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Home » Stars! 2.6/7 » The Academy » On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT.
On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Sun, 16 July 2017 09:19 Go to next message
magic9mushroom is currently offline magic9mushroom

 
Commander

Messages: 1361
Registered: May 2008
My impression of received wisdom in the Stars! community regarding race design and, in particular, mine settings is this:

1. OBRM is a fantastic LRT except for narrow-hab factoried races and AR.
2. Mine efficiency over number is viable to increase your long-term mineral yield.
3. MA is a terrible LRT that should never be taken.

I still believe #1, but about a year ago I ran across this apparently-forgotten article by the grand old man of Stars! Jason Cawley, which, by showing Mineral Alchemy catching mine number given time but mine efficiency failing to do so, suggested that #2 and #3 might be rather suspect.

Now, of course, Cawley's test has some flaws which favour MA and mine number over mine efficiency. It's well-known that mine efficiency isn't particularly useful on the homeworld, because of the mineral concentration floor reached fairly early on, and having only 15 worlds magnified that homeworld effect. In addition, Cawley put 100% of resources from the worlds into alchemy during the test, which isn't what happens in a real game; you'll always be using some of your resources to build stuff with both your mined and alchemically-produced minerals.

So, I decided I'd replicate the test with much more favourable conditions for mine efficiency, to give an upper bound to match Cawley's lower. I used 60 planets, which is more than the planet-to-homeworld ratio in almost all PBEMs. I put Beginner: Max Minerals on to increase the amount of mined minerals (weakening MA) while further weakening the "homeworld effect". And I researched and built a fleet of missile ships, using up some resources (I would have used beam ships, to further reduce the minerals going to alchemy, but it takes so long to exhaust mineral stockpiles with just beamers that no alchemy will take place for well over a century whatever your settings, obscuring the results).

For replicability, and because the design needed testing, I used the most recent version of my Mimigas:

HE
NRSE, OBRM
3i 6%
1/1000 15/8/21 ***
Weapons cheap, rest expensive

*** I switched this around between the tests - "more mines" used 10/3/23, "more efficiency" used 11/3/18, and "Mineral Alchemy" took the LRT and used 10/3/18. Note that as mine number greatly exceeds the efficiency, this gives efficiency a further boost.

I then put each of these variations in a small packed with Beginner: Max Minerals, Accelerated BBS Start and No Random Events, expanded using the same colonisation strategy (HW -> 3 colonies 2 years away giving 4 planets, each -> 2 colonies giving 12 planets, each -> 2 colonies giving 36 planets, then each newly-colonised world -> 1 world giving 60 planets), filled the worlds the same way (grow to 50%, then hold each world to fill itself separately), researched 18/24/11/16/19/0 (with the overshoot soaked up by manual alchemy), and then set every world to build 1000 of these ships with alchemy "as needed":

Battleship
4x Interspace-10
20x Armageddon Missile
4x Battle Nexus
3x Jammer 30
6x Valanium
8x Elephant Hide Fortress

(I figured this was a decent picture of a "final" BB design before going to Nubians.)

Here are the results.

Some thoughts:

- I really had it hammered home to me how much "more mines" costs you in resources. Those extra 5 mines in the race wizard translate to an expenditure of 50,000 resources over and above the other two options. As a result, those two were nearly half a turn in front in research; they all ended up getting the tech at 2473, but the "efficiency" and "MA" races had a much larger overshoot.

- You'll notice that the curve turns into a weird stair-step past about 2550. This is an artifact of being a 3i HE; the way Alchemy works causes the worlds' BB production to slowly synchronise, and once the time interval between one BB and the next from a given world exceeds the discrepancy between worlds, this "beating" effect occurs.

- At the start of the test, "more efficiency&q
...

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Re: On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Sun, 16 July 2017 12:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
XAPBob is currently offline XAPBob

 
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Messages: 957
Registered: August 2012
Looks like about a 3:1 step ratio - suggesting that the mining was providing ~20% of minerals and the MA was providing the rest (with a 4:1 benefit for the MA race)

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Re: On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Sun, 16 July 2017 22:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
magic9mushroom is currently offline magic9mushroom

 
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Registered: May 2008
XAPBob wrote on Mon, 17 July 2017 02:34
Looks like about a 3:1 step ratio - suggesting that the mining was providing ~20% of minerals and the MA was providing the rest (with a 4:1 benefit for the MA race)

Closer to 2:1. If you look from 2600 to 2700, there are seven "steps" for MA and about three for the others.

At conc 1 (which takes a very long time to happen; the flip from 2 to 1 happened over 2642-2660 for the "number" test and started at 2693 for the "efficiency" and MA tests without finishing by 2700), mining produces 12/10/9 minerals per turn for number/efficiency/MA respectively. Alchemy produces ~22.5 minerals/turn for the first two and ~88 for MA (it's slightly less than 4x because the MA race is spending more resources on building BBs), giving about a 3:1 ratio as the best case for MA (and obviously even at conc 2 it's closer to 2.5:1).

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Re: On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Mon, 17 July 2017 08:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
XAPBob is currently offline XAPBob

 
Lt. Commander

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Registered: August 2012
It's slightly less because you're actually building BBs Laughing

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Re: On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Wed, 19 July 2017 14:41 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Altruist is currently offline Altruist

 
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magic9mushroom wrote on Sun, 16 July 2017 15:19
My impression of received wisdom in the Stars! community regarding race design and, in particular, mine settings is this:

1. OBRM is a fantastic LRT except for narrow-hab factoried races and AR.
2. Mine efficiency over number is viable to increase your long-term mineral yield.
3. MA is a terrible LRT that should never be taken.

[...]

...if you think a game will be decided before 2500, "more mines" is better than fooling around with efficiency or MA.


I've always suspected this and as a matter of fact advised newbies in the FA-games always to rather go for a higher number of mines than to raise the mining efficiency.

Thanks for the test and analysis. After all there is quite a gap between "suspecting" and "having it tested".

By the way: For ITs everything is even more in favour of more mines because you can concentrate/maximising your mining operations on the planets with the best concentrations, same with red planets and the ability to gate back conquered minerals to the production centers. Since ITs have the ability to gate minerals, it doesn't really matter where you are mining but you can concentrate on maximising the output (especially important for the first 50 years). Same with pop growth. Actually this is the essence why ITs can economically keep up despite the almost forbidding high PRT cost which usually enforces lower factory and mine settings (I got away with as low settings as 10/3/14 for mines which I wouldn't recommend for other PRTs).

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Re: On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Thu, 20 July 2017 01:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
magic9mushroom is currently offline magic9mushroom

 
Commander

Messages: 1361
Registered: May 2008
Altruist wrote on Thu, 20 July 2017 04:41
magic9mushroom wrote on Sun, 16 July 2017 15:19
My impression of received wisdom in the Stars! community regarding race design and, in particular, mine settings is this:

1. OBRM is a fantastic LRT except for narrow-hab factoried races and AR.
2. Mine efficiency over number is viable to increase your long-term mineral yield.
3. MA is a terrible LRT that should never be taken.

[...]

...if you think a game will be decided before 2500, "more mines" is better than fooling around with efficiency or MA.


I've always suspected this and as a matter of fact advised newbies in the FA-games always to rather go for a higher number of mines than to raise the mining efficiency.

Thanks for the test and analysis. After all there is quite a gap between "suspecting" and "having it tested".

By the way: For ITs everything is even more in favour of more mines because you can concentrate/maximising your mining operations on the planets with the best concentrations, same with red planets and the ability to gate back conquered minerals to the production centers. Since ITs have the ability to gate minerals, it doesn't really matter where you are mining but you can concentrate on maximising the output (especially important for the first 50 years). Same with pop growth. Actually this is the essence why ITs can economically keep up despite the almost forbidding high PRT cost which usually enforces lower factory and mine settings (I got away with as low settings as 10/3/14 for mines which I wouldn't recommend for other PRTs).

Well, the particular insight here is that efficiency takes even longer than the Mineral Alchemy LRT to pay off even in the most favourable circumstances, so MA should be looked at well before increasing mine efficiency (and effic has the same issue as MA of "if an Alternate Reality survives to the late-game, or the Genesis Device sees play, it's all for nothing").

I think you forgot "gating pop" as one of the economic strengths of ITs - less growth and production lost in transit, and less freighter overhead. Razz The mineral distribution certainly helps, though.

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Re: On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Tue, 25 July 2017 06:21 Go to previous messageGo to next message
ccmaster is currently offline ccmaster

 
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Location: Germany

magic9mushroom wrote on Sun, 16 July 2017 15:19
My impression of received wisdom in the Stars! community regarding race design and, in particular, mine settings is this:

1. OBRM is a fantastic LRT except for narrow-hab factoried races and AR.
2. Mine efficiency over number is viable to increase your long-term mineral yield.
3. MA is a terrible LRT that should never be taken.

[...]

- All the races scored about 48k at 2450 (46k on the score screen, but I had a fair bit of pop in orbit already). If I'd been playing for real rather than replicability, and hadn't attenuated the fourth wave of colonisation, I think I could have hit 50k. Who says 3i HE can't be a monster? Razz

[...]



-m9m


1. yes
2. It will gives you mor minerals at the end, If you dont us Mineral Alchemy ( noone us it in the game )
3. Yes, yes , YES !!!!!!!

Hi Macic9mushroom ,

again you done a lot of work to show us some nummbers and I thank you.

But here are some facts why you don't us Mineral Alchemy LRT in a game:

- it cost points and never pays off in a real game , spend the points somewhere else will bing you much more
- later in the game you still have to research so could not spend 25 Rescources for 3 kt of minerals
- Fights in the mid till end game will brings you much more minerals then Alchemy ever could ( you need to save the graveyards of big fleets)
- Tech advantage is importante and it will always be better to get some tech levels then us Mineral Alchemy


ccmaster

PS : Noone says 3i HE could not be monster in the endgame. They are but it is hard to get there if you neighbore see you Razz




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Re: On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Thu, 27 July 2017 07:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
iztok is currently offline iztok

 
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Messages: 1197
Registered: April 2003
Location: Slovenia, Europe
Hi!
Good someone is still researching Stars! Smile

IMX with the +f HE in real games, I'll prefer more mines over mine eff. Common wisdom for most +f races says the number of factories and mines should be near the same. But those races operate 1500-2500 mines on a 100% planet. The HE operates only half of planetary infra. In my games they simply didn't mine fast enough. It felt bad sitting on a MC_50 planet with ~2k resources, but having available only about a half of potential minerals.

With +f HE is now my rule-of-thumb +20% more mines.

BR, Iztok

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Re: On mine number vs. efficiency and the Mineral Alchemy LRT. Thu, 27 July 2017 09:33 Go to previous message
magic9mushroom is currently offline magic9mushroom

 
Commander

Messages: 1361
Registered: May 2008
iztok wrote on Thu, 27 July 2017 21:25
IMX with the +f HE in real games, I'll prefer more mines over mine eff.


Well, yes, the test makes it pretty obvious that mine eff doesn't catch more mines in a reasonable timeframe, given that it gives every possible advantage to mine eff and it still took until 2530. In Cawley's test it was a big fat "never".

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