As we are working on the "Simulating Citizens" and "Diplomacy Preliminary", the indefiniteness
of all the topics in the last half of the roadmap are becoming more of a problem. Sure, we can't do everything at once, but a lot of the future road-map items are more closely linked than some of the stuff we've done already. Espionage, governments, leaders, species, and diplomacy can't be as easily considered in a vacuum as space combat or production could be.
The simulating citizens thread necessarily starts nailing down a few more things about alien species which is fine, since it is clearly in the scope of the question. But a lot of effort has been wasted in making and defending assumptions about other ground combat or civics, or even in arguing that the player shouldn't have civics choices. Even if people aren't flying off on tangents, it's a lot of extra work to try to design a game mechanics that work just as well with with any conceivable implementation we might make of ground combat or civics, etc.
It would simply be a lot easier to make progress in the design threads if we had a clue about what the rest of the game will look like.
Even when bits of what future design decision seems obvious to me based on past decisions and our philosophy, it's still doesn't do much to help focus the current design discussion since everybody has their own ideas, and any new-ish contributors don't have the background knowledge necessary to see how a proposal for Espionage might not work with what's already been established.
What i would like to see is a version of the roadmap with some detail to it. I don't want to try to design the whole thing in advance, but there are parameters we can place on future features, and we can declare goals we would like to achieve. This would give us something to aim for. Also it would be useful to declare which features are necessary for 1.0, and which might be put off until later.
* i'd list as optional: Leaders, Space Monsters, and Random Events.
I'd love to see these included, but i'd also love to see 1.0. "Optional" simply means current design decisions should not rely on the presence of these features.
* For ground combat we might say that it should require minimal (if any) player direction so that it can play out concurrently with space combat. I.E. if your space marines take control of a planet while the space battle still rages, they can turn the planet's weapons against their former rulers.
You might hate this idea, but it is a clearly defined vision for ground combat, that makes it much easier to make guesses about how another feature would interact with ground combat.
* Under species, i'd list a few things that have already been nailed down:
** only one species lives on a planet at a time
** each species has an EP
I'd also want to include Goal statements like:
** "FO should be friendly to the creation and inclusion of multiple custom species." This statement doesn't get into implementation-level details, but it's a goal that could be referenced to guide implementation. For instance an implementation where species balanced is highly dependent on species being present in the galaxy in just the right combinations wouldn't meet this goal, because adding player-created species to the mix would ruin the balance.
I'm not expecting everyone to rally around what i've put down under "for example", those are just examples of the kind of top-level information i think we need about future game features.
I think RonaldX's post here
, expresses well some of the problems that sketching in some detail to the roadmap would solve or at least mitigate.
I don't know if we need an offical meta-design thread or what, but if we are going to progress efficiently we need something.
P.S. in a vaguely related topic, we have
"...the FreeOrion team is dedicated to the construction of a living, breathing universe in a 'grand campaign' model" on the vision statement
. But i don't see where anything like "grand campaign" is on the roadmap.