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 Post subject: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 6:06 pm 
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Okay, I'm back (from outer space...), for now.

So I am a player that likes making empires full of lots of different alien species. I like having a diverse cosmopolitan empire, and apparently at one point there were plans to make it possible to acquire the various native aliens peacefully. Now I know this would be major, and probably an after-the-next-release or later kind of thing, but I've had in my head for a while the concept for a "diplomatic" ship-part that would allow you to convince a native species to join your empire peacefully, the diplomatic shuttle. I wanted to start a discussion on it namely because I'd like feedback, and also creating it and working with it's game implication are definitely beyond my limited scope, IE: how it will affect the A.I., new default ship designs, possibly re-balancing species and specials ect.

My concept for the shuttle is that it will work as follows:
  • It will be unlocked by the translingusitic thought tech
  • It will have a semi-random chance of bringing the planet into your empire
  • It will allow you to obtain a planet without degrading happiness there
  • It will consume the ship upon use, so it will still cost you, but (hopefully) less-so than a full-scale invasion
  • It will not stack, so you can't spam/invade with diplomacy
  • It will not be used more than once against the same planet on the same turn, see above
  • If will (possibly) require a waiting period between repeated uses
  • It will work better on more advanced planets, IE: disincentive invading advanced planets
  • It will (possibly) get you bonuses (probably tech) from more advanced planets, IE: incentivizing taking those planets peacefully
  • It will work better on telepathic species and it will work better when used by telepathic species
  • It will not work well on xenophobic species and it will not work well when used by xenophobic species
  • It will work even less well when used on or by species that are both telepathic and xenophobic
  • It will (possibly) have an effect on the planet even if the attempt is unsuccessful (maybe increasing happiness?)

I have a number of further ideas about how something like this could work in the game, but I would like to get discussion going. I also realize this is a tall order, but I think the sooner people start thinking about it the better chance we will have to actually implement it by the time a version 1.0 is put out.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2016 10:33 pm 
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A way I could see it working.

"allying" with a native species should have a certain influence cost.

Possibly something like
Presence of "diplomatic shuttle" part allows you to work on the "native assimiliation" project

...it would have a cost and number of turns that would depend on
-the characteristics of the natives compared to characteristics of your empire.
-your empires overall happiness
and
-investment by others...every time one empire invested, it also either reduces the investment by other empire OR increases the cost of their project.


If the diplomatic shuttle leaves/is destroyed you can't advance the project.

So if you have a native you want options are
-invade
-send your shuttle and kill any other empire's shuttles
-send+defend your shuttle and be happy+compatible with the natives+have a lot of influence to invest


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 7:36 am 
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We discussed doing something along these lines for translinguistics about 18 months ago very briefly (Post) and it was basically decided to leave doing similar until Diplomacy could be specced up and implemented more fully.

But we're now at the stage where we're actually talking about Diplomacy as something we're ready to start working on, with Influence being 0.5.0 and then possibly a basic level diplomacy/species relations could be introduced for 0.5.1 (I have zero clue as most of it would be backend code that's beyond me).

Suffice to say I'm very much in favour and like the basic ideas outlined above. We would need Influence to be playable first though as I think how good you are at peaceful persuasion should be linked to how good you are at influencing populations generally.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 3:39 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
apparently at one point there were plans to make it possible to acquire the various native aliens peacefully
These plans are definitely still in place. However, the approach we'll choose once we get there might be very different from what you suggest here. The basis for mechanics like that will be the new "Influence" resource, which is currently planned to get introduced in 0.5.0 (as Mat already mentioned). Taking over a planet peacefully/by diplomatic means would then be an "influence project" (very similar to the already existing research projects or production items, most likely queued on a "Diplomacy Screen" similar to the Production and Research Screens).

The current roadmap is having another release before 0.5.0, 0.4.7, which will be mostly about the new fighter/carrier stuff, and after that 0.5.0, which will be primarily about introducing Influence. Any estimates about timeframes are probably highly speculative, but 0.4.7 is scheduled for early 2017, and I hope we can get 0.5.0 done by the end of 2017.

:D


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 4:00 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
labgnome wrote:
apparently at one point there were plans to make it possible to acquire the various native aliens peacefully
...the approach we'll choose once we get there might be very different from what you suggest here.
My idea for taking over planets by influence would be to introduce "leaders" or similar, which can, amongst other things, act as diplomats, and would be required to do certain influence projects, probably including some that would be effective at gaining control of neutral / other empires' planets "voluntarily". This would probably involve putting them on a ship to fly them to the target planet, and might be similar in some ways to the proposals here.


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2016 8:48 pm 
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Krikkitone wrote:
A way I could see it working.

"allying" with a native species should have a certain influence cost.


I'm coming back from a long absence so while I've looked over the influence discussion I don't really understand the idea of how the mechanic would work yet, or even know if that's been settled. That being said I do think this would fit nicely into the idea of an influence mechanic. Perhaps the diplomatic shuttle could cost a certain amount influence to build then "spend" that influence when it goes to a planet to try to "ally" the planet. Perhaps further techs could increase the influence the shuttle carries.

Krikkitone wrote:
Possibly something like
Presence of "diplomatic shuttle" part allows you to work on the "native assimiliation" project

...it would have a cost and number of turns that would depend on
-the characteristics of the natives compared to characteristics of your empire.
-your empires overall happiness
and
-investment by others...every time one empire invested, it also either reduces the investment by other empire OR increases the cost of their project.


If the diplomatic shuttle leaves/is destroyed you can't advance the project.

So if you have a native you want options are
-invade
-send your shuttle and kill any other empire's shuttles
-send+defend your shuttle and be happy+compatible with the natives+have a lot of influence to invest


Ok, this I will say is a mechanic that doesn't look very appealing to me. Mostly I do not like the idea of diplomatic shuttles somehow "fight" or "kill", as I'd like diplomatically/peacefully acquiring planets to not just be another form of combat. That's actually my biggest dislikes for the civilization stage of Spore (if you wind up a "peaceful" religious civ).

That's why I don't want the player to be able to "spam" a planet with them. You shouldn't be able to just overwhelm them and you should have to wait to try again if it didn't work. I want it to have a different feel to it than invading.

Mind you I'm mostly thinking of the early game, when you're not yet competing with another empire for new planets, or a galaxy with lots of stars between empires (how I like to play). So establishing how competing empires both interested in acquiring the same planet peacefully might be more important than I am thinking. However I will say that the first available version of the part probably shouldn't allow you to "steal" planets from other empires, and that might be something for an advanced diplomatic shuttle or a diplomatic transport part, or maybe even reserved exclusively for an espionage mechanic and not more "polite" diplomacy.

I will also say I greatly prefer a "consumes ship" mechanic for several reasons.
  1. It prevents you form taking over the galaxy with a single ship (or more realistically a small fleet)
  2. You don't have to keep track of the ship after you tell it to try to convert the natives

Geoff the Medio wrote:
My idea for taking over planets by influence would be to introduce "leaders" or similar, which can, amongst other things, act as diplomats, and would be required to do certain influence projects, probably including some that would be effective at gaining control of neutral / other empires' planets "voluntarily". This would probably involve putting them on a ship to fly them to the target planet, and might be similar in some ways to the proposals here.


I've thought about the idea of leaders, but I don't know how making them work as diplomats would work. Mind you I'm presuming they would be something like a planetary governor.

MatGB wrote:
We discussed doing something along these lines for translinguistics about 18 months ago very briefly (Post) and it was basically decided to leave doing similar until Diplomacy could be specced up and implemented more fully.

But we're now at the stage where we're actually talking about Diplomacy as something we're ready to start working on, with Influence being 0.5.0 and then possibly a basic level diplomacy/species relations could be introduced for 0.5.1 (I have zero clue as most of it would be backend code that's beyond me).

Suffice to say I'm very much in favour and like the basic ideas outlined above. We would need Influence to be playable first though as I think how good you are at peaceful persuasion should be linked to how good you are at influencing populations generally.


I agree with that sentiment. I would like to keep the ideas of telepaths getting some kind of bonus and xenophobes getting some kind of malus for the part, outside of however that affects their influence (unless I'm greatly misunderstanding it), as you might be say a Chato empire employing telepathic Dertheans (IE: building the ships with the diplomatic part from your Derthean planet) for ambassadors, so the Dertheans telepathic bonus would be relevant.

Vezzra wrote:
These plans are definitely still in place. However, the approach we'll choose once we get there might be very different from what you suggest here. The basis for mechanics like that will be the new "Influence" resource, which is currently planned to get introduced in 0.5.0 (as Mat already mentioned). Taking over a planet peacefully/by diplomatic means would then be an "influence project" (very similar to the already existing research projects or production items, most likely queued on a "Diplomacy Screen" similar to the Production and Research Screens).


I mean I don't know that I like the purely "influence project" approach, namely I'd like to be able to do something "more direct" and even if there are influence projects, I'm assuming you can't actually do those on planets outside of your "reach" (which I'm assuming is or will be the same as supply) and something like this, like the colony ship currently, would be good if you wanted to grab up natives at the far end of your galaxy for whatever reason.

Also I don't know that a like the idea of peaceful acquisition of non-aligned planets to work something like a research or construction project. I suppose how I would like to see that kind of diplomacy work is a lower cost but higher risk than invading the planet kind of trade off. I don't want it to be a case of you acquire the planet because you have (or spend) 500 influence and that just "overpowers" them. Largely for the same reasons I wouldn't want to be able to just spam a planet with diplomats and get it. I think something like diplomacy/peaceful acquisition should have a large random element, and not be something that just having large numbers of something, weather it be ships or influence, can give you guarantee of success on.

Although if planets are going to be obtainable thought these influence projects, I do think that the "tech specials" should have a large effect on that. My inclination is to say that moderate and high tech natives should be more susceptible to influence IE: advanced enough to detect/communicate with you, while the rest should be less so if not immune to that kind of use.

One idea I've had in the back of my head is that a diplomatic shuttle might have a random chance of placing one of the tech specials on a planet on an unsuccessful attempt IE: symbolizing the natives getting tech from the attempt somehow.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 4:53 am 
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Aside: If we do implement a system allowing relatively early game absorption without invasion, I will want to make Setinon both very good at it and a playable species.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 7:39 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
Aside: If we do implement a system allowing relatively early game absorption without invasion, I will want to make Setinon both very good at it and a playable species.


Any specific reason for this?

FYI: I tried looking them up and didn't see anything that indicated why they should have this particular specialty.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:38 pm 
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I wasnt thinking about a diplo shuttle "killing"/ fighting others.

Instead you send a diploshuttle AND a battle fleet... use the battlefleet to destroy competing diploshuttles.

Also... the setinon are a "germ species"


I could definitely see an "odds"... you spend X turns investing in the project...
at the end of it you have a Y% chance of absorbing the species (where Y increases each time you finish the project...Y also depends on how much the natives "fit" with your empire)

I don't think you should just be able to "overwhelm" with 500 influence.... but you should be able to overwhelm with multiple turns (ie the influence project should have a high number of minimum turns..with that depending on the "fit" with your empire.)


Last edited by Krikkitone on Sun Dec 04, 2016 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 7:06 am 
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labgnome wrote:
MatGB wrote:
Aside: If we do implement a system allowing relatively early game absorption without invasion, I will want to make Setinon both very good at it and a playable species.


Any specific reason for this?

FYI: I tried looking them up and didn't see anything that indicated why they should have this particular specialty.
They can't build troop ships, which completely rules them out as playable currently. I also want to give them bonuses for organic hulls but that's another thread.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2016 8:27 pm 
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Krikkitone wrote:
I wasnt thinking about a diplo shuttle "killing"/ fighting others.

Instead you send a diploshuttle AND a battle fleet... use the battlefleet to destroy competing diploshuttles.

Ok, that makes sense, though that should definitely be an act of war sort of thing.

Krikkitone wrote:
Also... the setinon are a "germ species"

Yes, yes they are...

Krikkitone wrote:
I could definitely see an "odds"... you spend X turns investing in the project...
at the end of it you have a Y% chance of absorbing the species (where Y increases each time you finish the project...Y also depends on how much the natives "fit" with your empire)

I don't think you should just be able to "overwhelm" with 500 influence.... but you should be able to overwhelm with multiple turns (ie the influence project should have a high number of minimum turns..with that depending on the "fit" with your empire.)

I don't think there should be a guarantee at all. You are depending on their good graces to get them into your empire, and they are an alien species after all. There should be things that make it more (or less) likely that they will decide to join you, but nothing that guarantees it. I think that diplomacy should inherently carry a risk in the immediate result, unlike invasion. That being said I would like to see getting them peacefully have a lot of reward to it. The idea being that if you invade you do have a guarantee that you get the planet, but they will not be happy, and you might have to contend with a rebellion; but if you use diplomacy, while you might not get the planet at all, if you do the natives will be happy and might also reward you somehow.

Maybe you could have more of a guarantee with other kinds of diplomatic states, like maybe you can ask them to repair or resupply your ships, or share their detection range or something else with you. Though that might be a bit more complicated than just join or not.

MatGB wrote:
They can't build troop ships, which completely rules them out as playable currently. I also want to give them bonuses for organic hulls but that's another thread.

I would actually be really interested in that. Maybe also have a species that can't do diplomats (maybe Thrint?), and some lore material as to why they have good diplomats (and probably influence too)?

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 9:13 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
I don't think there should be a guarantee at all. You are depending on their good graces to get them into your empire, and they are an alien species after all. There should be things that make it more (or less) likely that they will decide to join you, but nothing that guarantees it. I think that diplomacy should inherently carry a risk in the immediate result, unlike invasion. That being said I would like to see getting them peacefully have a lot of reward to it. The idea being that if you invade you do have a guarantee that you get the planet, but they will not be happy, and you might have to contend with a rebellion; but if you use diplomacy, while you might not get the planet at all, if you do the natives will be happy and might also reward you somehow.

Maybe you could have more of a guarantee with other kinds of diplomatic states, like maybe you can ask them to repair or resupply your ships, or share their detection range or something else with you. Though that might be a bit more complicated than just join or not.


I disagree with the "odds" idea in general. if you spend enough influence over a long enough period of time you should be guaranteed to get them.
Of course
-long enough period of time could be 5 turns, 50 turns or 5,000 turns depending on the circumstance
-enough influence could be 10x more than your empire is capable of producing
-both of those should be affected by someone else trying the same thing

I don't mind an "odds" as long as you can try again and again with the odds getting better each time.

I'd like to see the difference being...
Invade: spend some production, get it fast but be dealing with unhappiness
Invite: spend influence instead of production, takes a lot longer, but no unhappiness (get it fully once you've got it)

Their "good graces" should determine how much time +influence it would take to absorb them (some will be ~30 influence and 5 turns, some would be 1,000,000 influence and 5,000 turns)


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:43 am 
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Krikkitone wrote:

I disagree with the "odds" idea in general. if you spend enough influence over a long enough period of time you should be guaranteed to get them.
Of course
-long enough period of time could be 5 turns, 50 turns or 5,000 turns depending on the circumstance
-enough influence could be 10x more than your empire is capable of producing
-both of those should be affected by someone else trying the same thing

I don't mind an "odds" as long as you can try again and again with the odds getting better each time.

I'd like to see the difference being...
Invade: spend some production, get it fast but be dealing with unhappiness
Invite: spend influence instead of production, takes a lot longer, but no unhappiness (get it fully once you've got it)

Their "good graces" should determine how much time +influence it would take to absorb them (some will be ~30 influence and 5 turns, some would be 1,000,000 influence and 5,000 turns)

I really find that idea completely unappealing. I mean civilizations that rely on peaceful diplomacy rather than military conquest should wind up with things like "holes" in their territory from species that just don't want to sign up for the deal, weather or not the bigger civilization in question wants to absorb them or not. The whole point of using diplomacy or influence or whatever we want to call it to bring another species into your empire is that you're not forcing them. The only way I can see to show that is to make there always be a chance they will just tell you "no".

I mean I would actually like to see a chance of failure on just about all the types of projects I could see influence being spent on. IE: maybe local security got lucky and caught your spy, or scientist you were trying to bribe for technology decided to double-cross you instead. To me what your proposing, though maybe less annoying to you, wouldn't feel "believable", and would thus be disappointing to me.

I mean the only way I could see "influence" offering a guarantee like research or construction is if you literally use mind control on the target, and that really should require psychogenic domination, or something similar.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 6:58 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:

I disagree with the "odds" idea in general. if you spend enough influence over a long enough period of time you should be guaranteed to get them.
Of course
-long enough period of time could be 5 turns, 50 turns or 5,000 turns depending on the circumstance
-enough influence could be 10x more than your empire is capable of producing
-both of those should be affected by someone else trying the same thing

I don't mind an "odds" as long as you can try again and again with the odds getting better each time.

I'd like to see the difference being...
Invade: spend some production, get it fast but be dealing with unhappiness
Invite: spend influence instead of production, takes a lot longer, but no unhappiness (get it fully once you've got it)

Their "good graces" should determine how much time +influence it would take to absorb them (some will be ~30 influence and 5 turns, some would be 1,000,000 influence and 5,000 turns)

I mean I would actually like to see a chance of failure on just about all the types of projects I could see influence being spent on. IE: maybe local security got lucky and caught your spy, or scientist you were trying to bribe for technology decided to double-cross you instead. To me what your proposing, though maybe less annoying to you, wouldn't feel "believable", and would thus be disappointing to me.

I mean the only way I could see "influence" offering a guarantee like research or construction is if you literally use mind control on the target, and that really should require psychogenic domination, or something similar.


Research and construction are just as unrealistic for 100% success...

spend X on a battleship and you get it...no cost overruns, industrial accidents, impurities in the materials, etc.

Research even more so....10 million scientist-hours and 10 trillion$ of equipment and hyperspace tech is yours... no failed theories about whether hyperspace is even Possible in this universe/academic fads/lucky discoveries, etc.

We simplify those to predictability because it is a strategy game.

Combat preserves some randomness... but the randomness is limited, at a certain point the odds give you a 0% chance of loss/victory in a battle.

Influence should be the same....it could depend on the odds, but the odds should depend on the resources .. including time .. you put in.

labgnome wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:

I disagree with the "odds" idea in general. if you spend enough influence over a long enough period of time you should be guaranteed to get them.
Of course
-long enough period of time could be 5 turns, 50 turns or 5,000 turns depending on the circumstance
-enough influence could be 10x more than your empire is capable of producing
-both of those should be affected by someone else trying the same thing

I don't mind an "odds" as long as you can try again and again with the odds getting better each time.

I'd like to see the difference being...
Invade: spend some production, get it fast but be dealing with unhappiness
Invite: spend influence instead of production, takes a lot longer, but no unhappiness (get it fully once you've got it)

Their "good graces" should determine how much time +influence it would take to absorb them (some will be ~30 influence and 5 turns, some would be 1,000,000 influence and 5,000 turns)

I really find that idea completely unappealing. I mean civilizations that rely on peaceful diplomacy rather than military conquest should wind up with things like "holes" in their territory from species that just don't want to sign up for the deal, weather or not the bigger civilization in question wants to absorb them or not. The whole point of using diplomacy or influence or whatever we want to call it to bring another species into your empire is that you're not forcing them. The only way I can see to show that is to make there always be a chance they will just tell you "no"..


Its perfectly reasonable for there to be "holes" in the empire.... but those holes shouldn't be random. Those "holes" should be the species that hate your empire for good reason*, and it would be Way to expensive/time consuming to absorb them.

*ie you should know how much it will Probably cost before you start... before you start trying, just like you know fighting a 100 ship battle will probably have you losing if you bring 50 equivalent ships, but a pretty guaranteed win with 500 equivalent ships.


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Shuttle
PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:09 pm 
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Krikkitone wrote:
Research and construction are just as unrealistic for 100% success...

spend X on a battleship and you get it...no cost overruns, industrial accidents, impurities in the materials, etc.

Research even more so....10 million scientist-hours and 10 trillion$ of equipment and hyperspace tech is yours... no failed theories about whether hyperspace is even Possible in this universe/academic fads/lucky discoveries, etc.

We simplify those to predictability because it is a strategy game.

Combat preserves some randomness... but the randomness is limited, at a certain point the odds give you a 0% chance of loss/victory in a battle.

Influence should be the same....it could depend on the odds, but the odds should depend on the resources .. including time .. you put in.

I think you're making a bad analogy here. Personally I like things like the theory techs, as I think they cover this quite well. Even if a theory is wrong or otherwise a dead-end, the time researching it is rarely ever completely fruitless. In fact more often it's not so much a theory or line of research being a dead-end, as it not having "practical" applications at the time. For along time the idea of "atomic" matter had little to no application, but it wasn't wrong. Similarly theories like the aether, while not correct, research looking for it wasn't fruitless and modern electromagnetic theory wouldn't exist without that research. I actually like there being a good number of theory-only techs with minimal or no application.

Even more-so with construction. Aside from rare accidents or intentional sabotage (which sounds like an influence/espionage mechanic to me), when an entity, especially a government, allocates the resources and manpower to build something, it gets built. Now weather or not it works as intended, or if it's intended function actually winds up being useful are different matters, but I think simulating that gets into levels o micromanagement that we've so-far been trying to avoid. Also Free-Orion doesn't use money so no cost-overrun (at least as we understand it), and the supply connection can be disrupted halting a project.

Krikkitone wrote:
Its perfectly reasonable for there to be "holes" in the empire.... but those holes shouldn't be random. Those "holes" should be the species that hate your empire for good reason*, and it would be Way to expensive/time consuming to absorb them.

*ie you should know how much it will Probably cost before you start... before you start trying, just like you know fighting a 100 ship battle will probably have you losing if you bring 50 equivalent ships, but a pretty guaranteed win with 500 equivalent ships.

See this is where I think you and I see things fundamentally differently. I don't think their should be holes just because you don't want them, I think their should be holes because they don't want you. To me the whole idea of acquiring a planet solely though an influence project with a guaranteed result seems like it's just invasion, but without having to bother with ships.

I don't want another mechanic that's basically just "push the button and get a reward". I like having things like not-immediately useful research and efforts that don't have guaranteed success, because while less rewarding on a surface level make the game more interesting and I believe make the choices of strategy more meaningful.

I think you should have to go through a couple of dozen "useless" techs to get Trancendance, because if you try to beeline for that victory, that lack of practical application should put you in the position of having to put hat off so you can research enough weapons or defenses to hold of a conquest oriented empire. Likewise if your going for peaceful acquisition over conquest, you should have gaps that you don't necessarily want, and then be faced with potentially having to deal with that when faced with superior numbers or technology.

I actually like mechanics that don't have a guaranteed or immediate reward because they're more interesting and make my choices as a player feel more meaningful as the game progresses.

_________________
All of my contributions should be considered released under creative commons attribution share-alike license, CC-BY-SA 3.0 for use in, by and with the Free Orion project.


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