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AI Morale

BFett and I had a talk about how to make "personal contact" with subordinates something valuable
(a worker who doesnt know his boss is likely to work less motivated)

and as its a very broad topic i think its justified to have a new thread for that.

its related to the last talk in communications pipelines as to why should people leave their fortresses to talk

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+BFett:     Well Cornflakes, what problem should we attempt to solve today?
+Cornflakes:	i was thinking about how to represent the "personal" factor in communication / social structures
it isnt the same for a subordinate if his boss only sends him mails or videochats or actually talks to him in person
+BFett:	So, are we talking about Executive NPCs communicating to each other?
+Cornflakes:	too
but i was thinking in more general terms
can we make it favourable to "sit together" and talk?
+BFett:	as in docked at the same station, or meeting at a specific location in space?
+Cornflakes:	exactly
remote comms > flying to the same location > being on the same ship/station/colony
+BFett:	ok I follow
+Cornflakes:	the question is: how to do that
and how to do it for the player
+BFett:	ok, lets work out the NPC logic first then add the player into the problem
+Cornflakes:	gimme a sec to get my keyboard properly free
+BFett:	sure,
The NPCs we are going to deal with are all executives correct?  Since they make the decisions
+Cornflakes:	it would be nice if it also applied to workers
you dont have to have some say to have your morale affected
+BFett:	Didn't Josh define workers as basically robots which do the task they are assigned?
+Cornflakes:	there are robotic and biological variations
+BFett:	(robotic thinking is what I meant)  The Executive has direct control over these, just as the player does over AI in an RTS
+Cornflakes:	that doesnt matter
a soldier also just does what he gets ordered
+BFett:	Well it does.  You don't have to tell them why they need to go from place to place
+Cornflakes:	and still can have his morales affected
+BFett:	Um ok, let's just get the logic ironed out and worry about the details later then
+Cornflakes:	well, someone who gets ordered to do something should (over the long term) work better with regular "personal contact" to the one doing the ordering
+BFett:	okay, I have no idea how that would look in game.  Do you currently have thoughts on how to represent the "personal" factor in communication / social structures?
+Cornflakes:	thats my problem
how personal it is could just be done by the means of communications
comms over more than 1 hop is "distant"
(you have some relay between)
if you are next to each other in your ships its "close"
which would be better in terms of "socialise" than distant
and being on the same ship/station is equivalent to sit on the same table and talk
+BFett:	agreed, also makes it much more difficult for hackers to over hear the conversation
+Cornflakes:	im not even thinking of that right now
im thinking purely in terms of personal contact
+BFett:	ok, so are we looking for a why?  Or just various ways it could be represented?
+Cornflakes:	well, why could be "because its more personal"
as it would be more personal if we were in the same room
instead of being separated by half a world
+BFett:	How are you defining the word "represent"?
+Cornflakes:	"showing, manifest"
how it manipulates the surroundings
+BFett:	So, how to show the personal factor in communicating
Isn't that as simple as just being at the same place at the same time?
+Cornflakes:	i'd say yes
for the sake of a game at least
+BFett:	Ok, so what's the real question?
+Cornflakes:	how this affects the game
how behave npcs differently depending on the social level
+BFett:	and social level being the difference between Executive and worker?
+Cornflakes:	no
only how they are communicating
+BFett:	or various executives in a hierarchy
+Cornflakes:	how an npc behaves differently if im sitting with him on the same station instead of ordering him through half the galaxy by a text message
+BFett:	Would you behave differently if I was chatting with you in your house as opposed to the other side of the world?
+Cornflakes:	you arent ordering me
if i were the employee and you the employer i would behave different (over the mid to long term) if all i ever get are text messages instead of a proper talk
+BFett:	Hmm, I guess that would be the case.  I don't think I have any personal experience that quite fills those terms.  Other than attempting to run a gaming group for a short time
Even then we had coms so we could talk to each other
+Cornflakes:	that would be the better variation in game terms
"being in ships next to each other"
+BFett:	face to face would be the best  case wouldn't it, while chatting with people you met on a forum is worst case since you don't know   them personally
+Cornflakes:	yeah
+BFett:	anyways, I'm going off topic a little.  Sorry
+Cornflakes:	its on topic as long as it serves the understanding
+BFett:	I'm unsure how the AI would behave differently if they never saw their boss
+Cornflakes:	thats the problem
how to do it gameplay wise
+BFett:	While Josh's AI is smart, I don't think we will have them trying to over turn an existing rulers corporation until player owned factions are in the game
(which is basically what happened with the group I'm thinking of)
Over the course of a year
+Cornflakes:	...heh=
+BFett:	Started good, all friends, then some decided to add rules, restrictions,
and eventually decided to take control of the website
+Cornflakes:	im confused now
+BFett:	OK, In LT we will have player owned factions
when we do, we will have to keep strong rules over them
if we don't, they will over power us and seize power
kind of like an internal riot
So, that's one of the ways that staying in direct contact with those who work for you is necessary.  A group meeting
+Cornflakes:	hm
+BFett:	making sure everyone is on the same page.
(horrible tangent to get to the point)
So, that's my personal experience on what may happen if AI aren't managed (or see their boss from time to time)
I guess for gameplay purposes this could be a real pain.
+Cornflakes:	mhm
+BFett:	Imagine having a massive multi system network of traders and having to visit each group every so many cycles
+Cornflakes:	well.. the "soft" variation could be to have lower effectivity of subordinates who arent contacted regularily
thats what you have leutnants for
you visit them, they visit the minions
as you arent the direct superior, they are
+BFett:	yeah
+Cornflakes:	as long as you have somewhat regular meetings with them all should be relatively fine
+BFett:	maybe there would be a stat showing moral per system, and visiting a system with very low moral would encourage worker to perform their jobs faster thus increasing revenu
+Cornflakes:	but how would they work "faster"?
less sloppy piloting?
how to code sloppy piloting ... :think:
+BFett:	yeah, something like that, maybe they start using the mining drones more often and get better results instead of mining rocks  at random locations
or maybe they start  competing with one another, trying to outdo their neighbors, or hire help to fend off pirates that won't let them get near the good ore
kind of have to be creative, but there are a number of ways it could be coded in
+Cornflakes:	mhm...
+BFett:	(pirates would kill moral)
+Cornflakes:	well, first instance could be general "bad flying"
how could bad or sloppy flying express itself
lag times between actions...
+BFett:	flying in large circles before deciding on a rock to mine
+Cornflakes:	done mining ... mining beams off ... few seconds wait... slooow turn thats below the capabilites of the ship
+BFett:	sure, kind of like a worker who doesn't like his job.  You can see it in the actions
+Cornflakes:	yeah
i dont know a proper english phrase for that, but in german its "schleifen lassen"
"dragging along" directly translated
doing half motivated work.. being sloppy etc
+BFett:	dragging along translates well
slow, lazy, a tired space
+Cornflakes:	mhm
+BFett:	that would work well
I like the idea
So, does that answer your problem?
+Cornflakes:	well, half
it answers how it could translate to the lowest level
but how would your leutnants behave?
when they were unmotivated they could have their "creativity" limited
a motivated leutnant seeks to optimise what you order him
+BFett:	yep
+Cornflakes:	an unmotivated one just uses whats there with some thought of "meh"
+BFett:	and an unmotivated lieutenant would eventually effect his workers, lowering moral and motivation
+Cornflakes:	that too
i guess we'd have to start at a general "morale" system for implementing that
+BFett:	yeah, some stat that appears when an organization reaches a certain mass
+Cornflakes:	well, why should it be limited to that?
+BFett:	or something....
+Cornflakes:	when you are only a few people you can keep them in check pretty easy
+BFett:	yes
+Cornflakes:	so the morale thingy could be on a per ship basis
we could handwave that pilots wont switch ships that often
+BFett:	and it's solely dependent on the leader of the organization being involved in the affairs of their business
+Cornflakes:	more and more indirect for larger organisations
+BFett:	or can the leader send out representatives which also boost moral?
+Cornflakes:	you forgot the leutnant part?
you have a few layers of subordinates and everyone of them has to talk with his superior to stay "socialised"
so a fighter pilot talks to his wing commander
the wing commander with the captain of the ship
or however the organisational structure would end up
+BFett:	sure, so the leaders manage the moral to the best of their abilities, and the "General" at the top doesn't have to visit everyone
+Cornflakes:	exactly
so it works for any size of organisation
+BFett:	ok, that's good
I think we solved the problem :)
+Cornflakes:	i guess so.

Re: AI Morale

If you're going to consider morale as a functional factor in gameplay, I'd suggest thinking about it at a higher level than just how to implement social morale.

1. At what level(s) does morale apply? Individual? (Executives? Workers?) Ships (with simulated crews)? Fleets? Individual colonies? Whole planets? Star systems? Entire sector-spanning civilizations?

2. At each of those levels, what effects does morale have on gameplay? What happens when (for example), a worker has a significantly lower level of morale than the average? What effects get applied to a planetary colony operating at a substantially higher level of morale than the typical colony?

Once you have an idea of the point of morale, brainstorming different ways of implementing it can be more effective. ;)

(Bonus implementation question: Can technologies that alter morale be researched and installed? Heh.)

Re: AI Morale

Thats why i made a new thread for it ;)

i'd personally use it on a per-ship level generally and on a per-person level for executives.
As workers will likely stick to their ships once assigned but execs will switch around

it could affect the general "initiative" and how thorough actions get done.
A miner could for example forgo proper scanning and just starts waving his transfer beam on the first rock that has some of the resources he searches with low motivation.
A trader could act less adventureous and just fly in circles in a small area, whereas a motivated trader searches for better opportunities
A motivated commander would optimise his allocated assets, rearranging formations, transport routes etc.
Whereas an unmotivated commander would just leave his assets "as is"
A fighter with low morale would engage later and retreat earlier than a motivated fighter

Short: morale/motivation modifies how much "effort" the npc invests into a given task

Re: AI Morale

I could certainly see it working as a stat modifier, but a fully-fledged morale system would have to be customised for each individual unit type. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say morale affects efficiency, and it's the efficiency level that determines the level of effort that A.I agents put into tasks.

In terms of boosting morale, ships that are closer to stations with commanders/whatever are going to have higher morale, as they'll be able to make more frequent trips to re-supply, as compared to ships that are further out, which would rely more on long-range communication, which would be less effective. In that sense commanders become beacons of a sort, with an influence range to all ships within that radius, with that sphere of influence becoming less effective the further ships are from the central point.

If you just think of commanders/whatever as morale signal transmitters, and their vessels as beacons, then the vessel determines the range of the morale signal. So a ship would be less effective and have a smaller range of influence, but would be mobile, whereas a station has a much larger radius and effect (due to long-range communication, better resources), but isn't mobile.

It also makes sense from an expansionist viewpoint. If the A.I wanted to efficiently mine a far-away mining field, it would need to build a close enough mining station. It wouldn't likely send a commander in a ship except in situations where it made sense, such as battle fleets going into enemy territory far from their own stations, and being a valuable unit, you wouldn't risk sending it with a small group of ships on mining expeditions.

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