Voidborn used to make you feel like you actually wanted the majority of your species to live in space. Going about spamming around all these great o'neill cylinders and stanford tourai with research labs and solar generators, along with the inefficient asteroid mining bays and agricultural zones. It didn't really matter that they were inefficient because they were unique and cool and spacey.
That's kinda the heart I want to get it. It doesn't matter if something is balanced or not, it could be horribly inefficient so long as its cool factor is through the roof. Right now, even when I'm trying not to, I play habitats out exactly the same way: 3-4 habitation districts + 4-5 trade districts. The science just isn't good enough for what I could be doing on a planet floor and because building slots are basically king in 2.2, getting the maximum number of jobs and housing is the priority above pretty much all else.
So.. Uhm.. Suggestion One: Cap the building slots to about half of the current and the whole hab better.
8 buildings, or really just 7 because you can't have a colony without a capital. Even if you minmaxed (which you absolutely don't want to do because habitats don't get bonuses for being specialized) the most you can get is 85 comfortable housing. 85 pops working jobs that are better done elsewhere with resources that only come planetside (minerals, energy) and no amenities. So their building slots are best spent on things you'd like but wouldn't want to 'waste' on a planet. In other words, habitats are best used for the refinery jobs. Mote making and the like.
Which means that you probably get about 35-45 housing slots of which you can fit in around 40-60 pops depending on things like slaves and robots and the rights of your people and how communal they're feeling at any given time. Erring on the side of caution, a cap of 8 slots makes sense here, but what to put in it?
As I mentioned before, right now habitats kinda naturally fall into refineries. Pretty much all slots go into turning minerals into rare resources. It's more fun if that doesn't happen. It's more fun if there's variety and distinction. So I propose that habitats get better refineries (+2 jobs instead of +1) and we bring back the old interesting if unupgradable buildings.
The goal should be to get a species that can live ONLY in space if they so choose. So let's come up with buildings that lead to a thriving, self-sustaining, space culture. (One with master builders.)
4 housing districts
1 Capital (5 housing, 3 jobs) 1 Mote (2 jobs) 1 Gas (2 jobs) 1 Crystal (2 jobs)
Total jobs: 9 Building slots left: 4
With that, we can specialize. We want about 45 housing and 45 jobs for ~45 pops.
4 other districts which we're allowed to use for whatever. 4 building slots which we're allowed to use for whatever.
36/8 = 4.5 = Everything should give between 4 and 5 jobs. Let's say 3 to 6 so that players have an interesting puzzle to work out if they want to maximize employment and have places to fill if their pops are mostly droids.
All districts should then give 4 or 5 jobs, you don't want a repeat of the situation where I'm not building research and leisure districts just because they don't give enough jobs. They should be specialized for the occasion. I want to make use of the pretty art the budget came up and we've already got precedent for high value districts that cost no rare resources with ecumonopoli foundries and industries.
A science specialized habitat would then create 20 researching jobs. Considering maxed out, still balanced, tech-worlds can manage more than 60 research jobs, this doesn't strike me as overtly overpowered. Sure you're saving about 8 gasses a month, but you're also building a whole new thing devoted to this; seems like a good balance pay off.
In this scenario, we get 16 jobs left spread across 4 building slots. First, we'll keep specializing into science with a research director. Then we'll grow food to make the habitat self sustaining, so we bring back two space food building at 4 jobs each (and let's say it produces some small amount of amenities because who doesn't love visiting gardens and parks when you're in space? Plus we need more cool factor).
6 base * 8 jobs = 48 food. More than enough to sustain in space.
One building left. We're still running a mineral, power, consumer goods, and alloy deficit because we've specialized into science. We're probably running low on amenities, too, since we didn't go in clerking. We probably do want a gene clinic, though. Probably even as our first building to get pop growth up at the start. So we'll keep that running until we replace it at the very end when the habitat is full up and done with a galactic market or something, then feel really bad because we should have fit a leisure district in so all those scientists had a place to go after a busy day of sciencing.
So there, space science. 45 pops, 43 jobs, balanced between rare resource gen and science gen with only a little rioting. At least until the criminal empire moves in and you've got to throw some enforcers at the problem. But hey, one crisis at a time, right?
For other builds, such as industry and forging, it makes sense to build far more housing. Since each building can cap out at 8 jobs (as of the current beta patch), more density just works out for them. It would be best to have unique buildings for mostly everything there. Going with an idea that living in space only needs the standard resources instead of the rare ones while rare stuff is only for those planet bound plebeians, but one art budget at a time.
I think taking this suggestion would give players access to more choices and start to feel like a life in space might actually be viable as a long term endeavor. Plus you get access to the cool buildings and coolness is really what we're aiming for anyways.
Cool habitat unique buildings that we already have art for that we aren't using:
Astro Mining: 3 jobs
Agriculture Parks: 4 jobs
Solar Power Wings: 4 jobs
Changes to districts so they feel worthy of the name district:
Science district: 5 jobs
Leisure district: 4 jobs
Trade district: 7 jobs (it's mostly already there just to fill empty jobs)
Reactor district: 6 jobs (because robots should be able to live in space sustainably.)
Suggestion Two: Give players access to as many build slots as you're willing to ever give them right off the bat.
It's extremely silly to have all the building slots unlocked and used in a non-minmaxed habitat right now. You get no amenities, no bonuses for specializing, and extreme eating of minerals. It's possible to not want players to get into a situation where they're trying to make 85 jobs work on a tiny habitat so just disallow it. Instead, make it so they're allowed to use all building slots the moment the habitat is colonized.
It would be unique. It would be cool. And it would help with that almost effervescently elusive quality of verisimilitude. Building slots being locked away by population makes sense on a planet; it represents the collective infrastructure of the surface made by those living on it coming together for a nice place to put a government sponsored complex.
But on habitats? You build the whole thing already. What's really stopping you from putting as many buildings as you can physically fit in there? The answer should be nothing! Because it's cool. Space cool. Makes habitats unique and since it's already meant to a fully developed shell that only needs our imagination to fill it, getting to see the edges of the canvas before you start painting is just icing on the "make habitats unique" cake. All without ever really being overpowered.
In fact, in a lot of ways, it's a nerf. A cool nerf.
Suggestion three: Have habitats start settled the moment they're finished building.
In the early days of pre 2.2, it made a lot of sense to have to settle habitats on your own. Once you decided to settle, you then had to put down the capital and by passing that would remove some player agency, even if it never gave players a meaningful decision to being with. Now, settlement is just about choosing a species to start with.
Since there's basically no situation where you wouldn't want to immediately settle a habitat you just built, why not bypass the whole process? It's been in your skies for years, everyone knows about it, it was purpose built for life. Why not have it start settled? I know I'd feel cool if the moment a habitat was built it became usable. Habitats gain something unique just from that moment alone and, well, I love habitats and I want others to, too.
© Post "Give habitats more love." for game Stellaris.
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