Biological Warfare

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Daveybaby
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Biological Warfare

#1 Post by Daveybaby » Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:16 pm

Hey all. Been doing some design work on my own little project, and came up with some nice ideas for a biological warfare sub-game. So, i thought i'd put it up for discussion here to iron out any issues, and to see if it would fit within the FO game. So here goes:

Biological Warfare
Like the old 'Doom Virus' etc from Moo1, but expanded a bit. Well, expanded quite a lot, actually.

Biological Weapons
The player can research different levels of biological attack. This then gives you the capability to research/build a specific bioweapon targeted at a specific species.

Each disease is created at random and has the following characteristics, each with a random value from 0% to 100% (but with a gaussian distribution, so values at either extreme will be rare).
1. Communicability : How fast the disease will spread through the target population.
2. Susceptibility : What percentage of the target population are susceptible to the disease, and what percentage are naturally immune?
3. Incapacity Level : How debilitating/incapacitating is the disease, i.e. what percentage of those infected will be unable to work?
4. Complexity : How difficult is it to identify/treat/cure the disease?
5. Lethality : What percentage of those with the disease can be expected to die each turn.

In addition, the disease must be developed to target one of the following physiological areas, which biases the characteristics of the disease:

Respiratory : Very Low Difficulty. Very High Communicability, Very Low Lethality. Spreads through population rapidly, but doesn’t cause much death.

Circulatory : Low Difficulty. Low Complexity, Highly Incapacitating. Takes a large proportion of infected out of work, but relatively easy to cure.

Cellular : Average Difficulty. High Communicability, High Susceptibility, Very High Lethality. Burns through population rapidly, but can burn itself out quickly.

Neurological : High Difficulty. Very Low Communicability, High Complexity. Very hard to catch, but hard to cure once youve caught it.

Genetic : Very High Difficulty. Low Communicability, Very High Complexity, Hard to catch, but very hard to cure.

N.B. the difficulty level of the virus affects the time required to research it. The complexity of the virus affects the time required to cure it.

Biological Defences
The player can also research different levels of biological defence. Each level will give the player more chance of defeating a specific biological attack, i.e. of researching a treatment and/or a cure.

There are 5 levels of defence which can be researched for a given attack. Each level is progressively harder to research than the last.

1. Identification : Provides information on the nature of the disease, and allows earlier diagnosis, thus isolation policies become more effective.
2. Isolation : Improved isolation techniques further reduce the spread of the disease in the general population, but this does not increase the survival rate of those infected.
3. Treatment : Increases the survival rate.
4. Cure : Cures a percentage of the population from the disease every turn.
5. Immunity : Makes the disease completely ineffectual in the general population.

The time taken to research a defence is dependent on the difference between the biowarfare technology level at which the bioweapon was developed, the complexity of the disease, and the defenders biowarfare technology level at the time of the attack.

Treatment Policy
Biological warfare treatment policies can also have an effect on the spread of a disease.

:arrow: Ignore (i.e. do nothing).
The Disease spreads more rapidly.
Lethality increases.
Increased unrest (especially in affected race).
Why would you use this option? well, you may WANT the target species to be decimated, regardless of the fact that they are part of your empire :twisted:

:arrow: Treat infected individuals within the community
Disease spreads normally.
Lethality decreases.
No increase in unrest.

:arrow: Isolate infected individuals, i.e. forcibly remove them from the community for treatment.
Disease spreads more slowly.
Lethality decreases.
Small increase in unrest.
All infected population become unavailable for work, regardless of the disease's incapacity level.

:arrow: Sterilise : Infected Individuals are removed from the community and sterilised (i.e. killed)
Disease spreads more slowly.
Lethality becomes nearly 100%
Large increase in unrest.

:arrow: Scorched Earth (whenever infection is found, sterilise the entire community)
Disease spreads very slowly.
Lethality = nearly 100% for anyone infected, and for a large numbers of uninfected, too.
Very large increase in unrest.
Large & rapid reduction in population
Hopefully stamps out the infection quickly.

Infection via Orbital Bombing
This involves seeding the planet with bioweapons from orbit, during space combat. i.e. the same approach as used in Moo1. This method will quickly infect large segments of the population, but will since this approach is highly visible, counter measures will be taken up immediately. This approach also guarantees that everyone else will know what you have done, and will attract severe diplomatic penalties (see below).

How do we load bio warfare bombs onto ships? Since there are a potentially large number of specific bio-weapons targeted at different species, it is impractical to design specific bioweapons into a ship hull. Instead, bioweapons representing each general biological attack technology level are loaded. Each of these generic bioweapons effectively contain a miniature bioweapons lab which can produce any specific bioweapon at that technology level and deliver it to the target. Thus a ship designed with 10 units of bioweapon type II can, deliver any virus developed at bioweapon technology level II. The player selects the desired virus at the time of bombing.

Infection via Espionage
This will take the form of a spy mission to secretly infect the population. This approach takes longer to set up, and will initially infect a much smaller segment of the population. However, because this is a quieter vector, there will be a significant delay before countermeasures can be applied with any degree of effectiveness. Also, this approach means there is a chance that your empire will not suffer diplomatic penalties. In fact, you may be able to frame another empire for the deed, and watch them take the diplomatic hit for you.

Use of Bioweapons during Ground Combat
The potential exists for the use of bioweapons during a ground combat phase. However, I haven't worked out how this would work yet.

Diplomatic Penalties
Development of general biological attack technology levels will result in diplomatic penalties from most if not all other empires in the game, regardless of whether they themselves have developed or are developing similar capabilities.

Development of biological defence technology levels will not result in any diplomatic penalties.

Development of a specific bioweapon will draw VERY severe negative diplomatic penalties (if the development is detected) from the empires containing members of the targeted race (if the race makes up a significant (>5%?) proportion of the empire's population, and is an associate member of the empire or higher).

Use of bioweapons, either from orbit or via espionage (if detected) will result in extreme diplomatic penalties from the target empire, i.e. it will almost invariably lead to a declaration of war.
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utilae
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#2 Post by utilae » Wed Nov 24, 2004 9:39 pm

Hmmm A very good idea. Your proposal is great. 8)

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Interesting proposal

#3 Post by guiguibaah » Wed Nov 24, 2004 11:00 pm

Having different angles of biological warfare could be interesting.


I don't want to get all hoity-toity, but in my profession we are trained to deal with outbreaks as well as new and emerging infectious diseases and I could help out iron some basic details that won't affect playability in later stages if this becomes a reality.


What would also be interesting, is if through researching, transporting or manufacturing biological weapons you might accidentally cause a biological spill, which could result in an outbreak on one of your planets.


Another interesting aspect - If the population of a planet is infected with a pathogen, you are given the choice to quarantine it. This means no travel in or out of that planet... so all outgoing production is halved. Of course, you may chose not to quarantine it, hoping your eggheads will solve the problem, but risk it spreading to other planets.


So if you chose the route of BIO-warfare, you might get a big mess on your hands, and you could suffer some bad political consequences, but it could be worth it.
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#4 Post by Daveybaby » Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:04 am

Yeah, feel free to comment and rip apart anything which is technically incorrect. I'm very much a layman in these areas.

Improved technical jargon is always welcome. e.g. 'pathogens' is a word i was trying to think of all day yesterday.

The quarantine stuff is good, i was thinking along these lines myself last night. There's lots of other stuff that i was thinking of adding (e.g. incubation period which makes it harder to quarantine a disease), but i dont want this to get too complex and micromanagement intensive.
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#5 Post by Bastian-Bux » Thu Nov 25, 2004 11:05 am

OK, here my two cents:

another dimension: specificality.

The most bioweapons will be specific to one sapient lifeform. So if you develop a bioweapon to kill of that evil drektopians, you'll need a thourough understanding of drektopian biology, and best a few hundred drektopian "volunteers" for experiments. If you succed, you'll have a B-weapon that affects only drektopians (well, it might spill to some biological close relatives, like pan panis for humans). But a spill on your own worlds is highly unlikely. If you ain't stupid enough to develop the weapon on your newly conquered drektopian colony. But of course there you have the highest numbers of "volunteers"... on the downside the drektopians with their superior knowledge of their own biology will have an easier time to find a cure. So the weapon better works fast.

The second step of specificality would be a biochemistry targeting weapon. This one would be engineered to destroy anything following the biochemistry pattern of the drektopian biosphere. Highly usefull if your population can't eat that drektopian plants anyway. Hey, you might end up with severall nice planets covered in a layer of not-yet-fossiles. The dangers of a spill, or a crossover into other biochemistries is higher of course.

The third step would be molecule based bioweapons. What would happen if we encountered an bioagent that separated all moleculare bonds of carbon? Right, our whole biosphere would dissolve into slimy puddles of carbon contaminated water. And best of it, this weapon would work on all carbon based lifeforms, regardless if they store their genetic information in a double-helix, a ball, or scratch it into their skin. ;) And of course the same is possible with silicium based lifeforms, though with a fairly different bioagent. Nice weapon, if you (and your allies) happen to have another base molecule then your enemies. Else the dangers are just to great.

So, you already destroyed all your enemies, and are still seeking for the the holy grail of bioweapons? Or your race is at the brink of extinction, and heck, no reason why all others should survive? Well, then you could develop a bioweapon that targets all lifeforms. Don't ask me how to do it, I think it would be easier to develop some agent that infects all suns and let them go nova.

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#6 Post by Daveybaby » Fri Nov 26, 2004 11:57 am

Thats good stuff. I've got 'susceptibility' in there already, which is kinda similar but acts *within* the species (i.e. some people will be naturally immune) rather than spreading between species. I guess that wider specificality would be something that you can achieve once you can hit 100% susceptibility for a species.

Or maybe if each species had a degree of genetic similarity to every other species. Say, psilons are 30% similar to humans while klackons are only 10% similar. Then a disease that has 75% susceptibility for humans would have 22.5% susceptibility for psilons, and 7.5% susceptibility for klackons. Possibly things like lethality and incapacity could also be scaled by these modifiers. Eventually your tech would allow you to research bioweapons with >100% suscepitbility, to the point where eventually every race would be 100% susceptible (except, i guess, robotics).

Heh, one thing just occurred to me. I bet this thread set off all kinds of alarms down at FBI big brother HQ. Lots of nice juicy keywords.

Hello FBI guys. Dont worry, we're talking about a COMPUTER GAME. :wink:
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#7 Post by Bastian-Bux » Fri Nov 26, 2004 4:05 pm

Don't worry, they learned from that "Steve Jackson Games Inccident". :twisted:

For those that don't know that inccident:

Steve Jackson Games is designing sophisticated games, most notably the G(eneric) U(niversal) R(oleplaying) S(ystem).

"In 1990, Steve Jackson Games was raided by the U.S. Secret Service during a 'hacker hunt' that went disastrously out of control. We lost several computers, modems, and other equipment. Worse, we lost the manuscripts to several uncompleted games, most notably GURPS Cyberpunk, which a Secret Service agent the next day called 'a handbook for computer crime.' The company had to lay off half its staff, and narrowly avoided bankruptcy.

Eventually we got most of our property back (though some of it was damaged or destroyed). The Secret Service admitted that we'd never been a target of their investigation. We have a lawsuit pending against the officials and agencies responsible. "

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besides...

#8 Post by guiguibaah » Fri Nov 26, 2004 10:57 pm

A bunch of us are ocated aorund the world... the U.S., Gemany, Finland, Russia, Ukraine, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc...

... The day a U.S. Secret Service agent breaks into a New Zealander's house would probably be the same day we all wear mind-control helmets and eat bugs for breakfast.
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#9 Post by Bastian-Bux » Sat Nov 27, 2004 5:39 pm

Guigui, you are naive :).

Why do you think has the us army still its listening posts at the Harz mountains, long after communist east germany was merged into the (at that time) pro-american wets-germany? But modern day politics are a no-no at this forii, so lets stop it ;).

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#10 Post by Impaler » Sun Nov 28, 2004 3:26 pm

Their some nice matierial here and I realy like the main thrust of "Bio-weapons as a trigger for Plauge events" rather then "Population killing bombs".

I would drop the Circulatory/Respiratory style targets and simply have a "Enginering Focus" for the specific traits of Lethality/Comuncability ect ect. Its more straitforward and descriptive and it avoids refering to Body Parts that an Alien species might not have :wink:

I also think we should aprotch the whole thing in a level based manor. Pathogins have a level say 1-5 in the 5 criteria based on some combination of your tecnology and how you much/little you focused it on its target and how much time in research you invest. On the oposite side of the equation the Infectee can Resist or become imune to the Disease either through Medical tecnology or inate "Super Imune system" racial traits (remember thouse Aliens for Voyager that the Borg couldn't assimilate because their imune system was super strong). Treatment policy can add/subtract additional levels for example Terminate all infected puts Lethality at the Max and reduces Comunicability by 2.

Also the Plauge on a planet can varry in intensity from Dormant. OutBreak. Epidemic, Pandemic. The higher the effective level of Couminability and the higher the population Density (dense populations promote rapid disease spead) the higher the chance the plauge will "grow" and change to a higher level. With low Comunicability it can start to be broght under control and if suppressed enough a Dormant Plauge can Eradicated removing the posibility of it returning ala Small-pox (barring an outside sorce ofcorse).
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#11 Post by Daveybaby » Mon Nov 29, 2004 11:49 am

Impaler wrote:I would drop the Circulatory/Respiratory style targets and simply have a "Enginering Focus" for the specific traits of Lethality/Comuncability ect ect. Its more straitforward and descriptive and it avoids refering to Body Parts that an Alien species might not have :wink:
Trouble is, i dont know if just allowing focus on one specific trait is enough, e.g. i like the idea of a disease with high communicability AND high lethality, so that there is a chance it will burn itself out (like ebola does). If you let players focus on whatever aspects they like they would come up with a super-virus which would be pretty much unstoppable (high communicability, high lethality, and, worst of all, high incubation period - imagine a disease like AIDS but as easy to catch as flu :shock: ). What i was trying to do was provide a range of disease types by mixing & matching the various traits.

Agree that maybe 'respiratory' and 'circulatory' are maybe too terra-centric. I guess it depends on how alien our aliens are going to get though. From what i've seen so far, theres nothing so weird that you couldnt assume it to have something analogous to these functions.

Cellular/Neural/Genetic are pretty generic. Your aliens would have to be VERY alien (e.g. pure energy beings) for those to be non-applicable. Obviously cybernetic organisms dont have these, but i would imagine that they would be immune to biological warfare in the first place.
I also think we should aprotch the whole thing in a level based manor. Pathogins have a level say 1-5 in the 5 criteria based on some combination of your tecnology and how you much/little you focused it on its target and how much time in research you invest.
This is pretty much what i was proposing. There would be (say) 5 levels of biowarfare tech to research (5 each in attack and defence).
On the oposite side of the equation the Infectee can Resist or become imune to the Disease either through Medical tecnology or inate "Super Imune system" racial traits (remember thouse Aliens for Voyager that the Borg couldn't assimilate because their imune system was super strong). Treatment policy can add/subtract additional levels for example Terminate all infected puts Lethality at the Max and reduces Comunicability by 2.
Yeah, i guess youre effectively talking about having bioattack/biodefence meters, which kinda makes sense.

Also the Plauge on a planet can varry in intensity from Dormant. OutBreak. Epidemic, Pandemic. The higher the effective level of Couminability and the higher the population Density (dense populations promote rapid disease spead) the higher the chance the plauge will "grow" and change to a higher level. With low Comunicability it can start to be broght under control and if suppressed enough a Dormant Plauge can Eradicated removing the posibility of it returning ala Small-pox (barring an outside sorce ofcorse).
I like the idea of population density affecting the spread of the disease.
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Re: Interesting proposal

#12 Post by Pasi » Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:27 pm

guiguibaah wrote:What would also be interesting, is if through researching, transporting or manufacturing biological weapons you might accidentally cause a biological spill, which could result in an outbreak on one of your planets.
This sounds good, as then it wouldn't be totally unrisky to make them...

Something went wrong in secret lab X ... zombies now roam the streets of X killing X people of the survivers!

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#13 Post by oolon » Mon Dec 06, 2004 6:03 pm

One thing I would like to add to the mix would be experience, if biological attacks are going to have some residual effects, as well as actively researching ways to deal with it, experience would be passive and related to the number of population infected or having been infected/time spent dealing with this attack. This way a biological attack which occured 300 years ago would have little or no effect on a modern empire.

James

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#14 Post by Kharagh » Wed Dec 08, 2004 12:36 pm

Pasi wrote:Deploy Angelina Jolie now? [yes] [no]
I like that part a lot :D

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#15 Post by Daveybaby » Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:36 pm

Wasnt it milla jovovovovovovovovitch?
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