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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:39 am 
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eleazar wrote:
A scenario where the player makes a big macro-level choice (like switching a social engineering / civics option), seems to me perfectly acceptable to alter more than one alignment. These are relatively rare and well-defined choices, it doesn't seem excessive to involve more than one alignment.

On the other hand if many of the common, day-to-day actions (like fighting, exploring, diplomacy, whatever) are effecting multiple alignments then i think we haven't planned things out very well. These sorts of things should have a single, obvious alignment effect, if they have any.
A few comments I don't feel like shaping into a paragraph:
* Assuming alignment scales are morals-based, many "common, day-to-day actions" like exploring, researching (excluding special cases), making colonies on uninhabited planets, or building ships (excluding special cases) wouldn't be relevant to any of the scales.
* Diplomatic actions like starting or ending war, signing open borders or trade agreements or initiating technology exchanges or demanding tribute aren't really "day-to-day actions".
* Not all actions would have to affect more than one scale if they affect any; some would be only relevant to one scale.
* Since buildings are supposed to be fairly significant and can be scrapped or "undone" more easily than a tech (which can't be unreserached) it's reasonable to make many of them have multiple moral implications that affect multiple scales. The buildings an empire contains could significantly impact its overal alignment position: Using Bioresearch Labs, Secret Police Compounds or Public Network Hubs would imply a lot about an empire and would be reasonable ways to change one or more of its moral alignment scales.

eleazar wrote:
Moral scales pretty much need to be bipolar, or else it's not much of a moral choice.
Alignment scales won't be quite as interesting for story purposes if some species can't have negative reactions... But even if species never dislike and empire for being higher on a particular moral scale, players will still have the choice of content types to use, and those choices can take into consideration the moral alignment effects associated of that content. This scheme doesn't fall apart just because no species ever, or in a particular game, actively dislikes an empire for being high on one of the scales. So, I still think we can decide later when creating or balancing content whether to include any species with active dislikes, and can pick "moral" scales for their greater interest without loss of flexibility.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 6:43 pm 
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I don't mean to hijack this thread, but I'd like to chime in about the entire set of proposals discussed here. I hate, and I know that's a string word, but I really do hate "allegiance", "happiness", or any other metric of populace in 4X games that is so strong that it dominates play. I'm looking at you, Civ series. If it is done so that I don't have to spend most (or even a large plurality) of my time keeping my empire from splintering with bread-and-circus type pandering, I'm okay with it. MOO2 and BOTF have it right, IMO, in that these are important factors, and I want and need my citizens to be happy to ensure success, but it doesn't dominate play, like in the Civ games. Just something to keep in mind.

Also, If the idea here is to make the war and peace decisions of the player depend on some sort of rationale or other in-game influence, I have another approach. I've been bringing it up for years, and gotten little response. I don't know if people don't like it, or if it just hasen't been brought up at the right time(s) to intrude on important design discussions, but here it is again. I think it has a lot of potential to provide interesting play, and would especially be useful for AI decisionmaking that seems meaningful to the player.

viewtopic.php?p=7052#p7052

If you and some empire share a lot of values in common (or nearly so), you can trade, be friends, etc., but you can't declare war on each other without a damn good reason (cuasus belligeratus). The inverse is true for nations that have opposing cultures. Further, you should be able to change your cultural alignment over time using various methods (actions, buildings, techs, whatever), or similarly change other empires' alignments. Maybe there will be a natural drift towards agreement of culture between neighbors.

The AI-informing implications of this are obvious. To the player, it should make sense if some empire declares war, because they probably hate you already for cultural reasons. One thing I can't stand about MOO games is when an ally suddenly breaks alliance and declares war. It's just too arbitrary. Your AI opponents should be able to rest assured that you won't either ;). That's gaming the system from the other side.

A major reason I like this system is that it allows all the mechanism to take place at the empire level. I don't have to worry about specific planets' happiness, allegiance, or what have you.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 7:23 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
...I really do hate "allegiance", "happiness", or any other metric of populace in 4X games that is so strong that it dominates play. I'm looking at you, Civ series.

Do you feel the same about Civ4 as the previous versions?

Quote:
If it is done so that I don't have to spend most (or even a large plurality) of my time keeping my empire from splintering with bread-and-circus type pandering, I'm okay with it.

My hope and plan is that much of the determination of species' allegiances to empires will be based on the alignment scales discussed in this thread, which are not micromanagable. Happiness would be determined by a larger variety of factors, likely including some "pandering", but I don't expect the means of doing this micromangable either, so we shouldn't have situations like earlier civ games where you have to constantly check all cities to make sure they haven't fallen into civil disorder and pick a worked tile to turn into an entertainer.

Quote:
Also, If the idea here is to make the war and peace decisions of the player depend on some sort of rationale or other in-game influence, I have another approach.
[...]
If you and some empire share a lot of values in common (or nearly so), you can trade, be friends, etc., but you can't declare war on each other without a damn good reason (cuasus belligeratus). The inverse is true for nations that have opposing cultures.

Restricting player choices ("you can't declare war", "you can't declare peace") depending on the game situation isn't really the same thing as giving reasons for players (and especially AIs) to prefer a particular action. I'd rather try to achieve diplomatic consistency through rational motivation than game-imposed restrictions, if possible.

Quote:
Further, you should be able to change your cultural alignment over time using various methods (actions, buildings, techs, whatever), or similarly change other empires' alignments. Maybe there will be a natural drift towards agreement of culture between neighbors.

Other than the natural drift, this is consistent with the current alignment system.

Quote:
The AI-informing implications of this are obvious. To the player, it should make sense if some empire declares war, because they probably hate you already for cultural reasons.

This is one of the goals I have for the alignments / allegiance and happiness system, except that empires don't hate empires; rather species hate empires, and empires will be motivated to chose particular diplomatic actions with or against other empires based on how the species on planets in the two empires will react. For example, if most of your planets contain a species that loves another empire, you declaring war on that empire will cause large happiness penalties, so you are strongly discouraged from doing so until that species opinion of the other empire changes.

Quote:
A major reason I like this system is that it allows all the mechanism to take place at the empire level. I don't have to worry about specific planets' happiness, allegiance, or what have you.

The outcomes of the stuff I described above will be largely determined by the allegiance of species to empires. Each species has only one allegiance for each empire, so as long as a player know the number of planets that he or she controls that contain that species, and the species' view of another empire, the player will have a good idea what the reaction would be if a particular diplomatic action were taken.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 8:14 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
tzlaine wrote:
...I really do hate "allegiance", "happiness", or any other metric of populace in 4X games that is so strong that it dominates play. I'm looking at you, Civ series.

Do you feel the same about Civ4 as the previous versions?

I think the last one I played was Civ3, but I can't be certain.

Quote:
Quote:
Also, If the idea here is to make the war and peace decisions of the player depend on some sort of rationale or other in-game influence, I have another approach.
[...]
If you and some empire share a lot of values in common (or nearly so), you can trade, be friends, etc., but you can't declare war on each other without a damn good reason (cuasus belligeratus). The inverse is true for nations that have opposing cultures.

Restricting player choices ("you can't declare war", "you can't declare peace") depending on the game situation isn't really the same thing as giving reasons for players (and especially AIs) to prefer a particular action. I'd rather try to achieve diplomatic consistency through rational motivation than game-imposed restrictions, if possible.

FWIW, these kinds of restrictions work quite well in HOI. The US can invade the UK, but it has to spend some time and focus some energy on shifting its national alignment first. It's not so much "you can't declare war" as "you can't declare war without cause, or without doing considerable work first".

Quote:
Quote:
The AI-informing implications of this are obvious. To the player, it should make sense if some empire declares war, because they probably hate you already for cultural reasons.

This is one of the goals I have for the alignments / allegiance and happiness system, except that empires don't hate empires; rather species hate empires, and empires will be motivated to chose particular diplomatic actions with or against other empires based on how the species on planets in the two empires will react. For example, if most of your planets contain a species that loves another empire, you declaring war on that empire will cause large happiness penalties, so you are strongly discouraged from doing so until that species opinion of the other empire changes.

Quote:
A major reason I like this system is that it allows all the mechanism to take place at the empire level. I don't have to worry about specific planets' happiness, allegiance, or what have you.

The outcomes of the stuff I described above will be largely determined by the allegiance of species to empires. Each species has only one allegiance for each empire, so as long as a player know the number of planets that he or she controls that contain that species, and the species' view of another empire, the player will have a good idea what the reaction would be if a particular diplomatic action were taken.

This is too much for me to worry about as a galactic emperor. I'd prefer to abstract the feelings of those citizens into my overall alignment. So if I conquer a planet of Klackons, and they are diametrically opposed to my viewpoint, my alignment shifts in the direction of theirs, proportional to the size of their population and mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Sun Apr 18, 2010 9:09 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
I'd prefer to abstract the feelings of those citizens into my overall alignment.

It was proposed earlier in this discussion to just have allegiances and no planet-to-planet variation, but we decided we needed something local to a single planet so that all planets of a particular race didn't always have exactly the same status, and local events could have logical results. This "keeps your empire from behaving as totally homogeneous blocks", as eleazar put it.

Quote:
So if I conquer a planet of Klackons, and they are diametrically opposed to my viewpoint, my alignment shifts in the direction of theirs, proportional to the size of their population and mine.

Having an empire's alignment be determined by the alignments of species in the empire in proportion to population is a possible way to implement imperial alignments. However we've mostly settled on a system where an empire's ratings on alignment scales are determined by what it does, and species react to that according to their preferences. Having empires' alignment ratings be determined by the player's action allows players' actions to be motivated by species preferences for particular ratings, which is an important purpose for the whole system.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 2:42 am 
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Fair enough. This sounds like a reasonable system to me.

My main concern is one of balance. I want to conquer or cajole other empires into my subjects or allies; I just don't want constantly to have to do those things with my own populations.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:57 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
Fair enough. This sounds like a reasonable system to me.

My main concern is one of balance. I want to conquer or cajole other empires into my subjects or allies; I just don't want constantly to have to do those things with my own populations.


This is where I seriously disagree.

None of the Empire builder games I have played have had happiness be Properly important.
In civ there wasn't "happiness" there was "max city population" (biggest effect was overcrowding... war weariness was the only real 'happiness' effect)
In MOO2 there wasn't "happiness" there was "economic efficiency" (only real negative impact was losing capital)

You Should have to be doing 'diplomacy with your own people' for a few reasons

1. This acts as a prevention of the snowball... no matter how big your empire gets there is always a 'factor' in the game that is comparable in power to you... that is your people, so you always need to take them into account. This means it is just as hard to go from 90%-100% of victory condition win as it is to go from from 20%-30% of Victory condition

2. It makes for 'roleplay+gameplay' diplomacy possible... you do 'gameplay diplomacy' with other empires that are trying to win the game and 'roleplay diplomacy' with populations of those empires that are trying to act on their alignments

Now that should not be the Only thing you are doing,
Just like combat should not be the only thing you are doing (a major problem of most empire builders is too much combat)
Just like economic MM should not be the only thing you are doing
Just like interempire diplomacy should not be the only thing you are doing

It should be an aspect of the game that you cannot ignore, Like other empires... but not as challenging because another empire is trying to make sure you don't win. The 'people' don't care who "wins", they just want 'their needs' met.
This makes 'population diplomacy' different than 'imperial diplomacy' because in 'population diplomacy' there is no negotiation, there is just reaction... ie I do action X and various populations will react in Y way.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 12:51 pm 
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Quote:
None of the Empire builder games I have played have had happiness be Properly important.
In civ there wasn't "happiness" there was "max city population" (biggest effect was overcrowding... war weariness was the only real 'happiness' effect)
In MOO2 there wasn't "happiness" there was "economic efficiency" (only real negative impact was losing capital)

You Should have to be doing 'diplomacy with your own people' for a few reasons


Hey that's good. But the main problem why managing happiness is usually boring is that it means. Pop = unhappy, just turn on the counters and they are happy. It would be good if it's as you say like diplomacy with a race. You do something, they get happy or unhappy. But after your action it just recovers to neutral over time. Maybe some tech or building, or gov might increase the happiness recovery. This keeps it dynamic.


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 Post subject: Re: Simulating Citizens
PostPosted: Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:30 pm 
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As much as i love some of these ideas, and have poured countless hours into trying to develop and explain the ideas, i think we missed the mark, and developed something that will be much harder to create, balance and play than it should be. The extreme size of many of the posts, and how easily confusion and misunderstanding thrived, and the difficulty in figuring out the implications should all have been signs that we had passed beyond the realm of KISS.

These kind of experimental and difficult to define mechanics shouldn't be part of a 1.0. As much as it was hard to explain and define these mechanics in a general way, it will should be many times harder --if even possible-- to implement, balance, and make them fun. Save it for post 1.0.

I would really love to play a game with allegiance and alignments, but i'l willing to chuck them to play FreeOrion 1.0.


On the plus side, designing something that's really KISS should be much easier than this thread was.

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