The Traits of a Populous

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Victarus
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The Traits of a Populous

#1 Post by Victarus »

A Brief History of the Second-Arm Civilizations wrote:There was once a civilization; let's call them the Mazqurians, if only for simplicity - translating alien tongues to our own is quite difficult, to say the least. They were a single race with only slight variations, primarily in appearance, loosely governed by a single ruler, chosen from amongst the entire population through a democratic election every twenty years, primarily due to the nation's vast size. Again, nation is a simplified term - the Mazqurians were actually an extremely loose collection of independent governments, each devoted to the good of the whole race.
The Mazqurians were an extremely peaceful race, with an economy primarily focused on the beautification of their planets through what essentially amounts to flowers. Their factories built flowerpots and greenhouses, their chemists devised new forms of fertilizers, their geneticists worked to make the colors of their flowers more vibrant... their entire economy was geared towards the flower and all its forms. Across the millions of planets were countless billions of factories and laboratories, each focused on this single item of pristine beauty.
Then a now forgotten civilization came into the picture. Their name is only known by the Mazqurian word for "Wretched", although they were by no means horrible by most standards. The Wretched were in contact with the Mazqurians for a number of years before noticing a complete lack of any military - no soldiers, no warships, and no defenses. Sensing opportunity, they attacked without warning, taking the first system within a matter of minutes, unopposed by the shocked Mazqurians.
Upon hearing this news, the Mazqurian Peacekeeper (as the head of its government was known) was outraged, which in and of itself was astounding to the Wretched - indeed, to anyone reading this text now who has met a Mazqurian it must be amazing. What was more astounding was his brutality - he ordered the Wretched diplomats executed, their families executed, and every Wretched found within Mazqurian borders executed as well.
Within months, the factories were pouring out warships and weapons, the chemical plants were creating bombs, and the geneticists were making biological weapons. The initial wave was stopped in its tracks only one short year after its beginning by the Mazqurian armada, led by a Desecrator-class battleship, and the counter-attack began. The armada didn't even bother to utilize foot soldiers, preferring to station itself at a single point relative to a populated planet's axis and glaze the surface with its weapons as it rotated, resulting in the total extinction of all life upon it within one of its days.
This continued for around four years until the Wretched were completely wiped from the universe with the final escaping colonization vessel blasted from space as it attempted to escape, their pleas for mercy answered by the blaze of a thousand warships. With their aggressors gone, the Mazqurians disbanded their weapons and turned back to their endeavors in foliage, the only trace of the Wretched being a brief mention in Mazqurian history books of "The Less Joyful Times".
Out of curiousity, will this rapid turnaround be possible in the proposed game? If not, what limitations will be put in place to avoid such rapid turnarounds in behavior? I have some ideas of my own, but I'd like to hear some others before I start to drone on endlessly.

(Not that I don't enjoy the idea of playing such a game, mind you. :D)

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Geoff the Medio
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#2 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Could you boil that down to a one or two sentence question?

And maybe read up on resource meter growth and the effects of changing focus... and be aware that you don't research technology or build shipyards and other non-abstarcted infrastructure instantly (or won't, presumably, when such are implemented)

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#3 Post by Victarus »

Ok then,
1) Will the re-gearing of aspects of a nation (factories, for instance) be quick and/or complete, or will it take time? Is each planet building a single thing and/or type of thing (MOO, Civ, GalCiv, etc.), or is there a general output that is divided amongst many things (population goods, this ship, that ship, this facility, etc.)? Is this output directly controled, or is there a more capitalistic method (ie, you have to convince the freighter factory owners to build warships)?
2) How fast can the mood/ideals/etc. of a civilization change? Can the peaceloving civilization suddenly become barbaric or the warmongers embrace peace? Will parts of the civilization continue on their past paths, rejecting the new ideals of the state? Will a single group of systems dispise an enemy enough to break from the empire the moment an alliance is forged with them? Will a diverse population in terms of thought be possible, or will every member of a race be identical in thought?

Again, I'm new and haven't had a chance to read everything, so a lot of these may be answered elsewhere. Sorry if this is the case.

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#4 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Victarus wrote:Ok then,
1) Will the re-gearing of aspects of a nation (factories, for instance) be quick and/or complete, or will it take time?
You can change a planets focus to whatever you want, whenever you want, but the planet's resource meters, which actually determine its resource output, have to grow over time. The more they have to grow, the longer it'll take, though they can be sped up by improving the construction meter.
Is each planet building a single thing and/or type of thing (MOO, Civ, GalCiv, etc.), or is there a general output that is divided amongst many things (population goods, this ship, that ship, this facility, etc.)?
I have no idea what you're asking here...
Is this output directly controled, or is there a more capitalistic method (ie, you have to convince the freighter factory owners to build warships)?
Planets generate minerals and industry, which combine to make production points (PP) which the player spends on the production screen to build stuff.
2) How fast can the mood/ideals/etc. of a civilization change? Can the peaceloving civilization suddenly become barbaric or the warmongers embrace peace? Will parts of the civilization continue on their past paths, rejecting the new ideals of the state? Will a single group of systems dispise an enemy enough to break from the empire the moment an alliance is forged with them? Will a diverse population in terms of thought be possible, or will every member of a race be identical in thought?
These have not yet been designed or implemented.

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#5 Post by Victarus »

Geoff the Medio wrote:You can change a planets focus to whatever you want, whenever you want, but the planet's resource meters, which actually determine its resource output, have to grow over time. The more they have to grow, the longer it'll take, though they can be sped up by improving the construction meter.
So you can switch from building, for example, freighters to farms to warships to research labs with no sort of penalty in between for doing very different tasks (the example in the first post being a rather extreme one)?
Is each planet building a single thing and/or type of thing (MOO, Civ, GalCiv, etc.), or is there a general output that is divided amongst many things (population goods, this ship, that ship, this facility, etc.)?
I have no idea what you're asking here...
Essentially, is there a "slot" that you fill with a unit or building, or is production a little more realistic, where a planet can build multiple things at once?
These have not yet been designed or implemented.
Yay! Something I can help with later! :D

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#6 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Victarus wrote:So you can switch from building, for example, freighters to farms to warships to research labs with no sort of penalty in between for doing very different tasks (the example in the first post being a rather extreme one)?
You should really read the requirements document... However, not knowing what you're assuming:

You don't build things at each planet in isolation. There is an empire production queue where you order buildings and ships. These are located and/or built on a planet, but the production (PP) that is used to build them is pooled empire-wide. You can stop building something and build something else whenever you want, but you'll have to start building the new thing from the start... though whatever you stopped isn't lost (as long as you leave it on the production queue in a lower-priority unfunded position) and can be resumed later.

Stuff like building farms is abstracted into planets' resource meters (farming in this case). You can have a planet set to focus on farming, meaning its farming meter gets a bonus, and build something on that planet using PP generated elsewhere in the empire without penalty.
Essentially, is there a "slot" that you fill with a unit or building, or is production a little more realistic, where a planet can build multiple things at once?
Planets don't build things, the empire does. Multiple things can be built at one location at a time.

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#7 Post by Victarus »

Sorry, finished reading the requirements document just a few seconds before you posted.

Anyways, I'd think there'd be some sort of penalty for a sudden switch in production. If you switch production from a small freighter to a massive battleship halfway through, different equipment and materials are needed, and it would take time to configure the shipyards to switch from one to the other. That's the main reason I was wondering if the switch was gradual or sudden.

As for the current method, I find it a little odd that an entire Empire's worth of production can be focused on a single planet - I'd assume the planet's shipyards/population can only build so much. Granted an abstraction could be assumed - the ship's build-location represents the deployed ship after its construction, the building can be pre-constructed parts shipped from other planets, etc. - but the possability for exploit bothers me, especially in larger empires. (Constructing a large and slow ship so it arrives in the farthest reaches of the empire faster than it could realistically go if built in any of the empire's major factories, for example.)
Of course I don't know if this can be changed or if it's already coded, so I guess I'll just have to shut my mouth for now. :P

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Re: The Traits of a Populous

#8 Post by utilae »

Victarus wrote: Out of curiousity, will this rapid turnaround be possible in the proposed game? If not, what limitations will be put in place to avoid such rapid turnarounds in behavior?
No. I think the story was not realistic anyway. The Wretched managed to take a system in a matter of minutes. Since the Mazqurians had no soldiers, no ships, no training, probably no concept of 'hurt' they would not have produced an army that could destroy an established enemy who mangaged what they did.

So, no. I think there should be a bit more than just an istant turnaround. It should take a while and involve alot of strategy and skill. For example, probably the best way to gain a turnaround should be from the help of allies or other races that have an interest in keeping you alive.

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#9 Post by Victarus »

Well obviously there was a great deal of exageration to get the point across - the primary concern was in the society, not the training and such (although that's a fairly important aspect as well). What I was really pointing out is the problem with a peaceful civilization suddenly turning into a military superpower and conquering long-established militaristic nations, as often can happen with certain playing styles. I'll admit to being guilty myself, but it's primarily because of the way these games tend to work: Science is often a direct product of industrial might (or economic, in which case replace industry with economy in the following), and industrial might grows faster if you build factories rather than armies (which require upkeep, slowing growth down further). Science is dictated by the player, so even if a single military unit has never been built, used or even seen by your empire, you can utilize the most advanced military technology in the galaxy at a moment's notice, switching your factories from building peaceful items to battleships at the drop of a hat.

The problem is threefold:
1) Science is often directed where needed - if there is no war and the society does not lean towards it, warlike technologies (or applications) tend to come more slowly.
2) Production is not so easy to switch - Factories are built for specific purposes, and switching their purpose takes time and effort.
3) A collective people that have embraced an ideal for an extended period of time (peace, in this example) are unlikely to suddenly abandon that ideal, at least as a whole and without resistance.


Of course, if something along the above story happened, it is possible a fight would take place and the fight would not be an easy one to win for the agressors, possibly resulting in a stalemate or loss in the long run - I'm just saying that the complete turnaround that is possible under almost every 4x game should be limited by the above three factors realistically and that we should at least attempt to do so.

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#10 Post by Geoff the Medio »

viewtopic.php?t=638

However, gameplay arguments can probably be made. So:

Some sort of crew experience modifier could be applied, per ship for the empire as a whole, making switching to fighting battles with ships suddenly less effective than fighting for the whole game.

Some sort of passifism property of a population could be applied, such that recruiting crews for ships requires lots of trade (representing social influence and money), and having ships away fighting battles or their crews killed results in large happiness penalties and resulting drops in resource output.

You could have to develop a prototype of a new ship design before building it, and have the cost per ship decrease over time so that making a small fleet of newly designed ships is much more expensive per ship than making a huge fleet of old proven designs.

You could have to build and upgrade shipyard components in order to build ships. The shipyard components could require maintenence, which would make it less likely that a non warlike empire would keep a bunch around just incase.

Researching some of the techs for building ships could require, or be enhansed by, having built lots of ships or having fought lots of battles. Alternatively, the techs could be always availalbe, but producing buildings that those techs unlock (nominally) might also require having fought so many battles or a certain level of empire crew experience. Alternatively, a "weaponry lab" of some sort might reduce the per turn cost of or total research time of some ships-related techs, or unlock certain techs, but itself only be available after certain war-related conditions are met.

Some war-related techs, buildings or ship components might require strategic resources that a non-warlike empire wasn't previously focused on securing or developing.

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#11 Post by Victarus »

Gameplay's all I'm after - as it is, there is a near-ultimate strategy of "avoid war until the end, when you're twice as big as everyone else, and then bury them". The only military you really need is a one that will prevent you from being attacked, and it will never see any action anyways, which results in the peaceful race suddenly becoming the conquerors.


Anyways, maybe there should be some sort of "war value" per empire, essentially a number that keeps track of how advanced they can get in military sciences and training. It goes up over time on its own based on the society of the empire, but increases faster as battles are fought (win or lose) or observed. It would essentially serve as a limiter to military tech speed, never boosting it but slowing it down if the empire is too peaceful.

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#12 Post by Impaler »

I think Utilae had some proposals along a similar line of though for the Experience level of troops, the most elite highly trained troops/ship crews could be produced only in the heat of battle. This seems a bit more natural and fair then a rather arbitary number saying "you cant invent stellar converters cause your at peace". In the spirit of bonuses rather then penalties we could give a bost to different catagories of research (military vs civilian) when a n empire is in a state of war or peace. As you mentioned actual combat itself could generate research points greatly insentivating thouse war like empires to use their war machine.
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

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#13 Post by Geoff the Medio »

I'm not sure whether this is duplicating what Impaler was talking about, but we shouldn't forget about ground troops while talking about ship crew experience.

A big plot point in Dune is how great the Sardaukar and Fremen are as ground fighters, due to the harsh conditions in which they live. So in FreeOrion, we could have an empire of entirely happy peaceful people have really bad ground troops. In order to have good ground troops, you'd need some harsh / unhappy worlds producing troops.

Exactly how to relate having harsh worlds and good troops I'm not sure... we probably shouldn't be rating individual troop units' experience levels or other properties, though I suppose we could list how many of each type of ground troops the player has at each of three or five experience levels, where troops coming off of harsh worlds start at highly experienced...

How this relates specifically to preventing empires from sudden drastic changes between pacifistic and agressive is also not so clear... Maybe worlds that have recently been invaded also produce good ground troops, in addition to giving experience to the ground troop units that actually fought in the invasion.

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#14 Post by Magus »

The problem with that idea from Dune is that they are excellent ground-fighters mainly because ground combat involves knife-fights. If your soldiers are flying around in anti-grav powered armor with plasma cannon, multilasers, and micro-nukes in their personal arsenal, how you grew up is less likely to have an effect.

I think a better world-by-world basis would be like Cadia in the Warhammer 40k Universe. Cadia is on the edge of the Eye of Terror, the home of Chaos, and as such is invaded constantly. Something like 80% of the Cadian population is in the Imperial Guard(army), and Cadian regiments are known as the elite.

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#15 Post by Triplelk »

I can definitely appreciate where Victarus is coming from on this issue. In most empire building games, from Moo to Total War, the "ultimate strategy" listed above is often the most effective.

I think the core of the problem in these games (if it is a problem) is this: The technology and infastructure that an Empire needs to wage a rapid and mercilous war of conquest durring the end-game, is most easily developed durring peace time. Money spent on trade or research generally yeilds a bigger pay off in the long run than money spent on occupations and standing armies. I'm not sure how true the paradigm holds in the real world, but in most 4X games the strat is pretty ubiquitous.

Some games get around the issue by just building the warfare component into the intitial set up... So in order to aquire resources and be a contender in the end-game, you have to kill your neighbors, take their land, use their buildings etc.

Moo is a little different in this regard. Concievably, in this game, you only need to deal with 3 of the 4Xs untill your all out battle for control off the galaxy kicks of in 3000 years. :lol:

The way things were set up in Moo1 and Moo2, the ultimate military advantages provided by reasearch and a large treasury, far outstriped the advantages of constant military production and the waging of aggressive wars. Often times expending your resources to kill one neighbor, simply allows a third to overtake you technologically or economically and thus gain the upper hand in the long run.

Of course there are always certain features of the game designed to reward agressive play. Its nice to have an armada at the ready when your opponent makes the technological breakthrough that could sink your empire. If you catch them in time you can crush the situation before it gets out of hand. Experience points for veteran fleets and commanders are also common. Still it would be interesting if there were other benefits to consistant and long term militarism. I like Geoff's suggestions

Special Tech advances, troop bonuses, or other abilites (in addition to those provided by racial type) would be cool. Perhaps certain forms of government or social organization would lose stability if wars were not waged with a certain regularity. Economies and public happiness could be positively or negatively effected depending upon the progress/outcome of specific wars. Things like that might make the situation a little more dynamic. The key is to find some way to balance the two strategies so that both remain competative throughout the course of the game.
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