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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:12 pm 
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Diplomatic Contact

Diplomatic contact makes empires aware of one another's presence and allows players to engage in diplomatic relations. It does not necessarily imply that each side has visibility of an object or objects belonging to the other side.

It does however, imply that at least one side has sufficient visibility of at least one object belonging to the other to identify its owner. For every empire the player can detect in this manner, the player should have an on/off option for diplomatic contact. This option is always set to "off" for empires which the player cannot detect, even if such an empire has initiated diplomatic contact himself. If one side or the other has diplomatic contact set to "on", the two empires are in diplomatic contact, and either can initiate diplomatic relations with the other.

This allows stealthy empires to avoid revealing their presence through diplomatic contact, or to engage in diplomatic contact without actually revealing any of their objects to the other empire (which could be really scary in some cases - an ambassador from some unknown empire comes in and starts making threats, demands, etc. and the player doesn't know where this mysterious empire even is).

This is separate from the idea of an "ignore" status, that will block incoming attempts at diplomatic negotiation from empires with whom you are in diplomatic contact.

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Last edited by Bigjoe5 on Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:20 pm 
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Quote:
...an ambassador from some known empire comes in...

Is this a typo? Do you mean unknown?

Interesting ideas, I like it.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:37 pm 
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Thanks.

And yeah, I did mean "unknown". :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:08 pm 
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Moved this from a topic where it didn't belong

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:
Once another empire is there you will make "contact" with them. Even if it is 'we won't talk' that is contact
That's entirely up for discussion, and should be brought up in the "Diplomacy Preliminary" thread (so I think I will), but there is no reason that if Empire A can detect Empire B, but Empire B cannot detect Empire A, that Empire A should be arbitrarily compelled to make diplomatic contact, thus revealing its presence to empire B.


As the game goes on Empire B WILL discover Empire A unless there is another empire between B and A.
Empire B will expand into systems that are valuable and defendable,
The only reasons empire A's systems wouldn't becomme valuable and defendable to Empire B at some point is because another empire has them.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:18 pm 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
This allows stealthy empires to avoid revealing their presence through diplomatic contact, or to engage in diplomatic contact without actually revealing any of their objects to the other empire (which could be really scary in some cases - an ambassador from some unknown empire comes in and starts making threats, demands, etc. and the player doesn't know where this mysterious empire even is).
SMAC did something like this, and i liked it. You could trade the "transmission codes" (essentially the empire's phone number) with other empires. In other words, if A and B make contact, B could later trade A's phone number with C, even though A and C have not physically met. C could in turn trade either A or B's phone number with D. This allows a certain amount of interaction even on a very large map in the early game before you have explored the whole map.

It also makes trying to be physically reclusive more viable, because you can still trade and communicate even if no one knows where you are. Of course some actions don't make much sense until you know where an empire is. Threats aren't very scary if nobody knows where you live.

We might also have an "I am here!" beacon that an empire could build that would allow any empire that wished to contact the beacon-builder

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Last edited by eleazar on Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:11 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Threats aren't very scary if nobody knows where you live.
That depends on whether or not empires will be able to "trade phone numbers". If they can't, and an empire you can't detect contacts you, you know that the other empire is actually nearby and can detect you, which is pretty scary (something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not "trading phone numbers" should be in the game). The thing is, with "trading phone numbers", the stealthy player can't just "break off" diplomatic contact. Once A has made contact, not only is he committed to remain in contact with B, but he's also committed to potentially being brought into contact with C and D and whatever other empires B feels the need to share the phone number with. I'd kind of like the possibility for a player to be able to reveal and conceal his presence at will to particular empires, so long as none of his objects can be detected, and go around making arbitrary demands or shows of force ("Why did you attack my colony?" "Purple empire said he would destroy my homeworld if I didn't." "Liar! There's no Purple empire!" :twisted:)

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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:16 am 
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Moved this from a topic where it didn't belong

Krikkitone wrote:
As the game goes on Empire B WILL discover Empire A unless there is another empire between B and A.
Empire B will expand into systems that are valuable and defendable,
The only reasons empire A's systems wouldn't becomme valuable and defendable to Empire B at some point is because another empire has them.
Not if Empire A eliminates Empire B first, for example, by getting all of his colonies to successfully revolt, or by attacking his planets with unmarked ships masquerading as space pirates, or through manipulation of space monsters. I can foresee some great campaign mode possibilities...

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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:51 am 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
Moved this from a topic where it didn't belong

Krikkitone wrote:
As the game goes on Empire B WILL discover Empire A unless there is another empire between B and A.
Empire B will expand into systems that are valuable and defendable,
The only reasons empire A's systems wouldn't becomme valuable and defendable to Empire B at some point is because another empire has them.
Not if Empire A eliminates Empire B first, for example, by getting all of his colonies to successfully revolt, or by attacking his planets with unmarked ships masquerading as space pirates, or through manipulation of space monsters. I can foresee some great campaign mode possibilities...



Getting Empire B's colonies to successfully revolt would not stop them from discovering you, they would just be part of Empire C or D instead

Attacking his planets would be "contact" ie military contact just no diplomatic contact.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:23 pm 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:
Threats aren't very scary if nobody knows where you live.
That depends on whether or not empires will be able to "trade phone numbers". If they can't, and an empire you can't detect contacts you, you know that the other empire is actually nearby and can detect you, which is pretty scary.
No that's not the only conclusion. It might just mean that one of their scouts is near one of mine -- somewhere in the galaxy -- and that their scouts are well enough stealthed that i can't see them. This scenario seems a lot more likely than that an empire is nearby and so far advanced over mine that i've never been able to detect ships or colonies.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
The thing is, with "trading phone numbers", the stealthy player can't just "break off" diplomatic contact. Once A has made contact, not only is he committed to remain in contact with B, but he's also committed to potentially being brought into contact with C and D and whatever other empires B feels the need to share the phone number with. I'd kind of like the possibility for a player to be able to reveal and conceal his presence at will to particular empires, so long as none of his objects can be detected, and go around making arbitrary demands or shows of force ("Why did you attack my colony?" "Purple empire said he would destroy my homeworld if I didn't." "Liar! There's no Purple empire!" :twisted:)
There's a difference between a narrative and game mechanics. Your bit of dialog really isn't going happen (except as a fluke) one way or another.
* the sensible empire is not going to start an otherwise undesirable war, simply because another empire whose power and location are unknown told him to. He'd invest in stealth-busting tech while (assuming both players were human) maybe promising to attack once he built up his fleet.
* why does a victim believe he knows all the existing empires, if an empire can be super-stealthed?
* why does it matter if the victim knows of the existence of the stealth empire?

If A cannot detect any of the objects of B, in what sense could B "reveal and conceal his presence at will"? If B ever communicates to A, A knows that B exists, even if A doesn't know where B is. How could B disappear from A that is functionally any different from simply not answering the phone?

What are the negative implications with "remaining in contact" for empires with unknown location?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:24 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
No that's not the only conclusion. It might just mean that one of their scouts is near one of mine -- somewhere in the galaxy -- and that their scouts are well enough stealthed that i can't see them. This scenario seems a lot more likely than that an empire is nearby and so far advanced over mine that i've never been able to detect ships or colonies.
It may not be the only conclusion, but it's certainly one possible conclusion. And this conclusion would be reinforced if the stealthy player has actually significantly infiltrated the other empire with spies, and could make arbitrary shows of espionage force to prove his power.

eleazar wrote:
* the sensible empire is not going to start an otherwise undesirable war, simply because another empire whose power and location are unknown told him to. He'd invest in stealth-busting tech while (assuming both players were human) maybe promising to attack once he built up his fleet.
As I've said, if the stealthy player can prove to the other player that he has significant espionage capabilities within his empire, that gives him a pretty good incentive to do what the stealthy player says.
eleazar wrote:
* why does a victim believe he knows all the existing empires, if an empire can be super-stealthed?
* why does it matter if the victim knows of the existence of the stealth empire?
If a stealthy empire can show his espionage power over the other player, and make demands for him to attack another empire, even players who aren't being controlled like puppets by some shadow master might use that as an excuse for attacking a colony, to hopefully avoid retaliation. The target empire would then be the one who went off on a wild goose chase trying to find the non-existent puppet-master. So "Purple empire said he would destroy my homeworld if I didn't" could either be a legitimate claim, or an attempt to divert the target empire from the real threat and go looking for some shadow empire. "Liar! There's no Purple empire!" is the target player assuming the latter, and focusing his attention on the immediate threat: the empire that actually attacked his colonies.

eleazar wrote:
If A cannot detect any of the objects of B, in what sense could B "reveal and conceal his presence at will"?
By going into the diplomacy settings and setting "diplomatic contact with B" to "off". B will no longer be able to contact A, and will not even know whether or not A still exists or can detect him. Simply knowing that A existed, once, and was able to make diplomatic contact with B, once, is significantly different than knowing that A currently exists and is able to detect objects belonging to B.

eleazar wrote:
What are the negative implications with "remaining in contact" for empires with unknown location?
The other empires still know that you can detect them. Breaking diplomatic contact in this situation could either be the result of A no longer being able to detect B, or A manually cutting off diplomatic contact. The latter would put B in a false sense of security, and keep him from being able to accurately guess A's position based on the movement of B's fleets and an estimation of A's stealth and detection levels.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:17 pm 
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Tortanick wrote:
Bigjoe5, I think that a simplistic model like that is far to limited, you've cleanly divided trade and alliances into two separate things, why? Why shouldn't I trade a "full defensive alliance" for 100 gold and 50 production points in the same treaty, essentially paying a bigger empire to protect me? Sure humans could use the ingame chat to talk to each other and then make two deals, one for defence one for tribute, but its a clunky work around a limitation of the game and couldn't be used with the AI.

Besides, the simplistic model of alliances you used would be far to constraining for my tastes. One of my greatest annoyances is when another empire colonises something in my territory, I like nice clear borders, to the point that unless my hand is forced I'd want to have a rule of no colonising my backyard with every peace treaty I sign, and I would like to have it as part of my peace treaty rather than hope the AI manages to understand two separate treaties are linked. But on the other hand there are probobly enough situations where people wouldn't want that clause (for example, they plan to do the colonising) to make it worth having the option of allowing aggressive colonisation despite a peace treaty.

Its not so much as what you can and can't make a treaty about, the important think is the links, you should be able to customly build treaties so that the AI knows that no aggressive colonising is tied to the peace treaty, or the tribute is tied to the defence pact.

That said when it comes to the amount of options, I believe the more the better, no superweapon treaties, limitation of ship movement treaties, fleet size limitation treaties. Throw it in, let the players discover what is useful.

eleazar, that's some fine points you make about score vs win.


Yeah, I hate it when you have to trade tech to get tech even if logically the AIs would want you in the war more than they want a better banking system.

About wanting empires not to colonize in your back yard, what you're really talking about is recognition. You want them to say "Ok, that's yours we'll stay away". That should definitely be part of deals, since historically it has been. I'd have two versions, recognition where they can "This is yours" and renunciation where they say "Well it may not be yours but it's certainly not ours.". Renunciation means they have to change the treaty either by threat or offer if they want to colonize. Colonizing a renounced place is a declaration of war on every empire that you renounced it too. Recognition means that if a third party takes it the second empire counts that as an act of aggression. My suggestion is nobody can give strong recognition for places more than 2 jumps away*. This stops empires making deals like "I own the east side of the galaxy, you own the west, anyone who settles anywhere is aggressing against us.".

Granting strong recognition is a negative to anyone who might want to settle it who hasn't given weak recognition of it to somebody. Note that somebody who gave weak recognition

* So if there were a system within range that if you colonized that would put the system in range you can recognize.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 6:49 pm 
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MikkoM wrote:
Geoff the Medio wrote:
I'm vetoing any system where diplomacy is built around a random chance for AIs to accept proposals from human players. This is bad for two reasons:
-It treats AI players significantly differently from human players.
-It requires AIs to to use a random chance to decide their actions. It should be possible to write an entirely deterministic AI that is fully capable of making decisions for itself, based on the gamestate, without resorting to dice rolls.


If this was intended for me, I am not suggesting a system where the AI would use a random change to decide its actions. I personally hope that we can create an AI that can make decisions based on the gamestate and is there for truly intelligent.

However if we are going to have complicated diplomatic treaties, it might be nice to offer the player some sort of a "diplomatic compass", which would help him/her to construct diplomatic treaty suggestions, which our intelligent AI is likely to accept. So for example you are suggesting the following kind of a treaty:

"We will form an alliance with you, if you offer us star systems X and Y."

When the player adds new components to the agreement the AI reads it and already makes a decision, based on the game state, whether to accept or to reject the treaty or make a counter offer.

So when the player adds the first component to the treaty, the alliance for example, the AI`s decision is yes. This is then presented to the player in a rough estimate, which for example might say: high change of success.

Then when the player adds the demand part to the treaty, the AI`s decision is no. This is again presented to the player in a rough estimate, which might say for example: low change of success.

This way the player has some sort of an idea of whether the treaty that he/she is proposing is reasonable or not, before he/she actually proposes it. This is particularly important if we are going to have complex treaties, so that we could avoid most of the frustrating treaty reshaping that eleazar was talking about. However if the information that is presented to the player is always absolutely correct, when evaluating changes of success, there is no excitement in the diplomacy system, since you already know before hand that the treaty that you are going to propose will be accepted by the AI.


Ok, let me see if I understand this and can maybe help implement it. You want to make a deal with the Alkari where they recognize your rights to the Trebani system in return for you recognizing their rights to the Maki and Delijah systems. That way the borders nice and smooth and we can wait to colonize until after we've filled up our current colonies. First you draw up a treaty for recognizing the your Trebani and his Maki claims. Your computer, acting as your diplomatic service, estimates the value both clauses of the treaty would have to the Alkari AI given what they know about the Alkari empire. The Alkari may have just lost their contact with the Psilons and desperately want to colonize Trebani to get it back, but your diplomatics don't know this. It then runs the value through a random function because your diplomatic service doesn't understand the Alkari fully. The better your "Understanding Alkari" Tech the more accurate the estimation of how much he values the treaty is. Say they estimate a moderately high chance of success. You add recognition of his claim to Maki and your diplomatic services tells you "Oh yes, he'll certainly go for that!". This may not be true.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:10 pm 
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Aussie Mick wrote:
Yeah, I hate it when you have to trade tech to get tech even if logically the AIs would want you in the war more than they want a better banking system.

Bigjoe5, r.e. alliances, wrote:
These could probably be added to a deal when making a trade agreement.
Regardless, my ideas regarding alliances have been significantly refined. My previous list referenced by Tortanick was made with a much less complete idea of what FreeOrion would end up being like.

Aussie Mick wrote:
About wanting empires not to colonize in your back yard, what you're really talking about is recognition. You want them to say "Ok, that's yours we'll stay away". That should definitely be part of deals, since historically it has been.
Unless it has a defined in-game effect, it shouldn't be considered a part of an actual trade negotiation. Yes, you should be able to make it clear to your opponents exactly what will incur your wrath, but it shouldn't be made part of a "treaty" that actually limits the actions of one side or the other - the player should always be free to take whatever actions he sees fit regardless of whether or not he's ostensibly agreed not to commit a particular action. In addition, because of FreeOrion's stealth and detection system, there's no way to really guarantee that a player hasn't taken a particular action, which makes it impractical to combine such actions with treaties which have clearly defined effects such as exchanging techs, ships and resources.

Aussie Mick wrote:
I'd have two versions, recognition where they can "This is yours" and renunciation where they say "Well it may not be yours but it's certainly not ours.". Renunciation means they have to change the treaty either by threat or offer if they want to colonize. Colonizing a renounced place is a declaration of war on every empire that you renounced it too. Recognition means that if a third party takes it the second empire counts that as an act of aggression. My suggestion is nobody can give strong recognition for places more than 2 jumps away*. This stops empires making deals like "I own the east side of the galaxy, you own the west, anyone who settles anywhere is aggressing against us.".
This sounds like it would involve a lot of special rules and complex mechanics. What does it accomplish that can't just be accomplished by one empire being able to give a threat saying "Don't colonize planet X or else", and then the other empire can steer clear of planet X, or colonize it and risk incurring the wrath of the first empire?

Aussie Mick wrote:
Ok, let me see if I understand this and can maybe help implement it. You want to make a deal with the Alkari where they recognize your rights to the Trebani system in return for you recognizing their rights to the Maki and Delijah systems. That way the borders nice and smooth and we can wait to colonize until after we've filled up our current colonies. First you draw up a treaty for recognizing the your Trebani and his Maki claims. Your computer, acting as your diplomatic service, estimates the value both clauses of the treaty would have to the Alkari AI given what they know about the Alkari empire. The Alkari may have just lost their contact with the Psilons and desperately want to colonize Trebani to get it back, but your diplomatics don't know this. It then runs the value through a random function because your diplomatic service doesn't understand the Alkari fully. The better your "Understanding Alkari" Tech the more accurate the estimation of how much he values the treaty is. Say they estimate a moderately high chance of success. You add recognition of his claim to Maki and your diplomatic services tells you "Oh yes, he'll certainly go for that!". This may not be true.
IMO, any diplomacy model that is dependent on an AI intermediary between two empires is unnecessarily restricting. If two players want to make a particular diplomatic arrangement, they should be able to do so without being hindered by the limitations of the diplomacy system. If there is a "Diplomatic Advisor AI", it's something that can be tacked on at the end, and give the player a general idea of how a good AI would respond to the deal, based on the player's empire's knowledge of the other empire, but it shouldn't be an integral part of the diplomacy system. Techs that affect "diplomacy" can be techs that increase the allegiance of citizens in another player's empire, which will give such an empire incentive to give you more appealing diplomatic offers.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:47 am 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:
What are the negative implications with "remaining in contact" for empires with unknown location?
The other empires still know that you can detect them. Breaking diplomatic contact in this situation could either be the result of A no longer being able to detect B, or A manually cutting off diplomatic contact. The latter would put B in a false sense of security, and keep him from being able to accurately guess A's position based on the movement of B's fleets and an estimation of A's stealth and detection levels.

Ah, i see you are assuming the MoO paradim for empire contact. I've been into CivIV much more recently and forgot exactly how MoO worked.

MoO (IIRC): If an other empire's planet is within detector range of your planet, you suddenly "know" about that empire, and can communicate with them (assuming they want to talk). If planets are lost, so that two empires are no longer within detector range, contact is severed.

Civ: A unit must meet a unit, city, or cultural border in order to initiate contact. Being able to see an empire from a distance doesn't count, and communication is never cut when proximity is lost.


I'd rather do something a bit different from either, that plays up the classic sci-fi significant of various First Contact scenarios. This old post, and the following have some ideas, but they don't really take into account FO's disconnect between species and empire.

In general i'd like to see, First Contact provide both players some choices, including the choice not to initiate contact. Just having planets within a certain proximity shouldn't cut it, especially if one or more of the parties wouldn't otherwise know that the planets are inhabited.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:13 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
Ah, i see you are assuming the MoO paradim for empire contact. I've been into CivIV much more recently and forgot exactly how MoO worked.
I was using MoO contact as a starting point, but there are some significant differences as well.


eleazar wrote:
MoO (IIRC): If an other empire's planet is within detector range of your planet, you suddenly "know" about that empire, and can communicate with them (assuming they want to talk). If planets are lost, so that two empires are no longer within detector range, contact is severed.

Civ: A unit must meet a unit, city, or cultural border in order to initiate contact. Being able to see an empire from a distance doesn't count, and communication is never cut when proximity is lost.
In MoO2 (and presumably MoO1 as well), you made contact with an enemy empire as soon as one of their colonies is within your fuel range (and "contact" automatically gave you knowledge of all the star systems they had control over). In other words, if either side's ships could potentially reach a colony or outpost belonging to the other, contact is established. The difference between this and Civ appears to be that in Civ, a unit has to actually go and reach another unit or city belonging to the other empire.

Since stealth and detection is such an important and interesting part of FreeOrion, I thought it would be better if instead of being "in range" in terms of actually getting there, you just have to be "in range" in terms of actually seeing the other empire, and if one empire can see another, but can't be seen by it, then that empire has control over whether or not diplomatic negotiations are open - making contact and therefore revealing your existence to an empire who can't see you should be optional.

I wonder now though, if it would be more interesting to make diplomatic contact only occur if two players both own objects which are present in the same system. My first impression is that it would be awfully limiting, actually...

eleazar wrote:
I'd rather do something a bit different from either, that plays up the classic sci-fi significant of various First Contact scenarios. This old post, and the following have some ideas, but they don't really take into account FO's disconnect between species and empire.

In general i'd like to see, First Contact provide both players some choices, including the choice not to initiate contact. Just having planets within a certain proximity shouldn't cut it, especially if one or more of the parties wouldn't otherwise know that the planets are inhabited.
My feeling about diplomacy is that it should be very non-restrictive. Sure, it may not make much sense for two empires with completely different species and cultures to just be able to communicate instantaneously, but it's certainly the simplest way. I'm not sure how a system that reflects the cultural significance of "first contact" could be achieved. It might also be unwise to have such discord between what is really significant to the player, and what he is told is "significant" by the game, or by his citizens; the player expects to find other empires, so it's not a huge surprise when he finds one.

That being said, there might be room to add some interesting features to first contact, if it could be done in a very simple way that adds strategic value as well, and provides significantly different options than could already be achieved through ordinary diplomacy and espionage...

Honestly, I think that the player's choices regarding what to do when it meets a new empire are already significant enough that extra "first contact" choices would be superfluous; after all, you can already just choose to go in and attack, and you'll also be able to choose to make diplomatic contact and make treaties, and you'll also presumably be able to sit back and watch, while trying to infiltrate them with spies. Unless extra special rules for first contact will really provide some options that aren't already available, I don't see a particular need for them.

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