Author Topic: Agent level of last Federation ships  (Read 1981 times)

Offline Cyborg

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Agent level of last Federation ships
« on: November 23, 2013, 12:07:33 PM »
Does each ship flying around have its own set of goals or behaviors? Can you as an independent agent query a ship, perform some action, and plant a seed of sorts into the simulation? I'm trying to get a better idea of at what level the butterfly effect exists in this game.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2013, 01:11:49 PM »
The butterfly effect is mostly at the planetary level, although ships not controlled by you do act independently. Some are on permanent guard duty and just sit at planets or outposts. Others picket and this can lead to various confrontations. And others actively raid even when it is not wartime. Ships that wind up in scuffles, whether in wartime or not, wind up affecting the overall attitudes of the players toward on another.

Honestly compared to, say, AI War, the ships are relatively small in importance. I mean, they do matter for fights and such, and you certainly deal with them a lot. But AI War is ship centric and this game is really more race and planet centric.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2013, 01:41:12 PM »
I should also add, one thing I do need to write up soon (just as another form of fun preview thing) is actually a description of the broad general systems and some bits and pieces about each one, and thus give an idea of specifically how those enact the butterfly effect.  The amount of stuff there is really immense, larger than in any other Arcen title.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2013, 04:57:21 PM »
There's probably some degree of ship-level butterfly effect in terms of stuff like:

1) I fight a pirate fleet, and destroy/weaken it
2) So that pirate fleet fails to destroy a nearby Burlust fleet that's heading to invade the Thoraxian homeworld
3) So that fleet makes it through and, though it fails to conquer the planet, does transmit the disease currently raging on the Burlust homeworld
4) Which disease then ravages the Thoraxians and prevents them from going on one of their common "conquer the entire freaking solar system" sprees (balance isn't quite in yet, heh) until other races get big enough to put up a fight.

And there are various other things to substitute for 1), like you taking out pirate bases to slow down the rate of their spawning, etc.
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2013, 05:07:00 PM »
Which is a beautiful thing.don't forget these are selling points for your marketing.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2013, 11:32:32 AM »
Definitely -- this is probably the biggest thing that I want to focus on in the marketing, is how dynamic and alive and butterfly-effect-ish the game is.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2013, 12:22:19 PM »
Incidentally, for the most part I don't have much intention of trying to balance the Thoraxians in a general sense -- those guys are fearsome and that's great.  But the main thing missing from the current working copy of the game (which the design notes for the next coding sprint should largely address, though perhaps not completely) are having enough butterfly-effect style reactions of the other races to a situation that is developing like that.

That way instead of just things getting blanded out, instead there's even more (perfectly logical) crazy swings in solar power based on people getting freaked out about a race that is too powerful, etc.  And similarly I also added some more things about various races getting freaked out about the federation becoming too powerful.  To add to the Solar Axis Pact and Pirate Empire, I also added the Union of Independent States (which is exclusively a thoraxian, burlust, and/or acutian thing), and the Thoraxian Protectorate (which is one or more of the weaker races allying with the thoraxians if the thoraxians have 2+ planets and the federation has 4+).

My favorite bit is that a lot of those political structures are moderately unlikely to show up, and certainly won't show up every game, so there we get even more variety of how the late game plays out if some faction is about to roll another faction.  I mean, it's not like realistically the rest of the solar system would just carry on with no response.

I also added in an honor response and fear response for some of the races where they deal more interestingly with war exclusively taking place between third parties, and in general the racial attitudes do a better job of leading to war, etc.

Still plenty more to do with all that sort of thing, but it's a good example of hearing about a "this happens too often" and being able to go "okay then, let's fragment that into a ton of different possible results that make the butterfly effect more of a thing."  As opposed to getting out the nerf bat.
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 01:50:40 PM »
I like that you are addressing balance from the position of, how to make it more interesting rather than just declaring everyone equal and balance meaning political stasis in the solar system.

As a min/max hardcore player, something I might do is try to identify which races "suck" and eliminate them first in favor of trying to assimilate the stronger races. It would be less of an uphill battle. Is this a viable tactic or are we not supposed to be favoring any one race? I could see a situation where certain races are identified as being a pain in the ass to butterfly (using this as a verb now) and actively trying to kill them first.
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Offline tigersfan

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #8 on: November 25, 2013, 05:10:30 AM »
As a min/max hardcore player, something I might do is try to identify which races "suck" and eliminate them first in favor of trying to assimilate the stronger races. It would be less of an uphill battle. Is this a viable tactic or are we not supposed to be favoring any one race? I could see a situation where certain races are identified as being a pain in the ass to butterfly (using this as a verb now) and actively trying to kill them first.

I'd say that yeah, this probably is a viable tactic. But because of the way things are randomized at the start, there's no way to know which races are the weak ones before the game starts. Just because the Boarines sucked this game, doesn't mean that they will next game.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #9 on: November 25, 2013, 09:29:44 AM »
I'd say that yeah, this probably is a viable tactic. But because of the way things are randomized at the start, there's no way to know which races are the weak ones before the game starts. Just because the Boarines sucked this game, doesn't mean that they will next game.
Yea, one game the Burlusts might get stuck with some Ice Dwarf as their homeworld and (due to really bad birth-rate/death-rate in that environment, as well as general bad multipliers from it) basically sit that one out in terms of "official" military action (though they'll probably generate a ton of pirates).  In the next game they might get their beloved lava world (or whatever it's called) and start conquering people pretty fast.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #10 on: November 25, 2013, 09:52:04 AM »
In terms of trying to favor one race above all others, that's not really something that is required either.  Your goal is to try and get all of the planets into the federation, however many races that involves. 

- One viable strategy would be to quickly gobble up some of the weaker races and make them all in the federation and helping each other a bit.  And basically to try to stem the rising tide of the strongest race in that way.

- Another viable strategy would be to quickly try to get the strongest races on your side, and then get the rest either on your side or dead.

Etc.

Right now I suspect there are a lot of edge cases where players can do something that is a bit too clever and there isn't a proper counterforce to make the game stay interesting after that.  Such as what happens if the strongest race is immediately in the federation, etc.  That's something that needs to be addressed in order to make long-term play (many campaigns, I mean) truly interesting, but it's just a matter of finding each case and then updating the AI/simulation with realistic responses to each thing.  For instance, if the most murderous races are in the federation right from the start, that's not exactly speaking well to the other races about the intentions of the federation.

There are some counterbalances in place in the next design iteration that do have some things like races banding together in a variety of ways if the federation gets too scary, so that would partially address it.  But dealing with a need to "tame" some races in the federation to really get full membership is also probably a good thing.
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Offline madcow

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2013, 11:16:54 AM »
By the way, something that would be cool for long term play is advanced bonus objectives.  They would default off, but could be enabled and would pick a random bonus objective needed to win. Aka, race X must be in the federation (or a founding member), or even races X, and Y must be in it while race Z must be nuked.  Obviously not an immediate need, but would be a cool long term boon.

Offline x4000

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Re: Agent level of last Federation ships
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2013, 11:30:53 AM »
By the way, something that would be cool for long term play is advanced bonus objectives.  They would default off, but could be enabled and would pick a random bonus objective needed to win. Aka, race X must be in the federation (or a founding member), or even races X, and Y must be in it while race Z must be nuked.  Obviously not an immediate need, but would be a cool long term boon.

That's a great idea for the advanced start!  I'll be sure we put those in, thanks for the suggestion. :)
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