Some other ideas:
Ship actions and designs:
1. The ability to create ships by role, not class. Currently, the class is being used as the type or role. I have to choose from the list of existing classes, automatically making a new ship a newer version of an existing class even if what I really want is a ship of the same class just for a custom role.Say I want to design a planetary bombardment cruiser, a standoff missile boat cruiser, and a regular cruiser focusing on beam weapons. I'd like to have all three show up as valid design lines. Currently, I would need to devote one ship class entirely to a specific role, meaning that I have to make standoff missile boat destroyers, beam cruisers, and planetary bombardment cap ships. Depending on my tech level, I may want the ability to specialize roles before I can build or afford a larger ship class. As a workaround, the ability to create custom ship classes would be functional.
2. Patrol sector task for military and exploration ships. If a given sector is composed of gas clouds I would like to assign a ship the task of looping through them repeatedly to make sure no pirate bases have been set up.
3. Constructor ships should have the ability to scrap disabled vessels for money/resources. Ideally, they would not be able to analyze the ship unless they were also equipped with science labs.
Pirates, Corruption, and Criminal Syndicates:
1. Criminal Syndicates as a component or companion to piracy. High-corruption or high discontentment on a colony should influence the creation of a criminal syndicate that either acts as an invisible corruption engine to slowly increase corruption, or that begins to funnel larger and larger sums of an empire's income to local pirates. Pirates, of course, use these credits to build more, and more powerful, ships. Criminal syndicates infiltrate nearby mining bases, and can spread to other bases using independent and infiltrated private sector freighters. These bases/ships must be destroyed to eliminate the syndicate, and are slowly revealed by an empire's spies set to counter-intelligence. Syndicate mining bases still produce for the parent empire, though at a reduced rate. This would encourage wealthy empires capable of ignoring revenue losses from corruption to pay attention to the corruption of far-flung colonies.
- Syndicates have a diplomatic component, and Syndicates can be contacted/allied with at risk of exposing your own empire to them. Contact with Syndicates can grant the usual discovery purchases, "black market" strategic and luxury resource purchases, and the ability to purchase diplomatic contact with foreign empires the Syndicate has infiltrated as well as pirate factions. Alliances with Syndicates grant both trade revenue and a reduction in the mining penalty at any of your mines that they have infiltrated, but greatly increases the likelihood that your empire's private sector will be taken over by the syndicate. Ships and mines infiltrated by allied syndicates are designated by a tiny colored icon next to the ship/base name. Syndicates do not forward contacts for other Syndicates as this would be helping the "competition," and rival Syndicate freighters will fire on one another if the freighters have weapons.
2. It has been suggested before, I think, but piracy should have a connection to empire corruption. By that I mean local corruption should influence the likelihood of a pirate base spawning in the vicinity. While overall corruption on a given colony might be fairly low, if the population is sufficiently large there would presumably be plenty of individuals willing and interested in engaging in piracy. This would encourage wealthy empires capable of ignoring revenue losses from corruption to pay attention to the corruption of far-flung colonies.
3. Pirates spawned near a given empire should either be made up of that empire's race, or of only the closest neighboring empires(including independent worlds). If the only Teekan worlds are on the other side of the galaxy, a Teekan pirate faction should not spawn near you. The race of the pirates should have a diplomatic impact on other empires. If the Securans are being raided by human pirates, the Securans should note this and suffer a mild diplomatic penalty towards human empires. A positive gain can be obtained by human empires by taking out those pirates. In this way, pirate alliances can better be used to frame other empires or influence diplomatic relationships.
4. When engaged in a pirate alliance, one should be able to direct their attacks. Rather than pirates engaging whatever targets they decide you hate, you should be able to point them at a specific empire in their area. They would, of course, still engage independent targets as normal, and would still defend themselves form other empires, but they would focus their efforts on the empire you designate. Exercising this option would incur a premium charge determined by the strength of the target empire, preferably as an increase of the monthly fee for the alliance. Perhaps multiple empires could be specified, with commensurate fee increases for each one.
5. The ability to build bases and/or ships, and transfer them to allied pirates would make pirate alliances more effective. While this would presumably be done in secret somehow, a diplomatic hit should be incurred if other empires find out. Perhaps such transfers made in view of another empire's ships, colonies, or bases would be made public, encouraging the player to only engage in such deals in out of the way systems. Alternatively, perhaps transferred ships and bases need time to take on "pirate colors" and until then are correctly identified as your empire's equipment. I should, in theory, be able to build my own allied Legendary Pirate faction(with associated AI changes) through support and funding of a regular one.
6. Direct connection to wealth and corruption. The greater the overall revenue of an empire, the greater the corruption. The concern is that a runaway economy will result in massive corruption. The challenge then is to find a way to manage corruption more directly(perhaps with colony facilities), legitimately throttle revenue though empire policy choices, or both.
7. Pirates seem to struggle a bit, especially with armed mining bases. I'm not sure if they have to pay maintenance on their base and ships, but they need a more guaranteed way to generate at least a subsistence level of revenue. I propose:
- If they don't already, Pirates should generate a portion of their operating revenue off independent planets. Not only raiding their shipping, but simply orbiting their planet should net them a not insignificant slice of their operating and expansion expenses. Independent worlds may not have the economic clout of a full empire to skim off of, but the GDP of an entire planet should be enough to pay to build, maintain, and improve a small fleet at least.
- Raiding civilian shipping seems to be fairly impossible for pirates. Civilian ships are pretty much only vulnerable at their starting and end points, both of which are usually secured in some way at this point. Pirates need a way to intercept civilian ships in no-man's land. Perhaps civilian-grade ship engines are unable to bypass any large gravity wells that cross their flight paths and so must stop to re-calculate their FTL, pausing in a vulnerable state just long enough for pirates to make an occasional kill. Pirates, instead of hanging out at their base or in deep space could then hang out in those systems. Pirate bases would need an increased chance to spawn in a system or cloud nearby, but off the path enough that shipping isn't stopping there and bringing attention to the base. Later game pirates may have access to gravity well generators to pull ships out of FTL anywhere. This reduces the necessity of pirate encounters with fully armed military ships and bases, letting them do what pirates do best, raid lightly armed civilian ships.
Bases, colonies, supplies, and stockpiles:
1. Defense bases built on, or in orbit of, an un-colonized planet project a zone of ownership around said planet. This planet could not then be colonized or mined by other empires save under normal rules for doing so(during war, granted mining rights, etc). When a colony ship is given an order to colonize a planet so defended an alert to the owner of the defense base should be issued. The rest of the system, however, is still fair game. Bases built in deep space(like in gas clouds) project a zone of control as far as their weapon range.
2. The ability to designate colonies and bases as strategic resource stockpiles. Private sector ships would deliver strategic resources to those locations beyond any immediate needs, attempting to keep its cargo bays full of a balanced load of each resource. Chromium surpluses should not lead to a resource stockpile starbase filled to the brim with chromium, leaving no room for other strategic resources. As planetary stockpiles can never be filled, they should probably be a lower priority destination than starbase stockpiles. Otherwise, starbase stockpiles may never get deliveries.
3. State sector super-freighter ship class who's automated task is strictly to supply strategic resource stockpiles. Slow and unmaneuverable, heavy shields/armor, point defense weaponry only, huge carrying capacity.
4. Government supply contracts. Instead of building the super-freighter above(perhaps before the technology for it is researched), a government supply contract can be issued to set a priority on private sector shipping to strategic resource stockpiles. As long as the contract is in effect, a portion of state revenue is directed back to the private sector, perhaps increasing overall corruption for the empire.
5. Bases are large stationary structures so should be able to be invaded with troops and captured. Obviously, there is only so much room in them, so a planetary invasion force just couldn't fit inside. Bases can only be invaded by one or two troop units at a time, giving elite defenders a chance to buy the base time for help to arrive. New design components such as an automated defense component(internal turrets, auto-locking bulk heads, etc) strengthens defending troop units. Actual troops can be stationed there by including troop transport modules, or cheaper(and weaker) security station modules may be installed instead. Security forces could be recruited onsite automatically, but troops should still come from planet-based academies/clones/factories. Micro-management of troop delivery needs to be avoided, so maybe private sector freighters can deliver troops to bases with troop modules as part of their resource pickup routine. Alternatively, perhaps it could be a function added to the automated routine of state-sector troop transport ships.
- Pirates can invade mining bases, taking them over to generate revenue. They still produce for the parent empire, but at a reduced rate. Pirate faction receives any revenue normally generated or converts lost production to revenue directly. A base taken over by pirates tries to lay low, so is only discovered by spies set to counter-intelligence.
6. The unique trade resources can be exhausted from over-harvesting. If ten empires are sending mining ships to grab up as much Loros Fruit as they can from one planet, that qualifies as over-harvesting. Colonies can burn them out even faster from both local use by a large population as well as export. However, actual mining bases can automatically throttle the harvest, conserving the resource with sustainable harvesting levels. Also, they can be cultivated at a new location at great expense. Perhaps as part of a "Someone requests 'X'" event below.
Spaceport stations as trade hubs:
I'd like to be able to build spaceport bases anywhere and have them operate as trade hubs and bases for defense fleets.
As I imagine it, these remote trade hubs would be treated as a limited function colony:
- Their population is handled like resort base population, and they have a corruption rating. The presence of military ships from the home empire reduces corruption, tying up a defense fleet for the trade hub. More trade means more corruption, requiring a larger fleet.
- The hub can serve as a home base for a fleet.
- The hub can be destroyed, but also invaded and captured.
- If their corruption rating gets too high, they can go independent. They are then somewhat like a pirate faction. If the spaceport has shipyards they will produce escort-class ships for local defense, as well as troops to prevent casual invasion, but they're just an independent merchant guild so don't expect them to be powerful enough to resist a determined empire. They still serve as a trade hub, but the majority of the revenue generated is retained by the trade hub's faction. You only get to keep whatever revenue is generated by selling(dropping off) resources to them.
- As a private sector facility they don't project a zone of ownership, but they are owned by your empire so they can be blockaded and attacked as part of actions against you.
- As a spaceport, they serve as a valid drop-off destination for mining ships and freighters from nearby mining sites.
Trade and shipping:
1. There needs to be something that promotes trade aside from simple scarcity. Currently trade consists of shipping raw resources to locations with high demand. While simple and functional, with the general abundance of resources it seems like trade is somewhat superfluous. A simple solution might be actual trade goods as a resource in addition to raw resources. The private sector, with access to certain resources and certain planet types, produces trade goods to be consumed both internally as well as sold to other empires. Different empires place different values on certain trade goods.
These can be simple luxury goods such as perfumes, furniture, or gemstones. Luxury trade goods are manufactured using all luxury resources available at a planet in order to help reduce stockpiles. The more different types of luxury resources are available, the faster these are produced. This helps facilitate continued trade of raw resources as well.
For example: Securan perfumes might be considered the best perfumes to Human noses, but Kiadians consider them foul. Atuuk, however, find them to be literally an addictive narcotic. Atuuk hardwood furniture is a positive pleasure to Humanoid rumps, but insectoid races simply don't see any value to it whatsoever. Gizurean gemstones dazzle the eyes of the simple(Atuuk), vain(Securan), or greedy(Human), but are uninteresting to the cerebral(Kiadian, Zenox). Absent luxury trade goods, luxury resources may still be used as normal to improve planetary development, but perhaps luxury trade goods grant an additional happiness bonus.
They can also be strategic goods such as manufactured ship and base components. Strategic components are manufactured using all strategic resources available at a planet in order to help deplete supply stockpiles. The more different types of strategic resources are available, the faster these are produced. This helps facilitate continued trade of raw resources as well.
For example: The strategic trade good could just be a generic "construction supplies" item. Races with a bonus to starship maintenance might make the best construction supplies so theirs are in high demand commensurate with their maintenance bonus. When constructing a ship or base, these goods can be used as an alternative for any part or resource your construction project currently needs. Tech level is irrelevant, it is just assumed that the parts are sufficiently compatible to move construction along. These would have a higher priority for freighters to deliver to construction sites due to their ability to be used for any component. Absent these goods, a construction ship or planet can build from raw resources as normal, but using the trade good might grant a boost to construction speed.
Trade goods promote, well, trade. They could also promote raids to capture stockpiles. That said, large stockpiles should not be common. There should be a throttle on how many of these trade goods are built and stockpiled to represent some notion of supply and demand. The empire first seeks to satisfy internal demand, but will not significantly produce beyond that unless there is a trading partner who wishes to consume them as well. Once such a partner is identified, being either an independent world or another empire, the private sector will ramp up to produce additional supply to meet that demand, then level off again. Stockpiles occur primarily when trade is cut off, preventing the a given supply from reaching its intended market. Obviously, an empire that operates under a different political/economic system might get a bonus or penalty to trade good stockpiles to represent economic mandates.
2. Someone else suggested private sector ships forming convoys. I second that suggestion. I would expect that the auto-fleet AI could be used to do so. Armed traders in a convoy do a better job of defending themselves since they can combine firepower, but are also easier for military ships to escort.
3. Currently, civilian shipping is structured like a series of odd-jobs. Freighters take on a single job like "ship steel from Securan colony to Human colony" then wait there until a new task is assigned. While functional, it lacks a certain elegance. Instead, I'd like to see some manner of trade routes established. Perhaps small freighters(representing small-time traders) can perform the odd-job trades, but maybe medium and large freighters establish more regular routes. Rather than having a freighter just carry steel from point A to point B then just pick a new random job, it would be cool to see a trade route established where Steel was picked up from point A, sold at point B and Caslon purchased, Caslon is sold at point C and Bifurian Silk is purchased, Bifurian Silk is sold at point D and Carbon Fibre is purchased to be sold back at point A. This is a somewhat cosmetic request, I suppose, but ultimately it would be nice if trade routes generated some manner of bonus for the participating empires. Unfortunately, it seems like resource availability and revenue do not need any sort of boosting. Perhaps the diplomatic benefit granted from trade could be buffed by trade routes for each empire participating in at least one leg of the trade. Empires like other empires they can count on for regular trade, so a trade route could serve as a multiplier to that diplomatic boost.
4. Independent trade guild ships that just putter about buying up raw resources from large stockpiles. This helps reduce large resource stockpiles. Trade guild bases can spawn near large empires and have a diplomatic component so resources an empire is short on can be purchased in bulk. Trade guilds can establish trade sanctions against empires they don't like, refusing to trade with them absent large bribes. They can also be paid enormous sums(representing lost trade revenue) to do so. This helps to reduce money supply. An empire can also establish trade sanctions against trade guilds, preventing them from buying up their stockpiles at the expense of earning the guild's disapproval.
Someone requests "X" events:
A foreign empire, faction, or the parent empire's private sector periodically requests something such as a base be built, a colony be established, favorable trade agreement be offered, and so on. If successful, the parent empire receives some manner of perk such as an advanced ship, temporary research or economic bonuses, reputation increase or improved relations with another empire, and so on.
For example: The private sector suggests that a world needs to be studied for future developments left unspecified. They request that a science base be built over the planet even though the planet does not show any bonus to research performed there. If one is built:
- A new resource supply might be found. Any resources so discovered would have a low yield, but the longer the science base is in place the yield of all resources currently present on the planet increases as access to those resources is developed or they are cultivated. Moreover, if the empire has access to one of the unique trade resources from elsewhere and the planet is of the correct type, it is possible that this unique resource could actually be cultivated on the planet.
- The planet's quality increases over time.
- New science bonuses might be discovered.
- New scenic bonuses might be discovered.
- Any and all of the above.
Espionage and Diplomacy:
1. I'm not a huge fan of the Legends system of Intelligence Agent acquisition. Currently I have to wait for an agent to more or less randomly spawn, and if they get captured I have to wait for a new one. My suggestions would be for intelligence agents to be recruitable so I can engage in espionage with relative impunity, and have the intelligence characters that pop up represent department heads that provide bonuses to the intelligence actions I queue up.
2. New intelligence missions designed to frame other empires, or an overlay option for existing missions to do so. Intelligence agents would be sent in to either pose as a foreign spy and be detected while escaping, or just to set another empire as their cover so if they are detected you don't take the diplomatic hit. If they're captured, obviously, the truth is discovered(with maybe a small chance of the agent refusing to talk before execution).
< Message edited by Bebop Cola -- 6/1/2012 7:16:25 PM >