If there is time, it would be great if I can get some feedback on the following incomplete draft for influence and stability mechanics:
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).
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.