Diplomacy complains II: Communication system

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Smiling_Spectre
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Diplomacy complains II: Communication system

Post by Smiling_Spectre »

Zaimat, I believe that I told it twice already, but every time you seems overlooked it. At least, I never heard your opinion of the matter.

Communication system is quite broken in the barter/trade part. It is most lacking part of your game - and only point that doesn't allow me to praise it as true and honest MoO2 successor. It's strange, because it seems _almost_ done, with all components in place - but not working.

First at all, game totally missing "trade" part. I cannot ask for anything from the opponents, and I cannot offer anything to opponents. Why? You definitely have needed considerations in place, because _computer_ totally can ask for planet, technology or tribute - and estimates my counter-offers for this plea. Why _I_ cannot do it? And why there is no "trade" (not demand, and not gift) at all?!

Second is lack of relevant diplomatic info (and we already talked about it, I believe). Can you put explanation in the diplomatic window, _why_ I have such relations? It not need to be detailed up to the numeric values, but had to note major influences. Like "They hate us for expansion, they troubled by our trespassing of their systems and they are happy with trade arrangements". Please?

And one warning: if you'll decide to implement honest trade, take in consideration political relations during it, please? I remember Space Empires 4 that was totally great game, but with one huge exploit: regardless of political relations, trade always was honest, so even if race totally hated me, I could buy their technologies, and their planets at whole for nominal price without slightest problem. :/ As I always tend to the diplomatic solutions, it tied my hands altogether: I always can buy out anyone, so I cannot use diplomacy at all. That killed the game for me. :(

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Re: Diplomacy complains II: Communication system

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As you know you can demand a tech or gift a tech but there is no straight trade (except counters from AI when you demand sometimes).

The first reason behind this is that Horizon has a "conversational diplomacy system". It's different than "trading diplomacy system" that is most common nowadays with other 4x games.

With conversational diplomacy it is more complex to implement things like "trade/barter system" vs. the system with two trade lists. They each are good at different things.

The second reason is that it's easy to abuse a trade system (as in your example), each tech would have to have an intrinsic value but it's not enough, the A.I has to also consider circumstances and other factors for a good trade system. Then there is the added complexity of tech levels, unless we ignored that and only allowed exchanging undiscovered technology.

Those were the main reasons for excluding trade/bartering.

Regarding your second question "added diplomatic info/explanation for actions". This would be really good to have I agree but at this point I'm not sure if it's doable with existing code base, I will need to review it.

Even if we can't make these changes in Horizon, we will certainly consider having these as core design elements for any future game with diplomacy.
Horizon - Lead Designer | a.k.a. Raf

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Smiling_Spectre
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Re: Diplomacy complains II: Communication system

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Zaimat wrote:As you know you can demand a tech or gift a tech but there is no straight trade (except counters from AI when you demand sometimes).

The first reason behind this is that Horizon has a "conversational diplomacy system". It's different than "trading diplomacy system" that is most common nowadays with other 4x games.
Yes, I am aware about difference, of course. But "normal" trading is still possible in Space Empires or Master of Magic style: you are making offer/ask for trade and receive "yes/no/reconsider" answer with possible consequences. I never seen mentioned AI counters, but I believe it's exactly what I want. (And in that case I am deceived with name of "demand". Is it really trade?)
The second reason is that it's easy to abuse a trade system (as in your example), each tech would have to have an intrinsic value but it's not enough, the A.I has to also consider circumstances and other factors for a good trade system. Then there is the added complexity of tech levels, unless we ignored that and only allowed exchanging undiscovered technology.
Well, while I am agree that it's not straightforward, it still goes down to the single number/pair of numbers, no? You are _already_ have needed system, in form of demand - and considered number is threat instead trade value, I suppose.

So, I think, you can safely implement similar system for trading, that would work like this:

I. Ask for trade.

1. You are asking for system/tech/money.
2. AI takes absolute value of it (monetary equivalent fits best here, I believe), then apply needed modifications. I can think about diplomacy (like, 1.1x for best relations, 10x for worst-but-not-hate), relative tech level for tech, distance from homeworld, other opponents/own planets in the system and quality for planet. But you know mechanics better, so can tune it better too. ;)
3.1. For tech it looks suited to ask for tech in result. With possible money addition to even the deal.
3.2. For planet it can be other planet, tech or, well, money. (I am not totally sure how would it work with planets - if AI always will consider the same planet - or, for change, asks for something useless in the deeps of space, far from their homeworld, it can be quite frustrating.)
3.3. For money it's the same as for planet, but I believe, its outcome is not so important as for planet trade - anyway, if you asking for too much, be prepare to pay correspondent price. :)

Of course, best possible implication could be if you can add your own share of deal to the plea - but I am not very sure if it can be implemented easy enough. If not - then not.

II. Offer item (tech or planet).

Same rules as for trade, only here AI considers your stake's absolute/relative value and offers their goods accordingly. Also, I believe, planets are better to exclude as pay (but not as offer!) here, to avoid complications. :)

I believe, you have most of this here, so only problem is tuning needed modifiers to not allow computer be too dumb in trade, or unreasonably stingy. But I can be wrong, of course.

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Re: Diplomacy complains II: Communication system

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Smiling_Spectre wrote:Yes, I am aware about difference, of course. But "normal" trading is still possible in Space Empires or Master of Magic style: you are making offer/ask for trade and receive "yes/no/reconsider" answer with possible consequences. I never seen mentioned AI counters, but I believe it's exactly what I want. (And in that case I am deceived with name of "demand". Is it really trade?)
Yes, the term "Demand" is used loosely in Horizon. It is basically asking (it doesn't incur any penalty from the act itself just whether they agree or disagree has a slight tolerance effect) and the AI can counter.
Smiling_Spectre wrote:So, I think, you can safely implement similar system for trading, that would work like this:
Yes, it is doable as you describe it but it's just not a trivial matter for the reasons I mentioned before. What I'm also saying here is that it would require an expansion or sequel to do something of this level (AI/UI/Mechanic changes or added to support it).

I do appreciate the suggestion as it is important to consider regardless what we can do. So I thank you!
Horizon - Lead Designer | a.k.a. Raf

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Re: Diplomacy complains II: Communication system

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Zaimat wrote:Yes, it is doable as you describe it but it's just not a trivial matter for the reasons I mentioned before. What I'm also saying here is that it would require an expansion or sequel to do something of this level (AI/UI/Mechanic changes or added to support it).
Yes, I got it, but I thought that it's simpler than you (possibly) thought. No? *sigh* Too bad. Ok, thank you anyway. I'll see for your _future_ games here! ;)