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Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity/Diplomacy v1.3 Journal - Part 1

Rethinking Diplomacy

By on June 22, 2011 9:58:40 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yarlen

Join Date 01/2005
+194

Since releasing the version 1.2 update for Sins: Trinity/Diplomacy, a lot of work has gone into a substantial redesign of its gameplay. When we first released Trinity last year, we’d overhauled the diplomatic and relationship systems in the hopes of giving players the ability to be a virtual puppetmaster that would make Machiavelli proud.  Unfortunately, we fell short of that design goal, and while a number of good improvements did pan out, the diplomatic aspects ended up feeling pretty lackluster.

While diving deep into a redesign of Trinity’s additions, it became apparent that a number of areas needed to be rethought including: pacts being too mundane or exclusionary to some races, the AI not factoring relations into decisions better, basic envoy abilities that were not useful, and a mission system that the AI couldn’t cope with. In this three part journal series, I’m going to go over some of the major changes that will be included in the upcoming version 1.3 update.



Rethinking Diplomacy

Relationships

At the core of Trinity’s diplomatic system is its relationship factors, a series of categories that let you know what affect your actions have on the galaxy and what other players think of you. This system works quite well, but can be subject to wild swings that make no sense: players may be well liked one moment by another faction, only to be hated the next. Similarly, it can be difficult to gain enough relationship with another faction to access any of the pact bonuses.

To improve the relations system, we took a harder look at each factor and what was included as part of its value. For starters, Racial Inclination (which indicates how much each faction likes one another at the start of a game) has been made a bit broader - even between factions of the same race. Additionally, Military Actions are now updated constantly and based more on what a player is destroying (i.e., frigate vs capital ship vs planet). In fact, destroying a player’s enemies is now a sure way to make them like you. Diplomatic Actions has been changed substantially too, so that it will now look at a player’s entire web of relationships. In game terms, this means that each player will look at who your friends and enemies are, and weigh that information accordingly, which should lead to some good rivalries.

In the next journal article, I’ll go over the changes to the Mission system that Sins uses and how the AI will look at missions differently.

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June 22, 2011 10:21:20 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

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June 22, 2011 10:28:43 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

sounds really sweeet

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June 22, 2011 11:07:47 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I'm glad that the diplomacy AI is getting a look over.

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June 22, 2011 12:12:07 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Now the game will get more re-interesting. a chance of me re-playing this game since I kinda slow down.

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June 22, 2011 12:51:32 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Huzzah!!! I would love the AI to ally up on their own in v1.3 so I could actually play alliances off each other.

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June 22, 2011 1:17:40 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

About time, at least the devs know that their diplomacy system isn't living up to the hype.

On a related note, DesConner is going to be even more pleased.

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June 22, 2011 1:48:27 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Great to see the diplomacy system getting renovated.  I echo boshimi's sentiment of hoping AI teams will form their own alliances.  Also (and I don't know if you will actually answer questions) will the process of the AI evaluating your allies make them more likely to ally with each other?  It always bugged me that you could be close allies with X and Y but they would still be at war with each other.

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June 22, 2011 1:51:24 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Diplomatic Actions has been changed substantially too, so that it will now look at a player’s entire web of relationships. In game terms, this means that each player will look at who your friends and enemies are, and weigh that information accordingly, which should lead to some good rivalries.

You mean I won't be able to ally with all the players in the game and just let them fight it out. No!!!

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June 22, 2011 2:53:52 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Wow, Awesome, I wasn't expecting another update after 1.21 ! That's awesome !!!!

I'm in a hurry to hear more about changes ! Stardock and Co. are truly amazing !

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June 22, 2011 3:27:55 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Retsof90,
Great to see the diplomacy system getting renovated.  I echo boshimi's sentiment of hoping AI teams will form their own alliances.  Also (and I don't know if you will actually answer questions) will the process of the AI evaluating your allies make them more likely to ally with each other?  It always bugged me that you could be close allies with X and Y but they would still be at war with each other.

It depends on how things play out in the game, since it's based on a number of factors. But if two players both hate you and like each other enough besides, they will probably both try to kill you as they grow closer in relationship. 

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June 22, 2011 4:07:22 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

sounds pretty sweet

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June 22, 2011 6:02:39 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

This looks like it will really change thing's in preparation for Rebellion. I also wonder while were on the pact subject are you thinking of spiecial pacts for the Rebel factions in the up coming rebellion

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June 23, 2011 12:03:00 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I noticed when I'd be allied with an AI I'd be off killing 2 other races while it would continue to send pitiful fleets to their deaths, then I would become hated because I wouldn't support a dumb idea. Moreover, the AI had issues following simple instructions such as attack and defend, it appeared to act sluggishly if at all, lending to the defense of planets that have have already been lost. Will the new patch address any of these issues?

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June 23, 2011 1:55:16 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Great news guys!

[e digicons]:')[/e]   

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June 23, 2011 1:17:11 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Wraith767,
I noticed when I'd be allied with an AI I'd be off killing 2 other races while it would continue to send pitiful fleets to their deaths, then I would become hated because I wouldn't support a dumb idea. Moreover, the AI had issues following simple instructions such as attack and defend, it appeared to act sluggishly if at all, lending to the defense of planets that have have already been lost. Will the new patch address any of these issues?

It'll depend on how much the AI likes you and the other player. If you're allied with the AI and it hates the other guy, it'll try to do what you ask. If the AI likes the other guy too, it probably won't (though the new system makes it harder for this to occur).  Essentially when the AI decides it will do something, it puts that into its mission stack and will try to accomplish the task when it can/if it can.  This has been changed a bit so that the AI will weight player requests higher the more they like them.

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June 23, 2011 2:31:44 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yarlen, thanks for the update we have all been waiting for. I'm looking foward to the new update. Thanks for the continued support guys!

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June 23, 2011 2:47:10 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

While diving deep into a redesign of Trinity’s additions, it became apparent that a number of areas needed to be rethought including: pacts being too mundane or exclusionary to some races, the AI not factoring relations into decisions better, basic envoy abilities that were not useful, and a mission system that the AI couldn’t cope with. In this three part journal series, I’m going to go over some of the major changes that will be included in the upcoming version 1.3 update.

I'm looking forward to seeing what will change with pacts and envoy's and how it will affect multiplayer usage.

From a modding perspective any chance we can get some filler pacts for mods that add more than three races?

Thanks for the update and looking forward to the next updates!

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June 23, 2011 11:35:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Hey Stardock team. Just wanted you to all know that I just bought a new gaming notebook in anticipation of Rebellion. This is the second time I've upgraded my laptop, pretty much just for sins. 

 

To the rest of you on the forums. I have a project I'm putting together in light of the final space shuttle launch this July 8th called Chasing Atlantis you may be interested in. It's a short documentary road-trip-style film I'm doing with an indie film studio. If you're interested, check us out at www.chasingatlantis.com If you like what you see, follow us on Twitter, join the FB page, or our YouTube Channel. 

Cheers

-Cepheid

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June 24, 2011 4:08:20 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Thanks

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June 24, 2011 4:15:31 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Question. How often will these journals be posted and whats the ETA of v1.3?

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June 24, 2011 8:21:26 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yea im looking forward to interesting pacts and better envoys too. Perhaps their supply cost will come down a little as well? (unless they are buffed or their abilities are re-vamped considerably)

The pirate overhaul made single player a fair bit more fun for those of us who love free-for-all smash ups against the AI, but I think this will be even better. Btw Yarlen, you guys mentioned that a fix to the Domina (channeling abilities) could be on the table a while back, will this get done in a similar time frame? Or may come with Rebellion/one of its patches? 

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June 24, 2011 10:22:29 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Wraith767,
Question. How often will these journals be posted and whats the ETA of v1.3?

The next two will be published next week, with the patch tentatively scheduled for after July 4th.  We're spending the next week or so getting the balance correct because so much as changed (and there's quite a few gameplay modes to consider).

 

Quoting rowanlad,
Yea im looking forward to interesting pacts and better envoys too. Perhaps their supply cost will come down a little as well? (unless they are buffed or their abilities are re-vamped considerably)

The pirate overhaul made single player a fair bit more fun for those of us who love free-for-all smash ups against the AI, but I think this will be even better. Btw Yarlen, you guys mentioned that a fix to the Domina (channeling abilities) could be on the table a while back, will this get done in a similar time frame? Or may come with Rebellion/one of its patches? 

Both supply cost and build time have been reduced substantially.  The upcoming dev journals will delve into the Envoys new abilities, the updated Pacts and more. 

The Domina fix is still pending. Not sure yet if that will be in the Trinity patch, but it will be in Rebellion.

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June 24, 2011 12:23:03 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Good news on a Friday. Thanks Yarlen! This is a great way to head into the weekend!

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June 24, 2011 1:16:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

This is indeed good news.  Will there be a beta phase for 1.3, because I'd be more than happy to beta the changes for you, especially as you might not have that large a beta team available?

What the AI needs to do more than anything else is to be able to form a stop-the-leader alliance, which is the first concept I'd test for in the new version.  It also needs some strategic sense as to what alliances are in its favour, which the proximity modifier might be useful to control, if it was working properly.  Allowing the AI a clearer concept of who its friends are is very welcome, but even more it needs a sense of where its strategic advantages lie.  The Tsar and the French Republic were allies, as were the Americans and Louis XVI.. yet the French had invaded Russia far more recently than the Germans, while the Americans and British had only just concluded a successful war against the French. N'est-ce pas?

The Diplomatic Victory needs a major rework, some means to identifying won games to make them shorter is very welcome but as it is the Diplomatic Victory identifies past game states as more important than current game states, which makes it seem very arbitrary.  I've often argued that the exploration element of Sins was underused and could be utilised to play the important role in a Diplomatic Victory, much like the 'artifact victory' of popular RTS  games like Age of Empires 2.  I'd urge you to at least consider this option.

I'll have a look at my notes on relations over the weekend.  I hadn't played the game for a while until the last patch, as lag was affecting my MP games too badly and there didn't seem much point in SP.  However, MP has improved since the server was checked and I've had a few games without lag.  Well done, I hope that as much can be achieved for the SP game.  

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June 25, 2011 1:04:31 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Yarlen,
Both supply cost and build time have been reduced substantially. The upcoming dev journals will delve into the Envoys new abilities, the updated Pacts and more.

 

I hope not too much reduced.  In multiplayer, the first team to fleet supply pact usually wins.  If you make it so the economy guy never has to increase fleet supply to get it, then the game will end very quickly and may not be fair to the other team that may not have an economy player (or TEC for that matter).  I guess I'll wait until the next journal entry, but balancing this will be delicate.

 

Also, will there be any love to the random map generator?  In this thread:  http://forums.sinsofasolarempire.com/327283 , Blair Fraizer ackowledged it would (reply #3), but it never has.

Quoting Blair Fraser,
-Map generator problem is too complicated for the remaining time alotted for 1.1. Its not as simple as guaranteeing one asteroid connection + num lanes. It'll likely get more attention in the one of the expansions (which really isn't that far away).

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