Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

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Vezzra
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Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

#1 Post by Vezzra »

Tomorrow is the last Monday of the month. So, it's time again for the traditional online voice chat meeting. ;)

Usual time: Monday, March 29th 2021, 6pm UCT or 8pm Vienna/Berlin time

Usual place: Jitsi room https://meet.jit.si/ThoroughNovembersConvertPossibly

Topics: aside from the usual "everything else that comes to mind", there is one topic suggested by Oberlus we didn't get around to last time. I'll quote the full text he posted:
Oberlus wrote:If there is time, it would be great if I can get some feedback on the following incomplete draft for influence and stability mechanics:

STABILITY
Readiness to work for the empire and obey its rules. Not a consumable resource.

Low stability means people is unhealthy and/or discontent or rebellious, and thus less productive, if any.
High stability means people is either happy-and-healthy or dominated-and-healthy-enough to work at high efficiency.

Effects with fluffs that supply people's needs or gives them rights (negotiation), fool them to be happy or committed (manipulation), force them to work or behave (oppression), or are in line with their values (opinion), will rise stability. Conversely, effects that deprives people of freedom, rights or resources, or that go against their values, will decrease stability.

In-game effects from stability:
1. Certain facilities and policy effects require a minimum stability to operate or apply, e.g. shipyards need stability 1+, stargates stability 5+, industrialism 10+ (not implemented, easy).
2. Meter growth is proportional to stability/10 with and without Energy-Force Structures (currently implemented for standard growth with stability/5, and not implemented for EFS).
3. Stability<=0 sets supply, research, industry and influence outputs to zero (but not influence upkeeps/sinks)
4. Stability<=0 decreases defending troops over time (not implemented, needs design).
5. Stability<=0 and defending troops=0 for more than X turns (1-3) reverts colony to unowned or to owned by the foreign empire that was exerting the biggest “conquering” influence over the planet (no influence conquest mechanics for now, this is a placeholder).
6. Bonus to resistance against influence conquest from high stability (no influence conquest mechanics for now, this is a placeholder).

If we can get (4) to work, we would have a working placeholder for influence conquest, by allowing the convert influence points into offensive troops (influence points lower defending troops until a small troop ship is enough to invade the planet).


INFLUENCE
The power of the empire to make people do its bid, it conveys concepts such as loyalty, fear or abundance (to meet people’s needs, be it food, goods or anything else). The same that production is consumed in building stuff and research is consumed in unlocking techs, influence is consumed in meeting people’s needs and controlling them.

Certain effects with fluffs about ensuring people’s needs are met, propaganda, giving people certain rights, or exerting oppression on them, will either increase influence production or decrease influence upkeep.
Conversely, certain effects with fluffs about forcing the capabilities of people or reducing resources invested on meeting their needs will decrease/limit/forbid their influence production or increase the influence upkeep.

Influence in-game effects (sources and sinks):
1. Planetary focus set to influence increase influence output (what planets can do it and how much they produce depends on policies).
2. Some buildings produce influence. Some ships could too (TBD).
3. Adopting policies costs influence (to do: many effects should require policies).
4. Colonies cost influence. Number of colonies and/or distance to capital or closest regional center increase colony influence upkeep (depends on policies).
5. Ships cost influence. Number of ships or number and cost of hulls/parts increase ship influence upkeep (depends on policies).
6. To do: negative influence stockpile must have bad consequences that does not cripple the empire and that can sort itself out without player intervention.

We need something for (6) because not being able to adopt new policies is not enough of a deterrent for players to totally neglect influence production mid/late game after they adopt their chosen subset of policies. Possible negative consequences:
- Adopted policies are disabled (or automatically de-adopted). Issue: this could trigger a chain reaction if disabled policies were boosts to influence, causing bigger influence deficits and making the situation unsolvable.
- A subset of planets with biggest influence upkeep (never all of them at once, to avoid catastrophic effects) gets target population malus and/or stability malus (depending on policies) that increase over time while influence keeps in red numbers until some of those planets rebel out (from stability zero) or perish (from population zero) and then total colony influence is reduced and situation sorts itself out. Pro: it really makes sense that negative influence means unhappy people. Issue: several options to decide what planets to penalize, not clear which one is best.
- Shipyards stop working: I don’t see possible chain reactions or catastrophic effects. Assuming influence conquest does consume influence points, this could work for most of the game, as long as building new ships is necessary to win. The only weird, late game situation in which this could not work that I can imagine is when an empire could manage with their current army and focus on research victory.
- Ships won’t obey certain orders, making conquering new planets impossible, and making more difficult defending own planets. Issues: this needs detailed design; this could be excessive, not sure if it could bring empires to their knees.
That is going to be the first item on our agenda. @Oberlus: it would be very good and helpful if you could join the meeting, as it's your topic.

If anyone else has suggestions for topics, please post them here in this thread.

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Re: Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

#2 Post by o01eg »

Same again because those topic received some improvements:
  • Python FOCS replacement.
  • Godot client.
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Re: Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

#3 Post by Oberlus »

Vezzra wrote: Sun Mar 28, 2021 12:39 pm @Oberlus: it would be very good and helpful if you could join the meeting, as it's your topic.
I have a deadline tomorrow that I am struggling to meet. If I have finished by the meeting time today I'll join, otherwise I'll be sorry but absent.

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Re: Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

#4 Post by Oberlus »

I'll be able to attend, briefly (45').
It's gonna be an acid test for my English listening skills, I still watch TV series with subtitles...

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Re: Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

#5 Post by Oberlus »

Very short and incomplete (I had to leave before meeting was finished) briefing of the meeting regarding influence&stability, with later reflections of my own:
  • Low stability won't cause a penalization on planet meters (percentage), but policies will have a minimum stability to apply, except those that are meant to increase stability.
  • Losing planets due to low stabilty is an option, although not well designed yet. The idea is to generate rebels that eventually wear down to zero local troops, until the colony abandon the empire (become unowned or switch allegiance to another empire). TO DO.
  • It wasn't discussed if stability should be affected by unpaid influence (so that negative IP in the stockpile -> stability decrease in some planets -> if empire can't/won't react, eventually a planet rebels out and influence upkeep decreases, allowing the empire to get into positive IP again).
  • Ways to avert a negative IP situation before a colony rebels out:
    1. De-adopt policies that increase IP expendings (de-adopting a policy never costs IP).
    2. Set more colonies to influence focus.
    3. Voluntarily abandon a colony.
    4. Geoff talked about a way to let a society collapse (some form of temporal chaos/anarchy) and reset influence stockpile (from negative to zero). I haven't thought of it enough to see all implications/possibilities, but design should consider that such a mechanic could be exploited to incur in huge influence debts to get some other benefit and then reset influence to zero (hence earning a huge amount of IP that other empires had to produce via planet foci and so producing less PP/RP).
  • Cjkjvfnby pointed out that whatever we do, the colony-revolt mechanics should not trigger a chain reaction in which all colonies are lost due to long-lasting influence deficit effects. For example (this is mine), if the empire have a lot of IP stockpiled, say 200, when it starts over-expanding and getting new colonies over its possibilities, it could have enough time to build up a large per-turn IP deficit, say -20 per turn. Then, when the stockpile gets to zero and enters red numbers and colonies start complaining and eventually revolting, it could be quite difficult or probably impossible to pay for all those new colonies by setting influence focus in all the colonies or de-adopting policies that cost influence per turn, and a new policy that reduces upkeep or increases influence output could not be adopted since there is no IP to pay for it. At that point the empire can only lose/abandon all/most of those extra colonies and wait until influence stockpile gets into green numbers again. That can be quite frustrating. Since to get into this catastrophical situation the player must act recklessly/ignorant, the solution could be "fixed" with periodical SitReps warning the player about negative per-turn influence (from the very first turn in which the empire gets negative per-turn influence output) and suggesting to get better policies, set more planets to influence and refrain from getting new colonies until the situation is solved.
BTW, in a multiplayer game, a player got frustrated when another empire knocked at his door with an unstoppable force but there was no army to defend and it was impossible to stop the onslaught no matter what would he do then. The problem was that that player over-expanded, not expecting an attack so soon since all empires were at peace with him. Obviously the player will be better prepared next time, but some players could get so frustrated by this in its first game as to not play again (the same applies to the above-mentioned catastrophical influence deficit situation). Maybe we could add a tutorial SitRep to pop up about turn 5-15 to warn a player that s/he might need to build extra army if there are nearby empires, since doing it when the enemies are spotted en route to player's homeworld is probably a defeat already.

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Re: Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

#6 Post by Cjkjvfnby »

I'll just put some ideas for the next meeting Agenda.

- Maybe create the next meeting thread right after the meeting?
- I'd like to talk about some dead code that might be useful in the future for example https://github.com/freeorion/freeorion/pull/3299. This discussion has low priority so we could put it to the end.
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Re: Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

#7 Post by LienRag »

Oberlus wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:42 pm Low stability won't cause a penalization on planet meters (percentage), but policies will have a minimum stability to apply, except those that are meant to increase stability.
Interesting idea indeed.
A way to allow no-influence strategies (like there is a possibility for a no-research one) while putting a real cost to them.


Oberlus wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:42 pm Losing planets due to low stabilty is an option, although not well designed yet. The idea is to generate rebels that eventually wear down to zero local troops, until the colony abandon the empire (become unowned or switch allegiance to another empire). TO DO.
I know it's been discussed a lot, but imho it should never happen automatically, only when enemy Influence projects target these planets. Or eventually when species preferences are not well managed (i.e., you can have divergent species in the same Empire if you pay Influence for it, if you can't pay Influence then havoc occurs).
No-Influence strategies need to be a viable option (I'm not saying an easy one).


Oberlus wrote: Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:42 pm Geoff talked about a way to let a society collapse (some form of temporal chaos/anarchy) and reset influence stockpile (from negative to zero). I haven't thought of it enough to see all implications/possibilities, but design should consider that such a mechanic could be exploited to incur in huge influence debts to get some other benefit and then reset influence to zero (hence earning a huge amount of IP that other empires had to produce via planet foci and so producing less PP/RP).
Very interesting idea, but you are right to be wary that it could be abused. That would certainly need careful design.

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Vezzra
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Re: Online voice chat meeting, Monday March 29th 2021

#8 Post by Vezzra »

Cjkjvfnby wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 9:14 amMaybe create the next meeting thread right after the meeting?
The problem with that is that the meeting thread also acts as some kind of reminder of the upcoming meeting. Posting this a month in advance somewhat defeats that purpose...

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