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Posted: Jun 15 2002
by George Geczy
I think this was discussed briefly in another thread, but it has come up in one of our internal design discussions - should spying be done by way of a "Spy Unit", which would be some type of espionage military unit on the map, or should it be done by a "spy control centre" where you would just set your spying priorities and decide how much to spend?

One comment was that "Spy Units" would cause a bad case of micro-management, as they would have to be moved around the map to points of interest and would be hard to automate. They also don't fit the description for a real "military unit", like a tank battalion etc.

Any thoughts out there?

-- George.

<Lead Programmer, BattleGoat Studios>

Posted: Jun 15 2002
by Ashbery76
I'm heavily in favour of a "spy control centre" as i could'nt stand the civ2 style of spy units and its totally unrealistic, in a game of this scale that represents a real world simulation it should be higher level spying not micromanaging single spy's which becomes very boring.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: ASHBERY76 on 2002-06-15 03:44 ]</font>

Posted: Jun 15 2002
by tkobo
I'd vote for the unit, this would make them more of a hands-on thing.
EI if you want to spy on a certain area or facility you would have to move your spy to that area.

This is pretty much the way shogun total war did thier spys and assassins, and i found it alot more fun that just doing it by a menu.

LIKE in shogun, you could even have spy units doing counter spy stuff the same way.
You could issue different orders to the counter spy like search for enemy spies, pass false info,capture enemy spy,kill enemy spy, etc..

Units gain exp right ? if so, this could be directly applied to stats used by the spy units which would make the more experienced spys more valuable to the player and add some more fun by allowing an attachment to form between the player and his spy units ( no one wants their james bond/master spy to get whacked)

There are alot of really cool things that could be added to the game if spies are represented by actual units.

Posted: Jun 15 2002
by Empier4552
While I love Shogun just to and the Shinobis and ninjas i'd like to point out in that case movement of units was much easier namely because it was a drastically smaller map. It was japan period, and movement was simple you move one space along the borders of the current land the spy or unit was in.

Now here we're talking a much alrger scale then one country in the map. we're talking continent sized with more then just 5-8 Clans battling it out. Add to that individual cities, states and so forth you have lots of places. You'd need a LOT more units of spies in this game then you would in shogun. Triple the time would need to be taken probably and i'm sure it'd take ALOT longer for spies to reach their destination.

I'm actually in favor of a spy center sort of liek that in Imperium Galactica II. You hired out units, trained them or put them on mission etc. Not the exact same system here mind you, but something similar would be nice.

Posted: Jun 17 2002
by BattleGoat
George was just looking for ammunition to use against me... I wanted spy units and he doesn't :smile: So you have definitely given me something to think about.

Thanks for the feedback, and keep it coming!

- David

Posted: Jun 17 2002
by Reddemon
Okay now here is my point of view if you dont mind :smile:

I would love to have a spy unit only if i can actually see the unit doing something. Let me rephrase that. Ok I'm in control of that beautiful island called Cuba :grin: and I want to start to increase my knowledge of all the surrounding territories including that big piece of land about 90 miles north of my capitol.:lol: Ok I call up my special department that handles spies (making sure its a english speaking one)and tell my spy to go to this city, lets say Miami and do some recon. I want to be able and see his complete travels and get any kind of information that he gather at a click since he/her left the island. Once he/her is in that US city you have to have him/her start to spy on each industry or whatever is there at the moment. If you have lets say 5 industry and a bunch of mines and other stuff in that city your spy will have to investigate each one one at a time. Now that is information gathering of the obsolute extreme but that is what I think a spy unit should be able to do. First he/her goes in and gets a overview of the area you want to take control. then you tell your spies to start checking out for military installations. Then the spy start to work on what supply lines are connected to that city. Meanwhile you can actually click on that unit in that city and see everything for yourself and where he/her is located at the moment. Also in doing this the unit must stay concealed at anytime if he/her gets captured the mission is over and time to negotiate for his/her release if not then goodbye charlie time to make more spy units. So they should be very expense to have and to maintain too. They can be trained to do any kind of spy mission from blowing up buildings to assinations.

Now mind you im just thinking that we have to take over a territiory like USA city by city then this spy ideal will work. Now if we have to take over lets say USA as a whole then I would rather have a central department because then it doesnt matter if the USA have 200 cities all you have to do is knock out there capitol then the US becomes Cuba II :grin:

btw its happening now we are doing it city by city in Florida :razz:

That is my take on this ideal let me know if it helped or confused you more.

Posted: Jun 19 2002
by Nemesis
Personally I'm more in favor of using Intelligence (spying) as a resource similar to technology research. You as a leader establish an Intelligence Network (or Agency) and assign regions to be spied upon, allocating Intelligence resources to areas you feel most require your attention.

Perhaps this could be represented by an Intelligence overlay showing colors for areas influenced by the degrees of intelligence coverage. Red for highly monitored areas.

You then recieve Intelligence briefings (through the in-game e-mail system) which could have 'threat assessments' and such. It may then prompt you to increase your intelligence in a particular place or take some other action (covert, military, political, etc)

On the flip-side of intelligence and part of it of course is counter-intelligence. Preventing your enemies (or allies) from spying on you. The risk of increasing your intelligence in an area is that your activities risk being discovered by another leaders counter-intelligence.

I can see a game interface similar to directing military units, but marked on the map with an icon to represent priorities of intelligence. An overlay perhaps that can be toggled on and off with highlighted areas showing the influence and level of activity in an area. Right-clicking an area pops up a menu to take some action like 'increase intelligence operations', 'recruiting', 'abandon intelligence operations', 'order covert operation' (which brings up another menu)

Just some thoughts.

Posted: Jun 19 2002
by Empier4552
What about political assassination and propoganda?!

Posted: Jun 20 2002
by BattleGoat
Lots to think about... I like the ideas that you've given. I'm not sure about Assassinations though. After all, how would you like it if you're playing a game, and then out of the blue it reports; "Sorry, you've been assassinated! Game Over..." :smile: Actually, there might be a place for assassinations, but I can't be more specific yet.

Posted: Jul 01 2002
by BattleGoat
Thanks again for the suggestions that have been made. Based on them and the odd idea floating around my own head, here is currently how we've set up that oxymoron know as Military Intelligence.

First off, you will budget your Intelligence Spending, and decide whether to concentrate on Domestic or Foreign concerns. This will generate firstly an efficiency rating for both Domestic and Foreign Intelligence.

Secondly, your spending will also give you Intelligence Resources (kind of a point thing). All spending designated "Domestic" will automatically be applied to discovering and foiling intelligence gathering operations aimed at your region. "Intelligence Resources" that have been designated for Foreign Operations will then be assigned to either "Intelligence Gathering" or "Covert Ops".

Your options for "Intelligence Gathering" will be "Infiltrate Capital", "Infiltrate Military", "Recruit Network" (and one other secret one :smile: )

The results of these operations will be sent from your Military to you via the game EMail system. (Example: Once you've infiltrated a region's military you might get an email such as, "Our agent within their military has informed us that they have just received orders to move towards our border.")

Now to everybody's favourite, Covert Ops... Here you will have the fun options of "Assassination" and "Sabotage". By spending so many intelligence points, you could attempt to sabotage a key industry, or assassinate someone (not the leader) from your opponent's government. Success will depend on both your efficiency and your opponent's counter-intelligence ability.

Well, that's it in a nutshell... There will be no need of an actual "Spy" unit on the map (ala Civilization). Let me know what you think!

- David

Posted: Jul 02 2002
by 3iff
I've read your notes twice and I think that is a pretty good setup. The key is that it is simple and probably not too time consuming.

One thing not considered is an option for counter intelligence. If you discover an enemy spy, you might have an option to feed them false information. So although you are moving units towards their border, their spy will report something else. Of course, their spy network might do the same to your spy if they discover him.

This could be extremely devious because you are still getting information but it happens to be wrong!

But is it workable?

Posted: Jul 02 2002
by BattleGoat
One thing not considered is an option for counter intelligence. If you discover an enemy spy, you might have an option to feed them false information. So although you are moving units towards their border, their spy will report something else. Of course, their spy network might do the same to your spy if they discover him.
Actually, this will be taken into account. Should a Spy be discovered, you will get an EMail from your Military; "We have discovered a spy... How would you like us to proceed?" Options would be: Arrest Secretly (and attempt to turn), Arrest Publicly, Feed Misinformation, Do Nothing.

Posted: Jul 05 2002
by jfbbis
Others options that could be assigned resources
the same way :
"internal" intelligence : trying to better your own domestic approval rating by covert means, with means graduating from listening to opponents phone to shooting them, could backfire especially in a democracy (Watergate !)
"financial" intelligence : trying to predict and influence the world market to your advantage

Posted: Jul 08 2002
by Reddemon
Hey BG you forgot one on the spy encounter. You should also include EXECUTE and send back the reminds to the offending country.:grin:

I figure if you going to use spies then let it be costly? Right.

Posted: Jul 09 2002
by Hellfish6
I like the current Battle Goat idea. It is the best system I've heard yet, IMHO.