Simulating Citizens

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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#256 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Feb 11, 2010 10:16 am

Krikkitone wrote:
Why do we need to add incentives for empires to "suck up" to other empires to boost species allegiance? This seems like it's trying to use the whole system backwards; players should be pampering or pandering to species that are present in or will come into contact with other empires, to manipulate what the other empires can do.
If the Blue Empire has Psilons

How does increased Red Empire-Psilon Allegiance limit the Blue empires actions towards Red?
It's not just about limiting what Blue can do to Red, it's about limiting and enabling things that Red and Blue can do to eachother:
* If Psilon allegiance to Red is higher than Psilon allegiance to Blue, and Blue captures a red Psilon planet, there could a large penalty to happiness on the planet, making Red somewhat less appealing for Blue to invade.
* If a Blue Psilon planet is near the Red empire, and Psilons have low allegiance to Blue but high allegiance to Red, and the planet is prone to revolting, it might join the Red empire unless heavily garissoned, so Blue needs to keep lots of ground troops in place, which could be expensive. Red also has motivation to use espionage or propeganda or thought control or ??? to make the planet unhappy, so that it is more prone to revolting.
* If Psilon allegiance to Red is much higher than to Blue, there would likely be espionage or economic actions possible for Red acting on Blue planets, but impossible for Blue acting on Red planets.
* If Psilons have high allegiance to Red, Blue Psilon planets could get happiness (no allegiance) target bonuses if Blue maintains appropriate treaties with Red. Conversely, if Psilons have low allegiance to Blue, Red Psilon planets could get happiness target penalties if Red maintains inappropriate treaties with Blue.

Also:
* If Red has other reasons to want to maintain treaties or agreements with Blue that Red's Psilons object to, Red might request that Blue change a social engineering setting or perform actions to make Psilons like Blue better, so that Red can avoid the happiness penalties from having the treaty with the disliked empire. This happens without actually modifying Blue or Red's allegiances with Psilons directly in response to the treaty. The change in allegiance would be due to Blue changing its social engineering.
If it impacts "Local Conditions"/"Discontent" then it can have some effect, but that is complicated
If you insist on calling happiness as "local conditions" to emphasize that it's more localized that allegiance as its main notable characteristic, then yes, it's protentially a bit confusing. But see my previous posts: with suitable description of what different things happines and allegiance are meant to represent, and what the consequences of their values changing are, those can be the main features of note and distinction about the two values, and the locally-varying vs. single-value-per-species difference can be just a detail.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#257 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:49 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:is a better incentive to suck up to empires towards whom your species have high allegiance
Why do we need to add incentives for empires to "suck up" to other empires to boost species allegiance? This seems like it's trying to use the whole system backwards; players should be pampering or pandering to species that are present in or will come into contact with other empires, to manipulate what the other empires can do. If an empire wants to boost allegiance of a species to the empire, the empire should do so by being more like that species' ideal empire.

Also, having allegiance of a species to an empire depend on that empire's actions towards another empire and that species' allegiance to the other empire ends up mixing allegiances between empires in a complicated and confusing way. It also makes the conceptual meaning of allegiance less clear; allegiance should be an indication of a species' opinion of what an empire is or ideals the empire holds, or things the empire does that directly affect the species.
That's fine. After some thought, I have no objections to such actions affecting happiness directly. This still allows very interesting strategies, for example:

Black empire maxes out his diplomatic, espionage and trade production picks, at the expense of all other resource production. He keeps every race's allegiance to him at about 75, but has the flexibility to increase that to 80 or 85 in a relatively short period of time, at a similar expense of other species' allegiance.

Naturally, all other empires are infiltrated to some extent, but Green empire is the one into which he has been pouring trade, to really increase espionage. Nearly every world is infiltrated, and a small fraction of his fleet is sufficiently infiltrated for him to be able to take control of it at any given time. His spies have been stealing resources, to make up for his own lack of production, but now he changes them to focus on terrorism, causing massive decreases in happiness throughout Green empire. What does Green do? His own citizens are turning against him, so naturally he will boost happiness in whatever way possible, including, most notably, giving gifts of resources, ships and technology to an empire towards whom his citizens have very high allegiance: the Black empire. Black can accumulate and use these ships and resources until he thinks he can take Green. Green thinks all is well, since he can fairly easily provide Black with enough resources to keep his own people happy, but then, the unthinkable happens: Black stops accepting his gifts.

Green empire's planets' happiness plummets, and Black takes this opportunity to incite rebellions on Green's worlds (presumably, espionage can cause real rebel action to be taken even if allegiance is above 20). Green's empire is in shambles, with rebels everywhere, and Black chooses this moment to invade the Green empire and conquer what's left. During the decisive battle, Black's operatives take control of that portion of the fleet that they had infiltrated, and Green is soundly defeated.

Not a strategy without weaknesses and vulnerability of course - like all strategies, it can be countered and defeated under the right circumstances, but a very interesting strategy nonetheless, IMO.

So yeah, that's why I'm fine with (and would even prefer, after some thought) such actions affecting happiness directly rather than altering alignment scales.
RonaldX wrote:BigJoe offers a slightly different take on this in order to prevent players from shifting allegiances easily:
- Alignment is a tracked value with limits, it changes based on a growth rate defined by your decisions (how many empires you are at war with vs. at peace with, what governmental style you are in, etc.) It does not function asymptotically but pushes a player towards the extremes of alignments at all times unless they change their policies to reverse the trend.
- Allegiance is a tracked value with limits, it changes based on a growth rate defined by a combination of Ethical Compatibility and Species Treatment. It does not function asymptotically but pushes a player towards the extremes of Allegiance at all times unless they change their policies to reverse the trend.
- Happiness is a tracked value with limits, it changes based on a growth rate defined by a combination of Allegiance and Local Factors. It does not function asymptotically but pushes a player towards the extremes of happiness at all times unless they change their policies to reverse the trend.
Pros: Most realistic model, represents the trend of a generally well treated people to grow more enamored of a leader, and of a generally poorly treated people to grow more and more unhappy with a leader.
Cons: More complex, less intuitive. Values are never stable unless at one extreme or the other without significant micromanagement (note 1).
Could go either way: Players in the end-game are essentially locked into an alignment.

***

(note 1) I say significant micromanagement here because I'm not entirely sure on how the best way to handle this is, math-wise. The concept sounds good until I try to apply numbers to it. For example If I make the bloodthirst scale shift +1 for every race I'm at war with, and -1 for every race I'm at peace with, then I have to willingly invite more enemies than I can maybe handle just to keep my bloodthirsty people happy with me, and the inverse is true for pacifistic races. A system like this would require heavy duty balancing in order to make it actually functional. Keeping it simple programming-wise makes it extremely difficult for the player (tons of micromanagement), and keeping it simple player-wise makes it extremely difficult for the programmer (and hides the math, making it less intuitive for the player).
You're assuming that unwanted war will cause a change in alignment growth the same way as a war which the empire supports openly. The Federation isn't considered bloodthirsty because it's at war with the Klingons, is it? Only actions which the player chooses should ever affect alignment.

Something like the following is necessary regardless of what system of allegiance is chosen, so I don't consider its awkwardness to be a reflection of the alignment system I'm proposing. In this particular case, the player would have to specify, for each war he enters, whether or not his empire approves of the war, or if they are only acting in self-defense. The default would be for the empire who declared war to start with the bloodthirsty setting and the empire upon whom war was declared to start with the self-defense setting, but either player could switch from one to the other, perhaps at the cost of trade, or perhaps it would cost trade to switch to the self-defense setting, but not to the bloodthirsty setting. This way, the defender gets a little political advantage, since he can put whatever spin he wants on the war without cost. As I've said, this might be a little awkward, and I suspect that this wouldn't completely solve the problem you have with my system either.

However, I have a solution that completely removes from my system the cons you mentioned, and even helps swing the "Could go either way" towards being a pro.

Propaganda

Yes, I am adding another feature to my system, but this will not add complexity - on the contrary, I expect this to make things extremely easy on both player and programmer. Here's what I have in mind:

Alignments have a very low growth rate. Under normal circumstances, I would say that they should never exceed 1 or 2. Propaganda allows the player to manipulate the growth rate of his alignment meters, up to a value of (tentatively) 1 per turn, at the cost of Trade. There's no need to constantly check and micromanage all of your imperial policies to keep your alignment meters balanced - you can just use Propaganda to make up the extra .1 or .2 of unwanted growth, and the problem vanishes.

Now you're going to say, "but now I have to micromanage Propaganda instead. Every time I change a policy, I have to go into the alignment screen and set new Propaganda values to keep my alignments level. That's not really much better..." However, that won't actually be necessary. A simple system of Propaganda like this would allow the player to actually set a "Target" level for their alignment scales, so that The amount of Propaganda being used automatically changes when you change a policy. Here's a quick example:

Yellow empire has a Bloodthirstiness of 45, but wants a Bloodthirstiness of 40. His current alignment growth is + 0.1. He chooses

-The target value for his Propaganda for that meter, and
-The maximum change in alignment growth due to Propaganda per turn (Max Propaganda Level)

So first, he sets the target to 40. Then, if he's a big spender, he'll set the Max Propaganda Level to -1, costing a great deal of Trade per turn, but getting him down to 40 in just 6 turns (0.1 - 1 = -0.9, 45 -> 44.1 -> 43.2 -> 42.3 -> 41.4 -> 40.5 -> 40). As you can see, as soon as the target is within range, the Propaganda Level decreases from the player defined maximum so that it's just enough to reach the player defined target, then further decreases so that it only just cancels out alignment growth due to other factors. No fuss, no micro, just a simple, one-time setting. Now if the player is a cheapskate, he'll set the Max Propaganda Level to -0.2, spending less Trade overall, but spending a good 50 turns getting to the target, barring any events which shift away from target, or changes in policy which change the growth rate (perhaps, if alignment growth began moving away from the player-defined target due to natural growth surpassing Max Propaganda Level, the player would be prompted to review his Propaganda policies). Once again though, no fuss, no micro.

Other relevant points:

-The amount of Trade expended for 1 point of Propaganda should be significantly more than 10 times as expensive as 0.1 points of Propaganda. First of all, this will make just .1 or .2 points of Propaganda extremely cheap, which will allow essentially any player to easily make up for a few decimal points of alignment growth using Propaganda, so the player only has to move to the extreme end of the alignment scale if he really chooses to. This has the added advantage that players in the end-game who are "essentially locked" into an alignment are there because they deliberately chose that alignment, not because they accidentally drifted there due to not micromanaging enough. Secondly, this means that since a whole point of Propaganda is extremely expensive, only players with lots and lots of Trade will be able to make up for significant inconsistencies between what they do and how they want to appear, which is good, IMO.

-The amount of Trade expended is based on the Current Propaganda Level, not the Max Propaganda Level (note that I'm using the terms "current" and "max" in a very different way than current and max meter values). This means that in the above situation, Yellow would be paying for 1 point of Propaganda for each of the first 5 turns, then for 0.6 points of Propaganda for the 6th turn, then 0.1 points of Propaganda for all the subsequent turns, to hold the alignment value in place. If something in the Yellow empire changes which increases Bloodthirstiness growth by .1, then Yellow will subsequently have to pay for .2 points of Propaganda each turn, but he will not have to do any additional management, nor will his alignment scale shift from the target value of 40.

-Trade should not be expended if the Propaganda has no effect. For example, if a player has Bloodthirstiness of 100 and a natural alignment growth of +0.5, the any amount of Propaganda equal to or greater than -0.5 will not cost anything. Propaganda of -0.6 or lower though, would still cost the same as it always would; even if the net change is only -0.1, the player is still charged for 0.6 points of Propaganda.

Does anyone have any objections to this system now that any annoying difficulties in managing alignment scales has been removed by Propaganda?
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#258 Post by eleazar » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:14 pm

The Distinction between Happiness & Allegiance
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:If it impacts "Local Conditions"/"Discontent" then it can have some effect, but that is complicated
If you insist on calling happiness as "local conditions" to emphasize that it's more localized that allegiance as its main notable characteristic, then yes, it's protentially a bit confusing. But see my previous posts: with suitable description of what different things happines and allegiance are meant to represent, and what the consequences of their values changing are, those can be the main features of note and distinction about the two values, and the locally-varying vs. single-value-per-species difference can be just a detail.
You don't understand. Happiness and allegiance don't represent different things. The only significant distinction is scale. That's why you could argue way back in this thread that the concepts weren't distinct enough and should be rolled into one meter. We could still do that now, except that would leave us with each planet having it's own batch of allegiance meters toward every single empire (a system that allows all kinds of effects, but which would be a major pain for the player to come to grips with). Allegiance is like the wide end of a funnel, and Happiness is the narrow end. The Allegiance side is specific as to species, and the Happiness side is specific as to location. This is a very deliberate choice, as we've wrestled then abandoned with a lot of systems in an attempt to keep the big-picture galactic politics stuff concrete and hard-edged enough to understand, while allowing local variation, that keeps your empire from behaving as totally homogeneous blocks. Happiness and Allegiance are both essentially about determining the answer to one question: Does this planet like it's rulers, or will it try to rebel and join a different empire.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#259 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:37 pm

Actually, you're forgetting an even more significant distinction: Allegiance is directed towards a particular empire. Effects which do not need to be directed towards a particular empire, or are meant to affect only the owner empire of the planet can affect happiness directly. This allows diplomatic actions and events to affect an entire empire without creating the super-complex allegiance web. The fundamental distinction between happiness and allegiance is still observed, but that distinction is not one of scale, but one of generic vs. directed values.
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#260 Post by eleazar » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:52 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:In fact, i think it is more easily understandable if the neutral point for happiness (and allegiance, and possibly alignment scales) were zero. It's easier to see that a happiness of -10 signifies slight unhappiness (on a -100 to 100 scale) than a happiness of 45 (on a 0 to 100 scale). Or if you want to keep the thing 100 long, a -50 to 50 scale is fine. I strongly feel that zero is an easier to understand neutral point for the scale.
I don't have a huge problem with happiness being displayed to the player on a -50 - 50 scale, but I don't really see a huge need for it either. I think it makes a lot of sense (particularly for the purposes of this discussion) if 50 is the middle-range "neutral" point, and 20 is the bad-things threshold, for both happiness and allegiance. I also don't think that bad things should start happening as soon as happiness is below the middle point, since that's half of the entire meter, and 20 makes more sense for a threshold than -30 does.
In general we are trying to avoid arbitrary break-off points. We also want to try to avoid scales with space that is simply buffer space. So the ideal advantage of happiness wouldn't suddenly kick in at 80, but would gradually ramp up from some point to it's most powerful effectiveness at 100. The point were the effect begins ramping up is the neutral point. Similarly it's not idea to have a large swath of the scale (as you propose between 20 and 50) were the position has no effect until it crosses one of those boundaries. I don't think we can really determine how rioting/rebelling exactly happens with the ground-combat part of the game totally unwritten, but an ideal system would have increasingly severe or increasingly probably consequences the further the value descended from the neutral point.

From a communication standpoint.: Note that "Happiness" and "Allegiance" are both positive traits. Since we also are simulating their reverse it is conceptually clearer to represent Unhappiness and Enmity as negative numbers. Unhappiness and Enmity best understood not as small amounts of Happiness or Allegiance, but as their opposite.

bgjoe wrote:I believe that it should be possible to have non-species-specific empire-wide bonuses to happiness, however, since this allows another way to add a buffer to your happiness if you have to make some politically compromising decisions.
Maybe. Or maybe such a feature would make the ethos/alignment system pointless if there are too many ways to circumvent the wrath of your citizen.
bigjoe wrote:It's fine if the ongoing effect due to diplomatic relationships is not dependent on the species' allegiance to the other empire, but as I've mentioned above, having effects due to one-time actions such as giving gifts to other empires which are dependent on the species' allegiance to the other empire adds an advantage to playing the diplomatic empire, who gets high allegiance from everyone, and to whom all the other empires will suck up and give gifts to curry favour with certain species. This makes the diplomatic path to victory more viable and interesting, which IMO, is a pretty compelling reason.
So if i understand you, you want gifting resources to empires to be a way to essentially bribe a species to like your empire more? If that is the case, it is a remarkably blunt tool for the job. Consider, you are giving to an empire that probably consists of multiple species, with no way of specifying which you are trying to please. Furthermore, each of those species has a significant chance of being present in other empires.

BigJoe wrote:It's undetermined whether or not the player will be able to change governments in-game at all, much less with no cost to trade or some other resource.
The roadmap says:
Governments (a SMAC-style government model has been chosen, but details remain to be discussed)
Which is more or less similar to Civ IV Civics. Of course this part of the game remains undesigned, but the intention always seems to have been to have a government system where you have several different options in several different categories.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:Happiness Should be Able to have a significant memory
Why? A planet on which nothing special is happening should require minimal attention from the player. If happiness has a significant memory, more planets at a time will have low happiness, and this will include planets on which nothing special is happening (aside from unhappiness reduced riots), to which the player will possibly have to devote extra attention. If something bad happened and it's over, happiness should return to normal fairly quickly so that the player doesn't have to devote undue attention to it.
Agreement.
However, i would expect Alignment and Allegiance (or at least any temporary effects) to fade at a slower rate than happiness fades.


I am unable to track where BigJoe and Krikkiton's disagreement about how a player could lock down an alignment scale at 60. More importantly, i haven't seen any reason why a player should want to do such a thing. This is a level of fiddliness of that i am far from happy with. My conception of the alignment scales it that the player would either want to advance as far as possible to either end of the scale, or to hover around the middle. If there is any inherent reason the player might want to advance part-way along a scale, and then halt at a particular point, and go no further, in my mind the whole alignment/ethos system is called into question, and ways to revise it should be considered.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#261 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:23 pm

eleazar wrote:In general we are trying to avoid arbitrary break-off points. We also want to try to avoid scales with space that is simply buffer space. So the ideal advantage of happiness wouldn't suddenly kick in at 80, but would gradually ramp up from some point to it's most powerful effectiveness at 100. The point were the effect begins ramping up is the neutral point. Similarly it's not idea to have a large swath of the scale (as you propose between 20 and 50) were the position has no effect until it crosses one of those boundaries. I don't think we can really determine how rioting/rebelling exactly happens with the ground-combat part of the game totally unwritten, but an ideal system would have increasingly severe or increasingly probably consequences the further the value descended from the neutral point.
Emphasis mine. I don't know where you got that idea, but I had assumed that all the way from 0 to 100, more happiness means more espionage defense. In other words, the point where the effect begins ramping up is 0. As I mentioned, I don't think it's meaningful to talk about a "neutral point" for happiness.
Bigjoe5 wrote:It's fine if the ongoing effect due to diplomatic relationships is not dependent on the species' allegiance to the other empire, but as I've mentioned above, having effects due to one-time actions such as giving gifts to other empires which are dependent on the species' allegiance to the other empire adds an advantage to playing the diplomatic empire, who gets high allegiance from everyone, and to whom all the other empires will suck up and give gifts to curry favour with certain species. This makes the diplomatic path to victory more viable and interesting, which IMO, is a pretty compelling reason.
So if i understand you, you want gifting resources to empires to be a way to essentially bribe a species to like your empire more? If that is the case, it is a remarkably blunt tool for the job. Consider, you are giving to an empire that probably consists of multiple species, with no way of specifying which you are trying to please. Furthermore, each of those species has a significant chance of being present in other empires.
(Note that I'm going to respond in terms of such diplomatic events affecting happiness directly, since that's where I stand on this issue at the moment) I think you misunderstand how this would work. It has nothing to do with pleasing the species who are in the other empire. It only has to do with pleasing species who have high allegiance to that empire, and only members of that species who are in your own empire (by increasing happiness). This means that in order for an empire to get lots of gifts (or make a lot of successful demands), it has to have high allegiance from all species, or at least from a majority of species in the empires it wants gifts from. This means that

-Highly diplomatic empires who have a lot of trade to spend on propaganda will get lots of cooperation from everyone
-An empire who wants gifts from a particular empire can boost his allegiance from the dominant species in that empire, then make his demand of that empire
-Highly diplomatic empires will have the protection of other empires, because they offer a way to increase the happiness of their citizens, and they wouldn't want to lose that advantage

This is a tool for the empire giving the gift to alleviate unhappiness, yes, but even more so, it is a tool for the diplomatic empire to gain favours from other empires.
The roadmap says:
Governments (a SMAC-style government model has been chosen, but details remain to be discussed)
Which is more or less similar to Civ IV Civics. Of course this part of the game remains undesigned, but the intention always seems to have been to have a government system where you have several different options in several different categories.
Yes, the roadmap says that. However, it's certain that this decision will have to be revisited when it's time for governments to be implemented. We can't just arbitrarily accept a pre-emptive decision that was made before most of the game had even been designed simply because it was written in the roadmap. Whatever government model is chosen, it will take into account all the design decisions that have been made up to that point, and it will be the right model for the game we've made, whether it ends up being SMAC-style or not.
I am unable to track where BigJoe and Krikkiton's disagreement about how a player could lock down an alignment scale at 60. More importantly, i haven't seen any reason why a player should want to do such a thing. This is a level of fiddliness of that i am far from happy with. My conception of the alignment scales it that the player would either want to advance as far as possible to either end of the scale, or to hover around the middle. If there is any inherent reason the player might want to advance part-way along a scale, and then halt at a particular point, and go no further, in my mind the whole alignment/ethos system is called into question, and ways to revise it should be considered.
If a diplomatic empire who is "hovering around the middle" wants special attention from a particular empire, he might adjust his alignments just a bit to favour the species that reside in that empire without totally alienating all the species with opposing ethoi in different empires (thus losing favours from those empires).

The method I've come up with for manipulating alignment is very macro and not at all nitpicky. I don't see a problem with a player wanting to set his alignment at a particular value, and I certainly don't see it as a reason to redesign the whole alignment/ethos system.

Edit: The player shouldn't need to micromanage to keep an alignment at 50 either.
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#262 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:41 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote: Does anyone have any objections to this system now that any annoying difficulties in managing alignment scales has been removed by Propaganda?
I still have the objections that
1. It Forces particular systems (ie it requires this propaganda)

2. Maintaining an Alignment of 10 costs exactly the same as maintaining an Alignment of 90

You could have Empires with 2 Totally different Alignments, (10 and 90) and the ONLY difference between them throughout the entire game is some Propaganda spending they did a potentially Infinite number of turns ago.

3. It forces empires to tend to be more neutral towards the beginning and less neutral towards the end of the game.

I don't like it because it has the most limitations for things that can be plugged into it,
The simple
Alignment (with Target+Current)
"Species Treatments" (with Target+Current)

are combined to make
Allegiance (which governs 'citizen behavior' that is not world-owning empire specific.. ie military unit behavior, diplomacy interactions)

and is compared to
"Local Conditions" aka Discontent (with Target + Current)
for the 'citizen behavior' that is world-owning empire specific (revolts, resisting espionage)

1. Avoids 'drifting targets' which are counterintuitive and make the system harder to predict (Big Joes does that too, though)
2. Does not require any particular way in which Current values move to their Targets
3. Does not require any particular mechanism for manipulating the system to achieve certain values
4. Does not require any 'preset' thresholds it is a 'competitive' situation



As for settling the value of an Alignment at say 60 instead of 100 or 0, the reason would be becouse you are trying to court multiple species. Maybe you have an Empire (or a neighborhood) with both Pacifistic and Bloodthirsty species so you want to "triangulate" Maybe the Pacifists are Aristocrats or are the primary species in a nearby powerful empire so you want to treat them a little bit better.

We shouldn't be forcing the player to pick sides all the time... Extremism or Middle of the Road should both be valid strategies.
Multispecies empires will Often be doing this... although just dealing with empires of other species will also require this as well. (I decide to become a Constitutional Monarchy even though my people are all Egalitarians...but my neighbors are all Elitists..I'd rather deal with some mild rebellion than full scale invasions.)





As for whether Discontent v. Allegiance should be impacted by diplomacy...
Well there are two different situations
1. One-time Diplomatic Deals... In this case I think it Should be Allegiance that is impacted.
More specifically either Current Alignments or Current Species Treatment..basically you give something to someone you 'acquire' some of their characteristics.
This is simple since you can see the Direct impact before you make the deal, and there is no "feedback loops" or "target adjustments" depending on Current Allegiance values affecting Target Allegiance values.



2. Ongoing diplomatic Statuses... This is more complicated as Current->Target Effects should still be avoided (as they are hard for the player to predict), and the feedback loop problem exists because "relationships" ie trade treaties, etc. are usually two-way.

Having Diplomacy impact Discontent/Happiness does avoid feedback loops, but does not avoid the "Drifting Target"

Having only Changes in diplomatic status impact Current Allegiance or Happiness avoids the Drifting Target, but prevents an ongoing condition from having an ongoing effect.

The best way I can think of doing it is
Species Allegiance to You is based on Your Alignments(including species Treatment) AND the Alignments of your Allies

I'd say Peace should be the default of 'no impact' sonce that is the mst comon diplomatic status
Each "Level" of Treaty would mean -2% of your alignments +2% of the partner's alignments for the purposes of declaring allegiance
So If I had a Bloodthirst of 100, and my Trade Partner had a Bloodthirst of 0, and we had a simple trade Treaty
then the Allegiance of the Vampire Species(Ethos=Bloodthirsty) to Me would be 98%*100+2%*0=98

War with an Empire would mean you take -2% from your alignments and -2% of the enemy's alignments for the purposes of determining Allegiance of a species [all the 'damage' in the war could act like 'one time diplomatic actions'..you get allegiance for beating them up from those who hate them]

Now this means If my dear Ally (5 Levels of Treaty or 10%) suddenly Nukes the Vampire Homeworld and gets -100 'Vampire Treatment', Then I get a -10 to my Vampire Allegiance..... BUT I can Instantly get rid of that by breaking the Treaties (and even get some benefit from it by declaring war on my dear Ally).

This avoids any of the complications
There is no "Feedback/Chaining Diplomacy" (Diplomacy affects Allegiance depending on my ally's Alignments, not on their Allegiance)
There is no "Drifting Target" (If my Ally bombs the Vampire HW, then That is an immediate effect.. but one that is immediately removable, and will slowly fade away to the target Allegiance based on the target Alignments)

You would need some way to make requests of your allys (Please treat the Vampires Well, Act more/less Bloodthirsty.. so they know what might cause you to break the treaty)

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#263 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:27 pm

Krikkitone wrote:I still have the objections that
1. It Forces particular systems (ie it requires this propaganda)
I don't see a problem with this. Essentially, you're saying that my system has certain features without which it isn't as good. That could be said of any system.
2. Maintaining an Alignment of 10 costs exactly the same as maintaining an Alignment of 90

You could have Empires with 2 Totally different Alignments, (10 and 90) and the ONLY difference between them throughout the entire game is some Propaganda spending they did a potentially Infinite number of turns ago.
A one-time expenditure on propaganda wouldn't have a continual effect on alignment growth. A continual expenditure would be required for that. Therefore, if there is no distinction whatsoever between the two empires in question, they would have both had to spend an absurd amount of of trade to get to the alignments that they find themselves at. I don't see this as being a problem. They are still both encouraged to act according to their respective alignments because doing so results in having to spend far less trade to get to the desired alignment. In most cases, it wouldn't be desirable to use propaganda at all to get to an extreme. As long as the player still has incentive to act according to his alignment, this is not a problem at all. (And why shouldn't maintaining an alignment of 10 cost the same as maintaining an alignment of 90 - they're both the same distance from the extreme values. And a situation in which a player would actually want to hold alignment at 90 would be pretty rare anyway; 0 or 100 would be a lot more common. And maintaining an extreme alignment (0 or 100) on one end might be a lot easier or a lot more difficult than maintaining the opposite extreme depending on how your empire acts.)
3. It forces empires to tend to be more neutral towards the beginning and less neutral towards the end of the game.
It does force empires to tend to be more neutral towards the beginning of the game, but there is nothing forcing them to be less neutral towards the end of the game (that's just what's usually going to happen, since it will be advantageous for most strategies). As I've said, it's better if empires are more neutral towards the beginning of the game because that's when their strategy needs to be the most flexible. Why do you think that this is a bad thing?
I don't like it because it has the most limitations for things that can be plugged into it,
I'm not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean... As far as I know, any factor which can affect allegiance in any other system can affect allegiance in my system via alignments.
2. Does not require any particular way in which Current values move to their Targets
I'm still not sure what the advantage is to the other ways in which current values move to their targets.
3. Does not require any particular mechanism for manipulating the system to achieve certain values
Essentially, what you're saying with this and your previous point is that your system is better because it's not yet defined as clearly. If it is used, it will eventually have to be though, and a particular way for current values to move to target and a particular mechanism for manipulating the system to achieve certain values will have to be chosen. I don't see a compelling reason to believe that whatever that way and mechanism is will be sufficiently better than what I've defined.
4. Does not require any 'preset' thresholds it is a 'competitive' situation
Why are preset thresholds bad? We have them for health, and it's not hard to understand having them for happiness and allegiance as well.


As for whether Discontent v. Allegiance should be impacted by diplomacy...
Well there are two different situations
1. One-time Diplomatic Deals... In this case I think it Should be Allegiance that is impacted.
More specifically either Current Alignments or Current Species Treatment..basically you give something to someone you 'acquire' some of their characteristics.
This is simple since you can see the Direct impact before you make the deal, and there is no "feedback loops" or "target adjustments" depending on Current Allegiance values affecting Target Allegiance values.
I've explained how the system of one-time deals affecting only happiness provides adequate incentive for the player to enact such deals and why this incentive leads to interesting strategies. Can you explain how acquiring the characteristics of someone to whom you give something provides the same kind of incentive leading to equally interesting strategies?


2. Ongoing diplomatic Statuses... This is more complicated as Current->Target Effects should still be avoided (as they are hard for the player to predict), and the feedback loop problem exists because "relationships" ie trade treaties, etc. are usually two-way.
It's been suggested that the effect of ongoing statuses not be related to the species' allegiance to the empire with whom you are in the treaty/war. Instead, certain diplomatic statuses will affect the growth of certain alignment meters, and that's that. What you propose is vastly more complicated, so unless you can explain how it opens up interesting strategies for the player, I don't see the merit.
This avoids any of the complications
There is no "Feedback/Chaining Diplomacy" (Diplomacy affects Allegiance depending on my ally's Alignments, not on their Allegiance)
There is no "Drifting Target" (If my Ally bombs the Vampire HW, then That is an immediate effect.. but one that is immediately removable, and will slowly fade away to the target Allegiance based on the target Alignments)

You would need some way to make requests of your allys (Please treat the Vampires Well, Act more/less Bloodthirsty.. so they know what might cause you to break the treaty)
It avoids the complications you mentioned earlier, yes, but it adds in a whole host of new complications in terms of how allegiance is calculated.
Last edited by Bigjoe5 on Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Krikkitone
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#264 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:23 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:I still have the objections that
1. It Forces particular systems (ie it requires this propaganda)
I don't see a problem with this. Essentially, you're saying that my system has certain features without which it isn't as good. That could be said of any system.
The idea is that this system more severely limits what you can do with other parts of the game that plug into it. (In all other systems, Something can impact Target Or Current values Or the Growth rate, seperately... in yours only the Growth rate and Current value can be impacted)

Your Requires propaganda to achieve a particlar result...No other system does that.. also yours allows Propaganda to achieve ANY result... ie with enough trade you can be Anywhere on the spectrum you want. That makes it either too flexible, or too hard to manipulate (depending on the cost of propaganda)
2. Maintaining an Alignment of 10 costs exactly the same as maintaining an Alignment of 90
You could have Empires with 2 Totally different Alignments, (10 and 90) and the ONLY difference between them throughout the entire game is some Propaganda spending they did a potentially Infinite number of turns ago.
A one-time expenditure on propaganda wouldn't have a continual effect on alignment growth. A continual expenditure would be required for that. Therefore, if there is no distinction whatsoever between the two empires in question, they would have both had to spend an absurd amount of of trade to get to the level of allegiance that they find themselves at.
It is a fixed total expenditure (the made up ~2,000 Trade required to move from 10 Alignment to 90) that impacts the rest of the game.

That is OK if it is an "Achievement" like getting a new tech level, but there should be no 'solid benefit' of 90 v. 10 it is entirely situational whether that is negative or positive.

So having a 90 v. having a 10 (or a 50) should be a result of having certain situations in your empires strategy rather than its Spending
3. It forces empires to tend to be more neutral towards the beginning and less neutral towards the end of the game.
It does force empires to tend to be more neutral towards the beginning of the game, but there is nothing forcing them to be less neutral towards the end of the game (that's just what's usually going to happen, since it will be advantageous for most strategies). As I've said, it's better if empires are more neutral towards the beginning of the game because that's when their strategy needs to be the most flexible. Why do you think that this is a bad thing?
Empires are forced to TEND to be less neutral towards the end of the game because it costs trade to Not be Less neutral.
It is a bad thing because it forces a particular game flow in the beginning of the game that is different than that at the end.

Ideally we/or mods should be able to balance the game flow as will best fit gameplay, not what is required by a system already in place.
I don't like it because it has the most limitations for things that can be plugged into it,
I'm not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean... As far as I know, any factor which can affect allegiance in any other system can affect allegiance in my system via alignments.
You can't have "fading changes" put into your system, the time scale is either too short (large instant adjustment) or too long (slow movement to 0 or 100)
2. Does not require any particular way in which Current values move to their Targets
I'm still not sure what the advantage is to the other ways in which current values move to their targets.
some examples

Consistent movement (all Current Values move by exactly 1 per turn towards their targets)... benefit easily predictable throughout the game

Manipulatable movement (Current values move towards target by a number that depends on other non-target variables)... benefit, movement speed is Independent of what the target is, creating manipulatable "time scale" of social effects [in your system the amount changes, but it effectively amounts to a change in target]

Exponential decay (All current values move towards their Targets by % of the Current Target difference)....benefit, The ability to accurately display Historical factors (if there is a 5% decay, then The impact of historical events can be EASILY calculated and stored)

Your model forces the change to be the manipulated value by not allowing the target to depend on choices you make (besides the propaganda, which is potentially either too hard or too easy)
3. Does not require any particular mechanism for manipulating the system to achieve certain values
Essentially, what you're saying with this and your previous point is that your system is better because it's not yet defined as clearly. If it is used, it will eventually have to be though, and a particular way for current values to move to target and a particular mechanism for manipulating the system to achieve certain values will have to be chosen. I don't see a compelling reason to believe that whatever that way and mechanism is will be sufficiently better than what I've defined.
In All other ways besides yours, the Certain value is the direct result of ALL your choices not just propaganda spending.. which makes it very hard to get a particular alignment value and too easy to maintain it. Getting a particular alignment value should only require setting up your empire in a particular way and waiting.. Just as easy to get as to maintain.
4. Does not require any 'preset' thresholds it is a 'competitive' situation
Why are preset thresholds bad? We have them for health, and it's not hard to understand having them for happiness and allegiance as well.
It is an additional complication. Not a major reason, but it is a benefit.





As for whether Discontent v. Allegiance should be impacted by diplomacy...
Well there are two different situations
1. One-time Diplomatic Deals... In this case I think it Should be Allegiance that is impacted.
More specifically either Current Alignments or Current Species Treatment..basically you give something to someone you 'acquire' some of their characteristics.
This is simple since you can see the Direct impact before you make the deal, and there is no "feedback loops" or "target adjustments" depending on Current Allegiance values affecting Target Allegiance values.
I've explained how the system of one-time deals affecting only happiness provides adequate incentive for the player to enact such deals and why this incentive leads to interesting strategies. Can you explain how acquiring the characteristics of someone to whom you give something provides the same kind of incentive leading to equally interesting strategies?[/quote]

An impact on Happiness that is going to be applied to all planets of a particular Across your Empire gets the EXACT same effect on those planets as an imact on Allegiance.
The Imact on Allegiance however has additional beneficial effects (ability to spy on the species, properly calculated if there was a ownership shift of the planet, reach beyond your empire, etc.)
It also is readable by looking at a single meter.

So Blue can make Red an Ally because Red has an Alignment that matches with George
This gives Blue more George Allegiance....

Allowing them a better ability to spy on a Black George world (those local George's like the fact that Blue is supports egalitarian empires)

Blue's "George military units" are more likely to hold the line.

Not possible with happiness/Discontent/Local effects

2. Ongoing diplomatic Statuses... This is more complicated as Current->Target Effects should still be avoided (as they are hard for the player to predict), and the feedback loop problem exists because "relationships" ie trade treaties, etc. are usually two-way.
It's been suggested that the effect of ongoing statuses not be related to the species' allegiance to the empire with whom you are in the treaty/war. Instead, certain diplomatic statuses will affect the growth of certain alignment meters, and that's that. What you propose is vastly more complicated, so unless you can explain how it opens up interesting strategies for the player, I don't see the merit.
If the impact ongoing statuses aren't going to be related to species allegiance then that is fine, BUT
Then that means
Giving a gift to them each turn will give me continual allegiance points, but a Trade Traty with them Doesn't have effect?
that is a disconnect between repeated one-time diplomacy and continual diplomacy, and that is a problem

The Strategy it opens up is Alignment, Alliance, Allegiance
making myself look good to a species =Alignment
so that another empire will want to be my friend=Alliance
to make that species like them=Allegiance

So I can manipulate other Empires

One can dump the whole "Diplomatic Impact System" entirely (ie Bloodthirsty species like war Pacifist ones like Peace" being all that's left.)

But I think we agree should be some consequences based on WHO I do diplomacy with. My point is that if there Are going to be ongoing treaties, they should not be different than Repeated one-time actions.




This avoids any of the complications
There is no "Feedback/Chaining Diplomacy" (Diplomacy affects Allegiance depending on my ally's Alignments, not on their Allegiance)
There is no "Drifting Target" (If my Ally bombs the Vampire HW, then That is an immediate effect.. but one that is immediately removable, and will slowly fade away to the target Allegiance based on the target Alignments)

You would need some way to make requests of your allys (Please treat the Vampires Well, Act more/less Bloodthirsty.. so they know what might cause you to break the treaty)
It avoids the complications you mentioned earlier, yes, but it adds in a whole host of new complications in terms of how allegiance is calculated.[/quote]

It adds no new complications to how Allegiance is calcuated that wouldn't be added to how Happiness is calculated

Allegiance is
Alignment
+
Species Treatment

This makes it
Alignment (of me+my allies)
+
Species Treatment (of me+my allies)

This simply means you need to check your allies out before making them.. and If your allies change who they are, you may need to ditch them.. ie "we've grown apart..time to breakup..or I'm dealing with a rebellion"

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#265 Post by Bigjoe5 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:38 pm

Krikkitone wrote:Your Requires propaganda to achieve a particlar result...No other system does that.. also yours allows Propaganda to achieve ANY result... ie with enough trade you can be Anywhere on the spectrum you want. That makes it either too flexible, or too hard to manipulate (depending on the cost of propaganda)
Bigjoe5 wrote:-The amount of Trade expended for 1 point of Propaganda should be significantly more than 10 times as expensive as 0.1 points of Propaganda. First of all, this will make just .1 or .2 points of Propaganda extremely cheap, which will allow essentially any player to easily make up for a few decimal points of alignment growth using Propaganda, so the player only has to move to the extreme end of the alignment scale if he really chooses to. This has the added advantage that players in the end-game who are "essentially locked" into an alignment are there because they deliberately chose that alignment, not because they accidentally drifted there due to not micromanaging enough. Secondly, this means that since a whole point of Propaganda is extremely expensive, only players with lots and lots of Trade will be able to make up for significant inconsistencies between what they do and how they want to appear, which is good, IMO.
Essentially, what you are saying is that "This system will have to be balanced, so it's bad." I don't think that holds a lot of water.
It is a fixed total expenditure (the made up ~2,000 Trade required to move from 10 Alignment to 90) that impacts the rest of the game.

That is OK if it is an "Achievement" like getting a new tech level, but there should be no 'solid benefit' of 90 v. 10 it is entirely situational whether that is negative or positive.

So having a 90 v. having a 10 (or a 50) should be a result of having certain situations in your empires strategy rather than its Spending
An empire's spending is a part of its strategy. How an empire acts is still the primary factor for a normal empire's alignment scale, but particularly diplomatic empires have additional flexibility to manipulate the political end of things, which is as it should be.

In addition, it is by no means a fixed expenditure to get from 50 to either 10 or 90. It's based very heavily on the empire's actions. If both empires were involved in a lot of wars, the one whose bloodthirstiness is at 10 had to spend a lot of trade to get his alignment there, which means that he must have a really important strategic reason to both

-start lots of wars, and
-appear Pacifistic.

The strategic tradeoff to this is that he will have had to produce a lot of trade at the expense of other resources. I really don't see this as game-breaking (and this is a really bad example to be arguing, because you have to wonder, why are these guys so intent on staying just 10 away from the extreme? It could happen, certainly, but I would expect it to be very rare).
Empires are forced to TEND to be less neutral towards the end of the game because it costs trade to Not be Less neutral.
It is a bad thing because it forces a particular game flow in the beginning of the game that is different than that at the end.

Ideally we/or mods should be able to balance the game flow as will best fit gameplay, not what is required by a system already in place.
Bigjoe5 wrote:-The amount of Trade expended for 1 point of Propaganda should be significantly more than 10 times as expensive as 0.1 points of Propaganda. First of all, this will make just .1 or .2 points of Propaganda extremely cheap, which will allow essentially any player to easily make up for a few decimal points of alignment growth using Propaganda, so the player only has to move to the extreme end of the alignment scale if he really chooses to. This has the added advantage that players in the end-game who are "essentially locked" into an alignment are there because they deliberately chose that alignment, not because they accidentally drifted there due to not micromanaging enough. Secondly, this means that since a whole point of Propaganda is extremely expensive, only players with lots and lots of Trade will be able to make up for significant inconsistencies between what they do and how they want to appear, which is good, IMO.
It costs a practically insignificant amount of trade to stay neutral if your imperial actions actually tend towards neutrality. If you're worried about the player microing his propaganda so that it he never has to pay for it within what he deems an "acceptable range", it would be a simple matter to let the player choose a continuous range of values for his propaganda target, so for example, propaganda will never be active if alignment is between 40 and 60, but as soon as it goes outside that range, propaganda starts up and moves the value back into the target range. A player who's really playing neutrally will hardly ever incur propaganda costs to stay in the (player-defined) "alignment neutral zone".
You can't have "fading changes" put into your system, the time scale is either too short (large instant adjustment) or too long (slow movement to 0 or 100)
You can have fading changes to happiness because it's a classic meter.
some examples

Consistent movement (all Current Values move by exactly 1 per turn towards their targets)... benefit easily predictable throughout the game

Manipulatable movement (Current values move towards target by a number that depends on other non-target variables)... benefit, movement speed is Independent of what the target is, creating manipulatable "time scale" of social effects [in your system the amount changes, but it effectively amounts to a change in target]

Exponential decay (All current values move towards their Targets by % of the Current Target difference)....benefit, The ability to accurately display Historical factors (if there is a 5% decay, then The impact of historical events can be EASILY calculated and stored)

Your model forces the change to be the manipulated value by not allowing the target to depend on choices you make (besides the propaganda, which is potentially either too hard or too easy)
Bigjoe5 wrote:I think it's good if alignments aren't as significant in the early game; it allows the player to be more flexible in the early game when he's still learning about the galaxy and developing his strategy. If, in the early-mid game, the player decides that the conditions of the galaxy call for a total reversal of one or more of his alignments, that should be possible without causing total upheaval.
Bigjoe5 wrote:I've explained that; in the early game, the player shouldn't have to worry about actually losing one of his precious few planets in a rebellion.
Bigjoe5 wrote:As I've said, it's better if empires are more neutral towards the beginning of the game because that's when their strategy needs to be the most flexible. Why do you think that this is a bad thing?
These are a couple of reasons why alignment and allegiance values changing the way I've described is good. I don't think that the advantages to the possibilities you've described outweigh these.
In All other ways besides yours, the Certain value is the direct result of ALL your choices not just propaganda spending.. which makes it very hard to get a particular alignment value and too easy to maintain it. Getting a particular alignment value should only require setting up your empire in a particular way and waiting.. Just as easy to get as to maintain.
In my system, the value of alignment growth is the direct result of all your choices including - secondarily and optionally - propaganda. Propaganda is not meant to dominate the system. It's just meant to avoid micromanagement and allow additional political flexibility for diplomatic empires, both of which it accomplishes quite elegantly, IMO.

An impact on Happiness that is going to be applied to all planets of a particular Across your Empire gets the EXACT same effect on those planets as an imact on Allegiance.
The Imact on Allegiance however has additional beneficial effects (ability to spy on the species, properly calculated if there was a ownership shift of the planet, reach beyond your empire, etc.)
It also is readable by looking at a single meter.
The difference between the two options is that the impact on allegiance will end up having a further impact on further one-time diplomatic negotiations. A series of such negotiations between several empires over a long period of time would have a chaotic effect on allegiance, whereas if such negotiations only affected happiness, the effects on happiness would change predictably with whatever predictable changes in allegiance were already in place.
So Blue can make Red an Ally because Red has an Alignment that matches with George
This gives Blue more George Allegiance....

Allowing them a better ability to spy on a Black George world (those local George's like the fact that Blue is supports egalitarian empires)

Blue's "George military units" are more likely to hold the line.

Not possible with happiness/Discontent/Local effects
It's true that there will be effects that will occur if allegiance is affected that will not occur if only happiness is affected. The question is whether or not there is a compelling justification for including such effects. A one-time bonus to current happiness is adequate incentive to give a gift to an empire to whom your species have high allegiance, which means that there are not any significant strategies which are possible if allegiance is affected by such actions, which aren't possible if only happiness is affected. In addition, modifying allegiance would have a more permanent effect, whereas the bonus to happiness would fade, creating renewed incentive to give another gift to the loved empire.

If the impact ongoing statuses aren't going to be related to species allegiance then that is fine, BUT
Then that means
Giving a gift to them each turn will give me continual allegiance points, but a Trade Traty with them Doesn't have effect?
that is a disconnect between repeated one-time diplomacy and continual diplomacy, and that is a problem
No it doesn't. It means that giving a gift to them each turn will continually increase happiness of species that like them, but having an alliance with them will increase the allegiance of species that like alliances and decrease the allegiance of species that dislike alliances.
The Strategy it opens up is Alignment, Alliance, Allegiance
making myself look good to a species =Alignment
so that another empire will want to be my friend=Alliance
to make that species like them=Allegiance

So I can manipulate other Empires
I don't see a strategic niche that this would fill that isn't filled just as effectively by Alignment, Presents, Happiness:

-Making myself look good to a species = Alignment
-so that another empire will give me presents/respond positively to my demands = Presents
-to make that species happy in their empire. = Happiness

So I can manipulate other empires just as effectively if one-time gifts affect happiness rather than allegiance.
One can dump the whole "Diplomatic Impact System" entirely (ie Bloodthirsty species like war Pacifist ones like Peace" being all that's left.)

But I think we agree should be some consequences based on WHO I do diplomacy with. My point is that if there Are going to be ongoing treaties, they should not be different than Repeated one-time actions.
I don't see why. Ongoing diplomatic treaties are significantly different than one-time actions. Ongoing treaties imply a continuing, long-term relationship with another empire, whereas a one-time exchange is just a momentary interaction for the mutual and immediate benefit of both sides. It's only fitting that the long-term relationship should have a continuous, long-term effect (on alignments), and that the one-time exchange give an immediate, but fading benefit (to happiness).

It avoids the complications you mentioned earlier, yes, but it adds in a whole host of new complications in terms of how allegiance is calculated.
It adds no new complications to how Allegiance is calcuated that wouldn't be added to how Happiness is calculated

Allegiance is
Alignment
+
Species Treatment

This makes it
Alignment (of me+my allies)
+
Species Treatment (of me+my allies)

This simply means you need to check your allies out before making them.. and If your allies change who they are, you may need to ditch them.. ie "we've grown apart..time to breakup..or I'm dealing with a rebellion"
Happiness is a meter, and is subject to all sorts of meter-like effects. Adding one more event that can affect the current value isn't making anything significantly more complicated. Changing the equation of allegiance as you propose adds a great deal of complication by introducing other factors which are weighted in a way that's not obviously intuitive or calculable-at-a-glance, and it does so without an obvious benefit to gameplay.
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Krikkitone
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#266 Post by Krikkitone » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:11 am

A few points

The Simplest System is

Alignment
+
Species "Damage/Relations"
=
Allegiance

Allegiance
+
Local Situation
=
"Happiness" ie effect

The only problems with this are
1. No ability to 'fade'/forget effects
2. No Diplomatic interaction

So
To solve #1.. certain things need to be made meters
To solve #2 Diplomacy needs to be added in somewhere (Empire specific diplomacy that is)

So far as I can tell
The dominant model makes Everything Target meters
Alignment, Species damage, Allegiance, Happiness (Local conditions are folded into it)
it then has diplomacy as impacting Happiness of species specific worlds

Big Joe's model
Species Damage+Happiness are meters (Local conditions are folded into Happiness)
Alignment isn't really a meter, it is closer to a stable value.
Allegiance..I'm not sure if its calculated or a meter

it then has diplomacy as impacting Happiness of species specific worlds


I'd say
make the Independent variables meters
Alignment, Species damage, Local conditions
Keep Allegiance and "Happiness" direct calculations (ie adding, subtracting) from the current values of the 3 underlying meters

For Diplomacy.. Have it affect either Allegiance or Alignment.. based on the Alignment of your partners


The reason that ongoing relationships should affect it is that an ongoing relationship is similar to a Repeated One-time exchange.. so if one-time exchanges affect it, then so should ongoing relationships.


The reason I think the underlying values should be meters and not fundamantally stable, is that I feel the Current value of the meter should strongly correspond to your Current Strategy

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#267 Post by RonaldX » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:12 am

Krikkitone wrote:The Simplest System is

Alignment + Species "Damage/Relations" = Allegiance
Allegiance + Local Situation = "Happiness" ie effect

The only problems with this are
1. No ability to 'fade'/forget effects
2. No Diplomatic interaction

So
To solve #1.. certain things need to be made meters
To solve #2 Diplomacy needs to be added in somewhere (Empire specific diplomacy that is)
I'm with you on this, regardless of the whole debate about happiness vs. discontent, which I figure is mostly just semantics anyways.
- The problem with fading effects is easily resolved by having (non-persistant) factors diminish over time.
- Diplomatic interaction figures in by adjusting your alignment, which in turn adjusts allegiance, which in turn adjusts happiness, all in a predictable fashion because it's essentially 1-for-1 across the entire board. (Alignment will have a slightly slower effect on them because there are (3) scales, and ethical compatibility is a composite of these, so a 3 point change in alignment would equal a 1 point change in allegiance)
- Target/Current values allow you to make changes to any of these values at whatever rates you want. Rates could be fixed, variable based on technology, type of change, magnitude of change.. whatever. No matter how you slice it the math is relatively simple.

Scaling is easily thought up. As I expressed in an earlier post, the mathematics behind a system like this are simple and intuitive enough that I could come up with a usable framework in around an hour or two of number crunching to which additional factors could be added and the system fleshed out to cover virtually limitless possibilities for events. It would not be perfectly realistic, but for the purpose of modeling citizens in an empire-wide 4x game, it would be more than sufficient.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Essentially, what you are saying is that "This system will have to be balanced, so it's bad." I don't think that holds a lot of water.
Your system is fundamentally sound, for the most part anyways, but the balancing of it is massively complex. The entire system of propaganda to offset runaway variables DOES make it more complicated, because none of those other factors are actually removed. They all still have to be factored in and balanced on their own, only to add the additional complexity layer of propaganda and balancing how that balances out the other factors.

Could it work? Certainly, but I'd like to play this game before humans actually colonize other planets.

In an integer based system, you can effect the same result by allowing a player to "buy" alignment at a cost of X trade per point, with no additional complication. You pay the (per turn) fee, your alignment changes. In essence, you are doing the same thing. You could presumably also buy "happiness" or "allegiance" in the same manner if you wanted to.

At this point I feel the conversation is just getting cyclical. The merits of a simple system and a complex system have been argued back and forth over for the last 5 pages.

Final question: How complicated is "too complicated"? Obviously, I perfer a simple system. You learn how to add and subtract integers in the second grade, which is about as far as I'd want to go for something that is only one part of a grand strategy game, but has a large effect on just about every facet of it (happiness affects production, alignment affects diplomacy, etc.. making these concepts super complex also complicates everything they touch). However, it's not up to me to make the decision. Tbh, I don't even really know whose decision it is.

-Ty.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#268 Post by eleazar » Fri Feb 12, 2010 1:22 am

There are a lot of other things that i intend to comment on, but this is the most clear-cut, so i'll deal with it now.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Propaganda
Here's a quick example:

Yellow empire has a Bloodthirstiness of 45, but wants a Bloodthirstiness of 40. His current alignment growth is + 0.1. He chooses

-The target value for his Propaganda for that meter, and
-The maximum change in alignment growth due to Propaganda per turn (Max Propaganda Level)

So first, he sets the target to 40. Then, if he's a big spender, he'll set the Max Propaganda Level to -1, costing a great deal of Trade per turn, but getting him down to 40 in just 6 turns (0.1 - 1 = -0.9, 45 -> 44.1 -> 43.2 -> 42.3 -> 41.4 -> 40.5 -> 40)....

Does anyone have any objections to this system now that any annoying difficulties in managing alignment scales has been removed by Propaganda?
**raises hand to object**

You are getting too caught up in the details of this one system, trying to make it work, but it has grown in to something ill fitting with the rest of the game, and the game's philosophy. This is more fiddly, micromanagy, and spreadsheet-like than anything else we've implemented. Consider these arguably more important (or at least equally important) systems:
  • * To distribute a planets effort toward different resources you have 2 dropdowns. No sliders, or text entry of numbers. The player (or AI) isn't allowed to make little tweaks to get a little more effort into research, or whatever.
    * For the production of ships/buildings or research, you don't fiddle with numbers or sliders to precisely allocate your PP or RP. You drop things into a queue, and then are worked on in order.
    * To design ships you drop components into slots. Again no tweak-able, fiddly numbers that can be micro-ed. And it's not as if many proposals more micro-intensive than MoO2 or 3 were not put forward.
I think some sort of implementation of Propaganda/PR could be interesting and worthwhile, but this is not it.


You and Krikkitone are correct however, in that the paired opposites Alignments system does produce a system in which it will sometimes be desirable to reach an alignment of 60 on a certain scale, but avoid going further. I should have realized this implication long before, but fortunately this can be fixed without obsoleting much work. More on that when i have a chance to write it.

Ronald wrote:However, it's not up to me to make the decision. Tbh, I don't even really know whose decision it is.
Ultimately, Geoff the the Game Design Lead. But he usually (and possibly in his opinion always;)) follows the game philosophy laid down by the founders of this game, which unfortunately are mostly inactive.

EDIT: that reminds me. At one point i was compiling a wiki page from the scattered bits of game philosophy that FO was built on. I forgot about it before i finished it, and so it was not finalized and approved, but this should be of some use:
Unofficial, Unfinished page of FO's Game Design Philosophy

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Krikkitone
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#269 Post by Krikkitone » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:02 am

RonaldX wrote: - Target/Current values allow you to make changes to any of these values at whatever rates you want. Rates could be fixed, variable based on technology, type of change, magnitude of change.. whatever. No matter how you slice it the math is relatively simple.
The issue is when the derived values (Allegiance, Happiness) have target values based on current systems

If all of the Factors have "Current Values" and "Target Values" then it should work like this


Target Alignment= various player settings
Current Alignment=Impact of various events this turn + Last turn's Current Alignment + Change towards Target Alignment

Target Species Relations= various player settings
Current Species Relations=Impact of various events this turn + Last turn's Current Species Relations + Change towards Target Species Relations

Target Allegiance= Target Alignment:Ethos match + Target Species Relations
Current Allegiance= Current Alignment:Ethos match + Current Species Relations

Target Local Conditions= various player settings
Current Local Conditions= Impact of various events this turn + Last turn's Current Local Conditions + Change towards Target Local Conditions

Target "Happiness"= Target Allegiance + Target Local Conditions
Current "Happiness"= Current Allegiance + Current Local Conditions

Happiness->Rebellion if negative and Espionage Defense if positive
Allegiance-> (anything that doesn't involve a planet, or involves an empire that is NOT the planet's owner) such as Local antipathy/sympathy for an Invading force (Militia), Espionage Vulnerability, Military unit Defection (if Military units have Race), Planetary Surrender options

The "Player Settings" are generally 'Civics' choices or 'Policies', but they may also include 'Buildings', 'Techs', 'Specials', 'Race picks'... I think Difficulty level would be good in them.


Now there are a few remaining issues that people seem to disagree on
1. How should Alignments change.
Big Joe's model has the Target basically always be 0 or 100, and the rate of change is slow but manipulatable.
All other models have the Target Alignment possibly be anything and have the rate of change relatively fixed (either a fixed number or a fixed proportion of difference).

(As long as Current Alignment does not affect Target Allegiance, the above model works for either of those options)''

2. How Empire Specific Diplomacy is plugged in.
It could be plugged into one of 3 basic Areas

1-Happiness/Local Conditions: based on the Allegiance to the Empire of the Species present on that world (only applies to the diplomacy by empire that owns the world)

2-Allegiance: Make Allegiance= Alignment of primary Empire+Alignment of Allied Empires+Species Relations of primary empire+Species relations of Allied Empires.. weighting the factors

3-Alignment:Species Relations: An Empire acquires the Alignment+Species Relations of its partners


Pros/Cons of Each

1-Happiness/Local Conditions
Pro: Best for avoiding possible "Feedback", works with both one-time and ongoing diploarrangements (because Local Conditions is an independent target/current meter)
Con: Counterintuitive (since an effect over the entire species Should be an Allegiance Effect) and Limited in scope. (only applies to species in your empire, and only those worlds in your empire)

2-Allegiance
Pro: Intuitive, maximum scope, no possible Feedback If you base the modification on Alignment+Species Relations
Con: More complicated.. since Every species Allegiance for every empire would be dependent on the factors of that Empire's partness..basically due to the more expansive nature of it.
Also no ability to modify "current Allegiance" means limited to ongoing treaties.

3-Alignment, Species Relations
Pro: same scope as Allegiance, still reasonably intuitive, Slightly simpler than modifying Allegiance because there are a limited number of Alignments that the empire's partners would be modifying
Con: Potential Feedback

Given the complications in the more expansive nature, I'd say two options

1. Stick with modifying Happiness/Local Conditions, and go with a less expansive model

2. Get another "Empire Alignment"... Diplomatic Relations... This tells the level of relationship between the Empire and another Empire..It would be a Meter with Current +Target Value (Current Affected by one time Diploactions, Target affected by ongoing Treaties)

Then Allegiance would be
Allegiance=Alignment:Ethos match + Species Relations + Empire:Empire Alignment factors
this would be more complicated but it would be more expansive and intuitive


I'm not sure which, but I actually am leaning in favor of making it impact Local Conditions [should be renamed in that case... or just not named]... Note: this would be for BOTH one-time and ongoing diplo effects

So.. Red makes a Trade Treaty with Blue
Setinon are a "Money" loving species that hate Blue
George is a "Money" hating species that likes Blue

Red moves farther on the "Money" Alignment because it has a Trade Treaty
Setinon allegiance to Red slowly goes up
George allegiance to Red slowly goes down

Red's Setinon worlds slowly Get worse "local conditions" because Red has a treaty with Blue (but their higher Allegiance to Red may balance out the happiness change)
Red's George worlds slowly Get better "local conditions" because Red has a treaty with Blue (but their lower Allegiance to Red may balance out the happiness change)

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Bigjoe5
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#270 Post by Bigjoe5 » Fri Feb 12, 2010 5:33 am

I don't mean to sound self-righteous, but I feel that the reports of my proposed system's complexity have been greatly exaggerated.

Let's start with this:
RonaldX wrote:Your system is fundamentally sound, for the most part anyways, but the balancing of it is massively complex. The entire system of propaganda to offset runaway variables DOES make it more complicated, because none of those other factors are actually removed. They all still have to be factored in and balanced on their own, only to add the additional complexity layer of propaganda and balancing how that balances out the other factors.
The balancing is massively complex? Lets consider the production system for a moment. Each individual building and ship part/hull has to be balanced against every other such item, and against the value of the Industry and Minerals which go into them, and the relative value of these resources compared to the other resources, taking into consideration the specific strategies these items will enhance, and the overall effectiveness of those strategies. Is this going to be massively complex? Of course not. If a specific ship part or hull is overpowered, it's effectiveness can be decreased or its cost increased so that it fits appropriately into the strategic game. If a specific strategy such as Zurging is overpowered, simple steps can be taken to ensure that it is not overpowered, such as decreasing the cost or increasing the effectiveness of certain counter-strategies, or increasing the cost/decreasing the effectiveness of the overpowered strategy itself.

Now let's consider alignment/allegiance. If it's found that almost all players will end up at the end of the bloodthirsty scale, strategies which make races more bloodthirsty can be made less appealing by making the appropriate counter-strategies cheaper or more effective. If players find that they are being inexorably dragged towards one end of the scale or the other, an appropriate growth modifier can be added to that scale, or the individual factors that affect the growth of that scale can be tweaked. If players find that correcting small changes in alignment costs too much, the cost of small-scale propaganda can be lowered. If large-scale modifications to alignment via propaganda is always the dominant strategy, the cost of large-scale propaganda can be increased.

My point is that balancing this aspect of the game will be no more difficult or complex than balancing any other aspect of the game. Of course it will require a bit of tweaking, but so will everything. Feel free to explain in detail though, why the dependency between alignment and propaganda and diplomacy is so much more complex than the relationship between industry production and focus settings and buildings and ship hulls/parts, and therefore massively complex to balance.
RonaldX wrote:In an integer based system, you can effect the same result by allowing a player to "buy" alignment at a cost of X trade per point, with no additional complication. You pay the (per turn) fee, your alignment changes. In essence, you are doing the same thing. You could presumably also buy "happiness" or "allegiance" in the same manner if you wanted to.
Integer based? I fail to see what that has to do with anything. You could multiply all my values by 10, and they'd be integers, but it would still be the same system.
RonaldX wrote:Final question: How complicated is "too complicated"? Obviously, I perfer a simple system. You learn how to add and subtract integers in the second grade, which is about as far as I'd want to go for something that is only one part of a grand strategy game, but has a large effect on just about every facet of it (happiness affects production, alignment affects diplomacy, etc.. making these concepts super complex also complicates everything they touch). However, it's not up to me to make the decision. Tbh, I don't even really know whose decision it is.
The answer to the final question is: "A system is too complicated when it is no longer fun". In other words, the complexity of a system is too great when the player has to repeatedly make decisions which have very little obvious bearing on the outcome of the game. In my system, the player only makes a very small number of decisions regarding the propaganda scale, which have an obvious and predictable effect, and are strategically very important in that they support and enhance the player's overall strategy.
eleazar wrote:This is more fiddly, micromanagy, and spreadsheet-like than anything else we've implemented.
Is your objection to the idea of alignment scales in general, or to the idea of propaganda in particular? If it is the former (and I would argue that such an opinion would be more justifiable than the latter), then everything we've developed regarding imperial alignments would have to go. If it is the latter, I completely fail to see how it is fiddly, micromanagy or spreadsheet-like. Is it simply because the player can choose any value on the scale to become the target? Because the player can choose any multiple of .1 growth rate between 1 and -1 (which could be changed, if it were considered desirable to only have a few, very distinct options, though I prefer more granularity, since other effects on alignment growth would have similar granularity)? Is it because the cost of trade doesn't increase linearly with propaganda levels? This is a macro tool which allows long-term propaganda policies to be easily selected and implemented without any micromanagement. I've already explained how, though the ability to select a target range instead of a single point target, the micromanagement to minimize trade expenditure can be eliminated. What other micromanagement is there? The micromanagement to max out allegiance for a particular species? There's no micro involved - the player doesn't even have to set a target, since the extremes are always the best for that. The micromanagement to balance allegiance of different species? There's no motivation for that, since having one species have an allegiance of 48 towards you and the other having an allegiance of 52 isn't obviously worse than having both species at 50 - this contrasts with resource production, where there is definite incentive to micro if it will provide a bonus, however small, since that bonus is a clear advantage. Please explain exactly in what situation you envision the player microing propaganda, and/or why this is an inadequate macro-tool for managing alignment, bearing in mind that this is meant as a secondary and optional effect, and that the primary alignment modifiers in any game should always be an empire's actions.
eleazar wrote:Consider these arguably more important (or at least equally important) systems.
*To distribute a planets effort toward different resources you have 2 dropdowns. No sliders, or text entry of numbers. The player (or AI) isn't allowed to make little tweaks to get a little more effort into research, or whatever.
*For the production of ships/buildings or research, you don't fiddle with numbers or sliders to precisely allocate your PP or RP. You drop things into a queue, and then are worked on in order.
*To design ships you drop components into slots. Again no tweak-able, fiddly numbers that can be micro-ed.
*To distribute a planet's effort towards different resources you have 2 dropdowns. On every planet.

*For the production of ships/buildings or research, you drop things into a queue every time there is extra available PP or RP

*To design ships you drop components into slots for every ship

This ends up being significantly more management than a propaganda settings on a few imperial alignment scales. Since there is only one bloodthirstiness scale, one elitism scale, etc. for the entire empire, it is only reasonable and logical that the decisions which can be made on that scale should be more granular. Also, as I've pointed out, the decisions do not occur any more frequently. Just as the player will re-evaluate his overall resource production or research strategy when the political situation changes, so the player will also re-evaluate his alignments and his overall political strategy. I would argue in fact, that much less of the player's time would be spent managing propaganda than would be spent on any of the equally important actions you listed.
eleazar wrote:You are getting too caught up in the details of this one system, trying to make it work, but it has grown in to something ill fitting with the rest of the game, and the game's philosophy.
Has it really? I haven't lost sight of this game's design philosophy, and the goals we have set for this game's strategic variety. All strategies should be equally valid; the player, on his path to victory, should be able to use any of the game's main systems as his primary tool, be it espionage, combat, research or diplomacy. Each of these systems should be given equal weight, and giving the player macro tools with which to manage these systems should be encouraged.

My system doesn't raise diplomacy to a level of complexity beyond that which is expected of any other system in FO - rather, it helps raise the diplomatic strategy to the same level as all the other paths to victory, without making it burdensome or overcomplex.

I've heard a lot of "this is too complex" and "this would be a nightmare to balance" and "this leads to too much micromanagement", but I haven't seen any examples of scenarios in which these dire statements are proven. What makes this difficult for the player to understand? Why is it so much harder to balance than any other aspect of the game? When would the player ever have motivation to micromanage this system?

More importantly, I have explained in some detail what each aspect of my system will do for gameplay, and how this adds/removes strategic freedom at certain points and why this is beneficial, what possible strategies are allowed and their strategic tradeoffs, and how this system can be managed in a simple and macro manner. I have yet to see the same for any other proposed system. As the design philosophy states, "an idea that adds any complexity needs to be weighed against the increase in strategic depth, or fun gameplay". I have done this, and explained why the increase in strategic depth is worth the additional complexity, which is not actually very significant when compared to opposing systems. In short, I am sticking to my system, not because it is mine, but because it is the most clearly defined, well-defended and macro system out of any that has been proposed.
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