Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

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

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Xenon_K
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Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#1 Post by Xenon_K »

Having played the release of FreeOrion for windows x86, (version 0.3.15 SVN 3727) I have some comments... I understand it’s not fully finished, and I am looking forward to future releases. I am not a coder, or claim to be proficient at it, but I have dabbled with some C++ when using the DarkBasic game engine, and Visual Studio, and also had some 3D experience with Blender Game Engine and its python scripts, so have an idea what is going on but far from being knowledgeable in the matter. I have the greatest of respect to the people who made this game possible, and wish there was something I could do to assist with its development so suggestions welcome.

Anyway here are some things I have noticed and some Ideas that I would very much like to see in future releases of FreeOrion;


1. I noticed there is no real diplomacy going on between races (or in game menu for this function for that matter). It seems when I send my ships to occupied systems they automatically open fire on the other ships and assume my intentions are hostile... **

2. It would be nice to see a list of races and have the ability to conduct espionage and also have the all important "ignore" button as was found in MOO2, to shut up their constant bickering.

3. I like the Feature in MOO3 where you can plant spy agents into other races societies, and steal unique tech or destroy critical buildings or cause unrest. I would hope to see some racial tech trees being employed so to make spying more interesting and also rewarding.

4. I notice on this game there are star lanes but I can’t seem to instruct my ships to travel point to point of an undiscovered star (across the void of space)... It seems I always have to use star lanes. On MOO3 I could do this, but it just took much longer for my ship to reach the other side, I think this would be useful as players could navigate round hostile races systems without risking damage to ships, particularly useful if the players system is at the end of a single star lane and a very powerful opponent is blocking expansion.

5. Auto Colonize, On MOO3 this could allow the players planets to create colony ships that would fly to the nearest explored star and seed the system. I would say this is a must have option.

6. I noticed that we are not using any sort of currency in this game, I found it very useful on Games like MOO2 and MOO3 to be able to buy a unit which was on the build queue using cash reserves, in order to help defend a planet which was about to be attacked, or buy a farm for those barren planets which would otherwise take many turns to get sufficient population to be able to create enough production points where I wasn’t waiting 500 turns to produce a scout ship. If there is going to be a currency in the game, I would need some way of deciding how it’s spent. Like in MOO3 it can be adjusted depending on your income and spread across various areas. I think this would be useful for players who wish to research or be all out warlords.

7. A little special request of mine, Guardians and space creatures. I would like to see some of these in the Final game perhaps protecting valuable systems or technology bonuses.

8. Almost forgot the all important auto build toggle for colonies. :wink:




(**even though combat has occurred, no side gets damaged which is a separate issue I think others may have noticed. Also the planet within the system seems to fall into my control, and then on the next turn it goes back to enemy control. Also I noticed, if there is a good planet in the occupied system and I try to colonize it, it says it is lost to famine. :?: )

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Bigjoe5
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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#2 Post by Bigjoe5 »

Welcome.
Xenon_K wrote:1. I noticed there is no real diplomacy going on between races (or in game menu for this function for that matter). It seems when I send my ships to occupied systems they automatically open fire on the other ships and assume my intentions are hostile... **

2. It would be nice to see a list of races and have the ability to conduct espionage and also have the all important "ignore" button as was found in MOO2, to shut up their constant bickering.

7. A little special request of mine, Guardians and space creatures. I would like to see some of these in the Final game perhaps protecting valuable systems or technology bonuses.
These are planned.
Xenon_K wrote:3. I like the Feature in MOO3 where you can plant spy agents into other races societies, and steal unique tech or destroy critical buildings or cause unrest. I would hope to see some racial tech trees being employed so to make spying more interesting and also rewarding.
The predominant opinion in this regard, I believe, is that espionage in MoO2 was too limited, and often boring. The plan is to greatly expand the espionage system so that players can focus on it as a legitimate path to victory. Racial tech trees however, are not planned.
Xenon_K wrote:4. I notice on this game there are star lanes but I can’t seem to instruct my ships to travel point to point of an undiscovered star (across the void of space)... It seems I always have to use star lanes. On MOO3 I could do this, but it just took much longer for my ship to reach the other side, I think this would be useful as players could navigate round hostile races systems without risking damage to ships, particularly useful if the players system is at the end of a single star lane and a very powerful opponent is blocking expansion.
Not planned primarily due to AI issues. I also think that allowing this would also remove a lot of the strategic value created by starlanes, which is more important than the AI issues, IMO.
Xenon_K wrote:5. Auto Colonize, On MOO3 this could allow the players planets to create colony ships that would fly to the nearest explored star and seed the system. I would say this is a must have option.
I'm not sure whether or not this will be necessary. Certainly the ability to flag a planet for colonization, which automatically sends the nearest colony ship, a la MoO2, should be included.
Xenon_K wrote:6. I noticed that we are not using any sort of currency in this game, I found it very useful on Games like MOO2 and MOO3 to be able to buy a unit which was on the build queue using cash reserves, in order to help defend a planet which was about to be attacked, or buy a farm for those barren planets which would otherwise take many turns to get sufficient population to be able to create enough production points where I wasn’t waiting 500 turns to produce a scout ship. If there is going to be a currency in the game, I would need some way of deciding how it’s spent. Like in MOO3 it can be adjusted depending on your income and spread across various areas. I think this would be useful for players who wish to research or be all out warlords.
No. It has been decided that there will not be any magical "buying" of items from the build queue. However, if you want to trade any combination of resources/technology/ships/etc. for it to another empire, that's another story. There is a resource called "Trade" which is conceptually very similar to money, but it is(/will be, when it does something) simply treated as one of the five resources.
Xenon_K wrote:8. Almost forgot the all important auto build toggle for colonies. :wink: [/color]
Buildings in FO are rare and expensive. Players will never be building every single building on any planet. The construction of a building is important enough for the player to directly have a hand in and enjoy it, or else not important enough to warrant inclusion.

Xenon_K wrote: (**even though combat has occurred, no side gets damaged which is a separate issue I think others may have noticed. Also the planet within the system seems to fall into my control, and then on the next turn it goes back to enemy control. Also I noticed, if there is a good planet in the occupied system and I try to colonize it, it says it is lost to famine. :?: )[/color]
This is a known bug.

You might want to familiarize yourself with the Roadmap and the Design Philosophy.
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eleazar
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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#3 Post by eleazar »

Welcome XenonK :)

Short answer:
We're not trying to make MoO 2.5 or MoO 3.5. We're trying to learn from what's good and bad in MoO, and sometimes take things in a different direction.

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Xenon_K
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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#4 Post by Xenon_K »

Thanks for the welcome, and your comments both of you, also thanks for the answers; however I have more questions/ideas...

1. Going back to star lanes, every single system seems to have one or more, and they seem to also be naturally occurring. To be honest I don’t know the history how they formed, etc, but think it may be much better to first discover jump gate technology and then have the ability to create a star lane between two systems... Well If we already have this tech, it explains why all the lanes are visible, but it doesn’t explain why they only form between certain systems, and not all.

In a perfect world, the game should require you to physically fly across the void to get to another world until you have the tech and means to make a star lane, which is faster - In terms of reality this makes more sense, since the speed of the ship should have an impact in how long it would take to get to another star.

The other factor is supplies - if your ship reaches Bingo before you even get half way then the computer knows the ship won’t make it. Obviously the player would need to research faster engines, and better storage to enable scouting to much further distances. I think ultimately star lanes are a nice idea but they shouldn’t be too common. I like the feeling of probing the unknown and going out into the void knowing not what awaits me.

What does a star lane consist of or is it treated as space, or does it provide movement bonuses?

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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#5 Post by eleazar »

Technobabble is secondary. After the gameplay mechanic are decided sci fi explanations can be made to fit. Starlanes are the only practical means to travel the lightyears between the stars. (Unless we add some sort of star gate or worm hole that provides instant travel.). It is some sort of dimensional short cut. Ships never meet each other in a starlane thus battle do not happen there.

My personal explanation is that they are artificial. The work of a mysterious precursor civilization: the Builders.

It is planned that later game tech will allow the creation and destruction of starlanes-- I believe the groundwork has been laid.

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Xenon_K
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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#6 Post by Xenon_K »

Thanks for the reply,
eleazar wrote:It is planned that later game tech will allow the creation and destruction of starlanes-- I believe the groundwork has been laid.
I would like to have the option to add or remove starlanes, that facility could be quite useful.

It seems the elements are there for a really good and (long) single player game.
If possible, I would highly apreciate an option to start the game without starlanes in place; so there are just un-connected systems present, and all teams start off in their own systems and over time get upto a level where they can either leave their home systems using conventional means, across the viod, or discover the ability to setup a starlane between the home system and another system.

In itself this presents a tactical choise for the AI, and the player, and victory will hinge on the carfull selection of routes in which they use, since some systems contain useless planets for some races, and others will be ideal.

If its not going to happen no matter, it still looks an awsome game.

Il keep you posted if I have anymore ideas/suggestions.

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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#7 Post by Bigjoe5 »

Xenon_K wrote:If possible, I would highly apreciate an option to start the game without starlanes in place; so there are just un-connected systems present, and all teams start off in their own systems and over time get upto a level where they can either leave their home systems using conventional means, across the viod, or discover the ability to setup a starlane between the home system and another system.
That sounds like a good campaign scenario. It's unlikely that it would involve any moving between systems without starlanes however.

As for making it a starting option, it would be a relatively easy mod to set the starting conditions to no starlanes, and add a few early-game techs for linking to nearby systems with starlanes.
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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#8 Post by Gargamel »

I like to think of the starlanes as gravity assist pathways. As in, the orbital mechanics of each system only allow certain paths to be traveled easily, and thus are found at the start of the game. If you notice, fleets cannot reverse course mid-starlane, but must wait till they arrive at the next system (see below), so this story fits. The ability to travel outside of starlanes should maybe be considered, but with the travel speed at like 1/10 of starlane travel. This also explains why battles cannot occur in starlanes, as the fleets are basically ballistic, and would have almost no control as they passed (or only allow for one round of battle as they flew by). I also like to think that the propulsion systems in use for interstellar travel require the gravity assists to get up to a certain escape speed before they can be turned on (think Scramjet), so the massive energy requirement to not use the gravity assist makes non starlane travel infeasible.

This would also allow for advanced techs, ie Stargates, to create new instant or high speed travel pathways while keeping an easy back story.

You could also introduce a high-tier research tech that allows direct (non starlane high speed) travel on tech-equipped ships, but with the drawbacks of high speed propulsion. Ie it takes a large amount of energy to change course, so course correction during travel would incur severe penalties.

This would allow for a very feasible back story that doesn't rely on sci-fi that is wrought with holes.

The only drawback would be the proposed system of removing starlanes. Adding starlanes, story wise, is easy; just reposition the members of a system. But removing a starlane may be more complicated, or it could be just as easy as adding them. If the a fleet inbound to a system requires the destination system to have orbital mechanics allowing for deceleration, then rearranging the system would remove the "net" that catches fleets from that direction. Of course, handling a moving fleet in a starlane that gets destroyed becomes very messy.

Oh well, just my .02, and a way to have a believable interstellar travel system that works with the current game mechanics.

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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#9 Post by Zireael »

Shouldn't it be moved to Brainstorming? I like the thread, by the way, informative it is...

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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#10 Post by Duke_of_Naeimon »

Bigjoe5 wrote:
Xenon_K wrote:If possible, I would highly apreciate an option to start the game without starlanes in place; so there are just un-connected systems present, and all teams start off in their own systems and over time get upto a level where they can either leave their home systems using conventional means, across the viod, or discover the ability to setup a starlane between the home system and another system.
That sounds like a good campaign scenario. It's unlikely that it would involve any moving between systems without starlanes however.

As for making it a starting option, it would be a relatively easy mod to set the starting conditions to no starlanes, and add a few early-game techs for linking to nearby systems with starlanes.
Hello guys, long time lurker, first time poster here ( who is still playing MOO3).
I have just finished a campaign where crossing the void without the use of starlanes proved to be decisive. And fun. I had my homeworld placed within one of the galactic arms and the only route was blocked by a Guardian. Since I had no communication with other species and had only 6 systems with 13 planets the going was slow. With my basic ships it took around 70 turns to reach the main body and I had the bad luck of landing right in the middle of a Tachidi Empire, with all the "easily reached" systems already colonized I managed to establish just one colony before being blocked by the Harvesters to expand in one direction and Tachidi in the other.. It was one of my longest campaigns ever but it was a lot of fun. What I am trying to say is it would be cool if you had essentially two types of ships based on their drives, those with a starlane drive would be fast but because of the large ship component which is the stardrive you'd have less room for anything else like weapons, colony pods etc. On the other hand having a ship with a "normal" drive would mean it was slow as hell but with more internal space for everything else. Of course this idea could also work so that you start off with slow ships and as you research better and better tech you get faster ships and ultimately jump drives.. Or as someone suggested having the stargate option would mean you'd have to load them up on a ship and haul them the old-fashioned way thus connecting the two systems. Something like in the Culture series by Banks... Some of this may have already been proposed and rejected, it is not doable at this stage etc. but I just had to make this argument in favour of having a slower-than-light option.. :)

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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#11 Post by eleazar »

Welcome Naeimon!

I don't think anybody would say that having star-lane travel and slow point-to-point travel couldn't be cool if done right. But it would add complexity and require more time (especially when you add in AI and balancing) from a project that's already huge. The pragmatic decision was wisely made a long time ago to stick with just starlanes -- and probably some sort of star-gate/wormhole type thing.

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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#12 Post by Geoff the Medio »

I expect that there will eventually be a way to create and destroy starlanes. I would hope this would be more interesting and fun than having the ability to move off of starlanes.

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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#13 Post by Duke_of_Naeimon »

Oh well, I had to try :) I am really glad you guys are doing this. And could you please tell me or post a link where I can get involved in the Human/Terran discussion I am a student of sociology and archeology and this topic interests me greatly I saw three threads related to the topic but I'm sure there are more around but this being such a huge forum it's a bit hard for me to navigate, in my lurking days I usually just checked the update and that was that. I'll get a hang of it soon but if comeone could save me some time I'd be grateful..

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Re: Diplomacy, Race Customisation, Spying, Etc.

#14 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Duke_of_Naeimon wrote:...could you please tell me or post a link where I can get involved in the Human/Terran discussion...
There's no one thread on a given topic... If you want to suggest new things, you could make a new thread, or find one that looks suitable. Aim for brainstorming threads.

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