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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).

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.

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.

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.
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Is there anything to prevent the player from simply taking the most optimal options every time to prevent the uprising?

You are not guaranteed to stop it even then.
How does this work? Is it just pops on the same planet as the freed synths, or are there new ownership mechanics for pops owning robots and slaves?

The latter.
Looks good to me. Though, I'm kinda curious. Are there many people who play with servitude synths? I mean, if you go for synths then you are most likely a materialist and free synths increase this ethic attraction. So the only downside is increased consumer goods, which would never be an issue with healthy economy.
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So will these new event-chains and mechanics lead to more rebellions of other kinds in the future? Slave uprisings? Alien partisans? Populist coups?
Wait, you get to choose to play the robots if you want to? That's awesome, though I wonder if it's a "the player character sides with the robots" thing or if you're simply just switching perspective.
I like the idea of being given the option of A.) staying with your original empire or B.) taking control of the newly formed Machine Empire and then fighting your old empire as a Machine Empire
I think it would be really cool if a robot victory produced refugees who were violently anti robot and who could move to other empires and cause anti robot strife there. So a robot uprising was kind of like a revolutionary thing.
Also I feel like there is a serious logical issue with using the robot empires for these rebellions. They are specifically stated as less advanced AI that could exist from the start of the game while these are rebellions caused by AI sentience with advanced tech like synths. Why would the rising robot empire be a hive mind/gestalt consciousness/ whatever paradox is calling it now?
Obviously it is important for game balance but it would be nice to have at least something else to cover this.
Hopefully ceasefires with rebelling machines can be made possible, will be cool to expand the galaxy with new interesting relations and diplomacy between former masters and slaves now that non-machine rebellions are basically nonexistent now.

Would be cool to live in coexistance after both sides can't really achieve victory and have to live as new neighbours. Yeah also I would like to see the current unrest being stronger or more interesting.
Yeah I'd really like to see a more significant cost to granting citizens' rights to synths. This should amount to a seismic change in your society with significant consequences. At *least* give it a heavy influence cost.
@Wiz if the Uprising will end with organic victory and pacification of revolt, does it prevents AI from rebeling in the future? (I assume it wont stop them from joining the Contingency cause as it's a virus and not true rebelion, I am asking about ANOTHER possible rebelion within the empire)
Would giving the synths citizen rights after the first events head off the chances of a revolt?
Would giving the synths citizen rights after the first events head off the chances of a revolt?

"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)."

quote from the text.
It strikes me as unnecessary that just giving your synths citizen rights will ensure their eternal loyalty; is there no possibility for robotic extremists or isolationists? having friendly synth builders totally immune from any possible robot doom is kinda dull!
Great work! realy!

the revolt of the synthetic has always been my favorite crises... Concept
now finally it has the mechanics and correctness that deserves :) only few questions:

Can we expect future similar mechanics of revolution even for "organic" revolts? Is revolution done with the "total war" mode? The revolt that begins in an empire can affect others? A chain effect similar to the 19th century uprisings