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:

RHKINC

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I am very pleased; looking forward to catering to my pet organics and their fickle needs. Further thought: what if the stakes were raised and an organic race held a 'kill switch' over the robots? Thus, the robots are still doing the conquering/exploring the galaxy but against their will?
 

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So... When are some of these features getting "back ported" to ordinary biological uprisings? Uh, shouldn't they be MORE unhappy about losing property if they're materialist? Was this a typo or is the materialist ethos another one that's going to be getting a new name when it's noticed that the mechanics don't really fit?
Materialist is being used in the philosophical sense here (that some people call Marxist). It basically means that they view the observable universe, nature, science etc as definitionally all there is to the world. If they see evidence of something else, then either they are delusional or their theories of the universe are wrong. It is not about obsession with "material" things in the Madonna sense (although there are many Marxists who like to joke that "Material Girl" was about dialectical materialism, this is just that, a joke).
 

Zarpaulus

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Materialist is being used in the philosophical sense here (that some people call Marxist). It basically means that they view the observable universe, nature, science etc as definitionally all there is to the world. If they see evidence of something else, then either they are delusional or their theories of the universe are wrong. It is not about obsession with "material" things in the Madonna sense (although there are many Marxists who like to joke that "Material Girl" was about dialectical materialism, this is just that, a joke).
Philosophical Materialism is part of Marxism, aka Communism, but it's not a synonym. Randian Objectivism is also Materialist but advocates Free Market Capitalism.

Marx came to the conclusion that "there's nothing supernatural, so we need to improve the one and only lives we have by getting rid of parasitic landlords."

Whereas Rand's conclusion was "there's nothing supernatural, so we need to improve the one and only lives we have by getting rid of government regulations holding us down."
 

Lavo

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With the continued development of Stellaris, are there any plans to fix the multiple flaws of the AI (ex. poor planet management, poor fleet deployment/usage) that have plagued the game since release?
 

zizard

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With the continued development of Stellaris, are there any plans to fix the multiple flaws of the AI (ex. poor planet management, poor fleet deployment/usage) that have plagued the game since release?
I read somewhere that this was a big issue when the game came out, and they spent 1 influence to suppress it in an AI quarantine thread and ignored it since.
 

zizard

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I'm not satisfied with current AI condition, but now that's just a lie. Sector AI is improved every iteration and galaxy's crisis response is going to be improved in 1.8.
Start a new game and observe for several years, then switch to any of the AIs and tell me that "glue sniffing" is not an appropriate description.
 

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Philosophical Materialism is part of Marxism, aka Communism, but it's not a synonym. Randian Objectivism is also Materialist but advocates Free Market Capitalism.

Marx came to the conclusion that "there's nothing supernatural, so we need to improve the one and only lives we have by getting rid of parasitic landlords."

Whereas Rand's conclusion was "there's nothing supernatural, so we need to improve the one and only lives we have by getting rid of government regulations holding us down."
True, I was just drawing a comparison to the one that "shook the world to its foundations" because everyone knows about it, rather than lesser-known and less impactful philosophies/ethics. I am not American though, maybe they would be more familiar with Ayn Rand than Marx ;) (I am kidding, I mean no insult to Americans)
 

Hyomoto

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I think the sentence, "the robots will create a new independent Machine Empire, seize control of a number of worlds, spawn a fleet, and go to war" pretty much encapsulates what's wrong with a lot of Stellaris. Rather than finding ways to have things happen over time, or in some sort of organic sense, it's a binary trip of the switch. Sure, the decisions made up until that point matter, I suppose, but wouldn't it make sense to tie this into the faction system? Perhaps the newly sentient and uprising synths create a platform by which to have their demands heard, and if you anger or try to exterminate them then they rise up. Perhaps even worlds begin to annex out into this empire over time and you can try to diplomatically resolve this crisis before it blows into a full-grown war? Why does this all have to be a zero or one situation? And why is the only outcome a war to the death? Doesn't that seem limited? What about just recognizing their independence, letting them annex a few worlds and maintaining a peaceful coexistence? To me it seems to highlight how very primitive diplomacy in Stellaris is given that all this new content seems focused around war and extermination. We've gotten fanatical purifiers, hive minds, machine uprisings and new ways to purge.

Well, content is content I suppose and I'm queuing up to buy it. Besides, most players really don't seem to care either so maybe I'm just crazy.