Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

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

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The Silent One
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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#31 Post by The Silent One » Mon May 13, 2019 7:17 am

labgnome wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 11:09 pm
I mean I have seriously wondered if KISS (at least strictly) will survive the introduction of government and diplomacy. Those are just kind-of inherently complex. [Move away from KISS]
Sorry, but no. One of the strongest, if not the strongest, design principle of FreeOrion is KISS. Personally, I think the discussion has gone overboard recently. We should concentrate on simple, practical solutions, be it influence, diplomacy or government. IMHO, it's one thing to throw in lots and lots of nice ideas, but it is something else entirely to implement it and make it work.
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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#32 Post by Ophiuchus » Mon May 13, 2019 2:35 pm

labgnome wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 11:09 pm
Vezzra wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 3:59 pm
...
Interestingly, trying to keep things KISS can be unexpectedly... complicated...??? :lol:
I mean I have seriously wondered if KISS (at least strictly) will survive the introduction of government and diplomacy. Those are just kind-of inherently complex. Especially if it's going to be more work to make it KISS than to just admit that it will be complex no matter what we do. The question is how much more work do we want to put into something just to make it "simpler" if the "complex" version is perfectly feasible. I do like KISS as a design principle, but I do wonder if we might be starting to hit something like an irreducible complexity when considering modeling these kinds of social interactions. I still think we should always strive for simplicity, or at least conciseness, but simplicity shouldn't be making things much harder for us to do.
If we had a lot of developer manpower we could go the Stellaris "agile" route.
First implement something and later on try (again and again) to make something simple and working. Actually i see them taking (some of) their decisions in the direction of freeorion (simplified, imperial stockpiles; only starlane drives;...).

As it stands i suggest that the people doing the talking come up with a KISS design first. And doing as-simple-as-possible-but-not-more-simple was never easy but usually pays off.
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#33 Post by labgnome » Mon May 13, 2019 5:23 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 2:35 pm
As it stands i suggest that the people doing the talking come up with a KISS design first. And doing as-simple-as-possible-but-not-more-simple was never easy but usually pays off.
Believe me I've been trying to keep things KISS. However, there has been a bit of mental fatigue causing me to question it.
All of my contributions should be considered released under creative commons attribution share-alike license, CC-BY-SA 3.0 for use in, by and with the Free Orion project.

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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#34 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue May 14, 2019 7:41 pm

labgnome wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 5:23 pm
Ophiuchus wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 2:35 pm
As it stands i suggest that the people doing the talking come up with a KISS design first. And doing as-simple-as-possible-but-not-more-simple was never easy but usually pays off.
Believe me I've been trying to keep things KISS. However, there has been a bit of mental fatigue causing me to question it.
:D probably our design process is not very KISS
Any code or patches in anything posted here is released under the CC and GPL licences in use for the FO project.

Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#35 Post by Vezzra » Fri May 17, 2019 1:35 pm

labgnome wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 11:09 pm
I mean I have seriously wondered if KISS (at least strictly) will survive the introduction of government and diplomacy. Those are just kind-of inherently complex. Especially if it's going to be more work to make it KISS than to just admit that it will be complex no matter what we do. The question is how much more work do we want to put into something just to make it "simpler" if the "complex" version is perfectly feasible. I do like KISS as a design principle, but I do wonder if we might be starting to hit something like an irreducible complexity when considering modeling these kinds of social interactions. I still think we should always strive for simplicity, or at least conciseness, but simplicity shouldn't be making things much harder for us to do.
I agree that when trying to make something KISS you might hit a wall now and then and simply have to acknowledge that some things can't be sufficiently simplified to meet our requirements of "KISS".

However, giving up on KISS and just implement something that is more complex than we'd usually want it to be isn't the only option in such a scenario. If we can't come up with concepts/mechanics e.g. for government that are simple enough, then we can just not include that mechanic into FO at all. There are probably a lot of things/mechanics that would be interesting and nice to have, but we can't include them all anyway.

As TheSilentOne pointed out, KISS is one of the most fundamental, core design principles of the project, deviating from it should not be considered an option.

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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#36 Post by Vezzra » Fri May 17, 2019 1:44 pm

The Silent One wrote:
Mon May 13, 2019 7:17 am
Personally, I think the discussion has gone overboard recently.
Interestingly, this always seems to happen when we get to these kind of mechanics. Apparently, modelling the relations/dynamics between populations/colonies/species/empires apparently is quite difficult without things getting very complicated very fast.

IMO the only chance to keep things KISS here is to cut corners. We have to face the fact that we can't include everything that would be nice and interesting to have.

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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#37 Post by The Silent One » Fri May 17, 2019 2:13 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 1:44 pm
IMO the only chance to keep things KISS here is to cut corners.
Couldn't agree more.
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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#38 Post by labgnome » Sat May 18, 2019 8:38 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 1:44 pm
IMO the only chance to keep things KISS here is to cut corners. We have to face the fact that we can't include everything that would be nice and interesting to have.
IMO: I think there is a difference between cutting corners and admitting we can't have everything we want. I'm certainly not in favor of abandoning simplicity, I just think it's healthy to re-evaluate these sorts of things every so-often, especially if there is a consistent reason to call in into question.
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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#39 Post by Vezzra » Sun May 19, 2019 2:26 pm

labgnome wrote:
Sat May 18, 2019 8:38 pm
I'm certainly not in favor of abandoning simplicity, I just think it's healthy to re-evaluate these sorts of things every so-often, especially if there is a consistent reason to call in into question.
I think I understand where you come from, and of course we need to be open to re-evaluating past design decisions (and actually have done that in the past!).

However, there are certain limits to what can be subjected to re-evaluation and what can't. Core design principles that define what kind of game FO is supposed to be on the most fundamental level firmly belong into the group of things not open to discussion. KISS is one of the most fundamental ones, which is why many things in FO are modeled on a very abstract level (the productive infrastructure of an entire planet represented by a few single meters, supply lines being just like that: abstract lines, not actual tiny, automated ships running back and forth between your colonies etc.).

Avoiding micromanagement is an equally fundamental, related design goal.

Giving up on those would change what kind of game FO is meant to be fundamentally, and if you start re-evaluating on that level, you'll never get things done. Simply because the people working on the project change over the years, of the original team only Geoff, TheSilentOne and Krikkitone are still active today (and I'm counting Geoff only because he joined in very early, strictly speaking even he wasn't part of the group who started it all). Different people have different ideas and preferences, and the only way to prevent the game from being redone all over every couple of years is to have an untouchable set of fundamental design goals and principles as a means to guide and keep the project on track.

I'm with the project since autumn 2011, that's almost eight years. The project started in 2003 (eight years before I joined), so I've been partaking roughly half of the entire lifetime of the project, acting in a lead capacity for a few years now. But even I would never think of starting a discussion about those fundamental design goals/principles, although I definitely would have chosen different ones had I been part of the original team and a say in defining them (not because I think they aren't good, but because my preferences are a bit different). Because I think it's important to stick with the fundamentals to ensure continuity, stability and progress.

I hope I've been able to adequately explain why I'm so adamant about this... :D

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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#40 Post by LienRag » Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:05 pm

A few small remarks:
1 - Fleet Repair After Combat is important to make the game fun (not having to micromanage every ship after each minor battle by returning it to a drydock) but it easily goes overboard... Even now if I understand correctly with the Logistics Facilitator it's possible to heal entirely in 2 turns (never actually tested it) and that's basically removing the strategic interest of managing carefully one's troops and defining clear frontlines and fallback positions.
I think that either (20% of the full Structure value) or (around 30-50% of what's left to heal) per turn should be the maximum value reachable, and techs should differentiate by the way they work (needing to be in supply, with similar ships, with specific ships, without combat, without movement, in a system with some specific attribute - like asteroid belt for asteroid hulls -, over a specific Specie or Specie category, over an owned planet,...).

2 - Metobolism-specific habitability boosts are a good thing imho, but it shouldn't mean entirely removing generic habitability boosts (everybody gets more space from orbital constructions).

3 - Breeding monsters should definitely be a different process than producing ships.

4 - Just for nerdiness' sake: manned fighters do not make less sense than manned ships in general. And in FreeOrion they definitely serve a purpose: getting under enemy shields.

And now a bigger one: if the path of aiming towards a lot of micro-themes rather than 5-6 macro-themes is chosen, why limiting our imagination to what exists in classic SF games?
There is so much weirdness in modern science that it makes for credible themes with very different flavors to what we're used to...
Unnamed is a theoritical physicist IIRC so he could be asked about the fanciest things he's knowledgeable about?
Maybe he can help building a coherent Dark Matter theme, a genuine Quantum theme (not buzzwords added to an newtonian physic concept), a Relativity theme, a String-theory theme, and whatsnot?
As for biology, why not a Gaia (hippie) theme in addition to the ones you proposed? And/or themes around k-strategies versus r-strategies? Wildlife versus agriculture/husbandry?
Separating AI into Deterministic AI, Monte-Carlo AI, Self-learning AI?
Creating a Memetic theme?
Having separate theme for Non-reciprocal trade and for reciprocal trade (according to Marcel Mauss' classification)?
Psychanalysis versus cognitive therapy?
A full Cognitive Science theme?
Chemistry themes, both Organic and Mineral or even Nano-Chemistry?
A Spartiat theme (no fancy AI for you sir, here we look straight into the enemy's eyes)?

Yes half of the ideas I juste gave are probably stupid, but are they really all that stupid?

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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#41 Post by Oberlus » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:47 am

LienRag wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 11:05 pm
...
This is great :D

The thread is open for anyone (including Unnamed) to toss his ideas. Preferably in a useful form like the one I propose in this thread:
Oberlus wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:27 pm
Name.
Fluff description.
Brief list of functions it could cover. No need yet to specify if it will require a building, a project or whatnot.
Some thoughts on how this theme could combine with others (for the future, when there are more micro-themes suggestions to work with).
Optionally, a full description of each app it could include.
I think you've come up with many very good ideas for, at least, individual techs. For example, that r/K selection theory could fit very good in some monster/biology theme (either micro or macro), or even for population growth techs.

However, I myself would need rather more verbosity in your proposals. I'm sure I'm not grasping most of the ideas.
For example, what would do that Gaia (hippie) theme? Just by the name I don't get your idea (unless you are referring to gaian environmentalism that state that life in a planet work to change the environment to create or perpetuate life).
Or the Monte Carlo AI: how can a broad class of computational algorithms based on random sampling be the core of a (micro) theme? I would say Monte Carlo and way more advanced forms of computations are already included in the most basic learning techs/themes, way before we an call them AI.

So, please, go ahead and develop your ideas.

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Re: Ideas for small/atomic theme categories

#42 Post by LienRag » Fri Jun 07, 2019 5:53 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:47 am
This is great :D

The thread is open for anyone (including Unnamed) to toss his ideas. Preferably in a useful form like the one I propose in this thread:
Oberlus wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:27 pm
Name.
Fluff description.
Brief list of functions it could cover. No need yet to specify if it will require a building, a project or whatnot.
Some thoughts on how this theme could combine with others (for the future, when there are more micro-themes suggestions to work with).
Optionally, a full description of each app it could include.

I don't want to be contrarian but I don't see how I can provide an useful way as you point it.
The thing is that it's not possible to provide an in-game solution if we don't know what is the in-game problem we want to fix.
E.g, is heat management inside ships a problem? If so, it's possible to invent technologies and ship parts that help mitigates it; if not (as in current design, it's magically cared for by we don't know what) there is no way for a new Thermodynamic micro-theme to be of use here...
You (the core team, not you personally) want to abstract a lot of things and I understand why, but there is room for innovation in the game design only in the parts that are not abstracted... and only you know which abstraction you're ready to unabsract, so to say.

And it's difficult for people that are not part of the core team with the years of discussion you've had between yourselves to understand which in-games problems we can create out of the blue (or from the way realistic physics/biology/whatever works) as it will impact many more things: if I decide that ships have to manage their heat creation, I can easily provide techs that handles that, but it will impact how stealth works and I don't know if you want that, it will require weapons and basically all ship parts to have a "heat producing" value and I don't know if you want that, it will require all hulls to specify what is their surface/volume ratio and I don't know if you want that (even if it would be a boon to Fractal hulls), it will need to be handled whatever theme the player chooses to go with (from what I understand we do not want to have one theme - like the Thermodynamic one I mentioned earlier - being an absolute must for all players) and so I put a possibly unwanted burden on other theme designers, and so on.

It's not very interesting for a new Theme to do the same things as the current themes either; it would need to do different things or to do things differently (like space monster popping at random from nests is very different than producing ships at a shipyard by consuming production points) and I don't know what new mechanisms you are ready to accept in the game.

And it's not just me, it's the same for nearly anyone outside your team (and maybe even inside your team), that's why I don't think it's a good angle to say "Unnamed is welcome to contribute to this thread" as he'll face the same difficulty that I describe above.
I mean it's you, with your ability to understand how you can tweak the game without breaking it apart, that are in the position to ask Unnamed or anyone else with specific knowledge how their knowledge and ideas can fill the canvas that you are building, and to discuss with them if you can somehow adapt your canvas when you find their ideas interesting.
I think you've come up with many very good ideas for, at least, individual techs. For example, that r/K selection theory could fit very good in some monster/biology theme (either micro or macro), or even for population growth techs.
I'm not convinced that r/k could be interesting for a single tech (but maybe you can prove me wrong? Reading through old posts I found that for a lot of things that I thought could only be implemented in a quite elaborated and complex way, your team was actually able to abstract them in a usually interesting and efficient way) as they're really more whole opposite strategies...
I probably could find some interesting mechanisms with them if I was to redesign entirely the way planet suitability works as I offered on another topic, but I don't see now how I could include them in the current tech tree in an useful manner.
However, I myself would need rather more verbosity in your proposals. I'm sure I'm not grasping most of the ideas.
For example, what would do that Gaia (hippie) theme? Just by the name I don't get your idea (unless you are referring to gaian environmentalism that state that life in a planet work to change the environment to create or perpetuate life).
Yep, I was talking about James Lovelock's Gaia (not saying that it's scientifically sound, only that it could offer new playstyles). So it would allow both to help Gaia emerge in new planets, and to learn to talk to it where it exists (so harming it less, and getting better reactions from it) I think?
But again, if there is no penalty to polluting a planet, there's no real point in going Gaia's way...

Or the Monte Carlo AI: how can a broad class of computational algorithms based on random sampling be the core of a (micro) theme? I would say Monte Carlo and way more advanced forms of computations are already included in the most basic learning techs/themes, way before we an call them AI.
You're right obviously (I'm not an AI specialist at all). What I meant is that we currently have the old golden-age AI concept that came after Turing but before anything remotely resembling modern AI existed, and so it's more like a religious approach of it (like in Frederik Pohl's novel where top-level scientists with top-level funding build a top-level computer in order to ask him questions beyond mankind's reach, like "Does God exist?" and it answer "Yes, now it does").
And imho real, computer science-based AI is much more interesting as it's not this abstract omnipotent power that can do anything and as such is quite monodimensional gameplay-wise. I'm thinking about how it's possible to immobilize a self-driving car by painting a yellow circle around it, or how a self-learning algorithm learned how to very efficiently distinguish pedestrians from cars after being shown a lot of pictures of both (pictures of cars had been taken during the day and pictures of pedestrians during the evening, so it learned that if the sky is dark then it's pedestrians): things like that give much more material to work with in game than the abstract AI concept.

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