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bishop_pass

Testbed elements

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Ok, the other thread (political stuff) is good for general discussion, theory, and all that. In this thread, I suggest that people propose actual elements - concrete things that the game is composed of. Stuff like assasinations, farms, communication forums, etc. I believe mention of them in the other thread will just cause them to get drowned in all the other discussion. Suggest stuff here. It needn''t be perfect to warrant being suggested.

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  • Land/Production Resources This includes water sources, natural resources (for energy, construction, etc) and so forth.


  • Infrastructure It was determined that a base level of government and infrastructure (transportation by land, air, water; communications electronically and via post; power sufficient for medium-to-large size factories, and guidelines for supplement; urban development guidelines for cities and industrial sectors; etc) already be in place so players can start being productive and acquiring wealth and power rather than nursing the game world to a self-sustaining state.


  • Financial Institutions While every player starts the game with a certain level of liquid cash, credit (and thus credit facilities) are essential for large economic developments. The game must provide banks, cooperatives, insurance firms and other lending institutions upon inception. Players may later take them over, buy them out or drive them out of production, but they must exist from the get-go.


  • Government, Laws, Judiciary and Law Enforcement The player should be able to choose from a variety of countries/states to establish residence and begin operation; each of these will have their own laws and customs and methods of punishment.



That''s all I can think of right now.

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I''ll throw out some keywords, and these can be fleshed out, ruled out, etc. Please note that each keyword doesn''t necessarily represent a game mechanic, but might simply represent a possible thing that can be done given the game environment.

Assasination, media, spying, double agent, news, campaign, broadcast, advertise, one on one discussion, one to many broadcast, forum like a roundtable discussion, trial, jury, satelite manufacture, rental, buying and selling, investing, trading, land, food, troops, taxes, travel, governing documents, military movement, weapons manufacture, weapons use, coup, farming, manufacturing, service providing. leasing, messengers...

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quote:
Original post by Oluseyi
  • Financial Institutions While every player starts the game with a certain level of liquid cash, credit (and thus credit facilities) are essential for large economic developments. The game must provide banks, cooperatives, insurance firms and other lending institutions upon inception. Players may later take them over, buy them out or drive them out of production, but they must exist from the get-go

  • Lending and insurance are definitely things players can provide as a service. I like that.

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    It''s interesting to note that the game doesn''t actually need to provide mechanisms for leasing, renting, insurance, lending, borrowing, etc. Rather, the players merely agree to terms they create, and it''s up to the players to provide the infrastructure to enforce it. What the game needs to provide is a mechanical way for the transfer of goods and money to happen.

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    My earlier post detailed services that must be inherent to the game world, though mutable, independent of players. Here I consider player-specific elements.
    • Descriptive Procedures I''m not referring to means of announcing developments, existence or availability: that''s media (and should have been in my previous list). Descriptive procedures are means for players to extend the game world by adding new objects which other players can obtain and manipulate independently of the originator, and which operate autonomously (our classic example so far has been the satellite). Considering that a new player item can have huge impact on the game world (imagine if a player invents the virtual equivalent of email or the internet), these need to be fairly robust, yet simple enough not to require programming skill (though a simplified scripting interface is the most likely candidate).

    • Query/Discovery Services Media allows a player to be informed of what is going on. How does a player find out about what has gone on? About who has done or currently does what? In essence, certain media need to be archived and searchable/retrievable, certain standard locations need to exist for the perusal of indexes (sorta like the classifieds) and so on.



    Media is proving to be such an interesting issue that I''ll discuss it here rather than leaving it as an implicit addition to my earlier list.
    • Media One of the most interesting things about media is the diversity of presentation forms and formats, as well as the immense range in scope. For example, there will undoubtedly be general news outlets in print (newspaper), audio (radio news channels/broadcasts) and audiovisual (TV). There will also be archives for each of these channels. There will also, as time goes by and industries rise and become important, be a need for industry-specific media (the virtual equivalents of Forbes and Money and Fortune magazines; of The Economist and the Wall Street Journal; maybe even of Sports Illustrated and Low Rider and High Times).

      My suggestion to simplify the variety of forms for those players who may choose to become media entrepreneurs is for us to adopt some sort of "futuristic" media where an interactive multimedia presentation is given. Broadcasts can be paused, sought through, reviewed etc (CNN on TiVo); text can be searched; text archives can be accessed for a fee (digitally charged to the player''s credit account in appropriate local currency), etc. This allows both the producing and consuming players to focus on content and eliminates form as an issue.



    One more interesting issue is how fiscal transactions will be handled. I''m advocating a "cashless society" (since we abstract away subsistence purchases and issues, and deal in large business terms) where all that is needed is for two parties to (independently) provide account access to a financial arbiter such as a bank (yes, a bank may arbitrate a transaction in which it is involved, unless the transcation is between two banks, in which case a third, unrelated bank must arbitrate).

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    bishop_pass, I'll group your suggestions together logically and then treat them collectively. Fundamentally, I think that all forms of actions should be "described" (in the sense of a Descriptive Procedure as detailed earlier), which makes them inherently extensible by players. All objects should then be described and based on their description be capable of causing certain actions.

    The classifications:

    • Aggression (Includes assasination, weapons use, coup, etc). Every player has a representative agent (a physical embodiment in the virtual world) which is susceptible to bodily harm. If a violent event such as an explosion occurs in the vicinity of the player's avatar, damage is sustained - up to and including death. If a violent act is performed directly on the player's avatar, damage is sustained. It therefore emerges that violent actions/events have magnitude, target (a building, a person, etc), noticeability (one person punching another has low notice; a building blowing up has high notice), etc.


    • Public Communication (Media, news, broadcast, advertise, campaign, etc) Text, audio and/or video must be placed in circulation using a public communication channel - one of the media feeds/subscription services described in an earlier post. The only restrictions on access are those imposed by the media conduit itself - sign up for subscription feeds, etc.


    • Restricted Communication (One on one discussion, one to many broadcast, forum like a roundtable discussion, etc) A set number of individuals are privy to information, restricted by either physical location or access to a communications device.


    • Production (Includes satelite manufacture, weapons manufacture, farming, manufacturing, etc) A player either creates or obtains a product description script, and then establishes a flow of resources necessary to assemble the specified product (ie, a product description script consists of an aggregation of other product description scripts and fundamental quantities - a recipe for putting the product together). So the production of tomatoes may require land, tomato seeds, water and optional fertilizer, while pests may be listed as detrimental to product yield. A gun, OTOH, will require a propulsion mechanism, a projectile payload, a projectile storage chamber...


    • Economic Interaction (Rental, buying, and selling, investing, trading, leasing, service providing, etc). An entity provides one quantity to another entity in exchange for another quantity, where both entities have agreed upon the terms as fair. The quantity may be as nebulous as permission to use a possession for a set period (rental) or performance of a certain action at regular intervals for a set period (service provision). The game really doesn't care; all the game cares about is the creation of agreements and facilitating the exchange of quantities.


    • Binding Agreement Creation (Governing documents, contracts, etc) Two or more parties collectively author and approve a document. The document is available for inspection by any of these parties (if private) or any member of the population at large (if public), but can only be modified by ratification of all (surviving) original parties, or a quorom if so determined in the original document.



    Spying, double agent and messenger are service provisions - Economic Interactions. Two require surveillance possibilities, so mechanics for Observation (physical location, obtaining a recording device) are also needed. Land, food and troops are resources. They can be bought and sold, and in some cases traded as well - more Economic Interactions. Troops can also be commanded, and food can also be consumed, so we'll need mechanics for simulating those as well. Taxes are an Economic Interaction between player entities and governing entities. Travel involves the relocation of the player avatar, which requires transportation means and involves time delays, etc. Transportation means may or may not have or support communication facilities onboard, meaning the player might be temporarily disconnected from updates while in transit.

    Military movement is the application of travel to troops.

    I can't think of how to handle trial and jury right now, except as simulations (though a player who was a lawyer could want/need to be involved in a trial...)

    [Edit: Formatting on the last few paragraphs.]

    [edited by - oluseyi on November 4, 2002 4:20:47 AM]

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    Here are some of my thoughts:

    Gameworld:

    -Inhabitable planets:

    • Controlled by AI: simple like/dislike based on player actions.

    • Buy and sell basic services on every field: mercenaries, low-tech ships, small amounts of resources etc.

    • Very hard to invade, if not impossible. No warfare in the surface unless player has succesfuly invaded the planet.

    • House player's headquarters, many players per planet.

    • Players can't build anything else than administrative buildings on planets.

    • Communications between planets instant (and threfore also between players), for technical reasons.


    -Asteroids, uninhabitable planets, space:

    • Have almost all resources.

    • Players build everything here: mines, factories, research labs, communication satellites..

    • Communications slow and unreliable, can be improved with technology.

    • No AI controlled entities



    Players:

    -Megacorps / noble houses with the exclusive right to interplanetary trade, industry and warfare, not a single person. What's the point if you can't restrict communications?
    -Can change home planet but it's expensive(time, skills and money).
    -No assasination.

    • Doesn't provide intresting gameplay.

    • "if (me.moneySpentOnBodyguards < attacker.moneySpentOnAssasins) me.die();" is not fun.


    -Very hard to eleminate player completely from the game.

    Resources:

    -Money:

    • Game provides basic "money storage" service and stable international currency.

    • Needs to be transferred to factories, mines, ships etc. to pay for maitenance, either by "wire" or ship, both are unreliable.

    • Can be traded between players instantly and reliably.


    -Materials:

    • uranium, titanium, food, fuel, air, concrete, researchers, miners, soldiers, etc.

    • Can be traded with transport units.


    -Technology:

    • Can be traded between players with no loss to the original owner.

    • Not useful without the skill to use it. Military organization can't become a industrial organization overnight.


    -Skills:

    • Organization skills:

      • Repersent the knowhow of players organization on the inhabitable planets.

      • Can't be traded.

      • Very important for the diversification of players, as pointed out by Diodor. Concentrating on a few or even one general skill should be the best strategy.


    • Unit skills: traded with the unit.

    -Units:

    • Ships, factories, satellites, storage facilities, etc.

    • Can be traded instantly & reliably.


    -Information:

    • Game objects:

      • Where are my/enemy ships? What's happening at my factory? Where can I find a Uranium?

      • Provided by players that invest on communication or surveillance technology.


    • Player interaction:

      • Who are allied at the moment?

      • Provided by "media" players who monitor closely the public forums and bribe other players to reveal secrets. Media occupation is not supported directly by the game mechanics and therefore will likely be side occupation.



    Offensive actions:

    -It should be much easier to destroy other players units than to steal them. That way military power alone can't win the game.
    -Spying, sabotage and information warfare shouldn't be abstract but concrete game objects:

    • "Player sends a spy ship near the enemy factory" as opposed to "Player bribes an employee of the enemy factory"

    • "Player sends a information warfare ship to attach a listener to a enemy satellite" as opposed to "Player pays 42.000.000$ to crackers"

    • See assasination for reasons.



    Ownership and cooperation:

    -All things are controlled by a single player. This makes the game world much more unreliable and intresting. There should be no collective authoring of documents, rather players discuss on the chat what they want on the document and one player writes it.
    -Game shouldn't provide almost any reliable way for cooperation, though a simple and reliable trade screen for units, money and technology might be necessary.


    Does anyone know how to create lists without such huge amounts of whitespace?

    [edited by - Ecthelion on November 4, 2002 7:44:26 AM]

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    quote:
    Original post by Ecthelion
    Here are some of my thoughts:

    Gameworld:


    • Very hard to invade, if not impossible. No warfare in the surface unless player has succesfuly invaded the planet.

    • House player''s headquarters, many players per planet.

    • Players can''t build anything else than administrative buildings on planets.

    • Communications between planets instant (and threfore also between players), for technical reasons.



    Players:

    -No assasination.

    • Doesn''t provide intresting gameplay.

    • "if (me.moneySpentOnBodyguards < attacker.moneySpentOnAssasins) me.die();" is not fun.


    -Very hard to eleminate player completely from the game.



    Invasion should not be hard as long as the invading military is significantly stronger than the military of the planet being invaded. The game shouldn''t be biased against players that want to persue military action\careers, that should be as viable as a path as a media guy or a businessman.

    No assasination, why? Assasination is something that happens in the real world to people in powerful positions, it''s something that should happen in the game. You''re thinking too much along that lines that players will want to always assasinate and that it will be an easy way to get ahead, but this is completely wrong. Assasination will be very difficult (just as it is in real life) and become more difficult with time. It wouldn''t be handled as "if (me.moneySpentOnBodyguards < attacker.moneySpentOnAssasins) me.die();", because there''s much more too it. In a relatively stable government with a leader that is pretty well liked, assasination will almost impossible (5% chance at most.) In an unstable government with a hated leader assasination is a lot easier and may be the only way to start a revolution. Remember, there''s more risk in trying to assasinate someone than there is being the target of assasination and if the attempt is traced back to you you will be killed or arrested. There is the possiblity of greif players taking advantage of assasination, but if the system is designed correctly it will be very rare for an assasination to ever get through. Grief players would be the equivalent of crazy men that threaten the president''s life, occasionally they actually assasinate the president, but it''s very, very rare. There are certain positions (like crime boss) where assasination would be a pretty common thing, but most of the time it would be very rare.

    Crime

    Crime is something that hasn''t been discussed. Crime is basically the same as business except you''re trading and selling illegal merchandise (weapons, drugs) and services (assasination, prostitution.) The advantages of crime is that it''s more lucrative than business (at first) and easy to get into. The higher you get in crime the more complex of an infrastructure you need, just to avoid law enforcement\military tracking illegal activities back to you. Because crime bosses already have an infrastructure designed to avoid being caught doing illegal things, assasination between crime bosses is more common than it is in the rest of the galaxy. If there is crime, there also needs to be some kind of law enforcement, similar to the military, but more focused on domestic problems than intergalatic affairs.

    Government\Politics
    Some of this may go against the style of the gameplay, but should there be a set number of government systems (Democracy, Dictatorship, Monarchy, Socialist, etc.), perhaps with certain modifiers and combinations (adding socialist ideas to a democracy, a dictatorship with a puppet president and fake elections to appease the people, etc.) Maybe there should be a set of government elements of policies, military policies, trade policies, elections, etc. that people in power can change\ratify. In a stable goverment with decent checks and balances changes to laws shouldn''t be dramatic, because they rely on multiple people agreeing with them, but in a dictatorship things could change abritarily.

    In governments with elections, there needs to be some way for players to vote. This can be as simple as clicking a poll box. Candidates would also need to campaign, which could be done by sending speeches\text to media outlets.

    The faceless masses need to be represented in some way also. A like\dislike system per district\state\planet, etc. would be a good way to handle this. A good leader will also please these people as well as the top %1 (the players.) If they are allowed to vote then you actually want to campaign for them, because they have more voting power, but you need to keep the players happy, because they have money for campaign contributions and they control the media. You could always set up a player only voting system, and not have to deal with the lower class NPCs, but you start to risk protests, economic boycotts, revolutions, assasinates etc, especially if the people are not happy.

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    Impossible, don''t try to take small parts of my vision and implant them into your''s. It won''t work, trust me

    Wheter or not planets are easy to invade or not is irrelevant to the relevancy of militaristic playing style. In my version of the game all intresting things would happen in space, not on planets, so nobody would really want to invade a planet anyway.
    Why make the planets irrelevant? If players can control entire planets the amount of necessary features to make the game world seem believable will be much larger than in my version. You''d need things like population simulation, ground warfare, maps for the planets, etc. which aren''t really necessary for good gameplay. Also by adding things like population simulation you increase the role of AI controlled entities in the game. What I would like is a game where interaction between players is the centre of the game, not pleasing some NPC population.

    As for assasination, you are assuming that a player plays the role of a single individual in the game world, which is in direct conflict with my previous post. Besides no matter how hard assination is, how fun would it be to build a great alliance over several months and then suddenly get a popup saying: "You have been assasinated. Game Over." ?

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    quote:
    Original post by Ecthelion
    Impossible, don''t try to take small parts of my vision and implant them into your''s. It won''t work, trust me

    Don''t take large parts of our vision and then subvert them with yours. We''re not discussing your idea here, we''re discussing the ideas collectively agreed upon in this thread. If you don''t subscribe to them, start your own thread.

    quote:
    In my version of the game all intresting things would happen in space, not on planets, so nobody would really want to invade a planet anyway.

    See above. That''s not our idea, so your ideas are in direct conflict and are cluttering up our discussion.

    quote:
    Why make the planets irrelevant? If players can control entire planets the amount of necessary features to make the game world seem believable will be much larger than in my version.

    Damn RTS players...

    quote:
    As for assasination, you are assuming that a player plays the role of a single individual in the game world, which is in direct conflict with my previous post.

    Here:
    quote:
    Original post by bishop_pass, you know, the guy who came up with this idea...
    Original post by thelurch
    Perhaps I should also clarify one other thing, I tend to see each player in the game as a person Not some God or power entity that can see through the eyes of every character under him.
    ...

    This is a very salient point that I assumed everyone understood to be true.
    ...

    In other words, what are you talking about?

    quote:
    Besides no matter how hard assination is, how fun would it be to build a great alliance over several months and then suddenly get a popup saying: "You have been assasinated. Game Over."?

    Again:
    quote:
    This time I quote myself, page 5 of the other thread:
    Fundamentally, this game embodies the principle of "with power comes responsibility" or "actions have repercussions." We don''t prevent the player from engaging in any action whatsoever, but we don''t prevent (extremely) severe repercussions from occuring either. Grief? You''ll probably be assassinated/decimated by war. PK? Ditto. We don''t care; choose your actions wisely.

    So once more, what are you talking about? Your entire post (the original one) was almost completely incompatible with the ideas and concepts laid out in the previous thread, and your treatment of issues was abstract to the point of adding very little value (no offense). Consider this thread to be the "concretization" step, the (collaborative) "document" in which design elements are specified in sufficient detail to serve as a direct implementation blueprint.

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    quote:
    Original post by Impossible
    Government\Politics
    Some of this may go against the style of the gameplay, but should there be a set number of government systems (Democracy, Dictatorship, Monarchy, Socialist, etc.), perhaps with certain modifiers and combinations (adding socialist ideas to a democracy, a dictatorship with a puppet president and fake elections to appease the people, etc.) Maybe there should be a set of government elements of policies, military policies, trade policies, elections, etc. that people in power can change\ratify. In a stable goverment with decent checks and balances changes to laws shouldn''t be dramatic, because they rely on multiple people agreeing with them, but in a dictatorship things could change abritarily.

    When you try to handle all conceivable conditions in a situation where "all conceivable conditions" is an unknown quantity, you end up handling nowhere near enough. Why not let players define their own systems of government? The initial computer-controlled domains (which, to reiterate, exist purely as a springboard infrastructure for player-player interaction) could be set up using common systems, but players could lead revolutions and create unusual systems of government. This could have interesting side effects outside of gaming and gameplay: many FPSes, for example, have been used as research tools by computer scientists where environmental visualization is a major boon; a game that is flexible with social and political structure could be an excellent sandbox for political scientists - we may even receive honorable mention at some major convention!

    Where flexibility does not detract from gameplay, leave it be.

    quote:
    In governments with elections, there needs to be some way for players to vote. This can be as simple as clicking a poll box. Candidates would also need to campaign, which could be done by sending speeches\text to media outlets.

    I''m not sure I''d want to vote in a game like this, but different things appeal to different gamers. Instead, I''d prefer the game to simulate the voting preferences of the masses, and present results that reflect that accordingly. Thus, players aspiring for political office would need to campaign (see earlier post; campaigning is a form of Public Communication) and the public would approve/disapprove and so forth.

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    Wow! there are a lot of issues here.

    First: The issue of robberies, assasinations and generally every issue to do with personal competion against the system. I think our view of how the game will be represented is not yet concrete enough for us to discuss these here, I will explain what I mean soon in the other thread.

    the rest; Since we are implementing a sandbox that simply provides the possibility of all these options and more, I think we should be concentrating more on the building blocks which we will be using. Then when these building blocks are in place, we can decide what will be pre-built (e.g. governments, occupations, technologies etc.) before the game officially starts. The advantage of this is that the building blocks are still available at anytime for the palyer to create and modify his own objects.

    I will start to show what I mean.

    The game currently has two major parts
    The physical world - People, buildings, resources, land
    etc. I don't think we have come to
    enough of a consensus about this to go
    into specific details
    The abstract world - Governments, businesses, transactions,
    information, the masses. I think this
    is where most of the consensus has
    been reached so I will go straight
    into my ideas for defining these
    entities

    Entities
    Life Entity - Can't be created by player
    Attributes - Physical body, Hunger, ?Health?,

    Business Entity - Can be created by player
    Attributes - Ability to own money, Ability to Spend money, Can Own properties including other businesses,Can have contracts

    Organisation entity -Can be created by player
    Attributes - Can have life entities as members, Can have different positions, Can have contracts


    Contracts - Player creatable
    Attributes - Member Entities, condition, commitment,Punishment for failure

    Object(Potential Property) -?Non-Player creatable? -
    I'm still not sure what should go here, as it will depend on a lot of specifications we haven't yet decided on


    In this way, you can have say - A Person, who will be a combination of a life entity and a business entity. A company and a Nation will be more or less be combinations of Business and Organisations etc. I believe these three entities will almost exhuastively cover all the player interactions we have discussed. Feel free to add edit etc.

    For the physical part we will have to exhuastively list all possible naturally occuring objects in the game, The attributes (not sure about things that need to be manufactured though) Real Estate should be listed as a Property.



    the mind of masses - I tend to believe a 'like-dislike' system is slightly too simplistic for what we want here. A player will have to convince the masses to like him based on how he handles issues which are important to them.
    I think we can simulate this quite well using a neural net. We have a list of issues that can possibly be important and at first give them all basic values based on what we think is important. As the game goes on, events happening around them change the values and relative importance of each aspect. For instance, in a country where food is overly abundant food soon begins to lose it's importance, if crime goes up thier concern about that goes up too. Also the media and players came make them become more concerned about stuff simply by talking about it a lot (hyping).
    A lot of different minds will be needed (perhaps one per community) to reflect the way different groups of people feel about different things.

    Well, I'll go back to the other post to discuss issues about human avatars and other useful stiff now.

    [Edit - Formatting]

    [edited by - thelurch on November 4, 2002 10:04:51 PM]

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    Ok, Concerning 'Services' Assasinations, thieves, ?Police?, Engineers, Farmers etc.etc.

    I'm addressing the fact that all these are NPCs who have to have different levels of skill, and operate individually. Obviously we would have to have some sort of experience and skill level. But it would be redundant to store skill level information for all the 6 billion characters in the game. So we could have level groups.

    For instance, if say 7.5% of the population are criminals then you can calculate that perhaps 10% of that group are murderers. Within the group of murderers let's say they are 3 levels, 52% of them are on the lowest level (equivalent to petty thugs), 37% are in middle level, and 10% are expert level (Mob Assasins) these are just simulated En Masse so if you order an assasin in any particular class a guy is just generated with the necessary stats does the job, then disappears back into it. However, the top 1% (maybe less) are the 'specialists' I expect that the total number of these will rarely ever exceed one digit, as such they will be unbelievably expensive for the player to hire, and they will have a full set of stats based on thier experience (experience avoiding cameras, using sniper rifles, leaving no trace etc.).

    The defense against all these kinds of of attacks (theft, murder etc.) consists of security guards, cameras, perhaps even type of building. These will increase the 'difficulty' in thier respective areas. And all add to the security stat (genneral difficulty to breach security). Now if someone from one of the three levels is sent, his stat is measured against the general security stat and a dice is rolled biased in accordance with the ratio.(you know the rest)
    However when a Specialist is sent, each specific stat is measured against his experience in that area, and one roll is made for each. Of course since he's a specialist his average stat will be very high anyway. This system can be applied to any group of NPCs that have to do a job involving 'skill' and difficulty. For instance the amount of time and resources builder will need to build a house of a specified size, on a mountain side with soft soil etc.

    The reason I'm suggesting this system is that it still gives the abstraction given by the game as a whole, but allows the player to plan and very closely direct the outcome of his choices (e.g. if he want to build an office building very quickly he will need to get a spacialist builder in Office technology.)

    Of course these stats won't be directly obvious to the player but will be vaguely hinted at in the description of the workers (That is If the description is given by a trusted NPC or Computer News paper or something- a player source may just lie, or give you the information as bestg he can) Eg. 'This Builder has dealt with over 20 Mansions in the last two years' or 'The presidents palace had guards at every door and junction in every corridior but when the morning came the president was found with his tingue hanging out from below his adams apple' . And every time the a specialist completes a task (mision) his stats increase in each area accoringly)

    If well implemented the player will never feel as if the outcome is being decided by dice rolls!

    [edited by - thelurch on November 5, 2002 11:52:02 AM]

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    Oluseyi, I was replying to a post by Impossible that was a reply to my earlier post, and therefore was discussing my version, at least for the warfare and partly for the assasination part. I never claimed that anything that I posted should be taken as a basis for the general discussion on this thread.

    I didn't find anything on the original thread about planets, so I felt that I could porpose an idea on how to handle them.

    I agree that my idea of players as organizations is in conflict with the post by bishop_pass you quoted, though I thought that the main point in that was players not seeing everything their subordinates see. I quess I should have posted that on the original thread. Other than that I don't see anything that is in conflict with the common ideas on the original thread, so could you please ellaborate on that point?

    I find the idea of the descriptive procedures you porposed quite intriguing.. have I understood that idea right if I think that you want technological inventions in the game to be created by the players using these descriptions, rather than by using research labs, scientists or other ingame constructs?

    [edited by - Ecthelion on November 5, 2002 1:42:14 PM]

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    quote:
    Original post by Ecthelion
    Oluseyi, I was replying to a post by Impossible that was a reply to my earlier post, and therefore was discussing my version, at least for the warfare and partly for the assasination part. I never claimed that anything that I posted should be taken as a basis for the general discussion on this thread.

    They don''t fit (your original comments) within the context of the game being discussed here. When someone made comments to that effect, you asked him not to "take parts of your vision and implant them into his/ours." All I did was do you the same courtesy.

    quote:
    I didn''t find anything on the original thread about planets, so I felt that I could porpose an idea on how to handle them.

    Yeah, but you can''t then violate the fundamental tenets. If you had read the original thread first (I assume you didn''t, which is why your ideas were largely incompatible), your suggestions about planets and players not having direct representations went against just about everything we''d discussed so far (in the other thread).

    quote:
    ...I don''t see anything that is in conflict with the common ideas on the original thread, so could you please ellaborate on that point?

    Your game idea is planet-based: players are "megacorps" and/or "noble houses" and have "home planets" which may be changed, but at great cost. In our game idea, planets are incidental. We''re not discussing an RTS here, and combat is not a primary (or secondary, or tertiary...) skill or factor. The primary currencies of this game are power and influence - quantities that aren''t directly represented by the game but instead exist in the minds of the players because of the contextual information they can derive from the explicit resources other players have or have access to. You need to move away from traditional RTS games to see what this idea is about; I can''t think of any title that''s anywhere near analogous to this.

    P.S. The reason I defend this so vehemently is that this is the first strategy game in a long while I think I''d really enjoy.

    quote:
    I find the idea of the descriptive procedures you proposed quite intriguing.. have I understood that idea right if I think that you want technological inventions in the game to be created by the players using these descriptions, rather than by using research labs, scientists or other ingame constructs?

    Yes! The players add value to the game world by creating products with transferrable descriptions. Descriptions would actually be private (some form of private key encryption or something) so that players who come up with innovative products can maintain monopoly on supply until a competitor can create something similar. After a set period of time, the product description should probably be made public (just like patents in real life). While the description is private, the player is free to give a copy of the description to another player so that player becomes a producer/manufacturer as well (analogous to licensing a patented design) and to do so under terms that are a contract between them (the inventing player could require that the manufacturing player give him a 15% share of the profits and keep the product description private for as long as it is not declared public domain in the game world).

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    I have read the two original threads, so unfortunetly reading them is not the silver bullet we are looking for.

    Now that I think of it, the first paragraph in my second post was offensive and unclear.. I just meant it as a reply to the fact that Impossible took small part of my ideas (planets are hard/impossible to attack) and, ignoring the idea that there's nothing important on them, got the idea that I thought that militaristic playstyle shouldn't be possible. Nothing more. I'm sorry for the confusion.

    Now let me explain the reasons I suggest those two ideas you so vehemently oppose.

    I think that this game can be divided in to two parts: the simulation part (almost everything that a standard RTS consists of) and the player-to-player interaction part (limited to simple chat messages and alliances agreed before the game in a standard RTS). The main idea of the game is to emphasis the interaction part. The simulation part should be as simple as possible while still giving players enough tools and subjects for intresting interaction. I don't want players wasting time thinking about game mechanics, nor do I want players position in the game world to be mostly determined by their skill in the simulation part.

    IMO, detailed simulation of planets (urban development guidelines for industrial sectors.. damn SimCity players ) and player avatars (to the level of objects the avatar is hiding under his bed as suggested in the money thread) unnecessarily complicate the simulation part. I can't be really sure about this though, as I don't yet know exactly how much detail you are planning to include, but it certainly seems pretty complicated to me. Since this game (according to the title of the second original thread) is about, if not intergalactic, but at least interplanetary entities, worrying about which city provides the most welcoming population and least demanding development guidelines for your new factory, or if your avatar currently has an access to a computer seems like too much detail to me. That is why I'd rather move action away from the inhabited planets to clean and simple space, and have players represented by entities that don't have to worry about every little thing.

    Though it's not directly related to the ideas discussed in this thread, another reason for our disagreement may be that you seem to see players organizing into a hierarchial power structures, with the lowest ranks filled with simulated NPCs, not unlike the ideas described in the several military chain-of-command threads, while I see players cooperating on a more even basis and without having to interact with NPCs at all. While this does go somewhat against the ideas expressed in the original threads, I feel that it still maintains the central elements of uncertain information and player interaction.

    [edited by - Ecthelion on November 6, 2002 2:56:45 PM]

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    Many things can happen during the game simulation (a factory may build a new unit, a ship may change destination, or load new cargo, contacts may appear on a radar screen), and each of these events will have an effect on the user interface of a client. But it''s quite easy to turn each of these events in a short text data, that I''ll call information snippet. The snippets are stored in a database, along with a significance level of the snippet. Snippets are erased from the database after a while, depending on their significance.

    If more game world entities can store references to the snippets database, I think interesting gameplay will result.

    Examples:

    A city may hold snippets regarding a factory inside the city. Infiltrating the city with spies is very easy, so those snippets can reach other players easily. The low manufacture cost is balanced by a high profile. Building a remote factory instead will not leak information so easily.

    NPCs. Think of them as some mechanic tools, not intelligent entities. A ship needs engines, scanners, torpedoes, fuel, computers, weapons and a captain NPC. The captain will store snippets like orders from the player and so on. In fact, the on-board computer may store a more limited set of snippets as well. Likewise, a factory manager, a planet governor, etc. are NPCs which give certain boosts to efficiency and are trained in schools (schools are in no way different from factories - their end product are NPCs).

    While I agree the chance of a successfull assassination against the player avatar should be small (virtually zero on average, and not large for a few players), assassinating an enemy NPC (or executing a friendly NPC) may aim to erase his information, while kidnapping a NPC may target his information.

    NPCs can have an "loyalty" attribute, and kidnapping a NPC won''t change that attribute. Gaining access to a non-loyal NPCs memories requires specific facilities, just like gaining access to information inside a computer.

    Attempts to recruit a NPC can be made, and they are more likely to succeed depending on the NPCs strength of character. Determining this attribute is a special skill as well (not all players have it, and some are better skilled than others).

    The concept that game entities can contain information can be extended a lot. Spy systems without communication modules can store information, and require periodical harvesting.

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