Krikkitone wrote:In terms of how I see the diplomacy game in general working
In game diplomacy is for certain things
1. benefits my empire gets from another one (research/trade/ability to use their supply lanes)..that doesn't cost the other empire anything
2. Getting things from the other empire that cost it things (gifts, peace*, attacking an enemy of yours,.etc.) [usually in exchange for things you give them]
*if an empire has a bigger military and could take some of your planets then peace is a "gift" they give you (in the opposing case peace is a gift you give them)
Okay see this is where I think it's a matter of different play styles and philosophies. IE: for you conquest is the goal/ideal and anything else is secondary. I specifically want to have other possible goals that are just as valid victory options besides conquest. Now conquest will always be the most appealing to some players, but I don't think that conquest=default/baseline/"real victory" should be how things are put together. I specifically want options that will allow me to win without conquest, and I want it to be as much of a win as conquest. Yes some players, will always want to go for conquest, and the "proud warrior race" and "conquering invaders" are a tried and true staple of sci-fi, but "not attacking me" just because they could shouldn't be a gift, and peace shouldn't be considered a "cost" automatically. Just like pacifism shouldn't be the complete default, belligerence shouldn't be either. While you may like that, I do not. I'm fine for that option, but as an option. Some people dislike there even being a tech victory. However rewarding the player for having the wear-withal and determination to work their way through the tech tree is a good idea. If someone wants to turn that off for their game, that's fine. But I do think it would be a good idea to have the different victory options all be substantial, and allow for continued play, especially for things like precursor-induced crises (which should also be optional).
Part of this is for a more immersive roleplay experience, my Derthean dominated empire is going to feel just a little out of place bombing everyone into submission. IRL governments usually do at least try to negotiate things before going to war. Part of it is just making things more interesting. I was totally thrilled to see the AI start making it's own Federation for me to join in Stellaris before I could even get one off the ground. I had to consider my strategies when I had a long-time ally in Civ 6 ask me to declare war on the 3rd party with them. In MOO:CtS, selecting my level of alliance with other polities is also strategic, as they will often get put-off by my getting buddy-buddy with their enemies or default rivals. Although not
being able to just ask them to make nice with their neighbors did become annoying in some cases.
So one thing that is actually something that bugs me about strategy game diplomacy in general is the difficulty in trading planets (or cities in Civ-type games). Even when it would make perfect sense to do so.
This can be especially true in space strategy games like this where there are species form incompatible planet types, and you can both trade mutually "bad" planets that would be a net gain for both parties. This is even more true in Free Orion where you have species from very
incompatible planet types regularly, or alternately strategically valuable native species. Or even just a couple of hundred planets under your control at once. Also to reduce border tension, IE: both parties have remote colonies and I've gotten the "don't enter my territory" message, and really all this border tension could go away by trading a couple of cities or planets. I mean I can usually offer cities or planets, but I can almost never get them to accept anything for one of theirs. Planet trading is something I'd defiantly want and definitely want to be easier to do than in other games.
Basically if I am offering you a huge planet of your preferred type, or a colony of Mu Ursh you, and hence the AI, should not only probably say yes and also be willing to give up one of your own. Especially if it's hostile or has a species that really isn't that great for you. Even more true with gas giant species possibly being on the board, as those are strait-up uninhabitable to everyone else. Yeah you can use them for generators or the artificial planet, but that's about it.
Krikkitone wrote:#1 should be "gamable"
Me the other empire (and 3rd parties) can all put points into boosting/decreasing our relationship
Once it is high enough I can get a research/trade/supply access agreement (that benefits me but doesn't really affect them) without consulting the other empire (and vice versa)
??? I am not 100% certain what you are describing here? A sort of unilateral influence-point treaty mechanic that would bypass actual negotiation? I know as a player I could come to find that particularly annoying. Especially if my relationship with one party affected my relationship with a 3rd party. And again it just becomes a simple game of throwing influence brute-force style at opponents, with little to no actual strategy. It's just whoever has the most influence to throw around wins.
I'm not opposed to a partial influence-based cost mechanic, so that you have to have "enough" influence to get the progressively better arrangements, like longer lasting trade treaties, or closer types of alliance. But even that has a number of possible ways to be implemented. Your empire could have a legislature that might be what randomly might "block" an otherwise favorable treaty. Maybe you both have to build a certain number of embassies in for each other to increase you relationship. Maybe "first contact" takes several steps, that each involve an influence project, starting with basic information exchange, and learning things like language, psychology and culture of the other empire before you can go further.
However two things.
- Projects should be able to fail, without the need for some (possibly over-complicated) 3rd party intrigue.
- You should have final yes/no power over your own diplomatic state with another player.
Krikkitone wrote:#2 should not be gamable... instead any exchange done would affect happiness on your worlds based on the diplomacy (ie you can make+accept any deals you and the other player agree to... but if it is lopsided it can make your populations happy/unhappy) [my people are happy if I give gifts to friends, and unhappy if I give gifts to enemies... they are happy when enemies give gifts to me]
So by increasing relationship I
1. can get bonuses (that might take points to maintain)
2. make it more likely that Any player (human or AI) I have a high relationship with will want to be peaceful and give me gifts
This sounds like at the least it might be a road to get the AI and human players to at least behave similarly in that they have to take into account happiness and influence "costs" or "bonuses" to diplomatic statuses. I however don't like a sort of general "reputation" or "likability" that can just be increased by spending points. I'm not completely opposed, but it shouldn't be able to impact your diplomatic relationships so much that it can be a proxy for actually having proper exchanges with them.
IE: I'm spending influence on a project to get the Cray to have a higher opinion of me, but I already have a trade deal with George and I don't have an alliance with either yet. Having the trade deal with George should make them much more likely to want to be my ally, than me just beaming propaganda (or whatever the project actually
is) to the Cray. Maybe it could go the other way, but my expectation
should be that the Etty will accept my alliance offer and the Cray will turn it down. That way I have incentive to actually work on my relationship with the Cray. Maybe the Cary want a trade deal too? Maybe they don't want a trade deal, maybe they want something else: Maybe they want me to open my borders? Maybe they want tech? Maybe they have a war with the Thrith they want me to join them it? Maybe they want me to improve my diplomatic relationship with the Etty? All of that is far more strategic than just throwing
influence at the problem until it goes away.
Krikkitone wrote:On the other hand If I work to decrease the relationship (which would also take points)
1. They will be denied benefits (making them weaker compared to me)
2. My people will be less unhappy/more happy when we are at war
Diplomatic mechanics should probably be a two-way street in a lot of cases. IE: most of the time what hurts them, also hurts you, and what helps you also helps them. That way there is a mechanical incentive for both parties to use it, not just a particular human player who doesn't want to build fleets of ships, or wants to boost their economy through trade deals. The way I like to think of it is your embassy should be the carrot and your fleetyard should be the stick.
Population happiness and opinion is something we are going to have to consider, however, I'm of the opinion it should be ephemeral. IE: impacts on it should largely be temporary (even if temporary is 100 turns) and not permanent. I think that makes it simpler to deal with. It allows potential early-game f*ck-ups to be overcome.
It also lets us continue to be vague as to the time-frame and time-span of FO. So if something happened 20 turns ago, is that 20 years? 200 years? 20 months? Who knows. It doesn't have to be relevant to the mechanic. Different species can maybe be assigned different happiness growth rates or severities of penalties and bonuses to give them different feels.
Krikkitone wrote:Maintaining a high relationship should take continuous work (spending points form both sides to try and improve the relationship.. ie it decays toward 0)... war would make it easier to decrease the relationship and harder to increase it, ongoing peace agreements would make it easier to increase and harder to decrease.
I'm currently of two minds on how influence and diplomatic relationship should interact. On the one had having all your relationships cost influence makes sense, on the other having the right kind of relationship be a source of influence for your own use also makes sense. IE: if you are going for the diplomatic victory, it might make sense to have the permanent alliance (or some diplomatic precursor to it) be an influence well that allow players to spend more outside the alliance for that last victory push also makes gameplay sense. Especially if your getting to a point in the game where getting more planets or population is less feasible. Although maybe this would be a way/reason to encourage planet trading within the alliance so that everyone can maintain high enough influence production?
Krikkitone wrote:This allows species with better+worse diplomacy picks, and a diplomacy that affects humans and AIs equally
(going to war against someone that you have a better relationship with has higher costs, but if it is the right choice based on military and the game situation any player can do it, and an AI could be programmed to do it... and the AI could decide to work and helping relationships with some players and hurting/ignoring relationships with other players)
Finally by offering a "unification/permanent alliance" that requires both players to agree (and invest significantly) you can allow an alternative to conquering someone you Do have a good relationship with. (so that the game playing players and AI can 'conquer' each other in a peaceful way that fits with the role playing)
My vision for the permanent alliance is that it would have a shared production, research and maybe influence pool. Weather that's a stockpile or shared supply or what I don't know what would be easier. Just having the alliance should offer you a genuine gameplay improving benefit that would allow the players to compete collectively against other players they might not be able to compete against individually. An otherwise weak, but good influence species shouldn't be intimidating for a good conquerer nearby, but a group of them should be very scary for them.
I don't know about shared territory, but maybe in outpost only systems? There has been discussion of a partial ownership with the influence mechanic, so maybe a non-competitive form of that? This might be another reason to make the alliance require a minimum of 3 members, they can all "vote" or changing planet focus or production?
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