Author Topic: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)  (Read 4063 times)

GGLucas

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Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« on: September 26, 2013, 05:05:55 PM »
As space strategy fans, the Star Ruler 2 dev team spends a lot of time discussing and designing the mechanics of the game and trying to learn from the ways in which the first game fell short. These Dev Diaries are intended to give you a perspective of our process while explaining the future mechanics of Star Ruler 2.

Like many regular players of 4X games, we think diplomacy features are one major area where the genre has failed to innovate. Interactions between races come down to the same old system - carbon-copied poorly from classics like MoO2 or the early Civilization games - with few interesting choices to be made. Diplomacy has become the ultimate also-ran of 4X games.

For better or for worse, we intend to change that. In this dev diary, I will be talking about the basic principles of our influence and diplomacy system and how we hope it will improve the gameplay as a whole.

The artwork shown in this post is temporary dev art created specially by Firgof. The final game may or may not feature a variety of differently colored tentacles as the only playable races.





This is the diplomatic overview of the great Nosu'us Republic. From the time they spend as the tiniest purple strings in the ground, each member of the Nosu race has only one goal: To prove that theirs is the greatest tentacle nation in the universe.

This screen represents the basics of their knowledge of other empires, their strengths, and the current happenings in the Galactic Senate.

Over the course of time, empires accrue 'influence'. This represents the amount of power they have to get things done - whether gained through the support of the citizenry or through other means.

When an empire tries to find a diplomatic way to get something done, they do so by petitioning a proposition. During this proposition, empires can employ Diplomatic Actions to try and sway the opinion of the public and the Senate in their favour. The Nosu'us have a limited choice of diplomatic actions right now, but as the game progresses they will earn different types of actions through improvement or circumstance.

Let's take a look at a couple of the actions available to us.





Each action has an Influence Cost: the amount of diplomatic capital that needs to be spent in order to successfully execute it. It also has a Weight, which represents how heavily that action sways the proposition in one direction or the other.


Remember from before that we currently have a proposition to end our war with the Kappan Conglomerate. Unfortunately, the Cyritan Empire is currently at war with them, and would like our continued support in fighting the Kappan together. The negotiations for such a proposition could go something like this:



The negotiations screen shows how empires are leaning on a particular proposition, and is used to play diplomatic actions and negotiate with other empires. It seems that the Cyritan have managed to convince our ally, the Lawrence, to oppose this proposition together. They have used the "Will of the Galaxy" action to sway the proposition in their favor.




Fortunately for us, the Kappan want a non-aggression treaty as well, so we spend some of our influence points to negotiate to swing the proposition back towards passing.




The Cyritan are desparate to stop this peace treaty from happening. In a risky move that could put them at war with both of us, they declare that the friend of their enemy is also their enemy, and threaten to fight us as well.



The Nosu'us are a proud race, and would not normally give in to threats of this nature, but we value the alliance with our friends the Lawrence, so we will let it go for now.

The votes are currently against the proposition, but in order to prevent giving the Kappan more time to consolidate their influence and make the proposition pass anyway, we decide to withdraw the proposition for a non-aggression treaty.




The goal of SR2's diplomacy system is to give players things to do that affect the state of the universe in interesting and meaningful ways - not just inside the diplomacy system itself but through all of the game's mechanics. Diplomacy can be used to annex planets, instate trade embargoes, subjugate empires to your will, and even win the game through galactic unification with you at the head.

We hope to create an environment where the player uses the votes and actions to support whatever goal or stance they have, rather than limiting diplomatic involvement to what the system allows.

EaglePryde

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2013, 11:43:16 PM »
That's really great :) So it's not only between 2 empires to decide something like in many other games. This is a really interessting move. Really brilliant :)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2013, 11:53:44 PM by EaglePryde »

Freemann

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2013, 01:45:56 AM »
Very interesting, great job !  8)

icerunner5326

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2013, 06:04:10 PM »
This is a very interesting approach.  I particularly like that multiple parties are involved in the process.  I also like that there is a cost associated with throwing your empire's weight around diplomatically.  It also means that you can adjust how "influence" is earned as a means of balancing diplomacy.  I get the feeling that a lot of 4x games end up with super lame diplomacy because they can't make it cool without making the game extremely easy.  With this approach you can make the diplomatic actions matter and still limit its utility by controlling the supply of influence.

Anyway thanks for the update!

TheDarkLord

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2013, 03:00:13 PM »
Intriguing, I look forward to this new star ruler already. I enjoy Diplomacy.  ;D
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Geef

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2013, 09:22:40 PM »
I like how your coming up with new stuff for diplomacy, but I think it might be a tiny bit better if there was a small amount of randomness to it sometimes.  I'm sure you already know but randomness is always fun and scary :)
Example idea:  When you meet another race and its a new meeting make it where sometimes when you put down a card a random point is added or subtracted from certain things like influence cost or weight.  So a random point happens and your negotiation skills go from 1 to 2 or from 1 to 0, so you either sent Einstein to talk or you accidently sent forest gump to do the negotiation... :)

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2013, 09:56:22 PM »
Rather than randomness like you mentioned, I'm going more for something like poker. The values of cards don't change, but the overall value of a hand isn't known to everyone involved until the end.

Freemann

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 02:38:26 PM »
So, any news ? :(

Thy Reaper

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 05:39:33 PM »
Not just yet, soon.

Paldin

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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2014, 12:05:27 AM »
Are races locked into the galactic parliament? Can I opt-out of honoring parliamentary decisions if I strongly oppose the "economic tariffs against Klathu" bill that passes in the Senate? Is it really a senate when the Cyritan Empire threatens me for wanting to make peace with the Kappan Conglomerate?

I really like the layout and concept. As stated already, many games build a political system that is either moot or broken and it will be refreshing to see parliamentary system done right. But please maintain the difference in appearance between backroom deals ("Our diplomats report talks of peace between...") and parliamentary congress ("The motion before this body is to establish peace between... Senator such-and-such has the floor..."). Some games that did parliament right are Solium Infernum, Disgaea, and MoO3; but only in context of their own universes. Maybe some ideas could transfer over, while some would obviously not.
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Re: Dev Diary #2: Diplomacy (Or: Blog of Squid)
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2014, 07:53:31 PM »
Seeing the Diplomacy mechanics in the first livestream is one of the things that has really sold me on SR2, I love diplomacy in games as a concept but it hasn't really been done well in most of the 4x games that are currently released. With the moddability of SR2, I'm excited to see what could be created to take advantage of the unique mechanics shown here.