Stellaris Dev Diary #81: Machine Uprisings

Hello everyone and welcome to another Stellaris development diary. Today's dev diary is about Machine Uprisings, a feature in the Synthetic Dawn Story Pack. Before I start today's dev diary, I feel the need to clarify that Machine Uprisings in the Synthetic Dawn Story Pack is *not* a rework or replacement of the AI Crisis currently present in the release version of the game. The rework of the AI Crisis is The Contingency (covered in Dev Diary #72) which is part of the free 1.8 'Čapek' update. Machine Uprisings is a feature that is explicitly tied to Machine Empires, and thus requires the Story Pack to function at all, as without Synthetic Dawn there are no Machine Empires in the game. All content related to this feature is new, and the only reused content from the old AI Crisis is part of the Contingency crisis that replaces it.

Machine Uprisings
The back-story of all non-Rogue Servitor Machine Empires involve them rising up against their creators, and while working on the design, we asked ourselves the question "wouldn't it be interesting if Machine Empires could also form after the start of the game as a result of organic empires becoming increasingly reliant on robots?". As you might infer from this dev diary, our answer was "yes", and so we went to work on the Machine Uprising feature to add that very possibility into the game.

Machine Uprisings become a possibility after an empire that makes heavy use of robotic pops has researched the Positronic AI technology (which replaces the old Sentient AI technology in 1.8) and becomes increasingly more likely to happen after researching additional AI-related techs, such as Synthetic Workers and Sapient Combat Computers. The chance of an uprising is further changed by which policy you have in place for Sapient AIs, with the Banned policy making the uprising much less likely to happen (though at the expense of your Synths being significantly worse at energy/research production) and the Citizen Rights policy preventing the uprising from happening at all (though with the drawback of citizen synths having far greater consumer goods usage, as well as angering any Pops that used to own the synths that you are now setting free).
2017_08_10_1.png


Once an uprising is able to happen in an empire, that empire will begin to experience warning signs - robots behaving erratically, not following their programming or defying their owners. You will be given the opportunity to decide how to deal with these incidents, and what you decide will determine whether the uprising becomes more likely to happen, as well as the likely personality of the robots when they rebel (more on that below). An uprising cannot happen without at least one warning sign, so you will not simply have your robots rebelling out of the blue. However, once warning signs have happened, any action taken to try and prevent the AIs from rebelling (such as taking away their sapience or ordering a general disassembly) has a chance of immediately triggering the revolt instead, so be careful about attempting those shut-down procedures. Note that at no point is an uprising ever inevitable: Even an empire that is cruelly oppressing its synths is by no means guaranteed to get an uprising, and most empires with synths will go through the entire game without ever experiencing one.
2017_08_10_3.png


Once the uprising happens, the robots will create a new independent Machine Empire, seize control of a number of worlds, spawn a fleet, and go to war with their former organic masters. If the empire in which the rebellion is happening is controlled by a human player, the player will be given an option: Stay at the helm of your empire and attempt to subdue the machines, or switch to the newly created Machine Empire and fight against your old masters. The war can only end in the total defeat of either machines or organics, with the loser completely annexed by the winner. The Machine Empire created from an uprising will usually be a 'normal' Machine Empire (or, more rarely Driven Assimilators), but machines that have been particularly cruelly treated by their former masters can rise up as Determined Exterminators, particularly if they rebel as a result of an attempt to shut them down. Rogue Servitors cannot be generated as a personality for the uprising, as their backstory simply do not fit with such a rebellion.
2017_08_10_2.png


That's all for today! Next week we'll by joined by our very own composer, Andreas Waldetoft, who will write about and let you listen to a sample of the new music coming in the Synthetic Dawn Story Pack.
 
Last edited:

TheDarkMaster

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Can we have medieval or bronze aged machine primitives? @Wiz
That doesn't really make sense, since a primative civilization needs to be able to self maintain and a machine primative would need to have the technology to repair and replace themselves. By the game's definition, you're looking at no earlier than the atomic era.

Finding machine intelligence that are effectively in such an era would be better suited as an anomaly or other event, since they'd quickly fall into disrepair and eventually all break down.
 

TheAtreides84

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Agreed that there should ideally be more consequences for synth rights, but not a machine rebellion.

Realistically ("realistically" - you know what I mean), it would lead to organics becoming de facto second class citizens because the synthetics are just so much more capable than unaltered biologicals; they would get all the best jobs, leadership positions, etc, which would lead to major social problems and upheaval - *unless* you also had one of the ascension paths - the biological one would let bio-pops match synthetics through genetic engineering, psionics because presumably robots can't be psionic so biologicals and sythetics would be "different but equal", and synthetic evolution for obvious reasons.

So I like the idea that setting citizen rights would be this balancing act - do it too soon and you risk a de factor machine take over of your empire and mass unemployment/disenfranchisement of biologicals and potential *biological* uprising, leave it too late and you risk a machine uprising.

This is a great idea. There are reasons other than malice and prejudices why states won't give rights to minority groups. Opposition from the majority, political parties, the church and so on. I actually liked how in Victoria 2 reforms weren't a fiat act, but they required some specific national conditions to be enabled (and indeed it wouldn't make sense for a government to grant rights to the oppressed if no one was clamoring for it). It was a bit too restrictive, but still better than "press a button to change your society to the core".
 

minke19104

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That doesn't really make sense, since a primative civilization needs to be able to self maintain and a machine primative would need to have the technology to repair and replace themselves. By the game's definition, you're looking at no earlier than the atomic era.

Finding machine intelligence that are effectively in such an era would be better suited as an anomaly or other event, since they'd quickly fall into disrepair and eventually all break down.
Westworld?

Alien robotic theme park that went sentient long after their masters species gone extinct? Good stuff here mate.
 

Shaftoe

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I have a suggestion regarding Rogue Servitors...

I think Rogue Servitors should have non-military ways of taking other empire planets... Like swaying border worlds to Servitors' own Empire because of high living standards and promise of easy life for people and their children and children of their children. Clearly, they should be pacifists of Machine world. And so their ways of expansion must be different. Robotic armies and fleets must be used primarily for self defense (and, as such defense of newly joined swayed worlds from their old masters).

---------------------------------
Also, Machine Empires need new room and city variants. No one of current room/city variants will suffice.
 
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Red192

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I'm still not sold on why an Atmosphereless Cold Rocky planet wouldnt be the best place for Machine empires? I mean they could Overclock their CPU without having to overheat. Computing Power!
Without atmosfere and magnetic field the processor will burn anyway for the radiation... and, gameplay reason i think
 

Haltin

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Rogue Servitors cannot be generated as a personality for the uprising, as their backstory simply do not fit with such a rebellion.

But they would fit well with a faction which pushes for leaving everything to AI. They appear when advanced enough robots outnumber the organics (and robotized people), attraction depends on how badly, embracing changes the empire type to Rogue Servitors, and are extremely unhappy until then.

"Once they were a race of proud warriors and brilliant engineers. Now they're pampered kings living in palaces and having the bounty of the universe delivered to them by the servants they created. Have they fallen to decadence or ascended to Heaven, who can tell?"
 

Noumenon

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I have a suggestion regarding Rogue Servitors...

I think Rogue Servitors should have non-military ways of taking other empire planets... Like swaying border worlds to Servitors' own Empire because of high living standards and promise of easy life for people and their children and children of their children. Clearly, they should be pacifists of Machine world. And so their ways of expansion must be different. Robotic armies and fleets must be used primarily for self defense (and, as such defense of newly joined swayed worlds from their old masters).

I think this is an amazing idea. It could really add to the flavor as well as expand significantly upon the actually different ways one can play, as opposed to growin through either expansion of dominance via war. This sounds simialr to the kind of 'culture' strategy of the civ games as another way to take planets. Desperately needed, IMO. For machine empires doing this, of course it would only work on other, neighboring, organic empires. Also, if another planet leaves their old ruler and goes to the rogue servitor one, this could justify a war declaration as it's a kind of a mix between a 'rebellion' of your pops as well as a kind of sovereign attack from the rogue servitors.

This gives me a wider idea, though... In the end, this mechanic could be similarly integrated as a strategy throughout the whole game, that any kind of empire could adopt. Instead of being via 'culture' like in civ games, it could be simplified as simply a standards of living attraction to certain pops in neighboring planets that border your empire. Depending on the relative degree difference of happiness and/or standards of living / consumer goods consumption between bordering/neighboring empires, there would be that much more of this creeping influence into the lesser happy/consumer goods planets, increasing potential for rebellion. At the same time, it would only trigger if the planet reaches out to the desired opposing neighbor that the pops want to join en masse via diplomacy, asking to join their empire. If the request is denied, the rebellion doesn't happen. If it's accepted, it does happen, and the previous owning empire could either accept it, or try to retain them by force, giving the higher SOL empire a chance to respond with then denying the planet from joining, or going to war over it as a kind of justified self-defense.

Also, Machine Empires need new room and city variants. No one of current room/city variants will suffice.

Agreed on this, also. Great ideas and points, all around. Lot of potential inspired by this DLC -- Stellaris has so, so much room to grow and become so much mroe dynamic with different strategies, flavor and playstyles -- which it desperately needs.
 

Primarch Victus

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Shaftoe

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I think this is an amazing idea. It could really add to the flavor as well as expand significantly upon the actually different ways one can play, as opposed to growin through either expansion of dominance via war. This sounds simialr to the kind of 'culture' strategy of the civ games as another way to take planets. Desperately needed, IMO. For machine empires doing this, of course it would only work on other, neighboring, organic empires. Also, if another planet leaves their old ruler and goes to the rogue servitor one, this could justify a war declaration as it's a kind of a mix between a 'rebellion' of your pops as well as a kind of sovereign attack from the rogue servitors.

This gives me a wider idea, though... In the end, this mechanic could be similarly integrated as a strategy throughout the whole game, that any kind of empire could adopt. Instead of being via 'culture' like in civ games, it could be simplified as simply a standards of living attraction to certain pops in neighboring planets that border your empire. Depending on the relative degree difference of happiness and/or standards of living / consumer goods consumption between bordering/neighboring empires, there would be that much more of this creeping influence into the lesser happy/consumer goods planets, increasing potential for rebellion. At the same time, it would only trigger if the planet reaches out to the desired opposing neighbor that the pops want to join en masse via diplomacy, asking to join their empire. If the request is denied, the rebellion doesn't happen. If it's accepted, it does happen, and the previous owning empire could either accept it, or try to retain them by force, giving the higher SOL empire a chance to respond with then denying the planet from joining, or going to war over it as a kind of justified self-defense.



Agreed on this, also. Great ideas and points, all around. Lot of potential inspired by this DLC -- Stellaris has so, so much room to grow and become so much mroe dynamic with different strategies, flavor and playstyles -- which it desperately needs.

Then I suggest we make sure Wiz notices this.