Simulating Citizens

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Bigjoe5
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#316 Post by Bigjoe5 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 4:34 pm

Krikkitone wrote:"Luck" should determine the Viability of strategic options. The Availability of strategic options should be determined by the game rules and as a key part of pacing.
You can always try to start a game with a Warlike race then switch to a Diplomatic strategy. The viability of this will be decreased if there happen to be no Diplomatic races in the galaxy. In terms of actually trying a particular strategy, well, you can do it no matter what. But in terms of what's available around you, the strategic options that are opened up by your environment will always be based on luck. As far as game pacing goes, I don't really see what could be done by adding civics to the tech tree that couldn't be done by just having actual techs and buildings that permit various strategies.
Krikkitone wrote:Let me clarify
There is "overarching strategy" which includes strategic shifts within it. (the overarching strategy may change as well)

Shifting your population would involve an Incredibly massive change in strategy because it is not really easy to reverse.
Shifting the economic focus of your worlds is not as large a shift in strategy since it is fairly easy to reverse.

"Civics" would be between those scales, much harder to change than the focus of a world, but much easier than changing your entire population.
What interesting strategies are possible with civics that can't be made possible without them, in a more natural way (essentially the core of the issue, right here)?

Bigjoe5 wrote:I agree, at least as a 'bare bones', the system can be expanded later

With Those 3 you have 12 ethoi

A few points on them
there are 3 ways to "get" things
Build it (Peace and/or Iso Ethos)
Take it (War Ethos)
Beg it (Diplo Ethos)
Technically, you can also "take it" with espionage, which requires Trade. At any rate, I don't think we need all twelve, and obviously some of them are just contradictory. Is there a really good combination aside from the five (the six on the wiki page, with Warlord and Conquerer rolled into one) that would allow a cohesive, non-self-contradictory strategy (examples of contradictions would be bloodthirsty egalitarian - trying to keep a high species-empire alignment from most species is extremely difficult when you're actively waging war against their former empires, so you can't afford to keep them all at the same rank).
Krikkitone wrote:As for the Freedom v. Security, it can be merged into Equality v. Elite...
IF you can have variation of Elite v. Equality with a single species empire (the idea is that you can have only one species and lower it below citizen and become more elite)
An Elite single species empire (with that one species as slave or worse) would like be a dictatorship with high security effects. (like the rebel supression you get for slaves)
An Equal single species empire (with that one species as a citizen..as high as it goes) would be like a democracy with high 'freedom' effects. (like the additional Allegiance for citizens
and IF there was some special mechanism for Group minds (the main reason I thought it should be separated)... ie a Group Mind doesn't have the freedom<->equality relationship at all. So "Enslaving" a group mind species wouldn't do anything, unless there is a different species higher than them.
I suppose that would mean that all species would automatically start out as "subjects" (1 rank below citizen), including the starting species, so that the elitism - egalitarian alignment would start out neutral. Special rules for a "group mind" pick is a good idea, but should be dealt with after status itself is sorted out.
Krikkitone wrote:Side note: as for "shared wins" there should be some way for two players to merge their empires so that they do get a shared win (it should cut seriously into their victory points and require significant diplomatic/political investment on both sides to get their populations to accepti it... but That should be the way to achieve the 'sole-survivor' win purely diplomatically ie fuse all empires into one)
I don't think so at all. A joint victory isn't a real victory. A diplomatic victory should just be using diplomacy to reach the sole-survivor victory, the same way an espionage victory should just be using espionage to get the sole-survivor victory, and a tech victory should be using technology to get a sole-survivor victory, and a military victory is using your military to get a sole-survivor victory. Having special rules for different victories implies that the systems in question aren't adequately important to be able to get the empire a real victory - that is to say that they haven’t been adequately integrated with the game to allow the player to use them to eliminate his opponents. In this case, I've described on the wiki how diplomacy in particular can be sufficiently integrated into the game (with the ethos system) to allow a player to legitimately get a sole survivor victory through primarily diplomatic means. I think it should also be possible to get the sole-survivor victory with spies, without ever even making diplomatic contact with a single empire.

Status needs some attention now, I think.

I believe eleazar had a list that went from +3 to -4. That seems like too many to me. I think we’re fine with just

Overlord
Aristocrat
Citizen
Subject
Slave

Vermin isn’t necessary, because if the player wants to exterminate a planet, he can do so. He should also have the macro-tools necessary to exterminate all planets of an entire species in his empire with a single command.

Now, exactly what these statuses should do is still a big question. First of all, what we’ve agreed upon:

- Planets containing races with lower status are less likely to riot and rebel somehow, or else riots and rebellions are just much less effective. Exactly how to implement this is to be determined.

- Races with lower statuses get a penalty to species-empire alignment (immediate one-time penalty to current when the change is made, and permanent penalty to growth), and which will correspond to lowered allegiance and happiness. An additional happiness penalty might be appropriate, depending on how we want to balance long-term effects of slavery vs. short-term immediate effects.

- Races with higher statuses get a bonus to species-empire alignment, which will correspond to increased allegiance and happiness. Again, an additional happiness bonus might be appropriate.


In addition to this, there could be bonuses and penalties to resource production for different ranks.

Some ideas: races with higher ranks get a ground combat bonus, and races with lower ranks get a ground combat penalty (these probably shouldn’t be symmetrical; the lower ranks should have a bigger penalty than the higher rank gets a bonus). Advantages to this include:

- integrated method of making the slave planets’ riots and rebellions less effective - Overlord troops will easily be able to keep Slave rebels at bay.

- enhances the elitist strategy - ground combat bonuses for high ranking troops will allow a Warlord to conquer planets more easily.

Disadvantages of this are:

- Not as simple as just decreasing the riot and rebellion thresholds (since a mechanism for altering these thresholds will presumably need to be present for espionage purposes)

- Ground combat bonus might be superfluous to increased allegiance, depending on whether or not allegiance will alter the effectiveness of ground combat troops (though ground combat penalty for slaves wouldn’t, because they would be fighting for the rebel’s side)


Some further points on rank bonuses:

* Bonuses for high ranks don’t need to have corresponding penalties for low ranks, and vice versa, but higher ranks should never have the same bonuses and penalties as lower ranks (either aristocrats or slaves can get a production penalty; if one of them does, the other can't, but doesn’t necessarily have to get a production bonus)

* Additional factors can be added in as rank gets further from 0, but the factors for more extreme ranks should always include the same factors that less extreme ranks did (Overlords might get a ground combat bonus even if Aristocrats don’t, but Aristocrats cannot get a ground combat bonus if Overlords don’t)

* If the player is able to put his starting race as a status lower than citizen from the start of the game, there must be potential strategic reasons for him to do so.
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#317 Post by Krikkitone » Fri Feb 19, 2010 5:39 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Krikkitone wrote: A diplomatic victory should just be using diplomacy to reach the sole-survivor victory
And I just proposed a way for that to happen... a way to "eliminate your opponent" through PURELY diplomatic means.

I feel those should be the two ways to eliminate opponents
1. Conquest
2. Union

If #1 is the only way, then it severely hampers playstyle. There needs to be one (or more) methods of winning that involve no conquest whatsoever. Allies shouldn't necessarily mean "last person I'm going to attack".
Bigjoe5 wrote: What interesting strategies are possible with civics that can't be made possible without them, in a more natural way (essentially the core of the issue, right here)?
Explicit Trade offs between Tech-dependent bonuses in game (ie as tech improves, the bonuses for Democracy grow as welll as the bonuses for Dictatorship with different techs. However those bonuses are mutually exclusive, no matter how many resources you get, you can't get both bonuses. Those bonuses also have Alignment (and hence diplomatic) ramifications.

Also they are a Lot simpler to change than swapping out your population.
Bigjoe5 wrote: Technically, you can also "take it" with espionage, which requires Trade. At any rate, I don't think we need all twelve, and obviously some of them are just contradictory. Is there a really good combination aside from the five (the six on the wiki page, with Warlord and Conquerer rolled into one) that would allow a cohesive, non-self-contradictory strategy (examples of contradictions would be bloodthirsty egalitarian - trying to keep a high species-empire alignment from most species is extremely difficult when you're actively waging war against their former empires, so you can't afford to keep them all at the same rank).
What is contradictory about Bloodthirsty Egalitarian? As I mentioned... Liberator... you wage war against the empire that was enslaving them.... or you enslave them until you are finished with the war against their empire (Bloodthirsty balances the Egalitarian) and then elevate their status.

Or you annihilate them if they aren't compatible (Bloodthirsty Egalitarians would either Include other species or annihilate them). [Egalitarians would have no objection to Xenocide... just slavery... indeed I expect Egalitarians to do quite a bit of Xenocide]



As for the Status, that seems like a Good set up. With the additional limitation
Aristocrat+Overlord population < Subject+Slave population [or else Aristocrats+Overlords are effectively Citizens in all respects]
Overlord population < (Subject+Slave population)/5 [or else Overlords are effectively Aristocrats in all respects]

So Target Species-Alignment is based on status
Target Equal-Alignment would be based on % Citizens
Target Elite-Alignment would be based on % Slaves, Aristocrats, and Overlords (Slave pop+Aristocrat pop+5*Overlord pop)
Target Elite-Alignment would also be increased if only one species was Aristocrats or Overlords

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#318 Post by eleazar » Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:51 pm

RonaldX wrote:- I'm not sure how much of a free hand you want to allow the player at any point in the game. Balancing strategy with happiness, if it's going to matter at all, should have a significant enough effect to be worth including. In most 4x games, citizen unrest is only calculated as far as: base % of population is unhappy, which gets worse as you increase taxes. If we're going to go through all the trouble of making people unhappy if you don't follow the strategy they prefer, then it should be an important factor at all times or it's just not worth including.
This is a good leading question, so i'll appropriate it, to lay our some big-picture stuff.
IMHO the ethos/alignment system should be a significant incentive to behave in a certain way, but by no means a straight jacket. There are many practical reasons that prevent a player from radically and quickly switching his strategy in mid-game (as from a peaceful trader to military juggernaut)-- you can't do it in MoO or Civ, so we don't need design alignment/ethos as if it was prevent it alone. Not that switching macro-strategies should be anything close to strictly prevented. The balance is between giving the player flexibility, and allowing the player to customize/optimize his empire to excel at certain things. It would therefor be harder to change the macro-strategy of an empire that has been highly optimized for a certain victory path, than it would be if the empire was more generalized.

It is worth noting, as RonaldX has, that most 4X games have a much more simplistic implementation of allegiance/happiness/unrest. One of the reasons is, i believe, that unhappiness/unrest can easily be un-fun. Care needs to be taken that the positive side counterbalances the negative, and especially that there's not a jot of complexity that isn't abundantly justified by functionality. When a player's empire is falling apart around him he wants to know why and he wants to fix it-- not because it is fun, but so he can get back to having fun. Prolonging the time he has to dig around to understand why his people are rioting/rebelling increases the un-fun part of the game.

Bigjoe5 wrote:I've already suggested that for each war in which the player is involved, he has the option to either endorse or denounce the war. A war which was declared by the player would be automatically set to "endorse" and a war which was thrust upon the player would automatically be set to "denounce". It costs trade to switch from "endorse" to "denounce", but not to switch from "denounce" to "endorse".
This seems like a rather abstract meta-action that clutters up the diplomatic landscape. Seriously, what sense does it make to "denounce" a war that you just started? Sure it has parallels in real diplomacy, but real diplomacy contains an infinite regression of double-talk and double-dealing, not all of which should be included in a 4X game.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:* I highly doubt regular species will routinely have 2 resource bonuses. ... Having 1 resource bonus (or a non-resource bonus) per species also makes it less likely that the acquisition of a species in its self will provide all the resources needed to make them happy in a non-paired alignment setup.
I don't think those points need to made at all. They're just nitpicking at the details of my example without really addressing the core of the argument. In addition, you're making some assumptions about the nature of "Xenophobia" and imposing some arbitrary restrictions on race statistics which aren't realistic (or really relevant to the point I was trying to make).
It's entirely relevant. One of your main arguments was in essence: "In a non-paired system when a get a new species, it's production bonuses provide sufficient resources to keep it happy." This is much less plausible without double production bonuses. Sure you can build your own species, but production bonuses are quite powerful pics. A species with two, if at all possible would need extremely grievous negative pics.

Bigjoe5 wrote:The main difference is that the relationship between two opposing ethoi is more clearly defined in a paired alignment system...
How many times to i have to say this? There are no opposing ethoi in my un-paired system. An advance in one scale will never produce a regression on another. Opposites in any sense would simply not be included. That is the whole point of the system. Any other difference is merely a means to this end, or accommodations to make everything work well together.

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:Nobody is arguing that this would be boring. Sure it sounds cool. My complaint is that in practice it would be as fun as it sounds trying to keep both species as citizens with clumsy and indirect means of pushing the balance between the two specie's alignment back and forth.
I would argue that it would be no more fun to try to keep both species as citizens with clumsy and indirect means of pushing several different alignment meters upwards and trying to keep them all above the riot threshold with limited resources.
This should be pretty clear. If "more is alway better", as in my unpaired system, then it doesn't matter if the means of moving the meter is clumsy. You can never overshoot the mark, never go too far. There are never negative consequences from alignment going too high.

Consider this example, which illustrates the main scenario when a paired and unpaired system would be different:
The Blue empire contains several species. For the paired scenario some of these species have opposing alignments. The Bloodthirsty & Diplomatic Bebebe start rioting and/or rebelling. (i'm not proposing that "bloodthirsty" exist as an un-paired alignment, but it could as long as there was no "pacifistic". i'll assume this trait to avoid confusion) In this situation, the player must deal with this via imperial actions that change his alignment, because other means are the same for paired and un-paired systems. Let's just say that for whatever reason altering alignment via propaganda, rank change, security, or any other means happens not to be feasible. So what does the player to make the Bebebe happy?
  • Unpaired: the player simply needs to commit bloodthirsty or diplomatic acts until the Bebebe stop rioting. No need to carefully measure out the violence or treaty-signing -- he can choose whatever actions makes the most strategic sense, without worrying about pushing either meter too far.

    Paired: the player needs to commits bloodthirsty or diplomatic acts, but not just any action will do. He needs to consider his pacifistic and isolationist species, figure out how a move toward bloodthirsty or diplomatic would effect their happiness, and thus figure out how far it is safe to move the meters. The most strategically expedient method he has available, such as "Exterminating the citizens of a planet under your control", might move the meter so far that his pacifistic species will riot instead-- especially if some of are low on the subjective allegiance side. But his pacifistic and isolationist species each have a second meter. He might make up for their decreased allegiance by moving some of the other meters favorably towards them. Thus with only 3 alignment pairs (which is what i understand you have now) the question of how to deal with the Bebebe could easily extend to considering an alteration in all 3 of the alignment scales and thus of the consequences of adjusting the alignment of every species you have -- not necessarily all at once, but as possible alternatives. All together it is a much more tangled and limiting web than it needs to be.

    And since ethos/alignment is mostly changed as a secondary effect of other actions, it needs to be of itself as clear and straightforward as possible, otherwise it will tend to have too tangled a relationship with strategy.
Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:* There may need to be an additional counterbalance to the "gotta-catch-em-all", such as a small negative to the allegiance of all species, with each additional (free?) species added to the empire. The rationalization is that it is easier to keep everyone happy when you only have to cater to one group, as many human nations have trouble keeping multiple ethnic groups happy.
I don't think an additional rule like that would really feel natural... it's better if such a counterbalance were somehow a part of the system itself, for example having a species in your empire that likes only technology and exploration would get a slight penalty to all the other alignment scales as a natural consequence of having that species in your empire. That seems more natural to me.
Hmm, the effect is in the same ballpark. What i'm getting at is some sort of increasing penalty to having more species. Paired alignments don't really do that well, because you have so few. At best they allow you to incorporate 1/6th of total species without any penalty. (assuming equal ethoi distribution). In other words, a large fraction of possible species can be incorporated into a single empire with no alignment balancing issues because so many have the same ethoi.

Of course, i'm not entirely sure we need to counterbalance "gotta-catch-em-all". IIRC MoO didn't have a counterbalance, and it's wasn't broken (in that area).

Bigjoe5 wrote:Unpaired alignment scales make it extremely difficult to follow a diplomatic strategy. Suppose there are 8 scales. In your system, a player who is only trying to please one species will always be 4 times higher on the alignment scale than the diplomatic empire, from the beginning of the game, right up to the end. There's no way the diplomatic empire is going to get his species-empire alignments to compensate for that. In a paired alignment system, the diplomatic empire will start with an advantage to species-empire alignment possibly due to racial picks, techs and other factors. This will more than cancel out the small (but gradually increasing) differences between his empire's ethical compatibility alignments and those of his opponents, and should keep his overall allegiance from just about every species quite a bit higher than their allegiance to their owner empire, until fairly late in the game, at which point the diplomatic empire should be at a decisive advantage from having accumulated enough resources and weakened the other empires by playing them against each other (if his strategy was successful). In your system, you've forced the player to balance all of the ethical compatibility alignments against each other, rather than just pitting them against each other in pairs, which means that there's no way he's ever going to get a decent value for any of them unless he focuses on just a few specifically. And there's no way to fix it, because the very problem I've just described is the whole point of the system of unpaired alignment scales, and it doesn't work unless it really is difficult to get high alignments in everything.
I'm not really sure i understand this criticism. I assume by "diplomatic" you mean an empire that tries to make every species like him? It seems that you have a much more specific definition in mind, which i don't quite get. I don't see why a very specific version of "diplomatic strategy" needs to be supported, but my system would certainly support strategies that include trying to make friends with (more or less) everyone. The trade off is pretty natural. An empire can focus on keeping a subset of all species very happy with him, or he can spread that around and try to make all species moderately pleased with him.

Bigjoe5 wrote:I've thrown together a quick example of what a system of paired opposite alignments would look like, which includes 4 alignments, what will affect their current and growth values, their strategic tradeoffs, and how they interact with the diplomatic strategy. This allows 24 possible ethoi, assuming two ethical preferences per species, though I suspect that only about 5 or 6 really good combinations will be chosen.

Paired Alignments wiki page
Well, that helps. Diplomatic/Isolationist is conceptually about as good as bloodthirsty/pacifistic.


Off Topic
It seems like we are veering off topic pretty badly in a couple areas.

* Joint/Diplomatic Victories. I don't see why we need to know if these exist to further this topic. Discuss the merits of joint victories elsewhere.

* Civics. This certainly is not the topic to file objections to having Civ4/SMAC-type government choices. If you want to discuss it start another tread. Since it's in the roadmap, they can be assumed to be part of the game in some form. Last i checked Geoff rather liked the idea, (as do i) and it meshes well with our macro-management approach. It's not impossible that they will get abandoned when the design process moves that far, but until then assume that we'll follow the roadmap. But certainly anything we plan now should be loosely linked to Civics, i.e. not require a specific implementation of Civics.

BigJoe wrote:Failing at something should never alter a current alignment value. As eleazar said, all the actions which affect alignment should potentially bring the empire closer to winning the game.
That's not what i meant at all. I said that alignment shouldn't measure inherently useless actions, because the game shouldn't include inherently useless actions. If we have paired alignments, i don't see why failure shouldn't move them, since they are designed to move both ways.


That's all i have time for for now.
Last edited by eleazar on Fri Feb 19, 2010 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: fixed quote, and added clarification

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#319 Post by Bigjoe5 » Fri Feb 19, 2010 11:45 pm

eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:I've already suggested that for each war in which the player is involved, he has the option to either endorse or denounce the war. A war which was declared by the player would be automatically set to "endorse" and a war which was thrust upon the player would automatically be set to "denounce". It costs trade to switch from "endorse" to "denounce", but not to switch from "denounce" to "endorse".
This seems like a rather abstract meta-action that clutters up the diplomatic landscape. Seriously, what sense does it make to "denounce" a war that you just started? Sure it has parallels in real diplomacy, but real diplomacy contains an infinite regression of double-talk and double-dealing, not all of which should be included in a 4X game.
You know, you’re probably right. If a pacifistic empire can’t keep other players from declaring war on him, he deserves to have his pacifism alignment lowered (isolationists should just stay out of the way, and Tolerant empires should have enough allies that it’s not strategically sound to declare war on them). In that sense, it is strategically justifiable for a war which was not instigated by the player to increase his Bloodthirstiness.

eleazar wrote:It's entirely relevant. One of your main arguments was in essence: "In a non-paired system when a get a new species, it's production bonuses provide sufficient resources to keep it happy." This is much less plausible without double production bonuses. Sure you can build your own species, but production bonuses are quite powerful pics. A species with two, if at all possible would need extremely grievous negative pics.
What I wrote was intended to mean, “In a non-paired system, when the player gets a new species, its racial bonuses (not just resource production, necessarily) will contribute to the player’s ability to keep it happy,” which will always be true. This makes it difficult for the player to predict how difficult it will be to keep a new species happy, since he will have to weigh the general advantage of having the species with the cost of increasing the ethical compatibility alignments with the specific advantage he gets from actually having the species in his empire, with the fact that he won’t be able to expend as many resources to keep his other species happy.

In a paired alignment system, all he has to do is weigh the general advantage of having the species in his empire, against the strategic inflexibility that trying to please multiple species will give him, against the decreased allegiance from his other species, due to having to balance alignment. That’s a fair bit simpler and more concrete.

eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:The main difference is that the relationship between two opposing ethoi is more clearly defined in a paired alignment system...
How many times to i have to say this? There are no opposing ethoi in my un-paired system. An advance in one scale will never produce a regression on another. Opposites in any sense would simply not be included. That is the whole point of the system. Any other difference is merely a means to this end, or accommodations to make everything work well together.
I understand that it doesn’t have “opposites”, but in your system, different ethoi are still incompatible (a better term, when referring to an unpaired system) with one another, in that the player will have to sacrifice allegiance from one in order to increase the allegiance of the other (because when he expends resources to increase the allegiance of one, he can’t spend those resources increasing the allegiance of the other). This relationship still exists in an unpaired alignment system - it’s just obfuscated by the fact that it is a limited-resource tradeoff instead of a direct tradeoff.

eleazar wrote:This should be pretty clear. If "more is alway better", as in my unpaired system, then it doesn't matter if the means of moving the meter is clumsy. You can never overshoot the mark, never go too far. There are never negative consequences from alignment going too high.

Consider this example, which illustrates the main scenario when a paired and unpaired system would be different:
The Blue empire contains several species. For the paired scenario some of these species have opposing alignments. The Bloodthirsty & Diplomatic Bebebe start rioting and/or rebelling. (i'm not proposing that "bloodthirsty" exist as an un-paired alignment, but it could as long as there was no "pacifistic". i'll assume this trait to avoid confusion) In this situation, the player must deal with this via imperial actions that change his alignment, because other means are the same for paired and un-paired systems. Let's just say that for whatever reason altering alignment via propaganda, rank change, security, or any other means happens not to be feasible. So what does the player to make the Bebebe happy?
  • Unpaired: the player simply needs to commit bloodthirsty or diplomatic acts until the Bebebe stop rioting. No need to carefully measure out the violence or treaty-signing -- he can choose whatever actions makes the most strategic sense, without worrying about pushing either meter too far.
That summary is severely over-simplified. Here’s what I believe would really happen:

The player needs to commit bloodthirsty and diplomatic acts until the Bebebe stop rioting, and in doing so, he must expend resources. These resources however, were previously being used for technological and exploratory purposes, so his exploratory technologists are going to have lowered allegiance towards him. The player needs to figure out exactly how much he can afford to spare from his exploration and research, and figure out how he can use this to increase his bloodthirstiness or diplomacy. If he exterminated a world for example, he might lose considerable research points, or PP that would have been used to build more scouts. If he attacks an enemy planet, he’ll have to divert his ships from their exploratory missions and use them for military offense, either of which could potentially bring his exploratory technologists below the riot threshold.

So you see, you haven’t eliminated the problem at all - you’ve just obfuscated the relationship by spreading it out over multiple alignment scales linked by a limited-resource tradeoff, rather than keeping them in the same alignment scale linked by a direct tradeoff, which makes it more difficult for the player to control the tradeoff between one alignment scale and another.
eleazar wrote:Paired: the player needs to commits bloodthirsty or diplomatic acts, but not just any action will do. He needs to consider his pacifistic and isolationist species, figure out how a move toward bloodthirsty or diplomatic would effect their happiness, and thus figure out how far it is safe to move the meters. The most strategically expedient method he has available, such as "Exterminating the citizens of a planet under your control", might move the meter so far that his pacifistic species will riot instead-- especially if some of are low on the subjective allegiance side. But his pacifistic and isolationist species each have a second meter. He might make up for their decreased allegiance by moving some of the other meters favorably towards them. Thus with only 3 alignment pairs (which is what i understand you have now) the question of how to deal with the Bebebe could easily extend to considering an alteration in all 3 of the alignment scales and thus of the consequences of adjusting the alignment of every species you have -- not necessarily all at once, but as possible alternatives. All together it is a much more tangled and limiting web than it needs to be.
I think the real question is “how much should an individual action affect alignment?” The answer is “not much”. Therefore, if the Bebebe are rioting, the immediate solution could be to use happiness altering techs/buildings, increase the amount of troops on the planet, enslave them, or trade those planets to someone else for something else. Minerals don’t riot, after all. The point is that altering alignments scales isn’t a quick-fix, and it’s primarily the big decisions which are considered by the player with regard to alignment for example: “This tech will allow me to capture planets and enslave them more easily - this will make it more strategically viable to capture and enslave planets. Therefore, I will naturally do it more often, and my elitism alignment will increase. I want to increase the allegiance of my Warlords, so I should research this tech,” or: “Accepting Blue empire’s offer of peace will decrease the opportunity I have for destroying their ships and planets, and will therefore decrease my Bloodthirstiness. This will not please my Xenophobes, therefore, I will not accept this offer of peace.” If the player wants to choose a strategy which is neutral, he can choose techs, treaties, buildings etc. which will give him a balance of both, which will solve allegiance problems in the long-term. Happiness problems in the short-term should be dealt with using other means.
eleazar wrote:Hmm, the effect is in the same ballpark. What i'm getting at is some sort of increasing penalty to having more species. Paired alignments don't really do that well, because you have so few. At best they allow you to incorporate 1/6th of total species without any penalty. (assuming equal ethoi distribution). In other words, a large fraction of possible species can be incorporated into a single empire with no alignment balancing issues because so many have the same ethoi.
Since all species of a given ethos will have picks that support the strategy of that ethos, getting more species of the same ethos is just increasing the power of the strategy in question. In this case, “gotta-catch-em-all” is restricted to species which support your specific strategy, which will further compel the player to play according to that strategy. An empire with lots of different Reclusive species should be a more powerful spying empire than an empire with only a small number of Reclusive species, but if you throw some Democrats into the mix, the empire will get a lot harder to maintain. This makes a nice balance between species that you can easily incorporate into your empire, and species which will be more difficult to incorporate, but will give your empire more flexibility to branch out into a different strategy. Usually, just maxing out your own single strategy will be superior, but sometimes, the decrease in allegiance will be necessary to add that extra dimension to your strategy.
eleazar wrote:I'm not really sure i understand this criticism. I assume by "diplomatic" you mean an empire that tries to make every species like him? It seems that you have a much more specific definition in mind, which i don't quite get. I don't see why a very specific version of "diplomatic strategy" needs to be supported, but my system would certainly support strategies that include trying to make friends with (more or less) everyone. The trade off is pretty natural. An empire can focus on keeping a subset of all species very happy with him, or he can spread that around and try to make all species moderately pleased with him.
He can’t just make all species moderately happy with him. He has to make them have higher allegiance towards him than to his opponents. This way, his opponents will use him as their “quick fix for low happiness” - by giving him presents, they get a happiness boost on worlds that have higher allegiance to him than to them. This increased allegiance is maintained by keeping most alignment scales in the middle, and all species-empire alignments higher than his opponents’. This way, as the game progresses, he will start with higher allegiance from everyone due to species-empire alignment. This is accomplished by staying “neutral”. with unpaired alignments, this is accomplished by Being Just Great. And if you are Just Great, you’re not just using a diplomatic strategy - you’re using a military strategy, a technological strategy, and exploratory strategy, etc. And since the player is depending on his diplomacy to get him things, he won’t be Just Great, and therefore other species won’t have higher allegiance to him. Diplomacy is a way of getting things that involves pleasing everybody, but pleasing everybody (in an unpaired alignment system) requires being good at getting things in other ways too, which defeats the purpose of a thoroughly diplomatic strategy.
eleazar wrote:
BigJoe wrote:Failing at something should never alter a current alignment value. As eleazar said, all the actions which affect alignment should potentially bring the empire closer to winning the game.
That's not what i meant at all. I said that alignment shouldn't measure inherently useless actions, because the game shouldn't include inherently useless actions. If we have paired alignments, i don't see why failure shouldn't move them, since they are designed to move both ways.
Because if failing affects a paired alignment, there are situations in which failing would be a good thing, and that should never be the case.
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#320 Post by eleazar » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:19 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:This should be pretty clear. If "more is alway better", as in my unpaired system, then it doesn't matter if the means of moving the meter is clumsy. You can never overshoot the mark, never go too far. There are never negative consequences from alignment going too high.

Consider this example .... So what does the player to make the Bebebe happy?
  • Unpaired: the player simply needs to commit bloodthirsty or diplomatic acts until the Bebebe stop rioting. No need to carefully measure out the violence or treaty-signing -- he can choose whatever actions makes the most strategic sense, without worrying about pushing either meter too far.
That summary is severely over-simplified. Here’s what I believe would really happen:

The player needs to commit bloodthirsty and diplomatic acts until the Bebebe stop rioting, and in doing so, he must expend resources. These resources however, were previously being used for technological and exploratory purposes, so his exploratory technologists are going to have lowered allegiance towards him. The player needs to figure out exactly how much he can afford to spare from his exploration and research, and figure out how he can use this to increase his bloodthirstiness or diplomacy. If he exterminated a world for example, he might lose considerable research points, or PP that would have been used to build more scouts. If he attacks an enemy planet, he’ll have to divert his ships from their exploratory missions and use them for military offense, either of which could potentially bring his exploratory technologists below the riot threshold.

So you see, you haven’t eliminated the problem at all - you’ve just obfuscated the relationship by spreading it out over multiple alignment scales linked by a limited-resource tradeoff, rather than keeping them in the same alignment scale linked by a direct tradeoff, which makes it more difficult for the player to control the tradeoff between one alignment scale and another.
You've glossed over the fact that none of those considerations which you describe are unique to a monopolar system. Exterminating a world is going to prohibit using the population to other useful ends-- weather alignments are bipolar or monopolar. A player also has limited resources to invest in bipolar alignments in addition to having a more tangled relationship between ethoi.

Claims about how much more confusing and obfuscatory a monopolar system would be ring hollow. It has no type of relationship, consideration, or mechanic that is not present in a bipolar system. A bipolar system has all of it in addition to the mechanic that causes increasing the ethos-based allegiance of some species to proportionately decrease the ethos-based allegiance of others, and thus adds another layer of interconnectedness to the issue.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#321 Post by eleazar » Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:34 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:Status needs some attention now, I think.

I believe eleazar had a list that went from +3 to -4. That seems like too many to me. I think we’re fine with just

Overlord
Aristocrat
Citizen
Subject
Slave

Vermin isn’t necessary, because if the player wants to exterminate a planet, he can do so. He should also have the macro-tools necessary to exterminate all planets of an entire species in his empire with a single command.
I don't insist on +3 to -4, less might be fine, depending on other things.

I'm not sure i agree with the idea that the player has the click-button power to exterminate all member of a species in his empire. If he did, "Vermin" would certainly be redundant. I assume your rational is that allegiance makes species shuffling is a necessary part of strategy, and if you had to kill them all by hand that would be micromanagy. Still it seems out-of proportion powerful when you have to use troops and so forth to clean out a planet you don't own. I guess i don't like the idea of a species just sitting there as you kill them, unless you've developed tech that can wipe out civies without destroying infrastructure. Still the question should probably be left open until we do Ground Combat.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Now, exactly what these statuses should do is still a big question. First of all, what we’ve agreed upon:

- Planets containing races with lower status are less likely to riot and rebel somehow, or else riots and rebellions are just much less effective. Exactly how to implement this is to be determined.

- Races with lower statuses get a penalty to species-empire alignment (immediate one-time penalty to current when the change is made, and permanent penalty to growth), and which will correspond to lowered allegiance and happiness. An additional happiness penalty might be appropriate, depending on how we want to balance long-term effects of slavery vs. short-term immediate effects.

- Races with higher statuses get a bonus to species-empire alignment, which will correspond to increased allegiance and happiness. Again, an additional happiness bonus might be appropriate.
I agree with the general concepts, yes.

Bigjoe5 wrote:In addition to this, there could be bonuses and penalties to resource production for different ranks.

Some ideas: races with higher ranks get a ground combat bonus, and races with lower ranks get a ground combat penalty (these probably shouldn’t be symmetrical; the lower ranks should have a bigger penalty than the higher rank gets a bonus).
I'd make it a little less specific, assuming we have something like "Roles" (which i'm not sure is in the scope of this discussion, thus i've not brought it up much.). Assuming we have "Roles", high allegiance could make ground troops and ships resistant to panic, while troops/ships with negative allegiance might run away, surrender, or join the enemy. Of course such a mechanic might not be wanted, but it would be a logical and substantive implementation of allegiance to combat.
Bigjoe5 wrote:Some further points on rank bonuses:

* Bonuses for high ranks don’t need to have corresponding penalties for low ranks, and vice versa, but higher ranks should never have the same bonuses and penalties as lower ranks (either aristocrats or slaves can get a production penalty; if one of them does, the other can't, but doesn’t necessarily have to get a production bonus)
I don't know, i kinda like the idea that both high and low rank have a production malus, but i'm not exactly proposing it ATM.
Bigjoe5 wrote:* Additional factors can be added in as rank gets further from 0, but the factors for more extreme ranks should always include the same factors that less extreme ranks did (Overlords might get a ground combat bonus even if Aristocrats don’t, but Aristocrats cannot get a ground combat bonus if Overlords don’t)

* If the player is able to put his starting race as a status lower than citizen from the start of the game, there must be potential strategic reasons for him to do so.
Agrees with both.


Krikkitone has floated the idea that you can assign high ranks at will, but they don't actually do anything unless you have other species, and those species have are a certain ratio of the total empire population.

I find this unnecessarily confusing. It's counter-intuitive to set a species as "overlords" if they don't necessarily get the "overlord" bonus. Of course, this is an outgrowth of the idea that there must be at least a minimum ration of minions for overlordship to work, since that ratio will change as things happen to an empire. In a worst case scenario a borderline empire might have an "overlord" species fluctuate back and forth with gaining and loosing the actual overlord bonus. Certainly this wouldn't be the most confusing thing ever, but it's IMHO more confusing than the functionality warrants.

So instead i say that we should do either or some combination of the following three:
  • * All ranks are balanced to have bonuses and maluses. So you can assign any rank to any species without reservation. Or,

    * There can be only one overlord species. Or,

    * Each high rank requires a species of low rank, without respect to population numbers.
I haven't yet got a strong reason for preferring one of the above over another.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#322 Post by Krikkitone » Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:59 am

eleazar wrote:
Bigjoe5 wrote:Some further points on rank bonuses:

* Bonuses for high ranks don’t need to have corresponding penalties for low ranks, and vice versa, but higher ranks should never have the same bonuses and penalties as lower ranks (either aristocrats or slaves can get a production penalty; if one of them does, the other can't, but doesn’t necessarily have to get a production bonus)
I don't know, i kinda like the idea that both high and low rank have a production malus, but i'm not exactly proposing it ATM.
Bigjoe5 wrote:* Additional factors can be added in as rank gets further from 0, but the factors for more extreme ranks should always include the same factors that less extreme ranks did (Overlords might get a ground combat bonus even if Aristocrats don’t, but Aristocrats cannot get a ground combat bonus if Overlords don’t)

* If the player is able to put his starting race as a status lower than citizen from the start of the game, there must be potential strategic reasons for him to do so.
Agrees with both.


Krikkitone has floated the idea that you can assign high ranks at will, but they don't actually do anything unless you have other species, and those species have are a certain ratio of the total empire population.

I find this unnecessarily confusing. It's counter-intuitive to set a species as "overlords" if they don't necessarily get the "overlord" bonus. Of course, this is an outgrowth of the idea that there must be at least a minimum ration of minions for overlordship to work, since that ratio will change as things happen to an empire. In a worst case scenario a borderline empire might have an "overlord" species fluctuate back and forth with gaining and loosing the actual overlord bonus. Certainly this wouldn't be the most confusing thing ever, but it's IMHO more confusing than the functionality warrants.

So instead i say that we should do either or some combination of the following three:
  • * All ranks are balanced to have bonuses and maluses. So you can assign any rank to any species without reservation. Or,

    * There can be only one overlord species. Or,

    * Each high rank requires a species of low rank, without respect to population numbers.
I haven't yet got a strong reason for preferring one of the above over another.

Well a key idea for low ranks is Controlling them (ie 2 key factors need to be)
1. Less likely to rebel
2. Less Species Allegiance

bonus and malus built in

A key idea for Higher ranks is
1. More species Allegiance
...then a malus is needed
Probably a general production Malus.

That would reinforce the 'Need for servants'.. you need servants because the overlords don't do anything themselves. (say Aristocrats=50% production, Overlords=20% production)
[it also means you aren't going to have a one species empire with them as Overlords because they would probably starve to death... you start off with your own people as slaves and then elevate them once you have captured enough other species population.]

This means that Aristocrats and Overlord species would Only be used to make up your troops/diplomat/spy bonuses, assuming Roles are in (things that high allegiance would help, and numbers aren't necessarily that important)

PS I agree that Exterminating a species in your empire shouldn't be a "simple one-button click... and then they are all gone instantly."
Instead it should be a simple one button click, and then all planets of those species go into maximum possible revolt as their population begins to decline (say 20% per turn with a minimum of 0.2). (Exterminating slaves would be easier than exterminating aristocrats).

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#323 Post by eleazar » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:02 am

RonaldX wrote:I think that the concept of racial ethos is being carried on far past the necessary point of complexity. A warlike race should be capable of winning a research victory as your primary population. It might not be as easy because you don't have a research bonus, but it should by no means be impossible. On the other hand, a diplomatic race should be perfectly able to pursue a victory by conquest, albeit they may need to produce more ships to beat out a warlike enemy's superior pilots or craft.
I certainly don't think we should work hard to make the above scenarios impossible, but on the other hand, if the species design is going to be be interesting, it should significantly effect how the game plays with them. Probably the balance of MoO1 or 2 is what we should aim for. Theoretically you can win any way with any species, but many of the species had + and - pic strong enough to seriously impact which path to victory is viable.
RonaldX wrote:
Krikkitone wrote: Ethoi =/= Bonuses
A diplomatic species may have excellent pilots/troops and terrible diplomacy
That doesn't sound counter-intuitive to you? I understand the logic, I just absolutely disagree with it because it makes no sense in the context of a 4x game. Why pick a diplomatic race that's bad at diplomacy? Why pick a warlike race that sucks at war?
I agree, with BigJoe and Ronald, the primary species shouldn't be designed so they are "broken". Their ethos and bonuses should make victory possible.

However, for indigenes, or minor races, (sorta like "natives" in MoO2), i don't think we need to be so efficiency-minded. Some could have wacky combinations of ethos and bonuses-- they don't need to all be equally useful. I'm just mentioning the possibility-- indigenes aren't directly related to the topic at hand.

RonaldX wrote:It should never be advantageous for a player to have to repopulate his entire empire. The penalties for doing so should VASTLY outweigh any advantage you get for doing so. The entire concept of a 99% population shift in an empire to juggle a few bonuses or allow you to attack an enemy instead of just bargaining with him strikes me as ludicrous.
I can't conceive of a situation where this would be a viable strategy in an even remotely balanced FO. It takes time to build population, (except possibly with some late-game tech) -- i mean building population is one of the main things you are striving to do throughout a 4X game (along with tech, territory, infrastructure, a fleet, etc.) Throwing it all alway is not something that is likely ever to be a valid strategy. Everything would come to a standstill while the new species slowly populated empty worlds.

Depopulation/repopulation could be valid on a smaller scale for specific reasons:
* You have a planet with a resource bonus, and you have a species that can exploit it better than the current inhabitants.
* You have a vulnerable border world with citizens with little loyalty. A more loyal species would be better there.
* The inhabitants don't match the EP. Removing them and dropping down a new species might be easier than terraforming.


Crunching the numbers on 3 bipolar alignment scales
Bigjoe5 wrote:I have an idea. Let's get rid of that alignment scale and stick with just the three that we can (mostly) agree on. Appropriative vs. Expansionist did create some interesting strategy, but nowhere near as much as the others, and it seems like it would be subject to abuse. Security vs. Freedom simply doesn't tie into very many gameplay elements, and seems like something that is conceptually very similar to Elitism vs. Egalitarianism. Having just three alignment scales is fine.
Much has been made of the idea that bipolar alignments naturally and elegantly counterbalance the advantage of gaining new species. However, with only 3 bipolar scales, this is not the case. Honestly , i didn't expect it to work so badly.

Best Case Scenario
BigJoe says that some ethos couplets are counterproductive. I'm not sure, but for the best case scenario I'll assume he's wrong, and that any of the 12 possible combinations of these bipolar alignments are useful. We'll further assume that all possible ethoi are equally distributed through the galaxy.

So lets say you start the game with a Pacifistic Isolationist species, and that you intended to pursue a strong Pacifistic, Isolationist, and Egalitarian approach.
  • * 25% of the species you met would consider your empire ideal, i.e. their alignment predisposes them to be highly loyal.
    * An additional 50% of the species would be more or less ethos-neutral because they liked one of your alignments, but objected to the other.
    * The remaining 25% of the species would be very hard to add to your empire since you are violating both their ethoi.
These numbers work out the same when an empire goes to any 3 alignment extremes. 25% of the species hate your alignment. 75% either love your alignment, or are indifferent to it. Not much counterbalancing going on.


But what would happen, if an empire went extreme on 2 scales, but stayed neutral on the other?
  • * 8.3% (1/12th) of the species you met would consider your empire ideal, i.e. their alignment predisposes them to be highly loyal.
    * 33.3% (1/3rd) of the species you met would like one of your alignments, and be indifferent to the other, i.e. their alignment predisposes them to be moderately loyal.
    * 16.6% (1/6th) of the species would be more or less ethos-neutral because they liked one of your alignments, but objected to the other.
    * 33.3% (1/3rd) of the species you met would dislike one of your alignments, and be indifferent to the other, i.e. their alignment predisposes them to be moderately disloyal.
    * 8.3% (1/12th) of the species would be very hard to add to your empire since you are violating both their ethoi.
So with 2 extreme and 1 neutral bipolar alignments it is even easier to populate your empire. 58.3% (7/12ths) of the species like your alignments or are indifferent with most liking you moderately. 41.6% dislike you alignments, with most only disliking one alignment. Again, you should be able to easily incorporate the majority of the species you meet, unless you've behaved badly towards them.


Worst Case Scenario
But if BigJoe is right, and only a few couplets make sense, the situation is more uneven, but generally worse. It's probably possible to add a few more to the list, but he describes 5 combinations:
  • Bloodthirsty + Elitist (Warlord)
    Egalitarian + Diplomatic (Democratic)
    Diplomatic + Pacifistic (Tolerant)
    Pacifistic + Isolationistic (Reclusive)
    Isolationistic + Bloodthirsty (Xenophobic)
Again if we assume that species with these 5 ethos couples are evenly distributed about the universe, the counterbalancing is similarly minimal.
  • * If you go to the Bloodthirsty, Elitist, Isolationist or Pacifistic, Egalitarian, Diplomatic extremes, 40% (2/5th) of the species would love your alignment, 20% would be indifferent, and 40% would absolutely hate it. So you have a full 60% of the species that wouldn't object to your alignment, and 40% that are probably impossible to win over.
    * The player that starts with (and plays) a Pacifistic Isolationist (Recluse) can only win the extreme loyalty of 20% of the species. 60% or 80% of the species would be indifferent to his ethos --depending on weather he takes Elitism<>Egalitarianism to an extreme or leave it neutral. If he goes to an extreme 20% will hate him.

Conclusion
A system with 3 Bipolar alignments doesn't provide a very fine-grained barrier of entry for new species to an empire. The species are carved up into large blocs, those that love your ethos, those that are indifferent, and those that hate it. The size of the various blocs depends on the number of neutral alignments. But with any strategy a large number (in some cases the majority) of species could be added to an empire without any ethos conflicts.

If there is a need for a serious counter to "gotta-catch-em-all" this doesn't supply it, since depending on the scenario, and your strategy, about 60-75% of the species should have no problem with or even embrace an empire's alignment.

Furthermore the species Ethos doesn't do much to make the experience of playing a species unique, since all ethoi can be put in a few boxes.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#324 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:22 am

eleazar wrote:
Ethoi =/= Bonuses
I agree, with BigJoe and Ronald, the primary species shouldn't be designed so they are "broken". Their ethos and bonuses should make victory possible.
A species where the Ethoi and the Bonuses were opposed would not be Broken...Sometimes when playing a race you need to compenste for thier weaknesses.
The Ethoi would allow you to compensate for the races weaknesses.

I've explained this in previous posts.
Also if Ethoi=Bonuses... then they shouldn't be seperate from bonuses... if you want a pacifistic race, you pick combat penalties, if you want a military race pick production bonuses.

I ppersonally prefer them to be
1. Independent
2. Balanced so that you CAN win with "peace through superior firepower", or "they love shooting things, they are just bad at it, so they go shooting with friends, or get really good guns... or just Lots of guns"
ethos couplets creating easily added 'blocs' of species
One error in your analysis.. you assume that Neutral is good enough to keep them from revolting. Maybe on Easy, but on a Hard/Very Hard game, then any species not in total agreement with your ethos might tend to revolt. (why you should Not start out in neutral)
So its not 75% that can be added 'easily', perhaps it is only the 25%... or the 8.3%. Even without extreme difficulty of maintaining order, if you add 75% of all species and only 25% have max happiness, that means 2/3 of your empire is vulnerable to enemy espionage.

Essentially by changing the importance of happiness, it can 'force' you to take sides. (the More diverse v. More Happy trade off is still there)

Another Error, you are assuming Big Joe's system where all values end up at the extremes.. I still object to that system.

Another point: This was initial focusing on things we could agree on with gameplay effects, we could add more couplets, as well as some single sided ones (a Tech one) if we want the 'blocs' to be smaller.

Finally, If we want adding another species to always cause a drop.. then just do it .. a simple -15(there are 3 other species in your empire)

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#325 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:32 am

eleazar wrote:You've glossed over the fact that none of those considerations which you describe are unique to a monopolar system. Exterminating a world is going to prohibit using the population to other useful ends-- weather alignments are bipolar or monopolar. A player also has limited resources to invest in bipolar alignments in addition to having a more tangled relationship between ethoi.

Claims about how much more confusing and obfuscatory a monopolar system would be ring hollow. It has no type of relationship, consideration, or mechanic that is not present in a bipolar system. A bipolar system has all of it in addition to the mechanic that causes increasing the ethos-based allegiance of some species to proportionately decrease the ethos-based allegiance of others, and thus adds another layer of interconnectedness to the issue.
My point wasn't that monopolar alignments are necessarily more complex than bipolar alignments, just that a great deal of the purported disadvantage of bipolar alignments actually applies to monopolar alignments as well, so the additional complexity of bipolar alignments is minimal, and therefore justified by the increase in gameplay value.

Examples of short-term alignment tradeoffs aren't really relevant to the issue. In the short-term, no significant change can be made to a species' allegiance, so there should always potentially be options for increasing the happiness of your planets, which will make things better in the short-term. Each individual action which affects current alignment directly should not usually be taken with alignment in mind, since it has such a small effect - the strategic benefit of the action should almost always outweigh the change in alignment (decisions that would affect the growth rate are different, because they have a long-term effect on alignment; the player would always make decisions that affect the growth rate with alignment in mind).
Bigjoe5 wrote:I think the real question is “how much should an individual action affect alignment?” The answer is “not much”. Therefore, if the Bebebe are rioting, the immediate solution could be to use happiness altering techs/buildings, increase the amount of troops on the planet, enslave them, or trade those planets to someone else for something else. Minerals don’t riot, after all. The point is that altering alignments scales isn’t a quick-fix, and it’s primarily the big decisions which are considered by the player with regard to alignment for example: “This tech will allow me to capture planets and enslave them more easily - this will make it more strategically viable to capture and enslave planets. Therefore, I will naturally do it more often, and my elitism alignment will increase. I want to increase the allegiance of my Warlords, so I should research this tech,” or: “Accepting Blue empire’s offer of peace will decrease the opportunity I have for destroying their ships and planets, and will therefore decrease my Bloodthirstiness. This will not please my Xenophobes, therefore, I will not accept this offer of peace.” If the player wants to choose a strategy which is neutral, he can choose techs, treaties, buildings etc. which will give him a balance of both, which will solve allegiance problems in the long-term. Happiness problems in the short-term should be dealt with using other means.
In this setting, I really don't see bipolar alignment scales as being a big problem, since the player who balances his large-scale strategic decisions, like research and building decisions, will naturally make balanced immediate decisions, for example regarding where to attack, whether to bombard or capture a planet, etc. and the same goes for either end of the alignment scale as well, due to the fact that certain immediate alignment-altering decisions will have their strategic viability altered by the player's larger strategic decisions. In addition, the fact that so much of the player's alignment will be based on growth means that there are still significant actions that the player takes with alignment in mind that will affect long-term alignment directly.
eleazar wrote:
RonaldX wrote:It should never be advantageous for a player to have to repopulate his entire empire. The penalties for doing so should VASTLY outweigh any advantage you get for doing so. The entire concept of a 99% population shift in an empire to juggle a few bonuses or allow you to attack an enemy instead of just bargaining with him strikes me as ludicrous.
I can't conceive of a situation where this would be a viable strategy in an even remotely balanced FO. It takes time to build population, (except possibly with some late-game tech) -- i mean building population is one of the main things you are striving to do throughout a 4X game (along with tech, territory, infrastructure, a fleet, etc.) Throwing it all alway is not something that is likely ever to be a valid strategy. Everything would come to a standstill while the new species slowly populated empty worlds.
You're assuming that the player is just going to "throw away" his population. But he won't, because that would be foolish. Instead, he will use the circumstances of losing that population to his advantage. He can, for example trade his planets for planets of a species he wants in his empire. Or, he can infiltrate one or more of his own planets with spies, then allow it to be captured by the enemy. There could be a mechanism that allows the player to "work them to death", which would allow temporary increased production while the planet is being exterminated. Undesirable species can be enslaved, if that is compatible with the preferred species' ethos, etc.

eleazar wrote:Worst Case Scenario
But if BigJoe is right, and only a few couplets make sense, the situation is more uneven, but generally worse. It's probably possible to add a few more to the list, but he describes 5 combinations:
  • Bloodthirsty + Elitist (Warlord)
    Egalitarian + Diplomatic (Democratic)
    Diplomatic + Pacifistic (Tolerant)
    Pacifistic + Isolationistic (Reclusive)
    Isolationistic + Bloodthirsty (Xenophobic)
Again if we assume that species with these 5 ethos couples are evenly distributed about the universe, the counterbalancing is similarly minimal.
  • * If you go to the Bloodthirsty, Elitist, Isolationist or Pacifistic, Egalitarian, Diplomatic extremes, 40% (2/5th) of the species would love your alignment, 20% would be indifferent, and 40% would absolutely hate it. So you have a full 60% of the species that wouldn't object to your alignment, and 40% that are probably impossible to win over.
    * The player that starts with (and plays) a Pacifistic Isolationist (Recluse) can only win the extreme loyalty of 20% of the species. 60% or 80% of the species would be indifferent to his ethos --depending on weather he takes Elitism<>Egalitarianism to an extreme or leave it neutral. If he goes to an extreme 20% will hate him.
I've considered these numbers before - I don't believe that this is a problem. In one sense, you're absolutely right. There will be no problem integrating most species into an empire - assuming there are no external influences. However, as the game progresses, and more and more of your opponents max out allegiance and happiness, your allegiance and happiness will be lagging behind. This means that

- since espionage meters will be increased greatly by the end of the game as well, even a planet with a happiness of about 60 will make a highly vulnerable espionage target, and could relatively easily become a site of espionage incited rebellion,

- due to lowered allegiance on some worlds, empires whose alignment scales are fully compatible with a particular species' ethos will easily be able to capture planets of that species in your empire, due to militia support.

In addition, you have fully neglected to integrate species-empire alignment into your calculations, and it will probably be much more difficult to get many species to high levels of species-empire alignment, particularly since increasing a race's status will be a primary method of increasing its species-empire alignment. And species empire alignment will contribute either a third, or half of a species' allegiance, depending on whether or not all the scales are averaged together, or Ethical Compatibility is calculated first, then averaged with species-empire alignment (I've been leaning towards the latter, so 50%). So sure, 40% of the species in the galaxy will love your alignment, but that in and of itself only gets allegiance to 50. You're going to have to do a lot better than that if you want all the species in a big multi-species empire to really like you.
eleazar wrote:If there is a need for a serious counter to "gotta-catch-em-all" this doesn't supply it, since depending on the scenario, and your strategy, about 60-75% of the species should have no problem with or even embrace an empire's alignment.
Having "no problem" with an empire's alignment doesn't cut it - as I said, at the end of the game when all the single-species empires are maxed out for happiness and allegiance, your empire is going to be increasingly vulnerable to espionage and invasion.

Our plan was never to ham-handedly discourage multi-species empires - it was to make them more interesting, and this is accomplished by create an interesting tradeoff between "gotta-catch-em-all", and sticking with just one species. Having these weak points in a multi-species empire provides such a tradeoff.
eleazar wrote:Furthermore the species Ethos doesn't do much to make the experience of playing a species unique, since all ethoi can be put in a few boxes.
Most 4X games don't support drastically different macro-strategies that all lead to the same victory condition. When the strategies corresponding to each ethos are so wildly different, playing each ethos is a unique experience which is incomparable to the basic variation in strategy that one would normally expect from such a game, and in fact, each macro-strategy will include such variations within itself. The system of ethos and alignment enhances and supports the distinction between significant macro-strategies, while still allowing freedom for the player to create strategic variation and strategic hybrids using multi-species empires.
Krikkitone wrote:A species where the Ethoi and the Bonuses were opposed would not be Broken
Yeah, it would. The player gets to a particular alignment by taking actions which correspond to that alignment. He takes these actions not so that he can get to that alignment, but because they are strategically advantageous. They are strategically advantageous because his large-scale strategic decisions such as what to research and build - and more relevantly, which racial picks to choose - make it easier and/or more beneficial to take such actions. The reason his techs and buildings and racial picks make it beneficial to take such actions is that he chose them specifically with his desired alignments in mind. The player simply shouldn't have to think about (ethical compatibility) alignment every time he makes a little decision, like whether or not to bomb this planet. He should only think about it when he makes important decisions, like constructing a building, researching a tech, signing long-lasting treaties, or choosing racial picks (thinking about species-empire alignments for relevant decisions isn't as bad, because there are fewer such decisions, and they have a more significant effect on the alignment scale).
Krikkitone wrote:Also if Ethoi=Bonuses... then they shouldn't be seperate from bonuses... if you want a pacifistic race, you pick combat penalties, if you want a military race pick production bonuses.
This wouldn't provide a "gotta-catch-em-all" tradeoff.
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#326 Post by eleazar » Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:01 pm

Krikkitone wrote:
eleazar wrote:ethos couplets creating easily added 'blocs' of species
One error in your analysis.. you assume that Neutral is good enough to keep them from revolting. Maybe on Easy, but on a Hard/Very Hard game, then any species not in total agreement with your ethos might tend to revolt. (why you should Not start out in neutral)
So its not 75% that can be added 'easily', perhaps it is only the 25%... or the 8.3%. Even without extreme difficulty of maintaining order, if you add 75% of all species and only 25% have max happiness, that means 2/3 of your empire is vulnerable to enemy espionage.

Another Error, you are assuming Big Joe's system where all values end up at the extremes.. I still object to that system.
No, i'm not assuming BigJoe's mechanic where an alignment will go to an extreme unless you reverse it's course. I'm assuming that it will be generally desirable to have 2 or 3 extreme alignments, unless you go for a flat neutral thing. This would be unquestionably necessary if "Hard" works as you suggest. But i don't think your idea of "Hard" is a good one -- it essentially gives the player no control over which species he can choose in his empire.
Krikkitone wrote:Another point: This was initial focusing on things we could agree on with gameplay effects, we could add more couplets, as well as some single sided ones (a Tech one) if we want the 'blocs' to be smaller.
* One of my initial complaints with the bipolar approach is that there didn't seem to be very many good scales. Then i had a good one (Bloodthristy<>Pacifistic), and an indifferent one (Elitist<>Egalitarian). Since then you guys have managed to add one good one to the list (Diplomatic<>Isolationist), and kicked around some lousy ones i.e. (Expansionism<>Appropriation). I'm not going to assume that other good scales exist, since there's been a good amount of effort put into finding them. And adding one more wouldn't radically change the situation. I realize i didn't really explain much in my previous post what was wrong with the scenario. I need to chew on it a bit longer before i can explain well.

* I don't see any reason to confuse the player by mixing together monopolar and bipolar scales. We can make things work with only monopolar scales. If bipolar scales can't work on their own, they should be abandoned.
Krikkitone wrote:Finally, If we want adding another species to always cause a drop.. then just do it .. a simple -15(there are 3 other species in your empire)
I know.
But it's been assumed that the bipolar system innately had a good counterballance to gotta-catch-em-all. I'm pointing out that it doesn't.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#327 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:17 pm

TLDR
There are 4 options (assuming any "IT" is a key part of the game that provides benefits towards wining the game)

1. Good at it +Likes it.... "IT" will be a key part of how you win the game

2. Good at it + Hates it..."IT" will be done in minimal amounts to support the way you Actually want to win the game (The combat bonus pacifists that maintain Peace through Superior firepower so they can tech up safely... what they want to do)

3. Bad at it + Hates it.."IT" will not be done, instead use something from category 1 to get the benefits of it (get your allies to defend you or get tech from your conquered foes)

4. Bad at it + Likes it..."IT" will be done a lot, other bonses will be necessary to strengthen it (You have terrible military ability but like war, but you have research bonuses so you have a high tech warmachine instead of a high skill warmachine)


Otherwise, Good at it = Liking it and Ethos are an unnecessary complication, the happiness of a species is based on their bonuses/penalties.

The case of "Minor species" means that you are adding an entire game mechanic to add a 'broken' part to the game

If Ethos=/=Bonus is Broken, then Ethos is Broken

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:A species where the Ethoi and the Bonuses were opposed would not be Broken
Yeah, it would. The player gets to a particular alignment by taking actions which correspond to that alignment. He takes these actions not so that he can get to that alignment, but because they are strategically advantageous. They are strategically advantageous because his large-scale strategic decisions such as what to research and build - and more relevantly, which racial picks to choose - make it easier and/or more beneficial to take such actions. The reason his techs and buildings and racial picks make it beneficial to take such actions is that he chose them specifically with his desired alignments in mind.
I'm pointing out that there are somethings in the game that you Must do.

You must have some means of combat
You must have some means of getting techs
etc.

Now you MUST do these things even if you do not have bonuses in them. (there are multiple ways to do them)
I'm presuming that people occasionally built Reseach labs in their Sakkra/Klackon colonies, sometimes they even put those colonies on research.

Sakkra is the best example... putting Sakkra on research might not be considered ideal because they had a research penalty... however, their population bonus Compensated for that research penalty, by giving them more pop to put on research.

Psilons had a ground combat penalty... but honestly they were the best to pursue a military strategy with because their ground troops ended up being the best in the game due to their creativity.

Sometimes you might Do something you are bad at. Indeed, because you are bad at it you will Focus on it... get techs to support it, to make up for your weaknesses.

For example, Did you pritoritize Food/Pop-growth boosting techs with Sakkra? no, because you didn't Need to

So a "Environmental" Ethos Sakkra with their +Food and such would probably be Broken, because Sakkra only need 1 Ag world/20 others. They don't need too many Ag techs, because they already have the Picks.

Making your population Happy should NOT depend on your Success with a Strategy that corresponds with their ethos it should depend on your "Effort" into a strategy that corresponds with their ethos.
Its not Winning a war that makes a Militarist Happy, its Fighting a war.
Its not getting a Beneficial agreement that makes a Diplomat Happy, its Having an agreement (paying Tribute can make them happy)
Its not Having lots of Techs that makes a tech race happy, its having lots of worlds with a Research Focus.

I showed in an earlier post how Ethoi and Bonuses that were Not identical were Not broken.
Krikkitone wrote:Also if Ethoi=Bonuses... then they shouldn't be seperate from bonuses... if you want a pacifistic race, you pick combat penalties, if you want a military race pick production bonuses.
This wouldn't provide a "gotta-catch-em-all" tradeoff.[/quote]

Sure it would...indeed it would be an even Stronger "Gotta catch-em-all" trade off. If you want a species with a combat/production bonus, then you are going to have to deal with the fact that they are militaristic.

Species would be in Blocs, but those Blocs would be based on the bonuses, so if you wanted both a Combat bonus Species and a Diplomacy bonus Speciesto be happy in your empire, you would have to be both Militaristic and Diplomatic

Actually that would be the simplest way to implement the "monolateral system"
If a Species has bonuses to X they are happier when you do X.

This would tend to lock you in to a particular strategy where you could only acquire species with one or two bonuses.
The only "Catch them all" advantage would be the fact that they can colonize other worlds... if you can find a species that has almost exactly the same bonus as yours.

Basically if Ethos=/=Bonuses would be broken, then Ethos is unnecessary and irrelevant, use Bonuses alone and it is MUCH easier.

TLDR
There are 4 options (assuming any "IT" is a key part of the game that provides benefits towards wining the game)

1. Good at it +Likes it.... "IT" will be a key part of how you win the game

2. Good at it + Hates it..."IT" will be done in minimal amounts to support the way you Actually want to win the game (The military bonus pacifists that maintain Peace through Superior firepower so they can tech up safely... what they want to do)

3. Bad at it + Hates it.."IT" will not be done, instead use something from category 1 to get the benefits of it (get your allies to defend you or get tech from your conquered foes)

4. Bad at it + Likes it..."IT" will be done a lot, other bonses will be necessary to strengthen it (You have terrible military ability but like war, but you have research bonuses so you have a high tech warmachine instead of a high skill warmachine)


Otherwise, Good at it = Liking it and Ethos are an unnecessary complication, the happiness of a species is based on their bonuses/penalties

The case of "Minor species" means that you are adding an entire game mechanic to add a 'broken' part to the game

If Ethos=/=Bonus is Broken, then Ethos is Broken

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#328 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:47 pm

Krikkitone wrote:Otherwise, Good at it = Liking it and Ethos are an unnecessary complication, the happiness of a species is based on their bonuses/penalties.

The case of "Minor species" means that you are adding an entire game mechanic to add a 'broken' part to the game

If Ethos=/=Bonus is Broken, then Ethos is Broken
There are numerous ways that a species can be good at something. An empire might be better at combat due to mining and industry bonuses, not because of explicit combat bonuses. A race might be good at espionage due to spying bonuses, or perhaps due primarily due to trade bonuses. Are you suggesting that a species with mining bonuses should automatically like combat The fact that not every combination of picks is viable doesn't mean that anything is broken - the player always has to choose or design his race intelligently. What you are suggesting is that a race created by choosing completely random picks will potentially be just as effective as a race whose picks complement and support one another and the player's strategy. If that were the case, the game really would be broken.

You're still working under outdated assumptions, coloured by your experiences with other 4X games. "You must have some means of combat"? Who's to say I can't go through the whole game using only espionage, without engaging in a single combat or making diplomatic contact with a single other empire? "You must have some means of getting techs"? Who's to say that those means need to involve any research whatsoever, if I can potentially get all of my technology through espionage and diplomacy?

Also, there is a significant difference between "minor species" and "major species": you choose which major species to start with, which means that a "broken" major species will never be used. A minor species which would be "broken" if it were a major species, due to conflicting ethos and bonuses, can still potentially be useful to the empire, even if it is inherently inferior to any major species.
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Re: Simulating Citizens

#329 Post by eleazar » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:24 pm

I think we can table the subject of weather or not any ethos/bonus combinations are "broken", and if so weather they should be used.

We don't actually have any species pic yet-- that's slated for further down the line. We can worry about how well they work with ethoi once we actually define the pics -- and then we can worry about which combinations to include.


We have much more important and relevant things to worry about in this thread.

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Re: Simulating Citizens

#330 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:48 pm

You must have some means of combat"? Who's to say I can't go through the whole game using only espionage, without engaging in a single combat or making diplomatic contact with a single other empire?
The fact that other empires will expand, now this does depend on game speed (can you reach the win condition before someone finds you?) but generally it is there.

Once another empire is there you will make "contact" with them. Even if it is 'we won't talk' that is contact

I agree that "Broken" combinations should not be used.

but a Military species that is poor at Combat should not be considered 'Broken'. (better production may give it more troops, better research may give it better troops, better trade/spy/diplomacy may get it backing from allies so it can pick its fights more easily)

nor a Repulsive Diplomatic species. (presuming it is not like MOO2 Repulsive.. they may have a better military and get their 'diplomatic happiness' from all the empires that are paying them tribute, they may research better propaganda to get empires on their side)

same for the (We are good at it but we hate it)..pacifist warriors, persuasive isolationists.. you use the bonuses to pursue the goal

Ethoi=What your people want
Bonuses=what you can do to get it for them


To eleazar, true... getting sidetracked.

One point on Ethos... this is one where the 'story' impact becomes significant.
So you should be able to have things that you do that Directly make some species happier and other species unhappy.

Me+Big joe came up with 3 bipolars we agree with.. that doesn't imply we can't add more

Having unilateral ones (or rather multipolar based on balancing resources) seems like a good possibility.

perhaps 3 based on the 3 'nonsupport' resources (Social, Research, Industry) They are happier when their "chosen resource" makes up a bigger part of your empires output. (so those 3 "alignments" of the empire would always add up to 0) ie Industry Alignment=Industrial output-average of Research output and trade output.

Xenophobia/Xenophilia as an Ethos without an empire alignment seems good (it shows how the species reacts to the Species-empire alignment of Other species)

Expansion v. Development seems good as an option (effects would have to be balanced well to make it have similar effects early and late game)

Adding those can add additional "Complications"

Note: going to an extreme on all alignments, should probably not be the ideal strategy, the ideal strategies would probably be moving from one side to the other of neutral, maybe a little bit towards one side for more of the game.

The more species you want to keep happy (for internal or diplomatic reasons), the more inflexible your strategy gets.

That is basically the trade off... Happiness for Flexibility (more species decreases the flexibility in a happiness sense but it adds more flexibility in a 'productivity' sense)

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