Species modified during gameplay?

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Oberlus
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Species modified during gameplay?

#1 Post by Oberlus » Thu Apr 25, 2019 9:32 am

Xenological Hybridization.

I have wet dreams with this technology, or better said with the idea of modifying (creating new) species based on the species your empire already have. This would be brand new mechanic in the game, with all the fuss that it involves to design, code and balance it. But let's see if it could be worth it.

What I have in mind implies a new window (or view) similar to the ship design window, where you could add and remove traits from species. And there should be rules to constraint what can be done to avoid it being OP. Say for now that each species only accepts traits from species of the same metabolism, only one trait (maybe two with an expensive refinement of the tech), the traits are averaged rounding up: if you give a good population trait to a bad population species, you get an average population species; good plus average gives you good (rounding up), average or bad plus great gives good; and good plus great gives you great. And to avoid an obvious exploit, hybrid species should not be hybridisable again (you can only create new species from starting ones).
An example:
You have Laenfa (phototrophic, telepathic, good population, ocean broad, good stockpile, bad defence and offence troops, great detection and stealth) and Chato (phototrophic, toxic broad, great research, bad offence troops). You take Laenfa as the starting species and give it great research, so you get a Laenfa+ species that is phototrophic, telepathic, good population, ocean broad, good stockpile, bad defence and offence troops, great detection, great stealth and good research.
The environment preferences could be ignored (not modifiable, which seems uninteresting), treated as another trait that can be "traded" and is averaged with the original trait (so that giving Tencher's barren standard to ocean narrow Happybirthday would make Happybirthday+ desert standard, assuming the narrow/standard/broad part of the trait is also rounded up), or as a special trait that can be traded but is not averaged (Happybirthday+ would be barren standard).

A simpler alternative implementation could be averaging all the traits of two species. Laenfa+Chato would be broad swamp, phototrophic, telepathic, good population, bad offence troops, good detection, stealth and research.

I guess the player would give the species a name. The image for it could be the one from the starting species with colours changed, or new images from a pool. Things like Pedia descriptions should be up to the player, but would have little importance (maybe on multiplayer games if you want to brag about your creations, but will banish once the game ends).

What do you think?

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labgnome
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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#2 Post by labgnome » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:51 am

It seems a bit ambitions. Stellaris has species modification thought, but that's a pretty ambitions and complicated game.

However I would that before we implement something like that as an in-game feature we should probably have a species creation option for starting off. What we would need to do first to make something like that work is to figure out how much each trait should be worth on some kind of point-buy system. So basically we need to figure out how much each trait in the game is worth and how many of those points we want players to be able to spend to create species.
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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#3 Post by Oberlus » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:01 am

labgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:51 am
It seems a bit ambitions.
Oh, yes.
species creation option for starting off. What we would need to do first to make something like that work is to figure out how much each trait should be worth on some kind of point-buy system. So basically we need to figure out how much each trait in the game is worth and how many of those points we want players to be able to spend to create species.
More on this here.

I also want a way to create custom species. However, that system would be independent of the tech tree, but what I talk about in the OP is not. That's why I brought it up, to see if it gets support for future implementation (and thus I can consider it in the new tech tree, along with any placeholder required until that implementation comes true) or discard it for good.

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labgnome
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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#4 Post by labgnome » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:28 am

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:01 am
I also want a way to create custom species. However, that system would be independent of the tech tree, but what I talk about in the OP is not. That's why I brought it up, to see if it gets support for future implementation (and thus I can consider it in the new tech tree, along with any placeholder required until that implementation comes true) or discard it for good.
Species creation would be really powerful. Even with limits put on it. That's not even thinking about how difficult that would be to program in. While I think the idea is cool, it's the sort of thing I think should be much further down the line if it gets implemented at all. I'm honestly not even sure if we want to give that kind of power to the player in the game.
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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#5 Post by Oberlus » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:34 am

labgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:28 am
Species creation would be really powerful. Even with limits put on it.
Could you give an example using the mechanics I sketched in the OP?
labgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:28 am
That's not even thinking about how difficult that would be to program in.
I'll wait for programmers feedback.
labgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:28 am
it's the sort of thing I think should be much further down the line if it gets implemented at all.
Again, I'm not asking for its implementation now or in a near future, I'm asking if it's reasonable to consider such mechanic to be introduced in the game. I understand you'd say no, I'd say yes, and let's see what other players and the developers think about.

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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#6 Post by labgnome » Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:53 am

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:34 am
Could you give an example using the mechanics I sketched in the OP?
Namely you cold grab up more planet types very easily. Especially with anything having the organic metabolism. The mechanics you propose would definitely also create a balance problem between metabolism types as right now organic has the broadest range and highest number of species. An organics species with natives will definitely beat-out any other metabolism, just in the shear variety of traits and planet types they can pick through.
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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#7 Post by AndrewW » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:15 pm

labgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:51 am
However I would that before we implement something like that as an in-game feature we should probably have a species creation option for starting off. What we would need to do first to make something like that work is to figure out how much each trait should be worth on some kind of point-buy system. So basically we need to figure out how much each trait in the game is worth and how many of those points we want players to be able to spend to create species.
So something like the one in Master of Orion II?

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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#8 Post by Oberlus » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:27 pm

AndrewW wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:15 pm
labgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:51 am
However I would that before we implement something like that as an in-game feature we should probably have a species creation option for starting off. What we would need to do first to make something like that work is to figure out how much each trait should be worth on some kind of point-buy system. So basically we need to figure out how much each trait in the game is worth and how many of those points we want players to be able to spend to create species.
So something like the one in Master of Orion II?
Yes. You can discuss that idea on its own thread.

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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#9 Post by Oberlus » Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:54 pm

labgnome wrote:
Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:53 am
you cold grab up more planet types very easily. Especially with anything having the organic metabolism.
That depends, I think, on how cheap you make that tech. In FreeOrion one single species can colonise all environments if it invests enough RPs on growth techs. That is, usually, when you get Xenological Hybridization, the same tech I'm talking about here. Looking it from that glass, OP's proposal might not be that powerful. Plus it would be dependent on the galaxy setting and its random generation (if you start as a organic species in terran env. and you can't find any other organic that isn't also in desert, terran or ocean, then you cannot get much from this tech).
Anyway, if this concern about too much environment accessibility could turn out true, we could take the suggested version that ignores metabolism (so that your hybridised species can only access metabolisms that your regular species already have access to).
The mechanics you propose would definitely also create a balance problem between metabolism types as right now organic has the broadest range and highest number of species. An organics species with natives will definitely beat-out any other metabolism, just in the shear variety of traits and planet types they can pick through.
I'm not sure of that. But to really know it I'll need to make some simulations, it isn't obvious at first glance.
See, organics have 18 species, none in the barren-radiated-inferno section. If environment is averaged, hybridising toxic and tundra would give you radiated, any other pairs of species would give you another organic species in their usual env. section. But this organics also have Exobots to get barren-radiated-inferno planets, so I don't see the great advantage anywhere.
Regarding variety of traits, I'm looking for the most powerful combinations, and I see e.g. Gysache + Muursh. If averaging both species (simplest mechanic in the OP), you get an organic terran (or ocean) species with good industry and pilots, all the rest average. Not bad, but not overkilling. You can do better with Gysache and Muursh without hybridising. And this was the most powerful combination I could find in this 15' I've been tinkering with it (only with organics).
If anyone finds a really concerning case, please post it.

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Krikkitone
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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#10 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:54 pm

A few different thoughts on "species modification" techs

1. Taking an existing species and modifying it seems like the best way to balance (as opposed to just making a new species from scratch)... this way expanding your empire's Metabolism/Environmental Preference is difficult (ie requires getting natives or going for a more expensive process)

2. Point based system (similar to MOO2) works well for what we are looking at

3. The "Hybridization" idea could simply mean that picks aren't available until you get a species that has them... so you can't make a species into good pilots unless you already have a good pilots species


So I would say
-Modify a species you currently have

-Can only give it picks that belong to one of the other species you have (this is eased with a higher level tech)

-There may be a limit to the "Total amount of change" you can make [ie decreasing a pick value is still a change, and changing metabolism/environment would be a large change even if it cost no picks when starting a game] to a native/original species based on the technology level

-Have some method to "update" worlds of one species into another (as long as they are based on the same Original species.... maybe with a more advanced tech you can change world from any one species into any other you can make)


So Species Traits would have a "pick value", and some like "metabolism" would have a "change value" as well

Manipulation techs would be different based on Metabolism

Organic, Phototrophic, SelfSustaining->Biotech (separate techs for each?)
Lithic->Crystal
Robotic->Cyber

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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#11 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:17 pm

What would be the exact purpose of such a system?

If you are single player and want to be able to play (against) such species --> go FOCS scripting

If you are multi player and want to be able to play (against) such species --> get yourself a neutral human game master which decides if your suggested species are balanced or not and then go FOCS scripting (or find another way to agree the species with others you want to play the game with)

Any (e.g. point-based) system of species generation will be hard to balance.
You want a mini-puzzle game for skillfully min-maxing that point system? --> we have tons of more important things to implement, e.g. making the existing species more interesting

As I do not see people discussing multi-player game setups with their own species I think there is not much demand.

Currently with how the tech works the differences between species become less and less important (mostly pop) and here and there colonize with certain species to build ships with certain capabilities (good troops/weapons/fuel/detection). For that species are a kind of strategic resource.

Why would species "alchemy" as proposed in the OP add interesting gameplay options?
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: Species modified during gameplay?

#12 Post by Oberlus » Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:42 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Tue Apr 30, 2019 1:17 pm
What would be the exact purpose of such a system? [...] Why would species "alchemy" as proposed in the OP add interesting gameplay options?
Regarding the in-mid-game species hybridisation, the purpose would be to bring in more interesting things to do. At least, I find it more interesting (looking for the good match for another of your species to colonise certain environments, or to get an interesting combination of traits) than just getting +2*SIZE pop on hostile planets and +1*SIZE on poor planets.
If you are single [or multi] player and want to be able to play (against) such species
Not the point. It's not about creating species to fight against, is about bringing extra interest to a tech that has an inspiring name that then does something boring.
Any (e.g. point-based) system of species generation will be hard to balance.
Many things already in the game are hard to balance. That does not make them automatically bad for gameplay. But please note that in this thread I'm not interested at all in a point-based species generation before game, only about in-game hybridisation of species.

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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#13 Post by Krikkitone » Tue Apr 30, 2019 3:48 pm

Species 'alchemy' allows the possibility of getting new species benefits through tech, not just conquest/diplomacy

It also is interesting storywise.

They are a strategic resource so it should be limited/high tech/expensive, but it would be good to add.

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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#14 Post by Vezzra » Wed May 01, 2019 3:34 pm

If we ever decide to add custom species mechanics to FO, I'd suggest something similar to what Stellaris does. Their species concept works very well, as far as I can tell.

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Re: Species modified during gameplay?

#15 Post by Oberlus » Wed May 01, 2019 3:42 pm

Vezzra wrote:
Wed May 01, 2019 3:34 pm
If we ever decide to add custom species mechanics to FO, I'd suggest something similar to what Stellaris does. Their species concept works very well, as far as I can tell.
And what do you think of OP's suggestions? (hybridisation of species during game, not custom species before starting a game).

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