PTR Changelog 2018-08-28

  • Disclaimer: I don't currently use recycling of HEAL parts to move energy to my temple room, but I have been previously aware that it is possible.

    I am surprised that this is considered an abuse, rather than an innovation. One of the coolest parts of the game for me is trying to figure out a way to use the existing mechanics in a way that no one has ever thought of before. I feel like the game designers should be patting themselves on the back for making systems that foster emergent gameplay. It's OK if recycling wasn't intended originally to be used this way. I would have to code a special solution to take advantage of HEAL recycling; basically we have a new "feature" for free, just from player cleverness.

    If HEAL recycle effectiveness was absurdly better than regular hauling, I think a nerf would be appropriate. As-is, it feels like a punishment for innovation. I am already thinking of several features I use that might be similarly punished, and feeling concerned. Ultimately it falls to the developers to determine where the line between "abuse" and "innovation" falls, but I wanted to put my two cents in.


  • You raise an interesting point about it being on PTR. This may not be completely on topic but perhaps an easy way for players to thumbs up or down a feature change on PTR that gives the devs some insight to how a change is received and whether it needs further research or review? I guess the forums could work for that but perhaps add a reply with each individual feature so it can be thumbed up or down?

    Course it'd be nice to have reasoning behind up / down as well but I am thinking in broad terms for conveying a general sense of acceptance by the players.

    Or something else? Just spitballing ideas cause I like the concept of "Let's try this out and see how well it works even if we haven't thought it all the way through."

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  • What are the criteria to determine if the use of a mechanic in a way it was not intended is an abuse? Or is that always considered an abuse?

    There's something I've been thinking about implementing, but it would be a lot of work and it's definitely using a mechanic in a way it was not intended. Now I'm afraid of putting a lot of work into it, making some big changes to my code and to all my rooms and then suddenly the rules change and it doesn't work anymore.

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  • Dev Team

    This is not an innovation, it is simply another popular way to do things. There are even code snippets shared in public. There is no revelation in this tactic, we've observed dozens of people doing it.

    To balance something means making two (or more) opportunities equally worthwile. Currently it is imbalanced because HEAL hauling is undoubtely and significantly more effective than regular hauling in many situations. We don't ban or prevent HEAL hauling by this change, you're free to continue using it if you wish. But now it is aligned with other opportunities, your choice is harder, the decision is less clear - it means it is more balanced. Our goal in balancing things is to increase the number of worthwile in-game choices, and eliminate situations where the correct choice is obvious.

    Also, 70% return just feels correct, it is standard loss for "used" items.


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  • Thank you @artch for taking our feedback into consideration and being so engaging in this discussion.

    @likeafox @omnomwombat I think a very valid point of reference to this discussion is how the (now established) mechanic of temple rooms came about.

    The meta and tactics of the game have evolved over the years and it's worth pointing out that temple rooms were not a thing until good old @bonzaiferroni actually came up with the tactic.

    It's also worth noting, that originally bonzai had been relying on a undocumented mechanic that you could send energy to any terminal regardless of the room's level. So originally, the temple room was pretty simple to code and a very powerful tool to get around the RCL8 limitation.

    At the time there were a lot of discussions around the balance of this particular behavior. In the end, it was decided that the concept of this temple room is a clever tactic/mechanic that should stay, but the "terminal abuse" needed to be patched. Since that time (3 years ago?) the concept of temple rooms has continued to be refined (as seen here), but patching the terminal abuse was undeniably a valid balancing adjustment.

    Sometimes the line is pretty blurry between bug, abuse and feature. I would suggest that in such cases it is acceptable for the devs to make a choice towards what fits with their vision.

  • Culture

    The 100% return allowed to abuse this mechanic to transport energy via HEAL creeps, recycling them at the destination. And it seemed too much in general since they are "used" after all.

    Dammit, you finally caught me 😉

    It's definitely expensive to do, but it's great for boosting up rooms that don't have terminals yet.

    I don't really consider this "abuse", but I also have no problem with it being less efficient- this change makes sense to me, even if I am going to lose some of the benefits.

  • Indeed, as far as I can tell, this remains a viable tactic in some very specific circumstances. This change simply reduces the effectiveness of the strategy somewhat.

    And now that this change does not impact boosts, I think it's a pretty good balance change.

  • While I agree that its kind of silly that you should use anything other then CARRY parts to transport energy/resources, this change is just a pretty crude fix to treat the problem, rather then actually cure it.

    The core issue at hand here, is the fact that CARRY doesn't hold enough energy relative to the cost of the other creep parts. In essence, the energy content of a single HEAL part is equal to the carry capacity of 5 CARRY parts. I don't think nerfing recycle is the proper way to fix this imbalance, but rather adjusting either part costs or carry capacity is the more proper fix.

    Additionally, applying a flat 30% tax on creep recycling feels like a sudden departure from the way other other game mechanics are balanced (e.g. creep renewing cost/tick time), which is that of a near zero-sum game. With this change, the instant I spawn a creep (regardless of purpose), I lose 30% of the energy cost of that creep instantly, which I don't think makes any sense.

    The idea that you get less energy back for 'used' creep parts is already implemented as is, i.e. older creeps return (proportionally) less energy based on TTL. So I don't really buy that as justification for adding this recycle tax.

    I think being able to fluidly convert between raw energy and creep parts is a really nice design choice, that shouldn't be abandoned simply b/c players are using creep parts in ways they weren't originally intended. It's also not like there aren't other cost factors the come into play when turning energy into creep parts (i.e. spawn time/pressure, CPU costs, etc.), so there are still interesting optimization choices to be made on the part of the player.

    just my 2c


  • Dev Team


    the instant I spawn a creep (regardless of purpose), I lose 30% of the energy cost of that creep instantly, which I don't think makes any sens

    When you buy a brand new car from a dealer, you instantly lose 30% of its market price, and it makes perfect sense.


  • @artch

    When you buy a brand new car from a dealer, you instantly lose 30% of its market price, and it makes perfect sense.

    Except that is one of the canonical examples of why car dealerships are infuriating to deal with, precisely b/c it doesn't make sense.

    If you want to restrict the player's ability to convert between raw energy and creeps, even if its a design choice I personally don't agree with, thats still fine.

    The issue is, this doesn't really fix the problem that you claim you want to solve. If you want to transfer a large amount of energy via creeps, then using HEAL parts is still going to be a better option then using CARRY parts (unless you want to use boosts, which was still the case even before this change).

  • Dev Team

    @issacar The solution that you propose is way more breaking to the game balance, it will deprecate almost any tactic and calculation of every player made from the game launch.

  • @artch

    I am well aware of that fact and would not seriously propose you to implement such a change as stated. I was simply pointing out the core issue and why it exists in the first place and to put into perspective how your proposed change relates to the problem which it tries to solve.

    Either way, it won't seriously impact me as I don't actively use this method for energy transport (precisely b/c I think its counter-intuitive to transport energy with anything other then CARRY).

  • @artch Are we going to use real world examples to justify one's stance? Can you heal in the real world? No? So we should remove it.

    I agree with Issacar, and believe the main problem isn't recycleCreep - but CARRY, and the cost of the part. I know you feel you have it all balanced out and thought out, but there are some balance issues with CARRY, and has been from the beginning. Of all the body parts, CARRY is the one with the most changes, from it creating fatigue to how it's minerals work.

    @artch do you believe CARRY right now is balanced?

  • @likeafox Whoah whoah what do you have against doctors healing? I personally find the unflagging cooperation of thousands of individuals far more unlikely, we should add a rebellion mechanic to screeps.

    Remember when the carry boost also made you require more move parts to get around? I'm all in favor of making logical changes to get it in a more balanced state. Honestly I think harvest would be another good one to look at, maybe it should make you mildly more efficient as well as faster.

    What would people feel a balanced amount for carry to handle? I'm not sure it would be a good idea to increase the price of carry, given how crucial it is in low level rooms.

  • FWIW I have roughly as many transport creeps as I do harvesting creeps

  • @davaned said in PTR Changelog 2018-08-28:

    I personally find the unflagging cooperation of thousands of individuals far more unlikely, we should add a rebellion mechanic to screeps.

    What about ant colonies? I haven't heard of any rebellions in there. And creeps on their own definitely don't have the intelligence to be called sentient beings 🙂

  • In terms of CARRY, a fun suggestion would be 100 Holding for 125 energy - and each tier boost 200/300/400. No changes to recycleCreep so this would make the heal/move vs carry/move more interesting, Spawn 300 - can do 2Carry/1Move.