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Posted: Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:01 am
by Daveybaby
Ah, sorry. Hadnt realised that this was for your own project. Must read posts more slowly in future. Oopsies.

I think youre understimating just how much extra work it is though. You effectively have to test and balance two separate games, thats the really time consuming bit.

Also be sure what you mean by 'difficulty'. Its entirely possible that the more 'difficult' setting (as in more complex and thus more difficult to learn how to play, and because there is more stuff to do each turn) actually makes it easier to win the game, because it gives the player more options and more detailed control, and because an AI opponent might not be able to deal with the extra complexity as well as a human player.

Posted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:59 am
by Ablaze
This game is being designed for multiplayer without any real single player capability. If I do decide to add a single player AI at some point it will be a very long time from now and I plan to cross that bridge when I come to it.

I've done quite a deal of research on the market and have come to the conclusion that there are two populations of people who would play a sci-fi/strategy game.

1) Hardcore sci-fi or strategy enthusiasts. These people would consider a game ideal if they could spend years trying different strategies and still be able to do new things.

2) A subset of the mainstream user population who would be willing to try a game of this type. This type of person wants to understand the game quickly and to be able to be a contender without having to read the rules. These users can become hardcore enthusiasts, but they never will if they leave the game first.

#2 is by far the larger group. It is harder the harder one to cater to by far. Personally, I can’t think of another way to tap into both of these groups in the same game, can you?

There are several other opposing doctrines, for instance some people want everyone to start out fair while others want to engage in character building. An analysis of the popularity of games over the years indicates that character building is the far more reliable way to attract and keep players, which is why I’ve thrown out the classic precept among these types of games that everyone starts fair.

Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2005 10:55 pm
by Black_Dawn
I like your espionage ideas, but having four sorts of spies is a little clunky. How about adapting your you two "offensive" types for "defensive" work as well? For example, defensive "black hats" would be a counterespionage unit (defend against enemy black hats), while defensive "white hats" will be information control officers who make sure sensitive info doesn't get into the wrong hands. To add more "strategy" to the game, you could have several levels of espionage protection.

The least protective would be Freedom of the Press + Allied Race. The opposing force can gets lots of "white hat" type info just from watching GNN (or whatever), and allied status would give the opponent easy access to your secrets.

The most protective would be an "Iron Curtain" mode in which the government has complete control over all publicly released info and secrets are further protected by Secret Police (defensive black hats). There would be advantage and disadvantages to each, with lots of options in between the two. What do you think?

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 5:17 am
by Ablaze
That's pretty much the idea I had. Security (blue hat) is functionally equivalent to black hats working in a defensive capacity. The potential missions that a security expert can perform, however, are much different then those of an espionage expert. After a little thought on the matter I concluded that if they were going to behave differently then they might as well look different. To make them look the same would only confuse the issue.

I like the idea of having police states and free press, but I think I would modify it slightly in favor of the user interface. If you assign no media experts to your empire then anyone can learn practically anything about your empire using only diplomats. Some information would even be leaked out to the players around you without any effort at all on their parts. A massive army of red hats would create the “iron curtain” you speak of, in which someone would have to spend a fortune just to find out what systems you own.

In addition, I plan to have a level of infiltration on each empire which is dependent on your strength of diplomats in their empire vs their strength of media experts. You need a high level of infiltration in order to embed anyone who can do espionage. Therefore, a passable defense against enemy spying would be to have a large force of media experts. This would make it very hard to enter your empire, but if someone actually got in they would have pretty much free reign.

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:46 am
by Impaler
I think most of your ideas are good for FreeOrion as well, infact because were developing most of the game on Linux and under the GPL the "RedHat" reference has a double meaning, it would be quite nice if the spies are represented by little Fadoras or a little characture of your race wareing a fadora (a bit like the Hammer, test-tube and rake were used in Moo2 for your workers)

If their are some stats assosiated with spies then perhaps all of the generic "manufactured Minions" have a default set of stats say Black Hats are 2/5/9/3 and Whites are 7/3/2/6 ThatsDiplomacy/Detection/Espionage/Combat or something along these lines. White Hats obvisly have high Diplomacy but all spies have all stats to some degree and can thus perform the tasks of other spies at reduced effectivness. Some races get bonuses which can be aplied to all spies or just to a single group. Tecnologies also give Bonus so "Quantum Encription" might give +1 Detection to all Blue Hats. Elite "Hero" spies have highly elevated stats like 5/6/9/10 so their super powerfull vs normal spies, you only have a hand-full of these guys ofcofrse.

Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2005 8:17 pm
by utilae
Black_Dawn wrote: How about adapting your you two "offensive" types for "defensive" work as well? For example, defensive "black hats" would be a counterespionage unit (defend against enemy black hats), while defensive "white hats" will be information control officers who make sure sensitive info doesn't get into the wrong hands.
Why not just have black hats (offensive) and white hats (defensive). See, in real life black hats are hackers that are more offensive and white hats are hackers that are more defensive (trained to stop black hats).

Posted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:33 pm
by Sejant Chimera
Impaler wrote: Espionage - Discover something that they try to keep secret
Please correct me if I am wrong, but I have never seen a space strategy game where your spies can find the location, name or capabilites of the enemy's ship? Most of the time the location of the enemy's ships is given using scanners, but that is limited to the range and position of the observation sites and the enemy's cloaking/stealth. A spy in the maintenence section of a space station or hiding out near a training area during an exercise might provide useful information.
Impaler wrote: Sabotage - Break something
Wouldn't this be the job of the army/space forces? Instead of a spy being sent, I imagined a high experience military unit (infantry, marine, commando) be sent in a small fast ship with or without stealth/cloaking would be sent instead.

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 11:52 am
by Impaler
I belive their were some RTS games inwhich you could "reveal" all of an oponents units briefly by achiving some kind of espiongae mission. Regardless I think its an excelent idea for that kind of information to be stealable. So many 4X games focus on the Theft of "Tec" (SMAC for instance) with no other usefull espionage missions. Their should be a great variety of information types that you can steal. Some Ideas

Locations of Enemy Production Centers
Enemy Aliances and Diplmatic actions
how they are budgeting their money
what they are building
How their internal Politics is going (forshadowing changes in Strategy)
How they are alocating their spy resorses
And ofcorse info and their Fleets, Armies and other such things


As for Sabotage, its a long standing tradition in Moo and other 4 X games that spies can sabotage things. The spies in question might not be carrying dynomite with them though, perhaps all the sabotage is done through computer Hacking and the overloading of Power systems or the planting of computer viruses.

The Key elements of Sabotage vs traditional Military destruction is that Sabotage works by bypassing traditnional military defences, the dagamge is usualy very finly focused on a particular element of the Enemies power and the Destruction is never total.

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:08 pm
by Sejant Chimera
Impaler wrote: [snip]
So many 4X games focus on the Theft of "Tec" (SMAC for instance) with no other usefull espionage missions. Their should be a great variety of information types that you can steal. Some Ideas

Locations of Enemy Production Centers
Enemy Aliances and Diplmatic actions
how they are budgeting their money
what they are building
How their internal Politics is going (forshadowing changes in Strategy)
How they are alocating their spy resorses
And ofcorse info and their Fleets, Armies and other such things
A lot of this information was generally given for free in other games, but I'm sure it would be a lot more appreciated if it had to be worked for. The most important idea in that list is your spies being able to report a change in the other race's strategy. It would be nice to see reports on enemy buildup, conscription being implimented and supply lines being formed, rather then just a message saying, "We don't like the way you looked at us, we're now going to obliterate your civilisation."

Having this information in the game would also feed into the diplomacy. You could table a motion in the galactic assembly publicly asking a race why it is preparing to invade. Threats from alliances, general disapproval and so forth could prove an interesting backdrop and make the universe more 'alive'.

I also agree that knowing the enemy's production and agriculture centers are more important than knowling where the capital is.
Impaler wrote: As for Sabotage, its a long standing tradition in Moo and other 4 X games that spies can sabotage things. The spies in question might not be carrying dynomite with them though, perhaps all the sabotage is done through computer Hacking and the overloading of Power systems or the planting of computer viruses.
[snip]
I can see your point, I suppose it's because I always see sabotage being conducted by a group of 4 soldiers or a resistance cell, rather than a spy.

Posted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 12:44 pm
by Impaler
Resistence Cells and "Irregular" Militia forces are best abstracted as (1) Randomly generated Events of Destruction of Ocupation troops in revolting Systems (2) Bonuses towards the work of Black Hat spies in revolting systems much like the SMAC drone Riot bonus for Probe teams.