[Discussion] Uniformity of the world

  • One of the downsides of a uniform world is that no location matters much. Most rooms very much like each other. There is not much of a reason to fight over any given location, nor to try and settle in a given spot.

    I'd like to start a discussion on how we can bring points of interest into screeps. All objects of importance are very transient right now, the power banks, caravans and portals appearing and disappearing at random. Rather, I'd think screeps could benefit from special locations, places for players to fight over and defend, with some reward or goal for holding them.

    Any example would be powerful and rare neutral objects called Relics. Relics cannot be moved and do not change location in any short timeframe (potentially after millions of ticks). Relics are maintained the same way that a controller is maintained, by reserving it. They would spawn in crossroad/highway rooms. Example relics implementations could be:

    • Relic of Power: a relic that give the owner power credit every x ticks.
    • Relic of Space: a user can create a portal next to the relic within some distance.
    • Relic of Time: the user gains 10cpu while in possession of it, potentially exceeding the cap.

    And potentially a leaderboard for relic possession time.

    There would only be a few relics per shard, and their spawning would be a big event. They offer significant advantages, important shard locations, and meaningful positions to fight over. With longlasting locations, it gives older players a reason to move great distances and create challenges between players.

    What do people think? Is it worth trying to solve the universal sameness of the world? Are there other ideas people are interested in? The relics are an option, but far from the only one.


  • Without addressing your idea about relics, I just want to say that location does matter to me.

    • I want to be near the centre axes so there are double rows of power banks.

    • I want to have access to certain minerals more than others, which rules out some sectors

    • I don't want to be near the edges of the map because you can access fewer power banks and convoys.

    • I want to be close to a variety of corner and centre portals so that I'm able to send creeps to a variety of locations on the same shard and on other shards.

    • I want to have bases in areas where there are a high density of 2-source rooms which rules out some sectors

    So different parts of the map are differently appealing to me. If we had some kind of MapVisual I would be able to do cool things like rate parts of each sector.

    With that said, there is plenty of scope for features that distinguish areas of the map further, such as your relic idea.

  • @wtfrank I wholeheartedly agree that not every room is equal. And it is true that the center of the map affords some advantages. It used to give huge advantages due to how the market worked, but now the world wraps. There are some variations from sector to sector, from mineral/source locations to how the terrain generation played out to.

    The issue is more that the difference between them is not much. A given room might have an extra 2 energy remote, or an X, or a good dead end region. But chances are you can find something almost exactly the same the next sector over. It just doesn't matter much, and no one else really cares if you make a big play for E45S19 because its just another room.

    The only time people really care is when its huge alliances going to war, and that doesn't happen very frequently because why bother? There isn't much to be gained when each location is roughly equivalent to each other.

    Personally, I think it would be healthy and interesting for there to be focal points on maps. Places that other players fight over, and that people can watch with interest. To be honest they don't need to be THAT impressive in terms of value, they could be as simple as Xel'Naga towers (https://liquipedia.net/starcraft2/Xel'Naga_Tower) and just provide vision around them.

    It's more the rarity and prestige of the locations, something that makes them inherently special. Right now when you look at the map you can scroll left, then right, up and down, and everything looks pretty much the same.

  • Another approach to consider: new resources, potentially shard driven.

    I think the most fluid way to introduce regional differences is to have resources that are only (easily) accessible in certain regions. This would foster trade and incentivize outposts etc, giving players challenges and reasons to explore.

    Our current resources are too core to the game to be broken up, but a sort of newgame+ resources be created to support it. Some random examples below of powerful but unnecessary elements.

    • Portalite: a rare minable resource that lets you interact with portals (opening/closing/retargeting them).
    • Genesis: Allows renewing creeps without destroying creep boosts. Or possibly a boost that grants creeps extra TTL beyond its lifespan.
    • Potentially something that allows you to boost buildings/generate buffs.

    The actual implementation is not that important, but the big difference is a regionality to their spawns. If we have the equivalent of power banks with other types of resources that only spawn in certain regions or even only certain shards I think it would be interesting. Having players adapt their playstyles to use an abundance of a particular resource could be a great way to incentivize certain strategies. Making war easier/more profitable in a region, or changing balance.

    Anyone have other suggestions? Most of the others I can think of would be difficult to implement without impacting current players. One options is doing something with strongholds to make invaders different in regions, since that hasn't been added.

  • But what happens when you control all three? Can you get the power to snap your fingers and wipe half of enemy creeps out at random?

  • You'd need to wipe out half of all creeps. Fair, impartial... Balanced.

    Another option for special high-priority locations is some form of permanent portal...

    Abyssal Shard A small shard that is only accessible through special portals. Something with high resources but no controllers, so you can't build rooms in it. To access it you have to control the region near the specific portals. Inside is plentiful minerals (potentially even compounds) and power banks.

    Add on significant risk, perhaps enormous invasions or very powerful roaming enemies (Caravans of DOOM) and you have an interesting challenge for top tier players to compete and an interesting spectator sport, for both control of the portals and surviving in the Abyss.

  • Anyone else have any ideas or comments? I think it would be nice for something to differentiate locations/shards besides server performance.

  • I like the idea of having some kind of additional world asymmetry, as a means of stimulating meaningful conflicts. There are many potential ways of doing that. I think it would be hard to get something like this implemented though.


  • @davaned

    • Possibly, the relic should be hidden until the room is claimed, or the RCL reaches 5 or something. Then it is revealed.
    • Possibly there are temples and relics. Temples are like relics, but temples are immovable, and relics can be slowly moved. Both in the same room give both bonuses, but put the relic in the temple, and you get a third, new bonus.
    • Just as there are naturally-prime spots per @wtfrank, the poorest rooms have the highest chances of relics, so it helps balance the map. Those prime spots shouldn't have a chance of relic, but a poor room near the primes spots would have a chance of having one, perhaps. And if there is a row of 3 1-source rooms, nearer to the edge, away from the central axes, with low minerals, that middle room has a very high chance of having a relic.
    • The temples/relics would add viability to starting in a bad spot.
    • Players might want to position toward the bad spots, rather than right in the middle of the prime spots, or un-intuitively expand from a prime area toward a poor area looking for the relics, or be able to invade and take over a room with a relic more quickly once it is found.

    Essentially, add a bonus for having to take a poor spot and make it more viable. Late game, I suppose you would want to get your hands on temple rooms and put relics in them all.

  • AYCE

    I agree, and I've shared my idea of how it can be solved in the thread "A different shard" (https://screeps.com/forum/topic/2273/a-different-shard/)

    Basic idea: When making shard4, use the 4x4 or 6x6 sectors in the middle for this purpose. Make the area restricted with natural walls and disallow spawning in the rooms. Increase the number/values of sources, and make it accessible only by a new type of portal. (read thread for full context)

  • @Jaycephus I've been assuming that these sorts of things won't be in claimable room, but will rather be in contested neutral territory like power banks. That way it's not about being lucky and claiming a room, but rather players in surrounding rooms battling it out, and further players claiming rooms near it.

    @Kasami I think thats a good idea. Some sort of non-spawnable/claimable shard with increased resources is a reoccurring idea, it would give players something to work towards taming and with how shard portals work, it would increase player interaction from different map regions. Between the two, I think I'd rather have it not claimable, given that once it gets saturated there will be zero chance for new players to break in to entrenched positions given your specified portal limitations.

  • Dev Team

    If I understand correctly, the issue here is that such region would serve as a 'portal hub' connecting everyone to everyone (unless we design and implement a non-abusable restrictions).

    Plus, I must say that we already have regions of neutral non-claimable rooms with increased resources generation, they are in 3x3 square in the middle of each sector.

  • Can such area be a one-way trip for creeps? That would solve the "connects everyone to everyone" problem. Players can send creeps in and claim rooms to create colonies, however, they could not launch attacks from inside the sector on outside stuff. While players from outside would be able to.

    At least that's how I imagine that suggestion.

  • Wouldn't it much more interesting if they had to use some "altar" to send it back to the "mortal realm"?
    So it is a one way ticket to a potential bounty but the entering creeps are l4d.

    Thinking about a similar mechanic like the helicopter thing in the Division.

  • I do think it'd be nice if shards had different colour schemes. Seems like an easy change to make things a lot more visually interesting at least.

    As far as other diversity, I'd be all in favour. One of the "problems" with screeps is that there's not much to fight for. Resoures are not scarse and it's not too hard to find space. If 25% of sectors (for example) held some long lasting (say, 1 million tick) unique resource it would be interesting to have wars to fight for control of that resource. Power/space/time/energy "relics" would all suit and would allow players to actually compete for some bonus.

    RIght now we have centre rooms and we have highway rooms, both providing resources that could be fought over, but IMO they're not really valuable or unique enough to be interesting.


  • I enthusiastically support different color pallets.

  • I think it would be more interesting to make the catalyst really valuable by restricting it to source keeper rooms and very low yield.
    Also screw the uniformity it would be much more interesting if a sector had only one type of mineral besides a surplus of Hydrogen and Oxygen.

    I would even make it so that the resource spots have a mineral vane probability what the next regeneration could spawn in a specific room.


    • 70% U, 20% O, 10% H ➡ a high value room since it is almost a given to get Utrium after each regeneration
    • 45% O, 45% H, 2.25% U, 2.25% L, 2.25% K, 2.25% Z, 1% X ➡ pretty much worthless but might give you now and then a nice reward for continues mining
    • 50% X, 10% O, 10% H, 7.5% U, 7.5% L, 7.5% K, 7.5% Z ➡ could be a source keeper room

    This artificially creates a unbalance and makes minerals way more valuable then now.
    It also would generate the need for some kind of mineral exchange between players in whatever form this may take place.

  • Dev Team

    We're going to introduce some new mechanic soon that will diversify resource distribution in the world a little bit. Stay tuned!


  • I have been avoiding this topic because I don't think adding a 'new' mechanic to further diversify resource distribution is a good idea at all.

    Resources are ALREADY diversified. Many sectors have few rooms with certain minerals already, and there is already a shortage of "good rooms" (Ones with 2 sources, sufficiently open to develop easily.) All what we have now does is give advantage to people with high enough GCL and sufficient combat code to be able to spread out collecting all the "good" rooms at the expense of underdeveloped players and alliances.

    Making this even worse seems like a bad idea.

    There is already an area in EVERY SECTOR (As o4kapuk has pointed out.) that have hugely increased resource generation, but few people utilize this because the ROI of extracting those resources effectively is very daunting. (And in case anyone says "Learn to code." I already extract from the center rooms.) I don't have to fight for those rooms at all, FEW PEOPLE WANT THEM.

    The core problem with any of these schemes I see here is it ignores the root issue... transporting things with creeps is exponentially more expensive the farther away / bigger the resource is. The one proposed feature I have seen that would actually fix this is the Strongholds. By incentivizing a player to well control a sector, they can keep the strongholds suppressed and thus greatly increasing the ROI for the center rooms.

    So: Two things to improve this: One: Implement strongholds. Two: Fix the market so it's easier to use it to trade the minerals you have for the minerals you want at a 'fair' price. (Fair meaning consistent in the local shard.)

  • Dev Team

    Spoiler: it will be new resources, not the existing ones.