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Spaceception

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EDIT: New idea for factions in the threadmark

This is a long one, so feel free to skip ahead to the parts you care about. It's also an overhaul level idea. And while I hope it can work, I expect many fine details would need to be tweaked to fit within the game.

1 - Empire/Political/Xenology events
2 - Government system general info
3 - Government systems


1: Events

Empire events should tie into what you’re doing in the game. If you’re colonizing worlds, you should get events that do things like finding an unknown ore vein on a planet, giving a new mining district/temporary output bonus at the expense of deleting two agri-districts, and temporary lower happiness. Or if you have a wormhole in your space, one of your scientists could request to study it for a time, giving you the tech option for wormholes and + x% amount of progress. If you get a new sensor tech, you could get a special project for your construction/science ships to investigate some targets within your empire that could have previously unseen resources or anomalies.


Political events should tie into the decisions you make in the game. If you’re going to war, your pacifist leaders should be starting protests against it if it goes on for too long. If you have something like high unemployment/etc for too long, there should be events where leaders try to drum up support to replace the current leader, and push policies to combat it since you aren’t doing it. Such as temporary worker job positions that last for a year, and have something like 50% of normal production (There can be a new icon on the planet to let you know if you have any of these).


Xenology events (Sounds better than alien events) should tie into what’s happening in the galaxy. If there’s a war going on, you can choose to support one side (Doesn’t involve sending resources, but it makes one side like you, and the other dislike you for a few years), or stay neutral to them.


There should be a variety of events for this. Some specific to each phase of the early/mid/late-game. But some universal, many with different options and effects depending on your ethics.

2: General info

This is only focused on the base game system we have. I don’t have ideas for how I would make Hive minds/Machine empires more interesting. Empire/Xenology events would work, but I don’t know about their internal politics, or some equivalent.

Basic factions overview
For all, the faction system will be different based off the type of government.

Democracies will keep factions. These groups are focused on specific, ethics based issues.

Oligarchies will get parties. These groups will be similar in ways to factions, but won't completely be based on a single ethic. They shouldn't contradict each other though. They're sector based.

Monarchs will get Nobles, who represent sectors, but are ethics based. You need to please some the Nobles on what they want, and just need to keep the worker class in line and meet some of their needs.

Dictatorships will get Officers. They're more centralized, but are broader in their issues, and you do need to meet some of the needs of the working class.

For Monarchs and Dictatorships, propaganda should be made a mechanic, although I don’t know what the specifics should be. Democracies and Oligarchies could also get that, but to a lesser degree, and should be riskier

Influence
Right now, I feel influence is far too easy to use. There's no real strategy to using it. If you have enough, you can do anything you want, if you don't, you just wait until you can.

In this idea, I want influence to have more specific uses.

- Influence is used on starbases (can be left alone as is).
- It can be used to change policies/push issues: To give the player some level of control, you should be able to “push” your proposals forward with an influence cost (but not just the influence cost. Say you’ve voted on a couple issues, but the margin is still too low for it to be passed by votes alone. So you pay some influence to help get it passed). You can only do this a couple times every 5 years.
- It can be used to overrule issues you don't want (so you can control what your government does to a certain extent, but you can only do this from time to time, giving it more value when you do): For Monarchy/Imperial governments, this isn’t horrible, but it could lead to some minor negative events. Whereas with Democracies/Oligarchies, it could lead to moderate negative events, like lowered stability/happiness on your worlds for a few years (especially if it’s something like a war). Or a major one that leads to your ruler getting kicked out, and not having the ability to overrule for at least 10 years instead of say 5 (but there could only be certain circumstances where this happens, so it isn’t a looming threat if you do it)
- The last two also apply to planetary decisions, and regular edicts that use influence. Although ones like map the stars one could be a freebie you can activate without votes.​

Strata and political power
The stratum’s that hold the most political power should shift based on government type. The highest has the most impact on elections and voting, the smallest has the least.

D → Workers = Specialists > Administrators

O → Specialists > Workers > Administrators

M → Rulers > Specialists > Workers

I → Rulers > Workers = Specialists

And all stratum's have different wants and needs. Which you will need to balance against the needs of the empire. In a democracy for example, you’ll need to please the worker class, and maintain their freedoms. To a similar extent, the specialists as well.

Sector policies
Sectors should be able to set different “flat” policies based on what they need. Replacing at least some empire-wide ones we have now. So some sectors can have different economic policies, or different trade policies. Fresh sectors can have different food policies so they can grow faster, while built up ones have a neutral policy. These reworked policies will have smaller bonuses than the empire-wide ones we have now (like 10%-15% instead of 15%-25%), and you have to vote to change it, with a small to moderate influence cost.

Government screen
A lot of this would need a new government screen. Where you can see your factions/parties/etc and what they want. Or Governors, and what policies they have/what they want done. Or alien diplomats and deals they can or want to make, etc (This is where you could also conduct most/all diplomacy with aliens, and make deals with them). And it must be filterable.

3: Government systems


Commonalities with each system (Long)
- Voting on new policies is every 5 years (or can be cut short for the cost of influence) - Or instead, voting on these policies is only for certain things every five years. While everything else is decided on as it comes up - So within the issues I outline below, they can be futher separated into pressing and non-pressing issues.

- Most issues must be voted on. Of which, there are minor/moderate/major issues that you have to deal with. Minor issues are ones you can handle yourself. Moderate issues are planet/sector specific, these are the ones your pops with the most political power will mostly vote on, and only the planet/sector in question will deal with. And Major issues are empire specific. Like moderate issues, these are the ones pops with the most political power will vote on. But now it’s all of them.

- The things you vote on aren’t the policies we have right now, instead, it’s things that tie into current in-game events, are basically major issues (and some moderate ones) making you decide between different paths. This should lead to emergent storytelling as your empire makes bigger decisions over time. So for example:
Minor: Your head scientist requests funding for a new technology (In-game, this has the effect of giving you a tech option with some progress).
Moderate: You could see amendments pushed that protect the environment on some of your planets. This has the effect of making your worker class there happy, increasing pop growth, and boosting food output. But lowering your industrial output if you build up there (There’s also only be a handful of planets/sectors you need to deal with during this time. Not all at once every 5 years) For environmentalist, the lowered output could be offset a bit, making it a nicer civic to have outside of using less consumer goods.
Major: Maybe there’s various groups wanting to declare war. And this could have splits within your empire. Example, if you want to go to war, and the population that doesn’t want to is larger than the one that does, then you would need to push certain amendments and policies that would make them appeased enough to push the proposal in.​

- Many/All of these proposals will expire or change by the next cycle, so you aren’t swamped by choices you didn’t want from earlier. But there may be repeat ones over time.

Here, I tried to make each system feel a bit distinct from each other in how they function, and make decisions. And I also tried making political power more important.

(Long)
Democracy;

Factions are led by several representative’s to push some of their policies. Each representative has a handful of specific, ethics based issue’s they’re pushing, but the population is the one that votes on them to pass them or not.

Pushing support can’t be solely handled by dumping influence or resources on them until they accept though. Instead, you will need to vote on issues they want handled to make them likely to vote on ones you want. (Applies to all gov't types) These are typically moderate issues though. Most of the major issues could just surround war and diplomacy, while others could be around things like living standards, or primitive interactions. And the likelihood of them voting on these is based on their ethics, and what the policy falls under.


Oligarchy;

Parties are led by a representative in each sector, and one representing the frontier planets. Since it’s per sector, and not per pop, migration and attraction can lead to sectors becoming specific to only a couple ethics over time.

Also because it’s per sector, there may be several reps/sectors supporting the same issues later in the game, giving larger support to those issues.
Voting is easier than in a democracy, but there’s more issues, and parties usually have an amalgamation of issues they support. It’s only the most popular ones though, and they can’t contradict each other. But again, it’s the population that votes.


Monarchy;

Nobles, are, well, Nobles. They could replace Governors, and do more. They mostly represent themselves, but are chosen from every sector capital and push some ethic based policies on behalf of everyone else. And sometimes push policies they want to see instead. Giving them some sort of personal agenda’s over their sectors. Because they push ethic based policies, and are on a per sector basis, certain ethics will get more support over time. You should be able to push your core ethics in this direction.

Mainly the ruling class votes on issues, which can help give you much more control over moderate/major issues than in democracies and oligarchies, but the specialist class has some power as well. And it costs more in influence to push big decisions. There's also a risk of angering Nobles if you ignore them too long, which could lead to sector rebellions if they decide that it’s not worth being under your rule anymore (really all government systems should include some sort of rebellion mechanics, possibly unique to them, but this is a specific instance).


Imperial;

Officers are more central, but will gather the main issues that the population wants pushed. Like oligarchies, it’s an amalgamation of issues, and they shouldn’t contradict each other.
You have a similar, but slightly larger level of control that Monarchies have. The ruling class votes almost in entirety unlike in a Monarchy where the specialist class has some power.


Elections for Democracies/Oligarchies are also led by the pops that hold political power, while Monarchies/Imperialists have a bloodline/successor. You also shouldn’t be able to effectively vote in a leader using influence. So I suppose if you support them, you can only do it once.

And of course, all this should be modified based on ethics and civics to some degree. Possibly even by a tradition rework, where you have mutually exclusive choices, and more impactful decisions so not every empire gets to roughly the same place after a couple hundred years.

Also, part of me wonders if Oligarchies/Monarchs should be swapped with their party/noble functions. Like Oligarchies are ethics based, and sector based instead, while Monarchs are broader and sector based.
But also maybe not. Since Democratic/Monarchs can be ethics based, and Oligarch/Imperial governments are broad in their issues, giving you two opposites in either end.
 
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Methone

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I like the idea of sort of 'reactionary events' driven by the player's actions or the actions of empires around them, as opposed to suddenly "Oh, looks like you've got Abandoned Terraforming here now. Deal with it."

(For Gestalts, an idea I saw that I LOVED was replacing their Factions with bonus-providing 'Moods' that change depending on what's happened to them; ie if you're surrounded by unsurveyed systems you're Curious, a Devouring Swarm is constantly Starving, if you get a Colossus used on you you're Traumatized etc. I even wrote up a word document with some ideas, but I never fleshed it out much)

I don't know about Monarchs getting Nobles by default; that's specifically tied to Aristrocratic Elite, no?

Also as for different empires having different levels of political power in their strata, I don't think that's neccesary. The lower power of Workers is directly balanced by you having a lot of them. Plus, something something "Being rich makes your vote worth more".

I also like the Sector policies; "Miserable Xeno Slave" sector is set to Strict Rationing, "Glorious Ruler Ringworld" cluster is set to Nutritional Plentitude etc. Would probably wreak havoc with the AI though.

Don't think the Government screen would need much rework. Just integrate your new stuff into Factions, Sector View, Diplomacy View etc.

Voting on policies every 5 years sounds a bit excessive, especially if it happens without player agency.
 

Spaceception

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(For Gestalts, an idea I saw that I LOVED was replacing their Factions with bonus-providing 'Moods' that change depending on what's happened to them; ie if you're surrounded by unsurveyed systems you're Curious, a Devouring Swarm is constantly Starving, if you get a Colossus used on you you're Traumatized etc. I even wrote up a word document with some ideas, but I never fleshed it out much)
Oh that's a good one.
I don't know about Monarchs getting Nobles by default; that's specifically tied to Aristrocratic Elite, no?
I was just trying to think of a unique name to be honest.
Also as for different empires having different levels of political power in their strata, I don't think that's neccesary. The lower power of Workers is directly balanced by you having a lot of them. Plus, something something "Being rich makes your vote worth more".
Fair. I was just thinking of ways to differentiate them more.
Voting on policies every 5 years sounds a bit excessive, especially if it happens without player agency.
So a longer gap, like 10 years? Or some alternative?
Like the player can choose to vote on policies a few times when they want (or feel it's necessary), within an x year span, then it's reset again.
 

Methone

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So a longer gap, like 10 years? Or some alternative?
Like the player can choose to vote on policies a few times when they want (or feel it's necessary), within an x year span, then it's reset again.
Maybe 'every voting cycle'?
 

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Maybe 'every voting cycle'?
No... I don't think that would work. At least for Monarchs/Imperialists. Unless those two should vote on policies at the same rate an Oligarchy does.
 

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No... I don't think that would work. At least for Monarchs/Imperialists. Unless those two should vote on policies at the same rate an Oligarchy does.
Why wouldn't it? Dictators vote when a new one is voted in, Imperials vote when the new one is sworn in.
 

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Why wouldn't it? Dictators vote when a new one is voted in, Imperials vote when the new one is sworn in.
But those stretches are many decades long (and I think can also happen over a century) since it only happens upon their death. I feel that's far too infrequent. Unless we're not on the same page, and you're thinking of something else.


As an aside, I wonder if these decisions should increase with the amount of planets and/or pops. You wouldn't expect only one or a couple planets in a sector asking for something when you have several dozen. But at that point, there would need to be tools to help the player manage their government in the mid/late-game. Especially for wide empires.

Now that I think about it, maybe election cycles are the wrong way to go about it. At least for a fair bit of this.

You wouldn't want to wait until the next election cycle to go to war, or deal with unruly pops, you'd need to do that as it comes up. Or within a certain time limit in some cases. So in that case it wouldn't matter what government system you have, really. Just how much you're actually managing. The big thing that differs is exactly how it's dealt with.
EDIT (I dunno, I'm tired)
EDIT 2 not election cycles, voting cycles. And only select events have to be dealt with immediately, while others can wait for the next cycle.
 
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(For Gestalts, an idea I saw that I LOVED was replacing their Factions with bonus-providing 'Moods' that change depending on what's happened to them; ie if you're surrounded by unsurveyed systems you're Curious, a Devouring Swarm is constantly Starving, if you get a Colossus used on you you're Traumatized etc. I even wrote up a word document with some ideas, but I never fleshed it out much)
Thinking about this a bit, it might be cool if there were special diplomatic functions based on their "mood swings" edit - not really sure how that would work out though...

And having brief stable periods throughout the game - dependent on who's surrounding them, and what's happening - would make gestalts much more interesting to play, especially if it influences how your Empire grows.

And I could see moods based on the planets that surround them. Like if there's lots of worlds that are of their type, they could have a "proliferate" mood, and have bonus pop growth, even job output, and such. Or if they feel threatened, they get extra ship damage/fire rate.

Would they have multiple moods?

And you should write your ideas out, if you wanted to.
 
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Spaceception

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Edited with influence mechanics, since I feel that's an important aspect to draw attention to.
 

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Factions

Spaceception

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I thought it'd be a good idea to post an update for this, instead of a new thread altogether.

So there may be some similarities to what I had, but here are some new thoughts about the subject to improve factions. I just want to talk about what they generally do, not what they're like with each government type and so on.

Voting and compromise
  • Voting on an issue is done directly when the policy you'd like to change, or enact already has enough support to go through.
  • Compromising on an issue is done when there isn't enough support for it to go through on its own, so you need to support issues that the other factions support until you meet a certain threshold (regardless of which you can do, it would need a certain amount of votes to go through - 55%? 60%? 70%?)

Things that are decided on/Affect your Empire politically
  • Policies/Laws
    • These are the things that mainly determine Faction support and approval. Policies are mainly modifiers, some positive, some negative. Like for your economy, or war doctrines. Laws are what make up the backbone of your Empire, these include mechanics, and encompass Living standards, refugee rights, migration, leader eligibility and so on.
  • Decisions
    • These are for temporary, but important events. Like elections, diplomatic agreements, war declaration, etc.
  • Movements
    • These are usually social events that affect your Empire. Like if you genetically ascend them, or cause excessive civilian casualties during a war. The point of these is to have something to react to your choices within the game. Negative movements (or the negative side of them) can include protests, and go all the way up to rebellions.
I'm thinking you can only do a certain number of these within a given timeframe. So you need to prioritize and pick your battles. Something like 4 policies/laws that can be changed in a 10 year period. Decisions could be more of a soft cap, but you can cause strain on your Empire if you do too much. And I'm thinking there can only be up to 1 or 2 movements at a time, since they'll usually affect large swaths of your Empire.

As an example, changing 1 policy can be; choosing a policy you want, and having it passed; one you want + 2 others to get enough support to pass it; or choosing a policy you want, and 4 others to get enough support. But I'm also not sure if it would be a good idea to eat into the cap instead; so if you have a compromise like the last one (which let's say exceeds a threshold), it takes the number of policies you can change from 4 to 2, instead of 4 to 3. I suppose this could also affect what you can change, and if it's worth it to have fewer policy changes in a given time to enact something you really want.