I'm new to these forums but not new to Distant Worlds, so some of these suggestions have been buzzing round my head for a little while. They are things that would personally (and I can only speak for myself) improve upon what is one of my favourite games of recent years. Bear with me whilst I try and get them written down legibly, without falling into my usual trap of writing a wall of text!
I am also aware that these suggestions get more outlandish as they go on, so by the end they're pretty crazy and, to be honest, I expect them to be ignored. I thought I'd share them nonetheless!
I would love to be able to set colony or general immigration policy by specific race in addition to racial family
I agree; this would be lovely. It's annoying when you get all excited because you've found an abandoned colony ship of an alien race that can colonise worlds you can't, but when you put them on a planet your native race migrates there in their droves and becomes the majority. Currently, including other races in your empire in this manner is useless for getting access to new planet types because they don't get the chance to form a majority on a colony (and therefore be the designated race of the colony ships produced there).
For example, say you find an abandoned Securan colony ship and your primary race is human. You can't normally colonise desert planets, so you're delighted at the prospect of getting some desert-dwellers settled in your empire, and then - when they've, um, "populated" amongst themselves a bit - building Securan colony ships and settling some desert planets. So you find a nice starting desert planet for their homeworld, but within weeks of it being colonised BILLIONS of your human citizens have migrated there from other colonies and become the majority, meaning that when the planet hits five billion citizens (and thus can build colony ships) they count as human ships and therefore can't colonise other desert planets. I'd love to be able to say "THIS IS A SECURAN-ONLY PLANET", at least until there's enough Securans there to form a majority at five billion and thus build Securan (rather than human) colony ships.
At the moment racial policy does not allow me to exclude my race, and the only time I can make a planet racially homogenous (ie, no other races allowed) is with my primary race.
Alternatively, and something that might be quite fun but would probably take more work, would be the ability to designate racial "homeworlds" within your empire. I absolutely love the idea of being an intergalactic empire comprised of many different races (too much Star Trek in my youth, probably!) and always endeavour in my game to get as many races as possible incorporated in my empire. But, as any true intergalactic council of races will tell you, each race still needs a homeworld.
In game terms, this would probably be reflected by making sure that the "homeworld" always maintains a majority of that race. This would solve my problem from suggestion one, because the new race introduced via an abandoned colony ship would simply make that first colonised planet its "homeworld" within your empire. You'd therefore never have to contend with another race migrating there and seizing the majority; a homeworld would always provide at least one source of that race's population to settle planets with, even if they were outnumbered on every other planet in your empire. This wouldn't necessary preclude all migration to the planet, as I'm sure other races would still settle there, just not in significant enough numbers to overwhelm the original inhabitants.
I could easily let myself get carried away with this idea, so I'll try and hold back a bit, but the scope for interesting dynamics with homeworlds is, in my opinion, immense. Each "origin" planet might be considered a homeworld in its own right, or at least be "racially signficant"; that is to say, to continue my earlier example of the human empire, if they were to colonise a planet of independent Ackdarians then that planet would be declared a "homeworld" to those Ackdarians, even though there may also be an Ackdarian empire on the other side of the galaxy with its own Ackdarian homeworld. Whilst the two peoples might share genetics, they would have been separated by tens of thousands of years (maybe even hundreds of thousands) of history and distance, and the Ackdarians in your empire would likely feel far greater affinity for their planet of origin than they would one on the other side of the galaxy. Therefore, that previously-independent planet would be designated the "homeworld" of all Ackdarians within your empire, thus always maintaining an Ackdarian-majority and being a source of colony ships. Imagine, if we humans were introduced to an alien race and welcomed into their empire, although we might spread throughout their territory, Earth would always be our "homeworld".
You would, of course, only have one "homeworld" for each race per empire. If there were multiple independent Ackdarian colonies then only the first would be the homeworld. Personally, this plays into a bugbear of mine but I'll mention that in the next suggestion.
An option to have only one planet per race type. I get the lore behind having multiple planets of different races (the assumption being, I assume, that they used to be an intergalactic empire before the Shakturi detroyed it and left the individual planets with no knowledge of one another), but since I can turn the Shakturi events off then clearly lore comes secondary to a good game experience (as it should be, of course). Personally, I find it very jarring to start off as a human empire and then encounter eighteen other human colonies within my first few years of exploration. The game doesn't really take into account that despite all being humans, those other planets are still very much alien, probably culturally if not genetically, and might not simply assimilate into the empire with no fuss; they'd likely assimilate into the empire, but would, at least for a while, be "different". You only have to look at the United Sates to see a unified population of Americans, but within that there are distinct groups of Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, African-Americans, English-Americans Mexican-Americans who altogether consider themselves "American" whilst retaining a few quirks of their original cultural ties. I'm not advocating the immense work that different "factions" of races would entail (even if it would be awesome), but avoiding the problem entirely by being able to limit races to one homeworld would be fantastic.
The ability to mod minor races into the game easily. This is a very small issue and I wouldn't expect the developers to add the minor races themselves, given it would take a lot of work, but I just thought I'd mention it. Together with the singular homeworld for each race scenario outlined in the suggestions above, this would add a lot of flavour to the galaxy, in my opinion. If we limit each race to only one homeworld then in large maps with multiple empires, we would swiftly run out of races. A race would never be duplicated over multiple empires (except through migration or conquest later in the game) because it only has one "source", so no more "Securan Confederacy" going to war with the "Securan Republic". That's all very well, except if ten empires are selected for the map, and each race is limited to one homeworld (and thus empire), then that's a very small pool of races left over to populate independent colonies and abandoned colony ships. This is where minor races come in.
Each race in the game currently is capable of being a primary race, with its own ship design, portaits, stats, planet of choice, tech tree, AI, personality and victory conditions, all of which are necessary for it to function as a playable race that can win the game. A minor race, however, doesn't require any of those things bar a portrait, stats and a homeworld, because it will never be a playable race that wins the game, and will only ever be subsumed into a large empire of the "primary" playable races that make up the competing factions. Thus, it does not need its own victory conditions, nor its own AI or personality, nor an individual "look" for its ships because, being an independent colony, it will never form an empire. That way it would be easy to populate a galaxy with dozens of minor races, each with a little flavour to them, that could be incorporated into an empire for a stat-boost and colonisation options without needing all the work required to create a primary, playable race. You'd simply need an understanding of what makes a balanced stat (ie, the way humans bring resarch and spy bonuses into an empire when they join it), a portrait to represent them (with a generic "minor races" portrait to act as filler in circumstances where the minor race has no portrait modded in), and a preferred world type to aid with colonisation options that would also be the planet they were found on (ie, ocean, continental, desert). Heck, if a generic portrait is included so that these minor races consist only of a homeworld type and a stat bonus, they could be randomly generated each time, which would add even more replayability to a game!
Er, so those are my suggestions. I think I got a little carried away there, although obviously I'd personally love to see those changes introduced. Even so, if you read the whole thing then thank you for taking the time to do so
< Message edited by Soebek110 -- 11/22/2012 11:50:47 PM >