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Discussion in 'AotSS Feedback' started by Texashawk, May 4, 2015.
While this would be an absolute bi**h to program, I can see how it would be very helpful. If we are truly focusing on the character system and the relationships as your primary drivers, we have to give the players good tools to manage these relationships. That said, how much information would they have? What should they know/not know? And how many levels can you go without overloading the player? Love the idea, just need to think about the details. I shared this with Pavlos and he liked it too. You make a good point about galaxy map = political map. I think you would have to have different maps for hierarchical relations vs. factional/familial relations, but beyond that I agree with everything you say.
It is a powerful tool. But with great power comes responsab...no, well, issues ! The most serious will be Steve's, on the programing side. He must sort the data, and then create a tree to display it. It might get very complicated (typically, this is the kind of code that might get you bogged for weeks or more) -but on the other hand, it is so imperia. It is true that the true leverage of all your power is the people around you, and that this "power-map" would be really useful.
I am against pre-chewing food but for easing the task of players so there is more fun... Definitely a solid idea. I will wait to see when and how Steve can have a go at it. (ah, crap, I will have to make craploads of viceroys if there are to be families... <sigh>)
keep on rocking, Dirkgently !
Thanks, I'm glad you like it! I'm not sure why you'd need separate faction and family maps, though - as I envision it, the hierarchy would shape the map, and the factions would colour it in. You would then have overlays for families, opinion of you, etc. The challenge programming-wise would seem to be to come up with an algorithm for packing different-sized circles around a point in a particular rotational order, and then drawing lines between them... The more I think about it, the trickier it seems. Still, should be interesting, at least.
Hi Steve, with the theme of religion I think could be organized as follows:
They would be two major religions and an atheist faction. Thus giving 3 possibilities regarding religion.
Every character (beyond their position in the government), would have a level of religious influence, the highest level would be dedicated to active members of the church, medium levels to eligible characters to religious posts and the lowest to Character sympathetic to that particular religion.
It is, then, that personal relationships would be affected by the religion... If they are of different religions that would make it difficult to success relate and harder It will be when greater the level of religious influence of each.
Likewise, when two people of the same religion are related, the one with greater influence may submit to their will on smaller religious influence.
Atheists would be exempt from any possible influence by religion, obviously
Excuse my english
English is fine! Better than many native speakers I know. :-D
Anyway, religion is a tricky subject to me. I'm not opposed to the theory of a shadowy organization that can recruit people to their cause with a zeal that will cause people to die willingly for it, but the question is how do you write the religion? No matter how you design a religion, you are bound to upset someone in 'real life', unless you're obviously going for cornball satire (and even then) EU works because it makes no judgements about religion in the game engine, it just presents them with all their powers and parameters and lets the game run. In a bleak post-war sci-fi far future, with humanity at the edge of survival, is religion even a driving force anymore? Now that might be an interesting thing to consider - perhaps there could be a religion that was sponsored by the empire to prop up the emperor (since by definition an emperor rules with the imprimatur of a god's grace). That might be something to consider...
Two small thoughts: It'd be more intuitive to rename 'Alpha materials' to 'Basic materials' - 'Alpha materials' sound like unobtanium. It might also be more intuitive to rename your personal ADM 'Action points' or something, in order to avoid confusion when you're spending other people's and planets' ADM on things.
Incidentally, the ADM/action point limit on what you can do in a turn completely solves the micromanagement problems other 4X games suffer when your empire gets too big. Initially, you can fiddle with all your individual planets; later on, the game doesn't let you, because you have bigger fish to spend your points on, meaning you don't feel like you're missing out by handing your worlds over to AI governors. That's a really nice feature.
I guess the place to start thinking about religion is, what happens to today's religions when we lose the Earth to the Xyl? How do they interpret that catastrophe theologically? And how does their answer to that a) justify imperial rule, b) avoid Imperia having to deal with real-world religious conflicts, and c) fit into a frontier environment?
I would do something like this: the Abrahamic religions (principally Christians and Muslims - most devout Jews having stayed behind to fight) interpret the apocalypse as an expression of divine wrath against all mankind for our division and atheistic lassitude In the wake of the flight from Earth they come together and resolve to put their differences behind them. They form a socially-conservative, aggressively theistic movement that thrives in a society where high mortality rates and a decimated population make high birth rates imperative. The other significant 'religious' demographic in the exile, East Asian and Western atheists, find themselves in this dangerous atmosphere needing to adopt a more theistic position that does not threaten the new old-fashioned social structures emerging from the chaos of the Flight, and find their resources in Confucianism. The remaining religious minorities - smaller populations of Hindus, Sikhs, and others, the global south being poorly represented in the Exile - are tolerated on the basis that they're small, non-threatening, and God-fearing.
The situation at game start is one in which the passage of time and the development of the colonies from dangerous frontiers to comfortable homeworlds has weakened the formerly dominant position of the Atoners, putting them on an even footing with the Neo-Confucians. At the same time, their ideological positions have more or less switched round completely: the Atoners' aversion to schism has led them to gradually become more and more socially liberal as circumstances permitted, simply to keep everyone in the big tent, whilst the Neo-Confucians, their kinda-hypocritical origins long forgotten, adhere strictly to the codes of conduct and hierarchy forged in the early years of colonisation. Both, they hasten to point out, worship the same God and are 110% behind the Emperor, but that doesn't mean there isn't conflict between them...
DirkGently, you are right, I agree,
'Alpha' elements do exist, they are the fruit of the alpha-process of nucleosynthesis [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_process]. They are made in the large stars, and are the following elements: C, O, Ne, Mg, Si, S, Ar, Ca.
Heavier elements are made through the r-process by capture of neutrons in a supernova.
All this sounds cool (at least to me), but it is not coherent. When you have heavy, you must have light.
If getting information from and about the NPCs is to be gameplay, it'll be important to work out what the feedback loop is for that. You need to have some system whereby each action reveals new information that informs the next. For example, I imagine you'll be working out what kind of approaches they respond to well or badly, so you might want to be able to access a précis of previous interactions and their outcomes when you're in the conversation screen. Traits your spies uncover ought not to be as simple as 'responds well to X stimulus' - a better approach might be to have several possible underlying traits they can reflect, and you work out which by cross-referencing them with their other behaviour and past responses. And each basic trait they have should affect a number of different actions, to unify the characters' personalities.
You want to have an array of actions that can affect their Fear, Trust and Loyalty/Affection towards you in different ways depending on their character traits - you perform the action, and see what effect it has. (Do they distrust flatterers or are they vain enough to like them? Do they respect reserve or appreciate gregarity - and if they do, how understanding will they be if you stop giving it to them? Do they buckle to threats or are they obstinate - and how much do they resent them? If you fly into a rage, will they cack their kecks or see it as a sign of weakness? Likewise if you try to reason with them rather than simply ordering them?) You might ask high-Loyalty characters for a favour, which costs you no Loyalty if they agree, but gives them a 'Favour Given' flag for a while after - asking favours while that flag's up costs Loyalty.
It shouldn't all be one-way, either - characters should approach you asking for favours, offering you hospitality etc. (with risks and benefits depending how you handle it, and penalties for rejecting it, plus you have to go to their world), publicly supporting or opposing your policies (and wanting reward, in the former case) and so on. The possibilities are limitless...
Another gameplay element that might add to this is this: you have a Stress meter that affects how well you perform. As it builds up, you get negative events, ADM penalties, undiplomatic outbursts, etc. all the way up to suicide when the meter reaches 100. Some of the things you have to do increase it - facing down rebellions, ordering assassinations, even pretending to enjoy ghastly local cuisine. To reduce it, you do things like take drugs and lovers, spend time with NPCs you get on with (the game determines who you have a rapport with - maybe this should tie in to their personality traits?), and generally act like a decadent emperor, but also play with your kids, make generous and humane decisions, and do other nice, human things. The risk being that these stress-relief measures will have nasty consequences - addictions, assassination attempts, spiralling expenditure as you have to make each party top the last. Your decadence will affect characters' Loyalty to you depending on their opinion thereof (and whether they get invited), so suddenly turning all straight-laced will alienate your friends without immediately convincing your enemies.
Now is wouldn't be all that interesting on its own, but the delicious part is the way it can interact with other systems. If you're keeping too many Secrets, for example (supposing the Secrets system I suggested in the alpha testing forum were used), you would start building up stress - so you might need to share some to stop it. But with whom? Even better, it can be worked into the psychic system in a powerful way.
Rather than simply use it to make diplomacy a little more transparent, your psychic power could have greater potential - but at a cost. You could look inside NPCs' heads, see all their traits, even change some of them, but doing so would make your character gradually start seeing other people as machines, becoming sociopathic and affectless. Doing good and connecting with others (eg. Sharing Secrets, playing with your children) will stop relieving your stress, by a little at first, increasing to completely as you abuse your powers. Doing horrible things will stop stressing you, though that ought not to compensate for the loss of outlets for Stress. Actions involving the prospect of dying will become more stressful because you start seeing yourself as the only real person in the universe - eventually, even going on the Intel screen to review threats against your person will increment your Stress. (Or possibly the other way around.) Come the endgame, you could end up fighting the Xyl, your courtiers, and your own incipient madness all at once. It'd be glorious.
To elaborate a little, your psychic powers might extend as far as wiping Secrets from people's minds, and mind control; what it costs you is your Humanity stat, the loss of which has the effects I described. There might be diffficult, limited ways of getting some of it back - the birth of your first child, perhaps, or a high-level 'technology' in a self-improvement tech tree. (This would be a tree you would only get a small sample of in each game - almost like the perks in the Fallout games.) Certain none-psychic actions might also erode it, like destroying an inhabited world.
I don't know what mind-enhancing compound you inject yourself, but I would certainly not stop taking it
The problem with 'managing' the mind of the players' character is how it will decouple it from the mind of the human playing the character. If your character looses empathy and slowly slides the slippery slope of borderline psychopathy or the shady lands of neurosis, how does this count when the state is not replicated in the mind of the human player ?
If you start seeing people as objects that you can manipulate, you will end up overreaching and making mistakes anyway. It is not necessary to simulate your state of mind in a sort of character-interfacing. On the stats-side, psy actions will cost you sanity or stamina points -loosing too many such points and you might enter a coma or loose your physical health too.
I would advise against turning your character into something the player is not, but I like very much how drug abuse, parties, even sadistic passe-temps could appear in the game. You are giving me ideas about events triggered by your emperor's mind state or rule-style -hmmm, will have to make a new event database about that. Do you want to help me populate the database, DirkGently ? I did a lot of reading about Byzantium and ancient history (Summer, Elam, Assyria etc...), but I am very lean on middle-age and renaissance stuff !
keep rolling, friend !
I don't think a system like this would break immersion as much as it would encourage role-playing. Think about an RPG - when someone casts Fear on you, you're not actually afraid, and so on. Sunless Sea's terror meter works in a similar way to the Stress meter, you can sell your soul, and it adds to the player's ability to roleplay their character, rather than detracting from it. If done right, having this kind of cost for psychic power would give the player a feeling of 'Oh God, what am I becoming?'
I suppose the intended effect is a bit like Hotline Miami. You're doing what you need to to succeed in the game, but then you look around at what that means in the game world and you're like, 'Jesus!' You've been treating it like the NPCs are the machines they are in real life, looking inside their heads at what makes them tick, and now you as a character see them that way too and that has consequences. On the flip side, if you refrain from doing that, less of the illusion of intelligence is broken for you the player and for you the character.
And I'd be happy to help you populate that database! It'd probably be best to finalise the character systems first, though, to determine what the possibilities for events and event chains are.
These are great ideas. I have been taking care of my wife and celebrating the 4th of July, so I haven't been as active, but I love the way you think. I will give a thorough response when I'm not at work on my phone later today. ;-) but some awesome ideas! Also plan to release .1 in the next day or so!
The character screen and the starting info you have will be somewhat different from old Imperia. If you have ever played Jagged Alliance, it will be more like that, where you will have a generated 'dossier' prepared by your intel staff and characters' preferred management style, which will derive from their faction membership (if applicable) and their personality. For example, if you have a character 'Stevius Hawk' who has the following dossier (this will be procedurally generated from known public stats)
"Stevius is a middle-aged bureaucrat who has been long known for taking care of his people. He strongly favors farms and building basic industry for trade to the more advanced worlds, but would love to create a robust research sector if he had the means to do so. While he is not a member of any particular faction, he has been observed meeting with numerous Technics in the last several months. Hawk is a benevolent ruler who does not seem to tolerate corruption or graft in his government, and has so far been just with his tax rates. He will enjoy a high popular support with whomever he rules. He does not seem to like you very much, however."
So you will still have the stats, but you will now have a visible character pool of about 200 people with numerous traits that you can pull to run a planet, system, or province, or even place directly as a Prime in your Empire Council (though this would be very unusual and upset a LOT of people closer to the top). Characters will also have Wishes and Goals. Wishes are a shorter-term need or want, for example Stevius above might want to get a farm subsidy sent to his planet, or perhaps be given some new technology. Goals are long-term drivers for the character that will determine their underlying actions. Characters will have a primary Goal and up to 2 secondary Goals. A primary goal is usually a position that that character desires, but sometimes it can be more physical, such as being given an army or naval division to command, or to command supreme wealth. Secondary goals are generally in support of the primary goal, so for example if the character wanted to be a Provincial governor, they would first want to control a system (or a planet if they weren't ruling anything). Other goals could be to join a faction or to change a Focus for their planet.
There will be significant feedback based on how the character responds to you - not only will you have their text response to an action, but you will have a line at the bottom giving you an effect in icon form - for example, if loyalty was reduced, and anger was increased, you would see the loyalty icon with '--' next to it, and the anger icon with '+' next to it. You won't get exact figures, but you will get a general idea of the expected feedback. Your regent will phrase it when you tooltip the action with 'This action will most likely... ' and then give an estimate of the results.
By fufulling Wishes and Goals, you will greatly increase their loyalty and they will owe you a favor. I like the idea of actually having tangible favors that you can 'call upon' automatically - favors should be ironbound with benevolent characters, and less so with tyrannical characters, but I do like the idea.
This is something that is not in the current game design for Imperia, but it sounds very interesting. The psychic angle has been debated quite a bit. In the first version it was basically a way to occasionally 'get into people's heads' to see what they are thinking. Stress, huh? That's really interesting. We have some of that modeled with the morality continuum but it might add a different dimension. I think that might be something to add down the road, however, as this beast is already huge! We could add a basic framework pretty easily, however, and test a few values and effects once we have the character and emperors modeled in the game.
This sounds great. I'd really like to see some more of the interpersonal dynamics of rule come into play - Crusader Kings 2 does this with traits such as virtues and vices that grant bonuses and affect whether people like you, but that's a bit passive, and detaches you from your character. It'd be cooler to make it something the player does, so your approach to negotiations affects how you're perceived, not just what you trade with the character.
Another possibility that opens up for diplomacy is public actions and multi-party negotiations. Public actions are those which affect global variables like tyranny, so those are already in to a certain extent, but it could be made much more characterful if there were also an 'Emperor's Favour' character ranking system, and through almost all your public actions you also bestow or confiscate points pertaining to that, as a side-effect. Characters would appreciate rising through the ranks and resent falling, and be more inclined to plot against those above them. Doing bad things to highly-ranked characters might incur more Tyranny than doing them to low-ranked characters; giving Favour points to Tyrannous, Pragmatic or Populist characters would nudge your own score one way or the other. Higher-ranked characters might get a diplomacy bonus, and their popularity might be judged towards your own.
Multi-party negotiations would make your approach to negotiating with one character affect how the other parties see you, as well as allowing three-participant actions like 'propose compromise' or 'back up one character's position' (add weight to their proposal dependent on the backer's prestige etc.) plus instant use of pressure and persuasion from superiors to inferiors in the room. Accepting a character's proposed compromise would obviously enhance your relations with them, and add weight to the proposal because it's seen as consensus, but if it's seen as unfair by the other party, even if they accept it because of pressure, they will resent you. If a character sees the room as stacked against them, however, they may become obstinate or cut off negotiations. They may refuse the invitation to negotiate altogether if they dare, if the guest list is weighted against them. On the flip side, characters may be offended and lose Favour if they are not included in certain negotiations/you reach certain deals without them present. (You might have to announce the general topic of negotiations beforehand, unless it's an informal meeting conducted in person.)
The point of these mechanics would be to make the Empire feel more like a living court, rather than a Panopticon of isolated characters. It'd also add a depth to the diplomacy system that games generally lack. Do you think it's workable?
More thoughts on these mechanics - Favouring a character above their nominal rank perhaps ought to cause extra resentment of the 'jumped-up little shit' among higher-ranking officials; characters could 'bid against' one another in multi-party negotiations, thereby antagonising one another and potentially forcing you to take sides; if you propose a compromise and it's accepted without rancour, characters will admire your justice; offers, counteroffers etc might be made publicly, outside private negotiations, to be responded to in subsequent turns, open to secret counter-bids and with higher stakes in terms of Favour etc.