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The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 3:25:11 PM   
Apheirox

 

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While there are things like the AI sometimes leaving much to be desired (something the developers are clearly aware of and are working to improve, it seems) there is one issue that trumphs them all: The victory conditions.

The problem is that ultimately, regardless of whether you are a Boskaran military dictatorship or a supposedly peaceful Teekan democracy, there is ONLY one way to win: War. Because every victory condition revolves around controlling a certain portion of the map (population, colonies and GDP do ALL translate into pure map control - there is no difference whatsoever), the sole way to win is to conquer territory. Ultimately, there is no option for a peaceful victory. This is where DW is ultimately lacking compared to games like Civilization (diplomatic, cultural and scientific victory conditions) and, as an even better example, Armada 2526's wide variety of victory condtions.

Granted, with the RotS expansion, a new 'victory condition' was introduced: Defeat the Shakturi. However, IMHO the Shakturi are badly implemented and the expansion is as such unfortunately a failure in this regard (albeit it introduces a host of very welcome features, like the new GUI and the research tree). The reason I say so is the fact that the Shakturi are ridiculously powerful compared to anyone else. What was clearly meant to happen, then, is for the whole galaxy to gang up on them to stand a chance, but because the AI doesn't 'understand' this the Shakturi slowly but surely burn down each and every AI empire - only the human-controlled one can provide any sort of serious resistance. In other words, the Shakturi 'victory condition' is, well, bugged.

What DW really needs is an expansion pack that seriously steals the great ideas from Armada 2526 and introduces unique victory conditions for each race. The Teekans, for example, score 'victory points' by having a strong economy (but none of this '% of galaxy nonsense'). The Wekkarus can win by mining resources. Zenox score by researching technology. Boskara score both through military conquest AND genocidal bombardments of alien populations. Gizureans are geared towards controlling many colonies. etc etc etc - I think you get it.

Unless such changes are made, DW is, regardless of how refined and complex it is in many areas, nothing more than one big deathmatch blob. Republic or despotism - it doesn't really matter, the objective is always to win wars.

Please Armadadize the game!
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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 3:46:07 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Hi Apheirox,

While I don't agree with your entire post, I do agree that the game would benefit from more victory conditions and the race-specific victory conditions would certainly be a great addition.

With that said, I've won the game with non-warlike races without ever going to war. It all depends on how you set the galaxy and victory conditions and what strategy you use.

Also, there are actually two new victory conditions in ROTS. You can either unite to try to defeat the Shakturi, which depending on your race can mean that you need to build up serious military might or help the other AI empires by giving them economic or technological aid, or you can join with the Shakturi and help them defeat the Ancient Guardians. Both have worked for me without playing Humans.

Regards,

- Erik

< Message edited by Erik Rutins -- 4/24/2011 3:47:01 PM >


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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 4:03:02 PM   
Apheirox

 

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Hi Erik!

Could you please explain how to set up conditions so war/map control isn't necessarily the only way to win? The way I see it you can only win by a) conquering your neighbours or b) colonizing the planets before they do. All the victory conditions revolve around controlling territory, even the 'GDP' one.

It sounds to me like you won 'peacefully' by beelining for the colonization techs and aggressively colonized the planets ahead of the AI. That's the only way to win without going to war given the current rules.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 4:21:54 PM   
bertipa

 

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Kicking the Shakaturi a$$ is not a bad way to win, granted that it is also a military victory and you have to disable the other victory conditions to get there.
Unfortunately DW is an RTS and, by definition, not really deep in planets/civilization development. Without more things to do in that direction I don't see much more ways to win as a possible development.

I have to say that without the Shakaturi end-of-times galactic war DW would be already archived in my history of strategic games corner and I would not be active here.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 4:41:46 PM   
Apheirox

 

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DW is a 4x, not an RTS. There's no reason it couldn't have a little more depth than simply 'kill your opponents'.

I take it you haven't played Armada 2526. Nor Civilization. Nor Galactic Civilizations II (another prime example of multiple victory conditions, although I positively hate that game and don't understand how people can possibly be impressed by it). It's not like having a little more 'depth' would be hard to create. DW is about as shallow as it gets, under the hood.

< Message edited by Apheirox -- 4/24/2011 4:42:13 PM >

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 5:34:10 PM   
Foraven

 

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It is possible to win the game without going through a war of conquest. For example, when your empire is thriving and with good rep, other empires colonies often join yours. Then you have colonization techs that open more and more worlds to you, and unlike the AI, you can colonize less optimal planets to boost your control. If another empire gets too big, it's always possible to break it apart with espionage (if they don't break apart on their own). In my current game, i had only a handful of wars, most of my expansion has been peaceful and my Empire is now the biggest and most developed. I haven't won yet though, there are still over a dozen other empires left and my biggest ally (that was much bigger than me) just broke into 3 empires (not my doing). If i keep this up, i'll eventually win, will just take a long time... Unless the Shaks bother to show up.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 6:00:47 PM   
Apheirox

 

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That's pretty much what I mentioned in my response to Erik. You're doing option b) - outteching the AI in colonization technology (easy, because the AI fails to prioritize these techs and also doesn't build enough research buildings in general due to reluctance to upgrade home planet space station and lack of exploration ships which translate into not finding research boosting planets and independents - the human player can easily have 5x the science rate of the AI during the first decade of the game if he upgrades his homeworld spaceport to a model that includes extra research modules to fully leverage the research potential) and aggressively colonizing (read: exploiting AI weaknesses) to claim almost all planets ahead of it.

I suppose I should rephrase my criticism. There are TWO ways to win the game: Warfare or exploitative colonization revolving around abusing AI weaknesses. It doesn't really help the picture of the game, though...

The game is screaming for not just a stronger AI (which is something I think the developers are aware of) but also more options for victory, be that economic, diplomatic, cultural, scientific or otherwise.

< Message edited by Apheirox -- 4/24/2011 6:07:19 PM >

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 6:57:27 PM   
Data


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I fully agree with Apheirox, more so now that I've revisited galciv2. But let's not forget that those games are mature ones and DW is still young with a one man dev team. There's a lot of room for improvments and improvments are coming. If we have the chance that DW will be THE 4x game than I'm willing to wait for them....untill then I'll play sandbox games with less fighting and more of everything else.
We all have tons of requests, untill we have them just launching the game and living in that universe is a great way to relax for me.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 7:04:30 PM   
Astax

 

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I am still playing my first ROTS game :/ I already love the addition of Guardians.  Its just so much awesome.  It's defiantly step in the right direction.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 7:26:50 PM   
bertipa

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Apheirox

DW is a 4x, not an RTS. There's no reason it couldn't have a little more depth than simply 'kill your opponents'.


DW is an RTS, a 4X RTS.
I'm sincerely doubtful that you will ever be able to dedicate the same time in planet building that you can with a TBS. A4X TBS.
They are different beasts.
I'm fascinated by the living galaxy feel but it came at a price.
quote:


I take it you haven't played Armada 2526. Nor Civilization. Nor Galactic Civilizations II (another prime example of multiple victory conditions, although I positively hate that game and don't understand how people can possibly be impressed by it).


I would call all the three deeply flawed if I had at least a medium flawed modern example to make a comparison.
I am more annoyed with the 'MOO2/CIV2 are the best' crowd but that is partially my fault because at the time I was not interested in pc games.

quote:


It's not like having a little more 'depth' would be hard to create. DW is about as shallow as it gets, under the hood.

RTS mechanics makes it even more difficult to deepening it but the developer seems honestly doing his best.


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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 7:56:04 PM   
Igard


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I hated the influence system used in GalCiv, but I did like being able to win the game through peacefully taking enemy systems.

What I'd like to see in DW is a diplomatic relation, where we can absorb a smaller empire into our own. Much like the Federation does in Star Trek.


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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 8:10:18 PM   
Apheirox

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Data

I fully agree with Apheirox, more so now that I've revisited galciv2. But let's not forget that those games are mature ones and DW is still young with a one man dev team.


... considering which it is a helluva lot more impressive than its competitors (especially civ 5 - huge budget and STILL they can't get the basics down). I'm not here to bash the game but to point out where the flaws lie and how to fix them. DW is a game that is extremely strong but bogged down by a few problems. I want to see that potential realized because the game deserves it. Along with improving the AI, improving the victory conditions is the single best thing the developer(s) can do for the game.

< Message edited by Apheirox -- 4/24/2011 8:12:04 PM >

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/24/2011 10:45:42 PM   
Data


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We're all on the same page but there is a trap here for Elliot in that we each think that the top priority is a different thing: either victoy conditions or diplomacy or exploration algorithm or..... The only thing we all agree on is more intelligent AI; and that's probably the most difficult of them all, go figure

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 3:28:14 AM   
MartialDoctor


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After thinking it over, I do agree with Apheirox on the victory conditions and his points.  Although, from what I've seen, I like how the Shakturi work in the game (although only seen them once).

However, even with more victory conditions, it still wouldn't change the fact that the AI fights multiple wars and doesn't tend towards alliances naturally (i.e. without bribery).

So, I agree with the OP's main point but don't agree that's it's DW's biggest problem.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 4:45:59 AM   
Apheirox

 

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I think part of the reason why the AI is so interested in getting into wars is precisely this: that there's no other way to win. So, the AI was DESIGNED to seek out wars - much like how your hawky advisors used to constantly suggest attacking 'targets of opportunity' before that was patched out and relaxed a bit.

Maybe an AI balance pass to go along with the addition of race-specific victory conditions so the Zenox won't go all blood thirsty on you but stay home with the books instead like they're supposed to?

I think it would be a lot easier to conduct diplomacy with an AI empire that was trying to win by peaceful means. So yeah, many of the issues with the AI tie in with the problem of war being the only option.

< Message edited by Apheirox -- 4/25/2011 4:50:08 AM >

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 4:50:18 AM   
cookie monster


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I was just doing some testing and an empire of 6,000 military strength DOW'd me. I am 160,000 MS.

I have 750 troops and am planning to squash them soon.

What kind of AI programming allows such rubbish.

A simple military strength comparison would stop these stupid wars. I dont think they liked the trade sanctions I had on them the AI hates a trade sanction.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 4:51:13 AM   
Apheirox

 

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That's one pretty cocky empire.

Squash 'em.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 6:50:44 AM   
Data


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quote:

I dont think they liked the trade sanctions I had on them the AI hates a trade sanction.


It should hate dying more

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 7:26:34 AM   
cookie monster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Data

quote:

I dont think they liked the trade sanctions I had on them the AI hates a trade sanction.


It should hate dying more


Nope their suicidal, I've just got my strike fleets in position I'm going in with 500 crack troopers.

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 8:45:27 AM   
Data


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500 cookie troopers you say....oh no, it's crack. So they're stoned? Ah, never mind

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 11:40:12 AM   
ehsumrell1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Data

500 cookie troopers you say....oh no, it's crack. So they're stoned? Ah, never mind


That 'logic' chip of yours needs a diagnostic Data!

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/25/2011 3:48:00 PM   
Erik Rutins

 

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Cookie Monster,

Which species/government combo was that? Some of them are hyper-aggressive by design.

Regards,

- Erik

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/26/2011 12:38:44 AM   
cookie monster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Erik Rutins

Cookie Monster,

Which species/government combo was that? Some of them are hyper-aggressive by design.

Regards,

- Erik


Haakonish with Mercantile Guild. With diabolical reputation on unstable aggression setting.




Attachment (1)

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/27/2011 11:36:12 PM   
Apheirox

 

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lol, the hyper-aggressive Haakonish... Arrogant species, alright!

Anyway, returning to topic and in response to Data:

I don't think this is a matter of 'we all have different ideas about what should be worked on'. The solution I'm requesting to the problem is a 'need to have', not a 'nice to have'. That war is the only way to win breaks the logical consistency of the game premise and as such is a major flaw. It is a huge problem that ultimately, it doesn't matter if you're psychotic Boskara or peaceful, laid-back Sekuran because regardless of your specific faction's traits, you MUST war to win. Understand? It is logically inconsistent for a game to have peaceful-based factions when war is the only option.

To explain the problem from a different angle: When war is the only way to win, it means that every special trait of each species boils down to the ability to wage war:

** You are the Boskara? You have low war weariness and a special weapon. This sets up up to wage war. <--- this one makes sense

** You are Teekans? You have strong economy bonuses. However, because you can't win economically and must wage war, you are converting your strong economy into the ability to field more warships. <--- this one doesn't make sense

** You are Sekurans? You have excellent happiness and fast growth. However, because you can't win by having a large and happy population (even if it is large, it can't become that large without conquest), you are converting your happiness and growth (income) into the ability to field more warships. <-- practically same as Teekans obviously - and doesn't make sense.

Peaceful species, you say? Sorry - there is no such thing as 'peaceful' in this game under the current rule set.

Of course, you can circumvent this issue: You can setup games with ridiculous settings, such as 'GNP must reach 5% of galaxy total'. Then it will be possible to win without going to war - but a such game will undoubtedly last less than 10 years game time, and where is the fun in that? An example along the same lines could be made for the '% population' victory condition. But, of course, this would bar you from playing any 'real' games with sensible settings - such as the entire 'quick start' option set - because these use identical % control victory conditions for GNP/colonies/population (example: 38%/38%/38%, for the 'epic' quick start scenario). In these scenarios, the only way to reach that magical 38% of either of the three condtions is conquest.

When the AI can't play a game, that game has a major problem. But when the basic rules of a game themselves are flawed, that game has a giant problem.

< Message edited by Apheirox -- 4/28/2011 12:05:12 AM >

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/28/2011 1:41:19 AM   
Foraven

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Apheirox

I don't think this is a matter of 'we all have different ideas about what should be worked on'. The solution I'm requesting to the problem is a 'need to have', not a 'nice to have'. That war is the only way to win breaks the logical consistency of the game premise and as such is a major flaw. It is a huge problem that ultimately, it doesn't matter if you're psychotic Boskara or peaceful, laid-back Sekuran because regardless of your specific faction's traits, you MUST war to win. Understand? It is logically inconsistent for a game to have peaceful-based factions when war is the only option.


Not what i'm experiencing while playing. I play Human Republic and hardly ever need to wage war, i eventually get filthy rich, have the most populated, best developped planets and an economy to boot (and colonies keep adding to my empire from defection). The only thing waging war does for me is speed up the victory i will eventually have by just outgrowing everyone. Personally i feel the war option is more tedious and annoying; unless your foes are fairly small and easy to blitz, you have to swallow them in several wars...

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/28/2011 2:29:23 AM   
MartialDoctor


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Foraven
Not what i'm experiencing while playing. I play Human Republic and hardly ever need to wage war, i eventually get filthy rich, have the most populated, best developped planets and an economy to boot (and colonies keep adding to my empire from defection). The only thing waging war does for me is speed up the victory i will eventually have by just outgrowing everyone. Personally i feel the war option is more tedious and annoying; unless your foes are fairly small and easy to blitz, you have to swallow them in several wars...


You are most likely doing what Apheirox mentioned before which was rushing colony techs and / or aggressive colonization. This he mentioned above.

And what you are doing would not be able to be done if you made the game difficult (i.e. made all of the races bigger and more advanced than you).

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/28/2011 6:01:41 AM   
Foraven

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MartialDoctor
You are most likely doing what Apheirox mentioned before which was rushing colony techs and / or aggressive colonization. This he mentioned above.


Early game i do oversee the colonization and do rush for independents, but later on mostly focus on building up my empire and making sure i have the right stuff where it's needed. I don't particularily rush colonization tech unless i have worlds i need badly.

quote:


And what you are doing would not be able to be done if you made the game difficult (i.e. made all of the races bigger and more advanced than you).


The AI won't play much differently than it does at default setting; it's just a stepper hill to climb but not much more difficult once you start catching on. And one thing the AI can't prevent you from doing is making your worlds more valuable by making sure they develop, and you can become a trade mogul despite being the smaller nation (just need well placed space stations and good diplomacy).

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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/29/2011 9:00:01 PM   
Chet Guiles

 

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I agree -- it would be great to have a set of conditions under which two empires could join together voluntarily. Maybe after so many years of joint defense, free trade agreements, similarity in governments, etc. When that includes the human player of course they would join under the human player's umbrella, but the AI could use this, too as appropriate.

That was possible in Starships Unlimited 3, though I much prefer the DW game to SSU3. Of course in SSU3 you ultimately had to squash the last remaining bugs to "win" the game, where in DW RotS you can set economic criteria, play for the heck of it, and not use the Shakturi options at all. (And a whole lot of other good things like ship design, etc., etc.)







< Message edited by Chet Guiles -- 4/29/2011 9:02:36 PM >


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RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/29/2011 9:18:24 PM   
Wade1000


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Apheirox

lol, the hyper-aggressive Haakonish... Arrogant species, alright!

Anyway, returning to topic and in response to Data:

I don't think this is a matter of 'we all have different ideas about what should be worked on'. The solution I'm requesting to the problem is a 'need to have', not a 'nice to have'. That war is the only way to win breaks the logical consistency of the game premise and as such is a major flaw. It is a huge problem that ultimately, it doesn't matter if you're psychotic Boskara or peaceful, laid-back Sekuran because regardless of your specific faction's traits, you MUST war to win. Understand? It is logically inconsistent for a game to have peaceful-based factions when war is the only option.

To explain the problem from a different angle: When war is the only way to win, it means that every special trait of each species boils down to the ability to wage war:

** You are the Boskara? You have low war weariness and a special weapon. This sets up up to wage war. <--- this one makes sense

** You are Teekans? You have strong economy bonuses. However, because you can't win economically and must wage war, you are converting your strong economy into the ability to field more warships. <--- this one doesn't make sense

** You are Sekurans? You have excellent happiness and fast growth. However, because you can't win by having a large and happy population (even if it is large, it can't become that large without conquest), you are converting your happiness and growth (income) into the ability to field more warships. <-- practically same as Teekans obviously - and doesn't make sense.

Peaceful species, you say? Sorry - there is no such thing as 'peaceful' in this game under the current rule set.

Of course, you can circumvent this issue: You can setup games with ridiculous settings, such as 'GNP must reach 5% of galaxy total'. Then it will be possible to win without going to war - but a such game will undoubtedly last less than 10 years game time, and where is the fun in that? An example along the same lines could be made for the '% population' victory condition. But, of course, this would bar you from playing any 'real' games with sensible settings - such as the entire 'quick start' option set - because these use identical % control victory conditions for GNP/colonies/population (example: 38%/38%/38%, for the 'epic' quick start scenario). In these scenarios, the only way to reach that magical 38% of either of the three condtions is conquest.

When the AI can't play a game, that game has a major problem. But when the basic rules of a game themselves are flawed, that game has a giant problem.


So. I don't see a problem with having many paths to a single or a few victory conditions. Each race has it's unique bonuses that helps them get to the victory condition their own way. Maybe that was the designers idea and you might be viewing it a different way.

Also, I've always been hesitant accepting, for role playing/lore considerations, unique or varying victory conditions and unique, race specific technologies. If your empire is great and powerful and suddenly some smaller empire mines a certain amount of minerals, reaches a certain happiness, or gains much diplomatic approval then it doesn't make sense that your empire suddenly loses and the game is over.
Thus, back to the war victory condition; unless all AI's accept your rule, which would be a good design.

Of course, if the PLAYER wins in one of those ways we often think it is just and well deserved. If an AI wins in one of those ways we might start to feel the game is not proper. Again, a design where you can choose to oppose the victory condition or require the other empire to request you submit is a good design.
Thus, if you refuse, the other empire can choose to continue competing with you or to war against you. It makes sense if your empire is comparable to them. If it is not you might just accept the loss and start over.

Apply a diplomatic victory to real life Earth. There never can be one as long as there are comparable sovereign nations competing in many ways, that refuse to submit to another authority.
Any United Nations type organization and leader will only be to help keep an extended peace among sovereign nations. Nations on Earth will continue to prepare and research for war and defense until an ultimate war confined here where some future technologies lesson nuclear weapons; or the ultimate war will be out among our stars. One possible way to avoid the ultimate war would be for one nation to race to the pie in the sky(asteroid and other planet minerals and real estate) and become so mega awesome that nations still confined on earth submit peacefully.
Wow, that could be a peaceful victory, if they ALL accept your rule. (Bee lining research and expansion. Heh) I suppose you would have to request that they each submit to you.
The other nations will still have the choices of accepting or opposing your rule. If one refuses then you have the choice to continue on competing with them having a chance to catch up or just war against them.

Similiar thoughts on unique technologies. My mega awesome empire with mega awesome research should be able to, eventually, research any advance that any other race can. Especially if it's just some other sort of missile, beam weapon, or engine.
True that some alien races could have biologies or cultures that let them have their special technology but any thing can be examined, studied, and understood with enough effort and time.
I can accept special racial bonuses to speed up research of certain technologies but not accept total restrictions to certain technologies.

I think I'm writing much of philosophy in this...heh.

< Message edited by Wade1000 -- 4/29/2011 9:25:56 PM >


_____________________________

Wish list:population centers beyond planetary(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Culture):Ships,Ring Orbitals,Sphere Orbitals,Ringworlds,Sphereworlds;ability to create & destroy planets,population centers,stars;AI competently using all advances & features.

(in reply to Apheirox)
Post #: 29
RE: The biggest problem with Distant Worlds - 4/30/2011 5:52:30 AM   
adecoy95


Posts: 420
Joined: 3/26/2010
Status: offline
global difficulty settings could go a long way to solve some problems with the ai.

sins of a solar empire is a good example of an ai that is fun to play against when its getting cheaty. i myself love playing "hold the line" games against 9 allied max difficulty ai.

something like:
hard=50% income increase
very hard= 100% income increase
insane= 100% income, ship maintenance -50%
crazy= 250% income, ship maintenance -50%, war weariness -100%, 50% increased research speed.
impossible= 300% income, ship maintenance -50%, war weariness -100%, no size restrictions, 50% increased research speed.
no, just no= 80% increased ship construction speed, no resource requirements, unlimited size restrictions, no economy demands of any kind, planets colonize with an automatic large space port.

of course, these settings should not be capturable by the player, like the shakturi homeworld bonus is

< Message edited by adecoy95 -- 4/30/2011 5:54:40 AM >

(in reply to Wade1000)
Post #: 30
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