Science Machine Upgrade for Combinations

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It would be cool to be able to upgrade the science machine itself, or research another type of science machine to build that had two or three slots (similar to the way a chest opens allows you to put 6 things in) in order to do crazy combination research. For example, if you put a stinger, an amulet, and a gold nugget together you would get some crazy number like 150pts (some number decently higher than the three things would have been separately in the basic machine). That way it would take much more "research" to get proficient at research. You'd have to figure out that honey mixed with reed mixed with spider eggs, or gold and beefalo wool and eggplant, or whatever, gives you a ton of points, only after doing TONS of varying iterations.Perhaps there should be two possible upgrades: the first with two slots to put things into, and the second with three. And maybe the slots would have a specific label (like a burning chamber, a electrocuting chamber, a dissolving chamber, a compression or crushing chamber, or whatever) that you could switch things around and get different results. This way you would even have to figure out the order to put things in, which from a programming standpoint, maximizes the number of separate iterations with as little things to research as possible. For the second machine there would be n-squared iterations possible (where n is the total number of things you can research) and the third machine with three slots would be n to the third. So if there were 30 possible things to research, then the second machine would have 900 possible combinations, and the third machine would have 27000.Obviously these upgraded science machines would have to be outrageously pricey both in research and in materials (maybe including 64 gold or 10 spider eggs or something) but it would be very advantageous to build. As it stands right now, gold and spider eggs are a renewable resource, and they produce a much higher return on research than anything else, so it is the clear strategy to get those two things more than anything else. BUT having these various combo rewards would give a more substantial reason to grow lots of crops, raise bees, herd beefalo, etc. because it might turn out that a pomegranate with a spider web with a stinger gives 200 research points.I think that would add a whole new dimension to the game.

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I like the idea of making research more complex, but I'm not sure I like the idea of combinations in the science machine. Here's why:Assuming that order does not matter, the number of combinations is calculated as what's called a partitioning problem. That means that, if there were only 10 unique ingredients (a serious underestimate), there would be 10!/(7!3!) combinations possible. That's 120 possibilities from just 10 ingredients. Do you really want to spend the time necessary to combine 10 things in 120 different ways? And for that matter, do you really want to spend the time necessary to figure out what those 120 combinations are? Or would you rather hunt, farm, fight and survive? Sounds like work to me. Sounds like a spreadsheet. And I think the vast majority of players would rather look up the most efficient combination on a wiki than take that much time figuring it out themselves. I suppose if the unique combinations yielded results other than just different numbers of points, there would be potential for some interesting gameplay, but I'm still pesimistic here.Now take that to the next level and assume order does matter (as in your example of specific "slots"): we go from 120 to 1000 unique combinations, all of which differ only in the number of research points awarded. And this is still assuming only 10 ingredients.

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Lol :) I didn't think about the wiki problem. Those dang cheaters. :) On a serious note, though, I just think it would broaden the mystery a little bit, and for people who would rather go out and attack herds of beefalo, by all means let them keep going. That's fun too. Obviously the research is just one point of the game, but discovering something deeper within that little sphere is cool too. Just like discovering the birds. I don't see any problem with mystery embedded within mystery. I would even take it a step farther, and add a variable that keeps track of what was last researched in the machine, and then give a bonus if X combo is followed by Y combo. Or maybe just X element followed by Y element. For example, researching spiderweb and two other things, immediately after researching spider eggs and two other things would give an extra 10 points just for the web and egg order. If you did that with lots of pairs of things, you would actually set up a serious economics question of what is the most efficient allocation of resources. Without some serious spreadsheets, it would be pretty tough to master.But yes, that's probably WAY too much for the average player, and unless you could actually spend research points as an ACTION like using electricity in some kind of weapon or plow or tree-harvester, then most people probably wouldn't dive that deep into it. But then, let them stick to the tier 1 or 2 machine that just gives 30 points for gold. What I'm talking about isn't a huge burden in programming, unless you want to add some kind of storyline and coherence to why the combos give different points and make it a little more intuitive. Then you would have to think about each of the thousands upon thousands of combos... But if you just wanted to make it work, then you could just come up with the most important combos, and then randomly assign other values within a certain range.Maybe the appeal base for this would be way too narrow for the work it would take. But then again, the mystery within the game would take a lot longer to die.

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