Influence Discussion

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

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Vezzra
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Re: Influence Discussion

#91 Post by Vezzra »

Oberlus wrote: Sun May 05, 2019 9:54 pmRegarding species, since we will never be conquering a whole species, we don't need to know the allegiance to my empire of a whole species.
If, as suggested, colonies of the same species have a strong influence on each other, it might very well be important to gain at least some idea how a species as a whole thinks about my empire. So I think it would be necessary to provide the player with some sort of "average"/"summary" or something like that.

Regarding the allegiance of ship crews, having a "species opinion" of my empire is even more important, unless you want to somehow have to keep track of the opinion of each of your ships.

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Re: Influence Discussion

#92 Post by Vezzra »

Krikkitone wrote: Mon May 06, 2019 12:12 pmThis indicates we may want some type of separate Security ranking (so opinion can go down, but rebellions don't happen...ie Brutal repression would be -30 Opinion and +40 Security...Opinion would stay over time, Security would only apply while you owned the world, and could easily be disrupted-ie Security could go to 0 if combat actually broke out on the colony..ie once a rebellion starts it gets big fast)
Stellaris has "Stability" for that, and I like that concept a bit more (IMO more general than "Security"). But basically the same idea: you can get high "stability" either by making the population like you, or by employing more aggressive/oppressive methods to ensure your subjects cooperation.

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Re: Influence Discussion

#93 Post by labgnome »

Vezzra wrote: Sun May 12, 2019 3:20 pm
Krikkitone wrote: Mon May 06, 2019 12:12 pmThis indicates we may want some type of separate Security ranking (so opinion can go down, but rebellions don't happen...ie Brutal repression would be -30 Opinion and +40 Security...Opinion would stay over time, Security would only apply while you owned the world, and could easily be disrupted-ie Security could go to 0 if combat actually broke out on the colony..ie once a rebellion starts it gets big fast)
Stellaris has "Stability" for that, and I like that concept a bit more (IMO more general than "Security"). But basically the same idea: you can get high "stability" either by making the population like you, or by employing more aggressive/oppressive methods to ensure your subjects cooperation.
So I'm not opposed to a change to "stability" per-say, but I think that the current "happiness" mechanic might work well enough. I am a bit concerned as to how this might interact with some of the other concepts being discussed like the influence projects and species values. IE: is saying something effects happiness (which we've been using) functionally the same as saying it effects stability, and will this sort of change-over make sense with respect to these things. I generally don't want an excessive number of meters to keep track of. Maybe the number of troops on a planet could function as the "security" meter, without needing a new meter. Maybe we could have influence projects that could boost the number of troops on a specific planet?

Mind you we can just call it whatever we like, "realism" or even "intuitiveness" be darned so long as it's not complete nonsense and we provide adequate explanation in the 'pedia.
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Re: Influence Discussion

#94 Post by labgnome »

Given emerging consensus on things like species opinion and stability I will be re-working some of my ideas around influence projects. Namely I am thinking of calling them "Special Projects" SP, or just "Projects", so the projects aren't confused with Influence Points IP. Also I may be making a 4th category of Special Project called "Civic Projects", that will be an "other" category for special projects that don't fit nicely into Espionage, Terror or Propaganda. The classification system I envision is as follows...
  • Espionage Projects: for gaining information, hiding and stealing things. Revealing production, research and influence queues, reveling fleet and planet locations. Stealing technology & capturing outposts. Declaring fleets or planets top-secret, & hiding them from being revealed through foreign espionage.
  • Terror Projects: for destroying things, and stability at the expanse of opinion. Destroying buildings, populations and fleets
  • Propaganda Projects: for influencing opinion, stability & gaining new species. Peaceful acquisition of native planets. Raising a species, or group of species opinion of your empire, or lowering it of a foreign empire. Raising stability of a planet in your empire. Lowering the stability of a planet, or multiple planets in another empire.
  • Civic Projects: other influence projects. Making new colonies from outposts. Moving the imperial palace & building or moving sector capitols. Trade missions (stockpile transfers), gifting fleets or planets to foreign empires.
A full list will be upcoming shortly assuming that the Opinion and Stability topic doesn't see anymore activity. I am hoping this will be a foundation for influence-based Special Projects in Free Orion.
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Re: Influence Discussion

#95 Post by labgnome »

Espionage Projects
Espionage projects are all about information and stealing. I flipped them names of the probe and investigation projects as they made a bit more sense to me the other way around.
ProjectTurnsRepeatingDirectionTargetEffect
InfiltrationMultipleNoExternalEmpirereveals planets
ReconnaissanceMultipleNoExternalEmpirereveals fleets
ProbeMultiple - distance basedNoExternalPlanetreveals buildings
*Covert Research OpsSingleYesExternalEmpirereveals research queue
*Covert Production OpsSingleYesExternalEmpirereveals production queue
*Covert Influence OpsSingleYesExternalEmpirereveals influence queue
InvestigationMultipleNoInternalPlanetreveals active foreign influence projects
*Steal TechnologyMultipleNoExternalEmpiregives technology
Co-opt OutpostMultiple - distance basedNoExternalPlanet - Outpostgives outpost
**Pirate StockpileSingleNoExternalEmpiretransfers from target stockpile to your own
Top-Secret PlanetSingleYesInternalPlanethides planet from infiltration
Top-Secret FleetSingleYesInternalFleethides fleet from reconnaissance
Counter Espionage MissionSingleYesInternalPlanetcounters all espionage projects
*Counter Espionage OperationSingleYesInternalForeign Empirecounters espionage projects by empire
*requires technology
-Covert Operations
-Mass Operations

**requires policy
-Privateering

Terror Projects
Terror projects are all about destruction, killing and suppression.
ProjectTurnsRepeatingDirectionTargetEffect
Building DestructionMultiple - distance basedNoExternalTargetdestroys building
Fleet DestructionMultiple - distance basedNoExternalTargetdestroys fleet
*(Metabolism) Mass-DestructionMultiple - distance basedYesExternalPlanetreduces population
Sabotage ResearchSingleYesExternalPlanetmajor reduction in research output
Sabotage ProductionSingleYesExternalPlanetmajor reduction in production output
Sabotage InfluenceSingleYesExternalPlanetmajor reduction in influence output
**Disrupt ResearchSingleYesExternalEmpireminor reduction in research output
**Disrupt ProductionSingleYesExternalEmpireminor reduction in production output
**Disrupt InfluenceSingleYesExternalEmpireminor reduction in influence output
Suppress DissentSingleYesInternalPlanetincreases stability & reduces opinion
*Suppress (Species) Mass-DissentSingleYesInternalSpeciesincreases stability & reduces opinion
Shock-TroopsSingleYesInternalPlanetflat bonus to troops
(Species) InquisitionMultipleNoInternalSpeciesreveals all foreign influence projects & reduces opinion
Counter Terror MissionSingleYesInternalPlanetcounters all foreign terror projects
**Counter Terror OperationSingleYesInternalEmpirecounters all foreign terror projects
*requires policy
-Mass Destruction: also requires terror building.
-Targeted Suppression
-Mass Operations

**requires technology
-Societal Disruption

Propaganda Projects
Propaganda projects are about influencing opinion and expanding your influence.
ProjectTurnsRepeatingDirectionTargetEffect
*Moderate Technological UpliftMultipleNoExternalNative Planetapplies moderate-tech natives special & increases opinion
*Advanced Technological UpliftMultipleNoExternalNative Planet - Moderate Techapplies high-tech natives special & increases opinion
Recruitment DriveSingleYesInternalPlanetpop-based bonus to troops
(Species) Mass-Recruitment DriveSingleYesInternalSpeciespop-based bonus to troops
Support DissentSingleYesExternalPlanetreduces stability
*Support (Species) Mass-DissentSingleYesExternalSpeciesreduces stability
*Foreign EmbassySingleYesExternalEmpireincreases opinion
*Foreign ConsulateSingleYesExternalEmpireincreases stability
**Covert MarketingSingleYesExternalWarring Empiredecreases stability & increases opinion
**Promotional MarketingSingleYesExternalNeutral Empiredecreases stability & increases opinion
**Subversive MarketingSingleYesExternalAllied Empiredecreases stability & increases opinion
Support (Value) ValuesSingleYesInternalSpecies (with Value)increases opinion of empire
**Conserve (Environment) EnvironmentSingleYesInternalSpecies (with Environmental Preference)increases opinion of empire
**Encourage (Metabolism) SupremacySingleYesInternalSpecies (with Metabolism)increases opinion of empire
**Promote (Species) SupremacySingleYesDirectionSpeciesEffect
Counter Propaganda MissionSingleYesInternalPlanetcounters propaganda projects
*Counter Propaganda OperationSingleYesInternalForeign Empirecounters propaganda projects
*requires technology
-Advanced Technological Education
-Transcendent Technological Education
-Translinguistic Thought
-Translinguistic Diplomacy
-Mass Operations

**requires policy
-Cultural Marketing
-Conservation
-Cultural Supremacy

Civic Projects
Civic projects are all other influence projects. They are primarily about peaceful expansion and diplomacy. There are no counter civic projects.
ProjectTurnsRepeatingDirectionTargetEffect
Primitive Diplomatic MissionMultipleNoExternalNative Planetbrings planet into empire
Standard Diplomatic MissionMultipleNoExternalNative Planet - Moderate Techbrings planet into empire
Advanced Diplomatic MissionMultipleNoExternalNative Planet - High Techbrings planet into empire
Support (Species) ColonyMultipleNoInternalPlanet (Outpost)creates new colony of selected species
Move Imperial PalaceMultipleNoInternalPlanet (Colony)re-locates imperial palace
Trade MissionMultiple - distance basedNoExternalNeutral Empiretransfers from your stockpile to neutral empire's
Allied Trade MissionMultiple - distance basedNoExternalAllied Empiretransfers from your stockpile to allied empire's
Share Research DataSingleYesExternalAllied Empireallows allied empire to see research queue
Share Production DataSingleYesExternalAllied Empireallows allied empire to see production queue
Share Influence DataSingleYesExternalAllied Empireallows allied empire to see influence queue
Gift TechnologySingleNoExternalAllied Empiregives technology
Gift OutpostSingleNoExternalAllied Empiretransfers control of planet
Gift ColonySingleNoExternalAllied Empiretransfers control of planet
Gift FleetSingleNoExternalAllied Empiretransfers control of fleet
Surrender TechnologySingleNoExternalWarring Empiregives technology
Surrender OutpostSingleNoExternalWarring Empiretransfers control of planet
Surrender ColonySingleNoExternalWarring Empiretransfers control of planet
Surrender FleetSingleNoExternalWarring Empiretransfers control of fleet
Last edited by labgnome on Sun May 31, 2020 12:48 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Influence Discussion

#96 Post by Oberlus »

Great work so far, labgnome.



Maybe it is time to flesh out more parts of the related mechanics. My two cents:

How will this be handled in the GUI?

Projects targeted at own planets: clicking on the planet you already get the "building items" window, so influence projects should go here too. We have toggle/tabs to show/hide the ships or the buildings, we would have another one for the influence projects.

Projects targeted at foreign planets: clicking on the planet shows up a "project items" window alike to the "building items" window for our own planets, that lists all projects available in that planet.

Projects targeted at a (single) foreign empire: clicking on the empire name in the empires window to show the corresponding influence (and diplomatic) projects window.

Projects targeted at your own empire: I don't see in your proposal any Internal Empire project (*), so no need for this. Plus I assume this kind of projects could be all gathered under policies.

(*) You have three "Counter XXXX Operation" with direction internal and target foreign empire. Make them target "own empire" so that you don't have to initiate one of each project for each foreign empire (less micro, same results). Or just make this policies.


Specific comments on your proposal:
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 am Covert Research Ops: reveals research queue
Covert Production Ops: reveals production queue
Covert Influence Ops: reveals influence queue
Three projects for very similar actions. IMO too much detail, that will lead to too much micro and more vertical scrolling when looking for projects. Make it just "Colony investigation" or something, that reveals everything being done in that colony.
GUI implementation: you click on the planet and you see the same windows that you could see if it was your own planet, with actions greyed out.
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 amProbe, reveals buildings
I love this one. It is so space (opera or not)...
Maybe this one could be a early game version of the previous ones: the probe implies a machine that goes to the planet to take pictures and the such, it could be countered by "shoot down that tiny UFO, please". The covert ops would imply an actual spy, that could get into the planet as a foreign trader or whatever. To take him down you need population surveillance policies and counterespionage, instead of radars and planetary defences. So the counters could be different, harder for the cover ops.
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 amInvestigation, target planet, reveals active foreign influence projects
With hundreds of planets, if I have to start one of this projects on every planet I have, I better go play Startcraft. Make it empire wide. Maybe a policy.
GUI implementation: you get sitreps informing of the planets under effect of foreign influence projects.
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 am *Steal Technology Turns Repeating External Target Effect
Co-opt Outpost Multiple - distance based Repeating External Target Effect
**Pirate Stockpile Single No External Empire Effect
Specify effects and targets (are missing).
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 amTop-Secret Planet Single Yes Internal Planet hides planet from infiltration
Top-Secret Fleet Single Yes Internal Fleet hides fleet from reconnaissance
Micro everywhere.
Let's use stealth as the mechanic to hide stuff from enemies?
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 am Infiltration, targets Empire, reveals planets
So I start this project, targeted at an empire, and (while it is active or for the rest of the game?) I see all its planets in the galaxy map, am I correct? And this means I would be getting huge parts of the galaxy scouted without having to send a scout or research more detection. Hmmm...

And this was for the Espionage projects. When I get more time I'll revisit the thread and go for the others, if no one else does it sooner.


General comments:

It would be much appreciated (by anyone willing to implement any of this) if the effects are better described. Too much ambiguity right now that doesn't allow the reader to know what you have in mind without asking. We really need here procedural description. Moreover, by giving out full descriptions of the procedure you are getting into the details, imagining how would it be the gameplay, you allow yourself to spot some of the problems that I'm seeing now.

Collapsing some of the very similar projects into single ones is a good idea (less micro, less vertical scrolling looking for the specific project).

For actions that might be required to target at many planets one by one (micro alarm!) you must go for targetting empires (or any other option that does not require repetitive actions).

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Re: Influence Discussion

#97 Post by labgnome »

Oberlus wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:59 am Great work so far, labgnome.
Thanks!
Maybe it is time to flesh out more parts of the related mechanics. My two cents:
That's what I am looking forward to.
How will this be handled in the GUI?
I don't know how we will handle the GUI, but I like your ideas. I was thinking something that would look a little like the production queue.
(*) You have three "Counter XXXX Operation" with direction internal and target foreign empire. Make them target "own empire" so that you don't have to initiate one of each project for each foreign empire (less micro, same results). Or just make this policies.
If it was self-targeting I'd rather go for a policy. However the idea was that you have to pay more influence the more empires are targeting you with that type of influence project, plus you would need to know who is targeting you to target them back. You would do an investigation or launch an inquisition to find out who to target. The idea is that this would make influence projects more involved, but I can see that it might be micro-managey.

labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 am Covert Research Ops: reveals research queue
Covert Production Ops: reveals production queue
Covert Influence Ops: reveals influence queue
Three projects for very similar actions. IMO too much detail, that will lead to too much micro and more vertical scrolling when looking for projects. Make it just "Colony investigation" or something, that reveals everything being done in that colony.
GUI implementation: you click on the planet and you see the same windows that you could see if it was your own planet, with actions greyed out.
I don't think that would work for research, as that isn't done on planets, and you will need to know what they are researching to steal technology. Plus why should investigating one planet reveal all of an empire's various projects, research, production and influence? Maybe an empire-targeting general Covert-Ops project. My concern is that reveling all of that information in a single project would be too powerful.
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 amProbe, reveals buildings
I love this one. It is so space (opera or not)...
Maybe this one could be a early game version of the previous ones: the probe implies a machine that goes to the planet to take pictures and the such, it could be countered by "shoot down that tiny UFO, please". The covert ops would imply an actual spy, that could get into the planet as a foreign trader or whatever. To take him down you need population surveillance policies and counterespionage, instead of radars and planetary defences. So the counters could be different, harder for the cover ops.
I'd prefer counter-projects to be more abstract than that. You can role-play that however you like, but there should be just a counter-project for each group.
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 amInvestigation, target planet, reveals active foreign influence projects
With hundreds of planets, if I have to start one of this projects on every planet I have, I better go play Startcraft. Make it empire wide. Maybe a policy.
GUI implementation: you get sitreps informing of the planets under effect of foreign influence projects.
So it would reveal all projects effecting the planet, even empire-wide or species-wide projects. Inquisition is species-wide but reduces opinion. The idea is that while you are less likely to find everything, you don't have the problem of reduced opinion.
labgnome wrote: Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:40 am *Steal Technology Turns Repeating External Target Effect
Co-opt Outpost Multiple - distance based Repeating External Target Effect
**Pirate Stockpile Single No External Empire Effect
Specify effects and targets (are missing).
Fixed now.
Let's use stealth as the mechanic to hide stuff from enemies?
The stealth mechanic should factor in to infiltration and reconnaissance. Maybe you can't infiltrate any empire you don't have sufficient detection strength for. The same would go for reveling ships. However this still creates the issue that you might want a way to hide specific planets or fleets from enemy espionage.
It would be much appreciated (by anyone willing to implement any of this) if the effects are better described. Too much ambiguity right now that doesn't allow the reader to know what you have in mind without asking. We really need here procedural description. Moreover, by giving out full descriptions of the procedure you are getting into the details, imagining how would it be the gameplay, you allow yourself to spot some of the problems that I'm seeing now.
I mean this is part of why I am putting this out. You are going to be far better at spotting issues than I am.
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Re: Influence Discussion

#98 Post by Oberlus »

labgnome wrote: Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:08 pm
Vezzra wrote: Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:32 pm I don't recall, has this feature already been merged into master, or is development of this feature still going on in an unmerged branch? In the latter case, see above, my proposal is not to merge feature branches at this point anymore.
Geoff is actively developing on the Government branch - I can not comment on the state of it. I think you can choose policies for three kinds of policy slots, there is some influence generation, policy changing cost and maybe influence upkeep cost and some policy content. Definitely AI does not know about influence at all. So I doubt this can be release-ready in two months.
I agree. Again, see above, it's an unmerged feature branch, so I propose not to include this into 0.4.9.
As someone too inept to compile, this makes me just a little sad. I was hoping to get to actually get to see what Free Orion government would be like in the near future :(
You can try it in Linux without compiling: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11173&p=94718

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Re: Influence Discussion

#99 Post by labgnome »

Oberlus wrote: Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:22 pm
labgnome wrote: Sat Jun 29, 2019 12:08 pm
Vezzra wrote: Fri Jun 28, 2019 2:32 pm I don't recall, has this feature already been merged into master, or is development of this feature still going on in an unmerged branch? In the latter case, see above, my proposal is not to merge feature branches at this point anymore.
I agree. Again, see above, it's an unmerged feature branch, so I propose not to include this into 0.4.9.
As someone too inept to compile, this makes me just a little sad. I was hoping to get to actually get to see what Free Orion government would be like in the near future :(
You can try it in Linux without compiling: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11173&p=94718
If I still had Linux :?
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Re: Influence Discussion

#100 Post by Oberlus »

labgnome wrote: Sat Jun 29, 2019 5:17 pmIf I still had Linux :?
Oh, that's sad. Motivated enough to try and use a Live installation? (will take up no space on your machine, just a USP pendrive)
https://tutorials.ubuntu.com/tutorial/t ... -windows#0
Although there are other ways (assuming you're using Windows):
https://www.howtogeek.com/170870/5-ways ... n-windows/

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Re: Influence Discussion

#101 Post by labgnome »

From this discussion on leaders, here is an interesting idea I had about influence projects.

What if you had a definite number of influence projects you could do at a time, but could choose how much of your influence budget to allocate to them?

Basically what if you started off with 1 slot for each type of influence project, an Espionage slot, a Terror slot, a Propaganda slot and a Civic slot? You could allocate a portion of your influence budget to each area, which you could change and adjust at any time, determining ho fast they accomplished their influence projects. You could research new technologies to give you new influence project slots, one at each technology tier, so gaining 6 each over the course of the game, for a total of 7 each, and a grand total of 28 slots overall.

For the GUI I am imagining four columns each with a header for Espionage, Terror, Propaganda and Civics. Above each header is a bar with arrow buttons that allows you to adjust the amount of influence going to each area. Below each header are seven rows for the project slots. Each slot will show the target on the left hand side and a bar representing completion on the right hand side.
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Re: Influence Discussion

#102 Post by LienRag »

You've done a lot of work here, and I can't say that I understand all of it, but I have a concern that I guess everybody can share : will this be fun to play ?

I mean, just paying Influence to buy a planet is certainly not very fun. Ditto for getting an enemy's production list.

I can understand that there is some fun if one has four enemies and limited influence so he needs to decide which one he's gonna spy on, or when one has many Native planets to consider and enough influence to swerve only one towards his Empire, of course.
But as influence grows (and even if it doesn't snowball, it will grow, or it's no more a 4X game) even that will be less relevant, and anyway it's no fun at all for the victim.

I've seen that there are ways to protect against espionage via paying influence, so that means I guess that one has to pay influence to protect oneself against enemies, and that with left influence one can try to influence-attack (spying, sabotage and so on) enemies ? That makes for a very boring game mechanism imho.

I proposed one partial mechanism here and another there. In the same logic, as changing Policy Cards is supposed to cost Influence and maybe cause some uproar in the Empire, targeting influence projects at an enemy Empire at the very moment he's going to change his Policy (give or take a few turns) could be a way to generate rebellions more dire than the Emperor accounted for.

I do think that these "cloak and dagger, striking in the dark" mechanisms are very adapted to Influence play, but that doesn't mean that all Influence mechanisms have to be like those.

What they need to be is fun, which means :
  • Strategic : they need to have consequences, and impose hard choices to the player using them
  • Counterable : their targets should have a way to prevent Influence attacks, and not by putting a bigger Influence stack against the attacking Influence stack but by using their brains so that the better player gets the upper hand (cue my "betting" mechanisms)
  • Integrated : they should be of little cost/benefit interest alone but give their best results in a combined strategy with other mechanisms (it's no fun to pay Influence to buy an enemy ship, but having the enemy have a "communication jam" that makes a subset of his Fulver ships not execute move orders just the turn where you attack his now isolated main fleet can make for a great game experience imho)
I know that can weaken the AI as it won't be able to use these mechanisms correctly, but to me we only need to prevent the AI to shoot itself in the virtual foot, at least for now : the way the AI sends combat ships first and troop ships later makes ambushing the troop ships quite easy, but that's still outwitting the AI and is not always easy (one needs the ability to maneuver to do it, not all starlane topologies allow that) so succeeding is quite fun; the way the AI keeps huge piles of troop ships undefended for turns, or sometimes lets its combat ships die in a minefield without ever bringing troop ships that are nearby, are just a show of bad AI so not challenging at all.
With Influence project and before version 1.0 we only need to replicate the former behavior and forbid the later, and the game will still be fun to play.

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Re: Influence Discussion

#103 Post by labgnome »

LienRag wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 10:00 pm You've done a lot of work here, and I can't say that I understand all of it, but I have a concern that I guess everybody can share : will this be fun to play ?
I wouldn't have proposed it if I didn't think it would be enjoyable.
I mean, just paying Influence to buy a planet is certainly not very fun. Ditto for getting an enemy's production list.
I mean you pretty much just pay production to get planets right now, so I don't really see much difference. Getting someone's production queue could be very useful information.
But as influence grows (and even if it doesn't snowball, it will grow, or it's no more a 4X game) even that will be less relevant, and anyway it's no fun at all for the victim.
Your choices also become less relevant for production ans research as the game goes on as well. Also being at the receiving end of a military invasion is no fun for the victim either. Your point is moot.
I've seen that there are ways to protect against espionage via paying influence, so that means I guess that one has to pay influence to protect oneself against enemies, and that with left influence one can try to influence-attack (spying, sabotage and so on) enemies ? That makes for a very boring game mechanism imho.
RIght now you have to pay production to protect yourself and attack with what you have left over, do you consider that boring?
I proposed one partial mechanism here and another there. In the same logic, as changing Policy Cards is supposed to cost Influence and maybe cause some uproar in the Empire, targeting influence projects at an enemy Empire at the very moment he's going to change his Policy (give or take a few turns) could be a way to generate rebellions more dire than the Emperor accounted for.
You'd still have to know when someone is going to change policies for that to work and there shouldn't be a way to predict that, in my opinion.
I do think that these "cloak and dagger, striking in the dark" mechanisms are very adapted to Influence play, but that doesn't mean that all Influence mechanisms have to be like those.
Influence projects will also include propaganda and the like.
What they need to be is fun, which means :
  • Strategic : they need to have consequences, and impose hard choices to the player using them
  • Counterable : their targets should have a way to prevent Influence attacks, and not by putting a bigger Influence stack against the attacking Influence stack but by using their brains so that the better player gets the upper hand (cue my "betting" mechanisms)
  • Integrated : they should be of little cost/benefit interest alone but give their best results in a combined strategy with other mechanisms (it's no fun to pay Influence to buy an enemy ship, but having the enemy have a "communication jam" that makes a subset of his Fulver ships not execute move orders just the turn where you attack his now isolated main fleet can make for a great game experience imho)
On your first point those are already built into the proposal for the appropriate influence projects.
On your second point, play in 4X games often comes down to who can put down the bigger stack of whatever resource at the right location, I don't understand your objection.
On your third point, I fundamentally disagree. I think you should be able to play and win an influence game, just as much as you can a production or technology game.
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Re: Influence Discussion

#104 Post by LienRag »

Oh boy, do your answers fuel my fears….


labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
LienRag wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 10:00 pm You've done a lot of work here, and I can't say that I understand all of it, but I have a concern that I guess everybody can share : will this be fun to play ?
I wouldn't have proposed it if I didn't think it would be enjoyable.

Nice. That means that we can work together on making sure they actually are enjoyable for all players, not only pure mathematical-oriented ones.
I mean, that not only the planning phase is fun (I guess I can see how your mechanisms could be enjoyable to plan) but the execution phase too (and I see your proposed mechanisms seriously lacking here, maybe because the « how » isn’t developed).

labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
LienRag wrote: Sat May 30, 2020 10:00 pmI mean, just paying Influence to buy a planet is certainly not very fun.
I mean you pretty much just pay production to get planets right now, so I don't really see much difference.

No, you don’t pretty much pay Production Points for planets right now. You pay PP for Outpost ships or Colony Ships that you must bring safely to their target, which may or may not be easy depending on the circumstances. And even the part where it can be a bit boring (when both origin and destination are safely in Supply) opens to counter-strategies for opponents, who may well hide a ship with some stealth to destroy any unescorted outpost/colony ship.


labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
Ditto for getting an enemy's production list.
Getting someone's production queue could be very useful information.

I’m not saying that it’s not useful, I’m asking where is the fun in it.
If you can find a way to make it fun for all players involved, I’m all for it – but making it fun and/or challenging is the important part.


labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
But as influence grows (and even if it doesn't snowball, it will grow, or it's no more a 4X game) even that will be less relevant, and anyway it's no fun at all for the victim.
Your choices also become less relevant for production ans research as the game goes on as well.
Yes, and this is something that we are trying to fix.

labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am Also being at the receiving end of a military invasion is no fun for the victim either. Your point is moot.
That is definitely not true, at least to someone who likes challenges.
Being at the receiving end of an invasion force is definitely extremely fun if one has a fighting chance, which depends both on how he played and on what game mechanics are available – that is a reason for the emphasis on developing tactical possibilities, even if right now we basically only have force composition and stealth.
What I’m asking is that Influence mechanisms have similar « tactical possibilities » (see my three rules in the original post).

labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
I've seen that there are ways to protect against espionage via paying influence, so that means I guess that one has to pay influence to protect oneself against enemies, and that with left influence one can try to influence-attack (spying, sabotage and so on) enemies ? That makes for a very boring game mechanism imho.
Right now you have to pay production to protect yourself and attack with what you have left over, do you consider that boring?

No, you pay production to build whatever you want, including ships, which you can use either for offense or defense. Note that ground troops and planet defenses are specifically not paid by Production Points but by different mechanisms, which brings variety to the game.
Just paying defenses and hoping to outspend the enemy would be extremely boring indeed.
And it’s not a semantic difference : building ships is absolutely not the end of military operations, one has to choose which ones to build and more importantly be able to bring them to where they are needed, opening room for all types of maneuvering skills.
If you (or we collectively) can design mechanisms to make this Influence-fueled Espionage fun (for example making Espionage costly and with a cooling period – so an Empire cannot spy continuously – and counter-espionage less costly but also with a cooling period so no Empire could counter-spy continuously, imho it would be very fun to successfully counter an enemy spying attempt by timing it precisely) I’m all for it.
But not if it’s just outspending the opponent.


labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
I proposed one partial mechanism here and another there. In the same logic, as changing Policy Cards is supposed to cost Influence and maybe cause some uproar in the Empire, targeting influence projects at an enemy Empire at the very moment he's going to change his Policy (give or take a few turns) could be a way to generate rebellions more dire than the Emperor accounted for.
You'd still have to know when someone is going to change policies for that to work and there shouldn't be a way to predict that, in my opinion.

Yes obviously, and for well designed Policies it should certainly be possible for a good player to try to guess that : when scouting shows that an opponent is building an economic powerbase but that you suspect that he’ll soon start to build warships, there is a good probability that he’ll switch from some production-oriented Policy to a militaristic one sooner or later – it’s up to you to try to guess exactly when.


labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
I do think that these "cloak and dagger, striking in the dark" mechanisms are very adapted to Influence play, but that doesn't mean that all Influence mechanisms have to be like those.
Influence projects will also include propaganda and the like.

My qualm is not with the « What » but with the « How ». I just want to make sure that the mechanisms in place will create a good, interesting and original game, that’s why I offered the three rules presented in my initial post (and quoted below to answer your answers to them).


labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
What they need to be is fun, which means :
  • Strategic : they need to have consequences, and impose hard choices to the player using them
  • Counterable : their targets should have a way to prevent Influence attacks, and not by putting a bigger Influence stack against the attacking Influence stack but by using their brains so that the better player gets the upper hand (cue my "betting" mechanisms)
  • Integrated : they should be of little cost/benefit interest alone but give their best results in a combined strategy with other mechanisms (it's no fun to pay Influence to buy an enemy ship, but having the enemy have a "communication jam" that makes a subset of his Fulver ships not execute move orders just the turn where you attack his now isolated main fleet can make for a great game experience imho)
On your second point, play in 4X games often comes down to who can put down the bigger stack of whatever resource at the right location, I don't understand your objection.

Yes, that is how bad 4X games usually work – and FreeOrion is trying to steer away from that.
Obviously being able to produce en masse is an important factor, but being able to build strategically and then to use strategically what was build should be the decisive factor.


labgnome wrote: Sun May 31, 2020 3:22 am
What they need to be is fun, which means :
  • Strategic : they need to have consequences, and impose hard choices to the player using them
  • Counterable : their targets should have a way to prevent Influence attacks, and not by putting a bigger Influence stack against the attacking Influence stack but by using their brains so that the better player gets the upper hand (cue my "betting" mechanisms)
  • Integrated : they should be of little cost/benefit interest alone but give their best results in a combined strategy with other mechanisms (it's no fun to pay Influence to buy an enemy ship, but having the enemy have a "communication jam" that makes a subset of his Fulver ships not execute move orders just the turn where you attack his now isolated main fleet can make for a great game experience imho)
On your third point, I fundamentally disagree. I think you should be able to play and win an influence game, just as much as you can a production or technology game.


Well, that is the point : we don’t have a production game nor a technology game, we have a strategic game with interacting production and technology, where one can choose to rely more on one aspect or the other, but where the final test will be in defeating militarily the opponents¹.
So a game where strategic use of Influence is possible is definitely a good thing, but winning by just accumulating Influence Points and then spending them in Influence projects is not.
So again, I believe that your proposals need a clarification on how they would be implemented, because this implementation is what will decide whether they enrich the game or make it quite dull.



¹ That’s what we have right now, I’m not opposed to the addition of diplomatic victory mechanisms if they are well balanced, but anyway to win a diplomatic victory too one needs to resist any wannabe conqueror’s onslaught.

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