Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

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Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#1 Post by Oberlus » Tue Jul 30, 2019 3:01 pm

FreeOrion does not model slavery, social classes, hierarchical social structure, opinions, etc.
There are many discussions about the subject [TO DO: links]. The consensus seems to be that the fun that can bring into game is worth the extra gameplay complexity and the efforts to implement it.

FreeOrion certainly does not model species/populations integration into empires: you invade a planet and that's it. The following proposal focuses on a very basic (at least for starters) distinction between oppression/domination and cooperation within an empire (obviously, cooperation is related to diplomacy, but diplomacy among empires is something apart from this suggestion) to model this last issue: population (and species) integration/assimilation into an empire.

One old thread from 2005 with interesting discussion on this matter, but not very specific on implementation.


My general idea is:

Oppression forces stability despite of low loyalty/happines. Benefits from conquered populations are taken by force, there is no negotiation. The losers do whatever the winners want. Good for empires that progress through brute force.
  • Pros: fast to get benefits from conquered planets; dominated populations have a bonus for industry; have more means to counter civil revolts.
  • Cons: require military investment to keep populations under control, or the resulting unstability disables the planetary output; unstable planets can revolt and defect to foreign empires; dominated populations have a malus for research and influence.
Cooperation pursues pacificic integration of population. Benefits from integrated populations are freely given by those populations (in exchange of other things, mutual benefit). The union in equality makes the strength.
  • Pros: the integrated populations are more loyal and stable, harder to revolt and to persuade to defect to forein empires; if they become loyal (happy) enough, they get a bonus to production of research, industry and influence (*).
  • Cons: the process of integration takes more time, so the benefits from the integrated populations take more time to kick in; if stability and loyalty drops down for whatever reasons, the resulting revolts are quite difficult to halt.
Pros and cons under your consideration, this is just a first attempt. But with the above suggestion, we get oppressive empires can expand faster ad have a bonus to industry but are limited in growth, research and influence; while cooperative (egalitarian) empires expand slower but with less requirements on industry and with less limitations in growth, research and incluence (so in the long run even their industry bonuses surpass those of the oppressive empires).


And now what really concerns me: how to put this into a tech tree, and what would be the underlying mechanics. First the latter.


Base underlying mechanics:
  1. Stability, S, affects planetary population. A simple formula could be production_meter = Value*S/threshold. Stabilities over threshold get a bonus, under threshold get a malus (*).
  2. Stability is equal to the maximum of security and loyalty-to-current-owner, possibly adjusted by other effects aside from whatever affects loyalty/security themselves (I can't come up with any right now).
  3. Each planet has one loyalty meter per each empire, Lx, subject to 0 <= L1+L2+...+Ln = L* <= 1. When some effect increases the loyalty to one empire and L* is already 1, the loyalty of all other empires will be reduced proportionally to ensure L*=1. When some effect reduces the loyalty to one empire (minimum 0), other empires does not get extra loyalty, so L* decreases.
  4. Each planet has a security value. How to calculate this, I'm very unsure.
From (1) and (2), we get that empires focusing on oppression (security) will get techs and apply policies that increase security (and not care about the effects of their action on their populations loyalties), while empires focusing on cooperation (true loyalty) will go for techs and policies that increase loyalty, and will refrain from actions that would damage the loyalty of their populations.

Krikkitone proposed that security does not need to be a meter (with memory), because it could be calculated every turn based on local troops (plus any relevant effects coming from buildings, policies, techs that we could come up aside from the modifiers to troops meter itself).
That seems a good idea, but it does not marry well with the two first ideas for the mechanics, because troop meter starts at very low values and can reach very high values, and such a big range in the course of the game makes impossible to balance the bonus/malus to production.
Also, it would mean that researching defence troops (resistance to foreign invasion) is the same than increase resistance to revolts, while it might be adequate to decouple both effects (I'm a sea of doubts).
In any case, security and loyalty ranges should be paired/balanced in a way which ensures that very happy/loyal worlds are more productive than very secure (oppressed) worlds. For example, if we take maximum loyalty is 100 (instead of 1), a good maximum for security could be around 70. So defence troops should never be bigger than that. Troops can reach 150 for certain species. If security does not take into account species defence troops traits, and maybe some other, it could work. Numbers must be crunched. Early game we have very low troops (2, 10, ...), hence low security. If the threshold for the malus/bonus to production is set at 50 stability (so that having stability 5 means you get only 10% of normal production), we criple production on early game, as to break the game (not sure). If we set a smaller threshold to solve that, 10 or 20, we get huge production bonuses late game (from stability values close to 100), that also break the game.
Maybe the solution is to complicate a bit more the mechanics. Set a low stability threshold (e.g. 20, so that stability 10 means 50% production), keep the malus lineal to stability and make the bonus to production not lineal to stability, so that S=40 (double the threshold) does not give +100% bonus but something like +10% (up to +50% or +100% at S=100).
production_meter = Value*( min(S,threshold)/threshold + max(0,(S-threshold)/(100-threshold)), or something similar.

Let's disembowel this to see if it is really viable or how can it be improved.

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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#2 Post by labgnome » Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:58 pm

I would say that I would greatly prefer a system where divided opinion/loyalty is possible over one where it is not. I think that it should be possible to have high opinions of multiple empires at a time, as well as low opinions of multiple empires at a time. I don't think that I shouldn't be unable to get a Mu-Ursh planet peacefully just because they already have a high opinion of some other empire. Likewise if already have Mu-Ursh in my empire they shouldn't start to like me less just because someone else managed to get one of their planets peacefully. Peaceful expansion shouldn't be a zero sum game.
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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#3 Post by Oberlus » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:35 pm

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:58 pm
I would say that I would greatly prefer a system where divided opinion/loyalty is possible over one where it is not. [1] I think that it should be possible to have high opinions of multiple empires at a time, as well as [2] low opinions of multiple empires at a time. [3] I don't think that I shouldn't be unable to get a Mu-Ursh planet peacefully just because they already have a high opinion of some other empire. Likewise [4] if already have Mu-Ursh in my empire they shouldn't start to like me less just because someone else managed to get one of their planets peacefully. [5] Peaceful expansion shouldn't be a zero sum game.
Good points. One by one in a certain order:

[4] My proposal of tracking loyalty per planet instead of per species is exactly to avoid what you describe. If you keep your Mu-Ursh population happy (either by commiting to actions that they appreciate or by applying institutional propaganda to keep them "artificially" happy), the fact that some Empire is applying strong, directed propaganda on someone else's Mu-Ursh planet will have little effect on your Mu-Ursh planets. Even if the strong propaganda is directed to one of your Mu-Ursh planets, the "strong" part of the effect will be in that planet. Here I assume that foreign empires won't have AoE propaganda projects (i.e. propaganda projects that affect many planets or whole species), and that for such wide area effects foreign empires will have to make actions in game.

[3] If they have a high opinion on someone else, then it is that someone else who has to get them. Otherwise the influence game would be unfathomable. What you could do would be to play the influence game and turn their opinion towards you, and by doing it they will like less their other "idols" (empires with high opinion).

[1] If we allow a planet to have maximum positive opinion of empire A and maximum positive opinion of empire B, then each empire could be stealing the planet to the other empire every turn, or what other mechanism do we need to make clear who is winning the opinion contest?

[2] Sum of opinions equal to minimum would mean the planet dislikes all empires (low opinion of multiple empires at a time).

[5] OP's proposal is similar, but not exactly a zero sum game, only when the sum of opinions is at maximum or minimum. But I get your point.

Back to [1], in OP's suggestion, maximum sum of opinions could be either "planet loves one empire and hates everyone else" or "planet is undecided between two empires that are neither good or bad for them, 50%" or "planets hates a lot many empires, each 10%". Yes, that system is very bad!

What then could be the underlying mechanic to trigger the "opinion" conquest of a planet?

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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#4 Post by labgnome » Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:50 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:35 pm
[4] My proposal of tracking loyalty per planet instead of per species is exactly to avoid what you describe. If you keep your Mu-Ursh population happy (either by commiting to actions that they appreciate or by applying institutional propaganda to keep them "artificially" happy), the fact that some Empire is applying strong, directed propaganda on someone else's Mu-Ursh planet will have little effect on your Mu-Ursh planets. Even if the strong propaganda is directed to one of your Mu-Ursh planets, the "strong" part of the effect will be in that planet. Here I assume that foreign empires won't have AoE propaganda projects (i.e. propaganda projects that affect many planets or whole species), and that for such wide area effects foreign empires will have to make actions in game.
I can see this now. That was my bad. I still think that I prefer the species opinion system.
[5] OP's proposal is similar, but not exactly a zero sum game, only when the sum of opinions is at maximum or minimum. But I get your point.
This may be unavoidable with planet based loyalty/opinion. However so long as we can keep it from over-all becoming a zero sum game I will be happy.

So some random thoughts:
"Species Values" (applied as traits) seem like they might still work with this system, but you could also have say "Local Traditions" (applied as specials) that also effect loyalty/opinion.

You might need to track security as a meter.

There should be a way to differentiate garrisoned troops from local militia. Maybe tie the flat troop bonuses to a singular "Imperial Garrison Complex" building, that provides an empire-wide security boost.

Maybe a corresponding "Galactic Cultural Center" building for upping loyalty.
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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#5 Post by Oberlus » Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:12 pm

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:50 pm
I still think that I prefer the species opinion system.
You mean a system with opinion meters only for species and not planets, right?
Could you explain why you preffer that?
The problem you pointed out that is not present with planet meters would be terrible with species, I think.
[5] OP's proposal is similar, but not exactly a zero sum game, only when the sum of opinions is at maximum or minimum. But I get your point.
This may be unavoidable with planet based loyalty/opinion.
I don't know if it is unavoidable, I doubt it. But it will be or not regardless of it using planet meters or species meters. Do you see why?
"Species Values" (applied as traits) seem like they might still work with this system
They work no doubt. The proposal is about the meters, the underlying mechanics to track opinion, independently of what can affect such values, traits, planetary specials, buildings, techs, policies, actions of the empires, whatever that can have a generic effect in the game could have an effect on opinion meters.
you could also have say "Local Traditions" (applied as specials) that also effect loyalty/opinion.
Interesting. Would that be a special of some homeworlds or can a planet gain them in any way. Subject for another thread, please.
You might need to track security as a meter.
Yes, but why?
There should be a way to differentiate garrisoned troops from local militia.
I think we only need to differentiate between defense against foreign invasion (troops) and forces to fight on revolts (abstracted in security).

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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#6 Post by labgnome » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:54 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 6:12 pm
labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 5:50 pm
I still think that I prefer the species opinion system.
You mean a system with opinion meters only for species and not planets, right?
Could you explain why you preffer that?
I suppose that I just find it more intuitive, and have already invested a lot of thought into it. But I am not opposed to planet-based opinion.
you could also have say "Local Traditions" (applied as specials) that also effect loyalty/opinion.
Interesting. Would that be a special of some homeworlds or can a planet gain them in any way. Subject for another thread, please.
Just a special for the homeworlds. I may post about the idea in the species values thread if I like the idea enough.
You might need to track security as a meter.
Yes, but why?
To differentiate resistance from invasion and resistance to rebellion. Unless we want both to be the same thing, which I am thinking we do not.
There should be a way to differentiate garrisoned troops from local militia.
I think we only need to differentiate between defense against foreign invasion (troops) and forces to fight on revolts (abstracted in security).
That's kind of my thinking is that garrisoned troops would be the ones to put down rebellions and local militias would not. I suppose the only difference in mine is that garrisoned troops could also defend against invasion. So every planet would automatically have more resistance to invasion than to rebellion. I don't know if that's good or bad.
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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#7 Post by Oberlus » Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:25 pm

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:54 pm
I suppose that I just find it more intuitive
Could you explain what is not intuitive here?
and have already invested a lot of thought into it.
Are you thinking of Species Values maybe? I think all that is equally applicable to either system.

The point is we want to track species-empire opinion as well as having single-planet memory, and we want to allow different opinions between planets of the same species (for many reasons, I can elaborate on this if you ask). So either we have only species-empire opinion meters and do some calculations every turn (based only on current, active effects) to simulate local differences (this rules out planet memory), or we have planet-empire opinion meters.

To differentiate resistance from invasion and resistance to rebellion.
We don't need security to be a meter (instead of a temporal variable calculated every turn) to differentiate security from troops. We just need to have a different value for each one, and that is granted in OP's proposal. In other words, from your POV, they both are different meters.

That's kind of my thinking is that garrisoned troops would be the ones to put down rebellions and local militias would not. I suppose the only difference in mine is that garrisoned troops could also defend against invasion.
Yes. The particularities of what makes different each one can come later. As long as we have different meters/variables for each one, they can be different and can consider different factors. That is granted in the OP's proposal.

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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#8 Post by labgnome » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:08 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 8:25 pm
labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:54 pm
I suppose that I just find it more intuitive
Could you explain what is not intuitive here?
I'm not saying your system doesn't make sense, in fact I think it does. I just don't find it to be on as intuitive of a level as species based, I'm not really sure if I can elaborate on why. It's not really important to the discussion.
The point is we want to track species-empire opinion as well as having single-planet memory, and we want to allow different opinions between planets of the same species (for many reasons, I can elaborate on this if you ask). So either we have only species-empire opinion meters and do some calculations every turn (based only on current, active effects) to simulate local differences (this rules out planet memory), or we have planet-empire opinion meters.
I would say that we want to track either species-empire opinion or have single-planet memory. If you want local variation as you describe it you want to go with single-planet memory. At least I think so. I'm a little less clear on your meaning in the second part. I would say that single-planet memory is part your planet-empire opinion/loyalty system.
To differentiate resistance from invasion and resistance to rebellion.
We don't need security to be a meter (instead of a temporal variable calculated every turn) to differentiate security from troops. We just need to have a different value for each one, and that is granted in OP's proposal. In other words, from your POV, they both are different meters.
Yes, from my POV they are different meters. I might not be completely clear on the technical aspect of it, you might have a better grasp than me.
Yes. The particularities of what makes different each one can come later. As long as we have different meters/variables for each one, they can be different and can consider different factors. That is granted in the OP's proposal.
Well yes. This is just my take on how I could see the particulars playing out.
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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#9 Post by Oberlus » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:23 pm

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:08 pm
I would say that we want to track either species-empire opinion or have single-planet memory.
You might want to state that in Vezzra's thread. It is there where this thing about tracking both species opinion and planet memory (that is, planet opinion) was stated.
If you want local variation as you describe it
Didn't you want it too? You know, to be able to peacefully conquest one planet at a time instead of whole batches.
I might not be completely clear on the technical aspect of it
Meters here in FreeOrion refer to a variable that is updated every turn and that has me "memory", in the sense that the value on previous turn affects the value of next turn.
Some variables might not require memory, if they can be calculated from zero each turn, ignoring value of previous turn.

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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#10 Post by labgnome » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:01 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:23 pm
Didn't you want it too? You know, to be able to peacefully conquest one planet at a time instead of whole batches.
Yes, I do think that you should have to work for each planet you get.
Meters here in FreeOrion refer to a variable that is updated every turn and that has me "memory", in the sense that the value on previous turn affects the value of next turn.
Some variables might not require memory, if they can be calculated from zero each turn, ignoring value of previous turn.
Then I think I would prefer security as a meter, so that it can change gradually if it's going to be separate from troops. I don't think I would like to suddenly loose all security on my planets.

Another random thought:

Maybe instead of having separate security forces troops could have a "security value", that can be bumped up by techs. Say starting at 0.1, then being bumped up to 0.2 at Tier 2, 0.4 at Tier 4 and 0.8 at Tier 6. This way security is still calculated by troops, but wouldn't be the same as troops and the relative value can be changed over time.
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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#11 Post by Oberlus » Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:19 am

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:01 pm
Yes, I do think that you should have to work for each planet you get.
Then I don't understand why you prefer the system that makes what you want very hard to achieve.
Or have you an idea of how to make that work when you only track the opinion of whole species and not the opinion of planets?
I'd like you to answer this, if you like, in Vezzra's fundamentals thread, please, because it is relevant to the whole discussion (and it is there where I proposed using planet meters instead of species meters).


Continuing with the OP:

My idea from start is that Security is an abstraction of the empire's ability/strength to stop revolts and force people to work whether they are happy/loyal or not.
Whether this ability comes from actual security forces, biochemical weapons, mind control, automatic defense systems, bombs implanted in the heads of the population that explode when they say "but...", etc. is not relevant now, but we have a lot of fuel for fluff descriptions of techs, policies, buildings, etc. that could affect Security.

As pointed out in the previous discussion, the mechanics of how rising one's opinion affect others' opinion sketched in the OP is not sound because it is too dependent on the number of empires. Specifically: it does not allow to have "good" opinions of several empires at the same time, which is a serious problem.
Assuming minimum opinion -1 (hate) and maximum opinion 1 (love), with 0 being indiferent, if we forget about the sum of opinion (no zero sum game whatsoever), we can have love for several empires as well as hate for several empires.
We then can have (or not) rules to control what happens when opinion on one empire is improved when at maximum (or worsened when at minimum). I think the following rules make sense and are preferable to not having them:

If opinion to empire X, Ox, is at 1 (max) and some effect tries to improve it (+x), reduce the opinions on the rest of empires Y with opinion Oy>0, proportionally to Sum = Oy.
That is: if you keep improving your opinion when at max, the other competitors, the ones that have positive opinion, get a small malus. This allows for a simple mechanic for the opinion contest (when several empires are working to get the favour of the same population) that also works in a continuous way despite of having maximum values (which seem unavoidable).
This rule is compatible with using a natural decay towards indiference (e.g. -0.01 for positive opinions, +0.01 for negative opinions, each turn) and also works fine if we don't use any form of decay.

The simetrical rule for negative opinions doesn't seem necessary, but is an option. Do we want to make populations hate less someone because someone else is being way nastier? It would work as if when someone is being way nastier that anyone else, our hatred towards that one can eclipse the problems we have with other people, so it makes sense and my vote would be to include such rule.

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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#12 Post by labgnome » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:37 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 11:19 am
If opinion to empire X, Ox, is at 1 (max) and some effect tries to improve it (+x), reduce the opinions on the rest of empires Y with opinion Oy>0, proportionally to Sum = Oy.
That is: if you keep improving your opinion when at max, the other competitors, the ones that have positive opinion, get a small malus. This allows for a simple mechanic for the opinion contest (when several empires are working to get the favour of the same population) that also works in a continuous way despite of having maximum values (which seem unavoidable).
This rule is compatible with using a natural decay towards indiference (e.g. -0.01 for positive opinions, +0.01 for negative opinions, each turn) and also works fine if we don't use any form of decay.
I would possibly include a provision for Native Opinion so that the planet has a chance to "go native" IE: is lost but goes to no-one.

One issue I can see with this system, is that security effects both opinion and stability, and stability is effected by opinion and security. This seems like it will lead to feedback loops which I don't think that we want.
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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#13 Post by Oberlus » Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:48 pm

labgnome wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:37 pm
I would possibly include a provision for Native Opinion so that the planet has a chance to "go native" IE: is lost but goes to no-one.
No need. If an empire loses control of a planet because of low opinion/loyalty, it will join another empire or become independent depending on the opinions on other empires. If no empire meets the requirements to gain control of the planet, the planet becomes independent. So there is no need for a "native loyalty/opinion" meter.
The proposal lacks some other things. We need to set the rules for ownership changes (when you lose/win the control of a planet, including the situation in which a planet becomes independent), including the mechanics for rebellion.
labgnome wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:37 pm
One issue I can see with this system, is that security effects both opinion and stability, and stability is effected by opinion and security. This seems like it will lead to feedback loops which I don't think that we want.
Why you say so? Security does not affect opinion.
Sidenote: even if security would affect opinion in my proposal (it doesn't), that would not be problematic: security -> opinion -> stability + security -> stability, that does not close any loop.

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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#14 Post by labgnome » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:10 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 2:48 pm
Why you say so? Security does not affect opinion.
Sidenote: even if security would affect opinion in my proposal (it doesn't), that would not be problematic: security -> opinion -> stability + security -> stability, that does not close any loop.
I thought that like in Krikkitone's proposal increased Security resulted in reduced Opinion. I took that as a given when I shouldn't have. So in your proposal security and opinion would be completely separate mechanics and not effect each other?
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Re: Proposal for Loyalty, Security and Stability

#15 Post by Oberlus » Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:30 pm

labgnome wrote:
Fri Aug 02, 2019 3:10 pm
I thought that like in Krikkitone's proposal increased Security resulted in reduced Opinion. I took that as a given when I shouldn't have. So in your proposal security and opinion would be completely separate mechanics and not effect each other?
Well, lets specify some vocabulary to avoid confusions from my part:

- Variable: a given magnitude that is not constant during game.
- Mechanic: the set of equations/rules and the variables they operate on, which enable a given in-game functionality (examples of functionalities: military conquest, technologies unlocking, supply propagation).
- Meter: a FreeOrion variable with memory (explained before).

When I write Security, Opinion/Loyalty and Stability, I mean the meters, not the set of mechanics that can use those meters.

What I understrood from Krikkitone proposal was that high security values would be paired with low Opinion, due to constriction on populations freedom and the such. Intuitive and good for strategic gameplay.
In order to get that functionality in game, I think it is much clever to make that policies/techs/buildings/etc that increase Security at the same time they reduce Opinion, and each policy/tech/building/etc. could have different combinations of bonuses and maluses to suit for different gameplay styles: I force you to work harder at gun point, you work harder for me and hate my guts; or I give you drugs that makes you numb and work for me not very fast but you don't get to hate me; etc.. Reasonable, right?

In this way, it is not that we implement a rule to reduce Opinion whenever Security in increased, and hence it is not Security what affects Opinion, the effect comes from policies/techs/buildings/etc.

I hope this is clearer now.

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