Game play improvement - Another look...

Talk about on-going development of Supreme Ruler 2020 here. What would you like to see in updates or in a future Supreme Ruler title?

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tonystowe
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Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by tonystowe »

In the overall scheme of this game, in terms of regional relations and the decision to DoW, what if each region was able to look at individual regions, using the below criteria, and deduce a "threat" picture of that region in regards to its goals:

•Domestic Stability (ex. political instability, governance, security, civil-military affairs)
•Terrorism (ex. support for/opposition to; counter-terror operations)
•Transnational Crime (ex. piracy, illegal arms trade, narcotics trade)
•Regional Relations (ex. regional power balances, diplomacy)
•International Military Cooperation (ex. training, exercises, combined actions)
•Perceptions of Foreign Influence (ex. response to foreign sponsored/funded commercial ventures or infrastructural projects)
•Energy Security (ex. use of energy as a weapon, energy supply, energy infrastructure development and threats)
•Natural/Biological Threats (ex. disease, drought)

These are basic examples, of course, as this list would grow into a spider web of second and third order levels of things to consider. My reason for presenting this discussion is that while this series is a "wargame" I always find myself puzzled as to the reasons one region DoW against another. The number of discussions for and against causis belli are what they are and I am trying to stir the melting pots of this forum towards a higher level in this regard.

If the game could be structured so that the AI could "see" a region as a "real" threat before a DoW then we would see a much better gaming product. To do this is probably asking too much of the programming team, but in my simplistic thinking - surely it can be achieved.

I have been working on a diagram to represent my thoughts on this and I will add it to this thread once completed for you all to comment on and hopefully create some breakthrough. :)

Tony
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George Geczy
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Re: Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by George Geczy »

Though we obviously don't use that entire list of criteria, the AI does use many of them in its internal workings. The problem is that such a mix of criteria creates a "black box" that results in the issue you mentioned, that people are "puzzled as to the reasons one region DoW against another". The more ingredients in the mix, the less obvious it is what is the "reason" - and, in fact, there is usually not just one single reason, but instead a mix of them.

If you click on the "INTENTIONS" tab in the state department when you have another region selected, you'll see your AI's "Overview" of the region - military strength, economy, domestic policies. These factors are used in the AI-to-Region planning, including DOW. Of course, as Germany you don't see what Poland's appraisal of Russia is (or even Poland's appraisal of you), so that just adds to the "black box".

Some of this got mixed in to the "Provocation" value that we report on the scorecard and state department, which is our best way of displaying how likely an AI is to attack you. Though even then AI's have other factors they consider, including their own inter-relationships; for example, if France and Spain like each other and both have provocation against Germany, it is likely they will form a "bloc" of sorts and both declare war on Germany within a short period of time, meaning France's DOW may bring Spain in when they wouldn't have attacked on their own.

-- George.
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Re: Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by Hundane »

if France and Spain like each other and both have provocation against Germany, it is likely they will form a "bloc" of sorts
This is where I would like to see the game improve Diplomatically. Instead of seeing every region making Formal alliances with each and every region, they would form blocs or coalitions against common enemies or regions they see as a threat. I think the Formal Alliance Treaty should be harder for the AI regions to achieve and there should be more at the start of the game. Making and announcing a Formal Alliance seems(?) to improve relations with EVERY region and IMO this should/could be perceived as a threat to some regions and should be negative hit to relations to those that it would. (I dont how you could easily judge that though.)
tonystowe
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Re: Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by tonystowe »

Just as Hundane mentioned, the fact that every AI region allies with everyone else is something that definitely needs revamping. In addition to Alliances and other diplomatic deals being severed by both the AI and the player.

I am still studying on how to present what I am doing to the forum and once I figure that out I will post it. I want to add something to this forum that is productive and at least organized and thought out.

Tony
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Re: Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by Rhyus »

I would like to be able to cancel diplomatic deals without having to cut all contact with a region
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George Geczy
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Re: Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by George Geczy »

I guess the question of whether AI Regions will form one big block of alliance or multiple smaller blocks is a result of the game situation - in many games I've been looking at, there have been a couple of smaller AI blocks forming. In games without a dominant on-map superpower, I haven't seen as much of the "all AI regions ally with each other" situations, instead the blocs are a bit more regional.

The exception is games where I, as the human player, am dominant, and/or the diplo difficulty levels are set higher, which results in the AI taking a more aggressive stance to counter the dominant player - ie me. This has the result of most regions forming a single alliance to battle me and my allies, sort of a allied-axis situation (or for you younger types, a "you're either with us or against us" situation)

By the way, AI regions do cancel Alliances at times, though not at the drop of a hat...

Finally, the question of canceling diplomatic treaties in a 'pick and choose' manner can get very complex, and so in the end the best reaction for an AI region is to cancel all treaties if you try to pull out one. I do agree that there may be good reasons to try to cancel certain treaties (ie transit), but then we should probably focus more on supporting those reasons (such as a 'please do not cross my region right now' request) than trying to figure out just when it works to cancel treaties on a piecemeal basis.

-- Geroge.
tonystowe
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Re: Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by tonystowe »

I will offer that treaties, such as Transit treaties for example, should be given a time limit whether I am allied with a region or not. One thought is that a player or AI region would have to pay money and/or resources in exchange for the right of passage and supply support.

First, the negotiated amount paid for the treaty would be determined by several factors (of course) such as:
1. Is the requesting region an ally or neutral?
2. Is the requesting region at war with an ally of mine?
3. Is the requesting region at war with a neighboring region?

Second, the amount of time allowed for the treaty would also be answered by the same questions and ultimately, in simplistic terms: Each "YES" answer would drive the price upwards and the amount of time down.

It would be interesting to see if the AI could be written so that an ally, or a region with great DAR/MAR, could influence the decision of such a treaty. For instance:

Region A wants passage through Region B who is allied with Region C. Region A is at war with Region D who is neutral to Region B with mediocre relations and who is neutral to Region C but has great relations due to trade. Region A offers $1 mil / per day / for 60 days for a right of passage and resupply for air transit thru Region B. Region B initially wants to agree with the deal causing a "red flag" being sent to Region C. Region C counter-offers to Region B in order to stop the transaction with 1,000 brls of oil for 180 days, 10x military units, and increased relations. Region B then makes an internal decision as to whether or not the deal is in its best interest.

I hope that makes sense...
In this example
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George Geczy
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Re: Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by George Geczy »

One of the interesting things of this Region A/B/C/etc example is a problem we often discuss here at the studio, that being "player feedback".

If some of those things happen and the human is one of those players, there is a significant chance that the human will not understand what happened (or the reasons that it happened). While we could attempt to fix this with the use of some emails etc, in many cases that isn't easy (or doesn't make sense, ie Region X doesn't want to tell you why it did what it did). The result is that players either don't understand why something happened, or get frustrated with such seeming "random" things going on, or may even think that a bug or AI stupidity is at fault.

There are already many cases in SR2020 where things happen for a specific reason that is not clear to a player, and so the players either don't appreciate the reasons, or may even think that the actions are random and/or wrong.

-- George.
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tkobo
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Re: Game play improvement - Another look...

Post by tkobo »

I can only speak for myself,but i enjoy those kind of moments in the game.I shouldnt know why everything occurs....im only a supreme ruler and incredibly wise person,not some non-existant omniscient mythical being.I should have to make educated guesses on occasions.

Besides,if you can dream it up, the players will sooner or later figure it out.Even if they have to poke you a bit during the process :P
This post approved by Tkobo:Official Rabble Rouser of the United Yahoos
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