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Imperia Concepts V – Military Stances/Fear

Hello and happy Sunday! I hope those of you in America had a great Thanksgiving and if you’re into that sort of thing, Black Friday (sorry, England!)

I wanted to talk a little bit more about how the military will work in Imperia, and more specifically, what you as the emperor will be able to do, what your limitations will be, and what you must consider as you direct your ground and space forces. Before I do that, however, I wanted to touch on a mechanic that will be introduced after .410, but will be absolutely critical to the political model of Imperia: fear.

FEAR, simply put, is a number that is tracked concurrent with your Popular Support (PoSup) on each planet. For purposes of maintaining your hold on power, fear only has an effect when it is higher than your PoSup. It then takes the place of your PoSup, but is notated as Fear instead of PoSup and will be in red. Note that you need to have sufficient intel in order to see this specific effect on a planet. As long as your Fear rating is higher than your PoSup, it will act as your PoSup for purposes of unrest, economic effects, and most important, your hold on power. For an example, think of the Empire during Star Wars IV-VI – the populace was loyal, but only because they were cowed into obedience. Creating fear generally requires a large and loyal military, with a substantially loyal military leadership and viceroys/governors who are willing to go along and not incite a rebellion. Once you have made the decision to rule by fear, it is very difficult to rule any other way without significant nationalist policies and significant reforms for your people.

Now, to GUNS, GUNS, GUNS!!!

Every force in the game, whether ground or space, has 2 essential factors that determine what they will do on a given turn, and how they will perform:

STANCE– All forces can have one of 5 stances when at an Empire world, which you as Emperor have nominal ability to manage:

  • PEACEKEEPING – This is a general ‘protecting your people’ stance. People will feel safe and protected if there are combat factors equal to the security rating of the planet. The required security rating will fluctuate depending on the size, population, ADL of the planet, and several other factors. Very Tyrannical commanders may actually not allow this stance, or at the very least be very unhappy about it.
  • GARRISON – The same general stance, but more prepared for action. People are not quite as happy about a garrisoned force, but they are still positive. Slight readiness bonuses are given.
  • STANDBY – This is a ‘neutral’ stance. Your forces are prepared to act either for or against your people. The fact that they are not designated as explicit security forces causes concern among your pops, generated as Fear.
  • SUPPRESSION – At this stance, your forces may act against your pops or your leaders as needed. Fear is generated from this action, as well as significant unrest control. Military forces who are not loyal to you or whose commander is significantly Nationalist (or just, or planner, or benevolent, etc) will not generally support this action and will not be able to be issued this stance. This stance also provides diminished protection against hostile forces.
  • INTIMIDATION – The ‘stormtrooper’ stance; you are actively working to create fear and root out disloyalty on your worlds. This stance provides maximum fear and unrest reduction, but provides very minimum actual protection against hostile forces. Only very loyal commanders will allow this stance to be enacted.

Depending on the size, tech level, and skill of the force and the commander, it may take several months to change the stance of a given force. This represents not only the logistics of the change, but the psychological effects of taking time for your populace to actually see and believe in the change.

Fleets have 2 additional stances: IN TRANSIT, which allows fleets to move between stars, and INACTIVE, which essentially holds the ships in a mothball status and provides no bonuses or maluses, It costs somewhat to keep an inactive fleet in the process, but less than building an entire fleet from scratch. Fleets in INACTIVE status lose ability over time, reflecting lack of practice or action. Commanders in charge of inactive fleets also tend to be annoyed at their loss of station. There will be combat stances when you send a fleet to attack a hostile system/planet, but that will be discussed in a later blog under Battle Plans.

You will be able to see your fleets/ground forces in each system using the War Map view, which will show you the fleets, ground troops, and planetary defense bases (PDBs). You will be able to select fleets for quick action using a right-click to bring up a fleet list, which will then open up the Fleet Command System as a pop-up window, similar to the Edict window and the Character window.

Last, let’s talk more about commanders.

There are actually 2 ‘commanders’ of a force: a direct admiral of a fleet/general of a ground battalion, who is a character and will have all the normal characteristics as well as tactical and strategic ratings that will determine how effectively fleets will fight and conduct their stance orders.

The other commander, the one actually giving the stance and movement orders to the fleets/divisions is normally you, but you have the option to ‘loan’ military forces to system and sector overnors (you can not give fleets to viceroys!) This will have the obvious benefit of placating them and increasing their Loyalty, but once you give a fleet to a governor, taking one away will be very damaging to their prestige, and depending on their personality, they may not choose to give the fleets back at all! At that point, you are forced as Emperor to declare war on that governor for defying the Empire, or allowing the refusal to stand.

If you allow the refusal to stand, you stand a tremendous risk of rebellion from the affected system/sector since they see weakness from the Empire, while they see strength from their governor. This will also have ripple effects throughout the Empire as other characters will be emboldened by your timidity,

Building new forces on a planet requires the necessary facilities – a military base to build divisions, and a starship production facility to build fleets. Creating a division or fleet takes one or more Pops – they are moved into a Military role. This also assumes the families and support staff for these divisions, which is why it takes at least one Pop to create a division or fleet. Military Pops will fight harder for their world of origin and will be less effective for suppression/intimidation roles.

Next: a peek into the Science system!!

-Steve

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Feedback Begatting Change: Major Mechanics Change for .410

So I frequent some other forums where people are talking about the game, and one thing I’ve always prided myself on is listening to other ideas if they make sense within the vision of what I want in Imperia. On the Bay12 forums, a forumite named Novel Scoops brought up an interesting point about your POV:

Sure, the spreadsheets can be there too. Before i go any further, i realize this may already be covered by the character interaction/events system.

However, this is supposed to put you in the boots of one child emperor with limited reach and neither omniscience nor omnipotence, to be played by humans such as i, who incidentally is suddenly considering eye strain. I think it’s already planned for liege-lords to give advice, king of dragon pass style, so why not have them describe (reliably or less so) the state of affairs in their holdings? While your spies provide their own version? It just takes me out of the game when i see something like Unrest represented by a number.

This is very true. Why would I just always know there is 14 unrest on a planet, for example? Hell, maybe I’m taking my viceroy’s word about the profit/loss the planet is bringing in!

So going forward, when you open up a planet screen (note: this shot also shows the new panel system where you can hide panels that you don’t use/need), this is the info you’ll get, depending on your viceroy’s loyalty and the situation on the planet:

New Reporting System - 1

Ah, you think, I’ll just check out the demographic screen and look at the info there! Well, you can try…

New Reporting System - 2

In order to get the dirt on a planet, you have to allocate informers (spies) towards Domestic Intelligence. This is also a new thing – you will have 2 pools that you can weight: Domestic Intel and Political Intel. All you will be able to do is set a slider between the two; your Intel Prime will actually handle the assignments of new informer blocs. You need at least 2 points towards DomInt in order to get a fairly accurate idea of the number, and the more you allocate, the more accurate the information is. This is basically how the character stat system is already handled, and you will add points to PolInt to continue that process.

I’m still playing with this idea. It could be frustrating if not handled correctly, even if it is more ‘realistic’ so I’m going to put it in .410 and see what people think.

-Steve

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WIP Changelog – .410a

Hey everyone!

This is a work in progress changelog for the .410 version of Imperia. Obviously there are a lot of graphics changes but there’s other stuff too! Check it out…

Imperia V.410a Change Log/Readme (WIP)

11.28.14

Notes

* Please uninstall any previous version of Imperia before installing a new version. I have not yet added patch ability. The good news is that the install is relatively quick.

* I am updating the WikiDot Imperia wiki periodically and this will be the best document for questions and how to play Imperia. Please refer back to it frequently.

Fixes

* Fixed some issues with lower resolutions

* Fixed obscure crash when colonizing certain planets

* Generally improved scaling at lower resolutions as a result of the graphic overhaul

Changes/Additions

* Complete graphics overhaul; moving towards the new consistent UI design. This includes:

* fonts

* all-new screens

* redesigned button bar

* redesigned main status bar

* popups

* The System view has been rebuilt from the ground up. Now, planets can be clicked on to show a persistent info box from which the planetary nexus can be activated, or the viceroy can be called. Additional information that is more relevant to what you want to know at that level

* The Quadrant view alert system has been moved to the top-center, which shows a number of all alerts in the Empire. Clicking on the counter will open the Alert Panel, showing a summarized list of alerts/requests. Right-clicking on an alert will take you to the location; left-clicking will open the alert/event, with potentially more options available and a picture representing the event

* Slide-out panels on the System and Planet screens that allow you to show/hide only what you need to see, making the game less overwhelming visually

* Redesigned Intel screen, featuring clickable columns

* Redesigned Edict screen, which is clearer and easier to use

* Lotsa tooltips, integrated help system finally added so that help tags can be added to any XML object – for now this means tooltips on Edicts and key UI elements; more to follow

* Military: Fleets/ships/ground battalions are now in the game. Can’t do much with them (yet) but stay tuned.

* Military: Introduction of the Military tab showing planetary garrisons, fleets in orbit, stance of that fleet (protection, garrision, subjugation, etc) and military power on the planet

* Fleet tooltips showing which ships are in fleets, along with ship information

* Redesigned Emperor screen, showing history, advisors (still working on this), and granting ability to train statistics. It also shows… you!

* Changed game scale; now each pop is 1,000,000 people so that planets have more realistic populations; also changed budget scale to trillions

* Added new launcher/installer. Now you will be able to designate where you want Imperia to be installed. The OneClick solution will also be available for those who wish to use it.

Balance

* Changed the way ADL is calculated. Previously, it would be simply all the sectors divided by 3 (ag/man/sci). Now, the sectors are weighted .5 for ag, 1 for man, and 2 for sci, representing the level of technology, retail, and general infrastructure needed to maintain the relative level of a sector – in other words, a level 10 Ag sector has far fewer demands than a level 10 Science sector, as would be realistic

* Made numerous balance changes in correlation with the new money and population scale changes

* Lowered some costs for terrestrial Edicts, while increasing cost/Admin for exploration stations

* All Edicts will get a balance pass before .410 is released

Unresolved Issues

* When loading a game, sometimes the alerts are in the wrong category. This only happens for the current turn and is more annoying than anything. Investigating.

* If you use the mousewheel to scroll up and down intel lists, it also effects the zoom level of the quadrant map. I can fix this, but it will require a rewrite of the zoom function and is not a huge priority at this time.

-Steve

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It’s Been a While… But Worth the Wait!!!

Hello everyone!!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I promise there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes. Here’s where I get everyone up to speed.

First of all, our team continues to grow! Besides Pavlos, our talented artist whose work you will be about to see, we have added a scienc guy!! Thiosk hails from California and is a research assistant at Stanford, and has offered some amazing thoughts on population ideas and is working on the science system, which I will talk about both in a later post.

The upcoming .410 update will be massive both in terms of content and what’s changed. From a UI standpoint, one word will describe it: everything. Here are some example shots – actual in-game screens, not mocks:

Astrography UI V4.0
New quadrant screen
Uncolonized System View
System view with uncolonized planet box showing. Now you click on a planet to show a info box on that planet.
New Starbases
Updated planet view with contextual starbases.
Updated Intel Screen
Updated Intel screens with clickable/sortable columns.
New System View
New Terra, with their shiny new fleet in orbit
New Character View
The updated character screen (buttons have not all been converted to the new font yet) showing conversation type and possible Nationalist/Tyrannical effect

There are a lot of changes; I will add the post with the changelog tomorrow. But the two biggest by far are the UI and the military system starting to be added. That system is actually very complex and the roots are already in the game.

When a new game is created, your empire is ‘rolled up’ a value n numerous science fields, including missiles, railguns, kinetics, lasers, defense systems, engine tech, warp tech, armor tech, etc. and from those values components are created dynamically. Once your empire has a starting component list, fleet designs are generated based on your military rating and the size of your empire.

For example, home fleet might have 3 capital ships, 5 cruiser ships, and 8-9 picket ships (destroyers, escorts). At the same time, designs for each ship size in the Empire are created based on a type of role (raider, scout, combatant, missile boat, EW ship, etc). Not all roles are created – this is somewhat random, but important roles such as ships of the wall, escort ships, picket ships, etc. are always generated.

Hull designs are created based on role, and from that a ship template is created. The difference between a hull design and a ship template is that hull designs only specify hard points, base defense/HP/crew ratings, and size, while the ship template actually plugs components into those hard points, creating a template that multiple ships can be generated (and built) from.

Finally, ships are generated off the template based on the number and roles needed for the fleets, and they are personalized with names, designations, crew ratings, and commanders, and stationed at your capital planets.

Ground troops will also be in the .410 build. They will be able to be used as garrison troops and peacekeepers, all the way to shock troops and stormtroopers to keep the public in line. They will have a loyalty rating both to you (known) and to your viceroy (known with intel). Be careful that you do not lose the loyalty of your troops! You can send troops that are loyal to you to your planets, but your viceroy can be given the authority to raise troops if they deem it necessary – but beware, troops raised locally are loyal to their viceroy first, then you!

In the next update, I will talk more about the military system and how it ties into both the character system and the science system.

-Steve