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 Post subject: Re: Tech Icons
PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:33 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
There is no proposed change in how money / influence is used in-game. (This isn't saying much, since it currently isn't used in-game). In a story / fluff sense, everything an empire would otherwise have done with "money" would instead be done by expending "influence" over populations.


I find it hard to consider the difference merely "fluff." It certainly has more gameplay implications than, for instance, which pseudo-science explanation we choose for how starlane travel works.

The rules may be not yet written, but circumstances where it makes sense to pay money to achieve X, won't necessarily make sense to expend influence for the same end. For instance what in the world would be happening if i gave another empire 100 influence units to encourage him to sign a treaty? "Influence" generated by an obviously purely economic tech tree would not make much sense, so that much will have to be revised

"Influence" is definitely a more abstract concept than "money", one which the player's intuition about how it works and what it can be used for is less likely to be right. This in itself is not good, though it might give license to make game rules function better, since the player has fewer expectations.


It's hard to guess weather the change is for better or for worse, with the limited information on what you intend, but don't believe it simply won't matter.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:17 pm 
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Geoff the Medio wrote:
I won't go into the off-topic details of name-changes I'm pondering, but the icon for the resource produced by trade meters should suggest social control, political power or influence, because those are what it really gives your empire, regardless of whether it's measured in dollars, leaves, credits or no specific unit; or whether it's expended as a salary or by manipulating the press or hive consciousness or popular media or with spies...

Perhaps a clenched fist or marionette bar and strings of some sort?


At the risk of starting a flame war, isn't this a realism argument? As long as "foo" is a well-defined in-game quantity with clear rules for its acquisition and use, what difference does it make whether we call "foo" "money" or "influence"?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:21 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
At the risk of starting a flame war, isn't this a realism argument? As long as "foo" is a well-defined in-game quantity with clear rules for its acquisition and use, what difference does it make whether we call "foo" "money" or "influence"?

It is primarily a realism argument, with a bit of story / setting tied in. Since there's no gameplay change, there's no reason to avoid realism arguments. The difference is that "influence" is, IMO, a better / more general description of what an empire uses / would use to control its population, which hopefully provides a more epic / immersive game than using "money" would. There is also a potential downside of a steeper learning curve since "money" is more intuitive for most people than "influence" or "social control" by ruling powers that transcends any particular currency denomination or economic system or culture or biology / psychology.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 7:27 pm 
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Well generally realism (or perhaps a better word would be believability) is a good thing. Its not as important as fun so arguing a gameplay decision based on realism instead of fun is a bad idea. But when you get to things that don't have any gameplay effect, such as the pesdoscience behind jump drives, or the background fluff of various alien races there is nothing more important to override realism.

[edit] Geoff beet me too it :)
P.S. Geoff, my question from my previous post still stands.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:12 pm 
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The point is more that realism should be used for improving the understandibility of gameplay.

So if "X resource" is going to be used to keep your ships running, you should probably call it Fuel

"The 1st resource" is required to keep your populations' growing so we call it Food

Basically we should FIRST decide what we are going to do with it and then name it accordingly.

Now I personally think that
1. the 5th resource should be used for social control
2. Money is a Perfect name for the 5th resource baseds on that use(you use money to get other people to do things for you.. that is all it is good for)


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:47 pm 
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Krikkitone wrote:
The point is more that realism should be used for improving the understandibility of gameplay.


Understandability is a good thing to have, but its probably best to think of it as separate to realism since while increasing realisum can make it easier to understand the game, for example spaceships that look like spaceships* It could also do the opposite, for example for a carnivorous race it would be more realistic to replace the wheat icon for food with meet, this is slightly less understandable since it makes UI changes for difference races (there's probably a better example since that wouldn't actually confuse anyone)

That said in this example, I don't think any players will have trouble understanding the concept of money no matter what name is chosen. Be it "Money", "Social Influence", "Credits" (yuck) or "AU" (used in MoO3, short for Antarian Units the standard currency in the game) so choosing a name based souly on realism works.


Krikkitone wrote:
Basically we should FIRST decide what we are going to do with it and then name it accordingly.

You know, that's probably a very good idea :)

* As opposed to an abstract piece of art that conveys the emotions of living in a spaceship


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:59 pm 
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tzlaine wrote:
At the risk of starting a flame war, isn't this a realism argument? As long as "foo" is a well-defined in-game quantity with clear rules for its acquisition and use, what difference does it make whether we call "foo" "money" or "influence"?

So you don't think it matters if we relabeled "research points" to "pounds of fish"— as long as everything else was the same?

Of course this is an extreme example :wink: ;P but i don't think the many reasons that could be provided against using "pounds of fish" would be the classically forbidden "realism arguments." It's a practical issue of avoiding unnecessarily confusing labels, and whenever possible, letting things work in a way that doesn't need to be explained.

Weather "money" or "influence" is a better label simply depends on what were going to do with it.

In spite of the esoteric arguments about "control", IMHO it's pretty clear that "money" makes more sense for most of the things that the 5th resource is currently expected to do, and makes more sense with the current economic techs. After all, we've all been laboring under the assumption that we have been talking about "money". Maybe "influence" will be better, but only if we are taking the 5th resource in a different direction.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:02 pm 
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That's why some of us were against "money" resource from beginning.

Too ambiguous and too much baggage. It means different things to different people so there is ADDITIONAL learning curve of un-learning expectations (i.e. you cannot hurry production with money).

Is money a tangible thing (i.e. gold)? Then it would be better called something like "precious" or "rare resources" like in HOI

Is it an entry on an electronic ledger? Then why would a Galactic Emperor care (as he can alter the ledger at will).

Ultimately, tzlaine is the voice of reason: as long as game dynamics are clear and consistent, the name is less relevant.

Also the issue of tech-tree branch is a serious one too.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:31 pm 
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Given the situation Here is what I see the 5th resource doing and NOT doing

1. like PP/Research the 5th resource is used to build specific projects
2. Those projects are specifically social...(some of the current buildings would become 5th Resource buildings)
3. Those projects (and ONLY those projects) would be maintained with the 5th Resource


Those projects would include effects of
1. Keeping planetary allegiance above 0
2. Keeping Ship/Army "Loyalty" above 0
3. Maintaining various bonuses to other resources based on your government
4. Maintaining a spy network to gain information about and perform covert action against planets in other empires
5. Maintaining relations with another empire (paying for treaties to keep working)


The 5th resource would NOT
1. be used in place of any other resource (the best is through the production of a project that would increase levels of other meters)
2. be used to maintain Any project constructed with a non 5th resource


Now admittedly all the Uses of the 5th resource that I have given are post 0.4 uses... which means that currently it does nothing. Which is fine, but what type of "real" resource
Maintains allegiance, loyalty, and relationships
Keeps governments, spies, and relationships running

I'd say "money" fits that fairly well

If someone has some extra things they think "R5" (my new abbreviation for 5th resource) should do or think that it should NOT do something on that list, then lets start working toward a consensus on that list so we can have a consensus on the 'feel' of it. And then come up with a name for it. (money seems to fit my idea for R5's purpose... if someone else has a different purpose for it, please take it.)


Last edited by Krikkitone on Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2008 6:17 am 
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Your working backwards. Figure out what the resource does first, then name it. Problem solved.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 29, 2008 4:18 pm 
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Forum troll does not approve!

Seriously, you are trying to use realism arguments here. Keep it simple, in all other 4X games it is called money (gold or galactic credit or whatever). From current design I guess economical resources will work similar to other games so there is no need to rename (reicon) it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:37 pm 
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Current design has money doing something it Shouldn't do (maintaining buildings built with production)... if something is built withe production points it should be maintained with production points.

The key thing is the Current build doesn't have any Good role for the 5th resource, because most 'social' issues are in later versions.

However, I think the Role of 'social' abilities ('establishing' government, spying, propaganda) all works fine with the icon of money.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:44 am 
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Well, even if it is only used for interracial trade it should be called money.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 21, 2008 8:51 am 
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How about, "Political Clout"? Or possibly just "Clout"

That is, after all, what it seems to be intended for. For example, the U.S. uses money to generate political clout, but it's the clout that lets us do things or influence people. I agree that the two can be considered synonymous (exclusively in the sense that they can be expected to do similar things in FO) but the former makes more sense with the inclusion of species which lack individualism, economies, and/or the idea of money.


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