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Author Topic: Class Warfare: Internal politics, scaling difficulty, and personalities  (Read 35515 times)

NW_Kohaku

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On Eternal Voting, search for "Class Warfare".



This time, I will try something new.  Rather than create a massive thread and a TL;DR version, I will instead create an abstract version of my suggestion, with links to new posts that extrapolate upon the details of what I am saying.  This should hopefully give people who are curious an overview while giving all the details for people who want to chew on the meat of the idea. 

Click the yellow link headers to go to the full article on each segment of the idea.  (Still currently a work-in-progress.)



Sliding Scale of Difficulty -
First and foremost, the problem that this suggestion tries to overcome is the problem of the "learning cliff".  Many of the problems or challenges to overcome in the game are fairly easy to solve, they are simply all presented to you at the same time, with few clues as to how to solve them.  That is, the game is "hard" only in the sense that it is confusing to learn how to play, and easy (if unforgiving) once you have learned the basics, to the point of boring once you have explored every menu fully. 

I see it pretty often: Players just run out of steam to enjoy the game because they feel they've done it all.  The game isn't hard for them, it isn't challenging as a game anymore.  Meanwhile, we can't make the initial game harder for new players. 

The solution, of course, is to make a game that gets harder the further on you go.  We already have this to a degree with sieges and Titans, but we can go further than this: We can make the game come in stages of complexity and difficulty from the domestic and basic self-sustaining society front, as well.

The game will be segregated into different fort "stages" that increase in complexity and responsibilities, but also overall power for the player, while also giving the player a greater bureaucracy with which to automate control of the fortress functions you are moving away from.



Social Classes -
In the vein of the Sierra City Builder series or City Life games, as the game goes on, dwarves will segregate into different social classes that have different demands upon you as a city planner.  Not just nobles will immigrate or arise to/from your fortress, but also more well-to-do guild members of different artisan classes or merchant or religious classes. 

As your fortress turns from an outpost to a small city, the complexity of social classes compounds.

Different guilds and religious factions might have political brokering, including cloak-and-dagger warfare if their rivalries are not kept in check, and peasants may uprise against the nobility and renegotiate their rights. 



The Noble Tree and Fortress Governance Structures (Part 1, and Part 2) -
At the same time, the manner in which your fortress is governed may change from your current Communist dictatorship where you have full control to a feudal split control between nobles or religious enclaves or even making a mercantile republic where you have less direct control over the actions of your dwarves. 

The way that you build up your fortress power structures allows you to also control what form of nobles you get.  Since the game is played from the perspective of the-player-as-the-nobles, this, in turn means that as you develop different structures of your fortress at different rates, you gain further control over different aspects of fortress or areas outside of the fortress at different rates depending on what nobles you have control over.



Fortress Power Structure Mechanics -
Guilds bring with them knowledge and technologies that allow your fortress to build more advanced workshops, which allow for more complex and advanced goods to be produced, which in turn are demanded by more discerning nobles, or else allow for production on a greater scale to allow for greater trade with the outside world.

To help implement what this means, a potential and affinity system (to work with the personality rewrites) can be worked into the game, which makes getting to legendary without having the teaching opportunities a guild brings more difficult.  (Excepting, possibly, moods.)

The politics of guilds, churches, nobles, and the military themselves, however, create a whole new web of internal stresses in the fort that complicate the capacity for a player to control everything in their fortress, as their own dwarves may start to work at cross purposes to one another in pursuit of their own goals as your fortress starts to prove that mere basic survival has already been accomplished.



Personality Rewrites -
Dwarves will need to have more autonomy to make these different forms of governance possible, and that means using the Personality Rewrites to bring about changes in dwarven AI to make them less stupid and more capable of doing things for themselves. 

With the Perosnality Rewrites, Toady is doing away with the old happiness system and personality traits, and is introducing a new system that is as yet undefined but would result in characters having emotional needs and desires that cause them to have ambitions to get into different types of jobs, from being a cook to being a brigand to trying to take over the world. 

These wants and needs can also be used to help make dwarves more autonomous by giving them all different ways of acting in response to different situations, and this, in turn, will let us have a much better "narrative" in the game for people who enjoy playing DF as a narrative creator.



Internal Fortress Economics -
I have spent some time going over how money and debt were handled in the medieval world, and they actually didn't use metal coins for the overwhelming majority of their village life.  Coins were, in fact, a rarity outside of trade with the outside world. 

Inside of a town, credit, tabs at local shop, and local money made of IOUs that could be redeemed at the local general store or blacksmith were the most common form of money. 

Dwarves could do the same - just as the old economy could function on nothing but the invisible credit lines, we could do this purposefully, rather than having dwarves actually carry physical coins around that they likely would not have had in a realistic setting, anyway.

Likewise, I want to cover the ways in which dwarves will be able to participate in the local economy using the Personality Rewrites.  Dwarves may be able to purchase certain goods to decorate their rooms, or have dreams of upward mobility, or otherwise having more control over their own destiny economically.



Macroeconomics -
Too often, "Supply and Demand" ignores the "Demand" half of the equation. 

There are multiple models that should become a part of this game, such as substitutes, and why Demand is as variable as Supply.  Likewise, Relative Advantage, and why trade is beneficial to both parties. 

Further, I want to talk about Taverns, Caravans, and ways to streamline trade so that players can simply put goods up for trade, ask for certain goods to be purchased from caravans, and generally not have to micromanage crazy amounts of time in the trading menu.



Martial Law -

Part of the reason that dwarves are not autonomous now is that, in Toady's words, your orders are generally presumed to be a matter of life-and-death.  This thread seeks to change most of that, and make much of fortress life not revolve solely around survival, and to also give dwarves more autonomy. 

However, at some points, there really can be reasons to break down the social order and start giving direct orders to get things done right away because the lives of the population of the fortress depend on it. 

Martial law, seizures of property, and generally "undoing" many of the structures of an autonomous dwarf society would then be potentially reasonable, or in other situations, a despotic abuse of power. 

The game needs mechanics for emergencies to let players override dwarven rights, but also the penalties and potential backlash or uprising to make players not do so lightly.



Sliding Interfaces -
In this section, I will want to talk about ways to present all this information to the player in the most useful way possible.  Complexity in gameplay should be met with ease of control, and as Interface is always a point of problem with DF, going through some steps to make the Interface more easily handled may show some good guidelines for Toady.   



The following is a spin-off discussion on the nature of dwarven autonomy: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=63109.0
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 08:30:29 pm by NW_Kohaku »
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2010, 08:21:44 pm »

This is the old original post of the thread, preserved for reference.

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

The following is a spin-off discussion on the nature of dwarven autonomy: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=63109.0

The origin of this thread is in a previous thread, found here: http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=50284.msg1057639#msg1057639

« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 07:15:26 pm by NW_Kohaku »
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
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FreakyCheeseMan

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2010, 08:31:45 pm »

So, first thing... you might modify that and use spoiler tags to make a collapsing index, just to make the length manageable.

I like a number of your ideas, though I don't know how many of them meet the "Player Value / (Toady Time + Learning Curve + System Resources) test.

Clans strike me as interesting, and not too hard to implement... and having the social fabric break down in a more complicated way than just "Tantrum Spiral" would be cool. I'd like to see a foodworkers strike once in a while, but... the complexity of doing that is incredible, let alone making it work in a balanced way.

Personally, I'd like to see disease as the next big thing to get fleshed out, but that comes back to what you were saying about the learning curve... I'm actually in favor of difficulty settings at this point, or maybe having some "init" features be off by default.



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What do you really need to turn Elves into Dwarves? Mutation could make them grow a beard; insanity effects could make them evil-minded, aggressive, tree-hating cave dwellers, and instant, full necrosis of their lower legs could make them short.

NW_Kohaku

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2010, 08:39:31 pm »

The next big things are the things on the devpages, as far as I know, excepting fixing up the things that were introduced in .31.01.

This probably qualifies as another save-breaker (although it isn't as certain as the "Volume and Mass" thread to do this), so I have no expectation that this will be coming any time soon.

Instead, I'd like to see this as a longer-term arc, which would probably fit in with an economy arc that would follow the caravan arc...  So yeah, this is shooting pretty far down-field.

I like to think in terms of systems, however, so I've never been particularly interested with the small change threads.  I rather prefer things be made open and moddable as much as possible, so that the little suggestions would just go away as they all become possible to add in through mods, with Toady maybe adding in particularly good mods as standard.  That way, Toady can focus on the "Opening up possible new avenues of play/developing the complexity and immersion of systems and new play avenues"
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
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FreakyCheeseMan

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2010, 08:46:03 pm »

The next big things are the things on the devpages, as far as I know, excepting fixing up the things that were introduced in .31.01.

This probably qualifies as another save-breaker (although it isn't as certain as the "Volume and Mass" thread to do this), so I have no expectation that this will be coming any time soon.

Instead, I'd like to see this as a longer-term arc, which would probably fit in with an economy arc that would follow the caravan arc...  So yeah, this is shooting pretty far down-field.

I like to think in terms of systems, however, so I've never been particularly interested with the small change threads.  I rather prefer things be made open and moddable as much as possible, so that the little suggestions would just go away as they all become possible to add in through mods, with Toady maybe adding in particularly good mods as standard.  That way, Toady can focus on the "Opening up possible new avenues of play/developing the complexity and immersion of systems and new play avenues"

The reason I'm so obsessed with syndromes is that they offer so much to modders- there seem to be places where he could do *very* little, and give modders the ability to take it to incredible places. In particular, if he added just a tiny bit more, the modders could start playing with disease, hammering out how it will work and finding what's needed, saving us all time and effort later on.

Most of the other minor-change stuff doesn't interest me, either... though once in a while something seems to fit in with a larger system. Some small changes, though, seem like they add a lot of complexity and depth to the game, without making the learning curve or system requirements that much greater.
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What do you really need to turn Elves into Dwarves? Mutation could make them grow a beard; insanity effects could make them evil-minded, aggressive, tree-hating cave dwellers, and instant, full necrosis of their lower legs could make them short.

ChickenLips

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2010, 08:47:49 pm »

Okay, okay, I'm fairly new to the game and community (started on .03), but, for what it's worth, I heartily second this framework of suggestions.
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Grendus

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2010, 10:34:24 pm »

I heartily endorse this. I'd love to see more focus on dwarf happiness, right now you carve out a 31x31 room (which six competent miners can do in a week or so), set up rough tables, and they walk around ecstatic all the time. Although the class warfare thing I'm not quite as keen on until we can see dwarves training themselves (somewhat similar to modern society, you can go back to school or do private study and work your way up), currently I think they only do this occasionally with military skills. But I would like to see dwarves be more demanding about their lifestyle.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2010, 10:37:30 pm »

Okay, okay, I'm fairly new to the game and community (started on .03), but, for what it's worth, I heartily second this framework of suggestions.

While it may be a little bit poor form to push this, since you say you are new, it may be worth pointing out, I linked to Eternal Suggestion Voting so you could vote for it if you liked it.  (You get three votes, but remember that the top 11 suggestions are now part of the devpage, so should be skipped over, as they are already planned on being included.)

The reason I'm so obsessed with syndromes is that they offer so much to modders- there seem to be places where he could do *very* little, and give modders the ability to take it to incredible places. In particular, if he added just a tiny bit more, the modders could start playing with disease, hammering out how it will work and finding what's needed, saving us all time and effort later on.

Most of the other minor-change stuff doesn't interest me, either... though once in a while something seems to fit in with a larger system. Some small changes, though, seem like they add a lot of complexity and depth to the game, without making the learning curve or system requirements that much greater.

I agree, but as I said in that thread, I just assume Toady's going to put that in, anyway.  I try to push for the open frontier.

Likewise, the dwarf scripting thread is there to enable players to solve a great many of their problems by giving players the tools to rework dwarven behavior.
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
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ChickenLips

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2010, 10:40:34 pm »

A grander revolutionary arc would be incredible, though probably a lot of work.  The fortress, taken over by revolutionary forces, could move to seize control of the capital, with Unfortunate Accidents occurring all over the place!  Vive les Dorfes!

(After the caravan arc and other such expansions make this even remotely viable.)

(Just caught the response: Gotcha -- thanks for the link.  Already put in some votes a while back, though they were on stuff far more humble than this, like an end to self-replicating contaminants, deceased beings disappearing from the unit list, and ...  something else.)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 10:58:49 pm by ChickenLips »
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2010, 11:05:21 pm »

(Just caught the response: Gotcha -- thanks for the link.  Already put in some votes a while back, though they were on stuff far more humble than this, like an end to self-replicating contaminants, deceased beings disappearing from the unit list, and ...  something else.)

If you don't remember, there are links at the top of the page to what you have already voted for.
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
"Not yet"

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ChickenLips

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2010, 02:03:21 am »

Yes, thank you.  I just didn't consider it essential to remember the precise ones at the moment.
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Brandon816

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2010, 03:54:24 am »

-Class Warfare
"Perhaps a simpler method would be to simply multiply the ranks someone has in their skills by a value that is placed on each skill to dwarven society (preferably modifiable by the player), so that legendaries are the dwarves that rise to the top."

Just a suggestion, maybe the values of those skills could have some sort of supply and demand dependancy, either in whole or in part along with player settings. For instance, if you only need 1 or 2 masons at any one time and have 30 legendary masons, they don't really have job security. Just because they are legendary doesn't mean anything because they are still hardly working, if at all. Therefore, the fortress wide value of that skill should drop, and if the demand is far higher the opposite the value should raise.

The demand chould be based on 'x' jobs fortress-wide per 'y' time with either an added or multiplied value input by the player for that specific job, and supply could be to add the fortress-wide total of ranks for that skill (for those who don't currently have the skill enabled, their ranks count for either less, since they aren't being used but are available). 'Demand * (some constant) * (player constant) / supply' would give the value for the job itself, which would then be multiplied, or otherwised combined with, to the dwarf's rank for that job. Since this is with economics turned off, certain injuries (blind, missing limbs, paralyzed) could detract from this value, since the society would be basing the dwarves' value on a forecast of what they can do rather than the economic monetary system that rewards what they have done.
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2010, 07:27:14 am »

Well, I was thinking more along the lines of having values that were based not so much upon "demand" but upon, I guess, an overall potential value to the fort and difficulty to train specific skills.

I.E. Weaponsmiths, armorsmiths, and doctors who are highly trained (due to the difficulty in training, and the potential damage an untrained doctor can do) are worth more than legendary lyemakers.
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
"Not yet"

Improved Farming
Class Warfare

FreakyCheeseMan

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2010, 09:55:11 am »

The big problem I see is that dwarves are currently under the players control, mostly, until they go crazy. Adding more complicated behavior for them makes that tricky... you said something along the lines of "Happiness is just a measure of not-crazy"; to a certain extent it needs to be.

So, what other sticks and carrots can you use to encourage players to keep their dwarves happy?
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NW_Kohaku

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Re: Class Warfare, and the Pursuit of Happiness (System Overhaul)
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2010, 10:56:55 am »

The big problem I see is that dwarves are currently under the players control, mostly, until they go crazy. Adding more complicated behavior for them makes that tricky... you said something along the lines of "Happiness is just a measure of not-crazy"; to a certain extent it needs to be.

So, what other sticks and carrots can you use to encourage players to keep their dwarves happy?

Ultimately, dwarves are just plain going to need to have a little more autonomy if we are going to get more sophisticated behaviors out of them.

I kind of skimmed over it, but I wanted to take from the dwarven psychology thread that different types of happiness have their own individual sticks that are less severe than outright insanity leading to inevitable death. 

Stressed dwarves, for example, stop working and go to do leisure activities to reduce their stress.  The better and more suited the leisure activities you provide your dwarves (and dwarves should have leisure activity preferences, so that you need variety to fully serve your fortress), the less this puts a strain on production.

Dissafected, unpatriotic dwarves, however, are going to be more leery of, or outright hostile to the whole "Communist Utopia" thing, and decide to just mooch off the benefits of society without contributing - they simply work less and less, and try and steal when they can.

I also want to work a better economic system into this, one where the government is actually taxing and paying for things, but I'm a little shakey on the mechanics of how this could work, so I'm witholding on that for now.
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Personally, I like [DF] because after climbing the damned learning cliff, I'm too elitist to consider not liking it.
"And no Frankenstein-esque body part stitching?"
"Not yet"

Improved Farming
Class Warfare
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