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Old October 30, 2000, 14:31   #1
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How much allocation waste is too much?
Previously I haven't strayed away from to 50%/50% until my efficency was good enough to do so without waste. The more I think about it the more I think I might be missing out.

Only refering to the begining stages of a game, there is not a lot you can do with credits. Also you have a greater opprotunity to raise money by pod poping or worm hunting. So why not shift your allocation more to labs if it means quicker tech discoveries.

So my question to the panel is how much waste is too much? I realize the quick answer is "whenever it takes the same amount or longer time to discover a tech", but I'm looking for a more in depth review and some suggestions.

Thanks in advance.
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Old October 30, 2000, 14:46   #2
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My view on allocation waste is to never do it unless absolutely necessary. I have, once or twice, gone to 40/60 with 2/4% waste, I think any more than this would be downright wasteful. For instance:

- running 40/60 with 0 effic gives you 4 and 8% waste, IIRC. This means Labs go to 56%, and Econ 32%. This effectively means you are sacrificing a third of your economy income for an extra 12% of labs production. Although this may be a good idea if you are not in any great need of money, it would still seem rather wasteful to me.

OTOH, 2%/4% for me, would be a lot more reasonable. It would effectively mean a 36% econ an 58% labs rating, which really doesn't cost you a lot, if at all, in the long run....

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Old October 30, 2000, 19:29   #3
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I second Mark13's comments - I do occasionally run a setting that causes waste, but I generally find that when the waste percentage rises dramatically, the benefit is negligible, or even negative.
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Old October 30, 2000, 20:36   #4
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Well, let's not forget that these economy tools are among the most dynamic in the game: it's the only part I can think of that doesn't penalize you for changing your mind. You pay for every SE change, and you lose minerals for messing with your base's building decisions, but you can fiddle with the economy ratios every turn for free. In other words, picking a ratio and sticking with it is just not taking full advantage of the possibilities.

Maybe it's a flaw in my game style, but I tend not to pay attention to how much I'm wasting. Instead I pay attention to what I'm getting. If I need some cash to rush-build things, I'll crank out the cash for a couple turns. If I need to get my research hopping quick quick quick, I'll go as low on the income as I can afford to. The best trick is to wait until you're within two or three turns of getting a tech: usually you can fiddle with the settings and make that tech yours in the next turn. You have to go back and forth between the SE screen and the F2 screen, though, because the SE screen won't tell you how soon your current tech will be done. I usually feel willing to take even a substantial cash hit to make the tech come my way a couple turns early--it's like buying a tech, right? If I can have the cash to absorb the loss, I'll do it. I won't ever go so negative that base facilities will be scrapped, though--that's a serious loss of turn advantage.

By mid-game, I'm usually fiddling with the econ. settings almost every turn. It becomes part of my end-of-turn maintenance routine--hit F4, check for drone riots, then go through my bases and look for rush builds, then go fiddle with the economy and see if I can squeeze out an early tech or if I need extra cash for some brilliant scheme.... or not.

Anyway. I also gauge my settings by what I know about the other factions. If I'm playing a tech race, I want to be sure that I'm discovering techs faster than anybody else, and after that, I want the cash. Like I said, I look at what I'm getting as opposed to what I'm losing. If I'm playing a faction with a research bonus, it's quite possible that I can have the fastest discovery rate in the game while running 70/30 econ/labs (I think, I'm not checking my math here, so don't hold me to it). But a skewed ratio gets me more money than 50/50 would, and as long as I'm in the tech lead I can use the money to build the old infrastructure. But even if I'm playing a non-research faction, I have some idea of what I want my research rate to be, comparatively with the other factions, and as long as I'm in that ballpark, I think of more money as better. In general, I guess I run an imbalance in favor of cash until I get close to a tech, and then I crank out the tech. But of course, it's all situational. Once I've got what I consider the basics--all restricitions lifted, and supply crawlers--I tend to relax on the tech even more.

Anyway, just some rambling. I'm sure there are mathematical proofs of why this is a really dumb way to play, but that's how I do it.
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Old October 30, 2000, 21:39   #5
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Only refering to the begining stages of a game, there is not a lot you can do with credits.

Oh, I must disagree! Cash is vital in all stages of the game. You need energy credits to:

1) Change government.
2) Rush-buy formers, scout patrols and colony pods.
3) Rush-buy city improvements (usually Rec. Commons or Recycling Tanks).
4) Buy the goodwill of rival factions.

Yes, you need cash for a wider variety of purposes in the mid- and late-games (upgrading units, mind-controlling enemy units), but in the early game it's not any less important.

(Try playing as Yang some time and see how much it hurts not to have 40 EC to change your government....)
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Old October 30, 2000, 22:57   #6
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HP, I also fiddle with the SE ratios a lot, but I rarely go into high levels of waste because I also look at what I'm getting. In the early game, as you know, high levels of waste can mean that you are doing worse on both cash and labs - so that's a no-brainer.

Otherwise ... well, I tend to try to max out over a number of turns, I never think of it in terms of just the current MY. I can understand your point about rushing a tech when you need it, or maxing out economy for the same reason. But I very rarely look at what I get this turn while ignoring what I lose, because I tend to view the game as a kind of rolling machine. I don't want to lose my credits, because they represent new facilities over the next turn or so. Equally, I need to keep up my research rate, otherwise I'll soon be in big trouble. I'm talking about MP here, so maybe it's not applicable to the situations you have in mind. But in MP you are under serious pressure pretty much from day one and I'm pretty sure that tweaking SE settings in a way that involves serious waste is probably not good in terms of turn advantage, so I tend to keep it to a minimum.

I have done it though - to get air power 2 turns early when facing a seriously tooled-up momentum player. Now *that* was worth every joule wasted. No question
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Old October 31, 2000, 07:03   #7
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As the Gaians, the first thing I do on the first turn is to stick my labs up to 80% or so. This doesn't generate waste, because the numbers are too small right then; 15% waste on labs when you are getting 3 labs/turn is quite literally nothing. I usually keep it that way until I hit some landmark techs like Ind. Auto, too. Being able to outtech a university player has some serious upsides! And of course you have MW kills and pods (fingers crossed) to provide a steady cash flow.
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