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 Post subject: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:23 pm 
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With influence coming down the pipeline, a "diplomatic victory" seems like something that will peobaly be in inclusion in Free Orion at some point. With that in mind I wanted to share my thought and start discussion on what a diplomatic victory should look like, and more importantly should do.

First, lets talk about what it shouldn't do:
  • Nothing: this should not just be a "victory message", that leave the player and game is just the same state as it was before.
  • Conquer: this should not just be conquest/elimination by another name.
  • Remove the Player: you've built your peaceful "galactic federation" you should be able to be around to enjoy that.
Either of these are unsatisfying results. Diplomatic victory should be a real victory, and should be a different victory from other options.

Now let's talk about what it should do:
  • Control the Board: like conquest, diplomacy is about controlling the board, so that should be a requirement or effect.
  • Promote Cooperation: conquest is all about competition. Diplomacy should be about cooperation.
The question though is: what does this mean, and how should we show this to the players? This is where I have two opinions. Since this is a volunteer program taking up our free time I think it would be best if we picked one to focus on. The question though is what do we want the "Diplomatic Victory" to mean for the players as both of these options have different implications.

Here are some things I would like to see:
  • Required Shared Victory: this is not just an allowed shared victory. You would need to have allies.
  • Galactic Peace: you cannot be at war with anyone to achieve this victory. Perhaps with a turn requirement.
  • Cement Alliance: the one concrete victory effect I think is appropriate: you alliance is now permanent.
  • Shared Everything: your alliance should share vision, tech and supply. Maybe a prerequisite, maybe a victory result?
Many games will allow shared victory. I think if we are going to have a "peaceful diplomacy" rout we should require this to be shared. You should need to maintain, and possibly not break, alliances to really be a good diplomat. This will also necessitate it being different form conquest/elimination as you cannot get that victory through elimination. Similarly, with this victory achieved, this alliance should now be a permanent feature of the galaxy. Similarly this alliance should have manifested game effects in shared vision, supply and technology. Though you each control your own empires, your alliance can operate as a cohesive entity.

Option 1:
Ideological Victory
This option is predicated on the introduction of government forms into Free Orion: You must have an alliance of players (Human and/or AI) and they must all share your government type. Also if we are going to have "government techs" that give us successively "more advanced" forms of government you should all have the most advanced form of your government type. This would probably require that all other players either had your government type, or were allied with you. However the victory, and any reward for it, would only go to the players that both had your government type and were in an alliance with you. At this point you would be able to achieve a "true utopia" (or distopia) and you and your alliance-members would become immune to outside influence, effectively "ending" the influence game. Possibly through some final "influence project" to end them all.

Option 2:
Trade Victory
This option is predicated on the introduction of NOT gates in the tech tree, and actually comes form a civilization-building game concept I've toyed with on my own: You must use diplomacy to acquire "forbidden" tech to construct some project that symbolizes your supremacy in this area. Basically there would be a number of mutually exclusive techs, that would however all be prerequisites for a victory-based tech that you would need for the project. The only way to have all of the prerequisites would be to obtain the prohibited techs through a technology trade with another empire. Probably an influence project each member of the alliance would need to complete, or a single project they would all have to contribute to in order to claim victory. This would possibly be something that would grant an alliance-wide (IE: mutual empire-wide) boost to defense or stealth (maybe both, maybe a choice of options), that would effectively make your alliance unable to be (successfully) attacked by other players.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:38 pm 
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I agree Diplomatic victory needs to be a "Control the Board" victory

However, I don't think it needs to be a different victory than the Conquest victory.

Instead just have a "Control the Galaxy" victory which is

All players still on the board are permanently allied to each other.

This would involve
Shared Victory
(Galactic Peace..since you can't be at war with someone you are permanently allied with)


The key is how to "cement an alliance"....

To win a 2 player game by "Control Victory".... I need to either
1. produce enough military to annihilate the enemy while having enough influence to prevent rebellion in your own worlds/ones you conquered
OR
2. produce enough influence to gain a permanent alliance with them (we both win)

Since #1 is competitive, #2 should be very difficult+expensive (probably getting more so the later in the game)

I think Ideology might come in here in terms of species having ideologies/preferences.
Different species would prefer different ideologies/values, and so to form the permanent alliance you would have to spend the influence so the other species is ok with the alliance ideology/values.

So when start to form an alliance, the "Alliance" would have values different from the individual empires (and the individual species in those empires)... and so the "alliance cementing project" would tend to cause unrest/rebellion in empires unless you spent influence to tamp that down

Basically option #1... I spend against the other empire
option #2 ....Me and the other empire spend against our own people


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:50 pm 
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Okay so let me explain a bit more of where I am coming from:

Right now, Free Orion really only has one victory condition, a control-the-board last-one-standing kind of victory. Looking at influence coming down the road and the preliminary presence of a tech victory, I figured that I nice choice would be to make each victory condition different from each other. So over here I proposed a sort of "first-one-out" kind of victory like you get with some types of card games for the tech victory. While this would be an intentionally cooperative strategy. Both are about controlling the board, but in different ways. I was starting off by thinking of what I would consider good minimum requirements for a cooperative victory.

I also want the diplomatic victory rout to be meaningfully different in result than a conquest/elimination victory. Thus required cooperation and cemented alliance. IE: you cannot go for both diplomacy and conquest.

My main issue with your presentation is that it suggests a unilateral single player victory for diplomacy. This makes it not really different from conquest, which is not something I want. You should have to work with the other player to achieve the victory, not just be "influenced" (as opposed to blasted) into submission; or be able to do that to them.

A properly cemented alliance should include the following:
  • Shared vision
  • Shared technology
  • Shared supply
  • Unbreakablility/permanence
So you should be able to function as a unit, and no longer be able to leave the arrangement. This last part should be achieved by the mutual completion of something like an influence project.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:10 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
Okay so let me explain a bit more of where I am coming from:

Right now, Free Orion really only has one victory condition, a control-the-board last-one-standing kind of victory. Looking at influence coming down the road and the preliminary presence of a tech victory, I figured that I nice choice would be to make each victory condition different from each other. So over here I proposed a sort of "first-one-out" kind of victory like you get with some types of card games for the tech victory. While this would be an intentionally cooperative strategy. Both are about controlling the board, but in different ways. I was starting off by thinking of what I would consider good minimum requirements for a cooperative victory.

I also want the diplomatic victory rout to be meaningfully different in result than a conquest/elimination victory. Thus required cooperation and cemented alliance. IE: you cannot go for both diplomacy and conquest.

My main issue with your presentation is that it suggests a unilateral single player victory for diplomacy. This makes it not really different from conquest, which is not something I want. You should have to work with the other player to achieve the victory, not just be "influenced" (as opposed to blasted) into submission; or be able to do that to them.

A properly cemented alliance should include the following:
  • Shared vision
  • Shared technology
  • Shared supply
  • Unbreakablility/permanence
So you should be able to function as a unit, and no longer be able to leave the arrangement. This last part should be achieved by the mutual completion of something like an influence project.


I agree that it should be mutual. ie cementing an alliance should require both
spending influence
AND
both sides agreeing to the process

The idea is that the alliance requires spending influence not just as a project, but because it can make your people unhappy (based on how different the people are from the different members of the alliance)

So you (as a player/empire leader) and the other player/empire leader have to team up to overcome the barrier between you.

In a two player game, the risk is
-the other side may let you spend resources putting influence in and then pull out (before it is irreversible) and smash you with their fleet/transcend [not likely if you know how much they are investing..but it would be possible]
-you may get killed off by space monsters* because you are putting too many resources into influence
-your people might hate you enough for some planets to rebel and add another player to the game

*With a 3+ player game, add other players to space monsters (much more likely)


The thing is I don't see a reason for Diplomacy to be a separate victory than Conquest...
if they are
both "Control the Board"
and
both something that you can use 'previctory' in increase your board control

Then the goal is the same, use the "board control" tools to remove all competing empires (by eliminating them or making them permanent allies..the two basic tools you have)

The distinction is not in the Victory "board control" but in the tools

Permanent alliance
-would require agreement from both sides
-gives both sides a win

Conquest
-requires one player overcoming another
-gives the overcoming player a win

Now you might want to distinguish "Control Victory mostly by conquest" v. "Control Victory mostly by alliance" for the purposes of a Victory Movie... but I don't see why the mechanics of the victory itself would need to be different.

but I should be able to kill off 3 players and ally with the other 4..
or ally with one and take out the other 6
or take out 1 and then permanently ally with 3 more to take out the 1 remaining power that conquered 2.


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:23 pm 
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Krikkitone wrote:
The idea is that the alliance requires spending influence not just as a project, but because it can make your people unhappy (based on how different the people are from the different members of the alliance)

So you (as a player/empire leader) and the other player/empire leader have to team up to overcome the barrier between you.
This isn't really how I see the influence portion of the victory operating. More that the treaties and whatever "cost" they uncured would be handled though the influence screen and influence mechanic. IE: it will require a lot of attention and resources that you would be unable to divert to other projects. Basically treaties with game-effects should probably be "influence projects" with a time and cost, signifying the diplomatic efforts involved. IE: you can't just ask to share supply and get "yeah sure" and start sharing supply right away: customs officials have to be notified, procedures for any differences in engineering or biology have to be accommodated by the facilities in question ect...

The question is: should the player decision happen at the beginning or end of the influence project?

Krikkitone wrote:
In a two player game
And here has been the flaw in my construction the whole time. I have been assuming a two-player minimum for this victory, when I should have been assuming a three-player minimum. This would further differentiate the victory conditions. So you can get a tech victory with one player, and a conquest victory with two players, but a diplomatic victory should need three players. This may seem inconsequential, but it changes the dynamics of the alliance building, as you would need a minimum three-way mutual alliance to achieve it. So not only to you have to maintain an alliance with two other empires, but they have to maintain an alliance between each other as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 1:55 am 
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labgnome wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:
The idea is that the alliance requires spending influence not just as a project, but because it can make your people unhappy (based on how different the people are from the different members of the alliance)

So you (as a player/empire leader) and the other player/empire leader have to team up to overcome the barrier between you.
This isn't really how I see the influence portion of the victory operating. More that the treaties and whatever "cost" they uncured would be handled though the influence screen and influence mechanic. IE: it will require a lot of attention and resources that you would be unable to divert to other projects. Basically treaties with game-effects should probably be "influence projects" with a time and cost, signifying the diplomatic efforts involved. IE: you can't just ask to share supply and get "yeah sure" and start sharing supply right away: customs officials have to be notified, procedures for any differences in engineering or biology have to be accommodated by the facilities in question ect...

The question is: should the player decision happen at the beginning or end of the influence project?

Krikkitone wrote:
In a two player game
And here has been the flaw in my construction the whole time. I have been assuming a two-player minimum for this victory, when I should have been assuming a three-player minimum. This would further differentiate the victory conditions. So you can get a tech victory with one player, and a conquest victory with two players, but a diplomatic victory should need three players. This may seem inconsequential, but it changes the dynamics of the alliance building, as you would need a minimum three-way mutual alliance to achieve it. So not only to you have to maintain an alliance with two other empires, but they have to maintain an alliance between each other as well.



Well if is just a pay X victory and you and player 2 are joined if you wish, then it is fairly boring mechanic.

Conquest isn't just pay X Industry more than the other player and you get control of their empire (even if that is what it amounts to)
Instead Conquest is pay X Industry, then move forces around to "cancel out" their spending, gaining their worlds (and presumably spending some Influence resources to maintain+solidify those conquests)

Permanent Alliance would obvious require several stages, most requiring invest X Influence, but also bilateral agreement. there needs to be some interesting complications besides just 'does the other side agree'.

For that you should have some penalties (dependent on how different the species in your empire are) especially at the later stages. Those penalties could then be dealt with by additional Influence spending and/or by some Industry spending (send in the troops and crush the rebels)

For a final "permanent" alliance project, what I would see.
It costs X Influence to add a member to the permanent alliance, any current member can contribute, as well as the member being added.
At Any time that the project is going on, (some minimum of Y turns) the joiner can back out...or one (maybe it would need to be all?*.)of the current alliance members can back out
and the investment is lost if either side backs out.


*this is an important issue, how the permanent alliance decides on diplomacy to nonmembers (other internal stuff can probably be left to the individual members themselves).
Certain things like declaring war/peace need to be shared (as well as letting a member join)
[non permanent alliances can just dissolve if members don't agree on war/peace or other alliances]


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:56 am 
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Krikkitone wrote:
Well if is just a pay X victory and you and player 2 are joined if you wish, then it is fairly boring mechanic.
I would agree, and that's not what I want either.

Krikkitone wrote:
Permanent Alliance would obvious require several stages, most requiring invest X Influence, but also bilateral agreement. there needs to be some interesting complications besides just 'does the other side agree'.
Yes that is why I offered the suggested paths I did. They both require coordination between players in addition to undertaking the project themselves. They either have to be on the same government track (if that becomes a thing) or they have to be intentionally researching different parts of the tech tree. You not only have to invest, you have to invest in concert.

Krikkitone wrote:
For that you should have some penalties (dependent on how different the species in your empire are) especially at the later stages. Those penalties could then be dealt with by additional Influence spending and/or by some Industry spending (send in the troops and crush the rebels)
Explain? I don't get where you are coming from.

Krikkitone wrote:
For a final "permanent" alliance project, what I would see.
It costs X Influence to add a member to the permanent alliance, any current member can contribute, as well as the member being added.
At Any time that the project is going on, (some minimum of Y turns) the joiner can back out...or one (maybe it would need to be all?*.)of the current alliance members can back out
and the investment is lost if either side backs out.
Well yeah. Influence projects will presumably have a time-factor, so if you only wanted to share something (vision, supply, tech tree) it should take say quite a few turns to complete, as it is a pretty big deal. You should have to do them one at a time and these should be disrupt-able by 3rd parties. IE: someone not involved will have the option for a "disrupt political alliance negotiations" project they could undertake against you. That way you have to actively protect you interest in the process. Also it should automatically sever the alliance if you get caught in a "bad" influence project on a member, say inciting a revolt.

FYI: this sort of consideration is why I think all influence projects should have a chance of failure.

Krikkitone wrote:
*this is an important issue, how the permanent alliance decides on diplomacy to nonmembers (other internal stuff can probably be left to the individual members themselves).
Certain things like declaring war/peace need to be shared (as well as letting a member join)
[non permanent alliances can just dissolve if members don't agree on war/peace or other alliances]
Well yeah. Assuming "war" with other players will even be a concern for them. At this point I am toying with the idea that the victory effect might do something like take all invasion troops and bombardments off the board, thus still allowing ship-to-ship combat but eliminating planetary conquest. I'm thinking some kind of galactic peacekeeping force, like the Green Lanterns, Nova Corps or Babylon 5's Rangers as the fluff explanation. Perhaps setting things up to take out a Final One invasion.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:25 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:
For that you should have some penalties (dependent on how different the species in your empire are) especially at the later stages. Those penalties could then be dealt with by additional Influence spending and/or by some Industry spending (send in the troops and crush the rebels)
Explain? I don't get where you are coming from.

Well this has to do with the "chance of failure" and the 'ideology path you are looking at.

The idea is a species would have a preference for things like "ideology"... and while you might be able to mitigate that (or even change species preferences) by spending influence, that would provide the barrier... and that barrier would be partially chance based (since rebellions would involve combat)


labgnome wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:
For a final "permanent" alliance project, what I would see.
It costs X Influence to add a member to the permanent alliance, any current member can contribute, as well as the member being added.
At Any time that the project is going on, (some minimum of Y turns) the joiner can back out...or one (maybe it would need to be all?*.)of the current alliance members can back out
and the investment is lost if either side backs out.
Well yeah. Influence projects will presumably have a time-factor, so if you only wanted to share something (vision, supply, tech tree) it should take say quite a few turns to complete, as it is a pretty big deal. You should have to do them one at a time and these should be disrupt-able by 3rd parties. IE: someone not involved will have the option for a "disrupt political alliance negotiations" project they could undertake against you. That way you have to actively protect you interest in the process. Also it should automatically sever the alliance if you get caught in a "bad" influence project on a member, say inciting a revolt.

FYI: this sort of consideration is why I think all influence projects should have a chance of failure.


I don't think they should have a "chance of failure"... not just a "chance" dependent on randomness but a chance dependent on enemy action.

Instead what I would see... 2 empires have a "relationship level". They can both unilaterally spend influence to raise or lower the relationship level. (Cooperation would be promoted by having much more effective spending if they are both spending to increase/decrease than if just one of them is spending and the other ignoring it/doing the opposite)*

Third parties should also be able spend to affect two empires relationship level (although they would be at a drastically reduced efficiency)

Then the Agreements (shared vision, shared supply, etc.) would require a project and a particular relationship level... if the level fell too low, the agreement is nullified and investment is lost.

*War should be separate from relationship level.
You could declare war on someone with a high relationship level (assuming you don't have a permanent peace agreement) with you.
Agreements would be put on hold/broken, but the relationship level wouldn't be set to 0 (it should probably decline a little bit faster though).
I would imagine that war with someone with a high relationship level would give bonus unhappiness though (but if you want to handle the unhappiness, go ahead)

labgnome wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:
*this is an important issue, how the permanent alliance decides on diplomacy to nonmembers (other internal stuff can probably be left to the individual members themselves).
Certain things like declaring war/peace need to be shared (as well as letting a member join)
[non permanent alliances can just dissolve if members don't agree on war/peace or other alliances]
Well yeah. Assuming "war" with other players will even be a concern for them. At this point I am toying with the idea that the victory effect might do something like take all invasion troops and bombardments off the board, thus still allowing ship-to-ship combat but eliminating planetary conquest. I'm thinking some kind of galactic peacekeeping force, like the Green Lanterns, Nova Corps or Babylon 5's Rangers as the fluff explanation. Perhaps setting things up to take out a Final One invasion.


I'm not talking about the "victory". I'm talking about the basic mechanic that leads to victory.

If player #3 conquers player #4, there are no weird special effects, the game goes on until all players have been dealt with/someone goes out... the same thing should be true if player #3 permanently allies player #4.

The player 3-4 alliance still needs to deal with whether or not they ally player #5, and whether or not they go to war with player #2.

I see no reason why there should be a special "victory effect" for killing off OR permanently allying the last independent player (besides victory splash screen...or maybe a prep for Final One invasion to go for high score)


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:16 am 
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Krikkitone wrote:
Well this has to do with the "chance of failure" and the 'ideology path you are looking at.

The idea is a species would have a preference for things like "ideology"... and while you might be able to mitigate that (or even change species preferences) by spending influence, that would provide the barrier... and that barrier would be partially chance based (since rebellions would involve combat)

I could see that being a thing. But this assumes you'd be trying to ally with species of "incompatible" ideological preferences. it also assumes they would come first, which I'd rather work out the actual mechanics of the diplomatic victory before setting up species-based compatibilities or incompatibilities. Working the other way around, you could easily arrive at a situation where diplomatic victory often isn't a viable option because there isn't a good chance you'll be in a galaxy with ideologically compatible empires. I think most player species should be at least partially ideologically compatible with each other, so that in a random setup with enough players there is good chance for you to be able to go for a diplomatic victory if you want it

Krikkitone wrote:
I don't think they should have a "chance of failure"... not just a "chance" dependent on randomness but a chance dependent on enemy action.

Instead what I would see... 2 empires have a "relationship level". They can both unilaterally spend influence to raise or lower the relationship level. (Cooperation would be promoted by having much more effective spending if they are both spending to increase/decrease than if just one of them is spending and the other ignoring it/doing the opposite)*

Third parties should also be able spend to affect two empires relationship level (although they would be at a drastically reduced efficiency)

I tend to dislike when the diplomatic relationships are abstracted in this way. I much more prefer being able to directly make requests to another empire about their relationship with a 3rd party. Now mind you this still should be able to interfere with the process, but a general "destabilize" or "reduce opinion" sort option seems like the sort of thing that would not translate well between both AI and human players, unless we seriously restricted diplomatic actions based on influence points. However this runs the risk of treating diplomacy as some kind of zero-sum game, which is kind-of the opposite point of a diplomatic victory.

It also runs the risk of just making the diplomatic victory just "hard" but not necessarily "challenging", at least in a fun way. IE: to balance it against the other options that have high costs in production (conquest) or research (tech), this just costs you a bunch of influence. However unlike the others you're spending this resource on others, not yourself. If this can be interfered with in an arbitrary way though "reduced opinion", all it really does is mean you then have to throw even more influence at the problem. Which does kind of reduce it to conquest through diplomats and spies instead of ships and soldiers. Persistent states, like a trade deals shouldn't just randomly fall apart, and probably will cost influence, but setting them up should involve the chance of an unlikely result either way. As far as "wasted" influence goes, given how FO still tends to balloon later in the game that might not be a bad thing for the random failures to be an influence sink.

Krikkitone wrote:
Then the Agreements (shared vision, shared supply, etc.) would require a project and a particular relationship level... if the level fell too low, the agreement is nullified and investment is lost.

*War should be separate from relationship level.
You could declare war on someone with a high relationship level (assuming you don't have a permanent peace agreement) with you.
Agreements would be put on hold/broken, but the relationship level wouldn't be set to 0 (it should probably decline a little bit faster though).
I would imagine that war with someone with a high relationship level would give bonus unhappiness though (but if you want to handle the unhappiness, go ahead)

Okay, see this goes again to my stance on "failure chance", any sort of venture like this has a chance of breaking down somewhere along the way. Now I do enjoy Stellaris, but it has a point-buy diplomacy mechanic, and while I appreciate the transparency of it, it's also boringly predictable. Computer players always say yes to treaties with positive scores, and no to treaties with negative scores. Weather it's -1 or -100 it's still no, and weather it's +1 or +100 it's always yes. No one even randomly decides to take a "bad" deal or turn down a "good" deal, even if it's only a little bad or only kind-of good. They also never come to me with "bad" deals either. Aliens being "repulsive" or "inscrutable" is reduced to a lower score in the diplomatic screen which is more like a mini-game than a negotiation. Much of the time I can tell the state of their economy without needing any kind of intelligence report by what scores different potential trade deals have. It's not too different trying to influence elections either. In this way Civ 6's diplomacy is much more interesting, because different computer players will act very differently in diplomacy. Mind you a lot of it is "hidden" factors, but still, never being quite sure how things will go makes it more interesting. The same goes for espionage in MOO:CtS, I've had low chance of success missions succeed and give me huge advantages, and high chance of success missions fail and get me in hot water. Which is why I think that outside of mind control, an influence project shouldn't have guaranteed success or in many cases guaranteed failure either.

Krikkitone wrote:
I'm not talking about the "victory". I'm talking about the basic mechanic that leads to victory.

If player #3 conquers player #4, there are no weird special effects, the game goes on until all players have been dealt with/someone goes out... the same thing should be true if player #3 permanently allies player #4.

The player 3-4 alliance still needs to deal with whether or not they ally player #5, and whether or not they go to war with player #2.

I see no reason why there should be a special "victory effect" for killing off OR permanently allying the last independent player (besides victory splash screen...or maybe a prep for Final One invasion to go for high score)

I do fully expect that once there is a clear path to the diplomatic victory that every empire will be in mutual communication, and hence some kind of "galactic council" will be able to happen. So gradually enacting galaxy-wide legislation that would progressively bring them closer to their goal until they established a permanent peace and hegemony for their galactic federation (or empire or collective). Various influence projects could contribute to this, in different ways.

Mind you prep for a Final One invasion is actually big on my mind for this. Basically "winning" should do something, but not necessarily end the game. I also like the idea that the tech victors, if they're still around, can be petitioned for help in the final confrontation, like the First Ones in Babylon 5. But yeah, the Final Ones will not be taking planets, so troops will be unnecessary to fight them anyway. I'm thinking that the order should be Experimenters, Unifiers and then Final Ones. But also maybe that approaching a victory condition should be able to trigger one early, that will try to disrupt you.

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:29 pm 
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In terms of how I see the diplomacy game in general working

In game diplomacy is for certain things

1. benefits my empire gets from another one (research/trade/ability to use their supply lanes)..that doesn't cost the other empire anything

2. Getting things from the other empire that cost it things (gifts, peace*, attacking an enemy of yours,.etc.) [usually in exchange for things you give them]


*if an empire has a bigger military and could take some of your planets then peace is a "gift" they give you (in the opposing case peace is a gift you give them)

#1 should be "gamable"
Me the other empire (and 3rd parties) can all put points into boosting/decreasing our relationship

Once it is high enough I can get a research/trade/supply access agreement (that benefits me but doesn't really affect them) without consulting the other empire (and vice versa)

#2 should not be gamable... instead any exchange done would affect happiness on your worlds based on the diplomacy (ie you can make+accept any deals you and the other player agree to... but if it is lopsided it can make your populations happy/unhappy) [my people are happy if I give gifts to friends, and unhappy if I give gifts to enemies... they are happy when enemies give gifts to me]

So by increasing relationship I
1. can get bonuses (that might take points to maintain)
2. make it more likely that Any player (human or AI) I have a high relationship with will want to be peaceful and give me gifts

On the other hand If I work to decrease the relationship (which would also take points)
1. They will be denied benefits (making them weaker compared to me)
2. My people will be less unhappy/more happy when we are at war

Maintaining a high relationship should take continuous work (spending points form both sides to try and improve the relationship.. ie it decays toward 0)... war would make it easier to decrease the relationship and harder to increase it, ongoing peace agreements would make it easier to increase and harder to decrease.

This allows species with better+worse diplomacy picks, and a diplomacy that affects humans and AIs equally
(going to war against someone that you have a better relationship with has higher costs, but if it is the right choice based on military and the game situation any player can do it, and an AI could be programmed to do it... and the AI could decide to work and helping relationships with some players and hurting/ignoring relationships with other players)

Finally by offering a "unification/permanent alliance" that requires both players to agree (and invest significantly) you can allow an alternative to conquering someone you Do have a good relationship with. (so that the game playing players and AI can 'conquer' each other in a peaceful way that fits with the role playing)


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:35 am 
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Krikkitone wrote:
In terms of how I see the diplomacy game in general working

In game diplomacy is for certain things

1. benefits my empire gets from another one (research/trade/ability to use their supply lanes)..that doesn't cost the other empire anything

2. Getting things from the other empire that cost it things (gifts, peace*, attacking an enemy of yours,.etc.) [usually in exchange for things you give them]


*if an empire has a bigger military and could take some of your planets then peace is a "gift" they give you (in the opposing case peace is a gift you give them)
Okay see this is where I think it's a matter of different play styles and philosophies. IE: for you conquest is the goal/ideal and anything else is secondary. I specifically want to have other possible goals that are just as valid victory options besides conquest. Now conquest will always be the most appealing to some players, but I don't think that conquest=default/baseline/"real victory" should be how things are put together. I specifically want options that will allow me to win without conquest, and I want it to be as much of a win as conquest. Yes some players, will always want to go for conquest, and the "proud warrior race" and "conquering invaders" are a tried and true staple of sci-fi, but "not attacking me" just because they could shouldn't be a gift, and peace shouldn't be considered a "cost" automatically. Just like pacifism shouldn't be the complete default, belligerence shouldn't be either. While you may like that, I do not. I'm fine for that option, but as an option. Some people dislike there even being a tech victory. However rewarding the player for having the wear-withal and determination to work their way through the tech tree is a good idea. If someone wants to turn that off for their game, that's fine. But I do think it would be a good idea to have the different victory options all be substantial, and allow for continued play, especially for things like precursor-induced crises (which should also be optional).

Part of this is for a more immersive roleplay experience, my Derthean dominated empire is going to feel just a little out of place bombing everyone into submission. IRL governments usually do at least try to negotiate things before going to war. Part of it is just making things more interesting. I was totally thrilled to see the AI start making it's own Federation for me to join in Stellaris before I could even get one off the ground. I had to consider my strategies when I had a long-time ally in Civ 6 ask me to declare war on the 3rd party with them. In MOO:CtS, selecting my level of alliance with other polities is also strategic, as they will often get put-off by my getting buddy-buddy with their enemies or default rivals. Although not being able to just ask them to make nice with their neighbors did become annoying in some cases.

So one thing that is actually something that bugs me about strategy game diplomacy in general is the difficulty in trading planets (or cities in Civ-type games). Even when it would make perfect sense to do so. This can be especially true in space strategy games like this where there are species form incompatible planet types, and you can both trade mutually "bad" planets that would be a net gain for both parties. This is even more true in Free Orion where you have species from very incompatible planet types regularly, or alternately strategically valuable native species. Or even just a couple of hundred planets under your control at once. Also to reduce border tension, IE: both parties have remote colonies and I've gotten the "don't enter my territory" message, and really all this border tension could go away by trading a couple of cities or planets. I mean I can usually offer cities or planets, but I can almost never get them to accept anything for one of theirs. Planet trading is something I'd defiantly want and definitely want to be easier to do than in other games.

Basically if I am offering you a huge planet of your preferred type, or a colony of Mu Ursh you, and hence the AI, should not only probably say yes and also be willing to give up one of your own. Especially if it's hostile or has a species that really isn't that great for you. Even more true with gas giant species possibly being on the board, as those are strait-up uninhabitable to everyone else. Yeah you can use them for generators or the artificial planet, but that's about it.

Krikkitone wrote:
#1 should be "gamable"
Me the other empire (and 3rd parties) can all put points into boosting/decreasing our relationship

Once it is high enough I can get a research/trade/supply access agreement (that benefits me but doesn't really affect them) without consulting the other empire (and vice versa)
??? I am not 100% certain what you are describing here? A sort of unilateral influence-point treaty mechanic that would bypass actual negotiation? I know as a player I could come to find that particularly annoying. Especially if my relationship with one party affected my relationship with a 3rd party. And again it just becomes a simple game of throwing influence brute-force style at opponents, with little to no actual strategy. It's just whoever has the most influence to throw around wins.

I'm not opposed to a partial influence-based cost mechanic, so that you have to have "enough" influence to get the progressively better arrangements, like longer lasting trade treaties, or closer types of alliance. But even that has a number of possible ways to be implemented. Your empire could have a legislature that might be what randomly might "block" an otherwise favorable treaty. Maybe you both have to build a certain number of embassies in for each other to increase you relationship. Maybe "first contact" takes several steps, that each involve an influence project, starting with basic information exchange, and learning things like language, psychology and culture of the other empire before you can go further.

However two things.
  1. Projects should be able to fail, without the need for some (possibly over-complicated) 3rd party intrigue.
  2. You should have final yes/no power over your own diplomatic state with another player.

Krikkitone wrote:
#2 should not be gamable... instead any exchange done would affect happiness on your worlds based on the diplomacy (ie you can make+accept any deals you and the other player agree to... but if it is lopsided it can make your populations happy/unhappy) [my people are happy if I give gifts to friends, and unhappy if I give gifts to enemies... they are happy when enemies give gifts to me]

So by increasing relationship I
1. can get bonuses (that might take points to maintain)
2. make it more likely that Any player (human or AI) I have a high relationship with will want to be peaceful and give me gifts
This sounds like at the least it might be a road to get the AI and human players to at least behave similarly in that they have to take into account happiness and influence "costs" or "bonuses" to diplomatic statuses. I however don't like a sort of general "reputation" or "likability" that can just be increased by spending points. I'm not completely opposed, but it shouldn't be able to impact your diplomatic relationships so much that it can be a proxy for actually having proper exchanges with them.

IE: I'm spending influence on a project to get the Cray to have a higher opinion of me, but I already have a trade deal with George and I don't have an alliance with either yet. Having the trade deal with George should make them much more likely to want to be my ally, than me just beaming propaganda (or whatever the project actually is) to the Cray. Maybe it could go the other way, but my expectation should be that the Etty will accept my alliance offer and the Cray will turn it down. That way I have incentive to actually work on my relationship with the Cray. Maybe the Cary want a trade deal too? Maybe they don't want a trade deal, maybe they want something else: Maybe they want me to open my borders? Maybe they want tech? Maybe they have a war with the Thrith they want me to join them it? Maybe they want me to improve my diplomatic relationship with the Etty? All of that is far more strategic than just throwing money influence at the problem until it goes away.

Krikkitone wrote:
On the other hand If I work to decrease the relationship (which would also take points)
1. They will be denied benefits (making them weaker compared to me)
2. My people will be less unhappy/more happy when we are at war
Diplomatic mechanics should probably be a two-way street in a lot of cases. IE: most of the time what hurts them, also hurts you, and what helps you also helps them. That way there is a mechanical incentive for both parties to use it, not just a particular human player who doesn't want to build fleets of ships, or wants to boost their economy through trade deals. The way I like to think of it is your embassy should be the carrot and your fleetyard should be the stick.

Population happiness and opinion is something we are going to have to consider, however, I'm of the opinion it should be ephemeral. IE: impacts on it should largely be temporary (even if temporary is 100 turns) and not permanent. I think that makes it simpler to deal with. It allows potential early-game f*ck-ups to be overcome.

It also lets us continue to be vague as to the time-frame and time-span of FO. So if something happened 20 turns ago, is that 20 years? 200 years? 20 months? Who knows. It doesn't have to be relevant to the mechanic. Different species can maybe be assigned different happiness growth rates or severities of penalties and bonuses to give them different feels.

Krikkitone wrote:
Maintaining a high relationship should take continuous work (spending points form both sides to try and improve the relationship.. ie it decays toward 0)... war would make it easier to decrease the relationship and harder to increase it, ongoing peace agreements would make it easier to increase and harder to decrease.
I'm currently of two minds on how influence and diplomatic relationship should interact. On the one had having all your relationships cost influence makes sense, on the other having the right kind of relationship be a source of influence for your own use also makes sense. IE: if you are going for the diplomatic victory, it might make sense to have the permanent alliance (or some diplomatic precursor to it) be an influence well that allow players to spend more outside the alliance for that last victory push also makes gameplay sense. Especially if your getting to a point in the game where getting more planets or population is less feasible. Although maybe this would be a way/reason to encourage planet trading within the alliance so that everyone can maintain high enough influence production?

Krikkitone wrote:
This allows species with better+worse diplomacy picks, and a diplomacy that affects humans and AIs equally
(going to war against someone that you have a better relationship with has higher costs, but if it is the right choice based on military and the game situation any player can do it, and an AI could be programmed to do it... and the AI could decide to work and helping relationships with some players and hurting/ignoring relationships with other players)

Finally by offering a "unification/permanent alliance" that requires both players to agree (and invest significantly) you can allow an alternative to conquering someone you Do have a good relationship with. (so that the game playing players and AI can 'conquer' each other in a peaceful way that fits with the role playing)
My vision for the permanent alliance is that it would have a shared production, research and maybe influence pool. Weather that's a stockpile or shared supply or what I don't know what would be easier. Just having the alliance should offer you a genuine gameplay improving benefit that would allow the players to compete collectively against other players they might not be able to compete against individually. An otherwise weak, but good influence species shouldn't be intimidating for a good conquerer nearby, but a group of them should be very scary for them.

I don't know about shared territory, but maybe in outpost only systems? There has been discussion of a partial ownership with the influence mechanic, so maybe a non-competitive form of that? This might be another reason to make the alliance require a minimum of 3 members, they can all "vote" or changing planet focus or production?

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:36 pm 
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An issue with shared production and shared research is summarized by the question, "Which empire gets to spend the points?"

I suggest allied empires receive a bonus of 5% or 10% of their combined research/production points before diplomatic bonuses are applied. This grants more of an incentive to smaller empires to find a larger patron. However, at the 10% level a large empire with 10 insignificant allies still doubles its research budget. This approach would incentivize diplomacy, without removing independent empire's agency/self determination.


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:13 pm 
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LGM-Doyle wrote:
An issue with shared production and shared research is summarized by the question, "Which empire gets to spend the points?"

I suggest allied empires receive a bonus of 5% or 10% of their combined research/production points before diplomatic bonuses are applied. This grants more of an incentive to smaller empires to find a larger patron. However, at the 10% level a large empire with 10 insignificant allies still doubles its research budget. This approach would incentivize diplomacy, without removing independent empire's agency/self determination.
That seem like a fairly concise solution, and at the very least a starting point for making the alliance mechanically advantageous in the game. Maybe have the exact amount be something negotiable. Possibly require spending more influence to get/ask for higher shared percentages?

Something to consider in the longer-term for later implementation, if we do want to tie diplomatic victory to something like government types, maybe different types of government get different types of "Galactic Federation" that each handle this differently. Which is at least something to consider. One could be a common alliance-wide stockpile they can all draw from (probably a good option for human players, especially playing as a group against he AI) for one type, maybe a voluntary (or semi-voluntary) donation of a portion of the output to the rest of the group for another, or a sort of market that allows players within the alliance to trade their influence/production/research against the mutual difference (interesting but maybe difficult?).

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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:28 pm 
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labgnome wrote:
LGM-Doyle wrote:
An issue with shared production and shared research is summarized by the question, "Which empire gets to spend the points?"

I suggest allied empires receive a bonus of 5% or 10% of their combined research/production points before diplomatic bonuses are applied. This grants more of an incentive to smaller empires to find a larger patron. However, at the 10% level a large empire with 10 insignificant allies still doubles its research budget. This approach would incentivize diplomacy, without removing independent empire's agency/self determination.
That seem like a fairly concise solution, and at the very least a starting point for making the alliance mechanically advantageous in the game. Maybe have the exact amount be something negotiable. Possibly require spending more influence to get/ask for higher shared percentages?
Re. sharing RPs via research treaty:
Make it a 10% (or 5%, or a number depending on some characteristics of the involved species/governments/whatever) of the RPs of the weaker (research-wise) empire. Eg. a 10% research treaty between a 20 RPs and a 50 RPs empires would rise the RPs to 22 and 52 respectively. Makes sense that the one with more advanced tech/science does not get more RPs than the one with worse tech/science, and helps avoiding steamrolling (because the 50 RPs empire would get +20 RPs from 10 treaties like that one, the same as if it was a 200 (or 1000) RPs empire).


labgnome wrote:
Something to consider in the longer-term for later implementation, if we do want to tie diplomatic victory to something like government types, maybe different types of government get different types of "Galactic Federation" that each handle this differently. Which is at least something to consider.
I don't follow the relation between above (victory conditions) and below (stock market for alliance resource sharing):
labgnome wrote:
One could be a common alliance-wide stockpile they can all draw from (probably a good option for human players, especially playing as a group against he AI) for one type, maybe a voluntary (or semi-voluntary) donation of a portion of the output to the rest of the group for another, or a sort of market that allows players within the alliance to trade their influence/production/research against the mutual difference (interesting but maybe difficult?).
Anyway, stock market mechanics may be a good idea, also among non-allied empires (and trading with empires at war with any of your allies would have bad consequences on your alliance status / relationships with your allied empires).


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 Post subject: Re: Diplomatic Victory
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:19 pm 
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Oberlus wrote:
Re. sharing RPs via research treaty:
Make it a 10% (or 5%, or a number depending on some characteristics of the involved species/governments/whatever) of the RPs of the weaker (research-wise) empire. Eg. a 10% research treaty between a 20 RPs and a 50 RPs empires would rise the RPs to 22 and 52 respectively. Makes sense that the one with more advanced tech/science does not get more RPs than the one with worse tech/science, and helps avoiding steamrolling (because the 50 RPs empire would get +20 RPs from 10 treaties like that one, the same as if it was a 200 (or 1000) RPs empire).
I mean I think this might be easier to have as a negotiable option. Just because balancing it back and forth is likely to be a headache, especially as we adjust the various in-game bonuses. Also there might be reason't you might actually want to make a deal that doesn't seem favorable or likely. Also exactly what "research points" represent and how they are supposedly quantified or even work are probably best left intentionally vague. I mean a better research empire might get 55 and a worse one 22, because they're mutual starfish aliens (very likely the way the aliens in this game are) to each other, and thus can get things out of the others science that they don't grok themselves.

I could see it going any number of ways. You could have it set by the lesser party so a 20 point empire and 50 point empire get a bonus of 22 and 52 respectively. You could have it so that it's mutually calculated, and the 20 point empire and 50 point empire get 22 and 55 respectively, which would actually incentivize better-off empire offering trades to less well off empires. You could even have it set by the better off party so that the 20 point empire and the 50 point empire get 25 and 55 respectively, which gives less well-off empires the incentive to do the asking. You could even have it reverse-set so that the 20 point empire gets 25 from the 50 point empire and the 50 empire get 52 from the 20 point empire, which actually weighs the incentive in the smaller empire's favor and against the larger empire.

I could even see all four of those being treaty options, maybe controlled by available influence points for both parties. So that if you're negotiating and your research or production economies are worse off, but you have a lot of influence, you can ask for a trade option that's a "better deal" for you. You might even get the option to ask for a unilateral treaty if you have a big enough difference in your influence. IE: as the 20 point empire you could ask for a treaty where you get 25 form the 50 point empire and they don't get anything in return, except for maybe your pop liking them more.

Although there can be indirect benefits to treaties too. You might actually want to be on the unfavorable end of a trade deal the bolsters a neighbor that's in-between you and say the Thrith or Eaxaw. You don't get a direct benefit, but having a nice buffer-state between you and them isn't a bad idea at all.

Oberlus wrote:
labgnome wrote:
Something to consider in the longer-term for later implementation, if we do want to tie diplomatic victory to something like government types, maybe different types of government get different types of "Galactic Federation" that each handle this differently. Which is at least something to consider.
I don't follow the relation between above (victory conditions) and below (stock market for alliance resource sharing):
labgnome wrote:
One could be a common alliance-wide stockpile they can all draw from (probably a good option for human players, especially playing as a group against he AI) for one type, maybe a voluntary (or semi-voluntary) donation of a portion of the output to the rest of the group for another, or a sort of market that allows players within the alliance to trade their influence/production/research against the mutual difference (interesting but maybe difficult?).
Okay let me spell out a scenario for you then. Lets say there are different alliances in the galaxy. A Galactic Federation of fully-automated-luxury-gay-space-communists, a Galactic Exchange of dystopian-cyberpunk-aesthetic-megacorporations and a Galactic Order of you-know-who-but-in-space. The Galactic Federation could have a sort of common trust for excess production that's automatically stockpiled that all of the different members could draw from as they needed. From each according to their ability and to each according to their need. The Galactic Exchange could have the aforementioned "trade market". Which I could see working like the markets in Age of Empires or similar games where you trade one available resource against another IE: I could "spend" research or influence to get more production, but it would only be "profitable" so long as there is more production across the whole of the Galactic Exchange, and less research or influence. Maximizing profits form available resources for everyone's bottom line. The Galactic Order could use the donation model, with maybe a minimum requirement for each member to "buy-in". Then more powerful members can use the less powerful member as "buffer states" or even basically extort them as vassals. All of the alliances would be predicated on completely different socioeconomic modes of operation, likely tied to whatever the in-game government system is. Now depending on how much diversity or complexity we want to include it doesn't necessarily have to be all-or-nothing, with potentially mixed system alliances being possible. But having different alliances offer different mechanical advantages not only adds role-playing immersion but also makes your gameplay choices qualitatively relevant, outside of "government X gives me better production" and "government Y gives me better research" quantitative sorts of stuff. They wouldn't all necessarily be or even have markets. They'd be different systems.
Oberlus wrote:
Anyway, stock market mechanics may be a good idea, also among non-allied empires (and trading with empires at war with any of your allies would have bad consequences on your alliance status / relationships with your allied empires).
MOO:CtS had a sort of "galactic stock market", but I found it incredibly underwhelming. It happened too late int he game to do anything interesting with, and the shares were really only relevant as a tradable resource once the buy-in price for trade deals got too high to keep renewing them, and that itself was so late in the game that I just went "screw this" and grabbed the tech victory.

I probably wouldn't want that sort of mechanic in the game, for the same reason I'm glad FO doesn't have money. If if was necessary, it would probably get annoying quickly. Conversely, like in the example I shared, if it wasn't it would just feel pointless. Diplomatic trade deals are one thing, especially if you can get things like open borders for moving your ships or shared vision to see the game map as well. From a role-play perspective: why should the hive-mind for friendly worms even care about an economic system that evolved out of apes trading seashells that went though a shiny yellow rocks fetish into whatever form it will be once we're traveling the stars? And that's assuming that other species would even have remotely analogous biological and social evolutionary factors playing into those sorts of activities. I mean each Egassem is basically supposed to essentially be a small country-unto-themselves, Etty are plants and hence don't need to "eat" or even really consume in the same sense we do, and Thrith don't even really have "bodies" in the conventional sense. I wouldn't even expect half the playable species to have evolved something we'd recognize as economics, let alone something as specific as a stock exchange.

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