Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

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LordTyrantFTW
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Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#1 Post by LordTyrantFTW » Nov 15 2017

Good Afternoon, ladies and gents!

In the following thread I'd like to outline options that could be considered to improve the viability of the liberate and colonize options in SRU. While the mechanics exist in SRU for there to exist a late-game situation that's not reminiscent of Orwell's 1984; with the world broken into several conquering states; they are not utilized to negate this inevitable end-game outcome on any setting but passive AI on modern scenarios.

In SRU, the world becomes a much smaller place as nations cease to exist. There is no way - without direct human player intervention in every conflict - to influence the behavior of the "AI choosing to annex every nation that it has conflict with." This, gentlemen, is a "grand strategy gamebreaker".

1. Liberate : An Easy Fix!

The Liberate option must result in full transit treaty and/or formal alliance between the liberating and liberated state. Simply change the treaty results, and boost the dip/civ relate bonus for this option.

Liberation is currently a poor option for several reasons. Primarily, the military forces that occupy the nation at the time of liberation will be forced to path out of said territory. Historically, realistically and from a gameplay perspective this is a major inconvenience and impracticality, particularly in situations where said liberated government refuses to diplo, which is even more so impractical and unrealistic.

If liberate was to create a formal alliance immediately, it would allow code to be added to AI players - even if it's a 50% random variable - to choose to liberate without any additional changes to existing code and diplo systems. Not only does this support the concept of grand strategy, but it's also a much more realistic outcome, that will result in a more diverse geopolitical environment in end-game situations.

To support this change, instances of "Ally under attack by Ally" have to be reduced. They have to be reduced in any circumstance. This is always a perplexing geopolitical situation in SRU that appears to be far too common. Diprelate and Civrelate bonuses between allies of allies has to be increased to promote a more realistic, diverse geo-political end-game. As it stands, there can be no NATOs or CSTOs in the late-game, only Orwellian empires.


2. Colonize : Colonization Defined

By definition, colonization is the establishment of political control over a territory for means of appropriation. Control of production and resources is the sole purpose of colonization historically, and the purpose is the same in SRU.

The design decision to disallow players the ability to control all aspects of hex construction and facility control undermines the very purpose of a colony, and is a perplexing choice at best.

Given the inability of a colony to interact with the world market, there exists no other means to modify key economic variables such as production costs given the current game-play limitations. The human player's ability to appropriate and make use of a colony for it's actual intended purpose is fully undermined by the restrictions placed on facility control; and thus, this option is poor.

It's poor design that if I intend to colonize, that i must BEFORE colonization capture, scrap and remove facilities to properly be able to appropriate suitable resources and manipulate employment.

It's poor design that if the human player does colonize, the colony chooses to perform independent tasks such as military and economic facility construction while the player is attempting to micromanage employment for means of appropriation.

It's poor design to give the colony the ability to pause construction with conditions to resume being impossible to meet. Cases where structures remain paused for literally years in-game on colonies is common.

Please fix colonies by removing the game-play restrictions that undermine the very definition of colonization, restrictions that undermine the game-play aspect of the players ability to appropriate suitable goods from said colony.

3. The small things; Auto Hex damage on capture; Why?

In SRU, when your forces occupy a hex, said hex incurs damage. Over the course of a game of SRU, this results in the entire world being filled with dilapidated facilities, with it's greatest nations in ruins, while the AI doesn't possess any functionality to correct the damages. This diminishes the overall presentation of the game for no return in game-play value. The fact the AI doesn't have any functionality to correct the damages is reason enough for the mechanic not to exist in SRU. The fact that cities/facilities remain damaged "until the end of time or until occupation by human player to repair it" is additional reason.

While damaged buildings still produce, auto hex damage is ultimately pointless from the game-play perspective, beyond impacting the human player when making decisions regarding scrapping or repairing facilities in post conflict situations. In turn, this mechanic is related to decision making when faced with "Annex, Liberate and Colonize". In short, auto hex damage further undermines colonization and liberation. Particularly colonization, if, for example, the nation falls before repairs or full facility deconstruction can be completed. This mechanic also leads to the human player often scrapping all newly annexed damaged facilities if playing in situations where supply penalty is off; as some repairs such as a 6x hydro power stack are extremely expensive, for example. (Edit; clarification, verbiage 11/15/17)

4. The Conlusion

Conclusively, with some minor changes, I believe Liberate and Colonize can become viable options in SRU. In many cases, the changes include the removal of existing code versus the creation of new code and functionality. The systems and code already exist to support a much more diverse geo-political endgame. Please consider the above changes to the functionality of Liberation and Colonization to promote diversity in end-game game-play in Supreme Ruler Ultimate.

Thanks, and best regards!

LordTyrantFTW
Last edited by LordTyrantFTW on Nov 15 2017, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#2 Post by Zuikaku » Nov 15 2017

While I can agree with most of this, you know... it's not going to happen considering limited resources of BG crew.
Please teach AI to liberate and colonize instead of only annexing!

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#3 Post by LordTyrantFTW » Nov 15 2017

I'm more optimistic, my friend! This title is clearly a labor of passion! One weekend of the boys getting together in good old Ancaster, and they'd have this worked out in no time! Supreme Ruler Ultimate is so close, gentlemen. I can feel it. Some minor adjustments to existing code is required; no major rework, all the existing systems that make this game among the best in it's class are already there. It's a matter of some fine tuning, and there's nothing from holding this title back from competing with the likes of AAA competition like Civilization. Those who play this game, know for a fact, this game is that good! One more round, gentlemen, one more foray at the studio is all it will take!

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#4 Post by Zuikaku » Nov 15 2017

I'm under impression that unless some rich admirer of this title gives BGs few millions of $ it will never be a perfect gem.
Don't get me wrong, this is the game of my dreams, but it hurts to see it so... lacking... in some segments. AI is the major weak point (especially naval AI), and some features are unfunctional or painfully lacking (like funding opposition and sending arms, missile build codes, facility repairs...). Many, many little things and details that woul'd make this game THE GAME are absent mostly because BGs just lack manpower and cash to actually polish the game to perfection. I know Balth is going to grill me for this and disagree (that the game is unpolished), but I can't help myself. All the BGs need is to find ONE rich guy who woul'd love this game.

P.S. Civilization is the fine example how a great game with vast potential is being dumbed up, simplified and actually stupified by every next sequel in order to grab more cash.
Please teach AI to liberate and colonize instead of only annexing!

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#5 Post by Nerei » Nov 15 2017

To me the best Civilization game is IV (if we exclude Alpha Centauri). I tried V and I could not really get into it. I have not tried VI as it appeared to be more of what I did not like in V.
Also feel free to add Paradox titles to the list of companies dumbing games down. The problem naturally is that with the staff and associated expenses they have being niche probably will not work.

Personally my hope is that BG will one day open source the AI and enough people in the community will take up the challenge of improving it. This is not that I do consider mr Geczy incapable of optimising and improving it but lets face it. Improving upon the AI is a complex task that takes a long time and thus not an expense BG will be able to recoup.
It is also why you do not see them use a few thousand hours updating 2017/2020 with new equipment and deployments. It is simply too expensive to do.

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#6 Post by LordTyrantFTW » Nov 15 2017

I agree with, and definitely understand the resource commitment to AI changes. However; I want to be super clear that I'm not asking for AI changes! I believe that at the current stage of AI development, modifying existing systems to suit AI behavior is more than sufficient! For example, as per my thread "Game Breakers? An Analysis of DEFCON and Land Unit Turn Times", a seven unit per hex limit does already exist, it just needs to be enforced. In this fashion, behavior to send units to one point to "form a line" through the forced hex limit makes absolute sense. This is one example.

We have the hex system, we have the defensive terrain system. We have the liberate and colonize button. The current AI behavior can work, is more or less my point in this particular case, and the systems are there. My other point, is that what we do have, also doesn't work. It arguably, truly breaks the game.

Personally, I believe BG has the integrity to stand behind and support their product. I know money and time is a factor; but I for one would pay for a small expansion for some of these core mechanics, gentlemen. That's what the community is all about!

Asking for a hex limit enforcement, a global unit turn time modifier and some changes to "liberate = dip relate and civ relate bonus + treaty outcome" and a 50% roll for the AI to do it, isn't asking for an AI overhaul, gents! These should be realistic and minor changes to existing systems, that include functions that aren't out-of-this-world complex at all.

Additionally, to fix colonization, let's be honest, One would simply have to pull a copy paste of the annex function and combine it with the part of the colonize function that establishes it as a political entity. All of the restrictions on build is likely extra code that would just need to be deleted or removed.

(edit, added statement, edited for relevancy due to confusion and mix up of threads! haha! Sorry about that, ladies and gents!)

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#7 Post by YoMomma » Nov 16 2017

I think BG prolly want all this and that's why the mechanics are there.

The lack of control on puppets is kinda frustrating since i played SRU, with the small coding knowledge i have i cant imagine this will take much effort. Like just lock them from building and give hex control to the human player. Probem is prolly that the colony cant have units now it lost hex control. Things like this might be an engine limit or maybe are working on expanding the engine idk.

Thanks for your thread anyway.
Gameplay 1st

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#8 Post by LordTyrantFTW » Nov 16 2017

The fact is the code for liberation and colonization are likely modified annex functions, since as per version history, annex came first. Thanks for the post anyways, YoMamma, however I'm fairly certain achieving changes that make liberate and colonization viable are in the realm of possible.

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Edit; statement added, 11/16/17 :: While a bit off topic - I want to address the conversation earlier in the thread! I agree that games like Civilization are being "dumbed down" in the modern era. I made this comparison, really, to cite the commercial success of Civilization as being something that's possible for SRU.

Games becoming dumb downed and simplified creates a greater niche market opportunity for BG in my humble opinion! SRU is a multi million dollar franchise waiting to happen, especially given the political landscape of troubled world! From a game-play perspective, the title is only several changes away from being a 7/10 on meta-critic to the 10/10 it can be (Just an example). When this occurs, marketing takes care of itself via word of mouth. Twitch streams happen. AAR's become reddit culture.

The details like units, geography, all of the small things that create a personal connection between the player and the environment, on a micro level are there. That's the most difficult groundwork, often not even marginally achieved in many AAA titles. The game has charm and appeal due to it's well designed diversity and attention to detail. It appeals to your nationalistic pride in a way no other game does, truly. It's a beautiful achievement in art, gentlemen, it really is.

That being said, is the player base for such games broad enough? If you can ensure we can take this title 30 years into the late-game, game-play speaking - as Trump, as Trudeau - make your own NATOs, and literally feel more in control of SHAPING the Geo-politics of the world, and the game is marketed as such, then the sky is the limit, in my sincere and humble opinion.

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#9 Post by LordTyrantFTW » Mar 03 2018

Up. Is this ever going to be considered? particularly the arbitary as hell restrictions placed upon colonies; which undermines the definition and utility of a colony thereof. You have one outcome in conflicts in a game of geo politics.

Replayability at this point is zero after a given time committment because of the predictibility of military and geo poltical outcomes.

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Re: Game Breakers? Supreme Annex Ultimate : Liberate and Colonize?

#10 Post by Anthropoid » Mar 03 2018

I have the impression that this game is primarily the product of one person's mind, and he is clearly a very creative, intelligent, productive, innovative and ingenious fellow.

However, for reasons which remain obscure, he doesn't seem to take much interest in his game, or else, to the extent that he does, it comes in unpredictable fits and starts. There are many possible reasons for this, none of which are any of our business, and as reasonable customers the only thing we can analyze is: did we get our money's worth despite the game(s) deficiencies? I suspect we did get our money's worth if we bought it. I know I've played many hundreds of hours with SR titles so I cannot complain.

I have some apprentice-level facility with C++ (and I assume this game's source code is written in C or C++) and have done a bit of work on an older strategy game title that bears some similarity to SR. It bears similarity in that it too is the most recent incarnation of an old game engine, originally written in straight up C language back in like 1986. There are in effect probably four of five games "in" the code for the most recent game, (and I suspect this is the case for the latest SR game too). In that case, probably as many as 8 different programmers have made permanent contributions into the source code and I know for a fact that if even some of the most capable among them were called back today and assembled and given a healthy stipend to take the source code apart, fix it, resolve game play problems, and put it back together, it would be a hearty challenge. Me doing it, as a recent learner of programming and a newcomer seems about as daunting as scaling Mt. Everest free solo . . . better to just start from scratch and completely avoid all the pitfalls inherent to the deeply ingrained pre-Object Oriented architecture and design.

To summarize: there is an inertia which can creep in to massive and complex game software like this, and it can be harmful even under the best of circumstances. But when you add to this that developers are not seeing very many $$ at the end of the tunnel then it can be positively lethal.

At some point, I hope that many of these old gems with ancestries that trace back to the late 1990s or earlier will become open source. That happened with Jagged Alliance 2, and there is STILL to this day a very active and productive modding community for that game. In order for that to happen, Sir-Tech Canada had to go OUT OF BUSINESS and I am guessing that the decision to release the source code was a decision made by fiat by one of the developers and not by one of the outgoing "mis-managers" who had driven the publisher into financial ruin.

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