Faction code redesign

Faction code redesign

Postby pheonixstorm » Fri Mar 08, 2013 9:49 pm

Since we seem to have so many issues crop up with each new data tweak to factions.xml not to mention people not understanding how the faction system handles object kills (ships, stations, whatever) I have toyed around with a few ideas. This is only a quick post so it does NOT include everything I have been thinking of.

First thought is a faction matrix kinda like the one used in Master of Orion 3. This is my least liked idea due to the number of factions that we have at present..

The second and more favorable is something more like the faction system used in EVE (yes I know.. too many ideas come from here).

Faction levels go by
Empire -> Sub Faction -> Corporation

Empire being the main territories.. Area, Rlan, Human
Sub fations being individual human territories (shaper, andolian, pirate, etc)
Corp. This last one is a catch all and not directly related to an actual corporation name... It could very well be a corporation, guild, or pirate clan (how about being friendly with pirate clan x but hostile with clan y?)

I have tinkered with pseudo code and variations on how this might work and will hopefully have more to post later today.

Thoughts? Ideas??
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby Dawe » Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:28 pm

Isn't it pretty much like your second alternative already, lorewise that is.. The main species (area, Rlaan, human) have their sub factions etc. Then there are the more erratic species of course, specially on the human side.. But I think it's one of the big charms of the VS universe to have such a large number of factions to be able to delve deep into.

With that said I also feel that as it is now with the mass of factions you, as a player, need to keep relations to it's just a mess. You get strange factions you've never heard of coming at you for no reason at all..
Is it possible to let some of the minor factions without any major role in VS universe be "turned off" until they've gotten some distinction, lore under their belt etc to reduce the messy gemeplay into something coherent?
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby IansterGuy » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:27 am

pheonixstorm wrote:Faction levels go by
Empire -> Sub Faction -> Corporation

Empire being the main territories.. Area, Rlan, Human
Sub fations being individual human territories (shaper, andolian, pirate, etc)
Corp. This last one is a catch all and not directly related to an actual corporation name... It could very well be a corporation, guild, or pirate clan (how about being friendly with pirate clan x but hostile with clan y?)

Thoughts? Ideas??
I like it because in game there is not way to understand the politics. This should be displayed in a few locations first in the target information. Next in the relationship list which should be separated into allied groups and in order of who is protecting the others. Finally on the 3d map territories are color coded, but there should be a legend.

Also a more general name for "Corporation" is 'Organization'

Dawe wrote:You get strange factions you've never heard of coming at you for no reason at all..
Is it possible to let some of the minor factions without any major role in VS universe be "turned off" until they've gotten some distinction, lore under their belt etc to reduce the messy gemeplay into something coherent?
I'm not sure if turning anything off is productive. I would rather just see more information about them. Clicking on a species name should pop up a description. It seems VS could use a more advanced menu system with right click context menus and such things.
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby Deus Siddis » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:28 am

It would be nice if factions.xml only needed to include relations that were non-neutral. It's way too verbose otherwise. So a faction's relation to another faction should be zero unless otherwise specified in factions.xml.

pheonixstorm wrote:Empire -> Sub Faction -> Corporation


Corporation makes no sense for this universe and is unnecessary since you already have so many sub factions. Unless by that you mean a player creatable faction.

Otherwise I'd say the only new level of detail that should be created is the Individual-- a named, persistent NPC character with lasting friendships, vendettas, allegiances and personality.
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby safemode » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:24 pm

Faction interaction is definitely a grey area.

There are two methods while flying around to determine info about another ship. You can be passive or active.
Either your radar can detect the type of ship and pretty much nothing else
or
each ship transmits certain info about itself and we work on the honor system to trust that info.

Lets ignore the first method since that's not how the game works at all.

Now, the way it works now, the ship's species of origin is transmitted, not the current pilot's species. Then faction etc. There is nothing stopping a pilot from one species/empire from flying a ship from another. So we shouldn't assume the species of the pilot from info in-game.

Faction has to then be independent of ship origin. Creating sub-factions within a species/empire doesn't make sense if the way the game works is identified by the ship species origin rather than the pilot's species. For most NPC's we wont ever see a NPC player switch ships...they'll only exist in 1 ship ...but the faction system has to handle the player jumping ships.

So factions can cross ship species of origin and thus they dont matter to the faction system. The faction system should comprise of organizations and corporations. A religious cult can be considered an organization. Some trading conglomerate (like the star wars trading authority) would be a corporation. Both exist at the same level in the faction system, but the difference is in how you join them as a player. Corporate oriented factions require you to be hired in by a fixer.... Where as organizational ones will consider you a member if you just do missions for that organization.

The big question is if you can be a member of two factions at once. Again that should differ based on the type of faction. Organizational factions would not call you a member if you achieve member status (via positive reputation) at equal level in more than 1 faction. You are either 1 organization's faction or neutral. Whichever organization you are higher in, that's your faction.
If you have been hired into a corporate faction, you cannot be in an organizational faction at all no matter how positive your reputation is with them. You can only leave a corporate faction by being fired or quitting or getting hired by another corporate faction (which automatically causes you to quit the last).

I'm not suggesting we have companies and such... Just that there are factions that can cross species barriers that are non-commercial and commercial and they would behave in fundamentally different ways and the type of ship should not dictate the type of factions unless the player is given a choice of species at start of game and not allowed to purchase ships outside of that species in game and there is no cooperation between species in game for some reason.
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby pheonixstorm » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:31 pm

Dawe wrote:Isn't it pretty much like your second alternative already, lorewise that is.. The main species (area, Rlaan, human) have their sub factions etc. Then there are the more erratic species of course, specially on the human side.. But I think it's one of the big charms of the VS universe to have such a large number of factions to be able to delve deep into.


Based on lore yes, but its not really how the system works. As it is now it is too easy to piss off all the factions with a simple infraction.

IansterGuy wrote:Also a more general name for "Corporation" is 'Organization'
Yeah well you try having two kids trying to climb and jump all over you when you're trying to post :lol:

I like it because in game there is not way to understand the politics. This should be displayed in a few locations first in the target information. Next in the relationship list which should be separated into allied groups and in order of who is protecting the others. Finally on the 3d map territories are color coded, but there should be a legend.
This should be partially answered below.

Deus Siddis wrote:It would be nice if factions.xml only needed to include relations that were non-neutral. It's way too verbose otherwise. So a faction's relation to another faction should be zero unless otherwise specified in factions.xml.
Actually no. The game should set the faction relations to 0 on game start while the factions.xml should be there to set the modifiers. Outside the game we shouldn't need to tweak starting values. I think the only values that should probably be set are those used by the NPC factions, but I also think that should be in a different file so to keep the NPC and player values separated. This would also allow for an empires sub-factions to become hostile to one another and give rise to new mission types. You could fly a ship marked with faction X and attack faction Y as to bring them closer to war. Since this is a mission it should have no affect on your own faction standings with either faction (unless we want it to later in another mission).

Also yes, I got a bit distracted by this and the last level should be for fixers mostly.

Empire (Rlann) -> rlaan sub faction -> fixer
Empire (Human?) -> Andolians -> whatever
Empire (Merchant) ->Corp (NPC, limited number or randomly generated) ie TranStellar Trade Union, Galactic Express, etc.
Empire (Pirates) -> whoever

Optionally we could have the it as Empire -> Sub -> Ship and keep tallies of individual ship standings as well. The number of corporations,I think, should be large enough to give a sense of a huge galaxy but limited enough as to not clog up the system too much.

A player created corp could eventually become an option though of limited benefit in terms of single player gameplay. At least until such time that the whole economic system can be redesigned to include a stock market, planetary economics, etc.

I think having the ability to hire ships to transport goods for you would also be nice, but that is for another thread.

Otherwise I'd say the only new level of detail that should be created is the Individual-- a named, persistent NPC character with lasting friendships, vendettas, allegiances and personality.
I think what I started in this post would work nicely in this new system.

safemode wrote:The big question is if you can be a member of two factions at once. Again that should differ based on the type of faction. Organizational factions would not call you a member if you achieve member status (via positive reputation) at equal level in more than 1 faction. You are either 1 organization's faction or neutral. Whichever organization you are higher in, that's your faction.
If you have been hired into a corporate faction, you cannot be in an organizational faction at all no matter how positive your reputation is with them. You can only leave a corporate faction by being fired or quitting or getting hired by another corporate faction (which automatically causes you to quit the last).


Let's try not to muddy the waters here too much. I don't think the player should belong to any faction. The player is in essence his own faction. This does bring up some interesting twists though. If hired by a fixer will the players actions affect the employers faction rep or not.

Faction has to then be independent of ship origin. Creating sub-factions within a species/empire doesn't make sense if the way the game works is identified by the ship species origin rather than the pilot's species. For most NPC's we wont ever see a NPC player switch ships...they'll only exist in 1 ship ...but the faction system has to handle the player jumping ships.
I don't think the faction should be based on the ship OR the pilot. More likely the ship in question will only really determine first the empire level. A merchant ship would probably fall within the merchant or pirate empire level though it could be a government run hauler as well so its pretty random.

Now, we can assume that the majority of ships built by a given empire faction will remain within that faction. Not many human ships will be flown by area or rlaan, the same goes for the other races. It will not be impossible, just unlikely. So, when determining the Empire/Sub Faction we should make sure that the possibility is there. Its a moot point though as this will probably be handled in the python code rather than in the engine. Or does the flightgroups faction get assigned in the python code or engine code??
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby safemode » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:24 pm

if we make empires a part of the faction code, then we have to limit the player to function within a given empire. You can't make sensible relation rules if there are exceptions that we have to deal with. That is muddying the waters and making things more complicated than they need be.


Empires shouldn't factor into the faction code. Empires should be something higher up in python code that dictate who goes into what faction and the very number of factions themselves. Factions should be simple groups of units that for a logical reason, share a common negative or positive attitude about any other grouping of units. Make them too small, and they're meaningless. Make them too encompassing, and they seem unlikely and fake.

All a faction is to the engine is units that share a common positive or negative attitude about another group. Neutral is a special group that is basically a faction of 1 unit. You can call X number of units neutral, but each dont belong to the neutral faction they all belong to unique individual "neutral factions".

To encourage the joining of units to established factions we should make factions (even other neutrals) ...leery of units in the neutral factions.

The player should be encouraged to join a faction, not be a loner.
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby pheonixstorm » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:53 am

But we DONT have to limit the player to anything.

Here is how I see it working

You have a given starting point, pretty much neutral to all empires/factions (save perhaps aera)
You decide to go a little loony and attack shaper ships. Well, shapers are now pissed at you but overall at the empire level it is not a problem yet. The empire level drops at a slower rate than the sub faction. But, the drop in empire also drops all sub factions at the same lower rate.

Kids are dragging me away so I will have to finish this in a bit :(
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby klauss » Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:11 am

pheonixstorm wrote:But we DONT have to limit the player to anything.

Here is how I see it working

You have a given starting point, pretty much neutral to all empires/factions (save perhaps aera)
You decide to go a little loony and attack shaper ships. Well, shapers are now pissed at you but overall at the empire level it is not a problem yet. The empire level drops at a slower rate than the sub faction. But, the drop in empire also drops all sub factions at the same lower rate.


You know, that could easily be done by having a threshold upon which transitive effects start having an effect. Say, you don't have transitive effects for minor hostilities, but when you reach -50, it does start to matter.
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby safemode » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:09 pm

if the race you are in effects attitude, how can the player be neutral without choosing to be in one? how dumb would we be to never let the player be any more than just a isolated faction unto them self after setting up this whole system of interaction and consequence? the player may be able to decide in game what they want to be, but they can't pick and choose what race they are. if we make race a factor in factions and thus the game, the player has tho pick one before the game, or not have a choice. but he must belong to one then.
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Re: Faction code redesign

Postby Deus Siddis » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:39 am

pheonixstorm wrote:Optionally we could have the it as Empire -> Sub -> Ship and keep tallies of individual ship standings as well.


Yeah, the third tier should be simulated individuals, not boring ass corporations with as much personality as a logo and mission statement can offer.

Persistent, named, individual NPCs that can do everything a human player is allowed to; own a fleet of escorts, have a standing with factions that slowly deviates from the starting faction of the NPC and eventually even play dynamic parts in campaigns.

I think what I started in this post would work nicely in this new system.


Except not just a fixer. Fixers appear and disappear at meeting points based on a scripted trigger and they never exist flying around in space. These NPCs would always have a location and spend most of their time flying a ship in space (fully simulated space or the stats based dynamic universe, depending on their importance level and proximity to the player) or would otherwise be docked at a destructible station or colony so that they are always vulnerable. And if they were killed in space then they get deleted and relevant news stories and vengeful friend / relatives are sometimes spawned depending on the nature of the their demise.
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