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Gekko
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Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« on: August 12, 2010, 04:26:09 pm »

Join the discussion here. All net melee players are welcome. The game will be played there as I like the forum layout more. The forum is also more suitable for role-playing.

[size=150]Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat[/size]

For some time I've wanted to play a bigger campaign in UQM. I originally suggested this to Shiver, but he said that I had just described how Star Control 1 gameplay was (I've never played the first Star Control). It was also agreed that the net melee community isn't big enough for this sort of stuff. Anyway, I think we should try.

The grand idea is to play a strategical game of net melee, sort of a mix of Star Control 1 and diplomacy. This means that we will be using a star map (maybe a portion of the original star map from UQM, size depending on the number of players) as the play area. In this sector of space there are multiple players (Admirals?) who are trying to defeat their opponents and gain control over more solar systems. The ultimate goal is not to defeat all other players, but defeat all the hostile alliances. Alliances are dynamic, meaning that they can change entirely during the game. The game ends when there is only one alliance left. At the start of the game no-one is allied, but the situation can be entirely different after the first turn.

[size=150]Story[/size]

We do not know what happened. This is important. Oh, there are plenty of rumours. Some say that just before it happened, the Rainbow Worlds lit up, blazing energy pulsing out of them and engulfing entire systems. Others say that in Orz space, large things defying description could be seen in hyperspace, bending time and space around them. There are reports of blotches of green appearing in hyperspace, and of strange beings appearing in many systems.

But we do not know what happened. We only know that just as we had sat down to sign the final peace treaty within the sector, to usher in an age of peace, things changed. Hyperspace began to move around. It is still there, but now it is filled with storms and danger. The gravity wells are in different places and lead to new systems. In Truespace, planets disappeared. Sometimes we find them in completely different systems, devoid of life. Sometimes we do not find them at all. Fleets disappeared too, many of them for good. Some ships were scattered through Hyperspace and Truespace, often appearing within moons or planets. And there was death. Something moved out of the new darkness of Hyperspace, and where it moved life ceased.

And then, as suddenly as it began, it stopped. The presence retreated, leaving the survivors in this harsh new world. We were left alone, among the ruins of our old order. And we do not know what happened. We just know that things are different. The Arilou no longer smile. There is sadness in their eyes, and they tell us that they are trapped here. They cannot find their way home. The Orz are silent. They will follow directions, but they no longer talk. It is as if they have lost a part of themselves. The Arilou say that their *fingers* have been cut off. The Androsynth are here as well. They do not know where they have been, they are as lost as all of us. They are joined by two other lost races, the Chenjesu and the Mmrnmhrm in being confused, alone and worried. The Chmmr are still here, and view the newcomers warily. But they have enough troubles of their own. Some say they were performing a experiments at Delta Draconis, experimenting with Precursor technology beyond their understanding. Perhaps this is why we do not find any Traddash. Perhaps it is even why everything happened as it did. But we do not know: We only know that the Chmmr are not trusted the way they once were.

There were battles at first. Many of us were sworn enemies, and this was an excellent time to repay old debts. But within every race, there are those who would rather live. Even among the Kohr-Ah, some prefer life to death. Eventually, the fighting stopped. Those who now remain work together, or die by our hand. Who knows how long this truce will hold? But for now, it does.

There must be others out there. Other groups such as ours, struggling to stay alive and to rebuild civilization. Perhaps they will welcome us gladly. But what if they do not? How many new Hierarchies have formed out there? How many lone Kohr-Ah are still preying on the defenseless? How many of the survivors we encounter will view us as an obstacle to be removed?

So we come to you commander. Among us, you are the only one with experience of commanding troops. We need a leader to take us through these trying times. To rebuild our worlds and our way of life.

Please help us commander, you’re our only hope.

[size=150]The starmap[/size]

Starmap

[size=150]Gameplay[/size]

As mentioned above the game is played in turns. The players move simultaneously, but in specific order. At the beginning of the movement phase each player is given a random number between 1 and n (n = player count) after which the players get their movements done according to the number they received. Players can move all their fleets once during each turn to any star in their current constellation, or to any neighbouring constellation / individual star.

Combat

Combat occurs when two or more fleets of different alliances end up to the same solar system. There are a few cases:

Case 1: 2 players of different alliance
Case 2: 3 players of 2 different alliances
Case 3: 3 players of 3 different alliances

The battles always occur a fleet against a fleet (think of them as pokemons). At the beginning of the battle both players pick their fleet and connect to their opponent. The players play super melee as normally, except they are allowed to retreat. Retreating causes the ship on the battlefield to be left behind and get destroyed. Retreating can only be performed during combat, not in the ship menu while considering your next pick. Once a player retreats the fleet will move to any adjacent solar system immediately. If the fleet lands to a hostile solar system, it is then forced to combat again. The first case above uses these rules.

If there are 2 players from alliance Alpha and 1 player from alliance Beta, then the alliance Alpha simply selects which of the players goes to battle first. Retreating works normally.

If there are 3 alliances present, then the battle occurs by randomly selecting who are battling first. This means that the waiting player will get a major bonus. If there are 4 alliances, then 2 battles will occur at the same time, and the winning alliances will continue to battle for the control of the solar system.

After the two fleets finish combat the remainning ships in both fleets receive full crew. This is only to reduce the amount of work in managing the game. I also doubt that any of you wishes to say during combat: "Oh oh! Your Mmrnmhrm should have only 9 crew left. Let me shoot it a bit until you are at the correct crew level!"

If you end up into the same star with another player, then you can negotiate with each other. If one of the player wishes to retreat immediately, giving the star to the other player, then the other player can decide whether or not he accepts this. This means that if you end up to the same star with someone else, then you don't necessarily have to blow the opposing ship into oblivion. You can let it go. Retreating during combat still causes the penalty.

In case the players are unable to connect to each other they will name a vice admiral. This of course doesn't mean that you get I_LIVE or me from #uqm-arena, but someone who you have named before the game. All players will be tested for connection issues before the game on #uqm-arena. You are free to play your games wherever you wish as long the games get played in time, though #uqm-arena is recommended for support.

Rules of engagement

By default you are allowed to play the battles with whatever rules you want, but both of the players have to accept them. However, if one side wishes to use the official tournament rules, then the another player must accept this. Default tournament rules are:

[size=100]Tyranny[/size]

In case there are problems I (Gekko) will have the final word in these debates. I do listen your opinions, but we need someone to lay down the rules. You are free to question these rules at the arena or public debate here.

[size=100]Stalemates[/size]

Rule: In the spirit of competition, both players should employ whatever tactics they consider most effective. This may result in a stalemate at some point. If so, the faster of the two ships becomes a designated attacker. The attacker does not necessarily have to make a bee-line directly for the defender, but they are required to take the initiative. This means that Androsynth attacks Shofixti, Ilwrath and most of the ships other than Slylandro with the comet, not bubbles.

Explanation: Stalemates are bound to happen. We found this rule to be a relatively painless solution. The decision to use speed as a stalemate-breaker did not significantly reduce the effectiveness of Star Control's fastest ships. As it turned out, the most mobile combatants were best suited to withstand such a penalty.

[size=100]Shofixti Host Advantage Prevention[/size]

Rule: In case the guest player uses the Shofixti's Glory Device against the player who is hosting the game and manages to destroy the opponent in his suicide attack, then that battle is considered as the Shofixti's victory. In case this happens the host player must tell what ship he is going to deploy next on the IRC, giving the upper hand to the guest player.

Explanation: The game forces the guest player to select a ship first. This causes the host player to get an advantage in the game of rock-paper-scissors by giving him an opportunity to pick a counter against the guest player. This has been discussed on the arena and it has been decided that the battle in question should be considered as Shofixti's victory.

[size=100]Torch ban[/size]

Rule: Thraddash Torch is banned from the game.

Explanation: The ship is broken in serious net melee. The long ranged main weapon gives the fastest ship of the game a clear advantage over almost every other ship. The ship can destroy most of the other ships in UQM if you are willing to give it 10-20 minutes of time per ship.

Movement & Mechanics

Each player starts with 200 build points and can build fleets as they wish before the first turn begins. Thraddash Torch is banned and there can't be more than one of each ship in each fleet. Fleets can only contain 14 ships. All ships must be in a fleet, even if there is only one ship in the fleet. This means that when you build new ships, you must then assign them into a fleet - one that already exists, or a new one. Ships can be built in any solar system you control.

At the beginning of each turn the players get 3 points for each solar system they control. These points can be used before moving your fleets to purchase new ships to any solar system you control. The prices are the same as in Super Melee menu (Chmmr = 30, Shofixti = 5). Fleets can be created and re-arranged during this phase, though moving already existing ships to other solar systems must be done by travelling in fleets (even in a fleet with only one ship).

The movement phase occurs as soon as all orders are in. Generally a week is accepted, further waiting is accepted with explanations. 2 weeks away with no explanation = Astronomical Plantmonster attacks your faction and destroys everything. This time span can be increased to once 2 weeks if the battles seem to occur too often and people don't want to get that many games played in such a short time span. The players send their commands to me using this forum, as a private message using the following syntax:

*****

Topic: [campaign] John The Examle, turn 3, orders

Message:


I use 10 points from my pool and construct two Shofixtis to Alpha Pavonis.
The independent Shofixtis create two new fleets:
Scout Fleet 1: Shofixti
Scout Fleet 2: Shofixti
I use 5 points from my pool and construct a Shofixti to 1st fleet at Alpha Pavonis
My 1st fleet at Alpha Pavonis moves to Beta Pavonis.
My 2nd fleet is split into two fleets:
2nd fleet: Arilou, Androsynth, Chmmr
3rd fleet: Druuge, Kohr-Ah, Shofixti
2nd fleet stays at Alpha Pavonis
3rd fleet attacks the enemy fleet "Red Squadron" at Gamma Pavonis

End of orders

*****

Each of the players will receive a PM on the forums that has three things at the beginning of each turn:
- Their personalised map
- Copy of their faction chart with fleets and other numbers
- List of currently visible fleets

Upkeep

Alliances require that your factions trade with each other, collaborate, send resources to each other, handle administrative bureaucracy etc etc. The upkeep of an alliance is as follows:

2 players: 0%
3 players: 15%
4 players: 25%
5 players: 50%
6 players: 75%
7 players: 150%
8 players: 250%
9 players: 350%
10 players: 1000%

The % stands for the amount of build points which will be spent to the alliance stuff. If you make 30 points per turn, then in the above case your income is:

2 players: 30 points
3 players: 25 points
4 players: 22 points
5 players: 15 points
6 players: 8 points
7 players: -15 points
8 players: -45 points
9 players: -75 points
10 players: -270 points

With these numbers we can eliminate a mega alliance from forming. As we have 10 players (probably), we can have two alliances of 5 players. After that the alliances begin to eat themselves and become unstable.

End of the game

The game ends when one or more of the following conditions are met:

- Time limit: The game ends after 20 turns
- There is only one alliance left

If the game ends with only one alliance left, each player gets:
+50 points divided by the members of alliance
+1 for each star the player controls
-3 for each star constellation with more than 1 player inside it

If the game ends with any other condition, each player gets:
+1 for each star the player controls
+2 for each constellation he controls exclusively
-3 for each constellation that the player shares with someone else

Role-playing

All factions can send messages to the public bulletin if they wish. Faction remains completely secret if they don't use the public bulletin. Once they write to the public bulletin, any faction can contact them, Otherwise, factions can only be contacted by first meeting them. You are allowed to role-play wherever you wish, let it be PMs on the forums, emails or IRC queries as long you save your role-playing logs somewhere. They should be an interesting read after the game.

Alliances are formed through role-play and they can be rather loose without that much pressure from the rules.

[size=150]Interested players[/size]

#uqm-arena
Gekko (managing, not playing) CONFIRMED IN
AmonX NOT CONFIRMED
Sideways NOT CONFIRMED
Oldlaptop NOT CONFIRMED
Catelite NOT CONFIRMED
Starcruiser NOT CONFIRMED

SCDB:
chenjesuwizard NOT CONFIRMED
Nuclear [NOT CONFIRMED
Ziper1221 NOT CONFIRMED
Alvarin NOT CONFIRMED
Lukipela NOT CONFIRMED

UQMF:
« Last Edit: August 27, 2010, 12:38:21 am by Gekko » Logged

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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 12:31:33 am »

Since alot of people don't have accounts on SCDB, you should explain the game here.
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 02:57:57 am »

Posted the rules to the first post of this thread
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 11:23:06 am by Gekko » Logged

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Admiral Zeratul
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 06:21:00 am »

This sounds great! Though, I am concerned with how this operation will be managed. This is more complex than a forum game, and things could quite possibly fall into chaos without proper organization.
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 11:11:39 am »

We are hurling ideas around mostly at #uqm-arena, and there are some questions and suggestions on SCDB too. Hopefully we can figure out the pitfalls before starting. You are correct about the relation of complexity to management. This is why there should be as few mechanics as possible. If we think of the board game diplomacy there are NO specific mechanics at all - you merely move the troops around on the board.

Most recent change, updated to the rules: Fleets can move to any star inside the same star cluster, or to any neighboring star cluster or individual star.

Currently under debate: A very fine point from Starcruiser. What prevents the players from forming a mega alliance and everyone signing the peace treaty? We need some pre-defined goals and terms for victory.

I'd also like to include a bit more freeform RPG in the thread. There will be official "news releases" or something when the lasers start blazing, but players should also have some RPG content that is visible to everyone, not just to those who they are plotting with.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 11:25:24 am by Gekko » Logged

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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 11:35:52 am »

Quote
We need some pre-defined goals and terms for victory.

I believe a pre-defined number of stars under the players' control should be required for them to be eligible for victory. I'm unsure what would happen if the alliance wins, just have any without the required number lose? It would cause more fluid alliances.
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2010, 04:07:29 pm »

Currently under debate: A very fine point from Starcruiser. What prevents the players from forming a mega alliance and everyone signing the peace treaty? We need some pre-defined goals and terms for victory.

Presumably, the desire to keep playing the game. A mega-alliance would only form if everyone decided they wanted to end the game, so this issue keeps itself in check.
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2010, 10:45:48 pm »

Of course, some races in the star control universe would never ally themselves with some other races. For example, the Orz and Arilou never could get along. I think this should be incorporated as well. In other words, I think it would seem more realistic if more role-play is involved. Perhaps give players the disposition of a certain race, thus limiting who they could make an alliance with and, to make it a little more interesting, what ships they can deploy in their fleet. Perhaps a Slylandro player with special victory conditions could be used to increase tension between factions. *cough*I will volunteer*cough*
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2010, 12:03:01 am »

Unfortunately Star Control universe doesn't understand the idea of "balance playing". The races are like Pokemon trainers who specialize in one area. "NO-ONE CAN BEAT ME FIRE POKEMONS". We simply have to state that the races are, for some reason, divided to the factions which exist at the beginning of the campaign.

Added to the rules: Fleets can't have more than one ship of same type (no dupes)
« Last Edit: August 14, 2010, 12:12:38 am by Gekko » Logged

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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2010, 12:44:36 am »

Quote
I believe a pre-defined number of stars under the players' control should be required for them to be eligible for victory. I'm unsure what would happen if the alliance wins, just have any without the required number lose? It would cause more fluid alliances.

How about: 100% of the stars must be controlled. The game ends when there are no competing factions. Players will also get score at the end of the game:
+100 points divided by the members of alliance
+2 for each star they control
-3 for each star constellation with more than 1 player inside it

Also definition: Star cluster probably needs to be named something else. What are they called in Star Control hyperspace map? Here's the top-left corner of the starmap with the groups of stars circled.

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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2010, 12:50:41 am »

How about: 100% of the stars must be controlled. The game ends when there are no competing factions. Players will also get score at the end of the game:
+100 points divided by the members of alliance
+2 for each star they control
+1 for each alliance star the rest of his alliance controls
-1 for each star cluster with more than 1 player inside it
That sounds reasonable. I still want to be the Slylandro player though...

Also definition: Star cluster probably needs to be named something else. What are they called in Star Control hyperspace map?
Constellations.
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2010, 03:23:45 am »

How about: 100% of the stars must be controlled. The game ends when there are no competing factions. Players will also get score at the end of the game:
+100 points divided by the members of alliance
+2 for each star they control
+1 for each alliance star the rest of his alliance controls
-1 for each star cluster with more than 1 player inside it
That sounds reasonable. I still want to be the Slylandro player though...

Also definition: Star cluster probably needs to be named something else. What are they called in Star Control hyperspace map?
Constellations.

Thank you. Constellations.

I'll be away for about a week as I have some... business elsewhere in the country. Probably I'll be able to check the forums and IRC each day, but be prepared that I might respond next time on Friday. I'll make sure to spend those 14 hours in a train to this thing.
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2010, 03:38:30 am »

not in time for this round, but if we play again, (or delay it for 3 month) I could whip up a program in visual basic that gekko could use, or, if i can get the networking down, we could each have a copy and gekko would have the master control.
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2010, 03:42:25 am »

A new program that takes care of organization and game management... That's genius! Plus, it also means my idea still has hope.
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Re: Online campaign - diplomacy, strategy, combat
« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2010, 11:56:50 am »

not in time for this round, but if we play again, (or delay it for 3 month) I could whip up a program in visual basic that gekko could use, or, if i can get the networking down, we could each have a copy and gekko would have the master control.

Would be most helpful. Note that I use Linux mostly, so make sure it works on Linux.
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