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Stellaris Dev Diary #57: Species Rights

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today's dev diary is going to be a meaty one, covering several new features in the 1.5 'Banks' update, as well as some paid features coming in the (unannounced) expansion accompanying Banks. Please note that because of some sickness, we're a little behind in the interface department, so the interface graphics shown today are placeholders and not what will be in the final product.

Species Rights (Free Feature)
The big new feature we'll be talking about today is Species Rights. Previously, what rights your species had were controlled through a set of policies that could only discriminate between 'your founder species' and 'everyone else'. We felt that this was an area in need of more granularity, both to make playing a multispecies empire more interesting and also to create more of a sense of distinction between your pops. Thus, in Banks, it will now be possible to individually determine the rights and obligations of each species in your empire. In addition to setting rights for a species currently in your empire, you can also set rights for species outside your empire (for example granting species you would like to attract to your empire via migration Full Citizenship and a good living standard) and have a default set of rights that is applied to any species you have not specifically configured the rights for.

The most fundamental status of a species in your empire is Citizenship. Citizenship is the overall set of rights and privileges given to a species: Whether they are free or unfree, whether they can participate in the political processes of the country, what restrictions can be placed on them and even whether they have the right to live in your empire at all. In addition to rights and obligations, citizenship also affects Pops' migration attraction: A Pop that is currently enjoying Full Citizenship is unlikely to move to another empire where their rights would be curtailed, and Pops living under second-class citizen conditions are more likely to move somewhere that promises them a better life.
  • Full Citizenship: Species with full citizenship are fully integrated populations in your empire. They have the right to vote in democracies and can become leaders of all types. You are also forbidden from enacting population controls on them.
  • Caste System: Species with a caste system have a mix of full citizenship and slavery, with pops working in the farms and mines being enslaved and the rest being free to enjoy the fruits of the serfs' labor.
  • Limited Citizenship: Species with limited citizenship are tolerated but not integrated populations in your empire. While not enslaved, their right to vote and stand for political office is curtailed, and you can place population restrictions on them and restrict them from being able to settle on your core worlds (more on that below).
  • Slaves: Species with this setting are all enslaved without exception. They have no rights whatsoever and live under the most squalid of conditions.
  • Undesirables: Undesirables are species that you do not wish to exist in your empire. Depending on your purge policy this can either mean that you mean that you target them for extermination, or just try to drive them off from your worlds (more on that below).

Military Service is the martial obligations placed on this species by your empire. It can range from allowing Full Military Service as both soldiers and officers, allowing you to recruit generals and admirals from the species even if they would normally not be allowed to be leaders (for example due to Limited Citizenship) all the way down to a full exemption from all military service.

Living Standards represents how economically favored a population is, for example whether they benefit from social welfare or have restrictions placed on what kinds of occupations they can be employed in. The higher the living standards of a Pop is, the more Consumer Goods it will use, and the happier it will be (more on Consumer Goods below).

Migration Controls determines whether a species is allowed to freely migrate between worlds or not. Restrictions on migrations are always in place for slaves and pops that are being purged.

Population Controls determines whether a species is allowed to grow its population or not. Species with population control will not grow new pops, but neither will their existing pops die off.

In addition to determining what a species is able to do, species rights will also affect a variety of other factors such as happiness and consumer goods (for example, Pops are generally not very pleased about being enslaved or having population controls placed on them). Different factions in your empire will also have different preferences for what species rights you employ, such as Authoritarian pops liking Caste Systems and Supremacist factions being less than happy with granting Full Citizenship to aliens.
2017_01_19_1.png


Purge and Slavery Types (Paid Feature)
In addition to the free species rights given to everyone in the Banks update, there is also a paid element, namely the special Purge and Slavery policies that allows you define in which manner your empire utilizes slavery and purging vis-a-vis specific species. The default options (Chattel Slavery and Extermination) are always available even without the expansion, and those without the expansion can also make use of Displacement via a policy, but the rest are only for expansion owners.

The slavery types are as follows:
  • Chattel Slavery: This represents forced labor on a massive scale. Chattel Slaves have a bonus to food and mineral production and a large penalty to energy/science production and under a Caste System all Pops producing Minerals and Food will be enslaved.
  • Domestic Servitude: This represents a combination of plantation slavery and indentured servitude. Domestic Servants have no boost to any resource production and a small penalty to mineral/energy/science production, but increase the happiness of all non-enslaved citizen pops on the planet.
  • Battle Thralls: This represents a system of enforced martial serfdom. Battle Thralls have no boost to any resource production and a moderate penalty to energy/science production, but armies recruited from them are stronger.
  • Livestock: This represents a species that is regularly culled to be used as food. Livestock produce a fixed number of extra food, but are completely unable to produce any other kind of resource.
The purge types are as follows:
  • Extermination: The species is systemically killed off by any means available. This is the fastest form of purging, but pops subject to it are unable to produce any resources while they are busy dying off.
  • Displacement: The species is driven away through the use of forced resettlement and destruction of their homes. Displaced pops will not be killed, but rather will attempt to flee the empire to other, more welcoming empires, and might even try to settle uncolonized planets. This process is slow, but generates less outrage among other empires than the other forms of purging.
  • Forced Labor: The species is placed in camps and forced to do hard labor under brutal conditions with inadequate food and shelter, effectively working them to death. Pops doing Forced Labor will be killed off more slowly than through extermination, but will continue to produce minerals, food and (at a significant penalty) energy.
  • Processing: The species is processed into food for the consumption of other Pops. Pops being Processed generate a fixed amount of food and die off at a fairly fast pace, but cannot be put to use producing any other resources.
  • Neutering: The species is prevented from reproducing through chemical castration or biological modification, eventually dying off naturally. Neutered Pops continue to function normally and may even be given a high standard of life, but have a large penalty to their happiness. The speed at which they die off varies based on the species' natural lifespan, but is typically very slow.
2017_01_19_3.png


Consumer Goods (Free Feature)
Another issue we're trying to tackle in Banks is mineral inflation. Mineral production has a tendency to snowball in the mid- and lategame, particularly in large, sprawling empires. In order to address this we've introduced a new mineral cost called Consumer Goods. Consumer Goods represents the portion of your industrial base that is occupied with seeing to the needs of your population, ie producing butter instead of guns. Each Pop in your empire will use a certain amount of Consumer Goods each month, with the amount primarily dependent on their living standards. Each unit of consumer goods costs a certain number of minerals dependening on factors such as ethics, traditions, whether your empire is engaged in a defensive war and so on.
2017_01_19_4.png


Refugees and Core Worlds (Free Feature)
The last thing we'll be covering today is some new policies that tie into the mechanics of species rights. The Core Worlds Population policy determines which Pops are allowed to live on your core (non-sector) planets, and can be set to either allow only citizen Pops (Full Citizenship/Caste System), citizen and slave Pops (Full Citizenship/Caste System/Slaves) or open them up to all species. If you restrict your core worlds and there are prohibited Pops living there, they will move away, either migrating to your sectors or fleeing your empire altogether if there is another empire willing to take them. It is also possible for Pops that are enslaved or targeted for extermination to escape your empire, particularly if there is an influential Xenophile faction that is helping them flee.

Whether or not another empire is willing to accept those fleeing purges, slavery and resettlement depends on your Refugees policy. You can choose to accept other species will open arms, allowing refugee Pops to freely move into your empire, be more restrictive and accept only those Pops you have deigned to grant citizenship, or simply shut down acceptance of refugees altogether.
2017_01_19_2.png


Right, that's all for today! Next week we'll be talking about something I know a lot of people have been wanting for some time: Orbital Habitats. Don't miss it.
 
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@Wiz
I think there should be a sort of middle ground on the "turn them into food" option like only the old, sick or injured get processed and everyone else still works but at a penalty.

i don't know about you but i would never eat an animal that was sick. old and injured though fare game.
 
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i don't know about you but i would never eat an animal that was sick. old and injured though fare game.
There are many carnivores in nature that specifically target the sick over the healthy due to the very fact they're far easier to target, isolate, and then kill.
 
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Tigey

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@Wiz

Will there be some new AI empire personalities to accompany some of the changes made here?

Eg. Gluttonous Harvesters - A species dedicated to gathering as many live 'resources' as they can

Passionate Carers - Empires who wish to attract the best and brightest from other species and welcome them into our own

Peaceful Isolationists - Wishing the best for their people, they will do everything they can to make their empire miserable for foreign entities

etc etc

I'd definitely like to see a couple more AI personalities added (and existing ones tweaked) to take into account the 1.5 changes - some of the new features (like eating pops, degrees of slavery, etc) which don't fit neatly under any/many existing personalities, and might need their own distinct ones to be used effectively.
 
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@Wiz
Everything looks very promising but I am not sure about the consumer goods. These upkeep costs are already very frustrating to deal with, especially with the energy upkeep of ships, thus you always focus all your sectors on energy as it is always the bottleneck.
Seems like a fair trade off. You raise the living standards of people to make them happier. But at a cost. If you don't want to pay for it, let them stay poorer.

This also has nice interactions during wars. When wars drag on too long and/or are too costly, you might need to downgrade your people's living conditions. Which is exactly what happens in real life.
 
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@Wiz
It's good that there is option to prevent certain aliens from moving to your coreworlds, but I'd take it step further.

You could add an option to designate a planet a "preserve", where ONLY single specific species could live. This would override any other policies, so even full citizen couldn't live there unless of proper species, and even undesirables would be permitted to stay there if correct species, and as long as would do so, would be non-purgeable.

So, one could designate all owned 25 Gaia worlds preserves for his primary species (and keep xenos out), and some conquered alien world would be designated preserves of their respective natives, so they're all kept separate and under tight control.
 
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This all looks great but the most pressing need of the game is more military options, more interesting sieges/armies and much more detailed options for peace negotiations and war score. I highlighted some ideas in a previous post. Here are the highlights:

Some type of system is needed to make warfare more dynamic. Fleets could have supply storage (part of making ship design deeper) that would let them range freely for a time. Ships would automatically regenerate supplies in friendly territory to cut down on micromanagement, but when in enemy space a string of supply ships would automatically trickle in from the nearest friendly starbase or planet (Each fleet would simply have a button to turn this feature on or off. Much like in HOI, logistic capability can/should be limited either through having a maximum amount of supply ships or by having them spawn at a limited rate, thereby making their use calculated.) This would allow weaker empires to play a defensive game by intercepting supply lines while bogging down superior enemy fleets and armies. Combined with the trade mechanics, it would add a lot of strategic depth. Players could design ships with a lot of supply storage for the purposes of striking deep into enemy territory while short-range combat focused fleets hammered away at the front-line. All of this could combine with the espionage mechanics when keeping track of enemy fleets. Ideally, this would encourage several types of ship designs and fleet compositions: Fast, lightly armed raiders for disrupting trade and supply lines, slow troop transports/bombardment groups designed to fight planetary sieges, and heavily armed hunter-killer groups that track down and destroy enemy fleets. All these features would encourage more ship designs, more thought about fleet composition, and emphasize different strategies and philosophies on waging war. I am aware that this is very ambitious, especially on the AI design side.

I also propose adding trade ship with actual importance. Trade centers could be built either in star bases, on planet surface tiles, or asteroids. Alternatively, trade ships could automatically be generated between worlds producing energy and even automatically move excess food. This would improve the importance of blockades during wartime, as important food importing worlds could be cut off and starved out. Migrant populations could even be assigned these npc ships so that they could potentially be intercepted during wartime. You could also have the option of raiding other empires for profit without declaring war.

This would lead to strategic decisions about how to wage war? Slog it out against defended perimeter systems in order to build up forward bases and supply, or boldly strike into the heart of enemy empires to disrupt trade and rob them of vital resources? These are the kind of decisions I think grand strategy games are built for and which players really crave.

Armies are an aspect of the game that is currently incredibly shallow, but with a lot of room for improvement and depth. Invasions could be a built-in mini-game (as much as I hate that term). Planets wouldn't fall as quickly and armies would be tied to planetary tiles. Defenders without an army on that tile could still fight with the base population (with awful combat stats, but maybe improved based on traits). Different armies and attachments would be good at different terrain types and maybe buildings could add an urban element. This would force players to build different army types to go against different planets. Tile blockers could also be interesting here. Mountains could provide defense bonuses, active volcanoes and aggressive wild-life could inflict attrition. A combination of these features would make ground combat much more important. Invasions could conquer parts of planets but get bogged down in difficult terrain for example. This mechanic could also be used for planetary uprisings when some pops turn hostile and duke it out on the planet map. This would also give us the opportunity to have some neat 2d models for different army types. Simple mechs, hover tanks, or giant aliens would give a lot more personality to an otherwise stale part of the game.

Edit: I do love all the effort that has gone into improving the game. I don't want that sentiment to get lost in my criticisms, it is just that, for me, the biggest issue right now is the complete lack of depth on the warfare and military side of the game. I'm not sure why this post is getting hate...
 
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i don't know about you but i would never eat an animal that was sick. old and injured though fare game.

You're going to much in detail. For the game mechanics they just produce food. Then you can invent your own story behind that.

Like they are used to produce high valued hams that are aged several years before going on the dishes of the nobles.
Or they are just thrown alive in the grinder, stuffed in a pot and then used as a cheap way to fed the other slaves.
 
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Te. Kenzo

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Other than consumer goods and supremacists factions, what are other backdraws of give to much rights around?
 

madprofmike

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Liking what i'm seeing from the Devs thumbs up!!

question: with this i will have more control of my pops in my empire, but how much control will i have over "Social Engineering"?
example: i have conquered or integrated a species that i like (and don't or can't enslave and want them as a full citizen of my empire) but their ethics are no where close to mine, will i be able to "re-educate" them to my ethics??
much like i can genetically engineer them, but focused on ethics instead??
 

ross-g

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Under Caste System pops are automatically enslaved if they work certain jobs. Originally the design was that a certain % would be enslaved, but that turned out to be a huge hassle to manage, and getting rid of micro of slavery/purge is an important objective with these changes.

@Wiz How does this interplay with the current options to let Sectors enslave/free pops, or is that being removed in favour of simply setting species rights to control enslavement?
 

Wizzington

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@Wiz How does this interplay with the current options to let Sectors enslave/free pops, or is that being removed in favour of simply setting species rights to control enslavement?

Sectors no longer get any kind of say over who's enslaved and purged.
 
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hsuzy1987

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Two things I'd like to add:

Full Citizenship: Species with full citizenship are fully integrated populations in your empire. They have the right to vote in democracies and can become leaders of all types.
(emphasis mine)

Happy though I am to see more control over what role a given species plays in my empire, I do hope this doesn't mean that a full citizenship species can become an empire's leader in autocratic governments. I refer in particular to monarchies and divine mandates, where it gets a little harder to headcanon away the odd sight of a multi-species royal family. In theocratic autocracies, it may be a case where the divine word is deemed only to be given to one species alone (see Halo's Covenant for reference).


Consumer goods:
As for the introduction of consumer goods, I think it's a good, logical way to tackle mineral inflation. I'd go one step further though, and require factories to be built on worlds to convert (raw) minerals to said goods, and maybe even require these to have inputs of food. I'd make them relatively inefficient to start with, but give hefty adjacency bonuses to each other or have a separate building (much like the power hubs) that does that. In addition, I reckon they should be relatively expensive to upgrade too.

My first reason for this would be flavour (and yes, you can probably tell I'm that kind of player). It makes sense that civilisations would have certain planets functioning as industrial hubs, as befits empires that need to manufacture goods for a population numbering in the tens of billions. Intuitively, you need that economy of scale to make it feasible. But I see a number of gameplay benefits to these changes too. These worlds would also be coveted given the difficulty in building them up, and would be prime targets during war, and might go some way in helping to encourage fleet splitting to defend them.

Making food a required input (perhaps in smaller quantities than minerals) also makes sense to me in that higher standards of living do see greater consumption of food, often luxury foods, beyond what is required for subsistence. In my mind, it would also help to address the current phenomena whereby food production is basically useless once a planet has hit maximum population, in giving food an additional use. I understand that global (galactic?) food sharing is something that is in the pipeline, but I think this is still something worth considering.
 
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Wizzington

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Hereditary rulers still have heirs of the same species, of course.
 
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Ramidel

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Will synthetics have the same slavery options as everyone else? Because I want to have my domestic servants maid to order.
 
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hsuzy1987

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\o/

Thanks Wiz, good to hear that.
 

Synge316

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Looks fantastic as always. Can not wait to dive into a 1.5 game. Hell, can't wait for what is in store for 1.6 or even 1.7 :D
 

SnakeInATopHat

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i don't know about you but i would never eat an animal that was sick. old and injured though fare game.

You would sterilize it first, they do it with dariy cows IRL

Well not sick but you it's the future in Stellaris don't think so much into it