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PostPosted: Fri Sep 02, 2005 10:13 pm 
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Cosmic Dragon
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And we should be able to pick their AI behaviour. This will probably be done through government/culture/personality race picks.

eg from a StarGate point of view
Goul'd - Would want to make other races treat them like gods.
Replicators - Would probably just expand for the sake of consuming resources (although in stargate I guess they get a little more personal and focus on certain enemies)
Azgard - Would be peaceful and ally with friendly races.
Wraith - Would want to destroy threats, but control other populations for their feeding needs (they are unique in that their food is alive and fighting against them and kinda goes against the kill all other races victory condition common in Moo games).


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 08, 2006 12:39 pm 
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Have any decisions been made regarding how a race will be defined, in game-mechanical terms? If they are to be defined by a set of race abilities, have those abilities or other criteria been set in stone?

If not, would it not be better to decide on these defining criteria first before detailing races & their histories? That way, forum members can invent race-ability 'skill-sets' with interesting strategic potential, that can then be shaped & moulded into races on the forum.

I feel a bottom-up approach might save a lot of time & energy on the forum here.

I would also be nice to know that customisable races will be creatable in FreeOrion, just as in Moo2. That feature took the game to a whole new level.

F.O.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 10:41 pm 
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I'm voting for a system similar to what was in MoO2 and Stars!. There are several pre-set races, but everything is completely customizable. Thus you can either play as "Elerians" or a race you made called "Psyzz". But this will wait until a system of race advantages and disadvantages is created. (V0.8)

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 11:38 pm 
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Cosmic Dragon
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I would like an improvement over Moo2, in which you could choose the enemy races to play against if you wanted and have far more than 8 players, start each race at different tech levels, so you could have heaps of baby races that havn't reached the stars yet, young races, eldar races and the 'first ones', ancient races, that are super advanced.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 12:26 am 
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The question then naturally arises, how do you keep the super-advanced ones from going around wiping everybody out on the first turn for a quick "win"... Make them peaceful I guess. Which is basically what the New Orions were in MOO3, albeit evil and opressive and just barely tolerant of the other races, but that makes it more fun if somebody accidentally pisses them off -- "Oh look, the First Ones just wiped out the Saurian homeworld in one turn for accidentally losing their temper with them in negotiations, cool!"


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 4:42 am 
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utilae wrote:
I would like an improvement over Moo2, in which you could choose the enemy races to play against if you wanted and have far more than 8 players, start each race at different tech levels, so you could have heaps of baby races that havn't reached the stars yet, young races, eldar races and the 'first ones', ancient races, that are super advanced.
In ST:BotF there was an option for the starting level of each empire. We could implement something like that. It was actually almost mandatory really. Starting a single player game meant you'd typically be in a four-on-one scenario. Starting the computers one level lower made for a more balanced game since the AIs are so xenophobic they would never keep treaties as long as you lived close to them. They would literally declare war simply because you lived close to them.... :x If I remember right, the levels were 1-5.
1: you start out with almost nothing, one planet in home system colonized, and the lowest possible tech levels, I don't think you even got any ships to start with.
2: slightly higher tech levels, more than one planet in home system colonized, and a few small ships.
3: higher tech, all planets in home system colonized, 2 scouts+1 colony ship.
4: higher tech, one colony outside home system, bigger starting ships
5: with this one you start out with about 50% of the tech items already researched, two systems outside homeworld colonized, and a small fleet.

Note: external colonies were always as close to your homesystem as possible. Thus they would quite often suck. I remember one game where I spent half the game trying to figure out how to build enough stuff on this planet (max pop 2) so that I could power a Dilithium refinery. When I say half the game I mean it. By the time I got it running I didn't need it. Hehe... *scurries off to make post about special resources*

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 11:08 pm 
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Space Squid

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miu wrote:
About races in general, early thoughts.

Graphilly are some archtypes that I would like to use. Important: stone-biologic-mechanical-insect and then fish/flying-lizard?-energy-cyborg .. or combinations of thoselike stone-energy, or mechanical-insect races.



In terms of the general approach to races, I agree that we need a defined set of archetypes. Having a set number of race archetypes would help artists to create race pics for custom races, and allow designers to systematically approach the pick-and-choose process of stock races later.

I believe archetypes should be classified mostly in terms of the creature physiology. Although some social/mental/psi traits are very easily associated with certain physiology (e.g. Hive-mind to Insectoids), I believe there are generally no restriction to attach social traits to any type of physiology (who's to say gasbags can't have democracy?).

Hence, I propose the following list of archetypes, and also propose all race submissions identify which archetype (or a mixture of which archetypes) the race falls into:

1. Humanoid
- subtypes can include (1) Human, (2) animal-inspired humanoid (e.g. Alkari, Bulrathi, Mrrshan) (3) Area-51 type humanoid (e.g. Psilon, Evon) and (4) fantasy-inspired (e.g. Ellerian, Gnolams).

2. Mineral life
- subtypes can include silicon-based life (e.g. Silicoid).

3. Mechanical
- subtypes can include (1) fully mechanical (e.g. Mekklar in MoO3) and (2) cyborg (e.g. Cynoid).

4. Insectoid
- subtypes can include (1) ant-inspired (Klakkon) and (2) spider-inspired (Tachidi).

5. Aquatic
- subtypes can include (1) fish-inspired (Trillarian) and (2) clam-inspired (Nommo).

6. Reptilian
- subtypes can include (1) dinosaur-inspired (Sakkra, Grendarl) and (2) snake-inspired (Raas).

7. Gasbags
- subtypes can include gasbags (Imsaeis, Eoladi - honestly I can't distinquish them in terms of physiology).

8. Energy beings
- subtypes can include (1) fire/plasma-inspired or (2) ghost-inspired.

Other possible archetypes
shapeshifter (Darlok), symbiotic (Ithkul), microbial ...

Obviously I don't have authority to set these archetypes, and am not wedded to any of the terminology or subtypes here. This is only a suggestion. Any support?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:04 am 
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I don't see how a predefined set of archetypes would help the artist. Give an artist 3 nouns or adjectives, and that would be a more valuable.

Aquatic doesn't belong on this list. It describes a prefered envromental nitch. Most of the other groups could include aquatic species. Cyborgs also could belong to most of the groups.

I don't see how "Humanoid" makes sense as a catagory, unless humans are the ones making the catagory. I.E. it refers to an extremely specific type of biological lifeform, where other catagories are huge.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 3:08 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
I don't see how a predefined set of archetypes would help the artist. Give an artist 3 nouns or adjectives, and that would be a more valuable.


I agree with you as to stock race pics. But if we have archetypes we can have extra pics just for custom races (rather than the see-through-muscle-humanoid pic in MoO2). I acknowledge this may be a trivial benefit.

As to the other benefit of having physiological archetypes - namely easier categorization for design purposes - I believe it is a substantial benefit. First of all, don't we want to see at least one of each "familiar" physiological archetypes? I can't imagine a space 4X game that doesn't have a Klakkon-like insectoid and Mekklar-like robots...

eleazar wrote:
Aquatic doesn't belong on this list. It describes a prefered envromental nitch. Most of the other groups could include aquatic species. Cyborgs also could belong to most of the groups.


It does describe an EP of the races. However, I think the difference between an aquatic Humanoid and an aquatic reptillian is smaller than the difference between a land-based reptillian and an aquatic reptillian in terms of gameplay mechanics. That's why I created a separate category for aquatics. The same reasoning applies to cyborgs - what matters is that they consume half food and half hammer, rather than whether their withered body inside the mech suit is based on humanoid or aquatic race.

On a related note, I believe the race archetypes can correspond to each spoke of the EP wheel. In that way, you can provide the player with the "why" - why this type of race evolved and achieved sentience in so-and-so environment - and therefore more realistic AND fun.

eleazar wrote:
I don't see how "Humanoid" makes sense as a catagory, unless humans are the ones making the catagory. I.E. it refers to an extremely specific type of biological lifeform, where other catagories are huge.


Again, in biological sense you're right. However, I'm using this in a very loose sense - you can see it from the enumerated subtypes - animal-inspired (obviously excluding fishes and reptiles), sci-fi style bipeds and fantasy creatures. Maybe I can define "Humanoid" as "carbon-based air-breathing upstanding sentient lifeforms that are not covered by any other archetypes", but that would be too long. Anyway, I think the abundance of prior MoO Humanoid races proves that this is a well-established category that is quite intuitive to all 4x players. Do you agree?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:30 pm 
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SowerCleaver wrote:
However, I think the difference between an aquatic Humanoid and an aquatic reptillian is smaller than the difference between a land-based reptillian and an aquatic reptillian in terms of gameplay mechanics. That's why I created a separate category for aquatics. The same reasoning applies to cyborgs - what matters is that they consume half food and half hammer...

I think you are assuming that races will work very similarly to Moo2 or Moo3. It's possible that they may, or they may not. A lot depends on what will work with parts of the game that haven't yet been built. FO is and will be much more different from MOO# than FreeCiv is from Civilization.

While it's fine to discuss these things, it's quite premature to establish race catagories "in terms of gameplay mechanics" when those mechanics are very much up in the air.


Personally i prefer a more "hard sci-fi" approach were aliens are actually alien, and not humanoids with funny heads and skin. But i'd draw a line on the other side too. I have a hard time seeing how aliens as strange as sentient nebulas man-sized "energy beings" would care about the core apsects of the game— things that humans would: improving of planets, building of fleets, acquisition of physical resources, and exploration of physical sciences. Calling the ships "energy ships" just sounds to me like a cheap short-cut of something so different that it deserves some radically different rules.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 9:53 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
Personally i prefer a more "hard sci-fi" approach were aliens are actually alien, and not humanoids with funny heads and skin. But i'd draw a line on the other side too. I have a hard time seeing how aliens as strange as sentient nebulas man-sized "energy beings" would care about the core apsects of the game— things that humans would: improving of planets, building of fleets, acquisition of physical resources, and exploration of physical sciences. Calling the ships "energy ships" just sounds to me like a cheap short-cut of something so different that it deserves some radically different rules.


I share your preference. Although I listed "animal-inspired humanoids" and "fantasy-inspired humanoids" for the sake of completeness, I absolutely prefer that guy-in-a-suit races don't show up in FO. Before its release, I thought MoO3 would be awesome just because of their attempt to go more realistic - although it turned out to be a sucker in many other respects.

Also, as an archetype, I agree that energy beings do not share the same goals as other races and therefore probably not suitable. I realized that I omitted plant races - maybe #8 can be replaced with plantoids.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:01 am 
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Cosmic Dragon
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For now it is probably ok to put races in categories as you have done SowerCleaver simply because categories such as Humanoid provide a very good description of what that race looks or acts like.

In the future we can always create more realistic categories to put them in or decide that they shouldn't be in the game, eg keep energy beings for now, we'll decide if they are not in the game much later.

Personally I think that energy beings should be in the game. Them thinking differently to humans is no different to any other aliens thinking differently, eg Rock races obviously would be different too, but hey let's keep them.

Also add plants as a category, cause plants are cool, and I imagine them being similar to the Vorlons except more plant like, ie using seeds more to expand, etc.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 10:25 pm 
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I had another thought as to race design mechanics. One way to battle boredom with regard to races is to have a completely open race list - meaning players should be able to share user-created races over the internet. Of course, when v1.0 is released FO can come with a certain number of stock races. They should be well-balanced compared to each other so that they can be reliably used for MP purposes. However, if players can create brand-new races and share them, we can accomodate very diverse alien races that can go way off-chart from the established race archetypes, and thus adding variety and replayability.

One related question would be whether race picks could be "open" as well - if so, it would be awesome since it would allow truly "unique" races to be added after the release of stock races. But I acknowledge that this may pose technical issues in terms of game design.

Another idea for wacky races that really don't fit well with archetypes and stock races - rather than throwing them away, they can be turned into minor races (e.g. planetary special or "uplifted" races).


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 1:43 am 
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They way this game is being built, i can't imagine that players would be prevented from making their own races. At worst, racial definitions will be a text document and some images. At best there will be an interface for creating, downloading, and possibly uploading races. The game would have a small set of graphics for custom races, or better users would create their own.

Governments will be Alpha-Centauri-style. I imagine that many racial (dis)advantages will will adjust the same scales that governments do. That combined with environmental preferences is probably the minimum differentiation that races could recieve by 1.0.

I hope we also have time to design a few alternate rules, like "Metalovore" which would apply to robots and silicoids, races that need only metal for "food". Dwellers on Gas Giants (if included) would probably also need some special rules, otherwise i can't think of anything major which can't be accomplished through bonuses and maluses.

I don't know what you mean by "open race picks." However, I believe there will be limits on the advantages you can give your race, otherwise multiplayer with custom races wont' be fun. For purposes of multiplayer there needs to be a way to make sure each race is "ballanced" that is the sum of it's advantages and disadvantages are equal to the other human player's sums. I don't see how that would be possible if the design of aliens was completely open ended.


Why in the world would we "throw away" a race from the game because it didn't fit a stock alien stereotype? If you read through some of the ideas for races, you'll see many of them aren't stereotypical.


Last edited by eleazar on Wed Dec 20, 2006 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:18 pm 
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eleazar wrote:
I hope we also have time to design a few alternate rules, like "Metalovore" which would apply to robots and silicoids, races that need only metal for "food". Dwellers on Gas Giants (if included) would probably also need some special rules, otherwise i can't think of anything major which can't be accomplished through bonuses and maluses.


I understand you are referring to "qualitative" race picks (which will require new rules in gameplay mechanics) here rather than SMAC-style "quantitative" race picks (which will merely require numerical modifiers). I believe "qualitative" race picks are must-haves for stock races. In MoO2 terms, picks like "lithovore", "cybernetic", "telepathic" and "omniscient" allows a totally different strategy in scale compared to "research +1" or "pop growth +100%". If not all, I believe most of stock races should have one or more of defining qualitative character. This is why I couldn't tell the difference of Sakkra from Raas from Grendarl in MoO3.

eleazar wrote:
I don't know what you mean by "open race picks." However, I believe there will be limits on the advantages you can give your race, otherwise multiplayer with custom races wont' be fun. For purposes of multiplayer there needs to be a way to make sure each race is "ballanced" that is the sum of it's advantages and disadvantages are equal to the other human player's sums. I don't see how that would be possible if the design of aliens was completely open ended.


Sure, I think the total pick numbers that can be used for racial bonus and malus need to be the same throughout the custom races. What I meant by "open race picks" was the ability to add "qualitative" racial picks on the fly, but I guess it cannot be implemented other than a mod.

eleazar wrote:
Why in the world would we "throw away" a race from the game because it didn't fit a stock alien stereotype? If you read through some of the ideas for races, you'll see many of them aren't stereotypical.


We do not need to throw away a unique race for not fitting in a stock archetype. However, I would assume that not all of the submissions posted in this forum (with varying degrees of completeness, adaptability to game mechanics and general quality) would be picked up for purposes of stock races. Since "minor races" would need less in terms of the traits required for stock races, I'm suggesting using the posts that don't make it to the stock races for minor race purposes.


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