Influence, Species and Minds

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Oberlus
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Influence, Species and Minds

#1 Post by Oberlus » Sat Dec 01, 2018 5:58 pm

FO species can be formed of many physical bodies or just one (Solaris, or FO's phillosopher planets), and also can be formed of many independent minds or just one (FO's George) or something half-way (telepathic species with their individuals's minds integrated into a network mined).
Here I try to sumarise all the possible options of this one/many, body/mind product:
  • Independent minds: Many fully conscious individuals (one mind per individual), mutually disconnected.
  • Networked/Connected minds: Many fully conscious individuals connected in a telephatic network.
  • Hive-mind: many unconscious individuals that forms a single superior entity through their connection.
  • Over-mind: many unconscious individuals controlled by a single fully conscious individual (the "brain").
Names might not be the best ones. Developing each one:

Independent is the case to which the others are compared. Think of Humans. We can be corrupted, we can rebel and attack each other, our governments can fool us...

Networked implies that each body is a fully autonomous individual (as in Independent) that can connect to the network of minds of the people of the same species, retaining its individuality (just improving communications, mutual understanding, social organisation, etc.). Laenfa or Trith could be of this kind (have this trait), since they are telephatic. However, this connection is not necessarilly via telephathy (the special trait to read/write in other's minds), it can be via a complex, extracorporeal, robotic/chemical communications system natural and specific to the species. So being a Networked species does not imply having telephathy, and maybe Gysache could be given this trait (from being a very herdy and interconnected for own survival). Also, the members of Networked species are not mental slaves of any ubermind and disagreements can arise between parts of the networked mind (e.g. the individuals of a colony can get angry at their fellows for letting them under enemy siege for long and rebel).

Hive-mind is a step forward towards less autonomous individuals and more cohesive mind. Each physical individual has a rudimentary functional mind, and like the previous case, it connects to a network of minds. But in this case each individual losses its individuality (or probably has little to none from start, mostly based on automatisms/instincts) and the networks itself becomes an individual on its own. We can think of ants, for which each ant is a simple creature but in combination with many others (of the same nest) they behave as a distributed individual capable of superior things from collective intelligence (the ant queen does not control the hive, she is one more of the simple minds that form the hive-mind, just with singular body capabilities). So there is no Capital for this kind of species. George would be this kind.

Over-mind is similar to Hive-mind in that you have many simple individuals and a superior mind, but in this case the superior mind is not the result of a collective intelligence but it's contained within a single, overpowered thinking being (the "brain") that controls all the other minions. This could be the Zergs of Star Craft and the insectoids of Ender's Game. Depending on other characteristics of the species, this could imply that killing the "capital" completely kills the empire if the brain can't scape, or that it will initiate a process of growing a new brain somewhere else while the entire "body" (the rest of "unbrained" specimens) of the empire is convulsing, maybe several brains will start to grow and compete against each other to be the final boss even causing fragmentation of the empire (AI takes control), this new-brain-growing process could be something for which the empire is prepared in advance and the bad effects are mild and short-termed, or the opposite. So here we could have one special negative trait only for over-mind species, “irreplaceable brain”, which makes your empire automatically and completely lose if your capital is conquered.


I've discarded the few categories that can be thought of by blindly combining the possible concepts, like "multiple minds in a single body" (that makes no sense or equals type Independent in capabilities), and "single mind in a single-yet-distributed body" which effectively is the same as Hive-mind. But I don't discard having left out something important or interesting.

I'm working on a proposal for influence-related species traits. So any thoughts about this mind stuff you may want to share will be very welcome.

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#2 Post by Oberlus » Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:05 pm

More on this subject that I think is relevant context (still not the final suggestion, and still interested on feedback).

Following is a list of possible influence-based projects. I don't know who will end up being the influence implementation, and influence projects are not the object of OP's suggestion, but I think of them for reference of the stuff that influence could do that could be affected by species traits. It is full of details that are unnecessary for this suggestion, but take it as extra sugar.

Influence-based projects:
  • Investigation/Recognaissance (espionage): report of planet facilities, armies and activities (beyond current detection capacities.
  • Steal technologies (espionage): gets PP for a given tech owned by the enemy.
  • Counter-espionage (espionage): makes harder to finish enemy espionage/sabotage projects, can cancel it.
  • Building destruction (sabotage).
  • Ship/fleet destruction (sabotage).
  • Assassination (sabotage): lowers influence production on that planet.
  • Terrorism (sabotage): lowers happines, cheap and effective but can't be used to conquer the planet.
  • Mass-destruction weapons (sabotage): lowers happines and kills population without the need of orbital domination (can eradicate and revert the colony to outpost if intense enough), but it is harder to achieve.
  • Ship/fleet bribe (propaganda).
  • Incite revolt (propaganda): lowers happines, chances to destroy buildings, armies and/or population depending on how much the happines approaches zero (intensity of the revolt) and the presence of order forces in the planet. If the owner can't counteract the enemy influence and the happines reaches zero and stays there for long enough, chances for the planet to become independent increases. If that happens, it becomes a “native” planet.
  • Imperial marketing (propaganda): slowest influence project that lowers the affiliation of the planet to its empire and substitutes it for affiliation to the influencing empire. "Affiliation" is a concept here, I don't know how the effect of this project could be implemented, but I don't know if the happiness meter alone can do this.
So I envision three categories of influence projects: espionage, sabotage and propaganda.
For all sabotage and espionage operations, if stoped by the enemy, there are chances of discovering who was conducting the operations. Sabotage operations will also lower public opinion of the empire from the affected species, so no good for influence conquest of the affected planets/species.

Some other stuff that may be regulated/affected by influence:
- Colony upkeep.
- Fleet upkeep.


And now I get back to the mind-species categories sumarised in the OP. Stuff that this kind of species traits could do:
  • Individual-mind:
    • Default for everything.
  • Networked-mind:
    • Hard enemy espionage and propaganda (increased cost or chances to fail, or decreased cost for the defending species to counter these projects). Also, increased chance to discover who did it.
    • Stronger penalisations (chance of rebellion?) from doing things against public opinion of Connected species, because it is harder to hide it from the collective mind or to fool it. If the Connected species is part of the government, we could not speak of acting against the public opinion, because it is the government. Then, the effect (disadvantage) would be increased influence costs of doing what is frown upon, and impossibility of doing certain things (like building concentration camps on a colony of the government/connected species).
  • Hive-mind:
    • Very hard espionage and propaganda.
    • Non-Hive-Mind empires can do propaganda projects on foreign Hive-mind planets only with certain advanced psionic/electronical/biological tech.
  • Over-mind:
    • Inmune propaganda, hard espionage.
    • Impossible to rebel out of the "Empire" (running out of influence implies malfunction but not actual rebellion against own government).
    • Non-Over-Mind empires can do propaganda projects on foreign Over-mind planets only with certain advanced psionic/electronical/biological tech.
  • Over-mind(irreplaceable-brain):
    • Inmune to propaganda, hard espionage.
    • Impossible to rebel out of the "Empire" (running out of influence implies malfunction but not actual rebellion against own government).
    • Impossible to assimilate (only option to effectivelly get a planet from them is erradicating its population).
    • Losing homeworld means end of game (all population dies, all ships are destroyed).
This sort of tie a bunch of effects (advantages mostly) to each of this five categories of species.

Maybe it would be simpler to just take the individual effects independently and let the species creator explain whatever he wants about the species, not tied to the above categories.

Feedback will be appreciated.
Last edited by Oberlus on Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#3 Post by Oberlus » Mon Dec 03, 2018 2:22 am

Proposals of species traits assuming no "mind" categories, just basic influence-based and government-based traits:
  • No/Bad/Average/Good/Great/Ultimate Influence. A direct modification of the influence generation.
  • No/Bad/Average/Good/Great/Ultimate Spionage/Sabotage. A modification of base cost and/or required turns to carry out such influence projects. I would suggest that best spionage skills are tied to some kind of metamorth/hiding abilities on the species description.
  • Bad/Average/Good/Great/Ultimate Propaganda Machinery. A modification of base cost and/or required turns to carry out such influence projects.
  • Bad/Average/Good/Great/Ultimate Propaganda Resistance. A modification of base cost and/or required turns for such influence projects to be carried on this species. Ultimate would be total immunity.
  • Bad/Average/Good/Great/Ultimate Social Integration (ehem... all names are temporal). A modification of base resistance to revolts (either caused by foreign operations or lack of influence/happiness supply on the colony). Ultimate would be total immunity.
  • Bad/Average/Good/Great/Ultimate Resistance to Assimilation. A modification of base resistance to assimilation by other empires when captured. Ultimate would be total immunity (invasion implies reverting colony to outpost), bad would be the fastest assimilation, with no resistance. In between different degrees of penalisations to influence (generation and/or upkeep), happiness, production, research, troops and/or infrastructures, diminishing over time until the species of the colony is assimilated into (accepts) the new empire.
  • Bad/Average/Good/Great Fleet Upkeep. A modification of the influence upkeep cost, however it is implemented.
  • Bad/Average/Good/Great Colony Upkeep. Idem.
  • No/Hard/Average/Easy Capital Replacement. The No Capital Replacement implies losing game if initial homeworld is captured, that must be capital of Empire. The others would convey penalisations (or lack of) for losing the capital of the empire and the time and cost to rebuilt it (reorganise Empire) elsewhere.
Any more?

Note: sabotage (breaking something/killing someone) and spionage (getting information) could require the same skills, but not necessarily, so they could be separated traits.

Another: some or most of what I've devised as species traits could be used for policy cards. And some are for sure already implemented in Geoff's branch, which I also want to try out (I should pull it...).

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#4 Post by em3 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:05 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:05 pm
spionage
I don't intend to be mean. Are you purposefully spelling it "spionage" instead of "espionage"? You are pretty consistent about it and most modern web browsers would point it out to you as a spelling mistake.
Oberlus wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:05 pm
  • Over-mind:
    • Inmune propaganda, hard spionage.
    • Impossible to rebel out of the "Empire" (running out of influence implies malfunction but not actual rebellion against own government).
Why? What if the over-mind entity decides it does not want to be a part of the empire anymore?
[...] for Man has earned his right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone totally batshit insane. - Randall Munroe, title text to xkcd #556

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#5 Post by em3 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:11 pm

Also, it could be argued, that propaganda versus a networked species could be more effective, instead of less (it could spread more rapidly via the network).
[...] for Man has earned his right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone totally batshit insane. - Randall Munroe, title text to xkcd #556

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#6 Post by Oberlus » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:46 pm

em3 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:05 pm
I don't intend to be mean.
You're not. Thank you for pointing out that mistake. So espionage it is (I was in doubt but was lazy to check out dictionary).
I've broken (dunno how) my spellchecking, both in here, the browser, and in the LibreOffice, I'm really missing the red underlines...
em3 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:05 pm
Oberlus wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:05 pm
Over-mind: impossible to rebel out of the "Empire" (running out of influence implies malfunction but not actual rebellion against own government).
Why? What if the over-mind entity decides it does not want to be a part of the empire anymore?
My wording was too succinct. I meant a colony (not homeworld) inhabited by specimens of the over-mind that is also the "Emperor". And Emperor, or an Empire's capital, can't decide to exit its own empire. Or maybe he could, but this is different, worse.
As I've defined the over-mind category, this "species" is more like a single-but-distributed individual with a dedicated "brain" specimen that rules over the rest of non-brain specimens the same way our brain rules over our arm. If I force my arm to do inhumane things or I do such things to my arm, it will not rebel against me. If one of my arms are fully separated from my body for long enough time, it will die unless some advanced medical technology is applied to it to keep it alive. So, in some sense, transplant could be an option, but the arm will require a lot of medicines and other stuff and will have significant drawbacks (anti-reject medicines makes you weaker to many illness). I think of this "over-mind" species the same way.
They are not even like George. George does not have a specific brain, it's brain comes from the union of many George-worms. Abaddoni, for example, mentions in its description a single tyranic computer that rules over them, so I'd say that this is neither an over-mind species, or maybe a soft one, with replaceable brain, if they do panic or get apathic or confused and unable to function properly when incommunicated from its tyrant AI (until they get a new one).


Something a bit related to this:
The over-mind specimens incommunicated from its brain-lord are not necessarily going to die or become catatonic, they could instead be irrationally aggressive or whatever, but they should get great penalisations on several meters for the incommunicated colonies (maybe just a loss of happiness).
Another issue is if a colony can be really incommunicated (i.e. blockaded). Research can't (for now). Influence in the sense of the pressure the Empire can exert via communications is one thing (that looks like non blockade susceptible, but a nother very different thing is the "material" supplies that are required to perform other forms of influence and that are not strictly "production". So I don't know if influence will be something that can "lack" in a certain place, or can be blockaded... To be revisited.

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#7 Post by Oberlus » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:51 pm

em3 wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 12:11 pm
Also, it could be argued, that propaganda versus a networked species could be more effective, instead of less (it could spread more rapidly via the network).
Hmmm... Yes. Indeed, some kind of propaganda should spread faster and wider, the one that is trusted and wanted. I mean, if an enemy empire offers me good stuff in exchange of dunno what, let's here them! But if the propaganda is misinformation aimed at manipulating, introduce confusion and take advantage, the networked mind should/could be more resistent to this. In other workds, they could be faster to accept presents and to accept benefical deals, but harder to manipulate.

In the end, for things like this, I guess that not implementing the cathegories (same as we have metabolisms) and just providing the more elemental traits is the best way to facilite new and interesting species.

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#8 Post by em3 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:08 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:51 pm
In the end, for things like this, I guess that not implementing the cathegories (same as we have metabolisms) and just providing the more elemental traits is the best way to facilite new and interesting species.
You might be correct.

There could be some species tags added later, that could be targeted by certain effects:
  • a "Psychic Scream" project/technology/building/bomb, which reduces happiness of all telepathic species in a radius
  • a bomb, that disconnects a hive mind species populated planet from the rest of the hive mind, effectively making the planet unowned/native - this under assumption, that the hive mind is the only thing that keeps the "individual bodies" loyal to the empire)
[...] for Man has earned his right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone totally batshit insane. - Randall Munroe, title text to xkcd #556

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#9 Post by xahodo » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:06 pm

Some ideas for technologies:
  • Indoctrination:
    • Unlocks the "Indoctrination center", which is a building that hardens the planet it's built on against enemy influence. It helps control the populace of a planet through indoctrination with desired thought patterns to the individuals which are troublesome.
    • Unlocks the "Propaganda office". This building (of which there can only be one per empire) increases the influence of the empire on other empires.
    • Unlocks the "Propaganda transmitter", a ship component that transmits a non-stop feed of propaganda about the player's empire. It increases your influence in an enemy system.
  • Interstellar media:
    Unlocks the "holographic media center", which is there to spread the influence of the empire through the creation of content (holographic movies and games).
  • Military police:
    Unlocks the "Military police office" component for use in ships. This makes it less likely ships will defect and will notify the player if influence of another empire has been detected aboard of the ship. Has a chance to uncover influence of another empire in the fleet.
  • Internal security:
    This technology hardens the empire's planets against influence of other empires. The effect of this gets weaker with each jump from the home world.
    • Unlocks the "Empire security headquarters" building. Only one of these can be built per empire and only on the home world. This building has the effect of proving a dramatic increase in protection against influence of other empires.
    • Unlocks the "Regional internal security" building. This building adds to the strength of the internal security. So that systems further away will not be poorly protected by the effect of internal security.
    • Unlocks the "Fleet security system" ship component. This protects a fleet of ships against influence of other empires.
  • Interstellar trade:
    This increases the influence of the empire by the number of colonies/stars it controls. NOTE: Once actual trade gets implemented, effects and additional technologies of this tree could be added.
    • Unlocks the "Trade office" building, which provides a boost in production by getting merchants to deliver the needed components or raw materials for activities deployed by the player's empire.
    • Unlocks the "Cargo hold" ship component. This allows the user to increase production in any other player's system by simply putting the ship there. The production of your empire will also increase, both will receive influence from one another.
Some ideas on influence:
Fleets become sensitive to influence of other empires the moment they enter their sphere of influence. Smaller fleets are affected in a bigger extent than bigger fleets. Also, ship size also matters. The bigger the ship, the more influence needed to make it defect.
The same goes for planets. Any planets of population greater then zero, will defect once a certain threshold has been reached.
Also, once another (earlier) threshold is reached, rioting could start on a planet and its production could drop or cease (depending on the severity).
All this makes having lonely colonies near other empires risky. Same goes for fleet operations deep inside enemy territory.

These are just some ideas I have. Mix in diplomacy and espionage and... well I could keep typing forever. :D Sorry if this post is a bit confusing. I'm dreaming this up as I go.

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Re: Influence, Species and Minds

#10 Post by Jaumito » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:15 am

Brrrrr... this thread becomes more Orwellian and depressing as time passes :lol:

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