Expanding the Playable species mix

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MatGB
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#16 Post by MatGB » Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:18 pm

Yup, but if it's in the popup brief description you get on the start game page it'll be clearer.
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Voker57
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#17 Post by Voker57 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:59 pm

Abaddoni are underwhelming as playable race. SubHab is easy to research and only gives them a brief boost, not cutting it as race' selling point. Broad tolerance isn't unique and other races have it together with other boni. Maybe give them huge planet and better supply?
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Dilvish
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#18 Post by Dilvish » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:53 pm

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.
Please don't look for any significant adjustments from the AI team for new species for quite a while. Perhaps we should add an optional "ManualSelectionOnly" field to the species specification, so that any species designated as ManualSelectionOnly would be valid for manual selection in the galaxy setup window, but would not be used for random species selections for any players (whether human or AI)? I would much rather volunteer to code up the parsing and logic for that than take on trying to make the AI competent with a bunch of weird species right now.

I think we've been making some good progress recently with AI movement and invasion logic, and Morlic just did a refactoring of our Military AI to help us more readily make further progress with invasion and general military logic, and I think we really need to keep focusing on that for a fair while.
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MatGB
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#19 Post by MatGB » Fri Mar 17, 2017 10:00 am

Dilvish wrote:
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.
Please don't look for any significant adjustments from the AI team for new species for quite a while. Perhaps we should add an optional "ManualSelectionOnly" field to the species specification, so that any species designated as ManualSelectionOnly would be valid for manual selection in the galaxy setup window, but would not be used for random species selections for any players (whether human or AI)? I would much rather volunteer to code up the parsing and logic for that than take on trying to make the AI competent with a bunch of weird species right now.

I think we've been making some good progress recently with AI movement and invasion logic, and Morlic just did a refactoring of our Military AI to help us more readily make further progress with invasion and general military logic, and I think we really need to keep focusing on that for a fair while.
Fully aware, the phrasing should be "that doesn't need any work from the AI team", so no weird extra mechanics: I was slightly worried about the Abaddoni getting a free tech unlock but that's not a problem.

What I've done is basically ready to merge in if/when I've time to get the stringtables updated, anything else will wait till I've caught up with the solar hull and other stuff I'm testing.

I have many other projects in mind that might need AI work, they're being put off until you guys say you've time, hence doing this as it shouldn't take any effort in that regard as long as I get the AI tags right.
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Vezzra
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#20 Post by Vezzra » Fri Mar 17, 2017 11:27 am

Dilvish wrote:Perhaps we should add an optional "ManualSelectionOnly" field to the species specification, so that any species designated as ManualSelectionOnly would be valid for manual selection in the galaxy setup window, but would not be used for random species selections for any players (whether human or AI)?
Sounds like a good idea.

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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#21 Post by MatGB » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:32 am

Krikkitone wrote: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.
Thanks for this suggestion, I've finally got back to this and put an edited version of your original text in the updated PR, it works quite well.
Expanding the Playable species mix by MatGB · Pull Request #1251 · freeorion/freeorion

Basically it's good to go in as a first step and we can do more as/when we've got time.
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alleryn
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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#22 Post by alleryn » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:31 pm

Don't mean to grind anyone's gears, 'speciallly as i'm new around here, but i'd like to chime in on some points in this topic (mostly in opposition to moving in MatGB's proposed direction at this time).

1. Increasing the number of playable species.

I don't like this idea right now. I like what you said about increasing the number of interesting playstyles, but as you point out, the AI isn't really ready for that, so it may not be feasible right now, unless we manage to insert the proposed "manual-only" tag or something similar to avoid the AI getting stuck on a faction it doesn't have the logic to use.

The new added races don't add diversity to the current cast. The "Replicons" really are just that, a replicate of the George, just slightly inferior. There are already several species that feel this way. Multiple species are basically "+200% research" and a couple other indistinct traits. As mentioned, the Abaddoni are extremely underpowered. Large HW and a 24(?)-point tech, ntm the defensive troop malus, in exchange for George's +supply, telepathic and +150% industry?

I'd rather see a small cast of interestingly different species than a larger cast of what are essentially clones of one another.

2. Environmnetal preference balance

I'd also like to disagree with the sentiment that the playable races should be equally spread across the spectrum of possible environmentlal preferences.

I think the assymetry provided by having more species fighting over, say, the terran-side of the wheel can add some advantage to the races with 'more unique' proclivities.

If you're the only species that like barren worlds, that could give you an inherent advantage in the colonisation race. This can create more of a distinction between the various planetary environments, instead of them all being basically the same, just some symmetric group rotation away.

The only thing that really separates them right now other than that is how useful Exobots are.

~~~~~~
Well, thanks for reading. That's my input for now.

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Re: Expanding the Playable species mix

#23 Post by labgnome » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:48 pm

alleryn wrote:Don't mean to grind anyone's gears, 'speciallly as i'm new around here, but i'd like to chime in on some points in this topic (mostly in opposition to moving in MatGB's proposed direction at this time).

1. Increasing the number of playable species.

I don't like this idea right now. I like what you said about increasing the number of interesting playstyles, but as you point out, the AI isn't really ready for that, so it may not be feasible right now, unless we manage to insert the proposed "manual-only" tag or something similar to avoid the AI getting stuck on a faction it doesn't have the logic to use.

The new added races don't add diversity to the current cast. The "Replicons" really are just that, a replicate of the George, just slightly inferior. There are already several species that feel this way. Multiple species are basically "+200% research" and a couple other indistinct traits. As mentioned, the Abaddoni are extremely underpowered. Large HW and a 24(?)-point tech, ntm the defensive troop malus, in exchange for George's +supply, telepathic and +150% industry?

I'd rather see a small cast of interestingly different species than a larger cast of what are essentially clones of one another.
I do actually have a few reservations about this idea. Several of the player species are getting love that makes them more unique and distinctive, and I too would rather see them be more interesting. But I also like the idea of more options and wouldn't mind having the threshold in the number of enemy empires there are before the starting species repeat is raised. I have more misgivings about cannibalizing the current native species roister for them, without filling it up more first, as there have been some "gaps" for a while now in that area.

But to put things in context, most of the species are just their collections of stats. Telepathic and Xenophobic add some mechanical flavor, but it hasn't been until things like Communal Vision or Telepathic Detection that they've started to get more interesting mechanics. I think that most of the current empires should get some kind of "special power" that enhances their flavor. I've thought about giving the Eaxaw a special starting ship (from the crash they found) or the Chato a special Gormoshk-breeding building (or even a special colonization mechanic) or making the planetary stealth specials malus phototrophics while making Lafena immune.

I have had ideas about working on some of these natives, but less-so on making them playable and more so on giving some of them that have more interesting fluff ways to basically turn that into "quests" for the player empire. Like restoring the Scylior mind, genetically engineering the Dertheans, or hunting down vreen for the Ssslith, or creating a special garden planet for the Silexians. Although some of these could be translated into flavor for empire species, I would like the idea of "quests" from natives. Especially since it would add variety to dealing with them, besides just stats.
alleryn wrote:2. Environmnetal preference balance

I'd also like to disagree with the sentiment that the playable races should be equally spread across the spectrum of possible environmentlal preferences.

I think the assymetry provided by having more species fighting over, say, the terran-side of the wheel can add some advantage to the races with 'more unique' proclivities.

If you're the only species that like barren worlds, that could give you an inherent advantage in the colonisation race. This can create more of a distinction between the various planetary environments, instead of them all being basically the same, just some symmetric group rotation away.

The only thing that really separates them right now other than that is how useful Exobots are.

~~~~~~
Well, thanks for reading. That's my input for now.
My two cents on this:
  1. Having had to deal with games where many of the species prefer the same type of planet I actually kind-of like the symmetry Free-Orion has with the playable species. It makes it stand apart a bit form other settings and makes the whole universe feel a bit more "alien". I would prefer more non-organic metabolisms myself, but I'm not going to press the issue too much.
  2. Exobots are form much earlier in the game when things actually worked very differently, like food existing. I've had thoughts about changing the way they work, like making them at the very least discouraged for machine-controlled empires, or those controlled by species who have environmental preferences in their "adequate" range. Or making them also gas-giant miners.
I wouldn't be totally opposed to an at least kind-of exobot clone as a playable empire, or even just a native grab. Especially if later on we could add flavor to their relationship with exobots or empires that build exobots. Maybe they are abandoned exobots from some long-dead empire? Do exobots make them happy? Does using them for labor make them sad? Does other empires using them for labor make them angry?
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