Terraforming and different species

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Wolverine
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Terraforming and different species

#1 Post by Wolverine »

I have few ideas about how terraforming should look like in FO. Suppose we have different races in the game. Humans for example prefer Terran environments. It gives them more output to production/farming and suits them best. Let's assume we have aquatic race. Oceans suits them best and maximises their production/farming. Silicoid race would certainly prefer barren, because it's full of rock and maximises their output. Machine or cybernetic race would prefer barren/terran or any planet that doesn't have too much radiation, liquids, humidity (you know, electronic components are not very resistant to such things). It would therefore maximise their production. Some xenomorphs would prefer toxic environments. You get the idea I hope.

Taking this into account I think terraforming for each particular race should be entirely different. For example Humans would terraform the planet to Terran state. But aquatic race should terraform the planet to Ocean state. Of course it could use also Terran planet, but it would only allow them to populate it with 70%. Silicoid terraforms to Barren. Xenomorphs to Toxic. Bird-like to Jungle/Swamp. Cybernetic/machine to artificial/metallic.

Terraforming in Moo2 didn't reflect the race preferences. In the end game you would end up with Terran/Gaias. This is flawed IMHO. Each race should view terraforming as very different from other races. Human empire could consist mainly of Terran planets, but Silicoid empire mainly of Barren. You get the point. This makes things more interesting. That way some planets that are viewed by race A as not very interesting or inhabitable and therefore secondary or tertiary targets of colonisation, could be viewed as primary targets for colonisation by race B.

Taking into account two extremes: Humans and Xenomorphs. In a late game we have two large competing empires that has terraformed most of their planets to suit their needs. Humans terraformed to Terran and Xenomorphs to Toxic. Humans see planets in Xenomorphs empire as not very valuable to them, because they are mostly uninhabitable and toxic. And vice versa. Xenomorphs see Human empire planets are mostly uninhabitable because of their "toxicity" to them. Xenomorphs could feed on toxic biomass, while Humans feed on normal biomass. While Humans see Xenomorph food as toxic to them, the same is for Xenomorphs views on Human food. It's simply toxic to them. You get the idea.

The only planets that would be of particular interest in other empires are those with high mineral resources. Because I assume most races would depend on mineral harvesting to build their infrastructure and fleets. So let's suppose that Xenomorphs see that planet X in Human empire is very rich in mineral resources. However it's Terran type therefore after invading it must be provided with xenomorphic food from their Toxic type farming planets. After some time this planet could be "terraformed" to Toxic type to self-provide food for Xenomorphs.

The same goes for other races. I think the idea of terraforming should be done that way.

What do you think?
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Terraforming and different species

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Wolverine wrote:What do you think?
My general reaction is "... yeah... ok...".

Most of what you suggest has been discussed at length in the forums or is already in the requirements document. Discussion has been had about implementation details...

viewtopic.php?t=887&highlight=terraforming

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utilae
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Re: Terraforming and different species

#3 Post by utilae »

Wolverine wrote: Silicoid race would certainly prefer barren, because it's full of rock and maximises their output.
Well, I think a terran planet could have just as good minerals as a barren planet. I see no reason why a barren planet would have more. The only reason I could see as to why a sillicoid would want a barren planet over a terran, is because on a barren planet there are no trees and mountains, so there is room to grow massive fields of crystals, which turn to sillicoids.
Wolverine wrote: Machine or cybernetic race would prefer barren/terran or any planet that doesn't have too much radiation, liquids, humidity (you know, electronic components are not very resistant to such things). It would therefore maximise their production.
I somehow doubt that a machine race (eg replicators) would consist of wires and circuit boards like humans are familiar with. So machines will not be as week as we think. A true machine race will have evolved far beyond such a weakness as wires and circuit boards. Though I could see it as an machine race pick that could be wires and circuits and then a more expensive pick where your race is more evolved and now immune to emp.
Wolverine wrote: Some xenomorphs would prefer toxic environments. You get the idea I hope.
What are xenomorphs and why would they prefer toxic environments?
Wolverine wrote: Cybernetic/machine to artificial/metallic.
That's something we need, a machine type world covered in metal like in transformers (really it's a city, but the entire world is metal, even the inside). I also see no reason why a machine race could not colonise a terran planet and make it into a barren planet with the blast of some orbital laser cannons.
Wolverine wrote: The only planets that would be of particular interest in other empires are those with high mineral resources. Because I assume most races would depend on mineral harvesting to build their infrastructure and fleets.
A planet type race may not need minerals so much to grow their organic ships, but then I guess they need water, sunlight and minerals (vitaman a, b, etc, not iron ore, etc)

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Re: Terraforming and different species

#4 Post by Wolverine »

utilae wrote: Well, I think a terran planet could have just as good minerals as a barren planet. I see no reason why a barren planet would have more. The only reason I could see as to why a sillicoid would want a barren planet over a terran, is because on a barren planet there are no trees and mountains, so there is room to grow massive fields of crystals, which turn to sillicoids.
Terran planets mainly consist of water (Earth 70%). I assume that Silicoids built up of silica are somehow impacted by erosion (but possibly I'm wrong). That's why they shouldn't tolerate water so much. And if they do resources below the ocean are not easily accessible to them. That's why I think barren and/or arid planets are much better for them.
utilae wrote: I somehow doubt that a machine race (eg replicators) would consist of wires and circuit boards like humans are familiar with. So machines will not be as week as we think. A true machine race will have evolved far beyond such a weakness as wires and circuit boards. Though I could see it as an machine race pick that could be wires and circuits and then a more expensive pick where your race is more evolved and now immune to emp.
Let's assume that machine race is somehow Terminator type AI controlled robots race (in it's early developement). Perhaps even other races with development of quantum supercomputing technologies could transform on their way from biological race to machine race. That's called consciousness transformation from biological carrier to quantum carrier. Perhaps it will even happen to us Humans within next hundred years if we choose to do so. But still mechanical/machine race depends on electricity. They are primarily built of metal alloys. Liquids, metal and electricity just doesn't do well. Also humidity and temperature is a significant impact on this race, because it must be cooled somehow and humidity could expose shorts. I'm not getting here into evolution of this race, but surely it would impact this race on the beginning of their evolution.
utilae wrote: What are xenomorphs and why would they prefer toxic environments?
My idea of xenomorphs is somehow a wacky variation of Alien-like beings, that have toxic blood, they feed with toxic food and live in a toxic world. It was just a fast idea to illustrate what I meant with different terraforming options and per race planet environment preferences.
utilae wrote: That's something we need, a machine type world covered in metal like in transformers (really it's a city, but the entire world is metal, even the inside). I also see no reason why a machine race could not colonise a terran planet and make it into a barren planet with the blast of some orbital laser cannons.
The name "Transformers" really gives me bad taste of anime-like cartoon-based race. No offence, but I don't like anime. It makes me sick. However I didn't read about this race on these forums, so I wouldn't speak about them.
utilae wrote: A planet type race may not need minerals so much to grow their organic ships, but then I guess they need water, sunlight and minerals (vitaman a, b, etc, not iron ore, etc)
Of course. But exception only proves the rule. I assume that most races are mineral-centered.
The emperor wants to control outer space. Yoda wants to control inner space. That's the fundamental difference between the good and the bad sides of the force... - Mof, Human Traffic ;)

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Re: Terraforming and different species

#5 Post by utilae »

Wolverine wrote: The name "Transformers" really gives me bad taste of anime-like cartoon-based race. No offence, but I don't like anime. It makes me sick. However I didn't read about this race on these forums, so I wouldn't speak about them.
I was just using the planet cybertron from the cartoon transformers as an example. There has been no discussion of a transformer race on these forums, though there have been discussions of a machine race, but little.

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#6 Post by skdiw »

you want to consider gameplay first then consider realism. While it's realistic to assume each race prefer different environment, but whether that makes a better game than having all ideal environment be gaia for all race is debatable, and that should what arguements should focus on. There are advantages and disadvantages to each design.
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#7 Post by Yeeha »

I dunno how it will affect complexity of the game but realism makes turning the tide of the war not so easy which is great. If player 1 looses one of best planets to enemy then its great loss but if that planet is also best for conqueror this means conqueror will get more advantage than crushing enemy and destroying enemy economy, conqueror gets massive economy boost. So imho realistic is also good to gameplay.

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#8 Post by utilae »

I think if one race liked terran worlds, another liked toxic worlds and another liked barren worlds it could all be summed up for the player by showing in green, yellow or red, how suitable the planet is.

eg
If your race are humans and like terran planets, and colonises terran, it would show green.

For barren it would show yellow.

For toxic it would show red.

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#9 Post by Wolverine »

This is great idea, however it should be obvious in terms of GUI. Because color indicators can be confusing for newbies. I don't have currently idea how it should be done in terms of usability/clarity, but it's certainly good idea.
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Geoff the Medio
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#10 Post by Geoff the Medio »

It's possible, at this point, that a player might have access to more than one race of potential colonists during a game... In such a situation, it would be neccessary to indicate the particular race for which a planet's quality or qualities applies, or to indicate the qualities for all relevant races, or show the information in a way that makes it easy to comprehend how it applies to the various races the player might be dealing with.

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#11 Post by utilae »

Geoff the Medio wrote:It's possible, at this point, that a player might have access to more than one race of potential colonists during a game... In such a situation, it would be neccessary to indicate the particular race for which a planet's quality or qualities applies, or to indicate the qualities for all relevant races, or show the information in a way that makes it easy to comprehend how it applies to the various races the player might be dealing with.
Let's play this out to see how this would work.

The Psilons live on a planet that to them is green. This planet is red for sillicoids. Let's now say that the sillicoids invade the planet and keep some Psilons alive. The planet is still gonna be green for the Psilons and red for the sillicoids until the planet is terraformed. So, now the sillicoids terraform the planet (I'm sure they don't care how terraforming will affect the Psilons). The planet becomes green for the sillicoids and red for the Psilons.

The obvious issue here is the planet is red for the Psilons and green for the sillicoids. I think that its ok to do this under the hood, so the user doesn't see. The race that owns the planet (the sillicoids in this case) are the only ones that have the planet shown as green to them. There can be some kind of button that brings up more detailed information about other races on the planet (eg red for Psilons). Since the player will only care about the race that owns the planet, any other information is not necesary to show.

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#12 Post by Geoff the Medio »

You're assuming that the player only cares about his/her starting race. This is not necessarily going to be the case. If you have access to two different races with different advantages and disadvantages, wouldn't you want to make use of them in such a way as to optimize the use of the planets you have available to settle? And: a race doesn't own a planet... an empire does. Empires will probably have several different races in them.

Also, the quality of environment isn't so critical for planets that have already settled. It's more an issue for planets that the player is deciding whether and with which race to settle. If the player has a Psilon colony ship and a Sillicoid colony ship both available, they'd probably want to put down those ships on planets which will be well suited for the races on the ships. And if the player has planets with Sillicoids and other planets with Psilons, and uncolonized planets well suited to one or the other of those races, they'd probly want to colonize the planets with the race best suited to them.

Also also, terraforming probably won't be fast or cheap. It might be generally easier and more efficient / productive to have several different races available to selectively colonize any planets to better suit their environments without having to terraform so much.

That said, there might be reasons to terraform rather than go mulit-racial... like social effects or inter-racial problems that some governments / races might have that would make having a uniform population better. Races other than the founding race of an empire might also be more prone to espionage or cultural attacks, or less happy under alien rule (though they might also be perfectly happy in some cases...)

Hopefully, depending on social choices made by players, and other factors, the choice of whether to have many races in an empire or keep it uniform will be a difficult choice due to benefits and detriments to either option.

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#13 Post by utilae »

Geoff the Medio wrote: You're assuming that the player only cares about his/her starting race. This is not necessarily going to be the case. If you have access to two different races with different advantages and disadvantages, wouldn't you want to make use of them in such a way as to optimize the use of the planets you have available to settle?
This is called micromanagement though isn't it. It would be simpler to just do what Moo2 does. Under the hood moo2 takes the assimilated races stats into account, but as the player you don't really care whether they are a psilon or sakkra.

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Moo2 does

#14 Post by guiguibaah »

- True, although Moo2 sets "terran" environments as optimal for all races.

- If micromanagement is a concern, you could try this approach: Different racial populations give different racial bonuses. IE: Psilons offer a +10 to research on the planet they are on, Sillicoids have a +5 to pollution tolerance.

The approach could be this: When you capture an enemy race, you gain a small percentage of their bonus based on their total # in your empire. So if the Psilon population is 10% compared to the rest of your empire, you get a +1 to research.

To reduce micromanagement, you would never face a penalty (IE: 90% of +5 to pollution).

. . . .

Another option would be to change the 'optimal environment'. So for a planet that has both psilon and sillicoid, the "optimal" environment would be something in between. If Psilons enjoy "Terran" and Sillicoids enjoy "Toxic" perhaps something in between would be "Swamp".
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#15 Post by Impaler »

I kind of like Goeff's idea of mixed populations still visable and accessable to the player, doing it all "under the hoo" as Utillae proposes is indeed a simpler mean but we loss many of the nuances of multi-racial empire. Without some proportional representation of a planets population their no meaningfull way to gauge the level of espionage/revolt generated by subjugated races. If they comprise 1% of the population their no going to revolt, if their 90% they almost certanly WILL revolt if unhappy. Population growth in response to terraforming is another major area that needs to be adressed, if a few Silicoid Overloards start to terraform a concored Psion planet they could easily reduce the total population by killing so many Psilons that Siliccid growth cant keep up.
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