Eleazar's Multi-Species Empire ideas.

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eleazar
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Eleazar's Multi-Species Empire ideas.

#1 Post by eleazar »

The aspect of FO's game design that most interests me is the aliens. While they will not come up for official discussion for quite a while, i've taken the liberty of organizing my thoughts on the matter on the wiki, here. This is very much a work in progress and contains inconsistencies, vague descriptions, gaps, and impracticalities.

However, I believe i've been able to progress further than the many discussion that happened a few years ago, because:
1) various aspects of the game have been solidified.
2) i've built on the ideas of those old threads.

Feel free to comment on what i have in the wiki in this thread. However i'm not likely to be interested in your input if you've apparently taken little trouble to read or understand what i've wrote.

Of course it would be more profitable if you would be involved in the currently active design threads. But i think it would be good to develop the concepts needed for v.5 and following, since much of it (excluding ground combat) has very little to do with the decisions currently being made for v.4. and not everyone has the interest or insight to add to v.4.

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Tortanick
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#2 Post by Tortanick »

Quite a bit of good idea's there, I'm not doing a point by point analysis but the following things occured to me:

It may be over powerful if you have multiple species each with there speciliseations, there has to be a counter balance and I do not mean that its harder to manage. If you do that good players who can mange the extra species get the bonuses for no penalty, bad players cannot get the bonus. I think the good player should win because he played better, not because there are good player only options.

Simuarly if you have species who exterminate everyone else (Eaxaw) that has to be balanced out too.

One option might be a penalty to all non-primary races in all areas. Technobablel: A conflict between the pervaling technology and our natural way of doing things lowers our efficiency. Imagine humans uplifting a martin race to join our young empire but they work by smell, how much technology would have to be adapted.
It could help limit other races and regulate them to colonising worlds that they and not the primary species like, and areas that the primary species isn't good at. Then again mabey it won't.

One planet per species is a good idea.

It might lead to odd situations where a fast growing peace and love race of hippies is over taken by a slow growing conquror and rule race, then the evil empire becomes good because 80% of the people are conquored and believe in peace. (this point assumes that the AI is a "player" and knows the people are characters).

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utilae
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#3 Post by utilae »

I disagree with more than one species per planet. Too much micro.

Also, I don't see a reason for the existence of prewarp civilisations that never go beyond warp. I think that all should be able to progress as far as a player empire.

I think that a prewarp civ or earier tech civ, should (when enough turns have passed) eventually be able to colonise other systems, build fleets, be involved in diplomacy and form alliances and treaties, and of course go to war, research, spy, etc.

It would add the effect of a growing/evolving universe.

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eleazar
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#4 Post by eleazar »

Tortanick wrote:It may be over powerful if you have multiple species each with there speciliseations, there has to be a counter balance and I do not mean that its harder to manage. If you do that good players who can mange the extra species get the bonuses for no penalty, bad players cannot get the bonus. I think the good player should win because he played better, not because there are good player only options.

Simuarly if you have species who exterminate everyone else (Eaxaw) that has to be balanced out too.
Your distinction between playing well, and good-player-only-options makes no sense. Regardless, that's not what i'm proposing. (changed the line in the intro which may have given you the wrong idea.)
The main counterbalance is that with a monoculture empire, you can choose a course of action that makes everyone happy. The more species in your empire, the more likely one of them will be on the verge of rebellion.
Also:
me wrote:*It may provide an opportunity for espionage, especially if a species was incorporated forcibly.
* Some governmental pics or ethos would be incompatible with a multi-species empire.
Tortanick wrote:It might lead to odd situations where a fast growing peace and love race of hippies is over taken by a slow growing conquror and rule race, then the evil empire becomes good because 80% of the people are conquored and believe in peace. (this point assumes that the AI is a "player" and knows the people are characters).
That's an interesting example.
But "conquer and rule" species would probably incorporate the hippies as slaves in which case, keeping them happy is not an issue. A player needs to be careful what populations he absorbs. It may not be possible to have an empire with both these species as equal members without one of them being on the verge of revolt because of your actions. I like that dynamic.

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utilae
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#5 Post by utilae »

Hmm, also it seems that all these extra meters you are adding, along with the current ones, make for a large amount of meters for the player to deal with.

I think some of these meters could be summarised/abstracted.

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#6 Post by Tortanick »

eleazar wrote: Your distinction between playing well, and good-player-only-options makes no sense.
What I ment is that if there is a "secret formula" to keep everyone in a multi-racal empire happy, and you're empire would rip itself apart on racial lines if you don't follow the formula. Then good players who knew the "secret formula" get the bonus of many species with no penalty to balance it out. Bad players who don't know the formula have to stick to one species. This is what happens if you make a bad job of balancing by making it require extra skill.
eleazar wrote: The main counterbalance is that with a monoculture empire, you can choose a course of action that makes everyone happy. The more species in your empire, the more likely one of them will be on the verge of rebellion.
What happens if you're a very lucky player who ends up with a couple of races who have a very similar ethos but different skills or environmental prefrances? Same advantages with a much smaller cost.

and I'm not convinced that moral penalty's is a good enough counterbalance for all the advantages you get.

If done right this could be a very nice addition to the game, but it will be very hard to do right.


eleazar wrote: That's an interesting example.
But "conquer and rule" species would probably incorporate the hippies as slaves in which case, keeping them happy is not an issue. A player needs to be careful what populations he absorbs. It may not be possible to have an empire with both these species as equal members without one of them being on the verge of revolt because of your actions. I like that dynamic.
I did sort of imply a star-wars evil empire didn't I, :) But I was actually thinking of the Orions from this game, who conquered or otherwise took over all for their own good. If they took over another race who now accounts for 80% of the population and that race had a strict ethos of: no war, no espionage, nothing against anyone. Then an AI player who takes into account the people's ethos, but doesn't have an ethos of his own will do the smart thing and become a pacifist, going totally against character for his species.

Even if the AI is hard coded to proritoise the original race's happiness or something (giving it a disadvantage against players) then human players would betray their original ethos unless they are deliberately roleplaying. There should be some gameplay reason why its better to follow the original ethos.

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eleazar
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#7 Post by eleazar »

utilae wrote:Hmm, also it seems that all these extra meters you are adding, along with the current ones, make for a large amount of meters for the player to deal with.
:? I've added 2 meters, allegiance and happiness (though allegiance has a value for every major empire— but much of the time you can ignore/collaspe those.)
Perhaps you are confusing some of the racial pics that work on a continuum as meters.
utilae wrote:I think some of these meters could be summarised/abstracted.
Really? which ones?
Tortanick wrote:
eleazar wrote:The main counterbalance is that with a monoculture empire, you can choose a course of action that makes everyone happy. The more species in your empire, the more likely one of them will be on the verge of rebellion.
What happens if you're a very lucky player who ends up with a couple of races who have a very similar ethos but different skills or environmental prefrances? Same advantages with a much smaller cost.
What happens if you're a very lucky player who ends up with 3 large Gaian worlds and/or 3 ancient ruins in the early game? There is luck in this type of game, but in this situation, luck only provides an opportunity, the player must recognize the advantage and seize it. Still, the more species you are trying to keep happy, the more limitations on your behavior there will be. No two species should have the exact same ethos.
Tortanick wrote:and I'm not convinced that moral penalty's is a good enough counterbalance for all the advantages you get.
I'm not convinced either because all the precise numbers, formulas, and interactions haven't been created. This is far to preliminary to know if it will be balanced.
All i'm saying is that i'm planning to have something on both sides of the scales.
Tortanick wrote:
eleazar wrote:That's an interesting example.
But "conquer and rule" species would probably incorporate the hippies as slaves in which case, keeping them happy is not an issue. A player needs to be careful what populations he absorbs. It may not be possible to have an empire with both these species as equal members without one of them being on the verge of revolt because of your actions. I like that dynamic.
I did sort of imply a star-wars evil empire didn't I, :) But I was actually thinking of the Orions from this game, who conquered or otherwise took over all for their own good. If they took over another race who now accounts for 80% of the population and that race had a strict ethos of: no war, no espionage, nothing against anyone. Then an AI player who takes into account the people's ethos, but doesn't have an ethos of his own will do the smart thing and become a pacifist, going totally against character for his species.

Even if the AI is hard coded to proritoise the original race's happiness or something (giving it a disadvantage against players) then human players would betray their original ethos unless they are deliberately roleplaying. There should be some gameplay reason why its better to follow the original ethos.
No, the AI "emperor" has only one goal— to win. Normally that will be most expediently done by (more or less) following the ethos of the original race, but if the AI calculates that another path is more likely to lead to victory, it will choose it, just like a human usually would. I believe it's rather important that the AI be equally free to succeed. It's hard enough to make a good AI that doesn't cheat without trying to teach it to role-play.

I am viewing the "emperor" human or AI not as a specific character, but as the personification of the government, which might be Representative instead of some sort of Dictatorship. There's nothing special in my system about the race that you start with, except that it has a head start. They are not necessarily the leaders/rulers of the empire.

So if the conquerors absorbed the hippies as full members of their civilization, it only makes sense that the hippies would start to change things. If they had no voice in the government, then they are obviously some sort of second class citizen, if not slaves.

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#8 Post by Tortanick »

eleazar wrote:What happens if you're a very lucky player who ends up with 3 large Gaian worlds and/or 3 ancient ruins in the early game? There is luck in this type of game, but in this situation, luck only provides an opportunity, the player must recognize the advantage and seize it. Still, the more species you are trying to keep happy, the more limitations on your behavior there will be. No two species should have the exact same ethos.
Luck may only provide an opportunity, but two/three species with similar ethos is a much much bigger opportunity than 3 ancient ruins. If you're really lucky you could tripple the amount of good planets in you're territory.
eleazar wrote: No, the AI "emperor" has only one goal— to win. Normally that will be most expediently done by (more or less) following the ethos of the original race, but if the AI calculates that another path is more likely to lead to victory, it will choose it, just like a human usually would. I believe it's rather important that the AI be equally free to succeed. It's hard enough to make a good AI that doesn't cheat without trying to teach it to role-play.
I'm not saying the AI should put role-play above wining, I'm saying that when designing multi-species empires we should at least try to rig it so that role-playing the original species constantly remains the best path to victory. A possible (and probably too extreme) solution might be that when you conquore or otherwise integrate another race into you're empire it adopts the empire's ethos. Something other than moral is used as a counterbalance.

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#9 Post by eleazar »

Tortanick wrote:
eleazar wrote:What happens if you're a very lucky player who ends up with 3 large Gaian worlds and/or 3 ancient ruins in the early game? There is luck in this type of game, but in this situation, luck only provides an opportunity, the player must recognize the advantage and seize it. Still, the more species you are trying to keep happy, the more limitations on your behavior there will be. No two species should have the exact same ethos.
Luck may only provide an opportunity, but two/three species with similar ethos is a much much bigger opportunity than 3 ancient ruins. If you're really lucky you could tripple the amount of good planets in you're territory.
I can't imagine that the availability of planets with a habitable EP will be the only limiting factor on the growth of your empire.

More importantly, your concern does not acknowledge how probability works. The more independent random variables that are involved in making a good/bad starting situation, the less probable the extreme good/bad luck becomes. You have a decent chance of getting all heads in two coin tosses, but a really bad chance of getting all heads in 12 coin tosses.

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Re: Eleazar's Multi-Species Empire ideas.

#10 Post by SowerCleaver »

Since the empire will always start with a single species and only can become multi-species after a while, I think there should be an easy way for a human player to tell what the current demographics of my empire on balance prefer. If I start out as a warlike specie but assimiliates vast amount of peaceful species, I would probably better off changing my playstyle from warmongering to peacemongering.

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Re: Eleazar's Multi-Species Empire ideas.

#11 Post by Krikkitone »

One point on the OP,

I think instead of "Evacuation" + "Redesignation" when it is complete

You should simply be able to Designate a planet as having a Certian 'Replacement' Species, and Then say how fast/violently you are going to accomplish it.


Also... I think an absolutely Key thing with Ethos is that it be open to Change... so if the Communist Humans are in contact with the Capitalist Martians, it becomes more likely to get Communist Martians and Capitalist Humans. (and if you are living under an Empire that backs an Ethos... and you are relatively happy with that government...you may adopt their Ethos)
Last edited by Krikkitone on Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Eleazar's Multi-Species Empire ideas.

#12 Post by marhawkman »

Krikkitone wrote:One point on the OP,

I think instead of "Evacuation" + "Redesignation" when it is complete

You should simply be able to Designate a planet as having a Certian 'Replacement' Species, and Then say how fast/violently you are going to accomplish it.


Also... I think a absolutely Key thing with Ethos is that it be open to Change... so if the Communist Humans are in contact with the Capitalist Martians, it becomes more likely to get Communist Martians and Capitalist Humans. (and if you are living under an Empire tha backs an Ethos... and you are relatively happy with that government...you may adopt their Ethos)
Which is something species assimilation seems to abstract in other games. (IE capturing people means they dislike you and only after quite a while will they actually be productive members of your empire.)
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Re: Eleazar's Multi-Species Empire ideas.

#13 Post by Chaz Turbo »

I was thinking, how about instead of two separate meters of happiness and allegiance, there would be one happiness meter with tic marks that show thresholds of allegiance. The tic marks need not to be the same for each race. Say if Race A is relatively indifferent to emotions, then it may not be very happy at base level, but the tic marks of allegiance may be scaled lower. The number of tic marks may also vary; one race may have no effect over a wide range of happiness, but they go berserk after their only “last straw” is reached. Another race may progressively become worse as happiness drops, working off of piece-wise defined functions from productivity level to chance of rioting.

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Re: Eleazar's Multi-Species Empire ideas.

#14 Post by Krikkitone »

The reason for happiness and allegiance to be seperate is that Happiness is General, Allegiance is empire Specific.


Also I have relooked at some of the Ethos Ideas and am thinking that Values on a planet should have 2 basic components

1. Racial picks (hardwired don't change... except under unusual circumstances)
2. Culture (also known as religion, etc. Key point is that it DOES change cultures can increase/decrease in strength/spread, etc.) [Cultures would consist of a set of Values and some Identifier.. to illustrate how well they interacted with each other regardless of values]

I can see a number of ways to effect the final Values
1. Peaceful Race->Peaceful Effect
2. Peaceful Culture->Peaceful Effect
3. Peaceful Race->Peaceful Culture (peaceful cultures do better among a peaceful race)

1+2 is a possibility keeping Race+Culture Seperate
2+3 allows Race to have an effect Through Culture
1+2+3 allows some synergistic effect

I would probably prefer 1+2 alone (allowing them to be completely independent) possibly with a mild effect of 3.

Probably the "Starting Culture(s)" of a species (the one on their Home World) would reflect the Race Pick Values.

Player Actions should be able to effect Culture (one key possibility of something to do with money) but Race Picks would require high techs to Influence.

bumped due to late edit.

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Re: Eleazar's Multi-Species Empire ideas.

#15 Post by eleazar »

sowercleaver wrote:If I start out as a warlike specie but assimiliates vast amount of peaceful species, I would probably better off changing my playstyle from warmongering to peacemongering.
That's exactly the idea... or you could "enslave" the peaceful species (since they are bound to hate you anyway) and/or exterminate them, and let you warmongers live there.

Chaz Turbo wrote:I was thinking, how about instead of two separate meters of happiness and allegiance, there would be one happiness meter with tic marks that show thresholds of allegiance.
When we talk about "meters" in a general sense we're not talking about the visual interface, but simply a number than changes under varying circumstances. Specifics about how to display those numbers aren't important at this stage.

But combining "allegiance" and "happiness" as you suggest won't work, or at least won't provide the function i'm aiming for. Each planet has an "allegiance" meter for each empire, that has ever effected it. You can't simulate plant X's hate for an aggressive neighbor, and fondness for a friendly neighbor, and it's level of satisfaction with it's own ruling empire with a single meter.

Krikkitone wrote:Also I have relooked at some of the Ethos Ideas and am thinking that Values on a planet should have 2 basic components

1. Racial picks (hardwired don't change... except under unusual circumstances)
2. Culture (also known as religion, etc. Key point is that it DOES change cultures can increase/decrease in strength/spread, etc.) [Cultures would consist of a set of Values and some Identifier.. to illustrate how well they interacted with each other regardless of values]

...

Probably the "Starting Culture(s)" of a species (the one on their Home World) would reflect the Race Pick Values.

Player Actions should be able to effect Culture (one key possibility of something to do with money) but Race Picks would require high techs to Influence.
I would be very happy to see a 4X game that made this distinction between inborn species personality, and the culture they have adopted... if it worked. But that's very ambitious. I don't know of a game that does this in a way that's effective and understandable.

It's pretty easy (for instance) to tell the player, that planet Y is inhabited by the Queng, and if the Queng ethos doesn't change, the player (after checking once or twice) will know what that means. But if the ethos of a planet changes over time you need to find ways to present that info to the player so he knows what's going on.

It's a situation similar to the one we rejected by decreeing "one species per planet". If a planet is divided into multiple species, then part of the population has bonus A, and another part has malus B and it's not sufficiently clear to the player which is applied to which aspect of production/research/security etc.


Having an innate ethos for each species is to me the meeting of the maximum fun gameplay with the minimum complexity.
Last edited by eleazar on Fri Dec 11, 2009 4:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: confusing typo

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