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Preventing the big blob

#1
Apparently there are no boundaries on how many assets the player or any faction can own and command. My guess is that this is also true for planetary ownwership up to an "empire"
level. In this case it is likely to favor the creation of superpowers that mop up the floor with any opposition in no time.

Some simplified game mechanics equivalent to real world relationships came to my mind. They would constitute a natural counterweight to this issue.

A) Coalitions: If you get on someones bad side and outclass him he can start a coalition against you with your enemies free to join.
B) Trade/Tax/Production penalty in colonies dependent on:
- culture divergence; factions have to choose a HQ colony/planet, it's cultural traits aply
More systems are under control > more severe penalty for differences; homogeneously empires can grow larger
- jumps to HQ distance penalty
C) Tied to the B-penalty, NPCs in your service or born at colonies can choose to leave your faction and join separatists, rebels, etc.; based on their evaluation of your strength and their own future prosperity under your rule vs. independence
I haven't thought of an easy mechanic how a whole system could deploy it's own government in a glance and let your governor suck some vacuum.

What do you guys think? Are penalties for interstellar players needed?
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#2
I think the hope is that the things you listed such as rebelious individuals, coalitions, etc. will already be things the AI are capable of. Also, I think that including mechanics intended solely to reduce the strength of large "empires" is less important than balancing gameplay mechanics to introduce new challenges at each level of play.

Yeah.

If the AI works as well as we expect, all that will already happen. There have been discussions about this elsewhere that one of the Mods may be able to point you towards, but so far I think the subject is unaddressed by Josh.
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#4
"Preventing" is a horribly restricting word IMHO. I would be severely disappointed if LT restricted you from becoming The Big Blob. Gameplay wise, this is already a time consuming goal. Let me explain why I say that...

Say you start the game with your little ship and a "Small loan of a million dollars" (Get it, get it?!), you eventually work your way up to having a small fleet of ships and you occupy a system, building a small station and sending your fleet on patrol. Now you've hit a stand still, you can't expand more because that would risk leaving your forces spread thin and you might lose your system, you can't buy more ships because the money you have on hand is a very small amount currently and you must wait for your 1 system to produce enough income to expand once again. You will obviously come under some form of attack at this point because you have a fairly poorly defended money making operation and that's like a gold mine for pirates.

It will be inherently difficult to blob due to both the AI and time constraints (Waiting = more time to be attacked ( Also, maintenance costs after attacks)).
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#6
I agree Flat, The larger the faction, the more automation it must have. As it becomes more automated it becomes difficult to control in precise ways. Also, the larger the faction, the more likely an enemy spy is able to slip in and glean valuable information such as factory locations an tech level.

There should be several (10+) ways to take down a large faction. Just off the top of my head here's what I have...

Disrupt trade
Undercut the staple product or service of the faction
Research Tech which counters their own
Military strength
...

You get the idea.
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#7
BFett wrote:I agree Flat, The larger the faction, the more automation it must have. As it becomes more automated it becomes difficult to control in precise ways. Also, the larger the faction, the more likely an enemy spy is able to slip in and glean valuable information such as factory locations an tech level.

There should be several (10+) ways to take down a large faction. Just off the top of my head here's what I have...

Disrupt trade
Undercut the staple product or service of the faction
Research Tech which counters their own
Military strength
...

You get the idea.
The idea is not to list ways they can be taken down but to develop mechanics that create natural ways of taking down not just large empires but enemies of any size, including individuals. Creating specific ways makes messy mechanics and ends up being less than fun IMHO.
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#8
DWMagus wrote:Honestly, this will be one of the true tests of the AI, IMO.
Yeah, that's how I see it too. The AI should be able to internally deal with blobbing, -and- deal with counterblobbing, among every other emerging situation that comes from faction play and economics. I definitely want one save where there is one single cyberpunkesque Omnicorp calling the shots and selling all things.
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#9
Should the game's Options screen include a slider for Average Defensive Strength vs. Average Offensive Power?

(Assuming it's even possible to manipulate this effect through a single slider.)

Setting the slider to maximize Defensive Strength would tend to create a universe of long-lasting small independent systems.

Setting the slider to maximize Offensive Power would tend to enable one faction to dominate all others pretty quickly.

Note that there might be other options that could approximate this effect. I'm just curious whether others here would like it if LT gave them the power to define their game universe toward either stable smallness or an Omnicorpverse.
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#10
Black--Snow wrote:
BFett wrote:I agree Flat, The larger the faction, the more automation it must have. As it becomes more automated it becomes difficult to control in precise ways. Also, the larger the faction, the more likely an enemy spy is able to slip in and glean valuable information such as factory locations an tech level.

There should be several (10+) ways to take down a large faction. Just off the top of my head here's what I have...

Disrupt trade
Undercut the staple product or service of the faction
Research Tech which counters their own
Military strength
...

You get the idea.
The idea is not to list ways they can be taken down but to develop mechanics that create natural ways of taking down not just large empires but enemies of any size, including individuals. Creating specific ways makes messy mechanics and ends up being less than fun IMHO.
The mechanics already exist, that's the entire point of my post. What's the difference of developing mechanics and creating specific ways to use the mechanics?

Again, just to be clear, I am not suggesting new mechanics. I am stating that Josh has already coded in various mechanics which can be used to gain the upper hand on a faction.
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#11
BFett wrote:
Black--Snow wrote:
BFett wrote:I agree Flat, The larger the faction, the more automation it must have. As it becomes more automated it becomes difficult to control in precise ways. Also, the larger the faction, the more likely an enemy spy is able to slip in and glean valuable information such as factory locations an tech level.

There should be several (10+) ways to take down a large faction. Just off the top of my head here's what I have...

Disrupt trade
Undercut the staple product or service of the faction
Research Tech which counters their own
Military strength
...

You get the idea.
The idea is not to list ways they can be taken down but to develop mechanics that create natural ways of taking down not just large empires but enemies of any size, including individuals. Creating specific ways makes messy mechanics and ends up being less than fun IMHO.
The mechanics already exist, that's the entire point of my post. What's the difference of developing mechanics and creating specific ways to use the mechanics?

Again, just to be clear, I am not suggesting new mechanics. I am stating that Josh has already coded in various mechanics which can be used to gain the upper hand on a faction.
If the implementation of larger mechanics creates ways for empires to be taken down it's more natural, it balances more easily almost. If you develop specific methods for taking them down, they feel disconnected. Imagine initiating a hacking minigame from the main menu of GTA V instead of in the game once you're at a terminal, it's odd and doesn't feel right, but it has the same functionality. My mind is a bit abstract at times, which makes it hard to explain some things. :S
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#12
Black--Snow wrote: If the implementation of larger mechanics creates ways for empires to be taken down it's more natural, it balances more easily almost. If you develop specific methods for taking them down, they feel disconnected. Imagine initiating a hacking minigame from the main menu of GTA V instead of in the game once you're at a terminal, it's odd and doesn't feel right, but it has the same functionality. My mind is a bit abstract at times, which makes it hard to explain some things. :S
eeeeeh..?

where did BFett suggest anything that would equate to "launch the terminal from the main menu"?

all he said was "if the thing gets larger, bigger holes open up for attacking it"
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#13
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Black--Snow wrote: If the implementation of larger mechanics creates ways for empires to be taken down it's more natural, it balances more easily almost. If you develop specific methods for taking them down, they feel disconnected. Imagine initiating a hacking minigame from the main menu of GTA V instead of in the game once you're at a terminal, it's odd and doesn't feel right, but it has the same functionality. My mind is a bit abstract at times, which makes it hard to explain some things. :S
eeeeeh..?

where did BFett suggest anything that would equate to "launch the terminal from the main menu"?

all he said was "if the thing gets larger, bigger holes open up for attacking it"
That's what I meant by "Disconnected" it didn't mean he was suggesting anything to do with launching from the main menu. Again, it's hard to put my thoughts into words but when a mechanic is developed soley for one purpose, the developer must make no connections to other mechanics or manually make a few connections, which makes a weak mechanic. When a method to take down an empire is a consequence of another larger mechanic it naturally has a healthy connection to that mechanic.

It's the difference between X:AP's Stock market (Linear sock prices based on a single variable) and EVE Online's market/economy (Prices based on many different variables)
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Re: Preventing the big blob

#14
I think what he means is that he doesn't necessarily want a "tool" he can use against enemies. He wants mechanics that are general purpose that COULD be used to harm other factions. I.E Not having an "Attack Economy" button, but instead having goods be carried by ships. Destroying those ships carrying the goods does damage to trade, and then to the enemy economy, and is the result of mechanics that are tied into everything. He doesn't want the ways to take down a faction pre-defined. Have I got it right?

To keep with the hacking example, it's like having predefined "attack vectors" you can use versus having freeform "hacking", where you use the rules of the computing systems to attack each other. Having "ways" to take down an empire is off-putting because it makes it sound like those "ways" are only used for that purpose, rather than tactics evolving from understanding the mechanics of the game.

Personally, I want a battlefield to play on, not a set of paths to choose, so the more things that aren't set as particular attack vectors, the more tactical and strategic freedom.

But I get the feeling we all want the same thing, and are confused over the semantics of the concept. Is there a difference between attacking merchant craft, and clicking a button that says "Attack Economy" if they yield the same result? Or I am I confused about what we are discussing here? :problem:
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