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The Strategist community faction project
« on: October 12, 2012, 04:02:13 AM »
Kilkakon was looking at my custom factions page the other day, and liked the graphic for the Strategist faction, an old community project that was a lot of fun and going well until some stupid NerdWarsTM stuff that had nothing to do with the project happened, and well, I finished the faction art on my own later, because it has a lot going for it and I'm very attached to it and its potential.

He liked it enough to want to revive the project and finish the faction, for which I am grateful.

Here's vyeh's OP from the WPC thread:

Quote
I'm moving the Strategist custom faction project to WPC so I can get Darsnan's comments.
 
I'd appreciate it if we could keep a serious tone (yeah, Buster's Uncle is a key participant in this project and it would only be doing unto him what he has been doing to others to fill this thread with posts ...)
 
Background:
 CFC Alt. official factions in progress post #21
 CFC Alt. official factions in progress post #22
 
Summary: Buster's Uncle had an idea for an original faction: the Strategist. He quoted Captain Picard on the Romulans: "It's always a game of chess with them." His idea is about constant maneuvering and gamesmanship.
 
"... And the bases would be simple towers ..."
 
My interest is in a collaborative effort to design a faction with a distinct personality that would be interesting to play and would also be interesting as an AI opponent.
 
I see 3 areas that create personality:
 
(1) Graphics -- obviously the leader head, but I am also intrigued by the idea of crenelated towers for the bases.
 
(2) Quotes -- the words the AI uses.
 
(3) Faction Characteristics -- I'd like to see something distinct from the current SMAC and SMAX factions. Three factions have efficiency modifications (-1 for PK; +2 for Gaians; +2 for CyCon). It should be balanced.
 
Buster's Uncle has produced a leaderhead from a picture of N*matt (put an 'e' in place of the '*') and a sketch of a base graphic that is basically a cylindrical tower crenelated at the top.
 
skreblios contributed a file attached to this CFC post.
 
Hydro has offered to draft some quotes for the faction file.
 
Ironwood proposed the start of the faction characteristics.
 
Here is a draft of the faction characteristics:
 
Efficiency: +1
 Morale: +1
 Economics: -1
 Probe: -1
 Support: -1
 
Agenda: Thought Control
 Aversion: Democracy
 
Starting tech: Information Networks
 Aggression: Erratic
 Priorities: Build, Conquer
 Agenda: Thought Control (Future Society)
 Aversion: Democracy (Politics)
 
Questions:
 
(1) Is this faction balanced with the original SMAC 7?
 
(2) Is this faction distinct from any of the SMAX 14?


So click the links and do your homework, or just read what's here in the thread, and kibbitz anyway; I'm easy.  I'm high-handedly and arbitrarily as the, originator of the idea and the lead artist up to now, transferring controlling interest in this faction from vyeh to Kilkakon.  Somebody has to make the final calls, and I'm handing that to him, reserving the right to act as bossy as I wanna be.

Kil, it would be courteous to contact vyeh and invite him to resume participation, and I'M not gonna do it, but he would be welcome.

Let's see if I can find a .jpg of the graphic, of which I hope Kil can fix up my disappointing attempt at castle wall shields, and improve the crenelations atop the bases.  He want to replace one of the only base sets I ever drew from scratch with something from AOE2 - I think A round tower suggests a chess piece better and also, I'll pout and sulk if they're replaced.

...Had to make a .jpg - the bases and even the shields are better than I remembered; correct the perspective on the perimeter defenses, and they're just fine...  :P

Take it, Kil!
« Last Edit: October 15, 2012, 02:21:33 AM by BUncle »

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Re: The Strategist custom faction project
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 04:33:19 AM »
Here's the Apolyton thread where we actually started work http://apolyton.net/showthread.php/185001-The-Strategist-custom-faction-project

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Re: The Strategist custom faction project
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2012, 04:43:29 AM »
Quote from: Buster's Uncle;5581661
Jotting down what I do know/free associate as I write may help jump-start me or Hydro.

Hmmm.  He’s smart.  I mean, the original looks very intelligent- not something I’d have articulated as a reason for wanting to use this portrait because I hadn’t thought of it that way in so many words, but it was there- he looks smart.

He isn’t a charisma leader, exactly.  He couldn’t have gotten where he is without some people/management skills, but they must have been acquired later than most people learn them, through hard work and deliberation around college age.  Because as a boy, he played chess while others where doing what most kids do.  I don’t know if he plays much anymore, ‘cause he has trouble finding opponents who can engage him at all.  He’s like when Bobby Fischer told Dick Cavett in an interview that he likes “crushing the other guy’s spirit.,” and computers are just toasters.  He plays the game of nations like he’s freakin’ Napoleon looking for that challenge.

His dad was a clown out of The Great Santini”, a harsh taskmaster, impossible to please.  His mother was loving, but could be cold, and didn’t protect him enough.  There were siblings, but they don’t much inform his character, except they sometimes let down his need of them, only accentuating his paranoid tendencies.

Chess never made anyone crazy, IMHO, but it is attractive to some crazy people.  (The same argument I make and recommend in defense of D&D.)  Bobby Fischer would have died homeless and broke without chess, instead of (grudgingly) admired, rich, and indoors.

But Strategist isn’t crazy; he just tends to see every situation as an adversarial zero-sum game where someone has to loose- not him.  He seeks power over his surroundings to feel safe, and as an exercise in implementing his strategic ideas, and for something to do- though he’s never admitted that last to himself.  He’s bright enough that he’s easily bored, and imaginative enough to have boundless ambition. 

He wants to rule the world, not realizing how much he’d hate having no more worlds to conquer.

I don’t know how all that informs his point of origin, though.  Maybe it’ll bounce off one of you guys hard enough, or your bounce-back will off of me.

Finish breakfast and jump in any time, Kil; I'm just reviewing the previous discussion in old threads.

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Re: The Strategist custom faction project
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 05:39:34 AM »
My thoughts so far:

Good point on vyeh. I'll write that down to do today.

Currently, my idea of what the stats should be was:
+2 EFFICIENCY
+1 MORALE
-1 PROBE
-1 SUPPORT
(this is a watered down version of later stats that were posted in that thread, where ideas like +25% DEFENCE and other high voltage ideas were being proposed)

And yes the bases look like watertanks to me. XD I think it's the bricks being too small a resolution, but I get the point about it trying to look like a rook. I can always crack open 3DS to do a comparsion if you like. Perhaps with a very slight tint of brown to tie in with the epicly awesome portait a bit.

I'd also add that I think the faction name "The Strategists" could do with a little something extra, although I like "Strategist" as the faction adjective.

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Re: The Strategist custom faction project
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2012, 05:50:07 AM »
Brown would be good.  I'm fine with that.

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Re: The Strategist custom faction project
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2012, 05:58:47 AM »
-Also, it's The Strategist, singular, as faction name.  I'm not exactly married to it, as it was never actually settled on, but it's been almost four years, and I'd really want to hear something better.

Offline Rainbow Lizard

Re: The Strategist custom faction project
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2012, 08:54:30 PM »
I quite like the idea of this faction, but the bases need some work. They all look the same, just resized. Maybe you could add some bishop or knight-shaped towers? They also seem to have no windows.
Also, aversion to democracy? Would you not need everyone's opinion to form a decent strategy?

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Re: The Strategist custom faction project
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2012, 10:11:30 PM »
They are the same, resized.  In my own defense, while that's not the very best way to do it, it is the way the pros at Firaxis did when they made the official factions.  Different faction artists I've met have different opinions on the subject, though the majority are content with the official approach.  And in this case, it's rather hard to imagine another way - it's a cylinder; not a lot to add to that as it goes through stages, and I've never seen bases going through a contruction process instead of just growing.

I was thinking the same thing about windows and maybe arrow slits last night, so agreed on that.  Also, the crenelations aren't exactly sloppy on the tower as they are on the stage two shields, but they cause the top of the tower to look tapered, a problem I never licked.

Again, the shields never got to the level of quality I wanted, so that needs work.

Keep in mind that the bases are thematically consistant with the logo (the logo is fine, but I was too lazy to scanline my logos back then, so that needs doing) but more realistic, and that a knight would make a stupid-looking building. Pawns and bishops and queens are better, but it's also carrying the chess theme way too far, IMAO.

Ultimately, I'm persuaded that my bases need replacing - but only on the condition that we find something of the same basic design, cylindrical and probably without any flaring at the top or base,  but better-done than mine.  (I drew them mostly in MSPaint, considering which they're amazingly good.)

Besides that - everyone loves the leaderhead exactly like it is, and I'm one of them.  The diplomacy landscape could be better, however, needing higher realism on the forground bit of tower -probably the perspective is wrong, mostly- especially if we alter/replace the towers, depending on the difference.

Everything graphic is already good enough to get by, IMO, so while there is room for improvement, I must say I don't see it as nearly as much of a priority as nailing down a name, coming up with all the bases names and a leader quote, and putting a workable set of stats together to make a balanced and entertaining faction, fun to both play, and play against.

-But *2.pcx and *3.pcx need making, and Kil will want to record a sound file of the leader quote.

...

As to aversion to democracy - my part in this has always been entirely on the creative/story end, not this sort of stuff, but there's this: the faction is basically an extention of the leader in this case.  All this has been gone over and over in the past at the threads linked above, and I'm rather of the assuption we ought to mostly keep to previous consensus.

Reading all the previous stuff will be a great help to anyone interested in this - it's also a nice long-form demonstration of the decision-making process in creating a faction, only with a lot of people, but covering a lot of the technical end I don't concern myself with, or teach.  And it's a nice illustration of the interaction between the creative concept and the technical choices they dictate.

Strat is the sort of person who, placed into a leadership postition, would tend to be intensely autocratic.  He believes that he's right that strongly.   However, he's also the sort likely to have reasoned out that it's a good idea to observe the forms of democracy as long as he can rig them so he gets to make the final call.  Always. A nerd with a badge, but good at it.

Remember that he's a supreme strategic games-theory genius.  Very few people will have earned his respect enough that he actually wants their strategic input, as opposed to any useful information they have - something he's always interested in.

I'm not going to kick nearly as hard at suggestions that we change things on the technical end, but this one does make sense to me.

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Re: The Strategist community faction project
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 05:31:17 AM »
I've attached a copy of a rook that could be an idea that we could lean towards. Ignore the colour, angle and texture, as it's a 3D model that can be played with at will. I'd agree with some that scaling buildings are cheap... I follow the SMAC route which is scaling and adding bits onto it.

I've got no problem to the Democratic aversion.

This is my start to city names:
(click to show/hide)

Were people agreed to the name of the guy, Erik Selâniki?

As for faction names, "The Centauri Strategy" might be an idea.

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Re: The Strategist community faction project
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 06:01:38 AM »
Umm.  I dunno about all that...

You might google Games Theory and Sun Tzu for a lot more terms to mix in with all the chess base names - I've always said, all the way through development, that the faction is about gamesmanship and the chess is a metaphor and part of the leader's background - we don't want to overdo the chess part.

Kil, have you read all the background material?

He could be Polynesian or a lot of different things - Turkish/Austrian, as that name implies is as good as any other.

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Re: The Strategist community faction project
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2012, 06:27:23 AM »
I think I did. I read most of the thread, I might have missed one page but I definitely read most of it.

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Re: The Strategist community faction project
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2012, 06:36:57 AM »
There's maybe half a page of relevant posts at the CFC links, and three pages worth of good stuff at 'poly, also linked upthread. 

I'd prefer that everyone read everything, but I know that's asking too much - however, I do expect the project leader to do all the homework.  Most of one thread isn't close, you're proposing fundamental creative changes to work I slaved over, and I'm officially feeling a little snippy about it.  :'(

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Re: The Strategist community faction project
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2012, 07:33:51 AM »
Ah those links. I'll read them before continuing further, I managed to miss them somehow.

Nothing wrong with throwing ideas around, it's the point of community factions. Still if I'm going too far I'm happy to stop.

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Re: The Strategist community faction project
« Reply #13 on: October 15, 2012, 07:45:27 AM »
...I've needed to go to bed for a while now, so forgive pls if I'm a little too frank.

You're right that tossing ideas is the whole point and all of the fun - it's just that I can't help feeling like lots of this was already settled, and I want to nail down new details that haven't been, and that's all not entirely fair to anyone.

Let me look at what you proposed with fresh (working) eyes in the morning  -- but know that I could have shooped chess pieces for bases and made a lot less work for myself three years ago.  I hate that idea; it's just too obvious.  This was meant to be more subtle than that.

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Re: The Strategist community faction project
« Reply #14 on: October 15, 2012, 07:51:03 AM »
I'm exhausted too, I had to sleep at my friend's house after my incident yesterday and it wasn't a good bed at all. :S

But no problem on that, you were mentioning the tower theme and that's what came to mind.

I'll read that stuff a bit later on today/tomorrow.

 

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