Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

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Vezzra
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Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#1 Post by Vezzra » Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:49 pm

Having species-species and species-empire relations mechanics in the game is an idea which has been around for a very long time.

However, in recent discussions it has been called into question if we really need/want that/all of that, as a separate concept/mechanic in addition to colony stability/happiness, or if having e.g. only stability/happiness would be sufficient to model everything we want to achieve by those concepts.

Hence this thread. I'm opening this discussion in the Top Priority Design Discussion subforum because I want to, well, prioritize it and come to a definite decision within a reasonable time.

The proposed core idea/mechanic:
  • Each species has an "opinion" (tracked as a meter) of each other species.
  • Each species has an "opinion" (tracked as a meter) of each empire.
  • Each colony has a certain stability/happiness (tracked as a meter), which reflects/abstracts the "political stability"/"overall contentedness" of the colony.
  • Species-species and species-empire relations/opinion affect stability/happiness.
What influences/affects the opinion a species has of other species/empires is subject of a more detailed, separate discussion, and should only be touched here if it helps making a point for or against the topic at hand (otherwise we will derail this thread with details in no time).

The purpose of the proposed mechanics is to provide the player with interesting choices and challenges regarding interacting with the species of their empire, building multi-species empires, etc.

This is only supposed to be an introductory opening post describing the proposal (which is why I will present my case for the proposal in a separate subsequent post). Everyone is encouraged to speak up and make their case pro/con, or maybe for some alternative ideas, or a modified version of the proposal, etc.

Feel free to link to other threads/posts where this topic has already been discussed. However, especially when linking particular elaborate discussions (of which we had a lot recently), please provide a summary of that discussion. Not everyone has the time to dig through dozens of pages of design discussions... ;)

Let the design discussion fun commence! :D

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#2 Post by Vezzra » Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:50 pm

I will now try to explain why I think that we need both, an "opinion" mechanic (species-species and species-empire, or something like that) and a separate "stability/happiness" mechanic.

The fundamental issue here is that we basically want two things, which seem to be very similar, if not the same (and probably hence the idea we could merge that into one thing):

We want to keep track of how much the populations of our colonies like our empire (aka loyalty/allegiance), and we want to keep track how happy/stable our colonies (or their populations) are.

The purpose is to have a mechanic that allows for population discontentedness, unrest up to rebellion/defection from the owning empire; that provides means of peaceful integration of independent worlds, or more general, that allows populations to react to the actions/decisions of the player, etc.

While those two are of course closely related and (in reality) affect each other strongly, these are two different, distinct concepts (an important fact that cannot be stressed enough!). And as long as we want to model both of them in our game, we consequently need two separate mechanics/stats. You cannot model both with just one mechanic just as much as you cannot have the concepts of both research and production with only one mechanic. That's basically like wanting to eat the cake and keep it. ;)

If you want to have only one mechanic, you have to give up one or the other concept. If you want to integrate both concepts, you need two mechanics.

Currently population is just a "mindless" resource, which is required for a couple of things (base for other resources like industry and research, crews for ships), and which comes in several different "variations" (species). These variations provide different boni/mali, and the more of the different variations you are able to claim, the better.

Incorporating additional species into your empire is more or less always a good thing and a no-brainer. The incorporation process itself is uncomplicated.

There are only some placeholder exceptions to that rule, like the current xenophobic and rudimentary happiness mechanics. Both are practically negligible.

The unanimous consensus is that this isn't what we want. We want our populations to be not-mindless entities players need to deal with and react to:

1) While multi-species empires should of course be viable, having more species in your empire should come with certain drawbacks/costs. Like multi-ethnic nations/empires in reality, a multi-ethnic empire should be more difficult to hold together than an empire with only a few or even one species.

2) Incorporating a new species into your empire should be a task that requires effort/costs.

3) The population of your empire should react to your decisions and actions, and those reactions should depend on the species. Populations of different species should react differently to the decisions/actions of the player.

4) Players should have different, clearly distinct, viable ways to deal with the population of their empire and their reactions to the players decisions and actions. More precisely, we want to offer them "peaceful"/"diplomatic" approaches versus "aggressive"/"oppressive" ones. A player should e.g. have the choice to handle discontentedness/unrest on a colony (which, in game mechanic terms, means, raising stability/happiness) either by trying to appease/calm the population, or by suppressing it (send in the military). Another example, a player should be able to acquire a native world by other means than military conquest.

5) The way a player treats one colony should not only affect that colony alone. (If I happily slaughter those nasty Abbadoni on one of my worlds, the Abbadoni on my other worlds shouldn't celebrate me like a saviour.)

6) This one might be a bit controversial, as apparently not everyone likes it, but I think it's very important because it addresses something that has bothered me to no end in other 4X space games: ship crew loyalty. In FO, ship crew species is tracked (because species can provide boni to ship stats). Loyalty of ship crews should be a thing. Because that way, you can't just snatch this colony of a super-pilot species, build all your new warships there and use them to slaughter the rest of their former empire (which maybe contains a lot of other colonies with the same species), without suffering severe repercussions (all you brand new ships defecting to that empire and turning on you).

7) Populations should have at least some memory of past decisions/actions of the player, otherwise you could wipe out populations and only have to handle the repercussions while e.g. your concentration camps are active. Once the job is done, scrap them, and a turn later everyone is peachy fine. Not.

8.) One final factor, which is very important regarding this discussion: In FO, species!=empire is one of the fundamental design decisions.

How on earth are you going to model all this with just a planetary stat? This is going to be difficult enough with the proposed opinion and stability mechanics, completely and utterly impossible to do with only one of those.

Point 6 alone is only doable with species-empire relations.

Staying true to point 8 the same, unless you want either all your population react the same regardless of species (scrap 3, which goes against the spirit of 8.) or have no memory of past actions (scrap 7). You can't have pops of different species react differently AND have a memory of past player actions without a per-species bookkeeping of said memory (which is what species-empire relations is about).

Point 4 is simply impossible without tracking stability and loyalty separately. The moment we want to offer the player these different, distinct options to deal with their populations, you need both mechanics to model all possible variations: a player can ensure stability of their colonies by making the population like their empire, or by suppressing unrest. In both cases you get higher stability, but the former only works if you get the pop to like you, the latter will work regardless of how much the pop likes you (and make them dislike you).

Point 1 requires species-species relations if we want to model that in a meaningful way (and not just a plain and boring more species -> more tension). There should be species that get along with each other better than other species. A xenophilic species should be easier to integrate into your empire than a xenophobic one. Holding together an empire of different species of peace-loving tree-huggers should be easier than an empire of different species of warmongering xenophobes.

Point 2 requires point 7, unless we want to do it in a very simple and boring way (like an influence project that costs a certain amount of IP and takes a certain number of turns and then bang, the species is yours).

Point 7 in conjunction with most other points require some kind of per-species bookkeeping in general.

I could probably go on and on. Point is, if we only want happiness/stability, or only species-empire relations etc., most of the above just can't be done. Only a very reduced, simplified version of some of the points maybe. Which means we would sacrifice a lot of interesting possibilities and choices we could otherwise offer players.

IMO these possibilities and choices are (by far!) sufficiently interesting and fun to justify a more complex setup with species-empire relations, species-species relations and stability/happiness mechanics.

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#3 Post by Oberlus » Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:11 pm

I must surrender to this arguments.

I do want to have all 8 points in the list.

Just to be sure: mentions to loyalty refer to species opinions on empires, isn't it?


If in a game we have N empires, M species and P planets, we get:
- N*M species-empire meters (that abstract the species bookkeeping, right?).
- M*M species-species meters.
- P stability meters.

Vezzra wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:50 pm
you can't just snatch this colony of a super-pilot species, build all your new warships there and use them to slaughter the rest of their former empire (which maybe contains a lot of other colonies with the same species), without suffering severe repercussions (all you brand new ships defecting to that empire and turning on you).
Problem I see: how do we represent that Empire A is treating well their Cray and conquering Empire B's Cray worlds and vice versa? This might not seem like a real problem, until you think of a game where Empire A started as Cray and Empire B started also as Cray. Both empires could end up having all their Cray worlds and fleets revolting, because "Cray" is a single species?

We know that a given species can be very viciously aggressive to the same species (ants kill other ants, humans kill other humans). People from Madrid can hate people from London and vice versa.
So I think I should be able to use Cray to slaughter Cray of an enemy Empire without that making unhappy my Cray. They could even get happier. But of course, the Crays that I conquer and the rest of Crays from the enemy empire would like me less. And after some time of treating well the recently conquered Cray they would like me more without that implying that the rest of my enemy's Crays are also happier with me (their own empire is also treating them well). It's complex.

So what if we have planet-empire relations (loyalty of each planet to each empire) affected by species values and forget about species-empire and species-species?
- P*N loyalty meters.
- P stability meters.

Loyalty meters of each planet X would be affected by what we do to other planet Y (of the same species as well as of different species) also considering the empire that owns that planet Y and the "loyalty" that the species of each planet X has to the empire of planet Y.

I'll try to compose some realistic examples to better explain this, need time.

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#4 Post by labgnome » Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:35 am

Vezzra wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:49 pm
The proposed core idea/mechanic:
  • Each species has an "opinion" (tracked as a meter) of each other species.
  • Each species has an "opinion" (tracked as a meter) of each empire.
  • Each colony has a certain stability/happiness (tracked as a meter), which reflects/abstracts the "political stability"/"overall contentedness" of the colony.
  • Species-species and species-empire relations/opinion affect stability/happiness.
I would question weather or not species need to "opinion" of each other species. I'd instead prefer empires to have opinions of other empires, but that can be saved for when we want to work-out diplomacy.

Oberlus wrote:
Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:11 pm
If in a game we have N empires, M species and P planets, we get:
- N*M species-empire meters (that abstract the species bookkeeping, right?).
- M*M species-species meters.
- P stability meters.
I would more say that you would have:
-N*M species-empire meters
-(M*M)-M species-species meters (as species shouldn't have "opinions" of themselves)
-P stability meters

However I would do away with species-species tracking, as I think it's overly-complex. Also, I don't see how this is necessary to deal with empire diversity. I think that extra influence upkeep per species is enough.

Problem I see: how do we represent that Empire A is treating well their Cray and conquering Empire B's Cray worlds and vice versa? This might not seem like a real problem, until you think of a game where Empire A started as Cray and Empire B started also as Cray. Both empires could end up having all their Cray worlds and fleets revolting, because "Cray" is a single species?
I would say that if a planet of Cray is being invaded by other Cray, that this should not effect species opinion. If you consider it too much of an exploit to be able to get a planet and then use it to invade another planet of the same species, you could have an opinion minimum to produce troops. That way you can't use a species that hates your empire to get more of that species, without generating more hate for your empire. You would have to get that species to like your empire first.
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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#5 Post by Krikkitone » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:46 am

Agree in general

Some bits though: I doubt we need a species-species relationship.

As for the invading a different empire of the same species, I think that is where the planetary stability comes in.

If I invade the Human world of Earth controlled by the evil Earthican Empire
1. All humans become more unhappy with me
2. Earth gets a stability penalty (the Humans on Earth are extra unhappy with me based on their previous stability...ie how much they liked the Earthican Empire)

Even if I treat humans well in my Empire, newly conquered territories like Earth will have low stability, until they adjust. And my well cared for humans will be slightly less happy... but they will have many turns of "propaganda" increasing the stability of their worlds (Martian Empire Human Pride, Earthican humans are losers)

Now how much "invading" hurts human opinion could depend... was this a surgical removal of military assets, or did I put General Genghis Sherman Cato in charge of irradiating the population centers.


I see Stability for a world as being well modeled with 3 components
1-species opinion
2-"accumulated propaganda" this world's "history" with this empire (starting with how much they liked the empire they were taken from, invade a world with high stability from "propaganda" and that "propaganda" makes them hate you)
3-"security" ie military oppression (invade a world with high stability from "security" and they will love you...because the security effect disappears the instant the troops are gone)

1&2 have to be tracked and carried because history matters
3 is calculated new each turn...weakening the troops on a world like that could lead to rebellion

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#6 Post by Oberlus » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:54 am

Krikkitone wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:46 am
I doubt we need a species-species relationship.
Agree. For the following considerations, I'm ignoring species-species interactions, which I think does not contribute much to the game.


Pacific (influence) conquest should be possible at a per planet basis. This is obvious, I guess: you don't want to allow for full conquest of a mono-species empire by influencing a planet, so the conquest should not operate over species as a whole, but over planets or at most systems.

If pacific conquest is a matter of modifying the loyalty/opinion of the target planet, and we agree that loyalty is not happiness/stability, then each planet must have its own loyalty meters, one for each empire.

If we indeed need such planetary loyalty meters, we can track loyalty of all species with those meters.
A screen for species-empire relations could show average, minimum, maximum of planetary loyalty of each species to each empire without requiring actual species-species meters.

This would enable all 8 points enumarated by Vezzra, I think.

Krikkitone wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:46 am
I see Stability for a world as being well modeled with 3 components
1-species opinion
2-"accumulated propaganda" this world's "history" with this empire (starting with how much they liked the empire they were taken from, invade a world with high stability from "propaganda" and that "propaganda" makes them hate you)
3-"security" ie military oppression (invade a world with high stability from "security" and they will love you...because the security effect disappears the instant the troops are gone)

1&2 have to be tracked and carried because history matters
3 is calculated new each turn...weakening the troops on a world like that could lead to rebellion
With only planetary opinion/loyalty meters, this would be as follows:

1-planetary opinion/loyalty
2-"accumulated propaganda", which is recorded in the planetary opinion/loyalty meter.
3-"security" (invade a world with low loyalty to its own empire that was kept stable via security, and they will like you in base of previous loyalty they had to your empire plus the bonus from freeing them from the previous owner's oppression/security, what you do to them after that is up to you).

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#7 Post by labgnome » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:06 pm

Krikkitone wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:46 am
If I invade the Human world of Earth controlled by the evil Earthican Empire
1. All humans become more unhappy with me
2. Earth gets a stability penalty (the Humans on Earth are extra unhappy with me based on their previous stability...ie how much they liked the Earthican Empire)
I am confused on this section. Do you mean that both all humans become more unhappy with you and that Earth gets a stability penalty? Or do you mean that either all humans become unhappy with you or that Earth gets a stability penalty? Your post isn't clear to me on the details.
Now how much "invading" hurts human opinion could depend... was this a surgical removal of military assets, or did I put General Genghis Sherman Cato in charge of irradiating the population centers.
What does this section even mean? We can't choose weather or not military assets were "surgically removed" or population centers were "irradiated" and we don't have generals in the game. I am confused as to what you are trying to say here.

I see Stability for a world as being well modeled with 3 components
1-species opinion
2-"accumulated propaganda" this world's "history" with this empire (starting with how much they liked the empire they were taken from, invade a world with high stability from "propaganda" and that "propaganda" makes them hate you)
3-"security" ie military oppression (invade a world with high stability from "security" and they will love you...because the security effect disappears the instant the troops are gone)

1&2 have to be tracked and carried because history matters
3 is calculated new each turn...weakening the troops on a world like that could lead to rebellion
For points 2 & 3 do you mean: propaganda produces higher stability and higher opinion & higher stability, while security produces lower opinion & higher stability?

I would question weather or not propaganda needs to be tracked and carried, as it would negate the need for propaganda to be active. I think propaganda's effect on the opinion meter would be sufficient.
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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#8 Post by Oberlus » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:19 pm

labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:06 pm
both all humans become more unhappy with you and that Earth gets a stability penalty?
Yes, both (if I understood it correctly, at least I don't have any feeling of ambiguity).
Krikkitone wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:46 am
Now how much "invading" hurts human opinion could depend... was this a surgical removal of military assets, or did I put General Genghis Sherman Cato in charge of irradiating the population centers.
What does this section even mean? We can't choose weather or not military assets were "surgically removed" or population centers were "irradiated" and we don't have generals in the game.
We could have different kind of conquest mechanics, depending on what you do with the population after conquest. This is not yet present in game, but makes sense with government, opinion, etc.
propaganda produces higher stability and higher opinion & higher stability, while security produces lower opinion & higher stability?
Different kinds of propaganda and non-oppressive policies could produce different boosts to opinion and/or stability, while oppression policies should lower happiness but ensure stability.
I would question weather or not propaganda needs to be tracked [...] I think propaganda's effect on the opinion meter would be sufficient.
Exactly. You don't track propaganda itself, but the effects: if a propaganda project rises opinion (and then it finishes), opinion is higher, and that itself is the recording of the propaganda effects.

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#9 Post by labgnome » Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:44 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:54 am
Pacific (influence) conquest should be possible at a per planet basis. This is obvious, I guess: you don't want to allow for full conquest of a mono-species empire by influencing a planet, so the conquest should not operate over species as a whole, but over planets or at most systems.
I would say that influence conquest should work on a per-planet basis, as you can find systems with different species on different planets.

If pacific conquest is a matter of modifying the loyalty/opinion of the target planet, and we agree that loyalty is not happiness/stability, then each planet must have its own loyalty meters, one for each empire.
So you would have a planet go to an empire when the opinion meter reaches a certain level? Or would you have influence conquest raise the opinion meter?

If we indeed need such planetary loyalty meters, we can track loyalty of all species with those meters.
A screen for species-empire relations could show average, minimum, maximum of planetary loyalty of each species to each empire without requiring actual species-species meters.
I would say that we could just use the average planetary opinion to track fleet loyalty. If we wanted to tack that at all.
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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#10 Post by Oberlus » Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:19 pm

labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:44 pm
If pacific conquest is a matter of modifying the loyalty/opinion of the target planet, and we agree that loyalty is not happiness/stability, then each planet must have its own loyalty meters, one for each empire.
So you would have a planet go to an empire when the opinion meter reaches a certain level? Or would you have influence conquest raise the opinion meter?
It depends, what do you mean by "influence conquest" in terms of actual mechanics to represent it?
If influence conquest is "modifying the loyalty/opinion meter of the target planet", then you would influence-conquest a planet any way that could modify loyalty of a foreign planet (through policies, influence-projects and any other action that modifies could do that). If influence conquest is something different, then, well, it depends on that is that "something different". I assume it would not be a "influence-conquest project", since it looks to be labelled as boring by several people here, and I think they are right.
labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:44 pm
I would say that we could just use the average planetary opinion to track fleet loyalty. If we wanted to tack that at all.
Yes, good idea. That would work in terms of fleet loyalty (you don't lose control of fleets as long a s you don't treat too bad that specoes globally/on average). Not very fine-grained as if we tracked planet of origin for each ship, but certainly good enough to model fleet defection and free of the inconvenience of tracking planet of origin (i.e. not possible with current implementation that only tracks species, plus the issue of what happens when the original planet changes ownership or loses all population).

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#11 Post by labgnome » Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:03 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:19 pm
labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:44 pm
So you would have a planet go to an empire when the opinion meter reaches a certain level? Or would you have influence conquest raise the opinion meter?
It depends, what do you mean by "influence conquest" in terms of actual mechanics to represent it?
If influence conquest is "modifying the loyalty/opinion meter of the target planet", then you would influence-conquest a planet any way that could modify loyalty of a foreign planet (through policies, influence-projects and any other action that modifies could do that). If influence conquest is something different, then, well, it depends on that is that "something different". I assume it would not be a "influence-conquest project", since it looks to be labelled as boring by several people here, and I think they are right.
I mean whatever you see peaceful conquest as being. I presume however it will work you will spend influence to get a new planet. The question I have is: will that influence be spent directly on acquiring the planet or will it be spent directly on swaying the opinion?
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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#12 Post by Oberlus » Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:03 pm

labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:03 pm
I mean whatever you see peaceful conquest as being.
For me "peaceful conquest" is the concept of acquiring a planet without using violence. In game, that means conquering a planet without using troops. Apart from that generic obviousness, that I'm sure it's not what you are asking, I don't know what to answer. Getting back to your previous questions, which I think I understand better now:
labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:44 pm
would have a planet go to an empire when the opinion meter reaches a certain level?
Yes.
Or would you have influence conquest raise the opinion meter?
Influence conquest is the concept of conquering via influence, but it's not a description of a mechanic per se, while "rising opinion until certain level makes you acquire the planet" is a specific mechanic description. So I would say "no, the previous one".
Unless by "influence conquest" you mean some specific mechanic that I fail to grasp, e.g. an influence project that you invest influence into and is targeted at the foreign empire you want to acquire, that IFF it is succesful, changes ownership of the planet to you. My perception is (was?) this system alone is boring, as stated by you, Vezzra and others, so I don't think you are asking me this.
I'm sorry I cannot understand your questions better. And now, as per the following question, I really don't know what you mean (but I'll try to answer):
I presume however it will work you will spend influence to get a new planet.
Maybe. "Spend influence" is too generic for me to be sure what you mean. We could spend influence into:
- Applying policies that made some foreign planets like me more.
- Influence projects (propaganda) targeted at specific foreign planets (that I want to acquire) to rise their opinion on me.
- Maybe some other cases?

And just "maybe" because it could be possible (if we decide to do so) to rise the opinion of certain planets just because of other kind of actions not directly fuelled by influence. I can imagine a warmongering planet that leaves it's treehugger empire because it is too treehugging for them and joins yours because you are some badass conquering treehugger planets (your actions over time have been rising their opinion on you).
will that influence be spent directly on acquiring the planet or will it be spent directly on swaying the opinion?
Since "directly on acquiring the planet" does not mean anything specific to me, I'd say "directly on swaying the opinion" is the answer. But again, I'm not sure I am understanding the question, because I still don't know what you mean by "directly on acquiring the planet. If I have to bet, I'd say both options boil down to the same: affect the opinion to like you more than the current owner.

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#13 Post by labgnome » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:52 am

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:03 pm
labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:44 pm
would have a planet go to an empire when the opinion meter reaches a certain level?
Yes.
This answers my questions. I suppose the next thing to ask is exactly how you see this operating? Like would there be a Native opinion, that you would have to lower as well before you could acquire the planet?
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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#14 Post by Oberlus » Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:43 am

labgnome wrote:
Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:52 am
how you see this operating? Like would there be a Native opinion, that you would have to lower as well before you could acquire the planet?
As said before, each planet would have one loyalty meter for each empire. Not said before, but took as granted from my POV, a planet shouldn't be loyal to two empires at the same time, so rising loyalty/opinion on one empire should be accompanied by lowering loyalty/opinion on the rest of empires. A way to do so could be forcing all the meters sum up a value between 0 and 1 (100%), so that a planet could not like any empire and that if a planet really loves one empire then it cannot like any other empire. But all this needs more thoughts.
[Edited] The specificities of this shouldn't be discussed in this thread [maybe?]. And that is [maybe] true also for the last five posts included this one. Too late I've realised we're [maybe] derailing the thread exactly as Vezzra asked not to do. [Maybe] I'd move them to a new thread on Other Game Design.

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Re: Species Opinion & Stability/Happiness mechanics

#15 Post by The Silent One » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:42 am

Thanks, Vezzra, for the exhaustive summary and proposal. Very good job!
Oberlus wrote:I must surrender to this arguments.
Oberlus, nooo. NO SURRENDER! :wink:

My detailed thoughts, can be skipped if you just want to read my proposal below:
1 [drawbacks for multi-species empires]:

I agree that multi-species empires need to have some draw-backs, and I see it may be fun that you can integrate some species better than others. Would species-species relations be static (stay the same thorughout the game) or dynamic (i. e. change during the game)? When my Eaxxaw have bombed the Abbadoni (;)), will the Abbadoni then hate all Eaxxaw in the future? That would be very complex, like Abbadoni hating Eaxxaw for other empires as well, although they didn't hurt a single one.

I vote for a simple approach that multi-species empires come with a high influence-cost.

2 [cost for integrating new species]

I also agree.

3 [(a) population should react to your decisions and actions, (b) those reactions should depend on the species]

(a) is a clear yes for me, but about (b) I'm less certain. (b) will force players into a certain play style: say I like a warmongering play style, but get the peace-loving Scylior, so I have to go for the harmony route?
I think there should always be a happiness-penalty on conquering a world, but maybe it could be mitigated with policies ("war-propaganda").

4 [peaceful vs. aggressive interaction with population]

I'm uncertain about the game-play value of this.

5 [species, not planet-wide reaction to violence]

Very good, happiness malus to all of your worlds with that species on.

6 [ship crew has loyalty]

"you can't just snatch this colony of a super-pilot species, build all your new warships there and use them to slaughter the rest of their former empire"

With (5), the planet will suffer a great happiness reduction and should stop producing ships due to low happiness.

7 [population has memory of violent behaviour]

The memory is the reduction in happiness; an active concentration camp should cause a reduction in happiness of the whole species each turn it is active. What we should put thought into is how happiness will/will not regenerate. If you just stop doing evil things, and happiness regenerates at 1/turn that is boring.

8 [species != empire]

I agree on this, but not that this constitutes the need for many stats.

My proposal:

1] Multi-species empires should be harder to maintain, represented by an influence upkeep. Integrating new species comes with a temporary high influence cost, and a constant lower influence upkeep cost. There should be policies that help a multi-species-empire play-style, and others that help single-species empire styles.

2] Aggressive behaviour should always be reprimanded by an empires population, and most by the species affected by the violent behaviour. There may be species traits that lead to higher or lower tolerance towards violence. Population reacts to violence with a reduction to happiness, especially planets with the same species as affected by the violence.

Low happiness will lead to production stop on the planet, reduced resource output, and rebellion. Rebellion will reduce troops, complete loss of troops leads to colony independence.

Happiness should regenerate only slowly, or need influence to regenerate.

There should be policies that promote a violent or peaceful play style.

3] To peacefully take over worlds, some sort of unit(s) should be required.

4] I would do without ship crew loyalty, species-species and species-empire relations. This will limit complexity - FreeOrion already has a steep learning curve.
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