Diplomatic Shuttle

For what's not in 'Top Priority Game Design'. Post your ideas, visions, suggestions for the game, rules, modifications, etc.

Moderator: Oberlus

Message
Author
User avatar
Krikkitone
Creative Contributor
Posts: 1540
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2003 6:52 pm

Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#31 Post by Krikkitone »

A couple of points

-too much randomness is bad for reasons pointed out above.

-as for different victories.... I'd prefer different ways to reach the same victory.

Right now there is
"Transcendence"=science super achievement
and
"Conquest"=enemy elimination

Right now troops are the only way to achieve the conquest victory.

With Influence you should be able to have a Peaceful "Conquest" mechanism where you "eliminate" an enemy by peacefully unifying with them. (This could even be a possibility for joint victory...ie New York player and Pennsylvania player both win if the US takes over the world)

This would be better than just adding a new "victory type" because "conquest" is the main way you progress through the game. So different types of "conquest" would be better than "nonconquest" victories"

User avatar
Vezzra
Release Manager, Design
Posts: 5467
Joined: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:56 pm
Location: Sol III

Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#32 Post by Vezzra »

Ok, after following this discussion for a while I guess I want to throw in my 2 cent:

First of all, if I understand correctly, the whole idea was born out of the desire to have an alternative to military conquest, and the total lack of any options that would normally fall under "diplomacy". Which, quite frankly, has a very simple reason: that part of the game hasn't even been designed yet. ;)

As much as I understand that desire (exchanging blows being the only means of intergalactic interaction is quite... dull), I have my doubts about an approach that feels more like something patched onto the current mechanics using the means the engine more or less already provides so far. I can understand the intention of providing this as some sort of stop-gap solution until a more thorough diplomacy system gets implemented, but considering that we are about to add the basic framework on which diplomacy will subsequently be build upon I wonder if it's worth the effort to design and implement a temporary solution, if the "real thing" is expected to be introduced comparatively "soon" (my rough guess: 2018).

Because honestly I don't envision what's been proposed here to be the basic way how diplomacy is going to work in FO. Of course that's not my decision alone (far from it), but I still expect diplomacy to work primarily with the soon to be introduced Influence stuff. "Influence" as the resource required to do diplomacy stuff sounds a lot more reasonable and intuitive than "Industry". What I can see is the possibility to have something like the "Diplomatic Shuttle" as a special element: maybe like the colony ship is now required to colonize remote planets, which are out of your supply range, the Diplomatic Shuttle might be required to contact distant native worlds. Or a more general means to extend the range of your "influence" (whatever that might mean, subject to future design discussions).

So far my thoughts about the specific idea of the "Diplomatic Shuttle". On the more general topic/concern labgnome expressed here about having an alternative, and fundamentally different way of interacting/acquiring other species/natives into your empire, I very much agree with the basic idea - first, there absolutey needs to be such an alternative, and second, it needs to be really different. I agree with labgnome concerns here, we need to take care that "diplomatic acquisition" doesn't turn out just like military acquisition, just based on a different resource and probably using a slightly different mechanic, but in essence it's almost the same.

However, I also have to agree with the others who raised the valid concern that if we implemented the DS like proposed and leave military conquest as it is now, it might be difficult or even impossible to create sufficient incentive for players to actually use the "diplomacy road". I think the important point you guys didn't address in your exchange is that in order for a "diplomatic alternative" to work, we need to drastically change a few things about how military conquest works, particularly what costs/consequences come with it.

Currently, military conquest is far too easy. Plain and simple. Wanna get those precious Mu'Ursh as pilots for your warships, so you can muster up a lot more firepower? Easy, go to their homeworld, drop an overwhelming invasion force on them and basically integrate them into your empire at gunpoint. Usually a few turns later you can start churning out warships crewed by Mu'Ursh (who surely just love you so much for forcing this upon them), and soon the majority of your space navy (and thus the backbone of your military) consists of Mu'Ursh ships. Which basically means you handed over your guns to the guys who, remember, just love you so much for forcing this upon them.

What can possibly go wrong with that scenario.... what? Them turning upon us? Naaaaaah, they will happily do our biding and help us forcing the rest of the galaxy much the same way we forced them. It's evil overlords paradise... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

I think you know what I'm getting at. This is not about making a realism argument, it's just that the current mechanics feel more like space comedy than space opera in that regard.

My (still vague) ideas on how to balance military conquest vs. diplomatic acquisition is about making them fundamentally different in short term/long term costs/consequences. I think that's far better and easier to balance than trying to come up with specific boni or rewards for diplomatic acquisition (like bonus techs etc.) to make up for the additional time and/or chance of failure.

Military conquest could have the advantage that it works quicker, is cheaper and more reliable in its immediate results than diplomacy. Go in with superior force, planet is yours. The natives aren't gonna like you very much though. So the long term costs and consequences could be much more dire than if you take the time and effort to integrate them peacefully. You wouldn't be able to use them as crew on your ships (or maybe, you could, if you want your ships to mutiny - churning out masses of new warships crewed by those Mu'Ursh you just subjugated? Yeah sure, brilliant idea if you want to your empire to commit suicide). The colony influence upkeep costs could be substantially higher. You might need to maintain increased ground troops on those planets, to keep them from rioting. If you use species which don't like you to colonize other planets, you get more colonies that don't like you.

If you take the diplomacy approach, things could take longer and cost more resources (Influence for the respective influence projects). I'm certainly not opposed to the idea of having a certain chance of failure, which would also make diplomacy less reliable (that chance could be influenced by how inclined to like your empire a certain species might be). If subsequent attempts get a better chance of success, or this chance remains the same, and you can just try as often as you want, and other details are of course subject to future design discussions.

The big andvantage once a diplomatic acquisition succeeds is that the new members of your empire like you. So no problem putting them on your ships, no extra costs/efforts to keep them in line etc. So, while being the more costly and risky option short term, long term diplomacy will be the far superior option and by that pay off.

Whatever we decide upon, it needs to be carefully balanced, so both options are viable alternatives for the player. If one option is clearly superior, we can as well cut the other out of the game. But I see no reason why this shouldn't be doable.

Something along these lines is what I have in mind wrt diplomacy vs military conquest.

User avatar
labgnome
Juggernaut
Posts: 833
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2015 5:57 pm

Re: Diplomatic Shuttle

#33 Post by labgnome »

Vezzra wrote:Ok, after following this discussion for a while I guess I want to throw in my 2 cent:

First of all, if I understand correctly, the whole idea was born out of the desire to have an alternative to military conquest, and the total lack of any options that would normally fall under "diplomacy". Which, quite frankly, has a very simple reason: that part of the game hasn't even been designed yet. ;)

As much as I understand that desire (exchanging blows being the only means of intergalactic interaction is quite... dull), I have my doubts about an approach that feels more like something patched onto the current mechanics using the means the engine more or less already provides so far. I can understand the intention of providing this as some sort of stop-gap solution until a more thorough diplomacy system gets implemented, but considering that we are about to add the basic framework on which diplomacy will subsequently be build upon I wonder if it's worth the effort to design and implement a temporary solution, if the "real thing" is expected to be introduced comparatively "soon" (my rough guess: 2018).
This might get pushed back now, so this may be a more relevant discussion now. Also I'm totally open to these coming out in conjunction.
Vezzra wrote:Because honestly I don't envision what's been proposed here to be the basic way how diplomacy is going to work in FO. Of course that's not my decision alone (far from it), but I still expect diplomacy to work primarily with the soon to be introduced Influence stuff. "Influence" as the resource required to do diplomacy stuff sounds a lot more reasonable and intuitive than "Industry". What I can see is the possibility to have something like the "Diplomatic Shuttle" as a special element: maybe like the colony ship is now required to colonize remote planets, which are out of your supply range, the Diplomatic Shuttle might be required to contact distant native worlds. Or a more general means to extend the range of your "influence" (whatever that might mean, subject to future design discussions).
The colony ship analogy is actually exactly what I was thinking seeing influence coming down the pipeline. Part of what I wanted to get into with this discussion is how should this kind of a thing tie into or work with influence, hopefully form people who have a better idea of what it's going to look like than I do.
Vezzra wrote:So far my thoughts about the specific idea of the "Diplomatic Shuttle". On the more general topic/concern labgnome expressed here about having an alternative, and fundamentally different way of interacting/acquiring other species/natives into your empire, I very much agree with the basic idea - first, there absolutey needs to be such an alternative, and second, it needs to be really different. I agree with labgnome concerns here, we need to take care that "diplomatic acquisition" doesn't turn out just like military acquisition, just based on a different resource and probably using a slightly different mechanic, but in essence it's almost the same.

However, I also have to agree with the others who raised the valid concern that if we implemented the DS like proposed and leave military conquest as it is now, it might be difficult or even impossible to create sufficient incentive for players to actually use the "diplomacy road". I think the important point you guys didn't address in your exchange is that in order for a "diplomatic alternative" to work, we need to drastically change a few things about how military conquest works, particularly what costs/consequences come with it.
I completely agree. I supposed I should have put everything on the table here, but I didn't want to completely infodump, and I wanted this thread to be about the diplomatic shuttle, not nerfing conquest. However that being said:

I completely agree. Conquest is too easy, too simple, too necessary and too cheep.
My thoughts on conquest:
  1. Troop pods should cost troops from your planet, just like colony pods cost population.
  2. Environment should impact troop performance. Good environments should give a bonus, poor and hostile environments a malus.
  3. Garrisoned troops should generate unhappiness, in at least some species.
  4. Happiness should be reduced, not "set to 1", with the possibility it will be negative (with whatever problems that will bring).
  5. Population should also be reduced (related to troops lost and maybe the troop quality of the species)
However before there is any more nerfing/penalties for ground troops, as this seems to have become a quite serious malus to some species, we need to have an alternative mechanism for acquiring planets with natives. Thus my first goal is to flesh out an initial version that could fulfill this function for testing purposes.
Vezzra wrote:My (still vague) ideas on how to balance military conquest vs. diplomatic acquisition is about making them fundamentally different in short term/long term costs/consequences. I think that's far better and easier to balance than trying to come up with specific boni or rewards for diplomatic acquisition (like bonus techs etc.) to make up for the additional time and/or chance of failure.

Military conquest could have the advantage that it works quicker, is cheaper and more reliable in its immediate results than diplomacy. Go in with superior force, planet is yours. The natives aren't gonna like you very much though. So the long term costs and consequences could be much more dire than if you take the time and effort to integrate them peacefully. You wouldn't be able to use them as crew on your ships (or maybe, you could, if you want your ships to mutiny - churning out masses of new warships crewed by those Mu'Ursh you just subjugated? Yeah sure, brilliant idea if you want to your empire to commit suicide). The colony influence upkeep costs could be substantially higher. You might need to maintain increased ground troops on those planets, to keep them from rioting. If you use species which don't like you to colonize other planets, you get more colonies that don't like you.

If you take the diplomacy approach, things could take longer and cost more resources (Influence for the respective influence projects). I'm certainly not opposed to the idea of having a certain chance of failure, which would also make diplomacy less reliable (that chance could be influenced by how inclined to like your empire a certain species might be). If subsequent attempts get a better chance of success, or this chance remains the same, and you can just try as often as you want, and other details are of course subject to future design discussions.
I was trying to think of immediately applicable effects that the diplomatic shuttle could have. I was trying to respond to feedback and give something that this would immediately effect.

I think we are in agreement on what we want diplomacy in general to look like. Really I need to put out my thoughts on what I think some of the discussed non-conquest victories should look like. Mainly I want chance of failure as I think this game has enough deterministic elements as it is, so having a chance of failure and keeping that largely outside of in-game player control is something I'd like to see in for that kind of mechanic. So you might get a big payoff for your efforts, but you also might have just wasted all of that time and effort. Really balancing that is what's important, because you want it to generally cost more than something like an invasion, but you also want there to be enough chance of success to entice players and make it worth the risk.
Vezzra wrote:The big advantage once a diplomatic acquisition succeeds is that the new members of your empire like you. So no problem putting them on your ships, no extra costs/efforts to keep them in line etc. So, while being the more costly and risky option short term, long term diplomacy will be the far superior option and by that pay off.

Whatever we decide upon, it needs to be carefully balanced, so both options are viable alternatives for the player. If one option is clearly superior, we can as well cut the other out of the game. But I see no reason why this shouldn't be doable.

Something along these lines is what I have in mind wrt diplomacy vs military conquest.
Okay, see I'd been thinking along the positive reinforcement for diplomacy angle the whole time, but maybe negative reinforcement for conquest is the better rout :twisted:

Drydocks and colony pods have a happiness requirements, shipyards and troop pods probably should too. That's not quite mutiny, but it might be a good (and much simpler) stand in. Maybe if a troop invasion left something like a "monument to conquest" (special? building?) that could be used to tag the planet as conquered and put penalties on it? Maybe it could exclude some of the pop-dependent bonuses to research and production? Apparently there is also work being done to put "ceilings" on the pop-dependent bonuses, maybe those could be tied to happiness, or even the conquest marker? Also there are game resources that exist for taking "rebels" into account, those should be implemented along with influence IMO, if not sooner (at least for testing). Furthermore if influence is going to be a focus: having conquered planet be unable to produce influence would be a really nice incentive to bring them in through diplomacy instead. It might also make something like a diplomatic shuttle an early-game necessity for an influence-oriented player.
All of my contributions should be considered released under creative commons attribution share-alike license, CC-BY-SA 3.0 for use in, by and with the Free Orion project.

Post Reply