This beautifully sums up my opinion on automation and the current game state. In A2, when you were managing 100+ planets automation like this was significantly more important because it was a painstaking task to micromanage. In A3 I still want the same level of automation, but with colony caps it seems less important. Adding automation at this point effectively removes most of my reason for logging in at all.
My struggle is that if we are going to have automation, the balance needs to be right. We, as players, need to be able to accept the trade off of micro efficiency for macro efficiency. I need to be able to spend less time on the details, and more time worrying about the bigger picture.
A simple example of what I mean by this. A new player should spend 75% of their time in planet/system view. A mid-level player should be spending about 40% of their time there, with 60% at galaxy view. An advanced player should spend nearly 90% of their time on galaxy view.
So, planetary automation should be built around this idea. We have a set number of planetary goals.
- Mine (type)
The construction of power, farms, and ECs should be automatic in all cases, but we should have options for building levels. We should be able to toggle T2 and T3, and if it prefers upgrading existing, or adding new.
Now, the real thing, for me, is that the above automation should all be unlocked via research. Make it so people need to actually invest the time into being able to get that automation. Furthermore, I think there should be a structure on each planet for the local steward/governor. At T1 only T1 buildings can be selected, and you can only have one goal. T2 allows T2 construction, and you can add a secondary objective. T3 allows T3 buildings, and a 3rd objective. Also, at T1 it will only build/upgrade one structure every 12 hours. T2 will build/upgrade every 8 hours, and T3 every 4 hours.
This planetary office should also at least have a T1 version added into a new T4 colonization module.
To me, a system like this means that players need to be willing to invest in automation. That way it can somewhat justify an edge that it might provide.
This is also a concern I had. I am constantly fighting the credit battle, and if I were to find that I can’t build ships because my planets are busy building army base #127… I would suggest that in a 24-hour period a planet can construct nothing more than what that planet can afford based on the credit production for that period. Otherwise we will end up with planets racing to spend every credit that comes in.
I think getting shipment automation, or maybe simply automated cargo transport between systems should happen before we push for construction automation. If I have a planet with no beron, but my planet next door has plenty, it should automatically move resources between planets to carry out construction.
This also gets back to my earlier statement about managing from the galaxy view. When I am managing a system from galaxy view I should be able to see the aggregate resources of the system, and (considering every planet has a cargo transporter) use minerals as a giant pool. I should be able to set a ship build order for a system from galaxy view, without having to go down to planet view to do it.
Ok, I think I’ve said to much, I haven’t said enough.