In regards to NPCs obeying orders or not, I'm thinking that we could rip a page out of Rome: Total War's playbook. If you played it, you might remember that your different units had levels of Morale and Discipline, where Discipline was how rigid their formation would be, and Morale their willingness to continue following an order vs routing.
If instead of determining unit formation, Discipline could be the likelihood that they would follow an order on a scale of "how high"
, then you just have to ensure that your units have sufficient discipline. This would be a sliding scale with different thresholds ranging from "frak you, you're crazy, that's suicide"
to "yeah, whatever"
to "fine, but if it gets bad, i'm getting out of there"
to "my life is yours, your will is my law"
. And I don't think we would have to worry too much about there being a lack of disciplined NPCs, as the other NPCs probably don't want to hire someone who won't follow orders, NPCs with lax discipline are simply less valuable and less useful. But that's not to say we couldn't train them to increase their discipline (yup, gonna keep pushing that idea )
In regards to PCG, determinism, and random events:
The seed should only ensure an identical universe only up until the point in which the player enters. After which, only the universe's structure and material composition should remain identical, and cultures should have large, somewhat vague heatmaps
which control the more basal PCG, while the specifics are generated on the fly as you approach... yes, this means even with the same seed, universes will diverge somewhat as you get further from the origin system, though it will still be broadly similar.
For random events, we could just say that there is a variable %chance of an event occurring if a valid trigger is in range, whether said trigger is in range is largely but not wholly dependent on the seed, but even the same seed will have different random events at different times...that's why they're called "random" events
For history generation and LOD simulation after the player enters, we had a discussion on What is generated at "the edge"
and we came to the rough conclusion that there should be concentric circles/spheres
of different LOD around the player. Quoting my own post
The only thing that matters in regards to “The Edge” is the same single thing that matters to everything else: Maintaining the suspension of disbelief for the player without breaking the computational bank...
...30-35 Jumps from Player: These systems “exist” in zones/clusters structured like the outermost lane-slices of Warp Lanes. They don’t have discrete systems, but they do have basic, static PCG traits like # of stars, Zone makeup (avg number of planets, avg size of stars, avg material per system, etc) & Gross Resource Value of the whole zone. The game knows these zones exist, but the player doesn’t.
...25-30: zones stay as they are until the player is 25 jumps from them...These use the details from their previous state to create the systems, split the Gross Zone Resource Value into Gross System Resource Values, convert zone makeup to system makeup, and link the stars to each other
...20-25: zones become more detailed as a group when the player is 20 systems out, and go back when they are again 25 out. Here is where LT gains its Broad Strokes Cultural Diversity, Historical generation, and stops being static. Here, the Zone as a whole gets a Population Density, Culture Vector, Hegemony Value (Is it a huge empire, small-medium kingdoms, many isolated islands), Military Value, Tech Value, and Production Value (How much stuff is made here). Historical generation begins here and is calculated once every 5 minutes, but can represent 50 years of Zone History
...10-20: zones take the Information from the above, and split it into a number of polities based on the Population Density and Hegemony Value, each polity getting a variation from the mean of the Zone’s other values and a name. Their economies become more dynamic, having Net Trade of “Stuff from [Polity]” with each other... and a simple war and conquest mechanic. History generation calculations happen more frequently but represent less time (1 minute = 6 months)
...5-10: zones assign systems names, % of polity value, discrete resources, number of planets, warp lanes, Discrete military presence, and General economic simulation (Industrial production, Mining output, Economic Stability, Tech advances, etc) Factions and NPCs now form, these will not always be very important to you, but major developments here can cause major changes for the player and you will want to pay at least some attention to them, these are your big-kahuna neighbors.
...2-5 jumps away: these are fully functional, real-time, but mechanically simplified systems
metacosmic wrote:One idea I'm wondering if you've considered for the AI is observational learning.
Honestly, this is the ideal solution, but machine learning is difficult and computationally expensive for a single AI, let alone thousands. I truly hope to one day see this sort of thing in LT, but I HIGHLY doubt it would be even remotely feasible in 1.0