The Orion Gazette

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

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General_Zaber
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The Orion Gazette

#1 Post by General_Zaber »

I just had a pretty cool idea (or at least I think so)

Just to liven up the SitRep a little (but not replace it) wouldn't it be pretty cool to have a kind of newspaper-esque screen accessible from the SitRep window containing a bunch of headlines related to events occuring within the game.

To KISS and for fun, most of the headlines would be filled with groundless speculation, and crackpot theories and half of all of them would be completely unrelated to the game. Clicking on a headline would come up with a generated article, preferably with a good dose of humor. Most of the random articles would just be templates with related words filling in the blanks. Each article would be no longer than 100 words.

Major events would always come up (unless there isn't enough room) as headlines, things such as wars, famines, evacuations, Easter Eggs and Doomsday reports (with a very light approach) of course though, the Gazette wouldn't reveal anything overly important about any empires that couldn't be discovered without spies etc. If there isn't anything interesting happening the Gazette could include some sort of Hitch-Hiker's Guide style articles about the situation in the current game.

Anyway, discuss. Is it pretty cool? Or do we have bigger things to worry about, keep in mind though in an Open-Source project we have all the time in the world!
The enemy is retreating! As always, there is no cuteness about them. Dammit

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Tortanick
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#2 Post by Tortanick »

I like it myself. I'd try to customise it a bit for each race (at least unique names for the paper), it wont make much sense for The Traders Times (Etty) to publish an article explaining that by comitting genocide your giving aliens a chance to reincarnate as an Etty, but depending on their views of the soul the Eaxaw might (btw have you spotted the reference?)

With the current number of contributors it probably wont be easy to do that much but IMO as FreeOrion becomes more playable we'll get more contributors and creative writers are common enough.

And publishing quirks for my own races:
The AEIOU will have a lot of "weird phenomina" mostly things they've found exploring but occasionally something at home. The next turn will have a scientific explanation for most of these, if they don't you can expect someone to do something really stupid (a sun with an unexplainable regular series of solar flairs! I MUST take a closer look) and get reported on a few turns later.
Occasionally someone will publish a letter that moves from there usual hero worship to actually worshiping UOIEA*, the following week will consist almost entirely of outraged responses.
The AEIOU newspaper is called The Optimistic Seeker

*Sigh, I really need better names

The Etty are probably a minor race so they won't be publishing, or rather the player wont be reading.

The Stonecarvers tend to report heavily on things that are threatening them, often its not so much speculation as wild paranoid rants, any details that are given are either: a) extremely accurate (identical to what the player will know) b) obviously made up. For example they may give an accurate list of ships at a battle, then explain that the enemy was useing a mixture of plasma cannons and weapons powered by the captain ritually sacrificing his own young to dark gods.
The name of the Stonecarver's paper randomly changes, one name should be the new frontiersman from Watchmen.

The Abbadonians get publications from Mother, she only ever reports on things that are likely to cause physical harm, she wont report on a declaration of war but she will report that bombers have been seen in a system with one of her colonies. Her articles are very short and should like announcements over a PA, E.G. "The Trith may shortly commence bombarding this planet, all citizens should carmly make there way to the nearest shelter. Have a nice day"
The Abbadonians paper is called Public Announcements.

The People are definitely a minor race so no reporting from them.

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General_Zaber
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#3 Post by General_Zaber »

I was thinking of the Gazette as more of a global publication, so that every race gets the same stories, that way it would add some variety as the stories selected would be dependant on which races are playing.

This way the Gazette can be like an alternative to spying, but less reliable as you can't influence what the paper publishes unless the game has the ability for you to influence the Gazette to base itself in your Empire (I elaborate on this below). Also I think individual publications would run out of steam much faster with stories being published over and over again (even with varying names and dates story templates would still become recognizable)

Something I'd like to add perhaps would be the existance of the Gazette's Head Office as a sort of orbital station rotating around a random star in the galaxy (preferably a star without planets) Once a player had found the Head Office they could offer the Gazette to relocate their orbital station to another star, this way the Gazette would report more stories on the Empires closest to it.

Come to think of it, this could mean that in larger galaxies it would be feasible to have multiple presses scattered about the place with players only having access to those pulished within detection distance of their Empire or the press. And although this idea would already mean a little more work, perhaps in later versions of FO players wouldbe able to found their own publication and determine what they would publish.
The enemy is retreating! As always, there is no cuteness about them. Dammit

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Krikkitone
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#4 Post by Krikkitone »

I think the "newspaper" should always be empire specific, but it would report on all empires your empire is in contact with.

forkazoo
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#5 Post by forkazoo »

If you have something like a noncombat "cultural conquest" way to capture planets by having them revolt against their current owner, convincing the Gazette to open a branch office on your worlds could have the effect of pushing more stories about your empire, and working as propaganda in your favor. The tradeoff is that events on any planets where you have got a gazette branch office become public. So, bring your shiny battle fleet to that planet, or build a brand new type of ship there, and every race you are in contact with will know about it if it makes the top five headlines for the turn. OTOH, nearby planets will be impressed to hear of your wonderous technologies, and will favor you. This might also improve your trade income with AI's.

You could build a public relations center on any planet with a gazette office, which further increases the probability of an event on that planet being mentioned by the gazette, and improves the favorability of the reports. (Major losses in a battle might be reported as a draw, or slight losses, making people think you have a better fleet than you actually do.) With a fully upgraded propaganda center, you could automatically generate completely fake stories about yourself to confuse opponents. Perhaps claim to have conquered a planet to send an opponent's fleet scrambling in the direction of it to defend against you, then attack the other side.

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General_Zaber
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#6 Post by General_Zaber »

Once again I'd have to mention that my idea was for a Global publication which means everybody reading it would be reading the same stories. So having a branch in your Empire would be a serious decision as it would expose your empire to the entire galaxy, and keep in mind that this publication would have a reputation for being objective and therefore wouldn't publish propaganda unless a player hijacked the Head Office.
The enemy is retreating! As always, there is no cuteness about them. Dammit

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Krikkitone
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#7 Post by Krikkitone »

Well I think there are two ideas here

1. something reflecting the 'passive' movement of information between empires in the game

2. something humourous for immersion sake that has little to do with the game.

I think they should be kept separate

# 1 is simple enough to relate in that when you have any type of trade/open communications or relationships with another player then In Your Sit Rep there will be info on their empire, gathered by "newsbeings"... of course reliability may be an issue

#2 is something for the sheer fun of it and should have nothing to do with the game... so it should have information that is unimportant for the game (Psilon science fair starlet accused of cheating on her husbands, etc.)

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francys
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#8 Post by francys »

Krikkitone wrote:Well I think there are two ideas here

1. something reflecting the 'passive' movement of information between empires in the game

2. something humourous for immersion sake that has little to do with the game.

I think they should be kept separate

# 1 is simple enough to relate in that when you have any type of trade/open communications or relationships with another player then In Your Sit Rep there will be info on their empire, gathered by "newsbeings"... of course reliability may be an issue

#2 is something for the sheer fun of it and should have nothing to do with the game... so it should have information that is unimportant for the game (Psilon science fair starlet accused of cheating on her husbands, etc.)
Funny entries/articles seem a really good idea, but wouldn't that be hard to implement?

You'd have to create a rather large list of funny infos in order not to be repetitive, or you'd combine smaller pieces (for example: subject action object) which however might get out of control (or just be extremely funny) and eventually be repetitive too.

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yaromir
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#9 Post by yaromir »

Well, did we like GNN, no matter how cheesy or repetitive.

I, for one, looked forward to GNN reports.
:D
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francys
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#10 Post by francys »

yaromir wrote:Well, did we like GNN, no matter how cheesy or repetitive.

I, for one, looked forward to GNN reports.
:D
good point! I forgot about GNN! :D

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Tortanick
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#11 Post by Tortanick »

With funny entries we could just outsource that to the fans once we get some, pretty much anyone can write and anyone who understands the correct themes for each race, and has a good sense of taste could do quality control.

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eleazar
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Re: The Orion Gazette

#12 Post by eleazar »

It it's a "just for laughs" sort of thing, then it should be available while it is calculating everything for the next turn. Displaying some text files should have a negligible effect on the wait.

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