Hyperion wrote: ↑
Tue Jun 27, 2017 6:03 pm
Also, I think that once you have your system in place, make a few "Idiot" variations, because sometimes, some dumb ass is going to think its a good idea to poke a sleeping lion or not pay attention and wind up in a very bad part of town.
Or, even better yet, if it wouldn't be too much cpu, make every group have its own slightly different weighted variables, which can be researched upon to have the more optimum judgments, a form of research on tactics or something...
I think this is actually a pair of related questions: NPC competence, and factional competence.
For NPCs, I consider it important for a game like LT (as currently described) that they exist on a bell curve on intelligence. (Probably ought to cite Charles Murray here, but moving on.)
This means most NPCs will perform at an average level of competence (reasonable pathfinding, conventional tactics and strategy); a few will appear to be seeking out opportunities to become Darwin Award winners (sub-optimal but not completely broken pathfinding, poor tactics/strategy, starting fights or projects with little-to-no chance of success); and a few will be superstars (optimal pathfinding individually and as group leaders, highly adaptive tactics, long-term strategies that put opponents in reactive/defensive positions). It wouldn't be horrible if some systems/colonies spawned NPCs that skewed slightly toward cleverness/idiocy. But overall, it would be most satisfying to encounter a broad range of competency in individual NPCs.
(The one design question still outstanding for me here is whether Limit Theory wants primarily to be a game or a simulation. A simulation would implement the "bell curve" just as described above. You get whatever is statistically generated; if that's 10 idiots or 10 geniuses in a row, so be it. A game would fudge the RNG results slightly to tweak the generated content so that the level of challenge for the human player is kept interesting -- not too easy, and not impossible, but not boring.)
That's the NPC component. The other aspect of idiocy or greatness I hope will be considered concerns the institutional
effects of organizations.
There's a bunch of fun theory on this, but here's the TL;DR: from the moment a successful organization -- in LT's case, a faction -- comes into being, it's on a glide path to failure from institutionalization. As orgs increase in size and age, their mission changes from "competently deliver this desirable good or service" to "maintain the current structure, including the privileges of those currently at the top of the structure": i.e., institutionalization.
This conversion is never some explicit directive from anyone. It's a natural consequence of the personal knowledge of motivated original org members being turned into process documents that are followed blindly by new org members just looking for a paycheck. As its size imposes too many layers between its decision-makers and reality, and as its gung ho original members are replaced by rules-followers whose primary goal is to preserve their position, an org created to innovate becomes one that thinks it can just coast forever.
But it can't, as long as new factions can come into existence and compete fairly on features and price.
This is the basis of what Schumpeter called "creative destruction." Institutionalized orgs fail, scattering their resources, because they can't compete with the new/better goods and services from new orgs that are still capable of innovation. It's why we aren't using WordPerfect and CP/M and NetWare any more; it's why monopolies fail without government-driven monopoly-busting. It's why humanity as a whole has prospered to an astonishing degree
over the past two centuries. In a sufficiently free market, there is a constant churning of vendors as institutionalized orgs fail and are replaced by orgs that can respond more effectively to real-world needs and desires.
And so that is also a thing I hope we might see in Limit Theory. Instead of factions living forever because they never change in competence due to size or age effects, or factions failing randomly because somebody hard-coded a Time-To-Live function into the game, institutionalization -- which lets factions fail and be replaced in a plausible way -- provides a systemic
solution to keeping the factional universe dynamic and interesting.
So there's a couple of small wish-list items for you.