Diplomatic Shuttle

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Krikkitone
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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#16 Post by Krikkitone »

labgnome wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:Research and construction are just as unrealistic for 100% success...

spend X on a battleship and you get it...no cost overruns, industrial accidents, impurities in the materials, etc.

Research even more so....10 million scientist-hours and 10 trillion$ of equipment and hyperspace tech is yours... no failed theories about whether hyperspace is even Possible in this universe/academic fads/lucky discoveries, etc.

We simplify those to predictability because it is a strategy game.

Combat preserves some randomness... but the randomness is limited, at a certain point the odds give you a 0% chance of loss/victory in a battle.

Influence should be the same....it could depend on the odds, but the odds should depend on the resources .. including time .. you put in.
I think you're making a bad analogy here. Personally I like things like the theory techs, as I think they cover this quite well. Even if a theory is wrong or otherwise a dead-end, the time researching it is rarely ever completely fruitless. In fact more often it's not so much a theory or line of research being a dead-end, as it not having "practical" applications at the time. For along time the idea of "atomic" matter had little to no application, but it wasn't wrong. Similarly theories like the aether, while not correct, research looking for it wasn't fruitless and modern electromagnetic theory wouldn't exist without that research. I actually like there being a good number of theory-only techs with minimal or no application.

Even more-so with construction. Aside from rare accidents or intentional sabotage (which sounds like an influence/espionage mechanic to me), when an entity, especially a government, allocates the resources and manpower to build something, it gets built. Now weather or not it works as intended, or if it's intended function actually winds up being useful are different matters, but I think simulating that gets into levels o micromanagement that we've so-far been trying to avoid. Also Free-Orion doesn't use money so no cost-overrun (at least as we understand it), and the supply connection can be disrupted halting a project.
Krikkitone wrote: Its perfectly reasonable for there to be "holes" in the empire.... but those holes shouldn't be random. Those "holes" should be the species that hate your empire for good reason*, and it would be Way to expensive/time consuming to absorb them.

*ie you should know how much it will Probably cost before you start... before you start trying, just like you know fighting a 100 ship battle will probably have you losing if you bring 50 equivalent ships, but a pretty guaranteed win with 500 equivalent ships.
See this is where I think you and I see things fundamentally differently. I don't think their should be holes just because you don't want them, I think their should be holes because they don't want you. To me the whole idea of acquiring a planet solely though an influence project with a guaranteed result seems like it's just invasion, but without having to bother with ships.

I don't want another mechanic that's basically just "push the button and get a reward". I like having things like not-immediately useful research and efforts that don't have guaranteed success, because while less rewarding on a surface level make the game more interesting and I believe make the choices of strategy more meaningful.

I think you should have to go through a couple of dozen "useless" techs to get Trancendance, because if you try to beeline for that victory, that lack of practical application should put you in the position of having to put hat off so you can research enough weapons or defenses to hold of a conquest oriented empire. Likewise if your going for peaceful acquisition over conquest, you should have gaps that you don't necessarily want, and then be faced with potentially having to deal with that when faced with superior numbers or technology.

I actually like mechanics that don't have a guaranteed or immediate reward because they're more interesting and make my choices as a player feel more meaningful as the game progresses.
"they don't want you" should not be a random factor that you don't know... if your peaceful trading runs across a colony of native fo-klingons, they should hate you and therefore be very hard to assimilate (ie they will be a hole in your empire for hundreds of turns)..on the other hand if your peaceful trading federation runs across a colony of native fo-ferengi, they will be fairly easy to assimilate.
Of course if you were a warlike empire it might be reversed... you could send a shuttle and easily get the fo-klingons to join your great conquest, but you would probably just invade the fo-ferengi (because you are warlike, and trying to 'absorb' them would take way too long).

In both cases
-there is the random nature of which species is on the world (which determines the "base" chance/min turns/min cost)

-there could be Some randomness in the project itself..ie 1 "project" has a 10% chance of success... but if you fail, you can do the second project has a 20% chance of success..so the randomness would eventually go away

-then there would the randomness of the actions of other empires....maybe they spend some time and influence trying to assimilate the world as well so you are competing with them... Or maybe they can spend influence on "ensure independence" that keeps other empires from assimilating the world.

So with the randomness of
-nature of the natives
-Maybe some inherent to the project itself
-action of other empires

That seems plenty

....also your original proposal was basically the same...
If a diplo shuttle can be used once every 20 turns and has a 10% chance of success, then you just spam shuttles at a world every 10 turns and it Eventually will become part of your empire... practically guaranteed.

The only way there will be permanent "holes" in your empire is if
1. you give up
2. the odds of success get worse every time you try and eventually reach 0...and never recover.

There could be "temporary" holes in your empire (where temporary means it will be gone in 10,000 turns) with another method, and I think that is more reasonable.

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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#17 Post by labgnome »

Krikkitone wrote:"they don't want you" should not be a random factor that you don't know... if your peaceful trading runs across a colony of native fo-klingons, they should hate you and therefore be very hard to assimilate (ie they will be a hole in your empire for hundreds of turns)..on the other hand if your peaceful trading federation runs across a colony of native fo-ferengi, they will be fairly easy to assimilate.
Of course if you were a warlike empire it might be reversed... you could send a shuttle and easily get the fo-klingons to join your great conquest, but you would probably just invade the fo-ferengi (because you are warlike, and trying to 'absorb' them would take way too long).
I think many of the species we already have in FO are alien past the point of being rubber-forehead aliens, in both biology and behavior. Some are fairly stock sci-fi tropes, but a lot of them are more strange and interesting than that. I don't think that's a good approximation of the type of universe we've created for this game at all. Most of the time you're dealing with faux-horta or faux-borg or something equally inscrutable, heck, often you are the faux-horta or faux-borg, making the faux-klingons or faux-ferengi the ones who should be unallowably alien to you. Honestly aliens should be a bit inscrutable, and that should make dealing with them, especially in any sort of diplomacy inherently a bit of grasping in the dark for a favorable response.
Krikkitone wrote:In both cases
-there is the random nature of which species is on the world (which determines the "base" chance/min turns/min cost)

-there could be Some randomness in the project itself..ie 1 "project" has a 10% chance of success... but if you fail, you can do the second project has a 20% chance of success..so the randomness would eventually go away
I do not want to see the chances of success compounded positively. At least not inherently, and I'm really iffy on it being able to get to 100% chance. I could see something like "good fit" species compounding positively (maybe to 99% chance), and "bad fit" species compounding negatively (to 1% chance), and "meh fit" species keeping the same flat chance. However I'd rather implement that after we have a solid establishment of what those mean. I also don't see it as necessary to the idea of absorption/peaceful acquisition in terms of game mechanics.

However in general I think that if the "random chance" is 10%, it should be 10%, both for preserving the randomness element, and just seeming far easier to deal with in general.
Krikkitone wrote:....also your original proposal was basically the same...
If a diplo shuttle can be used once every 20 turns and has a 10% chance of success, then you just spam shuttles at a world every 10 turns and it Eventually will become part of your empire... practically guaranteed.
How would that even work?
If you have to wait 20 turns, you could only send it every 21 turns maximum. Also there is never a guarantee with a flat chance. That's why it's chance.

I mean if it takes a few more tries that's 42 or 63 turns later, by then you should have another planet you're more interested in. In a decently populated galaxy you will have probably even found another (possibly even better) planet with the same species by then.

Also, yes a determined play will be able to spam if they really want to. The point isn't to prevent that, because player will do what they like, but to discourage that, so that it provides a different game experience than the other mechanic.
Krikkitone wrote:The only way there will be permanent "holes" in your empire is if
1. you give up
2. the odds of success get worse every time you try and eventually reach 0...and never recover.
  1. I mean the point of making the player wait between uses of the diplo shuttle is that it might make them just give up on a planet.
  2. If you haven't guessed I'm okay with that option in some cases, but also even if the chance is 90%, that doesn't mean that doing it more then 9 times guarantees success.
Krikkitone wrote:There could be "temporary" holes in your empire (where temporary means it will be gone in 10,000 turns) with another method, and I think that is more reasonable.
I don't even know what you're talking about here. Also I'd consider 10,000 turns damn-near permanent, I don't think I've ever played a FO game nearly that far.

Honestly what you are proposing sounds like it has way more moving parts than what I initially proposed. I ship part that grants you a chance of acquiring a planet without losing happiness, and not having to spend the (presumably) extra resources on an invasion. I was think of a flat, non-dynamic chance, that could be modified (initially) by weather or not the sending or receiving species were telepathic or xenophobic. It would be non-stacking and have some timer between use to discourage spamming of planets. I'd even be up to just drop the tech special influence if that would make it easier to implement.

No inter-empire competition, no compounding chance, not even really an assessment of "compatibility" with your empire (which could get really complex really fast). Honestly what you seem to be going for sounds uninteresting to me and the mechanics overly-complex.
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Krikkitone
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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#18 Post by Krikkitone »

I just realized you are saying that an empire should only ever have 1 diplomatic shuttle... total, not 1 per planet max... that is definitely different than what I was thinking.

If there was no such thing as an influence resource, I would probably agree (although with "goodness of fit" involved)...indeed the "diploshuttle" could be the early 'luck-based' version.


However once an influence resource is part of the game, then it changes...it is a resource for the express purpose of changing the behavior of others.. which means it is perfect for this.

And that means that interempire competition would be the best "unpredictable" factor.

...So what I could see as a fairly simple system

Tech 1-you can use your empire's 1 diploshuttle... every X turns it spends at a native world you get a 10% chance for that world to join you. X depends on "goodness of fit" (you know what X is once your shuttle has spent X turns there)

Tech 2-Once you have contact with a native world, then you can start spending influence on the world to get it to join you.
Total cost depends on "goodness of fit"* plus the amount other empires have spent trying to get the world to join them.
Maximum amount you can spend per turn depends on "goodness of fit"* and diplomatic/influence technologies.

so
good fit would cost 100 base and you could put in 10 per turn
less good fit would cost 200 base and you could put in 5 per turn (so it would be easy for someone else to out compete you)



Side notes:
labgnome wrote:
Krikkitone wrote:"they don't want you" should not be a random factor that you don't know... if your peaceful trading runs across a colony of native fo-klingons, they should hate you and therefore be very hard to assimilate (ie they will be a hole in your empire for hundreds of turns)..on the other hand if your peaceful trading federation runs across a colony of native fo-ferengi, they will be fairly easy to assimilate.
Of course if you were a warlike empire it might be reversed... you could send a shuttle and easily get the fo-klingons to join your great conquest, but you would probably just invade the fo-ferengi (because you are warlike, and trying to 'absorb' them would take way too long).
I think many of the species we already have in FO are alien past the point of being rubber-forehead aliens, in both biology and behavior. Some are fairly stock sci-fi tropes, but a lot of them are more strange and interesting than that. I don't think that's a good approximation of the type of universe we've created for this game at all. Most of the time you're dealing with faux-horta or faux-borg or something equally inscrutable, heck, often you are the faux-horta or faux-borg, making the faux-klingons or faux-ferengi the ones who should be unallowably alien to you. Honestly aliens should be a bit inscrutable, and that should make dealing with them, especially in any sort of diplomacy inherently a bit of grasping in the dark for a favorable response..
Of course they are inscrutable, but if they have a semi-predictable "happiness" (factors that make them less/more likely to revolt/contribute if in your empire) then there can be factors that make them want to join/avoid your empire.

And if alien behavior inscrutable beyond that, then diplomacy should not be part of FO at all.

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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#19 Post by labgnome »

Krikkitone wrote:I just realized you are saying that an empire should only ever have 1 diplomatic shuttle... total, not 1 per planet max... that is definitely different than what I was thinking.
Um, no?
You could certainly make more than one shuttle, but:
  • You couldn't use more than one at a time on any planet
  • After use the shuttle and the ship carrying it are consumed, weather or not it succeeds
  • If the planet accepted, you get the planet with no happiness malus (and possibly some reward)
  • If a planet refused, and a timer started you couldn't use any other shuttles on that planet you had until the timer ran out.
So while this could technically allow you to "spam" a planet you really wanted, the level of micromanagement involved should turn off most players from that strategy. That's what I meant by no stacking and no spamming. It wouldn't be like invasion where you can just send enough at once or just keep sending them until you drained their resistance. That's also why I'd prefer a static chance of success, that doesn't change with the number of attempts to use the shuttle, to again discourage spamming a planet with them.
Krikkitone wrote:If there was no such thing as an influence resource, I would probably agree (although with "goodness of fit" involved)...indeed the "diploshuttle" could be the early 'luck-based' version.
That's kind of the idea. In principle this could be implemented without an influence mechanic, at least as a stop-gap or proof-of-concept sort of thing to see what peaceful acquisition looks (or maybe should look like) like, as opposed to invasion. That way putting it in the game we can toy with ideas like: should advanced planets give you free techs? Should happiness stay the same or should it get a boost? Which species should be easier to get this way? Which species should be harder to get this way? Maybe my assessment of chance and non-spamming is actually totally wrong and that just makes the whole thing too frustrating to play.
Krikkitone wrote:However once an influence resource is part of the game, then it changes...it is a resource for the express purpose of changing the behavior of others.. which means it is perfect for this.

And that means that interempire competition would be the best "unpredictable" factor.
I mean influence should be just that influence, not control. That's why I think most influence projects should operate on a chance basis. You're influencing things, not controlling them. When you commission a ship or start a research project, in principle you (or the government/megacorp/hive-mind you're standing in for) are employing the engineers and scientists who actually make those things happen. You have a level of direct control over the environment and therefore outcome of the situation.

You cannot say the same for an alien planet you don't control, and certainly much less so for a planet under another empire's control. You don't employ the people there, you don't make the laws governing them, and the local authorities don't answer to you. In many cases some or even all of these might in fact be opposed to you or your goals. There should always be the chance that after all the time and resources spent, that things just go badly. Maybe your spies get caught or negotiations go south or your propaganda fails to resonate with the population. I don't think the possibility of failure these kinds of ventures is just quantitatively different from something like research or construction, it's qualitatively different as well.
Krikkitone wrote:...So what I could see as a fairly simple system

Tech 1-you can use your empire's 1 diploshuttle... every X turns it spends at a native world you get a 10% chance for that world to join you. X depends on "goodness of fit" (you know what X is once your shuttle has spent X turns there)

Tech 2-Once you have contact with a native world, then you can start spending influence on the world to get it to join you.
Total cost depends on "goodness of fit"* plus the amount other empires have spent trying to get the world to join them.
Maximum amount you can spend per turn depends on "goodness of fit"* and diplomatic/influence technologies.

so
good fit would cost 100 base and you could put in 10 per turn
less good fit would cost 200 base and you could put in 5 per turn (so it would be easy for someone else to out compete you)
First of all what I propose for the operation of the diploshutle very different form what you want.

Presumably influence only "extends" as far as your supply-range, or some other limit. Even if you already "met" some aliens on the far side of the galaxy, that doesn't mean that your diplomats or spies or tourists are going to be making regular visits to actually do any exerting of influence on the local population. Thus if you wanted to bring a planet into your empire without the penalties for invasion outside of the range of your influence you'd still need some kind of "diplomatic" ship. Hence it being an early-game technology. They might not even be worth the cost later in the game.

The diplomatic shuttle part would cost influence to build. Say 200 influence. When it arrived on a planet it would then "spend" that influence at once in the attempted conversion of the planet. With chance of success determined by the species who built the shuttle and the species that the shuttle is being used on. The following turn the planet either joins your empire, or you have to wait and try again.

For numbers let's say
  • Xenophobic telepaths only get to use 50 influence.
  • Regular Xenophobes only get to use 100 influence.
  • Regular species only get to use 150 influence.
  • Telepathic species use all 200 influence.
Let's say costs work something like this:
  • High-tech planets cost 50
  • Moderate-tech planets cost 100
  • Regular planets cost 150
  • Local happiness reduces the total cost (maybe?)
Let's say chances work something like this:
  • Basic 15% chance of success
  • -5% chance if they are Xenophobic
  • Another -5% chance if they are Xenophobic and telepathic
  • +5% chance if they are the same metabolism as the diplomat (a possible "good fit" criteria)
  • +5% chance if they share a "good" trait with the diplomat (a possible "good fit" criteria)
  • +5% chance if they are telepathic (and not xenophobic)
  • +5% chance if the diplomat is telepathic
  • +10% chance if they share a "great" trait with the diplomat (a possible "good fit" criteria)
  • +10% chance if they are the same species as the diplomat
  • A modification of ((Influence Spent - Influence Cost) - 100) * 0.4 as a percentage of success
If the attempt is successful you could get the following rewards
  • a free shipyard (if they have moderate or high tech and can build ships)
  • Laser Weapons, Zortium Armor Plating, Force-Field Harmonics or Active Radar from moderate tech planets
  • Plasma Cannons, Diamond Armor Plating, Deflector Shields of Neutron Scanner from high tech planets
  • Military Robotic Control, Organic Hulls, Asteroid Hulls or Force Energy Compression (if they can build ships)
  • Death Spores tech if they are organic
  • Sonic Shockwave tech if they are lithic
  • EMP Generator tech if they are robotic
  • Dark Ray tech if they are phototrophic
  • Happiness boost
If the attempt fails it could trigger the following events
  • +1 happiness (+2 if you are telepathic, +4 if you are both telepathic)
  • nothing (if you are xenophobic)
  • -1 happiness (if you are both xenophobic) (-2 happiness if one of you is telepathic, -4 happiness if you are both telepathic)
  • technology boost (regular -> moderate tech, moderate tech -> high tech)
As far as timers go, at least to start I would *suggest 1 + (5 - nearest owned planet) turns.
*assuming the planet is 5 or fewer jumps from your nearest planet, otherwise only a wait of 1 turn.

Otherwise you could try to convert a planet within your influence range through an influence project. The influence project should take time, and should (in general) have a greater chance of success. For influence projects I would suggest that the cost be population-dependent. With higher population planets costing more. The technology of the planet should determine the time necessary to convert the planet. Let's say 10 turns for a high tech planet, 20 turns for a moderate tech planet and 30 turns for a regular planet. Telepathy could cut these time in half. Xenophobia could double them.
Krikkitone wrote:Of course they are inscrutable, but if they have a semi-predictable "happiness" (factors that make them less/more likely to revolt/contribute if in your empire) then there can be factors that make them want to join/avoid your empire.

And if alien behavior inscrutable beyond that, then diplomacy should not be part of FO at all.
I that that would be sufficiently covered by always having a random chance (even if small) that they just won't choose to join. You won't be micromanaging the diplomatic interaction itself, so a random chance should be a suitable approximation of alien inscrutablility. That's why I think there should always be a chance of refusal. There is always the chance there is some totally alien aspect of culture or behavior that can't always be completely accounted for. As a player you can use the articles in the 'pedia and your imagination to fill in any details as to why diplomatic efforts failed or succeeded in unlikely circumstances. We don't have to script why the pacifistic Deartheans refused to join your peaceful galactic federation, just allow that they might do that.
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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#20 Post by Krikkitone »

I do like the idea of "project" if it is in range and "shuttle" if it is not (similar to colony mechanics).... However
labgnome wrote: So while this could technically allow you to "spam" a planet you really wanted, the level of micromanagement involved should turn off most players from that strategy.
This is a terrible thought. We should always be attempting to reduce micromanagement.

Here the micromanagement is semijustified as the logistics of making contact.
It might work with a control panel where one could see "natives available for contact" either by shuttle or project. (and you would get a popup..."native newly available for contact" when the shuttle timer ran out or you found a new one.)

... a project should be able to just be switched on and you continuously invest in it until you get them or quit pouring resources down the drain.



I don't like the idea of % chances in general... but if there is a modifier for amount spent, so the odds slowly go up with continued investment, then it could work.

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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#21 Post by labgnome »

Krikkitone wrote: This is a terrible thought. We should always be attempting to reduce micromanagement.
I think you are greatly misunderstanding me here. I'm not saying I want to introduce micromanagement. I am saying I don't want diplomatic spamming, but acknowledge that if a player is determined to do so, they probably will. I was simply saying that the micromanagement involved should be enough to discourage most from that strategy.
Krikkitone wrote: Here the micromanagement is semijustified as the logistics of making contact.
It might work with a control panel where one could see "natives available for contact" either by shuttle or project. (and you would get a popup..."native newly available for contact" when the shuttle timer ran out or you found a new one.)
I mean you wouldn't need something special for that. There are the alerts you get on new turns, and you can already look up planets you have already found and see what species live on them and weather or not they are claimed by anyone. I don't think it's necessary at this point to introduce anything more for functionality.

Also if I haven't made this clear I don't want to introduce a way to streamline spamming a planet with diplomacy. I want diplomacy to be a gamble.
Krikkitone wrote:... a project should be able to just be switched on and you continuously invest in it until you get them or quit pouring resources down the drain.
I presume influence projects will have that option if they are like construction projects, IE: you set it to can repeat a certain number of times when you start it. However I would not want them to automatically repeat until success. For instance I might decide that I don't really want Scylior in my empire that bad after several failed attempts to bring them into my empire, and just leave them alone because I'd rather spend the influence on stealing death-ray tech from my rivals.
Krikkitone wrote:I don't like the idea of % chances in general... but if there is a modifier for amount spent, so the odds slowly go up with continued investment, then it could work.
Okay I am honestly at a loss for you strong opposition to a mechanic to have random chance introduced here and an insistence that continued investment should produce increasingly favorable odds by necessity. In just about every game I've played with a diplomacy and/or espionage mechanic (which it what influence will be btw), those things always have some chance of failure, IE: your spies get caught, talks break down. In fact in some I've noticed the chance of failure seem to go up if you keep trying to repeatedly do the exact same thing.

What problem do you have with it being a gamble? That's kind-of how it's supposed to work. Building armies and launching ships to invade some place often offers some much more predictable outcome than trying to get some people in a room to come to an agreement (and honor it) or stealing the right papers from the right desk without getting caught.

Also offering a guarantee of success implies that in addition to your own empire you exert control over these random planets or even enemy empires to some degree, which I really think you shouldn't. Their leaders or populations or computer overlords should always be able to do exactly what you don't want them to do, because they are not under your control.
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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#22 Post by Kassiopeija »

just a few general thoughts:

- it's a great idea to acquire some extra stuff by peacefully getting the natives planets, but these trophies seem to revolve around technologies in the own techtree: meaning one could research these items on its own, afterwards the trophy "ceases to exist". Also, if there are multitudes of natives bringing the same trophies it may work only on the first acquisition. The question now is, if the peaceful acquisition is still worth it even without the extra bonus?

Thing is, troopships are deadcheap, at least, from turn 150 on one should have plenty of prod running. Taking a few native planets with military force is very easy and one has to wonder why one would bother with diplomatic shuttles in the first place (if no extra trophy is to be gathered...)

The morale-penalty seems rather minor to my eyes. I wouldn't want to invest 20 or more turns in order to peacefully acquire a planet just solely to have good morale because morale recovers after a certain time anyway, and the earlier I get that planet the other meters can grow back as well. In other words, if the whole diplomacy-thing takes too long a military solution will have a better total net of prod/res etc and it would be nice if that just wouldn't happen (ie. players that think he one or the other solution is best and therefore always pick one (or the other) independantly of the status quo of map/native planet.

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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#23 Post by labgnome »

Kassiopeija wrote:just a few general thoughts:

- it's a great idea to acquire some extra stuff by peacefully getting the natives planets, but these trophies seem to revolve around technologies in the own techtree: meaning one could research these items on its own, afterwards the trophy "ceases to exist". Also, if there are multitudes of natives bringing the same trophies it may work only on the first acquisition. The question now is, if the peaceful acquisition is still worth it even without the extra bonus?
The tech rewards I was largely taking from the example of the techs granted from the ancient ruins special. IE: you can research them, but this is a way to get them for free. I just moved them back a tier or two. Also if you shoot for translinguistics early on (especially starting with a species that has decent research) getting these techs through the natives should be a pretty viable strategy.

Also keep in mind this is an idea to just get it into the game. I certainly am open to something like techs that you can only get through the peaceful acquisition rout. However I think that we could figure those out, and what would be appropriate for them to give you, once we can actually see how something like this would work in the game. I know there has been talks about more special things form natives,and maybe we could have it that you can only get those if you get them peacefully. So things like a Raaargh troop-pod, or a "Scylior Mind" or "Abbadoni Mother" buildings, that would not only add some extra flavor to the species, but give some incentive to get them by being nice.
Kassiopeija wrote:Thing is, troopships are deadcheap, at least, from turn 150 on one should have plenty of prod running. Taking a few native planets with military force is very easy and one has to wonder why one would bother with diplomatic shuttles in the first place (if no extra trophy is to be gathered...)
I mean at a certain point with the growth-rates in the game this does become much more about role-playing your civilization than tactics, but I think a lot of things in the game are kind of that way, and in a balanced game should be. There has also been talk about changing and re-balancing the troop ships in the past. Especially in regards to giving them a malus for things like hostile planets, which would make something like a diplomatic shuttle more broadly applicable, especially if you wanted the aliens to broaden you colonization profile.

Something else to consider is that while I like the idea of getting planets peacefully, I also don't want to see it completely eclipse conquest as a game mechanic, keeping players who would rather take that rout form enjoying the game. So the fact that later on in the game invasion becomes more economically viable, and possibly easier, than diplomacy it isn't necessarily bad. In fact it could keep them balanced. IE: diplomatic species can get out of the gate faster than conquerors, but once the conquerors get their economy off the ground they can eclipse the diplomats.

In fact I can already see a couple of strategies that diplomatic types could use in this scenario. You could either go for all the good industry and defense species you come across, to make sure you're going to have the better economy and hold them off, or go for the good research species, and try to outrun the conquerors to a tech victory.

Finally this could totally be balanced by just setting the right cost for the shuttle itself.
Kassiopeija wrote:The morale-penalty seems rather minor to my eyes. I wouldn't want to invest 20 or more turns in order to peacefully acquire a planet just solely to have good morale because morale recovers after a certain time anyway, and the earlier I get that planet the other meters can grow back as well. In other words, if the whole diplomacy-thing takes too long a military solution will have a better total net of prod/res etc and it would be nice if that just wouldn't happen (ie. players that think he one or the other solution is best and therefore always pick one (or the other) independantly of the status quo of map/native planet.
Keep in mind you could use a diplomatic shuttle on a planet that has the moderate or high tech specials, or natives that have natural defenses, without having to bring support ships to take out those defenses. So while those become less of an issue later on, early in the game it will make a big difference.

Also, I think here I should differentiate my original idea for a diplomatic shuttle, as opposed to some of the competing concepts here:

The diplomatic shuttle would automatically give you the planet (or not), without expending the time on an influence project. It would take time and PP (and possibly influence) to produce, but wouldn't have to sit at Planet X for 20 turns to give you the natives. You'd just have to contend with the random chance they'd turn your diplomat away. So the mission might be wasted. The only timer I am proposing for the diplomatic shuttle is one for the event of failure, to discourage using them like troop ships. IE: Planet X turned away your ambassador, so you have to wait 2 turns to re-attempt diplomatic negotiations.
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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#24 Post by Kassiopeija »

Well, you always need to raise some military ships to expand, and secure your territory, and to my experience, the earlier one is able to clear the map from guardian or roaming monsters, the sooner is one able to expand.
The basic Robotic Hull stuffed full with MD is sufficient for about 50%-60% of them, and Flux hull is a formidable early deadcheap troopship. If you just let a few extra fluxtroopers accompany the warships aiming to take down strong hightech defenses then your loss will mostly be very minor in terms of raised PP.
I mean lets be fair here; I don't enqueue ~1000 PP into warships to say: I'm going to conquer ONE native planet with that... no, in truth these ships may stay for quite some time and get many planets and do also add to guarantee that I can KEEP what I gained.
labgnome wrote: I mean at a certain point with the growth-rates in the game this does become much more about role-playing your civilization than tactics, but I think a lot of things in the game are kind of that way, and in a balanced game should be.
I don't know if that, I mean to include RPG logics to balance a strategy game, is a good idea in the first place. And really, in my opinion, FO doesn't have much RPG elements to offer, and I'm actually quite happy with that.
labgnome wrote:There has also been talk about changing and re-balancing the troop ships in the past.
This has been done for v.045 "recently" so I don't expect many changes coming here in the near future.
labgnome wrote: In fact I can already see a couple of strategies that diplomatic types could use in this scenario. You could either go for all the good industry and defense species you come across, to make sure you're going to have the better economy and hold them off, or go for the good research species, and try to outrun the conquerors to a tech victory.

Finally this could totally be balanced by just setting the right cost for the shuttle itself.
Military conquest actually enables you to simply overtake anything within your reach and that will net the most prod/res and basically compensate for any loss on the way. There are some strong guardian monsters which may prevent to take some planets early on but these will shoot down your diplo-shuttle as well...
labgnome wrote: You'd just have to contend with the random chance they'd turn your diplomat away. So the mission might be wasted. The only timer I am proposing for the diplomatic shuttle is one for the event of failure, to discourage using them like troop ships. IE: Planet X turned away your ambassador, so you have to wait 2 turns to re-attempt diplomatic negotiations.
Ok, let's just say that, ON AVERAGE, the chance to acquire a planet diplomatically is 10%. And the cost of the shuttle, say, 50. Then it ultimately will boil down to invest 500 PP to get this planet. Plus, all the lost production, being both research- or productionoutput, loss of extra range, and all the other meter growth, during the time in which I still attempt to send my shuttles in.

In this scenario, the trophy either has to be very strong (ie. affecting the whole game) or I wouldn't bother with that. Firstly, you can get planets via conquest much more cheaper than 500PP, and secondly, have an almost guarantee on the success and a somewhat good scope on when it's going to happen: That alone may be someting worth on its own, to be able to say, that, from Turn XX onward I will be able to extend my support 2-3 lanes into a potential new territory.
On the other hand, having to re-queue another shuttle, againm again and again may also proove to be too much frustrating micro and at some point simply abandon such an enterprise. Especially if the alternative strategy works 100%.

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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#25 Post by labgnome »

Kassiopeija wrote:Well, you always need to raise some military ships to expand, and secure your territory, and to my experience, the earlier one is able to clear the map from guardian or roaming monsters, the sooner is one able to expand.
The basic Robotic Hull stuffed full with MD is sufficient for about 50%-60% of them, and Flux hull is a formidable early deadcheap troopship. If you just let a few extra fluxtroopers accompany the warships aiming to take down strong hightech defenses then your loss will mostly be very minor in terms of raised PP.
I mean lets be fair here; I don't enqueue ~1000 PP into warships to say: I'm going to conquer ONE native planet with that... no, in truth these ships may stay for quite some time and get many planets and do also add to guarantee that I can KEEP what I gained.
I mean if you prefer staying with invasion that's fine. I just think this is an option I'd rather be able to play. Also as this is a game in development, I don't want to just assume I'll always be able to be getting everything so easy by the end-game. Having some different strategies available is a good idea.
Kassiopeija wrote:I don't know if that, I mean to include RPG logics to balance a strategy game, is a good idea in the first place. And really, in my opinion, FO doesn't have much RPG elements to offer, and I'm actually quite happy with that.
I suppose that'snot the best way to describe what I was going for. FO being very open ended allows me as the player a large degree of storytelling freedom, and I'd really like the opportunity to expand those avenues. I mean it might not make a huge difference for the end-game outcome (or it might), but it allows for a different feel or flavor to the game.
Kassiopeija wrote:This has been done for v.045 "recently" so I don't expect many changes coming here in the near future.
Maybe not the near-near future but there was a sizable discussion, and a lot of talk about the fact that it would make sense for EP to impact invasions. However with invasions being essential right now any more of a malus to some species attack troops might just make them completely useless.
Kassiopeija wrote:Military conquest actually enables you to simply overtake anything within your reach and that will net the most prod/res and basically compensate for any loss on the way. There are some strong guardian monsters which may prevent to take some planets early on but these will shoot down your diplo-shuttle as well...
But invasion is a big cost and time sink early in the game if you pick a species with bad attack troops, and a miscalculation can be really costly strategically when you start running into enemy empires.
Kassiopeija wrote:Ok, let's just say that, ON AVERAGE, the chance to acquire a planet diplomatically is 10%. And the cost of the shuttle, say, 50. Then it ultimately will boil down to invest 500 PP to get this planet. Plus, all the lost production, being both research- or productionoutput, loss of extra range, and all the other meter growth, during the time in which I still attempt to send my shuttles in.

In this scenario, the trophy either has to be very strong (ie. affecting the whole game) or I wouldn't bother with that. Firstly, you can get planets via conquest much more cheaper than 500PP, and secondly, have an almost guarantee on the success and a somewhat good scope on when it's going to happen: That alone may be someting worth on its own, to be able to say, that, from Turn XX onward I will be able to extend my support 2-3 lanes into a potential new territory.
On the other hand, having to re-queue another shuttle, againm again and again may also proove to be too much frustrating micro and at some point simply abandon such an enterprise. Especially if the alternative strategy works 100%.
Well we can make the chances or cost be whatever we want, or need them to be. This is after all a discussion about a feature that doesn't even exist yet. We could easily set the average chance to be 50%, so you'd likely have to only spend 100 PP at most. Also early free techs are a pretty good reward, even if you can research them on your own. Especially with lasers getting some nifty bonuses now. For colonizing species being able to avoid the happiness malus means you can start colonizing with them right away. I mean if you're already going for a galactic conqueror then this is only going to offer a minor edge, but if you're going for a different strategy, then this can be a really good option to have.

Also from what I see your main issue seem to be that you probably wouldn't care to use the diplomatic shuttle, which is fine. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't be in the game for other people to do so.
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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#26 Post by Kassiopeija »

labgnome wrote:But invasion is a big cost and time sink early in the game if you pick a species with bad attack troops, and a miscalculation can be really costly strategically when you start running into enemy empires.
Which is exactly the reason you need to conquer whatever natives are in your reach ASAP in order to be able to get better pilots, troopers and widen the scope of what planets you can inhabitate, or increase the level of target pop on those you already could colonize by assimilating other species.

And all the associated cost with it is rather an investment that will pay back. I always shift heavily from colonizing empty free planets directly to militarized conquest on the first spot of enemy empires because after 50-100 planets the costs of a single new colony has risen dramatically to several hundred PP while many AI planets can be taken by a small fraction of that.

Not counting here the costs of warships now in because you'll have to have them anyway or how do you manage to protect yourself from invasion or monsters? And, now assuming you already have a warfleet, how can you call the production of a bunch of troopships a "big cost & time sink"? That takes 3 turns and less PP than basically everything else in the game to produce....
labgnome wrote: Well we can make the chances or cost be whatever we want, or need them to be. This is after all a discussion about a feature that doesn't even exist yet. We could easily set the average chance to be 50%, so you'd likely have to only spend 100 PP at most. Also early free techs are a pretty good reward, even if you can research them on your own. Especially with lasers getting some nifty bonuses now. For colonizing species being able to avoid the happiness malus means you can start colonizing with them right away. I mean if you're already going for a galactic conqueror then this is only going to offer a minor edge, but if you're going for a different strategy, then this can be a really good option to have.
I can't think of any other strategy to win the map than conquest, how do you do this?

A 50% chance doesn't guarantee you that it always will be successful on second try, for that you'll have to expand the script to make the chance 100% after a failed try. In other words, a 50% chance could still leave you without anything after 10 tries etc. And especially early on I wouldn't like to gamble, but with a good reward in sight maybe have the first shuttle be accompanied by troopers in order to take the planet by force directly after the first attempt was unsuccessful.

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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#27 Post by labgnome »

Kassiopeija wrote:Not counting here the costs of warships now in because you'll have to have them anyway or how do you manage to protect yourself from invasion or monsters? And, now assuming you already have a warfleet, how can you call the production of a bunch of troopships a "big cost & time sink"? That takes 3 turns and less PP than basically everything else in the game to produce....
I mean early game monsters aren't a threat, and by then I have the industrial base to produce defensive fleets at most of my planets. Also finding and capturing their nests as soon as possible (which I like to do) typically takes care of most of them. Though I may be having an issue with my game as I don't seem to be getting guards for the planetary specials.
Kassiopeija wrote:I can't think of any other strategy to win the map than conquest, how do you do this?
And I think that's a big difference between the two of us. I've been thinking about this idea in some form or another since my first FO game. I mean the trancendance tech is also a victory, so why not another way to win the map?
Kassiopeija wrote:A 50% chance doesn't guarantee you that it always will be successful on second try, for that you'll have to expand the script to make the chance 100% after a failed try. In other words, a 50% chance could still leave you without anything after 10 tries etc. And especially early on I wouldn't like to gamble, but with a good reward in sight maybe have the first shuttle be accompanied by troopers in order to take the planet by force directly after the first attempt was unsuccessful.
I feel like I just had this exact same conversation in this thread.

What is with the serious risk-aversion on this board? This is a game, chance and things you can't control make it interesting. The basic opposition to this idea seems to hinge mostly around "it's a risk and I don't want to take one". What's the point of even having a mechanic for "influence" if it's not going to introduce some level of chance into the game? Real life social policies, diplomacy and espionage contain all sorts of things that produce unpredictable outcomes. The thing is to make the rewards worth the risk, whatever that means for this game.

I really thought that this would be a nice compliment to the game especially if we are introducing a mechanic specifically to handle this sort of thing. However it seems that even my basic understanding of how I would like to see it implemented is completely against the core philosophy of some of the people involved here.

I wanted a way to get planets that isn't and doesn't feel like pounding them into submission. I wanted to include the possibility of unpredictable results to make it interesting. However it seems like for some people that's not what they want and that's not something they even want to be allowed in the game.
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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#28 Post by defaultuser »

Depending on how complicated you wanted to make things, you can have tech or objects that you can gain by peaceful acquisition that you can't get by conquest. Things get lost, destroyed, or sabotaged during war, that sort of thing.

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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#29 Post by labgnome »

I was suggesting tech primarily because I figured just copping the code for the ancient ruins special might be easy and simple for the initial implementation, but I do like the idea of all kinds of possible benefits and especially species-specific rewards.
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Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#30 Post by Kassiopeija »

labgnome wrote: I mean early game monsters aren't a threat, and by then I have the industrial base to produce defensive fleets at most of my planets. Also finding and capturing their nests as soon as possible (which I like to do) typically takes care of most of them.
I think I have to disagree here. Monsters are the #1 early threat, esp. if you're playing a map-setup where the opponents got enough distance to your starting place. And there are many different forms of monsters in the game which use different methods to stiffle your initial game - Dyson Forests block your supply and can actually halt the production of a colony or building outside your main-industrial sources. Sentries simply deny you access to colonizable planets, Drone Factories and their releases constantly kill your scouts or outposters especially in times when sensors are only very rudimentarily developed, and other monsters even attack the population of your colonies. Ever had a Vacuum Dragon rampaging in your territory - this is an omnipotent enemy and it be there very early if just set the Monster slider high enough.

But the inital point I was trying to make was that you had to build an army anyway (because of the threat monsters do impose on your inital colonization), and I made that point deliberately in response to your point that the diplomatic shuttle is aimed for players playing a "peaceful strategy" that doesn't rely on building up a military. Yet in your response to this you seem to contradict this now because you stated you will, as well, build an army for defensive purposes.
So it seems to me the only basic difference is the time when this army is getting build. But that is different from game to game anyway, at least, from my point of view.

And if you already build that army, what's keeping you from moving it over vulnerable AI spots and blocking their supply, taking down their defenses, and using a tiny fraction of your PP to get some troopers and subsequently annex their systems?

Your whole prior argument against that seems to be based on the high costs of mustering a military, but you just posted you take these costs as well as integral part of that peaceful strategy.
labgnome wrote:And I think that's a big difference between the two of us. I've been thinking about this idea in some form or another since my first FO game. I mean the trancendance tech is also a victory, so why not another way to win the map?
The major difference is that I play this game like a strategy game, that is I will simply use whatever methods or techniques the game offers me to win the map. It's nothing else than a complex version of chess.
You loose if you vanish from the map, and you win when all opponents are destroyed because that effectively guarantees your endless survival. The former calls for defense, the latter for offense, and your own relative strength towards the many enemies influences how openly you can "color" your general play either defensively or offensively.

In other words, I simply do on the map which I think is generally the best to assist these goals, it's about the constant acquisition of power.
And the Tech Victory isn't even an exception to that:
If you wanna reach out for that you need alot of research power, and also, some time in which you can follow this through. So even if you play a map without monsters, that is, you get the initial 100 planets without monster interference, you still need an army to protect them from other factions, which are all intent to take your planets away (BTW a game without monsters is boring, and also, unbalanced).
But at that point, the question is, why wouldn't you use your military to offensively take planets from your opponets? Everytime you do, it will assist your own goal of achieving tech-victory even multifold:
Not only will you gain more research-power, but also does the opponent loose some industrial power and can then subsequently throw less military against you.

In other words, if you wanna achieve a Tech Victory, playing a conquest strategy will net you that much sooner and safer than a non-offensive strategy of territorial stallmate. Especially if you can defeat the opponents relatively lossless - which is easy to do once figured out a working and effective early researchpath (though not using exploits or stuff where the AIs can't react against...)

Look, I, as well, would appreciate it if there would be alternative gameplay strategies rivalling the conquest one. Which is exactly why I am posting to this thread - I like your ideas but, from my point of view, they should be integrated into the game in such a way that a player should want to go for them, to pick to choose them because they will, or may, beneficially add to his/her general strategy. Although not in such a way that the bonus or gain is of such tremendous fashion that you will always want to use that regardless of your game's situation (that would then be a "no-brainer") but in such a finetuned way that I'd had to think about it for a few seconds, or having to take a look at the map in order to decide if I could pick it or an alternative.

The fundamental questions are:
What do I (immediately) gain by taking that native planet by force, and what do I loose in terms of trophy or diplo-bonus?
The former is highly dependant on the native species itself, and the latter solely based on your work. That is, there needs to be a balancing link established between the relative strengths of the former & the latter.
Which will be difficult to set up because Natives are very differently designed:
some, which can't colonize or pilot, are just another extra planets which may not be very decisive at more developed stages of the game.
Others, which will enable you to just colonize another planet-type, or offset a starting disability like bad pilots, bad troops, bad research or bad production, may have a tremendous impact on the development of the game you would want to use that ASAP at all cost considered.
Then, the form of the diplo-trophy itself: will it work on a single planet only, being a one-time bonus, or will it have an impact on all my planets or the global game itself? If it is global, then it will OFC totally outweigh the early conquest of a non-important native.

The questions that would remain for me are these:
- Should I take a non-trivial native ASAP (by conquest) or go for their global-working bonus instead?
- Should I take a trivial native by conquest or aim for their planetary-only-working bonus instead?

I think I would choose to use a combo of Shuttle followed by immediate conquest if it fails, although in the first example only if could do something meaningful with my production in the meanwhile instead - if it would be a pressing issue (like, nothing to colonize left anymore but a some outposters still amongst an access pool) I'd maybe conquer right immediately and try to get the trophy from just another native colony.
And if that's not possible I may even withdraw my defenses from that planet so other factions can take it so I may get a second chance to diplomatically shuttle it, although the question here is if that would even be possible, or should be possible with additional colonies which were spawned from natives?
labgnome wrote: What is with the serious risk-aversion on this board? This is a game, chance and things you can't control make it interesting.
Well, chance, luck or bad luck etc destroy your ability to plan ahead and make things more difficult. This is why, even when ON AVERAGE a randomized solution may be better than a rivalling non-randomized static 100% guaranteed solution, this one may still appear more worthwhile to a calculating player.

I personally have nothing against random-rolls, or decisions based on random-rolls. Heck, I even think it would be a good idea if all ships weapon damage would be based on a random-roll going from 0-max, instead of the now max-max.

But to integrate a new, and unreliable, mechanism, and let it compete against a 100% reliable technique, sounds somehow like goofing that up and that is actually sad: there's already some stuff, mostly some buildings, which are non-interesting to a lot of players simply because they're not worthwhile, although interesting but the alternatives are better.
labgnome wrote: I really thought that this would be a nice compliment to the game especially if we are introducing a mechanic specifically to handle this sort of thing. However it seems that even my basic understanding of how I would like to see it implemented is completely against the core philosophy of some of the people involved here.

I wanted a way to get planets that isn't and doesn't feel like pounding them into submission. I wanted to include the possibility of unpredictable results to make it interesting. However it seems like for some people that's not what they want and that's not something they even want to be allowed in the game.
ehmmm, I think you're taking my feedback much too negative than you should have, it wasn't even ment negatively at all, I just wanted to illustrate you which particular regions I see which would make said item uninteresting to me. And I do post this because I actually like your ideas and would further like to see that implemented in such a way I would indeed consider to use it - something that may be beneficial to ones own game, imposing various investments, resulting in various bonuses fairly balanced around those two factors, and in such a fashion implemented that the AI could use that feature as well.

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