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Personnel (strategy)


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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3543

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 07:59 AM

It's for a game where you are an emperor of a space empire (it's not 4X, more like an simulator of an emperor).

 

Note that I want no scrolling of any kind anywhere in the game, also no zoom (except if you mouse over a thing), I also want a lot of mouse over events (tooltips, helps, more information that pop up). So this UI restriction partially affects gamedesign decisions as well. I'm not completely devoted to it so if absolutelly necessary I can remove that restrictions but I would love to keep it. I also strive for a compact/small feel of the whole interface.

 

Here is the screen of your "court":

personel-ministers_zps7970614a.png

You have 12+5 people in your court (fixed number). 5 of them (at the top) hold ministerial positions, the remaining 12 do nothing. You can promote any courtier to any position (the minister and the courtier will simply switch places then). You can "discard" a courtier, you simply click a button (firts you click a courtier "card" then a menu on the left shows awailable actions), the courtier will be replaced with someone random next turn (there will be limits how many time you can do it, it's not that important now).

 

Each courtier has 3 stats. Competence, Loyalty and Corruption smile.png Generally you will have an option to appoint someone who is competent but unloyal or incompetent but loyal. If there are too many imcompetent ministers the empire is weak, if there are too many unloyal then you will be assasinated/overthrown (especially if you appoint someone with low loyalty as minsiter of Security). There is also corruption (everyone is corrupted in this game, the only difference is how much), the total corruption of all ministers summed together is the total corruption in the empire (the empire can sustan quite a lot of corruption, but if you exceed it there will be problems).

 

Optionally, a courtier could have an icon indicating specialisation (bonus to competence if appointed a specific minister).

 

Since there are only 5 ministries (due to UI limitations, there is no more space available on the screen) I was thinking that you could make edicts to decide which ministry are in your empire (there are only 5 slots but possible would be various combinations of ministries in these slots).

For example slot #1 could be Administration or Finances or Education or Health, slot #2 Propaganda or Diplomacy, slot #3 Security or Intelligence, #4 Defence or War (focus more on internal or more on external threats), slot #5 your choice (anything goes)

 

 

Questions:

What you think about this mechanic (both how you feel as a player and how you evaluate it as a designer)? Any ideas how to refine/polish it? Alternative models similar to that one maybe?

 

 


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#2 Haps   Members   -  Reputation: 1315

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 09:25 AM

The layout looks quite similar to the one used in King of Dragon Pass.

 

Sorting options were available to help you organize candidates based on their stats, and to have more than could fit on the screen. Each candidate also has their own specialization and skillset, forcing you to choose based on both their ratings and in what way they served.

 

I'm in favor of every courtier having their own specialization as it helps counter any of the lower attributes they might have - Choosing between a specialized (but corrupt) Military General for the Defense position, versus a loyal courtier with an irrelevant background, could add a level of strategic depth to your game.



#3 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3543

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:11 AM

I want to create a mood of a royal court. A bit of a cozy atmosphere where the emperor knows everyone. I'm not the fan of all sorts of filters and making more courtiers than visible at once, because the player won't be able to manage/remember all of them (and be sad when they die). I think those 17 is about right... I mean, I would not be able to handle it if there was more of them, I think (also, most likely there will be a separate screen with officers for the army/fleet and for governors of the planets, so the total will be probably around 17*3 personnel to manage).

 

I wonder about the unused 12 courtiers, maybe they could be utilised somehow? I mean, you still have some control over who is in your court because you can kick out a courtier (and get a new one next turn). So, why not make this a decision as well?

I thought of these (tell which you like/don't like):

1) The middle row is made of some sort of clerks (all would have a white border similar to red for ministers), you can appoint the courtiers and they move to the middle row, clerks stats add to the empire stats/stability. I don't like that one...

2) All the ministers would select their henchmen, each minister would select (AI decision) 2 courtiers and mark them as working for their ministry (the decision would be based mostly on the likes/dislikes of the minister, the family and friends need to get the job first, competence is secondary biggrin.png)

3) The 12 non ministerial courtiers would not be assigned anything, but they would be checked upon events like overthrow check (they could join the coup OR on the contrary, help to defend the emperor), their influence would be much smaller than ministers of course (so it's still very important if appointed people are loyal)

 

Factions - there could be 6 factions in the empire. Each courtier would have an icon indicating to which faction he/she belongs. Your task would be to maintain balance of power (like making sure no single faction get 3 or more ministerial positions or they might think they could replace the emperor biggrin.png). My worry is that it makes the whole Loyality stat useless/redundant... and I like the loyalty stat smile.png

 

Assassinations - I think a real court needs assasinations biggrin.png What if they were not only plotting how to overthrow you, the emperor, but also try to backstab each other? An impatient courtier would want to assisnate a minister so there is a vacant spot. You would be able to regulate the likeness of this by increasing security within the court (but only to a degree, we don't want a game with assassin free court, right? biggrin.png)

 

Generally, I think about adding a tiny little bit of AI to the courtiers. Some very, very simple (almost random) decisions to make (like whom to kill next, whom to appoint as their second in command). Do you think I should go this route?


Edited by Acharis, 12 May 2013 - 11:12 AM.

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#4 Plethora   Members   -  Reputation: 679

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 11:54 AM

For the 12 courtiers, having some sort of AI at work between them would be good.  What you could do to enhance this is to come up with some easily randomized backgrounds such as each one's family/faction/corporate allegience or however you want to separate it.  You then have natural rivalries based on that.

 

Then throw in a system where you, as the emperor, can bestow favor on one courtier or another for whatever reason.  This would grant a loyalty boost to whomever you chose but at the cost of decreasing loyalty among that courtiers rivals and also deepening divisions between them.  You could further fix the system such that the most competent members of your court are always members of small/non existent factions.  Thus, if you continuously reward the most competent ones, the rest of the court will likely grow to hate you.


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#5 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 933

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Posted 12 May 2013 - 06:58 PM

It sounds to me like you need to play several dozen hours of Crusader Kings 2 as this is almost identical to their system and you could learn quite a lot from them



#6 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3543

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 10:45 AM

It sounds to me like you need to play several dozen hours of Crusader Kings 2 as this is almost identical to their system and you could learn quite a lot from them

Well, I don't want to make a full blown feudal system but a small court system. You have 17 courtiers that you can use as you wish. Heirs, spouses, vassals would be too much for this, also it would be not the mood I want to achieve here. The courtiers are supposed to be more like civil servants than powerfull nobles (althrough they could rebel/usurp sometimes).

 

 

More ideas:

 

Using courtiers as governors - I though of this, maybe instead of a separate screen for planetary governors when there is a vacant position you would be asked to appoint one of your courtiers to governor position. And there would be a catch, you could send your best courtiers (making planets well governed) or send your worst (getting rid of useless ones from the court).

 

Inspectors - from time to time the AI inspectors would try to "track" the most corrupt ond incompetent governors in the empire, when they do they present you a choice to either keep or dismiss a governor (making the office vacant which you need to fill with one of your courtiers later). Note that you won't be able to manually dismiss governors on your own, it's too unimportant taks for an emperor like you, you can only do it if an inspector reports the governor to you :D The efficiency of inspectors would depends on upgrades in imperial institutions, so you can partially affect it.


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#7 mippy   Members   -  Reputation: 1002

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 12:50 PM

  • Use standing rectangles for portraits (its called portrait for a reason) and put those stats in some circles underneath the portrait. A small name tag including specialization should be sufficient. 
  • There seems to be a meter on the left, consider putting it on the right hand side to make it pop out more. Took some time for me to notice it. 
  • If you want to make it card-like, consider using stacks.
  • If you want to differentiate the top cards from the bottom ones, you could also make them slightly larger then the bottom ones, indicating their importance. 
  • The unused court members could still be able to give advice. Even if they are inactive they would still generate corruption (like our politicians do). 
  • I like the categories with tasks (war, intelligence, etc.)
  • You could put the category/title on top, folded into the card and make it slightly smaller then the version you have now. Then you would have room underneath it for pop-out speech bubbles and other info, which I guess you would have somehow. 

EDIT: remember that in the default view when the game starts, none of the task-slots will be filled with a person. So in the default mode, all the characters will be available in the lower part.


Edited by mipmap, 17 May 2013 - 04:06 PM.


#8 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3543

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Posted 17 May 2013 - 01:42 PM

The inner square on the cards is supposed to be a portrait (I have not drawn them yet).

 

I have doubts about specializations (war, finances, security). Assuming 5 ministeries only and 1 spec per person it would mean you would have only 3 candidates per position on average... That's not much of a choice and it would be probably an obvious choice most of the time. Plus, there would not be a dilemma "where to put my best man" since you would have no universal people. With no specializations you could consider if you want your only competent+loyal courtier as security (to prevent coups/usurps) or as war (to fight external threat).


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#9 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3543

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:20 PM

Still looking for ideas/feedback on this.

 

Especially personal loyalty vs faction loyalty and specialisation vs competence stat.


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#10 WavyVirus   Members   -  Reputation: 735

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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:39 PM

Perhaps you could consider reducing the significance of the specialisations, even allowing multiple specialisations for one character? Relegating specialisations to a more minor consideration might make the optimal ministerial assignment less obvious.

Loyalty and general competency would become more important factors; the decision of where to assign your most competent/loyal courier would be more interesting.

#11 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3543

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Posted 28 May 2013 - 04:25 PM

I think I will go for general competence (no specializations) and individual loyalty.

 

But maybe add a sort of virtues/beliefs to each courtier? Like Military, Science, Finances, Security, Intelligence, Diplomacy, Justice. This would represent what this person beliefs is the most important thing in the empire. Each courtier would add +1 of his belief to the empire stats, ministers add +3 (or +5?). It is not connected to ministry at all, minister of Fincances could be pro military and minister of War pro Justice. They all add to the overall empire stats.

 

This would mean, sometimes you might not appoint your best people (comptent & loyal) because for example you need them all to be pro military since you are preparing for a big war.


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