Exobot Ideas

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

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labgnome
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Exobot Ideas

#1 Post by labgnome » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:51 am

So I have been thinking about good ol' Exobots. Namely that the fact that Free Orion has species for just about every environment, it makes little sense that Exobots are specially designed for inferno, radiated & barren planets. Especially when there are plenty of species that find other environments just as hostile. I makes no sense from a game perspective that there are no options for them. So something I was thinking of is having multiple types of exobots for different environments.

ExobotAdequate EnvironmentsProductionResearchInfluence
Basic Durable ExobotBarren, Radiated, InfernoBadNoneNone
Basic Resistant ExobotToxic, Swamp, OceanBadNoneNone
Basic Adaptive ExobotTerran, Desert, TundraBadNoneNone
Standard ExobotStandard PlanetsAverageBadBad
Standard Astro-ExobotAsteroidsAvaerageBadBad
Standard Jovi-ExobotGas GiantAverageBadBad
Advanced ExobotAllGoodBadBad

The "classic" Exobots would become the Basic Durable Exobots, but with some changes. Namely I would remove their ability to colonize asteroids, and their research focus. All of the Basic Exobots would be fairly "bad", but able to colonize planets. Standard Exobots would be better, offer a wider range of available planets, and have options for colonizing otherwise uninhabitable worlds. Advanced Exobots would get all plants as adequate and actually have good industry. One idea I have is that Exobots can be "upgraded" to the better versions as you get the technology. Thus allowing you to improve your Exobot colonies. The idea is to make colonizing through exobot proxies a viable strategy for empires.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Exobot Ideas

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio » Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:00 am

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:51 am
[Since] Free Orion has species for just about every environment, it makes little sense that Exobots are specially designed for inferno, radiated & barren planets.
That may or may not be problematic... not all content needs to be completely symmetric. Perhaps for empires that have some species, exobots can be more or less useful than for other species.
labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:51 am
...having multiple types of exobots for different environments.
If they are to be made more symmetric, I'd probably make them work the same on all environments, rather than adding a separate similarly-named and functional species specialized for other environments.
Basic Durable Exobot, Basic Resistant Exobot, Basic Adaptive Exobot
If something like this is to be added, it needs to be more distinct and interesting. A completely different story concept and name, and somewhat different mechanics, not [Adjective] + [Same Thing Repeated]. Perhaps creation of artificial organic life to generate another species, or a somewhat similarly-functional building that can be put on outposts, each of which are useful for particular subsets of planet environments.
labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:51 am
Exobots can be "upgraded" to the better versions as you get the technology.
Techs that make exobots better are fine, or perhaps policies that do so, or a building.

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Krikkitone
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Re: Exobot Ideas

#3 Post by Krikkitone » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:25 pm

Having the "basic" versions be Organic, Robotic, and Lithic would be a good way to do it.

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Re: Exobot Ideas

#4 Post by labgnome » Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:42 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:00 am
That may or may not be problematic... not all content needs to be completely symmetric. Perhaps for empires that have some species, exobots can be more or less useful than for other species.
I wouldn't say it needs to be completely symmetric, but this has been pointed out as something that is an issue to people before. At the least it's immersion breaking, for a number of starting species choices. But I would go as far as to say say that it is problematic gameplay wise, that technologies, which generally benefit everyone, only benefit certain species in this case.

If they are to be made more symmetric, I'd probably make them work the same on all environments, rather than adding a separate similarly-named and functional species specialized for other environments.
I, and others, have proposed this previously, but got some pretty vocal push-back. So I thought that by making different types of Exobots for different environments that could be researched separately that might be a bit more acceptable. Personally I'd be fine with Exobots getting all standard planet types as adequate. I also think that idea of "upgrading" Exobots makes them more interesting.

If something like this is to be added, it needs to be more distinct and interesting. A completely different story concept and name, and somewhat different mechanics, not [Adjective] + [Same Thing Repeated]. Perhaps creation of artificial organic life to generate another species, or a somewhat similarly-functional building that can be put on outposts, each of which are useful for particular subsets of planet environments.
Krikkitone wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:25 pm
Having the "basic" versions be Organic, Robotic, and Lithic would be a good way to do it.
I actually had an Idea about this very idea, in a topic back in 2015 . I'd certainly be open to Exoliths and Exobiots. I'm also open for completely different names.

One idea this gives me is keeping the "Exo" prefix and have it be and acronym: Extreme Xenoenviormental Organism. So that Exobot, becomes E.X.O. Robot. Just an idea.

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:51 am
Exobots can be "upgraded" to the better versions as you get the technology.
Techs that make exobots better are fine, or perhaps policies that do so, or a building.
I suppose I should clarify my idea. Once you get the tech, you would be able to build an "Exobot Upgrade" on the planet in question to upgrade your Exobots.

Although if we go with different metabolisms for the "Basic Exobots" this raises the question as to what metabolism the upgraded Exos should have, maybe phototrophic, and/or self-sustaining? Although that also changes balance considerations.
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Re: Exobot Ideas

#5 Post by Ophiuchus » Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:39 pm

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:42 pm
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:00 am
That may or may not be problematic... not all content needs to be completely symmetric. Perhaps for empires that have some species, exobots can be more or less useful than for other species.
I wouldn't say it needs to be completely symmetric, but this has been pointed out as something that is an issue to people before. At the least it's immersion breaking, for a number of starting species choices. But I would go as far as to say say that it is problematic gameplay wise, that technologies, which generally benefit everyone, only benefit certain species in this case.
And other people pointed out that the environmental asymmetry is part of the species balance and good and important.
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: Exobot Ideas

#6 Post by labgnome » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:58 pm

Ophiuchus wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 3:39 pm
labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 2:42 pm
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 8:00 am
That may or may not be problematic... not all content needs to be completely symmetric. Perhaps for empires that have some species, exobots can be more or less useful than for other species.
I wouldn't say it needs to be completely symmetric, but this has been pointed out as something that is an issue to people before. At the least it's immersion breaking, for a number of starting species choices. But I would go as far as to say say that it is problematic gameplay wise, that technologies, which generally benefit everyone, only benefit certain species in this case.
And other people pointed out that the environmental asymmetry is part of the species balance and good and important.
I will have to disagree with that assessment. I have yet to hear a good reason for further enforcing of environmental asymmetry outside of it just already being here. I also do not believe that such an opinion represents a consensus.
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Re: Exobot Ideas

#7 Post by Oberlus » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:59 pm

Mi opinion.

The assymetry of exobots regarding environment preferences and the fact that some species can get from exobots less than other species (or even nothing) does not bother me at all. I like it indeed. BTW, the game is full of techs that are not useful for one species or the other, lots of cool assimetries.

Also, it does not break immersion for me at all. I remember having read the description of Exobots some years ago, and don't remember it, but by the name (Exo, external), I imagine them as robots capable of working on planets (and asteroids) with little or no atmosphere and low temperatures (radiated, barren, tundra), that are very bad at aquatic or toxic environments. It breaks me more that they can research. Meh.

A tech that improves tolerances of the exobot species to other environments seems legit, if we control other boosts that could make exobot OP.

A second "bot" species (I like more organic) with preferred environment swamp that can't research... Exobots for Cybertec and Biobots for Biotec... I don't like that it removes a lot of the assymetry from Exobots.

What about an alternative mechanic to get income (flat bonuses) and other benefits (extra supply?) from outposts without actually putting in the planet a species? Like exobots, it would give you income from a planet you can't inhabitate, but won't add extra troops, won't benefit from pop-based bonuses

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Re: Exobot Ideas

#8 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:41 am

labgnome wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:58 pm
I have yet to hear a good reason for further enforcing of environmental asymmetry outside of it just already being here. I also do not believe that such an opinion represents a consensus.
I have yet to hear a good reason for further enforcing of environmental symmetry outside of it being symmetrical.
And in my opinion of all possible solutions to balancing environments and species i think the uniform/symmetrical solution is the most boring.

I am not sure if there was a consensus when this was introduced. But there is definitely no consensus for making this symmetric (e.g. see Oberlus post). I think you are working on a lot of other topics which are more likely to find some common ground.

My vision of where to go: keep it asymmetric, make species more distinct, make planets/environments more distinct(, and also make the galaxy more strategic and distinct).
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: Exobot Ideas

#9 Post by Ophiuchus » Fri Aug 09, 2019 8:47 am

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:59 pm
What about an alternative mechanic to get income (flat bonuses) and other benefits (extra supply?) from outposts without actually putting in the planet a species? Like exobots, it would give you income from a planet you can't inhabitate, but won't add extra troops, won't benefit from pop-based bonuses
I would love to see such a (policy-fueled?) "super-flat empire" strategic option besides tall/flat and distributed empire layouts.
We should at least prototype this and see if it is doable and worthwhile fun and balance-wise.

Also thinking of a super-flat empire as an alternative option to building exobot colonies has value/is good a tool.
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: Exobot Ideas

#10 Post by labgnome » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:12 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:59 pm
BTW, the game is full of techs that are not useful for one species or the other, lots of cool assimetries.
Currently, outside of exobots, every technology benefits every species because they get applied in addition to existing species bonuses. Those benefits may differ, but only in degree and ultimately everyone gets them. Exobots are literally the only technology that does not benefit certain species.
Also, it does not break immersion for me at all. I remember having read the description of Exobots some years ago, and don't remember it, but by the name (Exo, external), I imagine them as robots capable of working on planets (and asteroids) with little or no atmosphere and low temperatures (radiated, barren, tundra), that are very bad at aquatic or toxic environments. It breaks me more that they can research. Meh.
It never made any sense to me that there would be a tech option that would only benefit species with certain environmental preferences, as species from any environmental preference would want to be able to take advantage of hostile environments. There should at least be other options to take advantage of the environments that exobots don't use. I also agree that maybe exobots shouldn't research.
A second "bot" species (I like more organic) with preferred environment swamp that can't research... Exobots for Cybertec and Biobots for Biotec... I don't like that it removes a lot of the assymetry from Exobots.
I mean if we are going to do this we should probably have a lithic species for Crystal with desert preference, that way you can go for whatever environment you are bad at. Plus I think that having them in separate themes means that different players will begetting them or not at different points. Something that's an alternative suggestion, is instead of getting production from all of these, exobots stay the production species, and the others get research and influence. Maybe "Envirobrains" as an organic species for biotech that give research, and "Harmoniliths" as a lithic species for crystal that give influence? That way they are differently symmetrical.
What about an alternative mechanic to get income (flat bonuses) and other benefits (extra supply?) from outposts without actually putting in the planet a species? Like exobots, it would give you income from a planet you can't inhabitate, but won't add extra troops, won't benefit from pop-based bonuses
The idea of getting income from outposts has come up before. I think such an idea would be too hard to balance, and become something everyone would need. I personally do not think that outposts should be able to provide income, as they are too much easier to get tan colonies. Plus this idea is really off topic.
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Re: Exobot Ideas

#11 Post by Oberlus » Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:42 pm

labgnome wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:12 pm
Oberlus wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:59 pm
BTW, the game is full of techs that are not useful for one species or the other, lots of cool assimetries.
Currently, outside of exobots, every technology benefits every species because they get applied in addition to existing species bonuses. Those benefits may differ, but only in degree and ultimately everyone gets them. Exobots are literally the only technology that does not benefit certain species.
I dissagree:
- Planetary stealth techs are not useful for bad planetary stealth species because it would be suicidal to go for those techs when enemies only need to be 1 tier behind you on detection.
- Usually, it is not useful nor wise to go for several hull lines at the same time. We have different options not to always pick all of them (BTW, the same way we have different options to populate hostile environments).
I bet there are more cases.
It never made any sense to me that there would be a tech option that would only benefit species with certain environmental preferences, as species from any environmental preference would want to be able to take advantage of hostile environments
The thing is they can. Not using exobots but other means, like the growth line of habitability improvement or acquiring another species. And that's why it is interesting to me to have this kind of assymetries: it forces the player to play differently depending on the circumstances.
Some could say this discussion is a matter of opinions, instead of facts, and that it's an unfruitful discussion. But I really believe one way (assymetries) does do interesting things in the game, while the other (perfect symetry) does not, and that hence it is actually and objectively better to keep Exobots assymetrical.
I think that having them in separate themes means that different players will begetting them or not at different points.
Not really. At game start you see if you're gonna need this or that exobot type, and you go for it. And this rule applies to every empire no matter the starting species and seldom affected by environment availability (only in the case where you start with plenty of planets for your starting species will you not get the best suited exobot). If instead exobots are good only for some species and some starting settings, we know that rule won't be applied so systematically, and hence we get more gameplay diversity.
I mean if we are going to do this we should probably have a lithic species for Crystal with desert preference, that way you can go for whatever environment you are bad at.
Maybe with previous explanation you can now envision why this would be "bad" for gameplay diversity.
The idea of getting income from outposts has come up before.
I know, it was me. You may want to look for the thread and refresh your mind.
I think such an idea would be too hard to balance
Proofs or reasoning about why you think so?
I personally do not think that outposts should be able to provide income, as they are too much easier to get tan colonies.
Do you realise that that's exactly what would cause the introduction of alternative exobots variants to cover all possible hostile environments for all playable species?
If you don't like the outposts idea, you definitively should dislike the symmetrical exobot idea, for the sake of coherence.
Plus this idea is really off topic.
Absolutely not. It's related to OP's in that it pursues the same: access to hostile environments through artificial beings (robots). And it's relevant here in that OP's proposal has been contested, so it's a good time to bring in and weight it against OP's proposal.

Something that's an alternative suggestion, is instead of getting production from all of these, exobots stay the production species, and the others get research and influence.
Your orthogonal way of thinking sometimes surprise me :D
Research exobots... maybe a good idea. They would be selfreplicating machines that only care for research. Let's see what others think.
An influence exobot species... I don't know. How would be such machines, what are they doing to produce influence?

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Re: Exobot Ideas

#12 Post by labgnome » Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:07 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:42 pm
Something that's an alternative suggestion, is instead of getting production from all of these, exobots stay the production species, and the others get research and influence.
Your orthogonal way of thinking sometimes surprise me :D
Research exobots... maybe a good idea. They would be selfreplicating machines that only care for research. Let's see what others think.
An influence exobot species... I don't know. How would be such machines, what are they doing to produce influence?
Well the idea I sort-of have for the Harmoniliths was going to be that they basically produced "good vibes", so maybe have them as telepathic. However such beings could possibly be used for entertainment by their creators if some kind of entertainer-bots.
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Re: Exobot Ideas

#13 Post by Oberlus » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:05 pm

labgnome wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 1:07 pm
they basically produced "good vibes", so maybe have them as telepathic. However such beings could possibly be used for entertainment by their creators if some kind of entertainer-bots.
I see.
By the description, "good vibes", I think they produce happiness/loyalty more than influence. And to do so they must be in the same planet than the species they want to give happiness. As a tech-that-unlocks-policy-that-increases-loyalty it is a good idea. As an autonomous species (exobot) I still don't know how they would be justifying the influence production. Are they organising the life of other planets? Are they enforcing the Empire's loyalty somehow? Are they specially good at producing the kind of material stuff that is good for the influence of your empire? Just by goodvibing next to each other they can't be of any good to the Empire.

By the way, that association between crystal (harmonyliths... sounds good for Crystal theme, right?) and telepathy is the one that made me think psionics stuff can go well with the Crystal theme.

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Re: Exobot Ideas

#14 Post by labgnome » Fri Aug 09, 2019 7:48 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:05 pm
As an autonomous species (exobot) I still don't know how they would be justifying the influence production. Are they organising the life of other planets? Are they enforcing the Empire's loyalty somehow? Are they specially good at producing the kind of material stuff that is good for the influence of your empire? Just by goodvibing next to each other they can't be of any good to the Empire.
Fist of all, hare dare you scoff at the quality of their goodvibes! Especially when they do it next to each other! It's the goodest for the empire!

But here's some serious fluff for them:
Harmoniliths exist to organize and enforce your empire's will. Their crystalline thought-matrices are ideal for maintaining and spreading influence. When together in large groups they harmonize with each other, not just acoustically but psychologically as well. Together they act as a single mind devoted to the the cause of their creator. Weather this is served through administrating the various planets of your empire, coordinating fleet movements, or just spreading good vibrations they make themselves vital to operations of your empire.

Now what about Envirobrains?
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Re: Exobot Ideas

#15 Post by Oberlus » Fri Aug 09, 2019 11:09 pm

I love it. Harmoniliths have a place in the new tech tree for sure.
They could be some kind of burocrats of the empire, devoted to the task. Yes, that's great and makes sense that there are Harmoniliths worlds dedicated to increase influence of the empire.

Envirobrains... I don't know if I like the name, but I want them anyway. But as an species? Come up with something as good as what you've done for Harmoniliths and lets see :twisted:

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