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 Post subject: Diplomacy Preliminary
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:51 am 
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Since there's been no response to the What's Missing? thread, I'm going to start some preliminary Diplomacy discussion (scheduled for v0.5). This is rather general and informal at this stage, to get a sense of how to approach and break down the future diplomacy design discussion. Feel free to post whatever general ideas you've got or have come up with from brainstorming threads or on your own, though try to avoid too much specifics and detail at this stage.

One principle for diplomacy I'd like to establish from the start is that it won't be based around AI players, or properties of them, being part of the game mechanics. That is, an AI player is the same as a human player as far as the game mechanics and content is concerned. So, there will be no buildings or techs or other such content that give explicit bonuses to AIs' opinion of other players, human or AI. AI's can have personality though, as well as ideals, goals, morality, etc, so we can code an AI personality to like or dislike certain actions, races, techs, etc. As well, the AI and human player's empires and population can have properties that are influenced by and influence diplomacy. An AI player might be inclined to go to war or make peace because its population demands it, but not because the human player has a bonus or penalty to AI mood of some sort.

Also, I think an important part of the discussion will be how much to formalize agreements between empires, and players, in the game mechanics. To have useful negotiations with AIs, we'll need some sort of built-in understanding of peace treaties, trade agreements, territory, etc. But are these concepts necessarily part of the actual game mechanics, or just something that's you arrange with the AI or other players by discussion and agreement, perhaps using an agreement template that the AI understands, and giving orders that conform (or not) to your agreements, but with no other interaction with the rest of the game mechanics?


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:32 pm 
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No diplomacy bonuses, AIs are like players, I like it :)

Population demanding war/peace, very nice! (Will they also demand stuff like luxuries, or empire expansion or is it just related to diplomacy)

AI's having a distint personality, nice if done well, but the personality shouldn't be to inflexible to adapt to new situations, nor should it make silly decisions to create a believable personality.



I think for treaties the best idea is to have a treaty builder that lets you create compound agreements out of separate clauses, each clause consists of a rule and exceptions. So your peace treaty may consist of separately chosen restrictions on movement, hostilities, colonisation* and possibly other factors if we can think of good ones. All clauses can apply to one or both empries, so you can have a peace treaty that lets you do whatever you wasn't and they cannot fire back, suckers :twisted:

An example peace treaty may have:
No ships, or orbitals from empire A may fire at any ships from empire B
No ship from empire A with over 500 firepower may enter any star with a planet owned by empire B unless there is a planet owned by empire A in the same system
Empire A may not have over 5000 fire-power in or one jump from a star owned by empire A
Empire A may not colonise any planet in a system that already has a planet owned by empire B.

and the same again with Empires B and A reversed

Of course that is only one example, you could have a treaty that dosn't let either of you send any ships within two jumps of each others stars at all. But leaves you free to blow each other out of the heavens if your ships still mange come into contact somewhere 3 jumps away from both your stars.

* I'll definitely include some restrictions on that when I play.


One question I'd like to ask is should there be some omnipresent diplomacy monitor (left over arbitrators from the Orions?) that instantly reports any infringement, or should the empire have to notice before it counts?

If the second you could have a very nice tie-in to espionage where your treaties allow for monitors to go and keep an eye on things. You send an agent from espionage as the monitor, who has a very good chance of detecting any infringement unless the other guys use deceive monitor from their espionage. If they do it become a battle of skills between the two agents. Furthermore the monitor could abuse his position to do regular espionage, gaining bonuses from his legitimate access but running the risk of being caught.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 4:58 pm 
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Well if AI Players are going to be 'like' human players I would still make diplomacy part of the game mechanics for a few reasons

1. Immersiveness, it will feel more like a game of galactic empires if it is diplomacy and not just a board game of risk/monopoly/catan [especially since playing with an AI is not going to have the same diplomatic quality as playing with real people]
2. To allow for race picks/ diplomatic techs buildings, etc. (which we Should have)

The way I would make diplomacy part of the game mechanics is by using population

The Population of an empire would act like a typical 4x AI player would... you can make them happier by doing things for them, and acting the way they want you to, etc. (see Civ 4)

1. The idea of a meter telling you how much someone likes you would be how much their POPULATION likes you (this can then be affected by repulsive/diplomatic picks and diplomatic techs, as well as doing 'nice' things for them.)

2. If you do things diplomatically your Population doesn't like there should be penalties. So if you declare war on a loved empire, or make an alliance with a hated empire then you will face strikes, revolts, governmental collapse, etc.

So you (as a Player) Can do anything you want but you may have severe penalties



One particular thing that I want in diplomatic game mechanics is the potential to (and a reason to) Merge empires peacefully
If A's people like both empires A and B
and B's people like both empires A and B
then player A and player B should have some incentive to merge to form a new empire C

I say the best way to do that is to allow both Players to receive a win if C wins, but to Split the points that C receives. The player that controls the new empire C would have to be decided by the two players (if 1 is human and 1 an AI, the AI will always defer to the Human...in the case of 2 AI players you may just generate a new composite AI... in the case of two human players, one decides to give up control... unless we have a way of multiple players controlling the same empire)

I would see this mechanic as being ABSOLUTELY KEY to a Diplomatic Win. A Diplomatic win would be dominating the galaxy by getting every other empire to merge with you, which they might do if they get to win too. (and they can convince thier people to like you enough)


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:00 am 
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Merged Empire Victory? That's plain perfect for a 4X game. I personally embrace it with all my heart, it's the one thing I haven't seen in any 4X I've played (though I haven't played too many) An there seriously needs to be other options of victory besides absolute conquest, transcendence research or senatorial election (Which I hope isn't included anyway)

To make this idea blossom however I think there should be a system by which two human players can control an empire. The idea that comes to my mind is that both players retain control of what was theirs at the time of the merger. This would probably be the default option but not the only one.

There could be an agreement when designing the merger that one player becomes a dominant controller while other players perform tasks assigned to them (like commanding the merged empire's military on one particular front, or they could be in charge of colonizing new words or even managing the empire's production or research queues.)

Of course if such an arrangment cannot be accepted then a player can choose themselves to back out of the game, handing over complete control; they could automatically choose to be a recessive player or they could back out of the merger alltogether.

Some of these ideas I think could also be applied to Multigovernment bodies (if they are included) as they are essentially the same things.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:03 pm 
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All interesting ideas so far. i especially like the concept of seperating an AI ruler's desires and his population's. That type of system allows for freedom of action, but penalizes diplomats (AI or real) for actions unpopular with the public, allowing PR and diplomacy to still have an effect.

I would also suggest the following.
Each nation should be tracked in several respects based off of their behavior in game. do they honor or break treaties? Have they initiated wars or fought defensively? How successful have they been in the wars? What is their current economic/military tech position & can we benefit by dealing with them? Are they stronger or weaker than the specific AI empire? etc...

The likelihood of a given diplomatic action should be based off of a composite score earned through these past behaviors or ratings. 4x AI's often look at the wrong components in determining strength. They'll look at your military & judge you weaker even though you have a dozen of the most advanced battleships in the game and their fleet is 300 transports and some garbage scows.

Perhaps a series of meters to cover your trustworthiness (likelihood of honoring a deal), aggression (how often you attack), attractiveness (what you are able to bring to a deal), relative strength (in tech, military, money, etc.. possibly needs to be seperate), and benefit to the AI could be used as the basis for negotiations. Scores could decay over time back towards a neutral position.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:19 pm 
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Just a random thought, maybe diplomay +1 could be Public Relations +1 that gives the population of forign empires a bonus to how much they like you, rather than affecting AI leaders.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:59 pm 
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I brought this up in a thread a while ago:

AI Diplomats
============
There exists the problem that racial diplomacy bonuses only work for single player, ie only 'makes AI Players like you more'.

The solution, is for each race to have an AI Diplomatic Ambassador. It will still be under your control, ie you decided what techs to swap or how much money to give, whether to declare war or whether to attempt a trade treaty.

The AI Ambassador (yours and theirs) will together work as a success chance to whatever diplomatic action your are attempting. So your AI Ambassador may have a diplomacy bonus. Theirs may have a penalty. They may have stats and character, ie be like Moo2 leaders. It wouldn't be an AI in the sense of decisions being made, rather just a success mechanism for the diplomatic actions you are trying to achieve. You would decide all diplomatic actions.

Regardless of whether it is human vs AIs or human vs human, a player with an AI Ambassador that has a diplomacy penalty will get less out of a trade deal for example, cause the other player whoose AI Ambassador has a diplomacy bonus talked circles around your AI Ambassador.
eg
Trade Treaty.
If you have bad ambassador you get 50bc per turn while other race gets 100bc, it is the reverse if they have a worse ambassador then you.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:16 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
... That is, an AI player is the same as a human player as far as the game mechanics and content is concerned. So, there will be no buildings or techs or other such content that give explicit bonuses to AIs' opinion of other players, human or AI.


Strongly agree.


Geoff the Medio wrote:
AI's can have personality though, as well as ideals, goals, morality, etc, so we can code an AI personality to like or dislike certain actions, races, techs, etc.


IMHO this is virtually not possible without violating the portion quoted at the top. That's why I encouraged the approach that "ideals, goals, morality, etc" should be a property only of an empire's citizens, and thus effect human and AI player's alike. I believe this is critical. Anyway a competitive, purely pragmatic emperor AI should be easier to code than one that has "preferences" other than winning .


Geoff the Medio wrote:
Also, I think an important part of the discussion will be how much to formalize agreements between empires, and players, in the game mechanics. To have useful negotiations with AIs, we'll need some sort of built-in understanding of peace treaties, trade agreements, territory, etc. But are these concepts necessarily part of the actual game mechanics, or just something that's you arrange with the AI or other players by discussion and agreement...


I recommend diplomatic statuses that have simple gameplay effects. I have a hard time seeing an AI dealing well with some sort of free-form diplomacy.


I've put down my thought in some detail, about Government here, mostly in reference to multiple alien species, but a lot of the background is relevant, especially parts 2 through 5.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:54 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
AI's can have personality though, as well as ideals, goals, morality, etc, so we can code an AI personality to like or dislike certain actions, races, techs, etc.

IMHO this is virtually not possible without violating the portion quoted at the top.

Why? Human players can have different play styles, with some being more or less agressive or preferring research vs production vs espionage. Even if it's not intentional, if we have more than one AI script available, there will be some differences between them... and for a given AI script, it should be possible to add parameters at the start of the game to specificy what kind of preferences the AI should have during the game, should the player want to do so... And I would expect human players would want to do this, as playing against a variety of AI "personalities" is more interesting than always having the same opponents.

Doing this doesn't mean we have to make any in-game content explicitly intended to alter the AI's behaviour, though. There shouldn't be a building that "makes AI players less aggressive towards this empire" or somesuch, any more than there would be a building that proports to alter human players' behaviour.

This is a separate concept from in-game content that makes an empire's population want or not want something, or more or less happy about something that its empire (player) is doing (which is a good idea). We probably should have in-game ways of altering populations' preferences in for these sorts of things, and the preferences of this sort of the populations that an empire controls will be important strategic factors for all players, human or AI, regardless of any tendencies the AI was initialized with or the personality of the human player.

The in-game population's preferences could also be called "morals", and it's probably not a good idea to refer to the AI script's preferences with the same terms as the preferences of in-game populations. This particular term is probably better for populations' preferences than players'.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:29 am 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
AI's can have personality though, as well as ideals, goals, morality, etc, so we can code an AI personality to like or dislike certain actions, races, techs, etc.

IMHO this is virtually not possible without violating the portion quoted at the top.

Why? Human players can have different play styles, with some being more or less agressive or preferring research vs production vs espionage. Even if it's not intentional, if we have more than one AI script available, there will be some differences between them... and for a given AI script, it should be possible to add parameters at the start of the game to specificy what kind of preferences the AI should have during the game, should the player want to do so... And I would expect human players would want to do this, as playing against a variety of AI "personalities" is more interesting than always having the same opponents.

...

The in-game population's preferences could also be called "morals", and it's probably not a good idea to refer to the AI script's preferences with the same terms as the preferences of in-game populations. This particular term is probably better for populations' preferences than players'.


Maybe i can clarify the distinction i'm trying to make, which maybe isn't radically different from what you are saying:

The purpose of the AI Emperor should be to win, not to role-play. There may be different AI scripts which which attempt to win in different ways— this is fine, and inevitable if the project is successful. According to my scheme the probable paths to victory would be strongly effected by the species composition of the empire. It should be hard to win by constantly outraging your citizens (for player and AI), but the AI (just as the player) should be free to outrage his citizens whenever it calculates that that's the best plan.

The attempt make the game role-play personality, morals, culture etc., should be focused on the citizens of each empire, since it will apply to AI and human players equally.

Also it neatly avoids the conundrum of which species ethos should guide an empire of multiple species.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:38 pm 
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eleazar wrote:

Also it neatly avoids the conundrum of which species ethos should guide an empire of multiple species.



Well I think that should be easy Ethos (culture) =/= Species

A multispecies empire can easily be all dominated by a Xenophobic Technophillic culture. (although some of the species wouldn't support that culture as strongly because their picks make them Xenophillic or Technophobic)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:24 pm 
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Krikkitone,

let's not pull this discussion off topic. If you want to discuss species & ethos, please read this and reply here.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:21 pm 
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For me, the most important aspect of any diplomacy system is that it make sense. I really hate it in the MOOs, Civs, and every other 4X game I've ever played, that when I'm winning everyone gangs up on me and when I'm losing no one will deal with me. I also hate it that after working really hard to establish an alliance, towards the end of the game my ally will often break alliance and declare war. WTF.

I don't have a terribly well-thought-out idea for how to fix such problems, but I do have some idea:

1) Empires should seek out agreements with you that further their objectives. This sounds obvious, but based on my experience with 4X games, it isn't. For instance, a weak empire should offer a Non-Aggression Pact (NAP) if you are their strong, potentially aggressive neighbor. They should also seek NAPs when you and they are more equally matched, but they want to be free to attack someone else on another front. These are just two examples, of course.

2) Any diplomatic action should have consequences. If you break an agreement, or an AI does, the other empires should be more wary of making deals with you, and should be more willing to do so with your enemies. If you make a NAP/alliance with an empire's enemy/ally, they should dislike/like you a bit more that they did before.

3) This is may be a bit controversial. We may want to include some sort of alignment system, a la HOI, so that two arbitrary empires cannot just team up with/against each other. HOI also does something similar, but their dimensions are totally different from the ones in my post below (something like social control <--> persional freedom, politically left <--> politically right, etc.). The general idea is that to make friendly arrangements with another empire, you must be similar enough to their culture/politics/beliefs, and to fight them you must either a) be dissimilar enough to fight them, or b) have beliefs that allow unchecked aggression (represented by the Intervention end of the Interventionist <--> Isolationist dimension in HOI). We may also want to have techs, spying abilities, and/or diplomatic actions that change your own or another empire's beliefs.

Here is my original post on the subject. Note that the sets of dimensions are only examples.
http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=469


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:30 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
For me, the most important aspect of any diplomacy system is that it make sense. I really hate it in the MOOs, Civs, and every other 4X game I've ever played, that when I'm winning everyone gangs up on me and when I'm losing no one will deal with me. I also hate it that after working really hard to establish an alliance, towards the end of the game my ally will often break alliance and declare war. WTF.

I don't have a terribly well-thought-out idea for how to fix such problems, but I do have some idea:

1) Empires should seek out agreements with you that further their objectives. This sounds obvious, but based on my experience with 4X games, it isn't. For instance, a weak empire should offer a Non-Aggression Pact (NAP) if you are their strong, potentially aggressive neighbor. They should also seek NAPs when you and they are more equally matched, but they want to be free to attack someone else on another front. These are just two examples, of course.

2) Any diplomatic action should have consequences. If you break an agreement, or an AI does, the other empires should be more wary of making deals with you, and should be more willing to do so with your enemies. If you make a NAP/alliance with an empire's enemy/ally, they should dislike/like you a bit more that they did before.

3) This is may be a bit controversial. We may want to include some sort of alignment system, a la HOI, so that two arbitrary empires cannot just team up with/against each other. HOI also does something similar, but their dimensions are totally different from the ones in my post below (something like social control <--> persional freedom, politically left <--> politically right, etc.). The general idea is that to make friendly arrangements with another empire, you must be similar enough to their culture/politics/beliefs, and to fight them you must either a) be dissimilar enough to fight them, or b) have beliefs that allow unchecked aggression (represented by the Intervention end of the Interventionist <--> Isolationist dimension in HOI). We may also want to have techs, spying abilities, and/or diplomatic actions that change your own or another empire's beliefs.

Here is my original post on the subject. Note that the sets of dimensions are only examples.
http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=469



Well I think 1 and 2 are AI and UI issues (make sure both us and the AI know who is trustworthy)
3 is the issue of populations If your poeple are lefties they won't like your wars on lefties or agreements with righties.

If Happiness/Allegiance is a big enough issue, then that will drive the AI and Human players.

And I think that is the key to making realistic diplomacy...
The Players are "GameWin Driven" their Populations are "GamePlay Driven" [with some realpolitic present in the population... peace with the powerful hated person will cause less unhappiness than peace with the weak hated person] For the player to achieve their "Game Win" they should choose to shape their population (through initial race picks and social manipulation) to fit their game style.

If you have that and the possibility of merging empires so that Both Players can win, then the rest of diplomacy is details (what agreements you can get, etc.)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:26 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
For me, the most important aspect of any diplomacy system is that it make sense. I really hate it in the MOOs, Civs, and every other 4X game I've ever played, that when I'm winning everyone gangs up on me and when I'm losing no one will deal with me. I also hate it that after working really hard to establish an alliance, towards the end of the game my ally will often break alliance and declare war. WTF.


I also think that this is an important goal and have brought up some of my ideas about this topic in this thread, with the key word being information:

http://www.freeorion.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1986


tzlaine wrote:
3) This is may be a bit controversial. We may want to include some sort of alignment system, a la HOI, so that two arbitrary empires cannot just team up with/against each other. HOI also does something similar, but their dimensions are totally different from the ones in my post below (something like social control <--> persional freedom, politically left <--> politically right, etc.). The general idea is that to make friendly arrangements with another empire, you must be similar enough to their culture/politics/beliefs, and to fight them you must either a) be dissimilar enough to fight them, or b) have beliefs that allow unchecked aggression (represented by the Intervention end of the Interventionist <--> Isolationist dimension in HOI). We may also want to have techs, spying abilities, and/or diplomatic actions that change your own or another empire's beliefs.


This is something that I am not really a big fan of, at least if I understood this right. Now this kind of a system could of course be nice if it will only function as a general guide line to diplomacy, so that you can declare war to or form alliances with empires with similar/different alignment than you, but this would require more diplomatic persuasion (some sort of a direct influence system would be nice to have) or you would face unrests when declaring war to a similarly aligned empire etc. And so these deals wouldn`t be as common as deals between empires with a similar alignment. However if it is very hard to make deals with empires that have a different alignment, I think that this limits the player`s options significantly. For example when playing Hearts Of Iron 2 I often feel that the alignment system makes it very hard to change anything from the WW2`s diplomatic situation and so the game just goes on like a train following its preset tracks.

Now instead of this, if the possible alignment system functions only as a general guide line to diplomacy there are more options available for the player and also there could be interesting penalties tied to these options as well. Do I form an alliance with an empire that has a different alignment than I and face unrests on my colonies? Is it worth while to use my resources and try to bend a differently aligned empire to be so friendly towards me that we may form an alliance, even though it might be short lived? Now at least in my opinion having options like these could really make diplomacy interesting.

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