeps to mine minerals, upgrade, build, siege, etc. You're still limited by total room energy.

    Also, this would now make renew more useful. Now you can generate mega creeps and keep them alive with renew.