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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:17 pm 
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Geoff created a PR implementing a simple, but very fascinating concept: a "Communal Vision" species trait (or, more general, I'd like to call it the "Entity" species trait). As I want to keep design discussions here on the forums (and away from the comment sections of issues and PRs on github), I've opened this thread.

Here are my 2 cents:

I think this is certainly a fascinating idea and will introduce a whole new concept into gameplay. The nice thing is, you don't need to counterbalance a species trait like that, as it's a two-edged sword in itself.

However, there are a couple of things we need to take care of: First, a very unusual species trait that has such a tremendous impact on gameplay needs to be clearly documented in the species description, as well as a prominent warning in the species selector tooltip in the game setup dialog, so that players get a decent warning what they get themselves into when choosing George.

Second, the AI will probably need some serious adjustments to be able to deal with playing George. Maybe someone of our AI team can give a quick assessment about how such a change is going to impact the AI?

Finally, as George are a empire species, we need to carefully consider how we want to handle the possibility of several different empires with George as starting species. After all, the rationale for that trait is "they are a single telepathic entity", that doesn't really go well with being split up into several empires that are fighting against each other. Of course we can just adjust the fluff explanation, but I think it's more interesting to actually stick to the concept that all George in the universe are essentially one entity, which of course will absolutely refuse or even being unable to fight itself.

One way to achieve that would be to only allow one empire to have George as starting species, and implement all necessary mechanics to make sure all George in the universe are loyal to only one empire. You can of course conquer enemy George planets (which will give you vision of all other George planets, that's the perk after all), and maybe allow that the occupying empire can make them contribute to their economy (that is, get resource output from them), but in order to prevent George vs George fights, those planets would never build any ships, their defences, shields and troops would be 0, etc.

The other, more sophisticated way will require the influence and species-empire-relations mechanics in place. Then we could allow several players to choose George as their starting species, but these players need to be aware that by doing that they share a single, entity like species which practically forces them to play together. George ships and planets will never engage in combat against each other, fighting against an empire the George species has a positive relation with will severely impact the relation between George and your empire, sending your George ships against George ships of another empire will be even worse, and so on (the details of how all mechanics and game elements that will be affected by such a concept will work together will have to be carefully designed, but for now lets concentrate on the basic idea).

Basically, having George population in your empire will confront you with very unique challenges as soon as there are other empires who also have their share of George out there.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 6:15 pm 
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Vezzra wrote:
[The other, more sophisticated way will require the influence and species-empire-relations mechanics in place. Then we could allow several players to choose George as their starting species, but these players need to be aware that by doing that they share a single, entity like species which practically forces them to play together. George ships and planets will never engage in combat against each other, fighting against an empire the George species has a positive relation with will severely impact the relation between George and your empire, sending your George ships against George ships of another empire will be even worse, and so on (the details of how all mechanics and game elements that will be affected by such a concept will work together will have to be carefully designed, but for now lets concentrate on the basic idea).


I don't see this as forcing togetherness. Most would probably build none George ships, could be a problem initially if your starting species happens to be George but after you get some other races that can build ships, this clears up.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:17 pm 
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I've always been of the opinion that if there are two homeworlds for any given species then either a) similar beings evolved through convergent evolution or b) precursors playings silly tricks. Regardless, I've never thought that two different George homeworlds would be the same George, one's Bernard but the game refers to it as George because it's the same as George.

Ergo, I'm ambivalent about this idea overall because to me it's not two planets with the same George on, it's two different groupings. If we make a change to make it explicitly the same dude, how/why/what?

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:53 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
I've always been of the opinion that if there are two homeworlds for any given species then either a) similar beings evolved through convergent evolution or b) precursors playings silly tricks. Regardless, I've never thought that two different George homeworlds would be the same George, one's Bernard but the game refers to it as George because it's the same as George.


Could be the two evolved different due to their different homeworlds. But then we get into can the George from the other homeworld commune with the George on the other homeworld if brought into their empire? Would apply to native races in addition to other empires.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:35 pm 
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AndrewW wrote:
I don't see this as forcing togetherness. Most would probably build none George ships, could be a problem initially if your starting species happens to be George but after you get some other races that can build ships, this clears up.
Depends on your understanding of "forcing togetherness". Of course the game won't force you to play together in the very strict sense that you just can't fight each other due to enforced restrictions. But, if we go with the concept of the "telepathic entity", there should be very severe repercussions if two empires (which both have a significant George population of course) wage war against each other. George will most certainly be extremely upset with at least one of them, don't you think? ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:45 pm 
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MatGB wrote:
Ergo, I'm ambivalent about this idea overall because to me it's not two planets with the same George on, it's two different groupings.
That basically raises the fundamental question if a species that's present on more than one homeworld at that start of the game should actually be considered to be the same or two very similar (common origin etc.) but still separate species in terms of game design. The "species factions" idea I came up some time ago would be one way to deal with the issue.

Another approach would be to actually create different species at game start that share the same characteristics, but are otherwise independent.
Quote:
If we make a change to make it explicitly the same dude, how/why/what?
How - remains to be determined. Why - because it's fun? :D


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 2:12 am 
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But is it going to be fun though?

I like to play George, it's a relatively well balanced industrial focused species. If I'm playing George, and there's another AI playing George (and assuming, for the sake of argument, the AI can even be taught how to deal with this sort of thing). How do I win?

Bear in mind that winning, to me, is always going to be galactic conquest, defeating the Experimentors is a challenge, Transcendence is a copout and isn't fun.

If we implement changes that make it harder or impossible for a specific species to conquer simply because, by random chance, there's an AI playing that species as well, then I fail to see the fun.

On the other hand, I have a fiction precedent for a single telepathic entity that becomes split. Anander Mianaii. If you haven't read Leckie's Ancillary Justice/Sword/Mercy series I strongly recommend you do so (everyone that likes SF space opera probably should, same for Iain M Banks Culture stuff and a few others). One of the central plot points is of a single multiple bodied telepathic entity becoming split and going to war with itself.

Given this entity is the ruler of the largest and most powerful human empires in space and each body speaks for the whole and has command of entire fleets it's, um, interesting.

If a single entity can become split, argue with itself and go to war, then two different Georges, coming from two different Homeworlds, are in no way guaranteed to agree, one is the heretic, the false imposter, etc. This is a wargame afterall.

Alternative use for this idea: Telepaths. Trith, for example, are aware and get maluses simply for the existence of other species nearby. How about all telepaths are aware of the locations of other telepathic species, and Trith are aware of the locations of all inhabited planets that are triggering their xenophobic self malus? If/when we do implement the happiness to build ships thing they'll need some help just to get going in the game I suspect.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:30 pm 
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On the 'wargame'/conquest. This diverges OT but it would be good if peaceful 'unification' of two empires was possible (but expensive and difficult). This would allow the 'eliminate all other empires' win to be a combined conquest/diplomacy (unite with some, crush others)


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:07 am 
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Ok, another discussion I want to get back to:
MatGB wrote:
If a single entity can become split, argue with itself and go to war, then two different Georges, coming from two different Homeworlds, are in no way guaranteed to agree, one is the heretic, the false imposter, etc.
Sure, that's a perfectly fine alternative. More or less what I meant when I said:
Vezzra wrote:
That basically raises the fundamental question if a species that's present on more than one homeworld at that start of the game should actually be considered to be the same or two very similar (common origin etc.) but still separate species in terms of game design. The "species factions" idea I came up some time ago would be one way to deal with the issue.

Another approach would be to actually create different species at game start that share the same characteristics, but are otherwise independent.
However, these separate "George entities" shouldn't share communal vision with each other, but only the George which a part of the same entity. Which means the game needs to treat those two as two independent species. The point is, we just need to decide what we want: either all George are part of the same entity, or (at least) each George homeworld at the start of the game is it's own entity (of course we could also add the possibility that a George entity can split during the game), and design and implement the related mechanics accordingly. Fluff explanation and implementation should be consistent.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:06 pm 
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Even if the species factions/variations road is chosen, the problem of "rogue" George ships (built on planets captured by an enemy empire) attacking "loyal" George ships and bombarding loyal George planets will need to be addressed (through species-empire relations, possibly).

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:32 pm 
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These georgists should really form a commune already >.<


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