Get Rid of manufacturing ants

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  • Last Post 16 September 2017
Spolokh posted this 22 July 2017

Hi all.

In this thread I propose to discuss ant like nature of manufacturing in XCom style game.

XCOM manufacture was simple - each item requires some amount of human hours to produce. Player hired engineers and sent them to workshop to produce whatever he wanted, As more engineers were sent sooner the desired item was produced. Almost perfect mechanics, except a case when 200 engineers had been sent to construct a single laser pistol in a single hour.

It was enough 20 years ago. As time passed this scheme was exploited by many other games and other problems appeared.  For example in Xenonauts such approach in conduction with balance issues (I think) led to a situation where a jet warplane had been manufactured in same time as machine gun and in almost same price!!!!

Such problem is not vital to the game, but it looks ridiculous for people. There is some solutions on this matter. For example XCOM2 Long War provide a mechanics when some equipment requirs some kind of engineering research [in Provin Ground facility instead of a labaratory]. This process took some time, and them those item could be manufactured instantly.

That is not a perfect solution, but it looks more reasonable then a horde of engineer creating a baby firearm in a hour. This approach led me to an idea of assembly line for firearms, armor, ammo and rest mass production!

That looks more naturally. Assembly line still require a lot of time and resources, including manpower to build. Once it build it could be operated by a very limited amount of people. It can produce items fast (once the line is warmed up and production cycle is running) and very cheap.

 

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kompan posted this 22 July 2017

Assembly line still require a lot of time and resources, including manpower to build. Once it build it could be operated by a very limited amount of people. It can produce items fast (once the line is warmed up and production cycle is running) and very cheap.

So if I understand, you can build a prototype of rifle just for one soldier (in long time), test it on the battlefield and if you know you want this item in large quantities, develop a production line (with some resources) to allow mass production (in short time)? Is it going to be separate production line for each item (HE grenade, ballistic pistol, laser rifle, medkit)? Anyway sounds fine to me

As for the manufacturing process, I didn't like the instant manufacturing in modern XCOM when you could magically conjure all armour and weapons just before the mission start. LW kind of fixed this by adding obligatory production time, but still - producing 1x rifle takes 5 days and producing 5x rifle also takes 5 days - and all items are ready at the same time.

Xenonauts (and the original XCOM I believe?) had the more realistic approach: when you order manufacturing 2x armour which would take 6 days, after 3 days one armour has been produced so you can already use it on the mission.  Also the minimal manufacturing time can be pre-set for each item:

  • 1 engineer - 30 days
  • 2 engineers - 15 days
  • 3 engineers - 10 days
  • 10++ engineers - 3 days no less.

so the additional 50 swarming engineers will not assembly the rifle faster than 3 days.

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Anjovi posted this 22 July 2017

The idea of having a prototype or template and then having a fast mass manufacture system could be neat. 

Simply: 

1)It takes time to make templates

2)Once templates are made the manufacturing is quick


Though you could argue that "Researching" the specific laser rifle could imply that template which causes your instant rifles.

 

In my mind i can imagine it working in the following phases:

1)Research = Successful'initial' research yields the 'Concept'

From here players can choose to:

2a)Research and refine the concept: This will boost the % of increasing stats when you

2b)Build a template: You have your mad scientists develop a template, which in turn creates a gun based on the 'concept' though the twist here is that RNG will influence how good this template is, as well as any quirks that the design might have. You can increase the odds of getting better template/prototypes with the 2a procedure. Just like you have procedural aliens, you can now have a procedural equipment generating system.

3)Manufacture: Now you can manufacture guns based on this template. This process will be quick and streamlined like your newer xcom games and makes more thematic sense.

Voila! You've got a general research tree that's consistent enough to learn when playing, but enough variability to provide different emerging strategies in the game. Perhaps you designed high powered rifles that have the 'Piece of shit' quirk, in which the gun can frequently jam. You now have a procedural generated variable that can heavily impact your game play

You also cut down on the fiddliness of micro managing staff members on stuffs. If you wanted to, thematically you could make the more 'instant produce a gun' or have the mini 'micromanage engineers + base management' like your original xcom.

 

Spolokh posted this 22 July 2017

kompan said:

Assembly line still require a lot of time and resources, including manpower to build. Once it build it could be operated by a very limited amount of people. It can produce items fast (once the line is warmed up and production cycle is running) and very cheap.

As for the manufacturing process, I didn't like the instant manufacturing in modern XCOM when you could magically conjure all armour and weapons just before the mission start. LW kind of fixed this by adding obligatory production time, but still - producing 1x rifle takes 5 days and producing 5x rifle also takes 5 days - and all items are ready at the same time.

Xenonauts (and the original XCOM I believe?) had the more realistic approach: when you order manufacturing 2x armour which would take 6 days, after 3 days one armour has been produced so you can already use it on the mission.  Also the minimal manufacturing time can be pre-set for each item:

  • 1 engineer - 30 days
  • 2 engineers - 15 days
  • 3 engineers - 10 days
  • 10++ engineers - 3 days no less.

so the additional 50 swarming engineers will not assembly the rifle faster than 3 days.

If we are talking about the numbers, from my point of view, if there is an assembly line completed, it should look like as :

- X hours for the first one ( manufacture cycle should be started) and then new item every hour

 

By the way an assembly line could require some space within a workshop. Ajast workshop could sum their space. Here is a natural adjacency bounce for this facility

SpiteAndMalice posted this 23 July 2017

It makes things more complicated, but is it an idea to have either resources that the player must scavenge before they can manufacture certain items, or alternatively supply chains that must be setup around the globe? 

Producing a pistol or rifle via a construction plant is fair enough, but some of the tech required to produce a jet plane is pretty niche and specialised. 

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
91stCataclysm posted this 23 July 2017

Getting a bit Hearts of Iron here, but you could also have a mechanic where manufacturing lines swithcing from one item to a similar or derived item getting a discount on the re-tooling, for instance switching a Lazer Assault Rifle line to Lazer Minigun would be cheaper than switching a Ballistic Minigun line to Lazer Minigun.

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SpiteAndMalice posted this 23 July 2017

91stCataclysm said:

Getting a bit Hearts of Iron here, but you could also have a mechanic where manufacturing lines swithcing from one item to a similar or derived item getting a discount on the re-tooling, for instance switching a Lazer Assault Rifle line to Lazer Minigun would be cheaper than switching a Ballistic Minigun line to Lazer Minigun.

 

There's nothing like getting carried away ;-) 

You could also have a limited number of production lines; so if you wanted to start producing a Laser Minigun, you'd have to halt production of the Ballistic Version - You might also have a delay to account for the time needed to switch that production line over.

 

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
91stCataclysm posted this 23 July 2017

SpiteAndMalice said:

91stCataclysm said:

Getting a bit Hearts of Iron here, but you could also have a mechanic where manufacturing lines swithcing from one item to a similar or derived item getting a discount on the re-tooling, for instance switching a Lazer Assault Rifle line to Lazer Minigun would be cheaper than switching a Ballistic Minigun line to Lazer Minigun.

There's nothing like getting carried away ;-) 

You could also have a limited number of production lines; so if you wanted to start producing a Laser Minigun, you'd have to halt production of the Ballistic Version - You might also have a delay to account for the time needed to switch that production line over.

 Which may cause a shortage at the front, throwing the success of operation Barbarossa defense of El-Alamain Invasion of Guadalcanal protection of the western seaboard against mist-born organism into jeopardy!

 

On a more serious note, for the limited number of pieces of equipment and operatives we're discussing this line of thinking may be overkill.

SpiteAndMalice posted this 23 July 2017

91stCataclysm said:

SpiteAndMalice said:

91stCataclysm said:

Getting a bit Hearts of Iron here, but you could also have a mechanic where manufacturing lines swithcing from one item to a similar or derived item getting a discount on the re-tooling, for instance switching a Lazer Assault Rifle line to Lazer Minigun would be cheaper than switching a Ballistic Minigun line to Lazer Minigun.

There's nothing like getting carried away ;-) 

You could also have a limited number of production lines; so if you wanted to start producing a Laser Minigun, you'd have to halt production of the Ballistic Version - You might also have a delay to account for the time needed to switch that production line over.

 Which may cause a shortage at the front, throwing the success of operation Barbarossa defense of El-Alamain Invasion of Guadalcanal protection of the western seaboard against mist-born organism into jeopardy!

On a more serious note, for the limited number of pieces of equipment and operatives we're discussing this line of thinking may be overkill.

 

Yeah possibly, just a tad - Maybe at some point in the game, you need to develop Lean Techniques and Kaizen . . . 

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
Martouf posted this 06 August 2017

As an engineer. I do not understand that 2 engineers effectively reduce time by 50%. Also how do 200 engineers work on a rifle? Perhaps max engineers on a rifle is 1? But you could set 10 engineers to produce 10 simultaneously. Spacecraft perhaps max 20 engineers? In a normal company you would not set all engineers on one project.

woah77 posted this 07 August 2017

Well, as an engineer, I have to say that there *are* diminishing returns after a point, but you definitely can reduce it to some extent by increasing the number of people on a single project. A rifle has many pieces. As long as the design requirements are properly set, 20 engineers could easily reduce the time to assemble a single rifle over 10. But it definitely improves more with the more items being created. So if 20 could produce 1 in 1 day, 40 could probably produce 10 in one day. but 40 wouldn't be able to produce 1 rifle any faster than 1 day. It's kinda an equation where complexity of an item is static, but man hours required at minimum is also static, but man hours per unit is not.The per unit time cost does not scale linearly because making 20 triggers instead of 1 does not take exceptionally more time for a team of engineers, but working out how to assemble all the pieces and test the assembled product is fairly constant.

 

SpiteAndMalice posted this 08 August 2017

That first engineer though, he's going to be the expert isn't he? He'll be the master of his field in order to have gained the position with Pheonix Point (assuming that they've got an efficient recruitment process) and once he's in place, he'll value the opportunity and so will give 100%. 

Once you've got 40 engineers however you'll experience some diminishing returns, the engineering team won't have the same level of skill and motivation across the board; there might be a few apprentices mixed in with the more experienced journeymen, some of your engineers will just coasting along on auto pilot, others might be secretly applying for other roles with different factions.

Then there's unionisation to consider. What if your engineers decide that they want to have a 'closed shop' in order to protect the jobs of those who are currently employed? What if they decide to down tools just as a mutant space crab is pulling itself out of the waters and hold you to ransom over conditions at work? What if they won't sign a waiver to opt out of the European Working Time Directive - That no employee can be made to work for more than 48 hour per week (on average) Your engineers might demand extra pay for the risk involved in the job.

And, what happens if they do go on strike? Do you send Vera the tea lady over the picket line in order to produce those 40 rifles, and how long would it take her? Do you relocate the faction to an out of town site where you'll have more staffing options? 

- At least I know what I'm going to call my first base now: 'Fortress Wapping' - we'll smash them yet!  

  • This week I have been mostly playing Chaos Reborn.
Comes Moesia posted this 16 September 2017

One of few things I like about xcom2 is manufacturing. I should not have to micro construction of every single mass-produced rifle and bullet. Simply have manufacture project that fills your armory with enough weapons if its mass-produced model. Its fine to hand-craft unique prototypes and such.

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