Government/Policies: Butter Principle

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skdiw
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Government/Policies: Butter Principle

#1 Post by skdiw »

The impetus of this thread is to address the snowball effect of 4X games. The current solution afloat is Krikkitone's butter principle, which bascially introduce a penalty when a player is significantly ahead. The problem is being addressed to research, but I thought why not just address it for the whole game and get it settled.

I think the remedy is simple using Moo3's system. Moo3 has the HfoG and government. Basically the bigger you are, the bigger HfoG and the bigger the penalty. Finish and done. Next is the more subtle government modifiers which modifies each specific areas of the game. For example, choosing to use democracy may give you a bonus in unrest, research... and a penalty in other areas; choosing dictatorship may give you a bonus in industry, fleet discount... In terms of butter principle, the government makes empire development more like steps, so in each government policy steps you are strong in some area while you are vulnerable to attack in another thus making it more challenging shoot off on the s-curve.
:mrgreen:

tzlaine
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#2 Post by tzlaine »

I was unable to find the posts (and they may actually have been lost on the old forums), but drek (I think) has addressed this quite well with the idea of Colony Cap. You should look that stuff up if it's here somewhere.

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#3 Post by jbarcz1 »

I dont particularly care which system we use, as long as the player knows whats going on. Some sort of social development like the butter principle might be a good thing to have. I liked the fact that in GalCiv you had to occasionally do things to please the populace and keep your approval rating up.

The problem with MOO3's HFOG was that I didn't have a clue where it came from, how it was calculated, or what exactly it penalized. As with so many other things in that game, the documentation, both in-game and in the manual, was unclear.
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#4 Post by skdiw »

I can't find planetary cap idea so maybe you can give a summary before I jump into conclusions.

Moo3's HfoG = planets/4 + pop/18 + oppressemeter + gov. type - tech improvements. Don't worry about Moo3's HfoG because it is broken, unless you mod it to something realistic and resonable as most ppl end up doing. HfoG reduce your food, mineral, industry, research, and money empire income.
:mrgreen:

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#5 Post by Impaler »

This HfoG sounds a bit like SMAC's Buracracy Drones. Basicaly if the number of bases you own excedes a number that is based on your Efficiency rating and the map size you start getting Extra unhappy citizens (drones).

This is an example of a Direct Size penalty, the amount your penalized is completly internal to your empire, the other players are not considered when calculating it. Having something like this is ok in my opinion but I think their is a better way.

A Difference Based penalty or bonus is based on the difference between one empire and Another. Smaller then average factions would recive a greater bonus, or larger factions would recive a greater penalty. The difference between each faction determines the amount of Bonus or Penalty.

If we were to suddently "freeze" the top dog empire in a game and let everyone else grow in power far beyond them and then restart time, the previously top dog empire would now be getting bonuses rather then penalties. Under to purely internal HfoG nothing would have changed.

I shall refere to this as the "Flock of Geese" principle (the goose at the front dose the most work, the others fly more easily in the slip stream). So as to distinguish it from the Butter Principle. I think a combination of the 2 could work together to achived the desired results. The Butter Principle capping the growth rate of the leaders and the Flock of Geese Princilple helping the lessers keep up.

I think we can all admit the game is most fun when your just a little bit ahead of everyone else, your semi-controling the situation but have to watch your back and cant get complaisant.
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#6 Post by Ablaze »

mmmm... Buttered Geese.

Of course we will have to play test it a lot to find out just how much butter is good with your goose.

Penalizing people for being big tends to leave a lot of unused areas in the map. This also tends to lead to a lot of "cheating" (weather it's actual cheating or just milking the system.)

Penalizing people for being ahead tends to give people a since of fatalism.. and it's very rare that what the game determines to be an advantage (i.e. Number of ships) is actually a true indicator of who is further ahead at the moment.

e.g. if player A has hundreds of tiny, low tech, ships and player B has 5 medium very high technology ships many games will say that player A is ahead even though all his ships combined would lose against one of player B's ships.

In any case I think that nether of these effects should be extreme enough to require the player to worry about them. I'll call this the "Buttered goose is best as a side dish" principle.
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#7 Post by PowerCrazy »

HAHa. The way SMAC did it with drones and your efficency rating etc i thought was almost perfect. I particularly liked how once you got the future societies you oculd pretty much get as large as you wanted. And there were also numerous base facilities and secret projects to help with drone riots, AND THE PLAYER could adjust his "HFoG" himself, it became a balancing act that the player had full control over. He oculd say screw it and let all his bases riot, or he could go to each base and fine tune, or he could macro-manage his bases by changing the economy slider to more psych to help drones, OR he could just let the governers take care of it. Each method had its own advantage or disadvatage.

I prefer to actually PLAY the game so i just let the governers handle the consequences of growing too much. I think that we should shoot for something similiar. Whatever form of restricitons we place on the player, there should be a PLETHORA of ways to deal with it. Aside from just "getting smaller." And by the end of the game they should be irrelevant as we want all out warfare, and not have to dick around with management of "drone riots" or whatever.
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#8 Post by skdiw »

How about instead of HfoG resulting in a drop in efficiency, it introduces delay. For example, large fleet take more turns to assemble; or research delays; or productivity delays. I think this idea works well with cultural backlash and spying. The thruput is still the same. Of course we can also use Buttered goose is best as a side dish principle in conjunction to make Buttered goose is ordered as a side but served during desert principle?
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#9 Post by Krikkitone »

Delays definitely would be good (and plausible especially if linked to engine speed) in terms of fleet assembly, or anything involving shipping productivity (when you begin funding/autobuying on a world it could take at least one turn before any production arrives, and then it would Slowly conform to the target value, based on your 'delay')

For research it doesn't seem to make as much sense for any delay to be size linked (an overall efficiency being size linked seems plausible.. but, I can't think of how delay would be useful for research)


Part of the issue is getting a controlled rate of overall economic growth so that it is hard for anyone to grow at a greater rate than anyone else without sacrificing something (either unrest or military strength... although the second is sacrificable early game at least... in which case the computer Players should do so to some point.)

Basically as far as I can tell, the overall rate of growth is based on

Lesser of (Total Population Growth Rate+Tech Advancement Factor) and (Output of existing Industry for development/cost of new industry)

[Total population growth rate is either population growth or rate of colonization, whichever is the limiting factor..ie depending on how full your planets are]

Cost of New Industry includes cost of all the mines to support that industry and the cost of the farms to support the workers

So High pop growth rate races, or ones that advance more rapidly in tech would need to divert a greater % of their industry towards growth to take advantage of their benefits (other races could maintain their worlds fully developed without sacrificing the % spent on the military, research, or keeping the people content.)


The Goose principle is good, although I figure that is best implemented by means of diplomacy (one goose gets ahead economically, the other geese tend to gang up on them especially if they are not that far ahead militarily... they ignore the ones falling behind.... unless they fall too far behind then they are snatched up as easy pickings) Of course if a goose gets Way too far ahead, then they start Planning what they can do to bring it down, while desperately attempting to avoid its disfavour. (this is when the final war is about ready to begin, ie the one before the mop up phase)

Conquered populations should have a definite strong constant possibility of revolt. Probably minimized under government types that are less capable of getting conquered populations, ie conducting wars.. so it becomes a matter of wanting to get them easily or keep them easily. (the conquered populations need to actually be worthwhile though to keep 'nuke em' from being the always preferred solution for all races... if growth rates are slow enough, that should make a well conquered planet worth the trouble for a warlord) The tendency of the population to revolt could depend on their numbers with in the empire (or on the empire's over all unrest) meaning that if you suddenly gobbled an entire enemy empire, it could give you some indigestion for a while (100 turns give or take) until you are ready to eat another.

Just got a thought on conquered worlds...productivity of population v. unrest in how you treat them, should be a trade off... if they are highly productive, you are
a) forcing them to work
and
b) giving them access to good equipment without excessive supervision

making them more likely to revolt [in a democracy you might avoid revolts by making them full citizens but then they'd probably just vote for secession, and ... well you'd have to do other things to stop it]

Troops (to police the worlds) should definitely be more expensive than in MOO2 (at least late game), making it somewhat of a sacrifice.

As for the late game mass annihilation... well with some advantages to defense, and a tendency to gang up on the rich kid if he isn't armed to the teeth, and a 'transition cost' in moving from a peace oriented to a war oriented society, which gives others a degree of warning...

With all that, you shouldn't get to far ahead to fast by either mass gobbling conquest (which should increase your 'Danger Rating' and involve difficult unrest problems) or mass tech/development (which should leave you vulnerable to either your people or your neighbors attacking you because you weren't spending on the carrots or sticks to discourage them from doing so.. (carrots working best on your people, sticks in your neighbors))

One key part, the 'collective defense/goosepecking', works best with high numbers of starting players... which I think is something the genre has been missing..for good reasons, but they would really help... If you are attacked by all your neighbors, and none of Their neighbors bother them, you should die. (maybe a few of them go with you, but if you can survive everyone... you've won.)

I'll call this the Buttered Goose is best as a side but uncooperative jealous waiters don't get to you until desert principle or

BGIBAASBUJWDGTYUD principle

Basically you can grow fast, but at a cost, and it will leave you vulnerable if there is a delay in your transition from 'growth' in whatever manner to 'military' or 'political stability', then growth will be a risk... the risk that others (including your own citizens) will take advantage of you... as long as they do, you have to stay slow and plan ahead.

Also known as "people dopn't eat (or fight) in the long term."

OK, New idea just edited in.. this could be done by having all types of social 'transition costs' (ie between offensive war, growth, and political stability favoring governments) depend on the size of your empire, (probably as compared to tech, so a massive empire late game or your starting HW can't change to rapidly, but a small power late game can turn on a dime to begin growing, or stabilize unrest, or shift to a full war footing.)

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#10 Post by skdiw »

Krikkitone wrote:OK, New idea just edited in.. this could be done by having all types of social 'transition costs' (ie between offensive war, growth, and political stability favoring governments) depend on the size of your empire, (probably as compared to tech, so a massive empire late game or your starting HW can't change to rapidly, but a small power late game can turn on a dime to begin growing, or stabilize unrest, or shift to a full war footing.)
This is one area that I would like to stress. I think a government/policy/social transition delay cost is important. large empires should have a big delays as a transition cost compare to a small. For example, lets say you were psilons and you manage to out-tech everyone thus making you 'big.' you now decided you use that leverage to go to war. You do so by first change your government policy from "cooperation" to "industrial capitalist" mode to get the +30 industry bonus at a cost of -20 research and extra pollution. You now have to wait 10 turns for the transition to take place (we can make this gradual like +3 industry, -2 reserach and extra pollution per turn; and maybe throw in some unrest during anarchy). A small empire might take 5 turns to make the swtich and use those extra turns to get a small head start while making allies.

The transition period and delays should be long enough so the players have to make a clear judgement in each stage of their strat.
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#11 Post by Kevin »

For the goose principle, I would like to see technology "leak" to players that are substantially behind their neighbors. Say technologies older than X levels behind your latest & greatest will have an increasing chance of being acquired by backward players. I think a good 'realism' argument could be made, but I won't bother. :-)

Of course, X would have to be carefully balanced, but so would any method of penalizing the leader.
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#12 Post by utilae »

Kevin wrote:For the goose principle, I would like to see technology "leak" to players that are substantially behind their neighbors. Say technologies older than X levels behind your latest & greatest will have an increasing chance of being acquired by backward players. I think a good 'realism' argument could be made, but I won't bother. :-)

Of course, X would have to be carefully balanced, but so would any method of penalizing the leader.
Yes, a large empire would have to manage their security better, because they have a greater area to keep secure.

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#13 Post by Impaler »

Yes this "leaking" is adsactly the thing I had in mind for the Flock of Geese Principle.

Also I would like to give a thumbs up to the "big slow empire vs the small agile empire" idea. This fits in very well with resitance/gurrilla movments combatting larger more tecnologicaly advanced forces (StarWars).

Also Krikk your description of the Goose principle is more an additional effect that though it has a similar effect it could be sumarized as the "Stab in the Back principle" most games already feature this (infact its quire anoying in SMAC) basicaly the top Dog empire is hated by everyone. We ofcorse want to keep this effect in play but if the other principles are well balaced this effect could be toned down, as I find it too be overly strong in most games.

The Flock of Gesses Principle could perhaps be better summed up as "It is easier to follow then to Lead" the person your leading might not nessarily be top dog though, they might be following someone else who is following yet another Empire. Its a "trickle down effect" which dose not directly harm the leader (unlike the stab in the back principle which puts the leader directly in harms way)

Also I have beens considering the game Imperialism. Imperialism focuses on the interaction of Great and Minor power and clearly defines their roles. Unlike in Civ, SMAC or MOO inwhich everyone starts out equal and becomes less equal over time in Imperialism their are a descret group of great powers and minor powers from the start of the game (ofcorse we will want this to be more gradiation and potential for movment up or down for an empire). Only major powers can councour, build heavy industry and win the game. the Minors though conduct Diplomacy and Trade which makes them critical because they compires the majority of the worlds territory.

A delicate dance occures in Imperialism between the Major and Minor Powers, the minors want to sell raw materials and import finished goods made by Major Powers, they also want the Major powers to be peacefull and will respond to agressive moves by reducing trade (even agressive moves against other minors). The Majors can effectivly be discouraged from fully utilizing their military might to concour minor nations in this way. Major on Major confilict is more tolerated by Minors unless they have formed strong relations with them.

The games Trade system was also interesting and worked into this system well. Each Country has a "Most Favored Trading Partner" for each particular resorce, followed by a secon, third and so on untill everyone is listed. Durring trade negotiations the most favored partner gets first call on buying some or all of the particular comodity (at the "global" price with any modifications the buyer is giving to the seller). Then any remaining comodity gets passed down the trading list untill it runs out or the list of trading partners runs out. As you can bet being at the top of everyones trade list is highly valuable and well worth the premium prices you might have to pay for the privlage. I am not advocating we actualy structure it like this (its prohibiitive with Simultanious turn exicution) but just that we should atempt to achive an effect like this and begin to think in manor.
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