Uplift

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

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Impaler
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Uplift

#1 Post by Impaler »

I am a fan of the Uplift novels by David Brin and was thinking of some ways to incorporate this into the games story and stragey.

Basic idea is that their is a planetary Special called "Pre-sentient life" wich at first dose nothing for the player. Once you get some good tec though you have the option of running the very expensive and longterm "Uplift" Project wich will convert the Pre-sentient special into a "Natives" special much like that in Moo2. The new natives are imediatly loyal too you and very usefull in developing the planet. You have complete control over them at first but as time goes on they start to act a bit more indepented and can eventualy become a mini-empire. Relations with them can never sour any worse then nutral because they are tagged as being "Uplifted by X" and get whopping diplomacy bonuses to X and when ever something happens to affect X's diplomay relations withsomone else 3/4 of the same effect happens to them as well. The reverse also holds true if your minions as drek would say "chesse off" someone, you suffer reputaion hits for being a "bad parrent race"

On the Galactic front Uplifting is seen as a very good act so it raises your standing with all other races. Conversly killing a "Pre-sentient life" special (for example by eating them or poluting their habitat) is very bad but not as bad as genociding a sentient species.

Idealy the pre-sentient special could be taged as being a particular race such as "Pre-sentient Alkari" or "Pre-sentient Sakra". It might take a bit of research to actualy discover this tid bit of information. This will tell you what type of Natives your going to get after uplift, will they be peacfull scientists (giving you a science bonus) or fierce warriors (giving you shock legions of disposable troops) ect ect. Ofcorse you could just save time and uplift them blind at your own risk. Another possibility is that you could with very advanced tec "control" and "mold" them add extra race modifiers. This would likly come at a cost of some sort though so twisting them too much could be counter productive. Also its likly going to give you a bad reputation possibly enough to cancel out the naturaly good act of uplifting. It all comes down to trade offs if you want to be a "good" or a "bad" uplifter.
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

Velizar
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#2 Post by Velizar »

1. Generally a good idea. I like it very much. Let it be so.

2. For uplifting diplomacy effects, perhaps they should be race specific (I doubt Saurians would be happy you introduced yet another fishy species and so on).

3. Perhaps it should be made available mid to late game, to give you that 'elder race' feel and diversify it from early game period (oooh, look we were barely surviving, and now we're GODS. GODS, I tell you!! BWAHAHAHA...;)).

4. What if you botch the uplifting and unleash a horde of mindless killing machines on your worlds? Perhaps a % of sucess could lead to some entertainment...and strenghten that pro/con choice.

5. Also, maybe it should be made a Project, like Terraforming.

6. Why am I writing these damn numbers??? :D

Daveybaby
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#3 Post by Daveybaby »

I likey this idea.
Velizar wrote:3. Perhaps it should be made available mid to late game, to give you that 'elder race' feel and diversify it from early game period (oooh, look we were barely surviving, and now we're GODS. GODS, I tell you!! BWAHAHAHA...;)).
Maybe mid-game you could get the basic ability to uplift races, but not much control in the way the races turn out, so you are much more likely to produce a race which hates you, or is a race of killers (e.g. harvesters), is unsuitable for your purposes (i.e. you got weak&smart when you wanted strong&dumb) or is just plain useless all round (teenagers). Later on you get more techs which progressively refine your control over the process, letting you steer the race more the way you want them to go.

How this would work in detail would depend very much on how the race design works in the game, but taking a moo3 style system as an example:

uplift tech 1 : Lets you uplift a race. You might get a few clues how it might turn out in a few certain areas (e.g. you might know that its farming capability will be poor or average, but not good or excellent) but most of the race's eventual capabilites will just be unknown. Basically, the game will assign them at random.

uplift tech 2 : Gives you more control over the process. i.e. it lets you spend (say) 3 of the race picks yourself. All of the others will be randomly assigned, as before.

uplift tech 3 : Gives you some more race picks to spend.

And so on.
4. What if you botch the uplifting and unleash a horde of mindless killing machines on your worlds? Perhaps a % of sucess could lead to some entertainment...and strenghten that pro/con choice.
Yes indeedy (see above)
5. Also, maybe it should be made a Project, like Terraforming.
Makes sense.

A related topic : AI.
As your computer tech increases, you will gain the ability to construct true artificial intelligence (the end goal being artificial consciousness). So at this point you potentially have an independent robotic race. This gives you a number of possible choices:

(1) Allow the AI race true independence. Let them choose their own path. In this case there are a number of outcomes
(1a) They decide to join your empire as equals.
(1b) They decide to break away and form a new independent race, and your relationship progresses from there using normal diplomatic methods.
(1c) They decide to exterminate you.
(1d) They decide to exterminate you. And everyone else.
Possibly which outcome would depend on certain decisions that were made during the course of the game. There should also be a large random element, as in your early attempts at the uplift process.

(2) Refuse to allow the AIs to be independent, effectively enslaving them (either via physical control or by reprogramming). Note, however, that these are now thinking beings and cannot be controlled with 100% certainty, so there is always the risk of a revolt. Note that such a revolt would be pretty serious, since AIs would be in at least partial control of many aspects of your empire.

(3) Do not research/implement the later stages of AI tech. This means that you do not run the risk of unleashing a hostile AI, but it also means that you fall behind in some areas, e.g. battle computers, research, economics, since true AI could enhance performance in these areas.
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Geoff the Medio
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Re: Uplift

#4 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Impaler wrote:On the Galactic front Uplifting is seen as a very good act so it raises your standing with all other races. Conversly killing a "Pre-sentient life" special (for example by eating them or poluting their habitat) is very bad but not as bad as genociding a sentient species.
This is far too general... It makes sense that some peace-and-life-loving empires would be more enamoured to you if you uplift / create new sentient races. However other peace-and-life-loving empires might dislike you uplifting new races, as the new races represent new competition (just because you love peace doesn't mean you like having people around that you're not fighting). Overall though, I imagine most races would not care in the least if you wanted to uplift / create a new race on one of your own planets, rather than settling it yourself normally... and almost as many wouldn't care if you exterminate whole other races... be they uplifted, pre-sentient or spacefaring.

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#5 Post by Daveybaby »

That would be something that could be tied into an ethos type system, if we were to have one.

i.e. if your population is of an ethos that hates the idea of uplift, and race X is busy uplifting races left, right and centre, then your people would be baying for their blood.

If you had such a system it would apply to almost everything though, uplift would be nothing special.
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drek
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#6 Post by drek »

Very interesting idea. Possbilities:

1: A build project "Uplift" deletes the "Pre-sentient Native" special replacing it with the "Sentient Native" Special
2: A second "Uplift" project replaces the race of the planet with the "Sentient Nativel"' special's race. The planet replaces the "Sentient Native" tag with a new "Homeworld" tag keyed to the race.
3: Another project, something like "Train/Enslave Sentient Workers" creates a new faction : "Slave/Worker Akkari" or whatever that creats a new faction with perfect loyalty to your empire.

All of the above could add a "Ignoring the Prime Directive" atrocity to your empire--for government picks that care about that sort of thing, plus a "Cruel to Citizens" atrocity for project that creates the Slave-Worker faction.

Impaler
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#7 Post by Impaler »

The Diplomacy stuff I described had 2 purposes. Staying consistent with the Uplift novels and secondly to act as a means of balancing large and small empires. In the Uplift books it was considered ok to decimate other species in war and often the Galaxy would unite to do just that if they got realy mad at someone but actualy genociding them was strikly prohibited. Only races that themselves wantonly comited genocide would suffer this fate at the hands of a galactic aliance. This could keep the player from simply steamrolling over everyone else in the game, its better to subjagate then to genocide thouse your concouring and this brings up more potential for revolts revolutions, insurections and other fun political events.

That said its not strikly nessary if it dosent fit well in our games plot. But if you think about it the Orions are quite similar to the Progenitors of the Uplift novels aka the First great race that uplifted the playing races and is now extinct. In that contect uplift could be seen as "Taking on the Mantle of the Orions" as the player dose as they did. It might not be nessary for others to nessary LIKE this action but they should I think acknolage it with atleast "Oh brother their uplifting pre-sentients and we still live in Mud huts these guys are not to be messed with".

Also I was basicaly thinking the same thing as DaveBabby when it comes to "molding" them durring uplift. At first no control and then progressivly more. One thing I would add though is that to give them say 3 race pick points you have to give them 1 negative point someware as well or perhaps they become less loyal (unless you chosse the "blind loyalty" pick that is :twisted: ). Basicaly some kind of downside to this incressed power you posess that makes you think twice about using it. The more you twist them the longer and more expensive the uplift project becomes.
Fear is the Mind Killer - Frank Herbert -Dune

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utilae
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#8 Post by utilae »

Cool idea.

What if the sentient species is evil, so that when you uplift them they are uncontrollable, etc become powerful and soon you have a zerg like race running rampant.

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#9 Post by Geoff the Medio »

drek wrote:3: Another project, something like "Train/Enslave Sentient Workers" creates a new faction : "Slave/Worker Akkari" or whatever that creats a new faction with perfect loyalty to your empire.
This sounds like you want to use factions to represent population of different races. That would seem to go against the one race / planet rule... And if applicable, these race-factions presumably would have different rules about how they grow or spread, compared to the social/government/political type factions. Or have I misread? What exactly are you suggesting?

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#10 Post by drek »

That a new faction, totally "loyal" to the empire, would arise. A faction presense of "Uplifted Workers" would grant a bonus to Industry. But, if the faction gains X power and the player's government picks are harsh to workers, then the faction might begin to loss loyalty and eventually rebel.

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#11 Post by Ranos »

My understanding of what was being suggested is that the "Uplifted" race becomes a new empire. Why not just make it a "Native" special when they have been uplifted? The difference being that they would be like MOO3 natives instead of like MOO2.

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#12 Post by MisterMerf »

I'm a huge fan of the Uplift novels as well. I'd like to see this develop and have somewhat more tangible benefits than some diplomatic bonuses and just being really cool =)

Maybe the uplifted race can get its own AI empire and start expanding like mad (they might need some special mechanism, since this would probably start late game when most systems are already spoken for) and you get some kind of small tax or voluntary tribute from them for awhile.

If possible, it'd be nice if a victory-driven player would be able to uplift with a reasonable expectation that the benefits outweigh the risks >_>

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#13 Post by ErikAlbert »

I love the uplift idea.

I don't think the new uplifted races should form a new empire though.

I could use the realism argument and say that the span of time isn't long enough for that to happen but I won't.

I think it's better just to let the new uplifted race, serve in your empire. Kind of similar to how conquered races were treated in moo2 except they are less rebellious of course.

It would be great i think if you could uplift races to shore up areas in which you were weak in, such as warrior races as marines... But of course in most uplift cases, the more different the client and the patron races were, the greater chance of problems resulting...

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#14 Post by Sapphire Wyvern »

ErikAlbert wrote:I love the uplift idea.

I don't think the new uplifted races should form a new empire though.

I could use the realism argument and say that the span of time isn't long enough for that to happen but I won't.

I think it's better just to let the new uplifted race, serve in your empire. Kind of similar to how conquered races were treated in moo2 except they are less rebellious of course.

It would be great i think if you could uplift races to shore up areas in which you were weak in, such as warrior races as marines... But of course in most uplift cases, the more different the client and the patron races were, the greater chance of problems resulting...
If the uplifted races are to actually have much impact on the game, it would imply that the uplift's racial traits probably need to be different to your own racial traits. Otherwise they're just bonus population.

Therefore, do we need to rethink the "one population type per planet" rule? Allowing mixed population also permits us a certain amount of flexibility in handling conquered populations, but introduces an unattractive layer of complexity to managing planetary populations (eg shuffling your farming specialists to farming worlds, etc) that we have been trying to avoid.

Alternatively, we can uplifting as a backstory justification for a tech that allows you to convert RP and/or PP into population - your empire is investing in a major scientific/industrial effort to create new servitor races.

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#15 Post by Geoff the Medio »

Sapphire Wyvern wrote:...the uplift's racial traits probably need to be different to your own racial traits.
Presumably they'd be well-suited for the planet environment on which they were created, which your primary race might not. If having multiple races available for colonization of new planets, or making ground troops or anything else is assumed in game balancing, then in situations where a player doesn't have the opportunity to take over several other empires to get access to a variety of race stock could be remiedied instead by allowing that player to create uplifted races to provide that same variety. It could also be an alternative path to the same thing for non-warlike players. I ruminated about another altnernative, mutation, as well.
Therefore, do we need to rethink the "one population type per planet" rule?
I don't see why. If you wanted to uplift a race, you'd just have to do it on a planet you hadn't yet populated but which had pre-sentient life on it. If you'd already colonize a planet, then you couldn't uplift on that planet, unless you vacated the colony first.

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