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Sins of a Solar Empire: Trinity/Diplomacy v1.3 Journal - Part 2

The Mission System

By on June 28, 2011 1:12:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yarlen

Join Date 01/2005
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For Part 2 of our Trinity journal series, we’re going to take a look at the changes to the game’s Mission system.

Mission ScreenOne of the most requested, and in many ways most disappointing, additions in Trinity was the ability to give Missions to other players. As a design decision, we opted to make this system very flexible; unfortunately, this open-endedness meant the AI didn’t know how to evaluate if a mission was worth doing. Given that completing missions was a key requirement to gaining higher relationship values, this made the AI’s behavior more random than intentional. If a player got lucky, the AI would happen to complete a mission through sheer chance. In multiplayer, to avoid “gaming the system,” it was impossible to offer missions in locked teams; while for unlocked sessions the rewards simply weren’t worth the effort.

Our solution has been a major update of the underlying Mission system that moves from an open-ended design to a fixed one with multiple levels. In the early game, missions will now be easier to accomplish, and as your relations with other players improve, they will scale upwards and become harder. The rewards as missions scale will also increase, with bonuses automatically applied depending on how much the players’ like each other. We’ve also tweaked the allotted time for each mission, to create a balance between actually accomplishing the objective vs. time pressure to complete it. Of course, players can opt to reject missions, though they’ll take a relationship hit for doing so.


Diplomacy ScreenThe changes give the AI information it needs to evaluate missions and to decide if it will attempt to complete them or not. If an AI player doesn’t like you or feels a mission isn’t worth its effort, it will immediately reject it in the same way a human player could. If the AI decides to accept the mission, this doesn’t automatically mean that the AI will be successful, only that it will make the attempt; they can still fail the same way a human would.

We’ve also added additional mission types including destroy capital ship, destroy planet and send envoy (which you’ll only see once a Cease Fire is in place).

In the last journal for the Trinity update, we’ll go into some details on the updated Envoys and Pacts.

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June 28, 2011 3:13:27 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

We’ve also added additional mission types including destroy capital ship, destroy planet and send envoy (which you’ll only see once a Cease Fire is in place).

Looking forward to this.

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June 28, 2011 3:28:45 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Worthwhile updates!

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June 28, 2011 3:30:33 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I always found the Diplomacy tree to be a waste of resources in-game.

Maybe now it will be viable to actually research more stuff.

On to Part 3: Pacts!

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June 28, 2011 3:45:36 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I'm looking forward to this, and the Battlestar Galactica Mod being updated!

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June 28, 2011 4:06:43 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I was explaining Diplomacy to a friend today and it's really meant to be more of a mid-late game thing; with key benefits going to turtle players. 

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June 28, 2011 5:13:11 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

It'd be great if the AI, when giving missions, would give missions appropriate to the period of the game we're in - eg., to not send a mission of "kill civilian structures" when it first makes contact, and to instead focus on missions which are doable and tactically smart-ish, like a "kill ships" mission. That would be a big diplomatic improvement to the early game: currently, sometimes the missions the AI gives players are simply impossible or too stupid to complete at that stage in the game.

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June 28, 2011 6:54:48 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting KrdaxDrkrun,
I always found the Diplomacy tree to be a waste of resources in-game.

Maybe now it will be viable to actually research more stuff.

On to Part 3: Pacts!

 

I think that in SP it's quite useful. By compleing one early objective and by researching some instant relationship boost, it's easy to get a handfull of allies early on!

But, the changes sound great.

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June 28, 2011 8:02:35 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Any chance the AI will get a tweak in the use of SB's?

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June 28, 2011 9:48:38 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Wow... can't wait to test this!

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June 28, 2011 10:12:35 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Does this mean that the AI can create and break alliances with other AI? Right now they are always at war with each other.

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June 28, 2011 10:13:09 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Sounds like some great changes!

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June 28, 2011 10:21:48 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yarlen,

How much of these new diplomacy tweaks will be modable? In particular for the B5 mod we are looking at using the tech tree to unlock levels of diplomacy rather than having all available at the start. This is particulary necessary for the First Ones as they are overpowered early on and need controls to slow down war like behavior as a balancing mechanism. In particular that mod needs to be able to freeze diplomacy at a ceasefire level or better until the appropriate tech unlocks more diplomatic options.

Darvroth

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June 29, 2011 5:11:22 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I wouldn't expect this to change that. Besides, there's almost no difference between a cease fire and a peace treaty, anyways.

 

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June 29, 2011 8:22:39 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I'm really looking forward to this ! I never bothered to look into diplomacy, I tried it once or twice and found it rather useless  compared to using raw power or full defence (my favorite).

Since I'm a turtle player, taking my time to develop myself, researching and defending myself heavily before I have a very nice attack fleet with these new changes, I might get even slower and put more effort in diplomacy and missions now

I really love those changes, they look like they will be really interesting and more oriented towards manipulation !

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June 29, 2011 8:33:44 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

sorry but I really do not think not completing a mission should impact negatively on relations. Missions generally divert resources from playing the game the way I want to play. The missions generally have no meaning for the AI either... they give them but unlike a human do not really have any designs or strategy to really need the mission completed.


I think missions should have a positive impact when completed but not a negative one when not. This prevents the player running around like a headless chicken playing the game the way the AI wants to play just so the AI ally does not turn on him/her.

If relations are to be impacted it should not be in a way that leads them to break alliance with the enemy. Most players would be nuts to ever break an alliance with a player unless they intended to attack or another player requested\bribed it.

Perhaps have a second relations bar that relates to "military co-operation/liason" which indicates how likely an ally is to help you with military aid in missions and player given orders to the AI. If you barely help or do missions for the AI they likelwise will not do the same missions or help (attack here orders for instance) for you. They will not be influenced to break alliance with you.

This will give the added benifit to a human that if they concentrate on missions and calls for help they will have virtual command of that AIs fleet when they need it... if the AI is not committed too heavily on a front of its own.

You see at the moment i find it especially annoying that late game when you are doing a billion things and concentrating on strategic placement of fleets in battles that the AI requests some stupid backwater mission diverting crucial assets away from the main push.

 

Alternatively tone the impact down... so the AI does not chuck a tanty every time they do not get help on the other side of the known universe over some useless rock! 

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June 29, 2011 11:38:37 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting XBWillem,

Quoting KrdaxDrkrun, reply 3

I always found the Diplomacy tree to be a waste of resources in-game.

Maybe now it will be viable to actually research more stuff.

On to Part 3: Pacts!

 

I think that in SP it's quite useful. By compleing one early objective and by researching some instant relationship boost, it's easy to get a handfull of allies early on!

But, the changes sound great.

But here's the thing, I DON'T play single player.

It bored me once I found that I could beat Unfair quite easily, Cruel hurt too much and got too insane, and Vicious was well out of my skill range.

I'm a support team player, I don't like single player.

Maybe now I can support my teammates with Diplomacy, IDK.

Good luck Iron/Dock.

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June 29, 2011 12:38:27 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

We’ve also added additional mission types including destroy capital ship, destroy planet and send envoy (which you’ll only see once a Cease Fire is in place)

The send Envoy is a good mission type.

Another mission type I would like to see is Deploy Star Base.

 

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June 29, 2011 12:40:47 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Agreed.

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June 29, 2011 1:42:00 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Yeah that is a good suggestion Zombies, and the Send Envoy improvement is welcome as well.

While I don't disagree with the inclusion of missions, there have been many problems with the design up to this version.  My basic issue with them is that the player profits from them while the AI does not.  As the player, my acts in the game, my destruction of structures or ships, will often complete some AIs mission and I will get a boost not available to the AI.  Also, as the player I can propose a truce despite the AI's failure to establish a high relationship level with me, so the player need not offer missions to the AI for diplomatic purposes.  This means that the mission system heavily favours the player.

Also, I have difficulties with the way the missions are initiated.  I would be happier if the default position was that you rejected the mission.  If within the time allotted you choose to accept the mission, then you could get a relations boost, with a further boost for completion or a huge loss for failure.  As it is the rejection of a mission seems to involve very little cost and failure is not that important, however my main difficulty is the passive manner in which you can ignore the missions screen and still profit from it.

The AI should get some sort of bonus in AI-AI relations for the absence of missions, a bonus that would be unavailable to the player.  Then you could scale that with hard/cruel/vicious etc so that the AI gets hard/cruel/vicious diplomatic advantages.  Two vicious AIs fighting each other constantly are no more a problem for a player than two normal AIs fighting each other constantly.

While I agree with the emphasis placed by Destraex on alliances, I just don't experience the game in the same way.  What seems far more likely is that failure to complete a mission might deprive the player of a desired pact temporarily, rather than jeopardise an entire alliance.  Far too much of the available 'range' of diplomatic relationships is devoted to pacts and far too little to peace/war, the fundamental and by far the most important relationship.  I'm not opposed to allies making demands that seem to the player to divert from a 'main effort.'  I presume that players don't play single player games with two or more allied victors? 

Would it be asking for too much to require the AI to achieve appropriate levels of influence with the player for a truce to be possible?  That would mean, to get to a truce, the player might have to design missions which the AI decides it wants to achieve.  Of course, if you offer a mission against a faction you would lose influence with them.

However, whatever is done with missions (and pacts), the three basic elements of strategy have to be strong in diplomacy.  The AI has to desire territory proximate to its existing territory, so that the owners of that territory find it difficult to build relations.  The AI has to be prepared to cooperate with other factions against the leading military and economic factions.  Finally, the Diplomatic Victory needs to take account of the current state of the game, rather than the previous states of the game.  As I've stated before, I would prefer this to be changed entirely, to an Artifact Victory, it makes much more sense.  If you collect all the Ancient Alien Technologies in the game you can combine them into a super-technology, the Dimensional Cascades, that means certain victory.  That would both shorten the game and be far less sudden and arbitrary.  

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June 29, 2011 8:17:53 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

One little thing I notice is that often when the game starts, all the AIs seem to randomly yet collectively decide they don't like 1 empire, Now, sometimes I abide by this "council's" decisions and attack the pariah to take their planets and get mission rewards, or sometimes I ally with them, depending on my position and goals.

However, I like the idea of having them decide who they like and don't like based on their position, as a human might, as Des suggested (e.g. try to have 1 ally next to them and someone else close that they can easily attack), and to a lesser extent their faction. Different alliance and positioning strategies could be part the AI "personality" types (aggressor/researcher/etc).  The ability to spot defensible choke-points and high-value planets might also play into their decisions on who to attack ("our alliance has been fun but I want that terran world as the gateway to my empire"). 

Ideally, this should not always result in a 2 v 2 v 2... match up, but hopefully would get a little chaotic with empires getting squeezed sometimes, depending on the relationship web and who does their diplomatic research.  This might add some urgency to get in the diplomatic game early so eventually, everyone doesn't turn against you (unless you want to take them all on, in which case, pour your money into weapons and ships).

I also like the idea of AI's teaming up to take down the big dog and also perhaps more powerful empires making demands of the smaller ones (if they aren't already at war).

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June 29, 2011 8:41:29 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting DesConnor,
Also, I have difficulties with the way the missions are initiated. I would be happier if the default position was that you rejected the mission. If within the time allotted you choose to accept the mission, then you could get a relations boost, with a further boost for completion or a huge loss for failure. As it is the rejection of a mission seems to involve very little cost and failure is not that important, however my main difficulty is the passive manner in which you can ignore the missions screen and still profit from it.

This needs to happen! Not only does it make more sense, but it allows players who WANT to ignore the mission screen do so. My main complaint is that the AI will spam missions even if I've already maxed out the mission bonus and are allied with them or if I've already been fighting a bloody war with them for a while and have no intention on listening to anything they say. On large games I have to spend a ridiculous amount of time just rejecting missions after I have my diplomatic position worked out. Granted the AI needs to continue to offer missions in case your Diplomatic inclinations change, but choosing to accept missions is a much more convenient and less time consuming system.

Quoting DesConnor,
The AI should get some sort of bonus in AI-AI relations for the absence of missions, a bonus that would be unavailable to the player. Then you could scale that with hard/cruel/vicious etc so that the AI gets hard/cruel/vicious diplomatic advantages. Two vicious AIs fighting each other constantly are no more a problem for a player than two normal AIs fighting each other constantly.

Yeah, well two vicious AI ganging up on the player is also a huge difficulty spike. I'm not saying your point isn't valid, but I don't want to go back to the pre-Diplomacy system where the AI were more likely to gang up on the player than anything else if not on locked teams.

Quoting DesConnor,
While I agree with the emphasis placed by Destraex on alliances, I just don't experience the game in the same way. What seems far more likely is that failure to complete a mission might deprive the player of a desired pact temporarily, rather than jeopardise an entire alliance. Far too much of the available 'range' of diplomatic relationships is devoted to pacts and far too little to peace/war, the fundamental and by far the most important relationship. I'm not opposed to allies making demands that seem to the player to divert from a 'main effort.' I presume that players don't play single player games with two or more allied victors?

Err, are you saying you want failing a single mission to result in an alliance being terminated? That certainly doesn't seem reasonable.

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June 29, 2011 10:49:54 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting DesConnor,
Also, I have difficulties with the way the missions are initiated.  I would be happier if the default position was that you rejected the mission.
Suggested, got told they'd have to rewite more of the system then they have time to do.

 

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June 29, 2011 11:40:06 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Quoting ZombiesRus5,
The send Envoy is a good mission type.

Another mission type I would like to see is Deploy Star Base.

completely agree.  These are great ideas imo. 

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June 30, 2011 1:01:52 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

I'd like to see a diplomatic level akin to aggressive neutrality. Will not fire unless fired upon, in own territory, or someone elses.

Darvroth

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June 30, 2011 1:50:55 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Darvroth,
I'd like to see a diplomatic level akin to aggressive neutrality. Will not fire unless fired upon, in own territory, or someone elses.

Darvroth

In other words, a cease fire, which is nullified if fired upon?

Isn't that already an option?

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