The more i think about it, the more i think our simulating citizens concept is over-complex. This proposal
is functionally the simplest, but it's not KISS enough. While the proposed process by which citizens are determined to be happy or sad can maybe be explained in a long, and hard to follow post, in the midst of a real game with everything else going on, the player will have only a MoO3-type vauge comprehension. The difficulty we all are having making the others understand just how our proposals would work, is just another indication that they are probably over-developed.
Even the simplest proposals here have far more depth and complexity than the citizen simulation of any 4X game i'm aware of... at least if we consider player-visible rules. Since this is mostly unexplored territory for a 4X, we would be wise to err on the side of simplicity, to prevent our cool new concept from sinking under it's own weight. We want the "domestic" side of politics to be interesting without being incomprehensible, or frustratingly dominate the game. Remember, if we are too cautious, it is more efficient to add in more detail later, than to try to simplify something after it's been coded.
The following is the bare-bones approach that i never yet quite had the guts to propose. Its hard letting go of a cool idea, even if it doesn't fit well in the over-all system. This doesn't do all that i wish it could, but it does a lot, and it does it in a more understandable way. Also if playtesting shows that this approach is too simple, it shouldn't be very hard to add in some of the features discussed in this thread. Sorry, no slick chart graphics until i get my real computer back from the shop.Ethos / Imperial Alignment
At the highest level of citizen simulation is each specie's ethos. There will be a set number of alignment scales like:
Pacifistic <--> Bloodthirsty
Freedom <--> Security/Control
Expansion <--> Development
Hierarchical <--> Egalitarianism
Each empire's performance is measured on each of the scales. However, only known actions effect an empire's rating on the scales -- successful espionage does not. Both ends of every scale should be valid strategic choices, in other words none of the scales measure "Awesomeness <--> Pitifulness". Players can see the alignment ratings of all known empires, as this represents general, public knowledge.
The ethos is a preference for empires to act toward one end of a scale. For instance the Zugli might prefer Pacifistic and Expansionistic empires, but have no preference weather an empire is Hierarchical or Egalitarian. Ethos is an inherent and unchanging quality of a species, because it is intended to give each species a unique character.
"Allegiance" which in this proposal could also be labled "Ethical Compatibility", is simply and only
the measurement of how well an empire's alignment matches a specie's ethos. Allegiance alters when relevant alignment scales change-- it does not have separate target and current values. Since it is a straightforward calculation, the allegiance of all known species to all known empires should be displayed, possibly on the same page that displays an empire's alignments. To keep things simple, all other factors effecting allegiance have been removed from this proposal, such as how many of a species have been killed by an empire. There were just too many complex, fluctuating variables in the equation, and simplifying "allegiance" seemed to cause the least damage.
Basing Allegiance primarily on “public knowledge” of imperial alignments has several advantages:
* It prevents human players feeling the need to try to intuit an empire's behavior from allegiance shifts.
* It codifies ethoi into something that’s easy to compare and process
* It makes it easy to see what changes in behavior would please/offend different species
Optional Homeworld Destruction RuleHappiness
If an empire destroys a homeworld, the entire species pronounces that empire "Anathema." Thereafter, that species allegiance to the destroying empire is permanently set at a very low level, the empire's alignment is no longer considered. This is a broad-brush approach to getting a reaction to the biggest atrocity, which is about all that is compatible with this system, but it is still something fun that MoO seems to have omitted.
Happiness measures how closely things are the way a species or a planet wants them to be. No human-like emotions are neccesaryly implied. Low happiness produces riots and/or rebellions, and high happiness increases resistance to espianoge, and probably does something else nice. Happiness is strongly based on allegiance, but it does not influence allegiance. Happiness isn’t “directed” at any empire, though due to the fact that a planet resides in a particular empire, that empire has a bigger effect on happiness, and is more likely to be effected by a planet’s (un)happiness. The planet doesn’t care who causes the unhappiness, it just reacts.
Things that effect Happiness can be divided into two groups, 1) things that effect all members of a species within an empire, and 2) things that effect a single planet only. It can also be divided another two ways: 1) things that effect target
happiness, 2) things that effect current
happiness. For clarity i'll list them all out, adding everthing i can think of, though i don't expect all these effectors to be used.Empire-wide Target Happiness effectors
* AllegianceEmpire-wide Current Happiness effectors
* Status/Rank (if we include this mechanic)
* Civics choices (though these might effect the alignments directly instead)
* Happiness-altering techs?
* Diplomatic Status changes (explained below)Local Target Happiness effectors
* Empathy (if included)
* Empire-wide Random or Special Events
* Adding/Subtraction a planet of the species to/from the Empire (via colonization or conquest)
*Some BuildingsLocal Current Happiness effectors
* Some Planetary Specials (such as "homeworld", and "capital")
* Satisfaction with planet's EP
* Espionage directed against the planetDiplomatic Alteration of Happiness
* Destruction (population, infrastructure, or building loss)
* Local Random or Special Events
Some diplomatic actions will effect the Imperial aligments directly, and thus effect happiness indirectly. For instance an empire increases it's "bloodthirstiness" when it declares war, and thus would make any bloodthirsty member species happier.
However diplomatic treaties have a more direct way of effecting happiness. When a diplomatic status changes (this includes all treaty signings, treaty breakings and cancelings), each species in an involved empire may react. If the treaty is beneficial to the foreign empire, a species will have a boost to current happiness to the degree that they have a positive allegiance to that empire. Similarly a species will be temporarily saddened is their home empire extorts something from an empire they like (have positive allegiance toward).
Having diplomatic stuff effect only the current
happiness, has significant advantages for the sanity of the player and the coder. There are no subtile, unpredictable shiftings of happiness as allegiance to foreign empires change. The ramifications on happiness from any decision can be concisely listed for the player.
I have some ideas on a twist on the "loyalist" idea that would work with this system, but i need to flesh them out a little more. This is plenty for one post.