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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Perhaps we've been trying to start on Diplomacy from the wrong direction: grand ideas of infinitely mutable treaties and citizens with their own will -- potentially cool stuff, but not simple or obvious.

Instead i suggest we start with the most basic and necessary parts of diplomacy: diplomatic relationships between empires, and build from there. Resource and technology trade treaties are not under discussion here, but it is vaguely assumed that they will exist.

Here's the part i think will be controversial. I believe certain effects should be automatically bundled with diplomatic relationships. For instance if Red and Green are allied, they cannot attack each other (without ending the alliance), and they automatically resupply each other's ships. Because if instead all the actual concrete effects of "alliance" are negotiable, then that label has no meaning and diplomacy becomes a lot more confusing.


The following Diplomatic Relationships are roughly comparable to what you'll find in MoO1&2, the Civs, and many/most popular 4X games. I don't think this is a good area to try some radical and more involved system here. Let's follow the lead of the classics and not bog down development with grand but uncertain ambitions. More options can always be added later.


Unification
    like "Open Borders, but also includes:
    Permanent Alliance
    automatic sharing of all vision, intelligence, and tech.
    Victory is collective, but score is decreased by some amount per member.
    this one i'm not 100% sure of. may be disabled at game start.

Alliance
    like "Open Borders" but includes:
    If someone declares war on you, war is automatically declared on all allies as well.
    sharing of external vision, intelligence on mutual enemies

Open Borders
    Full access to each other's territory
    Ships refueled and resupplied
    Shared supply distribution network (not shared supplies)

Neutrality (default)
    Access to territory is allowed
    Refuel and resupply not provided

Closed Borders
    aggression only when territory is invaded

War
    ships & planets cannot peacefully coexist in the same place.

Total War
    war to the death, no diplomacy, no surrender.
    might only be used for monsters, precursors, or other pre-scripted foes.


Note: as usual the ongoing development of my ideas is on the wiki. Empire Relationships can be found here.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:17 pm 
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Quote:
Unification
    like "Open Borders, but also includes:
    Permanent Alliance
    automatic sharing of all vision, intelligence, and tech.
    Victory is collective, but score is decreased by some amount per member.
    this one i'm not 100% sure of. may be disabled at game start.
I'm not really a fan of being able to merge empires for a joint victory, but that's sort of a separate topic in and of itself.

Quote:
Alliance
    like "Open Borders" but includes:
    If someone declares war on you, war is automatically declared on all allies as well.
    sharing of external vision, intelligence on mutual enemies
I like that war would automatically be declared on all allies. Those allies should find out about the war on the same turn and have the opportunity to break the alliance before war is declared on them, though. Automatic sharing of external vision and intelligence is good (Ideally, I'd like the players to be able to choose separately who and to what extent they share this information with, but the idea of giving away and trading visibility of specific objects might end up being very awkward. Alliance auto-sharing of vision is a good thing to have.)

Quote:
Open Borders
    Full access to each other's territory
    Ships refueled and resupplied
    Shared supply distribution network (not shared supplies)
OK. I like the shared supply distribution network, since it has significant repercussions on the ability to move spies (in my imaginary finished game where spies are deployed via resource supply lines).

Quote:
Closed Borders
    aggression only when territory is invaded

War
    ships & planets cannot peacefully coexist in the same place.
I don't really understand this - aggression needs to be something that at least one player in the system chooses. I don't think that "enemies" should be forced to resolve combat just because they're in the same system (in particular, a player could have an undetected ship in an "enemy" system, but should not be forced to engage in combat).

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2011 5:30 pm 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
Quote:
Unification

I'm not really a fan of being able to merge empires for a joint victory, but that's sort of a separate topic in and of itself.

Granted this isn't a must-have feature, nor something that you would want to do all the time. But assuming you can set this up at universe generation, this allows team play. Potentially

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Quote:
Alliance
    like "Open Borders" but includes:
    If someone declares war on you, war is automatically declared on all allies as well.
    sharing of external vision, intelligence on mutual enemies

I like that war would automatically be declared on all allies. Those allies should find out about the war on the same turn and have the opportunity to break the alliance before war is declared on them, though. Automatic sharing of external vision and intelligence is good (Ideally, I'd like the players to be able to choose separately who and to what extent they share this information with, but the idea of giving away and trading visibility of specific objects might end up being very awkward. Alliance auto-sharing of vision is a good thing to have.)

1) I think mutual defense is the main point of an alliance -- IRL and in FO. This is the same concept as CivIV's "Defensive Pact". Allowing the player to opt out of any war declared on an ally, makes it kinda pointless to have allies in peacetime. If you want betrayals and backstabbing, someone planning a war could bribe a member of an alliance to end the alliance just before war is declared.

2) Note that i specified vision is only shared on mutual enemies, i.e. if Green and Blue are allies and at war with Mauve, then any of Mauve's ships and planets that Green discovers will also be visible to Blue. But Blue doesn't get to see everything Green sees.
For the purposes of this discussion, it's an open question weather vision in any other context could be traded or exchanged.



Bigjoe5 wrote:
Quote:
Closed Borders
    aggression only when territory is invaded

War
    ships & planets cannot peacefully coexist in the same place.

I don't really understand this - aggression needs to be something that at least one player in the system chooses. I don't think that "enemies" should be forced to resolve combat just because they're in the same system (in particular, a player could have an undetected ship in an "enemy" system, but should not be forced to engage in combat).

Clarification:
Closed borders:
If empire A's ships are detected in empire's B's territory, when empire B has closed borders, it is the same as if empire A declared war on B.

War:
As expressed elsewhere i don't like the planned stealth system, but i'm not trying to argue that here. Undetected ships can remain hidden. But for everything else, yes i think they should be forced to resolve combat, or else run away. I did not like how MoO3 allowed warring empires to sit around in the same spot indefinitely without fighting. I like my wars to come with actual fighting.
* it decreases the sense of urgency and excitement
* adds decisions that aren't normally interesting
* it increases the number of potential battles, you have to deal with each turn if you wait
* the AI didn't seem to know when to fight and when to wait, thus is probably hard for AIs to deal with.
* Summary: it makes the game a little more complicated, and a little less fun.


EDIT: my general intention here is to make changing a diplomatic relationship an important macro-decisions, full of logical consequences-- not empty placeholders that may or may not match an empire's intentions and actions.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 4:53 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Unification
    like "Open Borders, but also includes:
    Permanent Alliance
    automatic sharing of all vision, intelligence, and tech.
    Victory is collective, but score is decreased by some amount per member.
    this one i'm not 100% sure of. may be disabled at game start.


I would like to put my $0.02 in an emphasis that Team play is a very common function in gameplay and LAN games/parties, where its 2P vs 2P, are pretty common, especially when it comes to a large group of players.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 10:10 pm 
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Several other games i've noticed have only 2 options that correspond to my 3: "Open Borders - Neutral - Closed Borders".

But our mechanics are a bit different, so the distinction isn't pointless-- but that doesn't mean it's necessary.
Do you think there's enough practical difference there to warrant having 3 diplomatic relationships/

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:34 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:
Quote:
Unification

I'm not really a fan of being able to merge empires for a joint victory, but that's sort of a separate topic in and of itself.

Granted this isn't a must-have feature, nor something that you would want to do all the time. But assuming you can set this up at universe generation, this allows team play. Potentially
Two or more players starting the game unified and not being able to change that status is something I'm fine with. It's arbitrary teaming up in the middle of a game that bothers me.

eleazar wrote:
1) I think mutual defense is the main point of an alliance -- IRL and in FO. This is the same concept as CivIV's "Defensive Pact". Allowing the player to opt out of any war declared on an ally, makes it kinda pointless to have allies in peacetime. If you want betrayals and backstabbing, someone planning a war could bribe a member of an alliance to end the alliance just before war is declared.
Opting out of the war of course, would mean opting out of the alliance, of course. It's not pointless to have allies in peacetime just because they might turn on you. Besides, what's to stop them from breaking the alliance next turn and making peace with your enemy?

eleazar wrote:
2) Note that i specified vision is only shared on mutual enemies, i.e. if Green and Blue are allies and at war with Mauve, then any of Mauve's ships and planets that Green discovers will also be visible to Blue. But Blue doesn't get to see everything Green sees.
For the purposes of this discussion, it's an open question weather vision in any other context could be traded or exchanged.
I'm probably fine either way, really.

eleazar wrote:
War:
As expressed elsewhere i don't like the planned stealth system, but i'm not trying to argue that here. Undetected ships can remain hidden. But for everything else, yes i think they should be forced to resolve combat, or else run away. I did not like how MoO3 allowed warring empires to sit around in the same spot indefinitely without fighting. I like my wars to come with actual fighting.
* it decreases the sense of urgency and excitement
* adds decisions that aren't normally interesting
* it increases the number of potential battles, you have to deal with each turn if you wait
* the AI didn't seem to know when to fight and when to wait, thus is probably hard for AIs to deal with.
* Summary: it makes the game a little more complicated, and a little less fun.
The thing is though, if two sides don't want to fight, they can just order their ships to not attack each other, even if they are technically in "combat" for 10 minutes. In which case they'll more likely fight because they don't want to sit around for 10 minutes, rather than because it's actually strategically beneficial for either side to fight. That's not the particular kind of decision-making I'd like to encourage. I'd prefer not having a closed borders option at all and just having "war" be there to define "enemies" for the purposes of the alliance mechanics.

eleazar wrote:
EDIT: my general intention here is to make changing a diplomatic relationship an important macro-decisions, full of logical consequences-- not empty placeholders that may or may not match an empire's intentions and actions.

I agree with that premise, and I think I agree with pretty much everything you've suggested for Alliances/Open Borders.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 12, 2011 6:54 pm 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
Two or more players starting the game unified and not being able to change that status is something I'm fine with. It's arbitrary teaming up in the middle of a game that bothers me.

I'm won't guarantee that it will work in the middle of the game. With proper balancing it might, and since we have reason to include it at the beginning of the game, i think we should at least try to make it a viable but not game-breaking option in the middle of the game. But we don't have to decide that now.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:
1) I think mutual defense is the main point of an alliance -- IRL and in FO. This is the same concept as CivIV's "Defensive Pact". Allowing the player to opt out of any war declared on an ally, makes it kinda pointless to have allies in peacetime. If you want betrayals and backstabbing, someone planning a war could bribe a member of an alliance to end the alliance just before war is declared.
Opting out of the war of course, would mean opting out of the alliance, of course. It's not pointless to have allies in peacetime just because they might turn on you. Besides, what's to stop them from breaking the alliance next turn and making peace with your enemy?

That's a good question but it has much broader application no matter how alliances work.
For instance: Red is at war with Yellow. Yellow offers a hefty payment of tech & resources for Red to end the war. What's to stop Red from immediately declaring war again the next turn?
We'll need to deal with that question on a broader level or much of diplomacy will be exploitable or pointless.

But however we deal with instant treaty-breaking, i think that the normal and default scenario should be that an empire sticks with it's allies when war is declared. Maybe there's a way he can get out of it, but it shouldn't be as painless and easy as automatically getting a dialog box to opting out of the alliance whenever war is declared.


Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:
War:
As expressed elsewhere i don't like the planned stealth system, but i'm not trying to argue that here. Undetected ships can remain hidden. But for everything else, yes i think they should be forced to resolve combat, or else run away. I did not like how MoO3 allowed warring empires to sit around in the same spot indefinitely without fighting. I like my wars to come with actual fighting.
* it decreases the sense of urgency and excitement
* adds decisions that aren't normally interesting
* it increases the number of potential battles, you have to deal with each turn if you wait
* the AI didn't seem to know when to fight and when to wait, thus is probably hard for AIs to deal with.
* Summary: it makes the game a little more complicated, and a little less fun.
The thing is though, if two sides don't want to fight, they can just order their ships to not attack each other, even if they are technically in "combat" for 10 minutes. In which case they'll more likely fight because they don't want to sit around for 10 minutes, rather than because it's actually strategically beneficial for either side to fight. That's not the particular kind of decision-making I'd like to encourage. I'd prefer not having a closed borders option at all and just having "war" be there to define "enemies" for the purposes of the alliance mechanics..

I don't see how the function of "closed borders" can be met by "war".
If i want my corner of the galaxy to be unknown to everyone else, while being willing to trade, and peaceably mingle while explore other parts of the galaxy, i would choose "Closed Borders". In essence a "Closed Borders" empire is putting up a big "Trespassers will be Shot" sign, but that doesn't mean he's trying to break into his neighbor's house, or that he might shoot them at the grocery store.
Don't you think this is a valid and useful distinction?

Also i haven't played much 4X multiplayer, but that waiting scenario seems rather unlikely. Under what situations will it be "strategically beneficial" for warring parties (neither of which is invisible to the other) to sit around peacefully in the same system? If you can beat them, you should fight. If you can't beat them, you should withdraw. Granted there's always uncertainty, and the hope of reinforcements, but that applies to both sides.
Any mechanics that promote prolonged non-combat "battles" should IMHO be seriously reconsidered.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 12:22 am 
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eleazar wrote:
But however we deal with instant treaty-breaking, i think that the normal and default scenario should be that an empire sticks with it's allies when war is declared. Maybe there's a way he can get out of it, but it shouldn't be as painless and easy as automatically getting a dialog box to opting out of the alliance whenever war is declared.
One would assume that one's citizens would generally have a favourable view of one's allies. Breaking an alliance during war-time would probably get a pretty severe reaction from species that like the other empire, so breaking an alliance as soon as war is declared would probably have pretty severe internal consequences.


eleazar wrote:
I don't see how the function of "closed borders" can be met by "war".
If i want my corner of the galaxy to be unknown to everyone else, while being willing to trade, and peaceably mingle while explore other parts of the galaxy, i would choose "Closed Borders". In essence a "Closed Borders" empire is putting up a big "Trespassers will be Shot" sign, but that doesn't mean he's trying to break into his neighbor's house, or that he might shoot them at the grocery store.
Don't you think this is a valid and useful distinction?
So what I'm getting is that if your relationship with another empire is "Closed Borders", then it's "OK" to attack them if they encroach upon your territory, but "not OK" to attack them otherwise. The real question is what should the consequences be for doing something that's ethereally "not OK", and how is "your territory" defined (this is probably easy - just any system in which you have a colony or outpost)? I guess the answer to the first part would come down to citizens again (good thing we had that grand discussion about citizens with their own will ;)). I think it should always be detrimental to attack someone with whom you're ostensibly at peace, so I'd say that so-called "Bloodthirsty" citizens should prefer a state of war, rather than preferring war-like actions against anyone. So you would need to either be at war with someone, or have "Closed Borders" to someone and be in a system controlled by you to attack without political consequences.

Also, I suppose ships that are ordered to blockade a particular location would automatically stop supply lines from anyone they're at war with, or if they are in a system which they control, would automatically stop supply lines from anyone towards whom they have "Closed Borders".

eleazar wrote:
Also i haven't played much 4X multiplayer, but that waiting scenario seems rather unlikely. Under what situations will it be "strategically beneficial" for warring parties (neither of which is invisible to the other) to sit around peacefully in the same system? If you can beat them, you should fight. If you can't beat them, you should withdraw. Granted there's always uncertainty, and the hope of reinforcements, but that applies to both sides.
They could both be spy vessels (for the Red and Green empires), performing reconnaissance on a mutual enemy (the Yellow empire). Neither of them would want to fight the other, since they stand the risk of losing their sight of Yellow, and moreover, it helps Green if Red can more efficiently plan attacks against Yellow (rather than using those resources against Green) and vice versa.

Or really any situation in which the mission of the vessels in question is more valuable than the chance of destroying the other party's vessels, since combat is by no means the only purpose of ships.

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Last edited by Bigjoe5 on Mon Sep 19, 2011 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:21 am 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:
But however we deal with instant treaty-breaking, i think that the normal and default scenario should be that an empire sticks with it's allies when war is declared. Maybe there's a way he can get out of it, but it shouldn't be as painless and easy as automatically getting a dialog box to opting out of the alliance whenever war is declared.
One would assume that one's citizens would generally have a favourable view of one's allies. Breaking an alliance during war-time would probably get a pretty severe reaction from species that like the other empire, so breaking an alliance as soon as war is declared would probably have pretty severe internal consequences.

I don't think we can assume that citizens will like their empire's allies. It would probably be preferable if they did, but you don't always have a perfect potential allies to choose from. Likely as not your citizens in total will be roughly indifferent to an allied empire. And while i think it would be cool if your citizens got upset when you broke it off with a well-loved ally, IIRC the details of making that work were murky.

And negative citizen reaction would be unlikely in the other scenario i described where one empire bribed another empire to end the war against it. So i still think we need a mechanic to to mitigate against instant treaty cancelation/breaking.

CivIV (the 4X game i've been into most recently, and thus the one i'm most familiar with), and some other games simply make it impossible to cancel or break a treaty for X number of terms. I know that sound heavy-handedly arbitrary, but i don't know how else i can be done without making a lot of diplomacy pointless. FreeCiv the last time i played, had no such limitation and it was really annoying when the indecisive AIs would frequently declare war or sign a treaty and within a few turns change their mind.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:
I don't see how the function of "closed borders" can be met by "war".
If i want my corner of the galaxy to be unknown to everyone else, while being willing to trade, and peaceably mingle while explore other parts of the galaxy, i would choose "Closed Borders". In essence a "Closed Borders" empire is putting up a big "Trespassers will be Shot" sign, but that doesn't mean he's trying to break into his neighbor's house, or that he might shoot them at the grocery store.
Don't you think this is a valid and useful distinction?
So what I'm getting is that if your relationship with another empire is "Closed Borders", then it's "OK" to attack them if they encroach upon your territory, but "not OK" to attack them otherwise. The real question is what should the consequences be for doing something that's ethereally "not OK"...

I'm not really worried about the etherial OK-ness. It's a question of clarity. If an AI has closed borders, you know what will happen if your a caught violating those borders. Without a closed border relationship, if an AI suddenly declares war on you while one of your ships happened to be within their borders, you probably be unsure why it declared war then, and anyway it's too late to do anything about it. Interpreting the motivation for an AI's actions is usually a very inexact science.

Also i am assuming that the consequences will be different when "A starts a war with B" compared to when "B starts a war with A". With closed borders the invader when detected gets properly labeled as the instigator of a war, and faces whatever diplomatic and/or citizen reactions may come (positive and negative) of starting a war.

Of course we'll need some way to deal with accidental invasion of borders, for instance when exploring previously unknown stars.

We might have a dialog like this:
Code:
"Your ship has been detected violating the Violet Empire's sphere of influence.
1) Allow your ship to be escorted to the nearest border.  (this automagically happens)
2) Declare War and Fight!


Bigjoe5 wrote:
Also, I suppose ships that are ordered to blockade a particular location would automatically stop supply lines from anyone they're at war with, or if they are in a system which they control, would automatically stop supply lines from anyone towards whom they have "Closed Borders".
Maybe you misspoke, but i don't think blockades are something you should "order". Any system you control is automatically blockaded against your enemies supply lines.

For closed borders, your supply lines would not cross closed territory, ships or no ships, since that would be a violation of their territory. If you want to violate their territory, declare war.

:arrow: The Wiki page updated for clarity and new content in this post

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 2:09 am 
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eleazar wrote:
I don't think we can assume that citizens will like their empire's allies. It would probably be preferable if they did, but you don't always have a perfect potential allies to choose from. Likely as not your citizens in total will be roughly indifferent to an allied empire. And while i think it would be cool if your citizens got upset when you broke it off with a well-loved ally, IIRC the details of making that work were murky.
I think that an empire will be more likely to team up with an empire that his citizens like, and that citizens should be more likely to come to like an empire that their empire teams up with. In general, I think if your citizens don't like your allies, there needn't be any other incentive to stay allied.

eleazar wrote:
And negative citizen reaction would be unlikely in the other scenario i described where one empire bribed another empire to end the war against it. So i still think we need a mechanic to to mitigate against instant treaty cancelation/breaking.
That would be a moment for giving an empire X resources per turn for Y turns, where Y is enough time to get your empire back in shape. If you didn't give the other empire any reason to not arbitrarily declare war on you again, then too bad for you (though there could also be a citizen reaction to that sort of behaviour as well).

eleazar wrote:
I'm not really worried about the etherial OK-ness. It's a question of clarity. If an AI has closed borders, you know what will happen if your a caught violating those borders. Without a closed border relationship, if an AI suddenly declares war on you while one of your ships happened to be within their borders, you probably be unsure why it declared war then, and anyway it's too late to do anything about it. Interpreting the motivation for an AI's actions is usually a very inexact science.

Also i am assuming that the consequences will be different when "A starts a war with B" compared to when "B starts a war with A". With closed borders the invader when detected gets properly labeled as the instigator of a war, and faces whatever diplomatic and/or citizen reactions may come (positive and negative) of starting a war.
I don't think two empires need to be at war for it to be OK for them to fight. If you have a closed border relationship with another empire, and they're caught inside your borders, I think it's preferable to be able to blow them up rather than them being "automagically escorted to the nearest border". In your territory, you have the advantage because you can attack them without any diplomatic consequenses, and they can't. If they're not happy about that, then they can declare war on you.

eleazar wrote:
Maybe you misspoke, but i don't think blockades are something you should "order". Any system you control is automatically blockaded against your enemies supply lines.

For closed borders, your supply lines would not cross closed territory, ships or no ships, since that would be a violation of their territory. If you want to violate their territory, declare war.
You're right - blockades aren't something you "order", but I would like them to be, in keeping with the idea that everything your ships do that has an effect has a corresponding System Action on the tactical map, in this case, orbiting a planet, or patrolling a starlane entry point. In the same vein as not having to declare war on them to enter their territory, I don't think closed borders should be a free "no supply lines in my territory". The closed empire can blockade their supply lines with their ships, just as they can remove other empire's ships from their territory by force, but ultimately it should be up to the closed empire to enforce "Closed Border" status - the status itself would just enable them to do so without any diplomatic penalty.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:57 am 
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Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:
I'm not really worried about the etherial OK-ness. It's a question of clarity. If an AI has closed borders, you know what will happen if your a caught violating those borders. Without a closed border relationship, if an AI suddenly declares war on you while one of your ships happened to be within their borders, you probably be unsure why it declared war then, and anyway it's too late to do anything about it. Interpreting the motivation for an AI's actions is usually a very inexact science.

Also i am assuming that the consequences will be different when "A starts a war with B" compared to when "B starts a war with A". With closed borders the invader when detected gets properly labeled as the instigator of a war, and faces whatever diplomatic and/or citizen reactions may come (positive and negative) of starting a war.
I don't think two empires need to be at war for it to be OK for them to fight. If you have a closed border relationship with another empire, and they're caught inside your borders, I think it's preferable to be able to blow them up rather than them being "automagically escorted to the nearest border". In your territory, you have the advantage because you can attack them without any diplomatic consequenses, and they can't. If they're not happy about that, then they can declare war on you.

Well what if the invasion was accidental? Or you would rather them leave without inciting them to war? Or you are not so sure that you can actually blow up the ship with available resources? How are you going to deal with this without wasting more time than the incident is worth? Are you going to waste playing time escorting the ships across the tactical map?

I realize that a reasonable player might sometimes want more options than i've outlined, but this is not a terribly significant thing to spend the player's or developer's time on. So i've proposed what is as close to a "one-size-fits-all" solution as i can get, that wastes as little time as possible.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
You're right - blockades aren't something you "order", but I would like them to be, in keeping with the idea that everything your ships do that has an effect has a corresponding System Action on the tactical map, in this case, orbiting a planet, or patrolling a starlane entry point. In the same vein as not having to declare war on them to enter their territory, I don't think closed borders should be a free "no supply lines in my territory". The closed empire can blockade their supply lines with their ships, just as they can remove other empire's ships from their territory by force, but ultimately it should be up to the closed empire to enforce "Closed Border" status - the status itself would just enable them to do so without any diplomatic penalty.

Considering the slow pace of development especially on the tactical map, i don't consider it expedient to try to give it an even bigger role in the game. The mechanic of blockade enacted by simply being the only military power in a system is about as elegant and refined as a mechanic can get. But that's not the subject of this topic.

Given the current mechanic where an uncontested ship or planet "controls" a system, and thus blockades it against any enemy supply lines, i'm not sure there is any practical difference. It depends on how "territory" is defined. My working definition: "your territory" is any system where you have a planet (that isn't being blockaded by enemy ships), then somebody would have to go to war to get a supply line into your territory anyway.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:31 am 
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eleazar wrote:
Well what if the invasion was accidental? Or you would rather them leave without inciting them to war? How are you going to deal with this without wasting more time than the incident is worth? Are you going to waste playing time escorting the ships across the tactical map?
If the invasion was accidental, then the other player might not like it if I blow up his ships. It's still not putting him at any sort of unfair disadvantage. Exploring the galaxy is dangerous, and in any case, he'll probably have time to retreat before he's completely destroyed. As for wasting playing time escorting his ships across the tactical map, no there would be no need for that. Assuming I have the power, I would either destroy his ships, or ask him to leave (via tactical diplomacy). If the latter, I would just give my ships on the galaxy map the command to tail his vessel, if that's the only way I can keep an eye on him, or if I have good enough visibility of his ship, I wouldn't have to actually follow him at all.

eleazar wrote:
Or you are not so sure that you can actually blow up the ship with available resources?
This is really the heart of our disagreement, for blockades just as much as for closed borders. Your philosophy seems to be that having the resources to do something should be tantamount to doing it, whereas I say that your ships should actually have to go and do it.

You say having closed borders towards someone means that they must declare war on you if they want to violate your territory. I say that having closed borders towards someone should give you a huge advantage in keeping them out of your territory (unless they declare war on you), but your ships actually have to go get rid of them, blockade their supply lines, etc.

You say that having a ship or planet uncontested in a system should mean a blockade - I say you need a ship patrolling a starlane entry point or orbiting a planet to blockade it.

You say having a friendly ship in a system should allow your supplies to pass through - I say your ship actually needs to drive the enemy ships away from the planet or starlane entry to break the blockade.

In all these cases, the planned stealth mechanics make it exceedingly awkward for your version to work well without giving players metagame information about the presence of enemy ships. In the first example, you enter enemy territory with a stealthy ship thinking you can't be detected. When you get the pop-up to "declare war or leave", you know something in there could see you, even though you didn't have the detection to see it yourself. In the second example, you have ships in the system and can't detect any enemy ships - yet supply is still passing through. Now you know that there are cloaked enemy ships in the area.

By making the player actually do something to make stuff happen, you get rid of complex abstractions such as pop-ups asking the player whether to "hide" or "blockade". Instead, the entire trade-off is manifest in a single "type" of decision - what to order your ships to do. Order your ships to attack enemies who are blockading a system, and you reveal their presence, but break the blockade. Order your ships to blockade a system, and they become more visible to the planet they're orbiting, or by virtue of proximity to the starlane entry point.

eleazar wrote:
I realize that a reasonable player might sometimes want more options than i've outlined, but this is not a terribly significant thing to spend the player's or developer's time on. So i've proposed what is as close to a "one-size-fits-all" solution as i can get, that wastes as little time as possible.
The ultimate "one-size-fits-all" solution is the one where the player controls all the actions and effects of his units simply by giving orders to his units - no meta-game abstractions, no pop-ups, just simple cause and effect based on the actions of the player's ships.

In a single sentence: "The effect of a player's ships should be the direct result of their action and location, and be unaffected by the action and location of ships belonging to other empires."

In other words, if a ship is doing something to cause a blockade, another empire's ships shouldn't be able to stop that just by being there - they need to force the ship to cease the action that is causing the blockade.

Anyhow, that was a bit tangential, but it bears a relation to the topic in that ships encroaching upon enemy territory shouldn't be forced to either leave or declare war just because they're visible to a ship belonging to the other empire. The enemy empire needs to actively take advantage of their "Closed Border" status to get rid of the enemy ship, which will lead to the natural conclusion of the violating ship either leaving, or declaring war.

So here's what I suggest for Closed Borders and War:

Closed Borders
    - If Red has "Closed Borders" towards Green, then any of Red's ships set to blockade planets or starlane entry points in a system containing Red planets will stop Green supplies (or if blockade occurs just by having ships in a system, then Red ships blockade Green supplies only in systems with Red planets)
    - If Red has "Closed Borders" towards Green, then Red can attack Green without any diplomatic penalty while in a system containing Red planets.

War
    - If Red is at war with Green, both Green and Red will blockade each other's supplies whenever applicable.
    - If Red is at war with Green, each may attack the other without diplomatic penalty.


P.S. Why is this in "General" instead of "Brainstorming"?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:51 am 
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I think the core of the difference in how we see things is that this is your desired interface.
Quote:
All action that takes place within a system occurs on the tactical map, and can be either manually resolved by the player, or auto-resoved by the AI according to the player’s preset Tactical Objectives

Whereas i think it's a really bad idea for gameplay and development to continually need to dive down into a system map and reposition ships, or check and reassign orders.

Rather than take this topic off on a tangent, i made a new topic that describes why i think the opposite, i.e. never entering the tactical map except for chosen combats is a good, desirable, and practical. You should never have to "order" a ship to perform routine functions— outside of combat, besides the rare and significant actions that certain ships can perform like "colonize" & "invade".

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:07 am 
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I like the ideas as presented in the first post. And yes, I agree - tactical map is not necessary, although some auto function might be nice.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2011 7:30 pm 
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I tend to agree with Eleazar, the default UI should asume that if I have military ships in someone I am at "closed borders" or "War" with that I want to attack( or blockade)

Perhaps "Closed Borders" gives you the opportunity to retreat. (without war)..in case it was accidental
If your ship is Potentially Undetected, you might get a popup asking you if you want to remain Hidden.(if you say yes you would have to initiate action to break stealth)
If your planet is Potentially Undetected, you might get a popup asking if you want to remain hidden (or demand they leave your territory in a "closed borders" situation)


And I think "Unification" in game is vital to interesting gameplay, and avoiding a pure wargame... it allows a "Diplomatic Victory" to be mechanically the same as "Combat Victory" (ie you are the only empire left on the map).
It should Not be easy, ie both players agree, they should have to pay substantial In Game (not just Score Points) costs.


As for diplomatic flexibility... I think 2 models are possible
1. You get real game benefits (ie population happiness, potential unification) from being with your allies. However, you can 'alter the agreement' anytime you like. ('altering the agreement' loses you the benefit)
2. Agreements are temporary but 'automatic' [your allies attack/are attacked, you attack/are attacked]

I would tend to prefer the first model...promises are worth nothing, except the benefits that come to the promiser from fullfilling them.
You could also have a 'broken agreements' meter letting other players know (including the human players) how often an empire has broken it promises)
However, to start off with, I'd go with the second model. We would need to make sure the mechanism rewarding fullfillment of promises was good.


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