However, in practice, more intense managing would have to be done in many situations:
- Example: If you had both Bloodthirsty and Pacifistic species in your empire, even if you chose to favor the Pacifistic ones, you couldn't just blithely allow your empire's alignment to move toward the Pacifistic extreme. Half way towards Pacifistic from neutral you might have enough other means of gaining the allegiance of your bloodthirsty citizens, to keep them mostly productive, but if you went further toward Pacifistic, they would start to rebel. It's in this empire's best interest to go as far toward Pacifistic as he can without crossing the point where his Bloodthirsty citizen start getting out of hand.
Is it really in that empire's best interests to go just exactly so far and no further? Who's to say that a Bloodthirstiness of 25 will be so much worse than a Bloodthirstiness of 20? Sure, the Pacifists comprise more of your empire, so their allegiance is more important, but a significant amount of espionage can still be done on a single world, and that extra happiness on the Bloodthirsty planets may come in handy. And if anything bad should happen on one of those planets, wouldn't it be nice to have a bit of a happiness buffer before massive riots, or even espionage-incited rebellions occur? My point is that the player can't
what alignment value will end up being the best - he just has to pick a general range that conforms with his strategy. This means that there is no nitpicky micro involved to get the most out of the system because what "the most" actually depends on are factors totally beyond the player's control, such as random happiness-modifying events and enemy espionage, which in turn means that keeping alignment in a specific range nearer to one extreme (20 - 30) is no more difficult or micro than keeping it around the middle (45-55), which is something you already said is OK if the player decides to do it.
eleazar wrote:This is a much more potentially frustrating system than i had intended, i.e. one that can penalize an empire for not having a variable at a specific point, but only provides indirect and clumsy tools for manipulating the variable. Especially since there should be several alignment scales, and this aspect of the game is not standard 4X fare, i expect players to find this part of the alignments unappealing, unwieldy and too abstract.
Since there is no way for the player to be sure that a "specific point" is always going to be better, since it is based largely on external events, are you still compelled to say that the tools the player has for manipulating the variable are insufficient for keeping it within an acceptable, desirable range?
A better solution, however is to revise the underlying system so fiddly control is not needed. In short drop the idea that alignments are paired opposites. Instead use scales like, "Exploratory", "Diplomatic" and "Technological" that have no opposite. Species with a technological ethos would like empires the closer they came to the top of the technological scale, but there would be no species which hate empires for being highly technological. (Certainly we could theoretically make a "Luddite" scale, and invent species that hated empires with technological advancement, but this solution avoids doing that.) You can increase the allegiance of a species without automatically decreasing the allegiance of others. Thus there should never be a need to aim for a particular point on an alignment scale. More is always better. So fine controls over alignment are no longer needed.
- Technological: having the most and highest level techs
Economic: producing and having the most trade
Militaristic: having the most powerful and numerous troops, ships and defenses
Expansionistic: having the most planets and/or the highest population
Exploratory: having explored most of the systems, especially having been there first
Diplomatic: having the most treaties especially major treaties like alliances
Diverse: having the most number of species, especially if not slaves
Trustworthy: breaking the fewest treaties, and being caught in the least espionage
The problem with this, as Krikkitone points out, is that
Krikkitone wrote:its a "Victory Conditions" list... in all of those cases you are making your population more happy by getting closer to winning the game. (very bad slippery slope wise)
Aside from the "slippery slope" detail, it also makes the whole idea of allegiance/alignment somewhat pointless.
eleazar wrote:This is not much to the point. What is the trade off of having more ships? What's the trade off when you research a new tech or build a new wonder? Over all (some specific instances may be exceptions) the trade off is the fact that you have limited resources, and you have to choose weather to build ships, buildings or do research, or whatever else.
The non-opposite alignment system is just like that. There is no automatic trade off to doing a lot of exploration (i.e. increasing your Exploratory Alignment), but the effort you put into that can't be put into increasing other alignment scales. The player is free to divide his effort between the various alignment scales however he wishes, but he won't have the resources to max out all alignments, even though the system theoretically allows any number of alignments to be maxed.
That's exactly the problem. That kind of "resource distribution tradeoff" is already there
. If the player chooses more technology over more warships, he's already making that choice of how to use his resources, and adding a further, very similar layer to that strategic decision is superfluous, even counterproductive. However, the additional strategic interest which is added by pairs of opposing alignments is very different and much more interesting.
Consider this scenario:
Blue empire contains a bloodthirsty xenophobic race with mining and industry bonuses. Early on in the game, he captures a pacifistic diplomatic race with research and farming bonuses. He now has a few choices:
-He can incorporate the new race into his empire, and use them for farming and research. If he chooses this option, he will lose strategic flexibility due to having to maintain a neutral bloodthirstiness and elitism, but he will also gain a different kind of strategic flexibility by having lots more food and research points.
-He can exterminate the new race. This option will allow him to continue with his militaristic strategy and maximize his allegiance from his bloodthirsty xenophobes, but at the cost of the extra resources he could have acquired. However, being able to keep happiness and allegiance at maximum in the later game may well be worth this sacrifice.
-He can enslave the new race (assuming enslaving the race makes it unhappy, but allows fewer rebel ground troops to be spawned for a given level of unhappiness, and decreases the probability of full-scale rebellion for a given level of allegiance, with the downside to the unhappiness being terribly low espionage defense. Unhappiness may be effected directly, by lowering the species-empire alignment, or both). This option will still allow him to get farming and research bonuses, but with the drawbacks that he probably won't quite be able to get all the way to extreme allegiance and happiness from his bloodthirsty xenophobes (not without some good happiness-boosting techs, or fairly high species-empire alignment with the pacifists, at least), he will probably have to keep extra troops garrisoned on the slave planets just in case, and the slave planets will be significantly
more vulnerable to espionage than anything in his empire would have been otherwise (there's your tradeoff for lower statuses, btw).
These options are strategically engaging and offer a variety of interesting possibilities.
If there are no paired opposites for alignment though, look what happens to this scenario:
Blue empire contains a technological economic race with research and trade bonuses. Early in the game, he captures a militaristic expansionistic race with mining and industry bonuses. He now has a few choices:
-He can incorporate the new race into his empire. To keep them happy, he'll have to build a few more warships and capture a few more planets, but that's fine, since he can use his advanced technology and high trade level (either with diplomacy or espionage) to help him with this. The fact that he now gets a mining and industry bonus will also make this a lot easier, since he can just use his extra resources to build the warships.
-He can exterminate the new race. He's free to focus on espionage and research now, and go for the secluded tech victory, while keeping his opponents at bay with espionage, but of course this strategy wouldn't really have been hampered, and perhaps would have been enhanced by having a few extra warships around.
-He can enslave the new race. Again, he's free to focus on research and espionage, and plus he gets the added bonus of having a few extra warships around, since his industry-mining race is still very productive.
These options are strategically very similar, and the decision becomes very bland.
Why is this the case? The answer is that by incorporating a species into your empire, you're also receiving the additional resources you need to please that species
, so the "tradeoff" is that when you get extra resources, you have to use them in order to keep the species that produced them for you happy. With paired opposites, it's always an interesting tradeoff between strategic flexibility, extra resources, or defense against strategies that prey on planets with low allegiance/happiness.
Since this is the case, and since the ability to fine-tune alignment with paired opposites is not
really needed, as I explained above, I feel that having paired-opposite alignments would be much more interesting and worthwhile than having only monoscalar alignments.
Krikkitone wrote:a Slow 'Historical Buildup' of Alignment (similar to your system) is compatible with a Target/Current Alignment meter with a slow exponential decay, and it doesn't require Propaganda to fine tune (you can fine tune by fine tuning your strategy itself.)
My system doesn't "require" propaganda to fine tune. It can be fine-tuned just as easily as any system in which the values are a direct result of the player's actions. Nor does it require multiple policy changes to do so, since the growth rate is only one way of manipulating the system - the other way is through immediate actions which affect the current value of the meter. Because this is the case, ensuring that your alignment stays within a certain range is no more than simply ensuring that your strategy stays within a certain range, and is just as fine-tunable as any other system (though fine fine-tuning is quite unnecessary, as I've pointed out, and would lead to unnecessary restrictions and micromanagement in any system).
You are correct however, that a slow historical buildup of alignment is, to a certain extent, compatible with a target-current system for alignment. However, there are a couple of things that it doesn't do that I would really like to see happen, in terms of what alignment values tend to be throughout the game. One of them is illustrated nicely by RonaldX's example, a revised version of which I will reiterate here:
The player is controlling an empire with a bloodthirsty race, and is fighting two other empires. The first, he zurgs (zergs?)-over with fast fleets, but the second has been playing a developmental/tech strategy and has only a few planets with massively advanced defenses (or more likely, a small group of planets, separated from the rest of the empire by a choke-point system with massively advanced defenses) that stymie his fleets. His military strategy is now just slamming his head into a wall. He needs to approach this problem in a different fashion, but unless he continues to act warlike - and not just warlike, but extremely
warlike - his target bloodthirst will drop instantly (a drop to 50 would be the equivalent of no change in a growth-current system), and his current bloodthirst will slowly follow until his planets start becoming less and less happy with him. Because he has incurred this penalty for trying to win the game, his planets are now more vulnerable to the secluded empire's spies, which will be used to wreak havoc in his empire. Essentially, the player has been worked into a situation where changing from a bad strategy to a good one is actually a bad strategy.
Admittedly, I'm making that situation seem a bit worse than it actually is. The penalty to happiness wouldn't be all that severe due to the slow rate of alignment growth, and it probably still would be more advantageous to change strategies, but I really don't think there should be that kind of inflexibility thrust on the player in the endgame, even if it is to a somewhat lesser (but still significant) extent.
The second issue I have is how insanely difficult it would be to max out allegiance in the first place.
Krikkitone wrote:Max Allegiance is nice, but Max Tech is nice too.
Max military size is also nice, as is Max population.
Max Trade output would be good as well.
Well, the player can
get max mining, max industry, max trade, max research, and max farming. By having lots and lots of different races in his empire. But if he does that, there's no conceivable way he's going to have max allegiance, and therefore max happiness/espionage defense, max ground combat (due to militia bonuses), etc. Also, it should probably be easier to boost species-empire alignment of species that aren't
in your empire, so that diplomatic empires who have high allegiance from everyone won't also be able to have high mining, industry, trade, etc. That makes another interesting tradeoff. Since these tradeoffs are already there, it's pointless to have them reiterated for single-species empires, who have already made the decision to go without the bonuses of multi-species empires, and should therefore get to have the bonus of single species empires.
If a current-target system is used for alignment, then the player will have to act perfectly bloodthirsty for an extended period of time to get to max bloodthirstiness, which adds an unnecessary limitation to the player's strategic flexibility for the sake of creating a strategic tradeoff that's already
implicit in having chosen a single-species empire. In a growth-current system, the player who acts bloodthirsty will inevitably get to max bloodthirstiness eventually, and get the allegiance and happiness bonuses that he deserves for putting up with the other inflexibilities of having a single-species empire.
Krikkitone wrote:IF you really want a system that only reaches extreme alignments in the End game, then give the change ~1% exponential decay instead of 5%, or have it move 0.5 per turn instead of 1.
That really doesn't help the fact that the player still needs to stay extremely
bloodthirsty to get to max bloothirstiness, which is an unnecessary strategic limitation.
RonaldX wrote:I get your thing on happiness being a classic meter, and presumably allegiance as well.
No. Allegiance is a purely calculated value, with only a current value, based on current alignment. A growth rate for allegiance might also be displayed to the player, derived from the growth rates of the alignment scales.
RonaldX wrote:The reason I havn't been defending the sum-of-parts method is because nobody is attacking it.
I honestly believe a sum-of-parts system is easier for a player to grasp and control than a growth-rate one, and it gives continuity to alignment, allegiance, and happiness. Since they all end up effecting the same things in the end, I think continuity between them is important. All the benefits to gameplay you propose will come from a growth-rate system can be emulated in a sum-of-parts system through use of decay, which I considered central to the concept of sum-of-parts from the beginning anyways, without the uncertainty of the "undefined period of time" that I personally object to.
I have explained above, just now, why the sum-of-parts/current-target system does not emulate all the benefits to gameplay which I propose will come from a growth-current system. This could be considered an "attack" on the sum-of-parts method, which needs to be defended against. Also, it's hard to tell what you mean by "continuity" between alignment, allegiance and happiness. Is it simply that they are all classic current-target meters? If so, I don't see that as a really great justification for the sum-of-parts method.
Essentially, you're saying that the main reason you're opposed to a growth-current system and would favour a current-target system for alignment is that the growth-current system is "unstable", and this instability is caused by the inherent uncertainty present in the amount of time a given effect on the growth rate will continue to be in effect. I would argue that since the amount of time that a given effect is effective is determined by the length of time it is present, and that this length of time is entirely under the control of the player (who may or may not be compelled to leave it or change it based on various strategic factors), this system is not significantly more unstable than any system which is under the control of the player. Mineral production for example, has an effect on the mineral stockpile for an undefined period of time, and other factors (construction of ships and buildings) can also affect it's rate of growth. In this sense, it is just as unstable as the growth-current model of alignment.
My system also has a great deal of stability at the extreme ends of the alignment scale, whereas in any other system, the player has to be locked into a specific strategy to keep alignment stable, which you yourself stated in your example, is a bad thing because it leaves the player "beating his head into a wall" with the same strategy, because changing it would have detrimental effects. In my system, the player has additional strategic flexibility because of the inherent stability
of my system at the extreme values.
Krikkitone wrote:There are only 3 Meters needed
2. Species Treatment
3. Local conditions
Everything else is just figuring out what actual EFFECT those meters have.
I think that 2+3 should be added to an Ethos comparison to 1 to detemine "Rebel Activity" or "Espionage defense" on a world in your empire
I think that 2 should be added to an Ethos comparison to 1 to determine "Espionage vulnerability" and "Local Resistance/support" to worlds in Other empires, as well as To help worlds decide
Since those combinations of the meters are so important, the player should be able to see at a glance what they are... The first sum (a convenient glance at the calculations for easy display) would be Happiness
The second sum (a glance at the calculations for easy display) would be Allegiance
I assume you mean there need only be three distinct types of factors (which may or may not be measured by a "meter", even in the looser definition of the term). In terms of what you have there, my system has
1. Alignment is "Ethical Compatibility Alignment", i.e. what actions an empire has taken that could relate to a species' subjective ethical preferences.
2. Species Treatment is "Species-Empire Alignment, i.e. what actions have I taken for/against this species specifically
that would cause them to like/dislike me regardless of their subjective ethical preferences.
3. Local Conditions is rolled into "Happiness", since I don't see a huge need to track it separately (since the "drifting target problem" doesn't exist in my system, it's simpler to just roll up happiness into one meter).
Allegiance is an average of ethical compatibility (calculated from ethos vs. ethical compatibility alignments) and species-empire alignment (perhaps not necessarily weighted 50-50; certainly subject to balancing). It has no target value, and is not a classic meter (essentially, it's what you said).
Happiness is a classic meter with a target by default equal to the allegiance of the inhabiting species to the owning empire, but potentially modified by regular old effects groups as well, just like any meter. I think that this is adequate, since the "drifting target problem" is not an issue when alignment is calculated using a growth-current model and allegiance is a simple calculated number with no target.
I'd like to point out that my system is adequately controllable without propaganda, simply by controlling the actions of your empire (since there is no need to have alignment stay at an exact point, and the player can take specific actions which affect current meter without having to change policies to affect growth. Propaganda allows additional flexibility, and even allows some empires to make a whole strategy out of keeping allegiance of all species towards them at high levels. Essentially, it allows greater flexibility and strategic variety, while still maintaining the idea of strategic tradeoffs and sacrifices, which is exactly what this game should have.
RonaldX wrote:Again, I know you are not going to back down come hell or high water...
I have been known to change my mind in the past, given sufficiently logical arguments in favour of an opposing position:
Geoff the Medio wrote:Destroying a homeworld, specifically, is a pretty significant event for a species. Not being able to make that just go away doesn't seem like a problem to me. Instead, you'd need to do something significantly good for the species to get a counterbalancing bonus to their allegiance.
I agree that the effect of such an event should be significant, but that doesn't imply that it shouldn't fade with time. It only seems natural and intuitive that the effect of any event would fade with time. A planet's current population doesn't remain lowered forever after it's been bombarded, so why should their allegiance towards the bombing empire? If current allegiance growth is very slow, there can still be significant, long-lasting effects which aren't irritatingly irreversible. Also, what kind of "significantly good" thing did you have in mind that might have a permanent affect on allegiance?
RonaldX wrote:We disagree on what the final result should be...
I'm not sure we do, and I think that the example you gave in your previous post illustrates this. We both want a system with strategic tradeoffs, but where the player still has flexibility to try to actually win the game. As for not wanting to argue about how to go about that, well that's your decision.
Edit2: fixed parentheses