Expanding the Playable species mix

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MatGB
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Expanding the Playable species mix

#1 Post by MatGB » Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:16 pm

OK, I play a lot of games. Far more than is likely good for me. Over time, I've gotten relatively bored with all of the playable species and want somethign different, I want something more.

What I have in mind is that we have and are keeping 9 habitable environment types in the game. Some of those environments have multiple playable starting species on them, whereas Radiated lost its only playable (Trith) when a former team member was considering removing that planet type completely: as Food was removed as a mechanic, that's no longer going to happen.

In addition, some of the species are nice, straightforward simple-to-play with variant strategies based on strengths and weaknesses. Other species have far more complex rules and are difficult for new players to comprehend: this is in part not great documentation, but also because we want some challenging, different, interesting species to play both with and against. Sometimes, I'm in the mood to just play Humans and see what I can come up with, other times I want to do something silly (like win as Laenfa without invading a single opposing planet: done it once, not going to try again for awhile).

So what I'm thinking is having 18 playable races, two per environment. Each environment gets a 'simple' race without too much complexity, like Humans, Gysache & Chato, but each environment also gets a 'complex' race where you have to specifically play to the strengths of the species and can't just try any strategy with them, like Egassem, Laenfa and Trith.

This means we need more playable species and should move some to different environments (Trith go back to Radiated or perhaps, if we introduce the TRAVELERS Barren). Some of the newly playable should be promoted from the current 'native' mix, others should be new creations.

We'd also need to replace some of the promoted natives, but that's a secondary concern for now.

NB: I'd like to try to do this in part as we finish off the current release cycle, so no new species or mechanics that would need serious work from the AI team as they need space to catch up with other projects.

What do you think of the plan?

Also: in the history of the game, in some cases from way before my involvement, the Story board has been filled with various species ideas, some of which are kinda cool but unused. If someone wants to go through them and collate them into usable, scriptable species that would be great...

Initial work on this up now as a PR Expanding the Playable species mix by MatGB · Pull Request #1251 · freeorion/freeorion
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L29Ah
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#2 Post by L29Ah » Sat Jan 28, 2017 7:48 pm

Sounds awesome, but i afraid it would take a lot of effort to balance the species.
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#3 Post by labgnome » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:03 pm

:D Super excited about this. So super-excited about this! :D

I love the suggestion about bringing is some of the interesting and popular submissions on this board. I love it so much I did a thing.
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#4 Post by dbenage-cx » Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:59 am

Plan sounds good, though I imagine the long list would be overbearing to a new player.
Some sorting method for species selection might be nice, then we can put the 'easy' picks at the top.

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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#5 Post by Vezzra » Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:26 am

MatGB wrote:I'd like to try to do this in part as we finish off the current release cycle, so no new species or mechanics that would need serious work from the AI team as they need space to catch up with other projects.
I'm a bit confused (maybe I misunderstand what you say here), but first you say you'd "like to try to do this in part as we finish off the current release cycle", and then continue with "so no new species or mechanics that would need serious work from the AI team" - that sounds a bit contradictory to me? Do you want to include this into 0.4.7 or not?

Because I think that's definitely too big a thing to include in 0.4.7, if we want any chance of getting it out in February/March...

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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#6 Post by Ophiuchus » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:12 am

Vezzra wrote: and then continue with "so no new species or mechanics that would need serious work from the AI team" - that sounds a bit contradictory to me? Do you want to include this into 0.4.7 or not?
He wants to include new species.

He wants not to include new species which would need serious AI changes to make sense. E.g. a zero-supply race like my travelers probably would need adjustments, so it is out of scope for 0.4.7
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#7 Post by Vezzra » Sun Jan 29, 2017 11:59 am

Ah yes, thanks, now it makes sense. Ok, that might be simple enough to include it in 0.4.7, provided it gets done in time (don't really want to hold up the release for this).

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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#8 Post by dbenage-cx » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:20 am

status wrote:testing requested
Made Abaddoni playable, gave them Large Planet and Broad Tolerance and gave them SubHab as an initial unlock for both flavour and balance
Added Radons (placeholder name), a playable Radiated world robotic species with fairly simple stats
Abaddoni are a little underwhelming, how do you see the playstyle for them? (possibly start them with an Automated History Analyser?)
'Radon' feel like the grown up version of Exobots sans habitable asteroids, they do fill some gaps, thoughts on a rough description?

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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#9 Post by MatGB » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:37 am

dbenage-cx wrote: Abaddoni are a little underwhelming, how do you see the playstyle for them? (possibly start them with an Automated History Analyser?)
I've found them OK, they need to grab planets and colonise quickly, made easier by the broad tolerance and SubHab unlock, they're meant to be a simple and fairly flexible all rounder, roughly on a par with, for example, George.
'Radon' feel like the grown up version of Exobots sans habitable asteroids, they do fill some gaps, thoughts on a rough description?
They started as an exact reversal of Cray, I simply reversed the stats and hit 'save as', I'm thinking fluff text around the idea that they may once have been some sort of precursor Exobot, similar to the Happybirthday, but they're smarter.

But ultimately I wanted a straightforward Radiated world species, and we didn't have a playable industry focused robotic race which given the emphasis on production and robotics in the tech tree felt off.
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#10 Post by MatGB » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:40 am

Vezzra wrote:Ah yes, thanks, now it makes sense. Ok, that might be simple enough to include it in 0.4.7, provided it gets done in time (don't really want to hold up the release for this).
Absolutely not, no: with the caveat I'd want the AI team to confirm the Abaddoni tech unlock isn't a problem everything done thus far can be dropped in immediately, write the stringtables and it's ready to go. I'm basically waiting on feedback and testing Fighters &c, need to do another balance pass on them, and this is something that's straightforward enough it can be done while working on/testing anything else. It can also be stopped or paused at any point if something comes up.
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#11 Post by Krikkitone » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:34 pm

For Radons... I have an old species idea that could fit with them

Replicons.... self-replicating robots (origin lost to history..killed off or forgotten by creators)
poor science, backward society (they do high tech stuff in a very low tech way)
high population growth.. high industry would fit with that too.
Last edited by Krikkitone on Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#12 Post by Sloth » Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:35 pm

MatGB wrote:So what I'm thinking is having 18 playable races, two per environment. Each environment gets a 'simple' race without too much complexity, like Humans, Gysache & Chato, but each environment also gets a 'complex' race where you have to specifically play to the strengths of the species and can't just try any strategy with them, like Egassem, Laenfa and Trith.
I like that idea. Maybe in summer i might have some time to work on one of the many posted species.
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#13 Post by LGM-Doyle » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:42 pm

MatGB wrote: So what I'm thinking is having 18 playable races, two per environment. Each environment gets a 'simple' race without too much complexity, like Humans, Gysache & Chato, but each environment also gets a 'complex' race where you have to specifically play to the strengths of the species and can't just try any strategy with them, like Egassem, Laenfa and Trith.
I like the idea.

Should we indicate directly in the Pedia descriptions which species are simpler and which are more challenging? It would allow beginners to choose appropriately and perhaps allow mulitplayer players to handicap starting species choices.

Do we need 9 simple species? My concern is that the simpler species will be less distinctive to play and to play against. As players gain experience, they want to play more unique species and play against more unique species. If half the species are simple most of the galaxies that you play against, particularly in single player will be populated with simple species. I assume that the AI will be more successful with the standard species. The only other even division is 3 which is too low. I'd suggest 6 simple species and not worry about the balance among environments.

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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#14 Post by MatGB » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:31 pm

LGM-Doyle wrote: Should we indicate directly in the Pedia descriptions which species are simpler and which are more challenging? It would allow beginners to choose appropriately and perhaps allow mulitplayer players to handicap starting species choices.
Yes, definitely, and probably as someone suggested have them sorted so the simple ones are first in the list.
Do we need 9 simple species? My concern is that the simpler species will be less distinctive to play and to play against. As players gain experience, they want to play more unique species and play against more unique species. If half the species are simple most of the galaxies that you play against, particularly in single player will be populated with simple species. I assume that the AI will be more successful with the standard species. The only other even division is 3 which is too low. I'd suggest 6 simple species and not worry about the balance among environments.
Good question and good point. I was just looking for "more variety=good" as a starting point, there's still a pointed difference between playing, for example, Radons and Cray even though they aren't that different.

Hmm: longer term, maybe, especially in multiplayer, have the 'host' player choose which species are available? That could be cool in single player as an advanced option "I'm bored of playing against Eaxaw/Gysache/Laenfa, let's have a change", especially useful if you're getting a run of the same species turning up every time. But that would be beyond the scope of this really.
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#15 Post by AndrewW » Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:36 pm

LGM-Doyle wrote:Should we indicate directly in the Pedia descriptions which species are simpler and which are more challenging? It would allow beginners to choose appropriately and perhaps allow mulitplayer players to handicap starting species choices.
Should we? Yes. But it would only allow beginners to choose appropriately if they actually read the Pedia...

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