Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

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eleazar
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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#61 Post by eleazar » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:23 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:- Citizen is part of a large empire (some increasing penalty as imperial population increases)
I'm starting to get very uneasy about this new "penalize the player for doing well" vibe that's been flying around lately... If we want having a small empire to be a valid option - which we do - then there are ways of introducing liabilities to large empires without the ugly kludge of a (more or less) direct penalty.

For example, I'm all for large empires being more vulnerable to espionage than smaller empires, but I'd prefer not to do that via a straight-up penalty to happiness for larger empires, which I think would just feel unfair and frustrating.
I don't know how you judge kludges, but this seems pretty natural and straight-forward to me. Not only does it mesh well with reality, but all decent 4X games that i am aware of have some sort of mechanic along these lines, weather it be unhappiness, HFOG, interest, inefficiency, etc. They weren't all especially fun when considered in isolation, but consider the very real possibility that without these mechanism the game as a whole would have been worse.

You need something significant to counteract the natural snowballing effect of a small early advantage. Not something that totally neutralizes the advantage of being bigger, but something that decreases the powerful cascade of winning a battle, thus capturing a planet and thus earning more PP, and thus being able to build more ships...

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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#62 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:38 am

eleazar wrote:...small early advantage.
For some definitions of early, a Civ4-like system might be useful. Each new city / colony that is set up initially costs money / influence / psi / whatever to support (note: needs to be a non-distribution-limited resource). The cost can be fixed, or depend on distance or species, happiness, previous history of ownership, etc. Over time, as a colony grows, it beings to output the resource, and becomes self-sustaining in it, and then a net positive. If an empire expands too quickly, through colonization or conquest, or in the case of FO, conquers planets whose species dislike the new ruler, the cost of all the new colonies is too much for the rest of the empire to support, and not enough influence / psi is available, or the stockpile (if existant) is drained, and the planets might rebel if there isn't enough of it available.

It's not a penalty specifically against large (or small) empires, but rather against empires that are growing too quickly, or that have poor happiness, species relations, or influence / psi output in general, or that have spent their influence / psi on something else so don't have a stockpile of it available to pacify new conquests. And being good at influence / psi generation generally means sacrificing production or research output...

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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#63 Post by yandonman » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:34 am

Geoff the Medio wrote: Each new city / colony that is set up initially costs money...
Sins of a Solar Empire did startup colony cost, and I thought it played very well. I like this.

MoO2 did "happiness" in a way that was tied to invasions that I liked. A population that was invaded was "unhappy" (makes logical sense) about being invaded, and would revolt until they eventually "got over it" or the player unloaded a lot of troops there.

Sins of a Solar Empire [SoSE] also had an "influence" game mechanic associated with their supply (/influence) lines that could be similarly applied to FO; So long as a planet is supply connected to their capital, they're happy. If they are cut off supply wise, they slowly lose happiness/allegiance, if they reach 0 happiness, they revolt*. If successful, they will turn their allegiance to whomever is supply connected to them. Supply lines should not overlap (been suggested already a couple times), but research could strengthen your supply "ships" such that they can resist and push back the supply line boundaries when in contact with another empire's supply line.

*revolt = a population vs troops ground battle. If the troops win, you keep your planet, if the rebelling population wins, you lose the planet. Troops should probably have a natural advantage (perhaps one troop is equal to two population units). Ground battles could be just like ship battles - randomly chosen shooter and targets.


None of these felt like you (as the player) were being punished for being successful.
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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#64 Post by Karoushi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:33 am

I like these suggestions, just wanted to add one thing on colony revolts:

If the troops win, population goes down by 1 or 2 ~ if the rebelling colony wins it changes to supply lines, like you said.

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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#65 Post by eleazar » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:23 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:...small early advantage.
For some definitions of early, a Civ4-like system might be useful. Each new city / colony that is set up initially costs money / influence / psi / whatever to support...
To clarify, are you proposing a one-time colony-founding cost, or that colonies will be a drain on that resource until they mature?

EDIT: anyway, slowing down the snowball doesn't do much to make snowball that got started soonest the nigh inevitable winner. It wouldn't do anything to make the small empire viable. I don't think something that slows the speed of growth is enough on it's own, but might be a useful piece of the puzzle.

I wonder if making new colonies a happiness sink as Geoff suggests and adding a happiness or approval penalty based on the number of (non-slave?) species would do the trick...

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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#66 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:21 pm

eleazar wrote:To clarify, are you proposing a one-time colony-founding cost, or that colonies will be a drain on that resource until they mature?
Cost every turn for each colony controlled. Some colonies output more of the resource than they cost, thus funding other colonies that cost more than they output. Newly-acquired or underdeveloped colonies would generally cost more than they output.

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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#67 Post by Karoushi » Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:37 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
eleazar wrote:To clarify, are you proposing a one-time colony-founding cost, or that colonies will be a drain on that resource until they mature?
Cost every turn for each colony controlled. Some colonies output more of the resource than they cost, thus funding other colonies that cost more than they output. Newly-acquired or underdeveloped colonies would generally cost more than they output.
Another good game example of this is Civ V. If you expand too quickly you will end up worse off, unable to fund the other colonies.

Basically it could be a double, or even triple whammy:

  • Global empire happiness index, new colonies provide no, or even negative happiness until they mature or receive a garrison larger then the population of said colony.

    New colonies take resources to create and sustain and will only provide more resources, then they require, when they mature their own industries.

    The inability to build buildings at new colonies until the new colony can be self sustaining?


This would be detrimental to those who expand too quickly without the industry to back up their expanding empire (which they shouldn't have such a capable industry when the game begins anyway) and honestly I would get rid of the colony ship (or give an option to remove it from the game) that is provided at the start of the game, because that only makes expanding happen even faster ~ if people had to build their first colony ship it would become a much more drastic decision instead of what it is now which is basically just "meh, that has a good planet i'll colonize that". Another idea I had for the first point is forcing people to move troops to colonies on their own and only provide the very minimal amount of people with colony/outpost ships.
This would give incentive to think about where and when to expand, would the user want to take the risk or just improve their current planet?

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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#68 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:40 am

eleazar wrote:I don't know how you judge kludges, but this seems pretty natural and straight-forward to me. Not only does it mesh well with reality, but all decent 4X games that i am aware of have some sort of mechanic along these lines, weather it be unhappiness, HFOG, interest, inefficiency, etc. They weren't all especially fun when considered in isolation, but consider the very real possibility that without these mechanism the game as a whole would have been worse.
I consider this option a kludge because it's a direct measure to introduce balancing which would preferably be the natural outcome of other game mechanics. Perhaps those other games would have been worse without such measures, but I would also suggest that they would have been better if the relevant balancing could have been accomplished as the natural result of other more "enabling" game mechanics.
eleazar wrote:You need something significant to counteract the natural snowballing effect of a small early advantage. Not something that totally neutralizes the advantage of being bigger, but something that decreases the powerful cascade of winning a battle, thus capturing a planet and thus earning more PP, and thus being able to build more ships...
I agree, but I reassert that a direct penalty for having a bigger empire is not the only or best option for accomplishing this.
Geoff the Medio wrote:Cost every turn for each colony controlled. Some colonies output more of the resource than they cost, thus funding other colonies that cost more than they output. Newly-acquired or underdeveloped colonies would generally cost more than they output.
I'm dubious about the desirability of maintenance fees. I'd prefer to try to balance large empires primarily by introducing significant vulnerabilities to espionage or other types of influence-based operations - not through a direct penalty to larger empires that makes reduces whatever meters would protect them against these measures, but by actually introducing ways of deploying these operations that are more effective against large empires.
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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#69 Post by Sloth » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:01 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:I don't know how you judge kludges, but this seems pretty natural and straight-forward to me. Not only does it mesh well with reality, but all decent 4X games that i am aware of have some sort of mechanic along these lines, weather it be unhappiness, HFOG, interest, inefficiency, etc. They weren't all especially fun when considered in isolation, but consider the very real possibility that without these mechanism the game as a whole would have been worse.
I consider this option a kludge because it's a direct measure to introduce balancing which would preferably be the natural outcome of other game mechanics.
A direct measure would be to restrict the empire to a maximum of 20 planets. Giving a happiness penalty means that you can have a large empire, but you have to make sure that you research the right techs and set some planets to influence focus.
Bigjoe5 wrote: I'd prefer to try to balance large empires primarily by introducing significant vulnerabilities to espionage or other types of influence-based operations - not through a direct penalty to larger empires that makes reduces whatever meters would protect them against these measures, but by actually introducing ways of deploying these operations that are more effective against large empires.
Having a low happiness meter makes it easy for the spying empire and its prey to see that a planet is vulnerable to espionage. How do you want to warn a new player that he's making his empire dangerously large?
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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#70 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:15 am

Sloth wrote:A direct measure would be to restrict the empire to a maximum of 20 planets. Giving a happiness penalty means that you can have a large empire, but you have to make sure that you research the right techs and set some planets to influence focus.
That's also an example of a direct measure. And yes, it's more direct that the measure we're discussing. The fact that there are worse options doesn't make this one good.
Sloth wrote:Having a low happiness meter makes it easy for the spying empire and its prey to see that a planet is vulnerable to espionage. How do you want to warn a new player that he's making his empire dangerously large?
I'm not sure how you're envisioning "dangerously large" to begin with, but like every game, FO is going to have a learning curve. How do we inform a new player that he should have been building more ships and defending choke-points? By letting his empire get overrun by enemy ships. How do we warn the player that he's been expanding in a way that makes him vulnerable to espionage? By letting his empire get overrun by enemy spies. It's true that it might be less obvious, or something the player isn't used to, but that's a natural consequence of having a robust espionage system. Informative pedia pages will help.

I should also point out that what I'm envisioning isn't necessarily a weakness against espionage that applies to all large empires, but more of a tradeoff between expansion and security, and a better return on investment for espionage in larger empires (even if they're not more "vulnerable", per se).

- Whenever you colonize or invade a planet, there's a possibility that you're letting insurgents into your empire
- The cost of initially infiltrating an empire (or perhaps a particular resource group) should be higher than the cost of increasing your espionage capabilities in that empire or resource group, leading to a bigger return on investment for players spying in large empires.

There could be other vulnerabilities to having/incentives for infiltrating large empires as well.
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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#71 Post by Geoff the Medio » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:27 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:I'm dubious about the desirability of maintenance fees. I'd prefer to try to balance large empires primarily by...
The point of "maintenance fees" was not to balance large empires...
Geoff the Medio wrote:It's not a penalty specifically against large (or small) empires, but rather against empires that are growing too quickly, or that have poor happiness, species relations, or influence / psi output in general, or that have spent their influence / psi on something else so don't have a stockpile of it available to pacify new conquests. And being good at influence / psi generation generally means sacrificing production or research output...

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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#72 Post by eleazar » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:02 pm

Re: using espionage or whatever as a counter to large empires.

At this point I'm much more interested in ideas that get the next couple features into the game as useful additions.

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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#73 Post by Sloth » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:35 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Sloth wrote:A direct measure would be to restrict the empire to a maximum of 20 planets. Giving a happiness penalty means that you can have a large empire, but you have to make sure that you research the right techs and set some planets to influence focus.
That's also an example of a direct measure. And yes, it's more direct that the measure we're discussing. The fact that there are worse options doesn't make this one good.
Maybe the word direct is too subjective. I think in what we differ is whether we want to have a transparent mechanic that balances large empires or not. From your argumentation i presume you don't want a transparent mechanic, because it looks like we are punishing large empires.

But i think it's very important to get this message to a new player: "There are drawbacks attached to expanding your empire, it's not all upside.".
Managing a large empire can be a lot of work for a new player, so he should be assured that not expanding as much as he can is also a viable option.
Bigjoe5 wrote:How do we warn the player that he's been expanding in a way that makes him vulnerable to espionage? By letting his empire get overrun by enemy spies.
Why not tell him beforehand?
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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#74 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:35 pm

eleazar wrote:Re: using espionage or whatever as a counter to large empires.

At this point I'm much more interested in ideas that get the next couple features into the game as useful additions.
Then let's put espionage in instead. Happiness doesn't have much use at the moment.
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Re: Happiness, Influence, & Allegiance

#75 Post by eleazar » Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:20 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:
eleazar wrote:At this point I'm much more interested in ideas that get the next couple features into the game as useful additions.
Then let's put espionage in instead. Happiness doesn't have much use at the moment.
Um, espionage as general, vaguely considered would require happiness, influence, and allegiance/approval to interact with.

Adding influence and giving happiness function in some form similar to that Sloth and I have been describing sounds like a reasonable-sized next step. It would introduce a new resource, flesh out a useless meter, and include adding techs/buildings/specials and species effects, and replace some of the current kludgy growth limiters with something at worse that's less kludgy.

Jumping straight to espionage and all the other systems it interacts with is in my judgement biting off much more than we can chew at once, and is generally something that IMHO would fit better closer to 1.0 than to today. Unless you have a new different scheme for espionage or a plan for a partial implementation that doesn't require an excessive number of additional systems to work.

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