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Offline BlaneckW

Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
« Reply #30 on: April 14, 2015, 10:48:53 PM »
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  • The Values section in general is flawed.

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #31 on: April 15, 2015, 12:41:26 AM »
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  • Sticking with "policy trees" is simply because that is what the game system currently supports. The AI is designed to work with branching virtue trees. While Civilizations is quite flexible with customizing these systems and I could get really creative with things, if the AI can't intelligently make decisions, all the mod does is turn the game into a building set like legos. It's why I don't allow the AI the option to switch trees and I decided to forgo things like research or affinity requirements for the different virtues, because the AI can't make effective decisions around those.

    The trees are mutually exclusive because Social Engineering has always been about having players make interesting decisions, including the decision to change their mind. Believe me when I say I would like the ability to "hybridize" the choices, but I was at a loss on how to do so while keeping the "dominant" choice meaningful, allowing players to switch their dominant choice at some expense, and communicating all of these mechanics to the player. The other goal was to have players spread their virtues out among the categories so that they wouldn't focus only on politics or only on economics.

    Taking my current designs for politics as an example, as it is probably the category I am most confident about in gameplay design. Players through out the game have their choice of three trees:
    • Less unhealth, more effective ways to deal with unhealth (Police State)
    • More growth and cities (Pluralism)
    • More bonuses that scale with population (Fundamentalism)
    In a perfect world the player would get all three, but they have to choose which is most beneficial to them and adapt their strategies for the others. It is not my intention to allow players to be able to have it all and the situation I want to avoid is players grabbing pluralism, growing big, but not having to deal with the consequences of growing big by also having Police State and being rewarded extra for it by additionally having Fundamentalism. Players can choose to switch if the situation suits them, but they'll need to forfeit long standing bonuses they've invested in to do it. It is not the most realistic system, but it is more realistic than a player winning the game with 90% virtues invested in politics and 10% virtues everywhere else.

    Ideally I wouldn't force players into a route like this to overcome such a problem. It's why I even allow player's to fully invest in one tree freely without making them put virtues into others, just like the original game. However, it's been a tough nut to crack on how to allow for hybrid choices while still encouraging players into putting their virtues across the 4 categories.

    As for the values section, if you're saying it's flawed from a thematic stance, then I somewhat agree. I always felt they were the weakest social engineering category in SMAC with regards to social commentary, but their role in the game was important as they touched parts of the game where it wouldn't make sense for the other choices to touch. The renames came from feedback saying that the values should be changed to cover a larger domain as the choices of power/knowledge/wealth felt arbitrary. I went with what I felt are desires often seen in society: the need to acquire more wealth for oneself; the need to create, innovate, and help others; and the need to be better than those around you. Choosing a value is not forcing your citizenry to fall into it in the same way choosing knowledge in SMAC doesn't turn your entire population into nerdy scientists and choosing wealth doesn't turn them into greedy scrooges. It's social engineering, which means your government is attempting to artfully build a social climate to suit its needs within the natural laws and restrictions of social behavior.

    If you're saying it's flawed from a gameplay perspective, then I'd love you to clarify. The gameplay is not something I'm set on and confident about yet and would love to collect feedback on it before it all gets set in stone.
    « Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 01:13:21 AM by lilgamefreek »

    Offline BlaneckW

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #32 on: April 15, 2015, 01:40:29 AM »
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  • Ok, I don't really consider it necessary too... innovate on the fact of policy trees themselves.  It's less important. 

    You seem to have some consideration for the depth of the system, with an emphasis of it's importance in effecting playstyle.  I suppose any internal subsystem of political/economic hybridization or other considerations would be a feature having less effect on gameplay, the question being whether such an addition might eventually be meaningful or just remain an excess.  But that's a question of the engine, not your fault.

    I could also question involving the quest system for this and/or politics in general, but I am not given to understand that it was utilized effectively in the original game and whether this itself is yet resolved.  I don't know if you've ever played Kaiserreich. 

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #33 on: April 15, 2015, 07:33:51 PM »
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  • I haven't played that before. Any particular reason you ask?

    Believe me, I would really like "hybrid" choices, and I've thought of a few schemes such as being able to adopt virtues freely up to the level below your dominant, and adopting a virtue from the same level will switch your dominant and cause you to lose policies within the same level. It is something I still might try to implement, as there are some fun thematic consideration I can think of (such as categories never really starting from scratch and becoming smaller). However, giving players the ability to change their mind, switch between trees, and being able to forfeit the penalties they've acquired when it is critical at the cost of their bonuses, is more important to me design-wise.

    Offline BlaneckW

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #34 on: April 15, 2015, 08:16:54 PM »
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  • I haven't played that before. Any particular reason you ask?
    Has a political system and elections for flavour through little more than popups effecting the native system of stats, sliders and "advisors" (faces with stats).  Something BE tried to do for affinities with the guest system.  In the original HOI slider alignment might only effect alliances, but Kaisserreich expanded it to be the difference between Syndicalist Russia and Imperialist Russia.  On a more subtle level, the internal politics of Syndicalist France would allow you to select

    A. a party with better war doctrine focusing on mech and ramp up production, but damages manpower
    B. a subtle policy alternative forgoing A. that increases manpower enough turn the tide of the war with Germany though not being as great at production. 
    C. an otherwise poor party that nonetheless subtly allows you to make more alliances and intervene in a second U.S. civil war. 

    subtle differences, large effects

    Giving players the ability to change their mind, switch between trees, and being able to forfeit the penalties they've acquired when it is critical at the cost of their bonuses, is more important to me design-wise.
    Ultimately it may just be that the engine does not much lend itself to emergence through subtle effects.  But I haven't actually played BE.  I can tell you in real life that the planned economy as it was could not go on forever, and the Soviet economy tried to reform unsuccessfully more than once.  The limits of reality is something that ought at some point be incorporated into the "ideology war" schemata, which itself has yet to be represented in all that much depth.  I suppose, though, if your players find the need to switch systems, that lends itself to said exploration.  But China certainly reformed successfully to large degree and refers to itself as "two systems" though I would consider it's market system exterior to it's planned system.
    « Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 09:31:13 PM by BlaneckW »

    Offline BlaneckW

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #35 on: April 15, 2015, 09:06:05 PM »
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  • It may not effect stats or game, but I'd nonetheless like to try to improve your political understanding.  I read a lotta junk like "An Essay on Economic Theory" (early free-market document distributed by Mises), "The Despot of Tuscany" the Federal Research Division on the Soviet Union and write the Chinese Legalist page on wikipedia.  The most important thing in understanding economics or politics is political realism.

    • Free Markets are unrivaled in their ability to adapt to economic changes. Such flexibility makes it an all-around good choice. However, Free Market require a stable political climate and unrest is often extremely disruptive.
    Just the opposite.  The Soviet Union went through the great depression unphased.  Compared with the planned economy, the free market might sell more goods, and thus develop industry slower, but it's prime would last longer.  Or at least it did historically.  This is because, though now corrupt from it's excessive allowances, in general it takes or took in more new blood than the Soviet Union, allows more innovation, etc.  This is especially important where free goods are concerned.  Not just anyone is creative enough to sell nonsense.  The European and Asian economies both will probably outlast the Union's economy.

    However, it's advantages tail off at the end, both it's economic and political system (pluralism) becoming corrupt plutocracies unless it has a political system to root this out.  China does.  This may not be a permanent feature of the United States, however.  The less pathological and more intelligent of the rich see the need for reform.  Or maybe the system will outmode itself from below. 

    The free-market system is not as consciously directly as it could be and carries out absurdities like burning goods to increase their value.  During the Great Depression the Soviet Union continued along, taking no notice of the so-called economic laws that the free-market follows.  So to say that "the free-market is unrivalled in it's ability to adapt to economic changes" is an obscene simplification.  It just isn't, the Soviet Union was just lead by incompetents who couldn't adapt politically to allow entrepreneurship.   

    Both the Soviet System and U.S. might be said to have been politically defective, one too closed, the other too open.   The free-market is unrivaled in it's allowances of innovation. The difference is that in a planned economies officials have to consciously engage entrepreneurship, while the free-market simply leaves the door open.  The Soviet Union not only didn't engage entrepreneurship, but it warded it off, not simply for questions of corruption and structural integrity, which China does do, but to protect it's ideologically pure incompetents.  China did adapt, and engages entrepreneurship in both systems.  Cuba, which is more planned-economy, now support cooperatives.  But even a planned economy by itself need not necessarily be anti-entrepreneurial if it's leadership chooses not to be (China had a phrase, "red and technical" or somesuch, and leaving the door open is not the same thing as being able to weather the storm, as the free-market amply demonstrates; as you have already stated in Pluralism, organized action is not possible without organization. 

    • Planned economics attempts to overpower economic forces with rationale and logic, pouring resources into growth and industry for long-term benefits rather than short-term profits. Because a Planned economy struggles against its natural course, it is often bogged down with inefficiencies.
    I don't entirely know what people are talking about when they talk about the inefficienies of the Soviet System, one would have to be more specific.  The inefficiencies of the Soviet Union would have been it's preference against meritocracy, fearing capitalism or some such or trying to protect an ideologically pure party not competent enough for it's station.  The Chinese Community Party is not so incompetent, and no longer seems to suffer from state-wide purges.  On the other hand Legalism was never bothered by a low-level private sphere.  It simply changes successful private people over into public administrators. 

    The planned economies were suitable to fast-developing heavy-industry and military.  But to a certain extent this isn't necessarily mandatory, it was chosen to expand the industrial capacity at the expense of other goods.  This is an advantage.  The Soviet Union even developed a space program before the United States before ultimately falling behind.  The problem is changing over when the system is no longer useful, something China did, though it indulged in more ideological insanity than the Soviet Union, probably because it was less developed.

    Their agricultural policy was premodern though still superior to what they built upon.  However, Yang is not Stalinist (though he may give consideration to it) but Legalist, which emphasizes agricultural/manpower growth to develop the undeveloped land, rewarding those who do so without the prejudices of Stalinism.  Generally speaking, a preference for heavy industry does not make a great deal of sense on landing without much in the way of mining or population available.  Domai would probably select a cooperative economic system for agriculture whiles Yang's would be more hierarchy driven (but not always or necessarily).

    • Green economics focuses on community health and sustainable economic growth. Green economics maximizes profits earned per unit resources rather than net profits and ensures there remains enough for preceding generations. This makes it slower to grow than other economic plans.
    Modern green economics, as far as I understand, are simply things like decentralized co-ops and organic farms.  In many ways, structurally, it simply represents a slight change in prioties from Domai's Democratic Socialism.  But then, the expansion, which Domai is from, was not as ideologically well pronounced or considered.
    « Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 11:29:18 PM by BlaneckW »

    Offline Kolbeg

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #36 on: April 20, 2015, 03:16:00 PM »
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  • This project is truly promising.
    I agree that Social Engineering should be the priority here as that is such a fundamental characteristic of SMAC, and also most different game mechanic from what needs to be changed from BE.

    I think that your definitions/descriptions on the SE are fairly sufficient, and should not stand in the way of actually moving this project forward.  Interesting as political realism may sound, reality should come first.  ;)

    Make it playable/testable and then we can continue to improve it.  Advancing the AC SE system should be done at a later.

    I think religion(as is in Civ5) should not be in AC or AC mod.

    BE has some good qualities over AC that should/could be used; 1 unit per tile, graphics, quest system, units and upgrades, different planet types... just to name a few from the top of my head.

    Ocean cities and improvement are interesting and should hopefully be implemented.

    Will be paying close attention to this project.  Good luck with it.


    Offline BlaneckW

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #37 on: April 21, 2015, 06:02:22 PM »
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  • I don't see any reason for one unit per tile.  Doom stacks are solved by artillery.

    Offline MercantileInterest

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #38 on: April 23, 2015, 12:51:48 AM »
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  • Wow. Very impressive.

    Offline Mart

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #39 on: December 01, 2016, 09:01:04 PM »
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  • I haven't played that before. Any particular reason you ask?

    Believe me, I would really like "hybrid" choices, and I've thought of a few schemes such as being able to adopt virtues freely up to the level below your dominant, and adopting a virtue from the same level will switch your dominant and cause you to lose policies within the same level. It is something I still might try to implement, as there are some fun thematic consideration I can think of (such as categories never really starting from scratch and becoming smaller). However, giving players the ability to change their mind, switch between trees, and being able to forfeit the penalties they've acquired when it is critical at the cost of their bonuses, is more important to me design-wise.
    Any chance to continue with the modding in Rising Tide?
    The additions in BERT are well fitting to SMACX mod.

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    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #40 on: December 01, 2016, 09:38:01 PM »
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  • I'd be game to pitch in on visuals, within the limits of file formats and what I know how to do...

    Offline Mart

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #41 on: December 04, 2016, 08:02:33 PM »
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  • After playing some time BERT with lilgamefreek's modifications and few more and of course Peacekeepers in BERT !!!, I think there is potential to get something enjoyable/similar/sufficient to SMACX. ... Very much tempted to start doing something, and actually I got SDK for Civ BERT installed.

    So I think about working on integrated mod, that would have everything in it, all the additional factions, changes to mechanics and so on. Starting point would be excellent Social Engineering mod by lilgamefreek. I think about similar mechanics, but a bit different, maybe having the names similar, like Values: Power, Knowledge, Wealth. And having Future Society in it.

    Later factions would be made, etc. For sure, 3 units per tile too. That's a must for me.

    Offline Mart

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #42 on: December 17, 2016, 10:10:12 AM »
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  • Working on getting a faction into RT. Using lilgamefreek's Stepdaughters to make Gaians. Modbuddy is quite decent, similar to IDE for software development, though a lot of details one need to know: what to put into civilization mod to make it working.
    I wonder if that "integrated" mod would work, like having everything in it, all factions, soc eng changes, new/changed techs, etc.


    Offline Mart

    Re: Modding Beyond Earth to Alpha Centauri
    « Reply #43 on: December 18, 2016, 03:19:00 PM »
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  • Modding Civ BERT is not very easy. Already got issues, that are somewhat explained on forums, but not everything is clear.
    I could start a separate thread to describe it. Making a single new sponsor is already difficult task.

     

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