Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

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DDPD
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Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby DDPD » Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:30 pm

I’m eager to discuss it and offer suggestions on how to improve it, but before I do, I’d be very interested in knowing what the plans are to improve it.

Could you share?

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Arioch
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby Arioch » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:28 pm

Briefly, there are three areas where we want to improve diplomacy:
  1. AI - provide for more sophisticated automatic behavior; such as, knowing when to declare war to aid an ally or to ask for aid from an ally.
  2. Implement more faction-based and race-based behaviors; such as, more varied responses to situations according to faction (Phidi behaving differently from, say, Gremak), and for racial reputation (above and beyond faction reputation) to have more of an impact on behaviors.
  3. Dramatically expand the number and scope of diplomatic events. In order to help drive interactions and make the AI factions behave more like characters, the AI periodically draws from an event card deck. These cards may represent traditional random events, or they may simply be behavioral cues for the AI faction. An example of this in the current game is when an AI faction asks you for money, or when the Phidi ask if they can settle colonists on one of your planets. The cards include instructions for the AI faction and (where applicable) dialogue options for interaction with the player. In addition to driving more interaction with the player, the event cards will also put more pressure on the player's Influence supply, presenting options which may cost Influence to exploit, or sometimes offering situations or choices which may drive relations in a negative direction, which the player may wish to later repair by spending more influence. Currently, there are far too few of these events implemented in game, and so it becomes pretty easy to stockpile Influence and snowball to a diplomatic victory.

Previous posts on the subject:
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=246&p=2967#p2967
viewtopic.php?p=1640#p1640

nweismuller
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby nweismuller » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:52 pm

I think it is absolutely required that there should be effects in place that render alliance with two different factions at war with one another an unstable situation. The current diplomatic logic has no penalty for being allied to both sides in a war, which obviously makes diplomatic victory trivial. That said, there should also be means to try and promote better relations between two factions you are allied with, thus attempting to make the ability to build larger diplomatic blocs possible. (That said, this would ideally take place once the AI is capable of making alliances with each other at all.)

Furthermore, I continue to say that there needs to be logic that makes an AI Gremak Empire actively take advantage of its contacts amongst Marauder bands, so that Marauders actually serve as pipelines of slaves for the Empire as described on the site. The Gremak taking advantage of what wealth they gain to accelerate their population growth and get slaves able to fill in different biospheres for them will make them much more interesting opponents. (For that matter... not that this is directly relevant to diplomacy, but teaching the AI about seeding members of races with better environmental preferences on worlds they possess will make them more interesting in general.)

And one last thing... I'd love, as a habitual player of the Phidi, the ability to trigger that 'cultural exchange' event for my friends. Maybe I want to see Phidi making new homes in the Ashdar Republic of Rastaban, or in the Human state, which I can't really do at the moment.

zolobolo
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby zolobolo » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:14 pm

nweismuller wrote:And one last thing... I'd love, as a habitual player of the Phidi, the ability to trigger that 'cultural exchange' event for my friends. Maybe I want to see Phidi making new homes in the Ashdar Republic of Rastaban, or in the Human state, which I can't really do at the moment.

Second that!

Generally: all diplomacy event cards should be made available for both the AI and the player so that there is no imbalance in favor of the player which can be misused to farm better relationship/pops or simply influence (like currently the case with Phidi exchange only being offered to the player)

wminsing
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby wminsing » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:45 pm

I'm not sure ALL the 'event cards' should be available to the players, since the goals of a diplomacy system is make the other factions interesting, not to make them act just like human players; they should have 'character' rather than just be out to win. However, I do agree that events/actions that are key to a faction flavor should be available to a player; the Phidi sending out some emigrants, for example, adds a lot to the in-universe lore of how they work, so it's something that players should have an option of doing. The inverse case of the AI Gremak empire buying slaves off their Marauder counterparts also makes sense, it's big part of what defines the Gremak in the game lore.

Overall I like the idea of race-specific 'event decks' and hopefully the event decks will get big enough you don't see all the events each game. While I don't think you need to go all the way to Civ VI's Agendas (which were imperfectly implemented), it would definitely make sense for the Yoral to have a totally different set of priorities than the Phidi and act like it.

As for what I'd want to see from the diplomacy system and the AI in general, a partial list:
1) The AI should have an idea if it's winning or losing the war, and accept a peace offer rather than always fighting to the death (this might already be done, I convinced the Ashdar to make peace in my current game).
1A) Some ability to extract/offer concessions for peace, rather than assume a status quo peace.
2) The ability to threaten an action; 'end your war with the Humans or I will attack' or 'stop buying slaves from the Marauders or I will end our trade treaty'.
3) Some sort of ability to lay claim to a system pre-colonization, or define some sort of sphere of influence.
4) Some sort of AI knowledge of your actions and opinions on them; slave purchasing is a good example of this, and should be expanded and other choices made that work in a similar fashion.

I agree in general every time there's a potential for friction with someone else there should be some choices to manage it; a choice that greatly eases the problem but costs a lot of Influence, a choice that requires a lot less influence but forces an action on the player, and a choice that doesn't cost much/any influence or change in status but will likely result in an AI action (war! Or something), and then possibly other choices as thematically appropriate.

I'm thinking for example there might be an event card for Tinkers that if another power has discovered a lost Tinker colony the Tinkers might demand their compatriots back so they can be re-linked to the all glorious Dizbix. The possible options might be-
1. Hold Summit with Tinkers to discuss the issue (costs a lot of influence, but satisfies the Tinkers until the Event Card comes up again)
2. Return Tinkers Home (Tinkers loaded on transports and sent to the nearest Tinker colony that can hold them, costs little influence)
3. Reject Tinker demands (costs no influence, major relations hit with the Tinkers)
4. Insist Tinkers must stay but allow a Machine Temple to be built on their world (thematic option, Tinkers are re-linked and a Machine Temple added, will cause other possible Event cards to be added to the Tinker faction event deck).

-Will

zolobolo
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby zolobolo » Thu Mar 22, 2018 6:20 pm

It is difficult for me to imagine any event that wouldn't make sense and be fun when used by the player and AI alike. If it is meaningful it makes sense

e.g.: An event card for Gremak: "Eve of the long knives"
Lets say the event can be triggered if a Gremak empire is in an alliance with another empire but has equal military might.
The event would cost the Gremak party influence, break the alliance but would also also have various negative effects to the other party depending on their decision (loss of population, money, ships, influence)

This would obviously be very thematic to the Gremak and be fun both on the giving as well as on the receiving end. It would discourage the player from blindly trusting a Gremak empire/break alliance once they get too powerful, but also give the player a neat tool in case playing as the Gremak to spice up the game with tole-playing element (the effect on the other empire is random so cannot be taken for granted)

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Arioch
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby Arioch » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:06 pm

Many of the event cards will be instructions for an AI faction to do something (make a request, threaten the player, plan for war, etc.). These would be meaningless in terms of being applied to the player.

wminsing
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby wminsing » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:13 pm

Yes, Arioch's post is what I meant; if many of the events are AI behavioral cues or tell them to do something the Player can always do anyway, rather than directly effect the game state with a clear choice or immediate result, then it doesn't make sense to have them presented to the players. And I'd even be ok with some the events that DO change the game state not being options for players if it's not something a player would logically do, but would only be something an AI 'character' would do based on their fictional priorities. Like if there was an Ashdar Imperial event that was 'Reassert Imperial Authority over those jumped-up Colonials' that starts a war with the Ashdar Colonials regardless of current relations or what have you then it's not something a player is likely to ever pick (they can declare war at will anyway) but makes sense as an AI-only event.

-Will

DDPD
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby DDPD » Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:51 pm

Those ideas sound very good. Each of them! I’m curious, however, about timelines for that. I think diplomacy is the only thing keeping this game from being an easy game to universally recommend.

I thought I would need to suggest ideas, but it’s clear you guys have a pretty good vision for what it needs to be. And those changes sound fun.

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Arioch
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby Arioch » Fri Mar 23, 2018 6:25 pm

We plan to spend the next few months working on our backlist, and AI & Diplomacy are the big items at the top.

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harpy eagle
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby harpy eagle » Fri Apr 13, 2018 4:29 am

The event card approach to diplomacy sounds like it has a lot of promise. I think one of the strong points of this game is how much personality each of the different factions (actually, the whole game) has. That kind of approach seems like it plays to that strength a lot better than the typical 4x diplomacy menu. I'd love to see the AI-controlled factions have more life to them.

zolobolo
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby zolobolo » Tue Apr 24, 2018 7:59 pm

Arioch wrote:We plan to spend the next few months working on our backlist, and AI & Diplomacy are the big items at the top.

Can you please work in the Race opinion into diplomacy actions and costs while also breaking down how the value comes together?

It would be a great basis for calculating influence costs and drive overall diplomatic relationships with the actions of the player directly and transparently affecting them kinda like alignment only granular and integrated with existing in-game actions such as:
- Bombing pop
- Enslaving/Harmonizing pop
- Using slaves/harmonized pops for experiments or forced labor
- Buying slaves
- Freeing slaves

While other actions such as war declarations and treaties would only affect overall diplomacy rating with the ruler
This way the player could actually have a good standing with the pop of a hostile empire which in turn could make diplomatic action cheaper but would still not b able to force treaties on them due to the hostilities with the ruler

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fonzosh
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby fonzosh » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:01 am

zolobolo wrote:
It would be a great basis for calculating influence costs and drive overall diplomatic relationships with the actions of the player directly and transparently affecting them kinda like alignment only granular and integrated with existing in-game actions such as:
- Bombing pop
- Enslaving/Harmonizing pop
- Using slaves/harmonized pops for experiments or forced labor
- Buying slaves
- Freeing slaves

While other actions such as war declarations and treaties would only affect overall diplomacy rating with the ruler
This way the player could actually have a good standing with the pop of a hostile empire which in turn could make diplomatic action cheaper but would still not b able to force treaties on them due to the hostilities with the ruler


I totally agree with this. That every race has some sort of standing against the player/AI that depends on how the player has behaved against its people. Sort of the dislike "you bombed us" but on a galactic concept. Diplomacy is also being discussed here http://stars-in-shadow.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=701 so it would be nice to merge the 2 threads.

DDPD
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby DDPD » Mon May 07, 2018 11:11 am

When will this stuff start rolling out? I really want to dive in again, but not until the diplomacy changes are in...

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Arioch
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Re: Can We Talk About Diplomacy?

Postby Arioch » Mon May 07, 2018 5:44 pm

DDPD wrote:When will this stuff start rolling out? I really want to dive in again, but not until the diplomacy changes are in...

Hard to say. We're working on it now, but it's a big piece, and it will require a lot of testing.


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