How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

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How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#1 Post by Oberlus » Mon Jan 14, 2019 5:48 pm

I acknowledge that many of the suggestions lately have to do with the future Influence and Government features that Geoff (and others) are working on.

I wonder if there is a way for non C++ coders (like me) to help in the development of such features, design-wise.

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#2 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:04 pm

Maybe it helps to have a look at the current state of implementation, just uploaded a linux build as an easily installable snap to snapcraft.io

Up-to-date Government Snap.

I forgot - what system do you use?
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#3 Post by Geoff the Medio » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:54 pm

-Art / icons for the existing policies
-Layout suggestions for the Government window

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#4 Post by Oberlus » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:35 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:54 pm
-Art / icons for the existing policies
Is there a way to "list" current policies by searching the source code, to get an approximate idea of what each one is suppose to do? I'm planning to make a post here with them, as a first draft of documentation (if that is not implemented yet) but mostly to invoke Bestary's skills.

I first tried pulling the Government branch (and in the way I've messed up things bad in my local, it seems I first merged it with my master with errors, then I've done a git reset --hard & git checkout --track upstream/Government, which seems to work) and searching for "policy" (grep -rn . -e 'policy'), but that has gave me a ton of results.
So I wonder if there is a certain file/subfolder that I should search in, or a better keyword.

Edit: searching for 'policy PLC' gave me just one result, in default/stringtables/en.txt

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#5 Post by Ophiuchus » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:59 pm

  • the policies are in default/scripting/policies
  • in default/ search for POLICY_SLOTS
  • in default/scripting search for _CATEGORY (but you will get lots of extra; maybe we should rename to _PLC_CATEGORY or such)
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Furthermore, I propse... we should default to four combat rounds instead of three ...for the good of playerkind.

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#6 Post by Oberlus » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:04 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:54 pm
-Layout suggestions for the Government window
Maybe I should wait for more content to be added. Anyway, I'm testing current implementation (which has 9 possible policies), and assuming that late game there will be around or less than 10 possible policy slots and less than 30 possible policies, my impression is that Government window doesn't need to have all the screen dedicated to it (akin the Ships Design and Research windows) but would be enough with the current two panels (Policies and Government Policies) floating over the galaxy map (akin the Production panels). And in such case, I would place them by default on the left part of the screen (where Production and Fleet Management panels are by default), wide enough to show 4 or 6 policy slots/parts and giving more space for the policy "parts" panel than for the government policies panel. Something like this:
policies_layout.jpg
policies_layout.jpg (61.51 KiB) Viewed 5642 times
Also, just "Policies" as the name of the panel of possible (available and unavailable) policies makes me think there could be confusion when talking about it and the "Government Policies" panel, but I can't think of anything better (certainly, "Possible Policies" doesn't sound better).

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#7 Post by em3 » Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:21 am

"Available Policies"?
EDIT: Ok, I haven't actually played the branch, so I'm not sure what "Possible Policies" actually mean.
[...] for Man has earned his right to hold this planet against all comers, by virtue of occasionally producing someone totally batshit insane. - Randall Munroe, title text to xkcd #556

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#8 Post by Oberlus » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:28 am

The "Policies" panel is like the ship-part panel for ship design: there you can browse available "policies" to put on your government slots (i.e. to apply their effects to your Empire).
And the "Government Policies" panel (with government slots) is like the "Design Details" panel of ship design, where you actually place ship parts into the hull. Here the "hull" is your government (there is only one, obviously), and you drag-and-drop policies from the other panel into the slots.

"Available Policies" doesn't sound good to me because in that panel you can show both available and unavailable (yet to be researched) policies.

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#9 Post by Bestary » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:48 pm

Not sure that I'll can create art for all icons, but I can try. ^^ My skills are good in illustrations, but not very awesome in design...
P.S. Please, call me by @ nickname or contact by e-mail if you want say something directly to me. ^^

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#10 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:46 am

The Government window is now a floating independent resizable window rather than a full-screen display, as suggested.
GovernmentWnd.png
Government window open
GovernmentWnd.png (360.37 KiB) Viewed 5010 times

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#11 Post by labgnome » Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:13 pm

Could we possibly get a general rundown of how the government system works:

What governments exist?
What effects (if any) do those governments have?
What and how many policy slots do those governments have?
How do we get new policy slots?
What types of policies exist?
How are these types of policies organized?
Is there a 1-to-1 correspondence to policies and slots or are there "wildcards"?
What policies exist?
What gaps do you currently see in the system that you'd most like to see filled?
What are design principles for this you see as essential?
What are design principles for this that you'd like, but maybe aren't essential?
What else is might be useful information to have related to this topic?
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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#12 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:45 pm

labgnome wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:13 pm
What governments exist?
What effects (if any) do those governments have?
What and how many policy slots do those governments have?
None.
How do we get new policy slots?
Techs and buildings, currently. Slots are counted by an empire meter, so any content could add more, such as species or specials or fields or space monsters or ship parts or hulls...
What types of policies exist?
How are these types of policies organized?
Economic, Social, and Military slots and policies. More can be added, but those seem to cover most of what a "government" does... Maybe something to do with espionage or foreign relations or species-government interaction, although most of that can fit into the other categories.
Is there a 1-to-1 correspondence to policies and slots or are there "wildcards"?
Each policy takes one slot of the same type.
What policies exist?
See: https://github.com/freeorion/freeorion/ ... g/policies
What gaps do you currently see in the system that you'd most like to see filled?
There's nothing to do with influence other than buy policy adoptions. There should be various influence projects as well, but that's arguably a separate subsystem to be worked on after. There are not enough policies or ways to get slots. Policies need to be balanced, with good effects, bad effects, situationally-dependent or weird effects, and adoption costs. Influence acquisition needs some balancing with policy adoption costs. Adoption costs should probably scale with population. It all needs testing and feedback. The AI interface needs to expose the info (working on this now). The AI needs to know how to produce influence, spend it to adopt policies, and to do so in a semi-sensible manner.
What are design principles for this you see as essential?
Policies can be adopted and cancelled, so can have negative and weird effects, unlike techs, which can only have good effects. Players shouldn't be changing policies every turn. Many of the bonuses that are currently given by having a tech researched should instead be given by a policy that that tech unlocks. Many policies should be contextually but not always very helpful, or sometimes detrimental, depending on a player's game strategy.
What are design principles for this that you'd like, but maybe aren't essential?
Species should have policies they like or dislike, and have happiness and empire opinions (or something similar) adjusted depending on what policies empires have in place and who controls their planet. Empires should be able to trade influence like a currency whenever a trade system is implemented.
What else is might be useful information to have related to this topic?
Nothing immediately comes to mind.

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#13 Post by labgnome » Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:49 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:45 pm
labgnome wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:13 pm
What governments exist?
What effects (if any) do those governments have?
What and how many policy slots do those governments have?
None.
I'm going to presume this means there is a single "government", that is modified currently by what techs and building you have.
How do we get new policy slots?
Techs and buildings, currently. Slots are counted by an empire meter, so any content could add more, such as species or specials or fields or space monsters or ship parts or hulls...
I actually like this approach, as it jibes nicely with my idea for "modular" government system. Personally I would mostly stick to techs and buildings. I do have thoughts when it comes to species. Namely having telepathic species own the capitol should give at lest one extra slot. Also maybe having a starting slot or two for each of the starting species, something that could add flavor to their playstiles. Maybe the extinct species could each give a different policy slot. I could see some of the planetary specials possibly giving policy slots. The temporal anomaly comes to mind.
What types of policies exist?
How are these types of policies organized?
Economic, Social, and Military slots and policies. More can be added, but those seem to cover most of what a "government" does... Maybe something to do with espionage or foreign relations or species-government interaction, although most of that can fit into the other categories.
I'd keep it to three main categories. I would split any foreign policies between the existing categories, probably mostly economic and social policies. Maybe go with wildcard policies and/or slots for things that don't fit nicely into those existing groups.

However I should ask what areas of the game are covered by what categories? IE: I get that there are Economic, Social and Military policies. However, what is covered by Economic policies? What is covered by social policies? What is covered by military polices?
What gaps do you currently see in the system that you'd most like to see filled?
There's nothing to do with influence other than buy policy adoptions. There should be various influence projects as well, but that's arguably a separate subsystem to be worked on after. There are not enough policies or ways to get slots. Policies need to be balanced, with good effects, bad effects, situationally-dependent or weird effects, and adoption costs. Influence acquisition needs some balancing with policy adoption costs. Adoption costs should probably scale with population. It all needs testing and feedback. The AI interface needs to expose the info (working on this now). The AI needs to know how to produce influence, spend it to adopt policies, and to do so in a semi-sensible manner.
I started a topic focusing mostly on influence projects here, feel free to have a look and give your opinion.

The gaps in policies is mostly what I was thinking of when I asked this question. I am sure there needs to be more, but was wondering if there were any areas particularly lacking that should be focused on. However taking a look at what you have I suppose the answer is "everywhere".

As far as policy slots go, I suppose I should ask how many policy slots you ultimately want the player to have. This is a balance concern as the number of slots will determine how valuable policies actually are and how they are balanced against each other. The fewer policy slots the more valuable policies are and the more that they just take up a slot counts towards the balancing of their benefit.

I think that once there are influence projects to consume influence, influence acquisition should be easier to balance. I would be hesitant to try to balance it with only policies, only to have to totally re-balance it later once we do influence projects. Especially if we are set on having influence projects as a thing.

For balancing I am thinking that maybe policies should have an influence upkeep cost as well in addition to an adoption cost.

I do agree that policy adoption should scale with empire size. I am not sure (and you say probably) that this should be population. Perhaps number of planets or specifically colonies owned.
What are design principles for this you see as essential?
Policies can be adopted and cancelled, so can have negative and weird effects, unlike techs, which can only have good effects. Players shouldn't be changing policies every turn. Many of the bonuses that are currently given by having a tech researched should instead be given by a policy that that tech unlocks. Many policies should be contextually but not always very helpful, or sometimes detrimental, depending on a player's game strategy.
I would like some clarification here: when you say can have negative effects, do you mean that they can sometimes include negative effects of that they should always include negative effects, because this was a point of debate previously. I personally think that there should be some objectively "good" policies, particularly later game policies, so that players are encouraged to switch out older policies for newer ones. However we need more policies first.

So maybe it should take multiple turns to change policies. I could see it being implimented as an influence project with the player being able to enqueue the adoption of an appropriate replacement policy once a cancellation has been enqueued first. However that would be dependent on an influence project mechanic being in place first, so maybe save that specific implementation for later.

So maybe we should focus on economic policies that replace the bonuses that techs currently give us. Personally I'd split your centralization policy into an "Industrial Centralization" and an "Academic Centralization" policy. I might also include a "Media Centralization" policy for influence as well. I'd make each one increase the construction by 2 reduce supply by 0.5 and stockpile by 1.

In line with policies being contextually helpful, I have been thinking that "Distributed Thought Computing" should be a policy and apply only to telepathic species. Maybe with "Divided Attenuation Labor" as a policy that gives telepathic species a similar latent production boost and "Subconscious Dream Network" as a policy that gives a similar latent telepathic influence boost. All three could be unlocked by the same technology "Distributed Psionic Networks" (just re-name the original tech and make it unlock the policies). Likewise, a conditional "Hostile Environmental Automation" for increased production on hostile environment planets, "Hostile Environmental Probes" for increased research on hostile planets and "Hostile Environmental Entertainment" for increased influence on hostile planets. I presume they would all be economic policies, and so would go in the same slot.
What are design principles for this that you'd like, but maybe aren't essential?
Species should have policies they like or dislike, and have happiness and empire opinions (or something similar) adjusted depending on what policies empires have in place and who controls their planet. Empires should be able to trade influence like a currency whenever a trade system is implemented.
Species having policies that like/dislike has already been brought up in the species values discussion, especially in relation to an opinion mechanic. I was already thinking of trading from the production stockpile and currently have a proposed influence project that would allow players to gift production from their stockpile to each other.
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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#14 Post by Oberlus » Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:14 pm

labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:49 am
I'm going to presume this means there is a single "government", that is modified currently by what techs and building you have.
Or it means that government are fuzzy and defined by the active policies. Thus, instead of having definite government types that the player can choose from (as in Civilization: monarchy, democracy, comunism, etc.), each with several benefits and drawbacks, you have no such government names but you have the different benefits and drawbacks spread among many policies, and how you mix those policies defines the kind of government (that still has no "name").

However I should ask what areas of the game are covered by what categories? IE: I get that there are Economic, Social and Military policies. However, what is covered by Economic policies? What is covered by social policies? What is covered by military polices?
My guess:
  • Economic: policies with main focus (biggest effect) on influence and/or production meters, and planetary influence upkeep. E.g. something that increases production at the expense of greater influence upkeep. Also anything related to inter-empire trade.
  • Military: policies focused on weapons/armours and hulls (stats, building costs or upkeeps), or planetary defense/troops. Maybe more?
  • Social: policies focused on population, happiness and research (the meters). Counter-spionage would be here, as well as any form of social organisation that has both military and economic effects (so Social is where you place what is not clearly Economic or Military).
how many policy slots you ultimately want the player to have
Maximum number of policy slots should be balanced against total number of compatible (non-mutually-exclusive) policies. So to answer the question (how many slots?) we need first to design the set of policies, and then decide the proper number of slots.
Geoff the Medio wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 7:45 pm
Policies can be adopted and cancelled, so can have negative and weird effects, unlike techs, which can only have good effects. Players shouldn't be changing policies every turn. Many of the bonuses that are currently given by having a tech researched should instead be given by a policy that that tech unlocks. Many policies should be contextually but not always very helpful, or sometimes detrimental, depending on a player's game strategy.
I would like some clarification here: when you say can have negative effects, do you mean that they can sometimes include negative effects of that they should always include negative effects, because this was a point of debate previously. I personally think that there should be some objectively "good" policies, particularly later game policies, so that players are encouraged to switch out older policies for newer ones.
Let me butt in: there could be policies that never have bad effects (appart from not having other benefits: e.g., a policy XXX that gives +10% research bonus and has no drawbacks other than occupying a policy slot that could be used by a +10% production bonus), as long they are not always better than the policies with drawbacks (e.g.: a policy YYY that gives +30% research on supply connected planets and -10% industry on all planets). Policy XXX would be better than YYY when the empire needs more production and less research, and worse otherwise.
This system does not interfere with tech tree development, since you expect to find policies with greater effects later in the tech tree, encouraging players to switch from older (lower tier) to newer (higher tier) policies. Also, with this system you encourage the player to switch between same tier policies when the context, the circumstances, varies. And with context I refer here mostly to the strategies adopted by my adversaries, and to a lesser extend to what species I have in my empire.

If instead you allow for some late game policies to be objectively better than the rest of late game policies in some situations but never worse, you turn the objectively better policies into no-brainers and the rest of policies get underused.

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Re: How to help on the Influence&Government development for non coders?

#15 Post by labgnome » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:04 pm

Oberlus wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 3:14 pm
labgnome wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:49 am
I'm going to presume this means there is a single "government", that is modified currently by what techs and building you have.
Or it means that government are fuzzy and defined by the active policies. Thus, instead of having definite government types that the player can choose from (as in Civilization: monarchy, democracy, comunism, etc.), each with several benefits and drawbacks, you have no such government names but you have the different benefits and drawbacks spread among many policies, and how you mix those policies defines the kind of government (that still has no "name").
I'm thinking in the terminology of Civilization VI, where the "governments" are the allowed collections of policy slots. So there is just one single modifiable government.

My guess:
  • Economic: policies with main focus (biggest effect) on influence and/or production meters, and planetary influence upkeep. E.g. something that increases production at the expense of greater influence upkeep.
  • Military: policies focused on weapons/armours and hulls (stats, building costs or upkeeps), or planetary defense/troops. Maybe more?
  • Social: policies focused on population, happiness and research (the meters). Counter-spionage would be here, as well as any form of social organisation that has both military and economic effects (so Social is where you place what is not clearly Economic or Military).
See I would have:
  • Economic: bonuses to production, research and influence, the main "economics" of the game.
  • Military: all things planetary defense related, all things ship related.
  • Social: bonuses to other meters and foci.
My thinking is that this way the player will have to choose between the three main foci when deciding bonuses.
Maximum number of policy slots should be balanced against total number of compatible (non-mutually-exclusive) policies. So to answer the question (how many slots?) we need first to design the set of policies, and then decide the proper number of slots.
I would say that if we are going to need to balance the number of policies against the number of slots then we need to have some idea of how many slots we want to have. Maybe not something set in stone, but an idea of how many slots we want the player to have access to in the end game. I also don't know that policies even need any mutual exclusivity if we limit policy slots correctly.

For instance we may want a hard number of maximum policy slots, but technically more ways to get policy slots than that, so that in the end game your government can look different for different play-throughs or for different players. Say limit the number of slots to 7, but allow 6 buildings and 9 techs that give policy slots. That way you will need to be strategic in how you get your policy slots.
Let me butt in: there could be policies that never have bad effects (appart from not having other benefits: e.g., a policy XXX that gives +10% research bonus and has no drawbacks other than occupying a policy slot that could be used by a +10% production bonus), as long they are not always better than the policies with drawbacks (e.g.: a policy YYY that gives +30% research on supply connected planets and -10% industry on all planets). Policy XXX would be better than YYY when the empire needs more production and less research, and worse otherwise.
This system does not interfere with tech tree development, since you expect to find policies with greater effects later in the tech tree, encouraging players to switch from older (lower tier) to newer (higher tier) policies. Also, with this system you encourage the player to switch between same tier policies when the context, the circumstances, varies. And with context I refer here mostly to the strategies adopted by my adversaries, and to a lesser extend to what species I have in my empire.
See I would structure the policies so that offered disadvantages at a lower tier than policies that didn't offer a disadvantage. I also think that not having a disadvantage would be a motivation to switch over. So I still want clarification from Geoff as to his intention.
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