Fractal Softworks Forum

Starsector => General Discussion => Blog Posts => Topic started by: Alex on August 12, 2014, 05:22:56 PM

Title: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 12, 2014, 05:22:56 PM
Blog post here (http://fractalsoftworks.com/2014/08/12/faction-relationships/).
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: MShadowy on August 12, 2014, 05:35:07 PM
Now this should lead to some interesting things to play with with faction relationships in the upcoming release.  Definitely getting hyped up, yeah.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: LazyWizard on August 12, 2014, 05:56:03 PM
Weapon unlocks are now my favorite upcoming feature. I want to earn my giant fleet of murder-ships. :)


What happens if you lose a fight with a faction? Will your relation with them still go down?

On a related note: I think that if a faction is Vengeful, then you should be able to raise it back up to Hostile if you lose in battle to their fleets*. I mean, at that point they are thoroughly avenged, right?

*Obvious rule patch: you'd have to base the reputation gain on what all the player lost, otherwise we'd be able to stop by the Abandoned Storage Facility to drop down to a Hound and go death-hunting.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 12, 2014, 06:07:21 PM
What happens if you lose a fight with a faction? Will your relation with them still go down?

Same as if you win but don't pursue, at the moment. Conceptually, it's going off your intent - "you didn't want to fight" vs "you wanted to fight" vs "you forced a fight they didn't want".

On a related note: I think that if a faction is Vengeful, then you should be able to raise it back up to Hostile if you lose in battle to their fleets*. I mean, at that point they are thoroughly avenged, right?

*Obvious rule patch: you'd have to base the reputation gain on what all the player lost, otherwise we'd be able to stop by the Abandoned Storage Facility to drop down to a Hound and go death-hunting.

Hmm. I think that'd be highlighting a mechanic that already doesn't make a lot of in-fiction sense, namely you being totally fine after losing the battle. If there are some harder consequences, then that might make sense. For example, if you're captured and have to spend time in prison, or if there's a chance for perma-death, or some other such.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: TheDTYP on August 12, 2014, 06:10:46 PM
You're killin' me, Alex! I can't deal with this teasing!!!!!
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 12, 2014, 06:12:48 PM
Now this should lead to some interesting things to play with with faction relationships in the upcoming release.  Definitely getting hyped up, yeah.
You're killin' me, Alex! I can't deal with this teasing!!!!!

Hype! :D
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: PCCL on August 12, 2014, 06:13:27 PM
imo losing a fight vs a faction (assuming they're the aggressors) shouldn't change relations one way or another. I mean, the assumption is you escaped with your life, and thus they're still just as hostile towards you as ever. If you lose a fight as the aggressor, relations should go down depending on losses inflicted (if no losses, it should go down a trivial amount since it's little more than a misunderstanding/harmless harassment)

Vengeful, imo, shouldn't be able to be negated barring VERY special events, off of the top of my head, here are a few possibilities:
-Formal declaration of surrender including massive war reparations and likely loss of planets/outposts
-Armistice/peace treaty signed
-Special pardon from leader of faction, likely result of display of heroism in battle (ofc, this would require the faction to be desperate enough to let you fight for them in the first place)
-Change of faction leadership, likely result of the death of the current leader or the utter defeat and subsequent splintering of the faction

And even then, for the most part the most you'll be able to raise it up to is suspicious
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Mattk50 on August 12, 2014, 06:22:10 PM
Sounds like a near perfect framework for these things. One thing i wonder about is why "independents" have a unified rating at all, though.

Also, how moddable do you think the specific actions and effects of relations will be?
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 12, 2014, 06:33:13 PM
imo losing a fight vs a faction (assuming they're the aggressors) shouldn't change relations one way or another. I mean, the assumption is you escaped with your life, and thus they're still just as hostile towards you as ever. If you lose a fight as the aggressor, relations should go down depending on losses inflicted (if no losses, it should go down a trivial amount since it's little more than a misunderstanding/harmless harassment)

One thing I forgot to mention: if all you do is escape (without dealing hull/armor damage), while you do lose some standing, it doesn't automatically get lowered to hostile on top of that, as it would if you had engaged. (If your standing is originally good, you could see it as being explained away as a "misunderstanding".)

In-fiction-wise, I can easily see you escaping being aggravating. Not aggravating enough to get into "vengeful" territory, but enough to push to the very bottom of "hostile".

Something else that factors in here is you might find yourself in a fight when the faction is not hostile towards you, for example when you're caught hacking a comm relay and aren't sufficiently contrite.

Vengeful, imo, shouldn't be able to be negated barring VERY special events, off of the top of my head, here are a few possibilities:
-Formal declaration of surrender including massive war reparations and likely loss of planets/outposts
-Armistice/peace treaty signed
-Special pardon from leader of faction, likely result of display of heroism in battle (ofc, this would require the faction to be desperate enough to let you fight for them in the first place)
-Change of faction leadership, likely result of the death of the current leader or the utter defeat and subsequent splintering of the faction

And even then, for the most part the most you'll be able to raise it up to is suspicious

Yep, generally on the same page here.


Sounds like a near perfect framework for these things. One thing i wonder about is why "independents" have a unified rating at all, though.

Yeah, still undecided on how to handle that. I think it more or less makes sense for hostile status, but maybe less so for stuff being unlocked. Probably not going to worry about it for the next release, but it's definitely on my mind.


Also, how moddable do you think the specific actions and effects of relations will be?

Very. The way it's structured now, a mod could override the behavior of a specific action while leaving everything else intact. Adding actions is also simple, and since there's no strictly-defined concept of what an action is (or what constitutes a response to an action), it's very flexible.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: The Soldier on August 12, 2014, 06:57:10 PM
Hey, I'm seeing some improved Market Conditions icons (albeit, not all of them).  Might want to hack away at those. :D
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 12, 2014, 07:20:39 PM
Weapon unlocks are now my favorite upcoming feature. I want to earn my giant fleet of murder-ships. :)

That reminds me - something I wanted to talk about in the blog post but didn't really get to is how the weapons for sale are generated. What it does is takes the ships this market would generate, and then looks at the weapons on those. So, it's a generic algorithm that takes into account the faction-specific fleet compositions and the market stability, which results in higher "quality" ships being picked. The nice thing is there's no need to update some kind of weapon list every time fleet compositions change, it's just naturally all linked. Not a major thing, I just think it's neat :)

If ships for sale end up being generated the same way, this would also make sure that the market naturally has the right kinds of weapons to slot in.

(It also sprinkles in some random weapons, btw.)

Hey, I'm seeing some improved Market Conditions icons (albeit, not all of them).  Might want to hack away at those. :D

All of the icons in the initial shots (from the Markets post) were placeholders; David's been gradually replacing them with the real thing.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Cyan Leader on August 12, 2014, 08:03:56 PM
I hope the rewards for higher tiers of friendship isn't only bigger ships/weapons. What I mean by this is that if the player goes out of his way to max a friendship status with a faction, say a faction that is very hard to please even, then the reward should be very rewarding. So far from the mods and from the game I've been seeing a lot of people trying to balance the game so no ship would be inherently OP, which is fine, but if we're going to introduce a progression system into the game then I hope the ships/weapons/etc we get from this are actually better than the stuff you can find elsewhere. They should still be very expensive, but maybe they are a little better than the other ships when it comes to the Supply/Power ratio or have an unique ability that makes them special while using them in combat or very useful.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: LazyWizard on August 12, 2014, 08:05:02 PM
Weapon unlocks are now my favorite upcoming feature. I want to earn my giant fleet of murder-ships. :)

That reminds me - something I wanted to talk about in the blog post but didn't really get to is how the weapons for sale are generated. What it does is takes the ships this market would generate, and then looks at the weapons on those. So, it's a generic algorithm that takes into account the faction-specific fleet compositions and the market stability, which results in higher "quality" ships being picked. The nice thing is there's no need to update some kind of weapon list every time fleet compositions change, it's just naturally all linked. Not a major thing, I just think it's neat :)

If ships for sale end up being generated the same way, this would also make sure that the market naturally has the right kinds of weapons to slot in.

(It also sprinkles in some random weapons, btw.)

I like that system. And making adding/maintaining a faction easier is always a good thing. :)

How is the reputation required to buy a good determined?


Vengeful, imo, shouldn't be able to be negated barring VERY special events, off of the top of my head, here are a few possibilities:
-Formal declaration of surrender including massive war reparations and likely loss of planets/outposts
-Armistice/peace treaty signed
-Special pardon from leader of faction, likely result of display of heroism in battle (ofc, this would require the faction to be desperate enough to let you fight for them in the first place)
-Change of faction leadership, likely result of the death of the current leader or the utter defeat and subsequent splintering of the faction

And even then, for the most part the most you'll be able to raise it up to is suspicious

Yep, generally on the same page here.

Fair enough. My post was mostly a knee-jerk reaction to the idea of accidentally locking myself out of game content. But upon re-reading the blog post it seems that you have to be deliberately trying in order to achieve Vengeful status, so it's all good.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: kazi on August 12, 2014, 08:19:15 PM
Alex, you're such a tease. Lets have that update already haha... (although I'm not sure if I've properly prepared for the modpocalypse)

I feel like it would be cool if the black market offered a way to buy fancier weapons/ships than a faction is otherwise willing to sell you (equal to a reputation boost of x amount). Prices for weapons would generally be higher than legally acquired ones, and you might take a small relations hit if caught. More hostile factions might impound your ships until you pay a certain fee... could be an interesting way to lose ships/money when you get caught smuggling. Outright hostile factions will try to impound your ships/not let you dock regardless of whether you're dealing on the black market or not.

You could even have a skill in the "industry" category that give bonuses to black market trades. Each rank in the skill is equivalent to +10 faction relationship for the purposes of black market trading and reduces the chances and consequences of getting caught. Ranks of the skill would also improve your ability to sell weapons/ships/cargo on the black market and increase your selling price (factions might not buy weapons from you if they don't trust you). Likewise, just being outright friendly with a faction gives you opportunities for better deals and other side missions.

The logos for the Ludd factions/Diktat seem a little uninteresting. The Hegemony and Tri-Tachyon logos, on the other hand are rather fabulous and spiffy (OMFG I LOVE THE HEGEMONY ONE). Also not sure how I feel about having 3 very closely related factions all with "Ludd" in the name. They might feel a little more different if the names were changed so that only one of them was the "Ludd faction" and they had different colors/insignia.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: PCCL on August 12, 2014, 08:25:01 PM
re: 3 ludd factions

would it be cleaner to have them sorted by alliances? Like having a "Luddite" alliance for these 3, then the "star patrol" (mentioned somewhere in the lore) being rolled together with the Hegemony, along with whatever allies or vassals they might have. That could get messy if really complicated faction relation webs start forming though....

Also: the "martyrdom of a figure known as 'Ludd' during the fall of the Domain?"

Was.... was he...... responsible for it? Perhaps indirectly in some way.....?

the plot thickens ;D
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Thaago on August 12, 2014, 08:31:06 PM
I am really excited to see this! The biggest thing that limits replayability right now is that the sector is so static... all this together is really going to make things feel alive.

Have you thought about placing a few procedural worlds on the fringes? I know a while back you wanted to do a core of hand made content and a few procedural worlds to fill it out - it might make the next version really interesting to have just a few worlds subtly changing the trade relationships for each playthrough. Might become a balancing nightmare though, and I wouldn't want to push back the release! ;)

Question: does attacking enemies of a faction improve your rating with them? Or would they have to 'authorize' you first? Maybe one way of being bumped up to cooperative is if your faction relationships match that of the faction (the Hegemony only really trusts you once you've well and truly shown that you are anti-trytach... and back if up with battles/destabilizing smuggling).
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 12, 2014, 09:10:22 PM
I hope the rewards for higher tiers of friendship isn't only bigger ships/weapons. What I mean by this is that if the player goes out of his way to max a friendship status with a faction, say a faction that is very hard to please even, then the reward should be very rewarding. So far from the mods and from the game I've been seeing a lot of people trying to balance the game so no ship would be inherently OP, which is fine, but if we're going to introduce a progression system into the game then I hope the ships/weapons/etc we get from this are actually better than the stuff you can find elsewhere. They should still be very expensive, but maybe they are a little better than the other ships when it comes to the Supply/Power ratio or have an unique ability that makes them special while using them in combat or very useful.

Yeah, that's a fair point. I don't think that ships/weapons are going to be the sum total of faction reputation rewards, though they largely will be for the next release.

As far as vanilla weapons, they were already built with an eye towards progression, though the better versions tend to be expensive and not better in *every* aspect. For example, in the "small kinetic" line, you've got Light AC -> Light Dual AC -> Railgun -> Light Needler. I think this line in particular is a pretty solid progression, even if you account for the higher OP costs.

That said, separating weapons out by availability in this way actually opens up the opportunity to have some that *are* straight upgrades, or just bigger upgrades. Definitely need to keep an eye on that. I don't think too many new weapons are needed, but a couple more in key spots would be nice. So, right, good point all in all.

How is the reputation required to buy a good determined?

For weapons, it's "tier" in weapon_data.csv. 0->favorable up to 3->cooperative. Almost makes it look like I've planned this out from the start, doesn't it? Muahahahahahahaha*cough*.


I feel like it would be cool if the black market offered a way to buy fancier weapons/ships than a faction is otherwise willing to sell you (equal to a reputation boost of x amount). Prices for weapons would generally be higher than legally acquired ones, and you might take a small relations hit if caught. More hostile factions might impound your ships until you pay a certain fee... could be an interesting way to lose ships/money when you get caught smuggling. Outright hostile factions will try to impound your ships/not let you dock regardless of whether you're dealing on the black market or not.

Kind of how it works, actually - the black market gets fewer weapons, but they aren't tier-restricted. As far as prices, they're actually lower on the black market because there's no tariff; the standard tariff elsewhere is 30%. The idea behind no tariffs on the black market is to encourage the player to smuggle/offset its risks. Weapons don't participate in that at the moment, but they probably will eventually, so it might not work out. Hmm. Let me write this down and take a look. The idea of "higher prices for weapons on the black market" makes sense, just need to think through how it works with everything and make sure there isn't some giant loophole where it results in free money. And also if it's easy to make work that way.

The consequences of getting caught, still working through - you're not actually caught in the act, but there's reputation loss due to suspicion, the possibility of an investigation event with more dire consequences, etc. Where it's at might be good enough for now, but I need to take a good look at smuggling, and that's likely related.

You could even have a skill in the "industry" category that give bonuses to black market trades. Each rank in the skill is equivalent to +10 faction relationship for the purposes of black market trading and reduces the chances and consequences of getting caught. Ranks of the skill would also improve your ability to sell weapons/ships/cargo on the black market and increase your selling price (factions might not buy weapons from you if they don't trust you). Likewise, just being outright friendly with a faction gives you opportunities for better deals and other side missions.

Yeah, there's lots of room for trade-related skills here. Definitely not in the cards for this release, though - staying away entirely from changing/adding skills.

The logos for the Ludd factions/Diktat seem a little uninteresting. The Hegemony and Tri-Tachyon logos, on the other hand are rather fabulous and spiffy (OMFG I LOVE THE HEGEMONY ONE).

Aw! I like 'em, but they might not be final.

Also not sure how I feel about having 3 very closely related factions all with "Ludd" in the name. They might feel a little more different if the names were changed so that only one of them was the "Ludd faction" and they had different colors/insignia.

The names, I think make sense. The colors/insignia, they other two currently use the one for the Luddic Church as placeholders; I'd imagine they'll all end up with their own (though similar/related). The Path doesn't actually have a presence in the Sector just now, so it might not make an appearance quite yet.

re: 3 ludd factions

would it be cleaner to have them sorted by alliances? Like having a "Luddite" alliance for these 3, then the "star patrol" (mentioned somewhere in the lore) being rolled together with the Hegemony, along with whatever allies or vassals they might have. That could get messy if really complicated faction relation webs start forming though....

We'll see, yeah. Right now there's no explicit support for "related" factions, as it's not strictly necessary, but that'll have to be fleshed out at some point, and adjusting this UI is part of that.

Have you thought about placing a few procedural worlds on the fringes? I know a while back you wanted to do a core of hand made content and a few procedural worlds to fill it out - it might make the next version really interesting to have just a few worlds subtly changing the trade relationships for each playthrough. Might become a balancing nightmare though, and I wouldn't want to push back the release! ;)

I did a little bit, but, uh. What you said :) I think that belongs more in a release focused around exploration stuff.

Question: does attacking enemies of a faction improve your rating with them? Or would they have to 'authorize' you first? Maybe one way of being bumped up to cooperative is if your faction relationships match that of the faction (the Hegemony only really trusts you once you've well and truly shown that you are anti-trytach... and back if up with battles/destabilizing smuggling).

Not unless there's a bounty out. Been thinking about that too, though, so that's not set in stone.

Very interesting idea re: needing similar relationships. I'm not sure that's something that's easy to express using the current mechanics, but could see this playing a part in, say, doing missions for faction higher-ups - which might, in turn, be eventually be the only way to get up to "cooperative". It might even be a requirement for getting such missions to begin with.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Taverius on August 12, 2014, 10:12:43 PM
I feel like it would be cool if the black market offered a way to buy fancier weapons/ships than a faction is otherwise willing to sell you (equal to a reputation boost of x amount). Prices for weapons would generally be higher than legally acquired ones, and you might take a small relations hit if caught. More hostile factions might impound your ships until you pay a certain fee... could be an interesting way to lose ships/money when you get caught smuggling. Outright hostile factions will try to impound your ships/not let you dock regardless of whether you're dealing on the black market or not.

Kind of how it works, actually - the black market gets fewer weapons, but they aren't tier-restricted. As far as prices, they're actually lower on the black market because there's no tariff; the standard tariff elsewhere is 30%. The idea behind no tariffs on the black market is to encourage the player to smuggle/offset its risks. Weapons don't participate in that at the moment, but they probably will eventually, so it might not work out. Hmm. Let me write this down and take a look. The idea of "higher prices for weapons on the black market" makes sense, just need to think through how it works with everything and make sure there isn't some giant loophole where it results in free money. And also if it's easy to make work that way.

I would say it would make sense for bottom tier weapons to come at some discount, sliding to a hefty markup for top tier.

I'd imagine getting (irl) some surplus issue rifles/pistols would probably be pretty cheap, while getting hold of, say, an aa missile battery of the latest design would come at considerable cost. After all, the final cost in the black market had to include the risks nefarious individuals took to get them to the market.

It also keeps buying basic weapons there attractive gameplay wise, because "we can get you boxes of ak's, cheap"

As far as money loopholes - well, illegal weapons trading is a profitable business, and the player oughto be able to get in that - so long add the appropriate risks are present :)

Buying good weapons to sell to the black market at profit sounds cool if I risk massive reputation loss etc.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Midnight Kitsune on August 12, 2014, 10:40:36 PM
Vengeful, imo, shouldn't be able to be negated barring VERY special events, off of the top of my head, here are a few possibilities:
-Change of faction leadership, likely result of the death of the current leader or the utter defeat and subsequent splintering of the faction
Yep, generally on the same page here.
Could this be done by the player? I would LOVE to do this~ *rubs my paws together evilly*

Also, I do see one potential problem the the "impossible to escape" ness of the Vengeful rep: A "stealth" death trap so to speak. I mean, by the sound of it, Vengeful would even block you from docking so it would block both the Black market and the ability to trade at all, leading to NEEDING to pirate which further sours your rep with everyone... And since not even death can get you out of it, it is basically a game over.


Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: PCCL on August 12, 2014, 10:42:41 PM
vs ONE faction, that's hardly game over......

if anything, I like the consequence introduced by this mechanic
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Trylobot on August 12, 2014, 10:46:40 PM
Nice post, Alex. Your blog is always a good read these days.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Midnight Kitsune on August 12, 2014, 11:08:39 PM
vs ONE faction, that's hardly game over......

if anything, I like the consequence introduced by this mechanic
Yeah I ws talking about everyone, not just one faction
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Linnis on August 12, 2014, 11:13:22 PM
Raising relationship to cooperative...

Multi fleet engagements!

Say, defending a mining fleet from pirates.
Or participate in a war effort in faction vs faction.

 ;D
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Midnight Kitsune on August 12, 2014, 11:29:37 PM
Raising relationship to cooperative...

Multi fleet engagements!

Say, defending a mining fleet from pirates.
Or participate in a war effort in faction vs faction.

 ;D
I wish! I would go NUTS if this were true!
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Okim on August 13, 2014, 01:39:08 AM
Oh, man... I guess I`ll spend ages to accommodate Ironclads to all this new additions...

A quick questions - I suppose that all stances can be easily modded and their effects adjusted? And I have no doubt that these stances can be either 'called' by the exact number or it`s ID should I need them anywhere in the scripts?

Another question - you said that trading with someone will have a negative impact on relations with their enemies. Is it automated or do we (modders) need to specifically adjust it somewhere? And how these enemies will actually understand that you are doing that?
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Okim on August 13, 2014, 01:58:50 AM
Quote
Quote from: Thaago on August 12, 2014, 08:31:06 PM

Question: does attacking enemies of a faction improve your rating with them? Or would they have to 'authorize' you first? Maybe one way of being bumped up to cooperative is if your faction relationships match that of the faction (the Hegemony only really trusts you once you've well and truly shown that you are anti-trytach... and back if up with battles/destabilizing smuggling).


Not unless there's a bounty out. Been thinking about that too, though, so that's not set in stone.

Very interesting idea re: needing similar relationships. I'm not sure that's something that's easy to express using the current mechanics, but could see this playing a part in, say, doing missions for faction higher-ups - which might, in turn, be eventually be the only way to get up to "cooperative". It might even be a requirement for getting such missions to begin with.

From modding perspective I`d like to vote for such linked relationships. Like, for example, getting cooperative with a military faction only if in good terms with this faction`s civilian sector (subfaction).
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Lcu on August 13, 2014, 02:44:26 AM
Would need to draw faction banners soon.....
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: SCC on August 13, 2014, 03:27:14 AM
Smuggling... How about unauthorized, but also undetected docking? I mean, when there are a lot of ships around station it gets tricky to track them all, so one or two ships can get past. Something like... 1/number of ships orbiting or near station * number of player's ships = chance of getting caught on radar (though the number of player's ships compared to others' should also count). That would force player to wait until there is a lot of ships (in worst cause, hostile) and to try then to smuggle goods. Unsuccesfull try would worsen relationship with station's owner.
IMO it would be cool if good (or very good) relationship with faction would make it possible to call for reinforcements from them if you're in absolutely *** situation (Running out of fuel on enemy's territory? Being on brink of loosing a battle with risk of permadeth/losing everything? Or maybe just cooperative raid for some bounty? Last thing would work very well with pirates. :P).
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Gothars on August 13, 2014, 04:10:50 AM
Man, this is gonna be a grand update.  :)

The relation system seems pretty straightforward, but I really like the twist with the limits, should make for a more authentic behavior. Just don't forget do communicate clearly when and why an action has no or reduced influence on standing.


Are faction relations interconnected? E.G. does improving your standing with one faction beyond a certain threshold automatically impact your relation with enemies or friends of that faction?


Quote
the first few trade-reputation points with a faction are easier to gain, and then it levels out. ... those first points let the player know quickly that trade has this effect, and the gain is distributed more evenly as the player levels up, instead of back-loading all of it to when the player has the capacity to trade in bulk.


It might  be worth a thought to display these early bonuses as such, i.e. make it 5+3 in the beginning, dropping to 5, instead of 8 and dropping to 5. Otherwise players might feel as if you are taking something away from them later (instead of feeling like getting a bonus early on).
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Dratai on August 13, 2014, 04:56:59 AM
This opens up a lot of possibilities, action-wise.
But I have to raise the question of whether you'll implement in-campaign missions, longer 'crusades' of fighting or even the possibility to come to someone's aid (for instance a three-way battle with options attack A, B or both, or even wait it out and attack the winner)?

I already posted a bit about it on the market thread, though late so if you haven't read it, I'll qoute it here:

Spoiler
One thought is to add in escort work.
building up a reputation for being successful unlocks bigger rewards/convoys.
It would also perhaps take you from point A to point B out of your control after a series of battles (between which you may not be regaining much CR or do many repairs on account of being on alert/guarding the important (maybe higher priority than normal) shipment)

Essentially, this way it's no longer just "guard ship X" (though it could also be) or "transport Y" to "point Z".
That and I notice with how enemies avoid stronger fleets it might seem prudent that actual pirate assaults on a player's "trade run" would be against some kind of high value target. Maybe even construct a specific battle map/type for this purpose?

(which also means you could later add in scouting battles where you have to traverse a map and get harrassed/assaulted at key points)

Because when you hit big enough fleetsize, most enemies will automatically flee, avoid you and be too weak to fight back.
This whole suggestion could mean that a player would have to hold back part of their fleet/fighting force in light of unknown enemy numbers and battles. (also allowing for players who keep a varied force on hand to maybe split into two or more task groups for the "campaign"/engagement)

but this is just a thought that struck me seeing how you want to avoid trading be simply moving from A->B
[close]

On the other hand, I'm also curious as to if better standings will give you markdowns on equipment/ships or if you can, say, trade some influence, as it were, for a selection of ships/crew, later down the line. Those kinda things.
Also if, maybe it'd restrict you a bit in how you can oppose certain factions if you're cooperative, for instance said three way battle now doesn't give you the choice (or gives you the choice to take on everyone at once and try to pass it off as a misunderstanding with the faction you're amicable with.

Though.. this is just me throwing ideas out there, I doubt they're too feasible unless it's way later in development when you've other things in place?
Just thought I'd share some suggestions either way, I do like where this is all headed.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 13, 2014, 10:50:10 AM
I would say it would make sense for bottom tier weapons to come at some discount, sliding to a hefty markup for top tier.

I'd imagine getting (irl) some surplus issue rifles/pistols would probably be pretty cheap, while getting hold of, say, an aa missile battery of the latest design would come at considerable cost. After all, the final cost in the black market had to include the risks nefarious individuals took to get them to the market.

It also keeps buying basic weapons there attractive gameplay wise, because "we can get you boxes of ak's, cheap"

As far as money loopholes - well, illegal weapons trading is a profitable business, and the player oughto be able to get in that - so long add the appropriate risks are present :)

Buying good weapons to sell to the black market at profit sounds cool if I risk massive reputation loss etc.

Right, "as long as the appropriate risks are present" etc - therein lies (at least some of) the rub. The other part is that, thinking about it today, this would very much be creating an alternate "economy" to make black market weapon sales workable, instead of eventually incorporating weapons into the existing economy and gonig from there.


Nice post, Alex. Your blog is always a good read these days.

Thank you, glad you got something out of it :)


A quick questions - I suppose that all stances can be easily modded and their effects adjusted? And I have no doubt that these stances can be either 'called' by the exact number or it`s ID should I need them anywhere in the scripts?

The rep levels and their names are not moddable. Implementation-wise, they're an enum - like weapon size/type are. Everything else about it is moddable - the actions, the reputation changes, etc.

Another question - you said that trading with someone will have a negative impact on relations with their enemies. Is it automated or do we (modders) need to specifically adjust it somewhere?

It depends. If you use the default submarket implementation, it "just works". If you have a custom one, you have to do a tiny bit of tracking so that it feeds the right data into the the external part that makes it happen. I might actually change how it's implemented, though, so that's not entirely set in stone. Changes would likely make it "just work" in more scenarios, not less, though. And the part that actually applies the rep changes is moddable - it's a hidden "event" that gets kicked off in SectorGen.

And how these enemies will actually understand that you are doing that?

I'm not sure what you're asking. You "why does that make sense"? If so: word just gets around, if whatever is going on is significant enough; it doesn't strike me as a stretch at all.


Smuggling... How about unauthorized, but also undetected docking? I mean, when there are a lot of ships around station it gets tricky to track them all, so one or two ships can get past. Something like... 1/number of ships orbiting or near station * number of player's ships = chance of getting caught on radar (though the number of player's ships compared to others' should also count). That would force player to wait until there is a lot of ships (in worst cause, hostile) and to try then to smuggle goods. Unsuccesfull try would worsen relationship with station's owner.

Thinking about it in similar terms, though the details are pretty different. Want to actually get it working before talking about it much, though :)


Man, this is gonna be a grand update.  :)

I sure hope so :)

The relation system seems pretty straightforward, but I really like the twist with the limits, should make for a more authentic behavior. Just don't forget do communicate clearly when and why an action has no or reduced influence on standing.

Right now, there's a "your relationship with $theFaction is well-established and isn't affected" type message.

Are faction relations interconnected? E.G. does improving your standing with one faction beyond a certain threshold automatically impact your relation with enemies or friends of that faction?

Not right now, no. I'm not sure whether automating that completely is a good idea, or to what extent to automate it. It makes sense for overtly hostile actions, but not necessarily for something like trade - or maybe it does, but to a lesser extent. Basically, still thinking that through. I don't think it needs to be fully in place by the next release.

It might  be worth a thought to display these early bonuses as such, i.e. make it 5+3 in the beginning, dropping to 5, instead of 8 and dropping to 5. Otherwise players might feel as if you are taking something away from them later (instead of feeling like getting a bonus early on).

Hmm. With the way it's set up, you'd just be getting a point or so and it wouldn't be immediately after a trade. I'm not sure the diminishing returns are obvious enough to require an explanation - from the player's point of view, it's just going to be a trickle of points until it stops (due to the relationship going over "favorable"). There, it's a question - to keep sending "you relationship didn't change" messages every month or so (spammy), or send nothing? Might be a good idea to send one last "didn't change" message and then stop, perhaps. Let me write that down.


But I have to raise the question of whether you'll implement in-campaign missions, longer 'crusades' of fighting or even the possibility to come to someone's aid

Thinking about those, though I'm not going to say one way or the other until trying it :) I wll say that the events system is set up in a way that should make it a natural fit for missions, though.

(for instance a three-way battle with options attack A, B or both, or even wait it out and attack the winner)?

Definitely no on 3-way battles. Too much of a mess in many different ways. Battles involving multiple fleets, though (but with only 2 sides), I do want to look at eventually.


On the other hand, I'm also curious as to if better standings will give you markdowns on equipment/ships or if you can, say, trade some influence, as it were, for a selection of ships/crew, later down the line. Those kinda things.

Maybe? I mean, with these types of ideas, it's just a question of picking a set of them that works well together and does the job it needs to go, design-wise. More isn't better, especially when you consider that everything needs to be explained to the player somehow, so it can't just be "oh hey, the price is less here and nobody knows why".

For example, with faction standing already giving you access to better weapons, does it add much if those weapons are also cheaper? It might or it might not, depending on how other mechanics interact (e.g., if these same weapons are available elsewhere, with different requirements etc). It'd have to pull its weight to be added.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Midnight Kitsune on August 13, 2014, 06:35:29 PM
On the other hand, I'm also curious as to if better standings will give you markdowns on equipment/ships or if you can, say, trade some influence, as it were, for a selection of ships/crew, later down the line. Those kinda things.

Maybe? I mean, with these types of ideas, it's just a question of picking a set of them that works well together and does the job it needs to go, design-wise. More isn't better, especially when you consider that everything needs to be explained to the player somehow, so it can't just be "oh hey, the price is less here and nobody knows why".

For example, with faction standing already giving you access to better weapons, does it add much if those weapons are also cheaper? It might or it might not, depending on how other mechanics interact (e.g., if these same weapons are available elsewhere, with different requirements etc). It'd have to pull its weight to be added.
Maybe make it somewhat like this: When you unlock the next "tier" of weapons, the previous tiers get a slight discount. IE at the Cooperative level, the discounts would go like this: 9%, 6%, 3%, 0% with the first being the lowest tier weapons
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Taverius on August 13, 2014, 11:28:49 PM
On the other hand, I'm also curious as to if better standings will give you markdowns on equipment/ships or if you can, say, trade some influence, as it were, for a selection of ships/crew, later down the line. Those kinda things.

Maybe? I mean, with these types of ideas, it's just a question of picking a set of them that works well together and does the job it needs to go, design-wise. More isn't better, especially when you consider that everything needs to be explained to the player somehow, so it can't just be "oh hey, the price is less here and nobody knows why".

For example, with faction standing already giving you access to better weapons, does it add much if those weapons are also cheaper? It might or it might not, depending on how other mechanics interact (e.g., if these same weapons are available elsewhere, with different requirements etc). It'd have to pull its weight to be added.
Maybe make it somewhat like this: When you unlock the next "tier" of weapons, the previous tiers get a slight discount. IE at the Cooperative level, the discounts would go like this: 9%, 6%, 3%, 0% with the first being the lowest tier weapons

That makes sense - I bet nations do the same when selling weapons to "favoured trade partners" and other nations they are friendly/would like to have close strategic ties with. Probably true of PMCs too, and the player is (or will be, once we can own stations outside of exerelin) somehow between the two.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Steven Shi on August 13, 2014, 11:33:31 PM
I think the icons on the top right corner of the trader screen is way too complicated to show what each represents at a glance. Wouldn't a simple 2D design along the lines of our smartphone icons be way more intuitive?

Sorry about being off tangent; I just really don't like overly complicated iconography.   :P
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Midnight Kitsune on August 14, 2014, 12:52:39 AM
I think the icons on the top right corner of the trader screen is way too complicated to show what each represents at a glance. Wouldn't a simple 2D design along the lines of our smartphone icons be way more intuitive?

Sorry about being off tangent; I just really don't like overly complicated iconography.   :P
I'm pretty sure that Alex said that those are just placeholders for now. And if you look closely, you can see that there are many icons that are from hullmod icons
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Gothars on August 14, 2014, 01:49:15 AM





I think the icons on the top right corner of the trader screen is way too complicated to show what each represents at a glance. Wouldn't a simple 2D design along the lines of our smartphone icons be way more intuitive?

Sorry about being off tangent; I just really don't like overly complicated iconography.   :P
I'm pretty sure that Alex said that those are just placeholders for now. And if you look closely, you can see that there are many icons that are from hullmod icons


Number 1,2,4,6,7 are new and, I believe, no placeholders. I agree that some of them appear pretty noisy and are not easy to identify. My hope is that they will make more sense once we know what they are supposed to display.
I'm not sure that simplifying them would help much. With smartphone icons we know what function hides behind them because we know what a smartphone can do, market conditions are mostly new concepts.


Might be a good idea to send one last "didn't change" message and then stop, perhaps. Let me write that down.

Optimally "didn't change, and further action of this type will not change it". I'm pretty sure that otherwise there would be cases where (stubborn) players speculate that you now have to do 10 trade runs to get a relationship point, or test different amounts, or different merchandise...



One question/suggestion:  Will the standing you have with a faction be recognized by fleets not belonging to that faction? For example, an independent fleet (neutral to Hegemoney) might think twice about attacking you in a Hegemoney system if you are cooperative with the Hegemoney. Or a bounty hunter thinks it's the perfect opportunity to attack you when you pass through the Sindrian Diktat system, because you are hostile to the Sindrian Diktat and won't get support here.


By the way, will the dialog options get an overhaul for the next release?




Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: harrumph on August 14, 2014, 04:15:44 AM
Quote
[discussion of black market weapon prices]

I like the idea of common weapons being cheap on the black market and rarer ones very expensive. Could it be linked to scarcity across the system? If legitimate merchants have a total of 50 Harpoons for sale, the black market might offer Harpoons that "fell off the truck" at a big discount—so the player will always be tempted to buy basic weapons illegally. If there isn't a single Tachyon Lance for sale anywhere in the system and a black marketeer gets his hands on one, he'll sell it at a 300% markup or something (and the player will be tempted for different reasons).
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: cardgame on August 14, 2014, 05:54:02 AM
I have an idea on how to handle Independent relations.

Each Independent station is, of course, independent - its own entity. They decide their attitude toward you on their own, but are in a loose coalition, and attacking one independent fleet is the same as attacking them all - enough to have them all declare you a threat. Perhaps similarly, killing enough pirates might raise the collective opinion, but trading is more station-specific.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: SatchelCharge on August 14, 2014, 10:44:26 AM
Another fine blog post. I am very excited for this upcoming update.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Megas on August 14, 2014, 11:41:07 AM
Quote
Optimally "didn't change, and further action of this type will not change it". I'm pretty sure that otherwise there would be cases where (stubborn) players speculate that you now have to do 10 trade runs to get a relationship point, or test different amounts, or different merchandise...
A good idea since other games can be cruel and have an event triggered by only one activity... at a low percentange chance.  For example, kill the final boss for a chance of a top-tier item drop, but the chance of it dropping is only 0.1%.  The remaining 99.9% drop is vendor trash.

Players used to treadmill games (with bad drops and hideously slow level grinding) are amazingly stubborn or tenacious.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: DelicateTask on August 14, 2014, 11:44:58 AM
All I've gained from this blog post is that everyone's a circle in space. ;D Every single faction's banner is a circle in the middle except for pirates. Not complaining, just noticing. Also blah blah, great post, new stuff blah. I'm really excited about it, actually, just don't have much to add to the discussion.

However, I would like to say that the positive faction relation names are not as obvious to me as the negative ones.
This merely expresses my opinion, and I am aware that I may be the only one who thinks this. Still, there may be others who were confused by the designations at first glance.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Hopelessnoob on August 14, 2014, 12:03:04 PM
Really starting to get worried with all this feature creep, its been a year since a release almost!
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 14, 2014, 12:12:36 PM
Maybe make it somewhat like this: When you unlock the next "tier" of weapons, the previous tiers get a slight discount. IE at the Cooperative level, the discounts would go like this: 9%, 6%, 3%, 0% with the first being the lowest tier weapons

That makes sense - I bet nations do the same when selling weapons to "favoured trade partners" and other nations they are friendly/would like to have close strategic ties with. Probably true of PMCs too, and the player is (or will be, once we can own stations outside of exerelin) somehow between the two.

It does make sense - rather, it could - but the question is, would that be a detail that really matters? I think that it depends. If money is *really* scarce, maybe it does. Otherwise, it's overshadowed by getting access to new stuff, which is a qualitative change.


I think the icons on the top right corner of the trader screen is way too complicated to show what each represents at a glance. Wouldn't a simple 2D design along the lines of our smartphone icons be way more intuitive?

Sorry about being off tangent; I just really don't like overly complicated iconography.   :P
I'm pretty sure that Alex said that those are just placeholders for now. And if you look closely, you can see that there are many icons that are from hullmod icons

Number 1,2,4,6,7 are new and, I believe, no placeholders. I agree that some of them appear pretty noisy and are not easy to identify. My hope is that they will make more sense once we know what they are supposed to display.
I'm not sure that simplifying them would help much. With smartphone icons we know what function hides behind them because we know what a smartphone can do, market conditions are mostly new concepts.

The icons may or may not be final. The non-placeholder-ones, I mean. The placeholder ones are definitely not final :)

I think The important part re: icons, I think, is whether they're easily recognizable after you know what they are/what the conditions are. I think I could tell what the condition was something like 4/5 times w/o knowing what the icon was supposed to represent, the first time I saw them, so that's pretty good on that front.

It's also a question of feel. These are a little more painterly and almost serve as little windows into the world. I think simple, highly stylized designs could make the UI feel very sterile.


One question/suggestion:  Will the standing you have with a faction be recognized by fleets not belonging to that faction? For example, an independent fleet (neutral to Hegemoney) might think twice about attacking you in a Hegemoney system if you are cooperative with the Hegemoney. Or a bounty hunter thinks it's the perfect opportunity to attack you when you pass through the Sindrian Diktat system, because you are hostile to the Sindrian Diktat and won't get support here.

Eventually, maybe - those all sound good. Right now, probably not - it's the sort of second-degree faction relationship effect that would be good to have, but doesn't need to be there for things to work. With faction relationships not being something I was really intending to put into this release, I'd rather not expand on them too much and instead focus on things that have to be done for the release to go out.


By the way, will the dialog options get an overhaul for the next release?

Not sure which dialog options you mean, could you clarify?


Quote
[discussion of black market weapon prices]

I like the idea of common weapons being cheap on the black market and rarer ones very expensive. Could it be linked to scarcity across the system? If legitimate merchants have a total of 50 Harpoons for sale, the black market might offer Harpoons that "fell off the truck" at a big discount—so the player will always be tempted to buy basic weapons illegally. If there isn't a single Tachyon Lance for sale anywhere in the system and a black marketeer gets his hands on one, he'll sell it at a 300% markup or something (and the player will be tempted for different reasons).

(I think I mentioned this earlier: weapons aren't hooked into the economy right now. I'd like to see how that works out first, before looking at how stuff like this might fit in.)


I have an idea on how to handle Independent relations.

Each Independent station is, of course, independent - its own entity. They decide their attitude toward you on their own, but are in a loose coalition, and attacking one independent fleet is the same as attacking them all - enough to have them all declare you a threat. Perhaps similarly, killing enough pirates might raise the collective opinion, but trading is more station-specific.

What you're saying, basically, is they hate you jointly, but only like you separately? Yeah, that makes sense. A lot of this comes down to ease-of-implementation, though. It *might* be easier to end up generating dynamic one-off factions for independent markets - which could work much in the way you describe, if those factions were allied with each other, and actions towards one affected other ones in the right way... hmm.


Quote
Optimally "didn't change, and further action of this type will not change it". I'm pretty sure that otherwise there would be cases where (stubborn) players speculate that you now have to do 10 trade runs to get a relationship point, or test different amounts, or different merchandise...
A good idea since other games can be cruel and have an event triggered by only one activity... at a low percentange chance.  For example, kill the final boss for a chance of a top-tier item drop, but the chance of it dropping is only 0.1%.  The remaining 99.9% drop is vendor trash.

Players used to treadmill games (with bad drops and hideously slow level grinding) are amazingly stubborn or tenacious.

Good point.


All I've gained from this blog post is that everyone's a circle in space. ;D Every single faction's banner is a circle in the middle except for pirates. Not complaining, just noticing. Also blah blah, great post, new stuff blah. I'm really excited about it, actually, just don't have much to add to the discussion.

Hah, hadn't realized. The Diktat isn't!

However, I would like to say that the positive faction relation names are not as obvious to me as the negative ones.
  • Favorable - a good starting point.
  • Welcoming - I find that to be a stronger term than friendly. I imagine a big welcoming hug as opposed to:
  • Friendly - Simply being friendly, at least to me, means maybe a smile and a wave, maybe a little polite chat. Friendly =/= being friends.
  • Cooperative - Not a measure of favor. I can cooperate with someone regardless of whether or not I like them.
This merely expresses my opinion, and I am aware that I may be the only one who thinks this. Still, there may be others who were confused by the designations at first glance.

Hmm. They make sense to me, but then of course they would. Anyone else care to chime in?

(The thought behind "cooperative" being the highest is it's the first and only word that conveys a willingness to *do* something, thus being qualitatively stronger than the other words...)
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Sleepyfish on August 14, 2014, 12:40:47 PM
I feel that cooperative has a negative connotation. Perhaps Allies? Although, Close Allies would better describe the willing ness to help, but it has TWO WORDS (it ruins the simplicity/unified feel IMO)!
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: SCC on August 14, 2014, 01:10:11 PM
All I've gained from this blog post is that everyone's a circle in space. ;D Every single faction's banner is a circle in the middle except for pirates. Not complaining, just noticing. Also blah blah, great post, new stuff blah. I'm really excited about it, actually, just don't have much to add to the discussion.

Hah, hadn't realized. The Diktat isn't!
Hussar polandball it is! :D

*something something* Perhaps Allies? Although, Close Allies *something something*
I suppose that you aren't allied with them, rather a cooperative stance means that they will actually help you sometimes, instead of "meh" when you've gotten into some serious... stuff. Being allied with someone means that you have to help them and vice versa, and probably some other things (like making plans together). Alliances are rather faction thing, not player... But well, if the mechanics of building star empire work then it is possible to come back to this... But now? Nah, IMO it feels it's too early to talk about such stuff. Cooperative is better word for the stance.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Gothars on August 14, 2014, 01:25:04 PM
Mh, cooperative reminds me indeed mostly of law enforcement. How about "Supportive"? That's a nicer word, also emphasizing action. Or "Solidary" would fit very well, too.

Welcoming isn't perfect either, but better than cooperative. Wouldn't mind it staying. Alternatives might be "Obliging" or "Amicable".



By the way, will the dialog options get an overhaul for the next release?

Not sure which dialog options you mean, could you clarify?

Just the standard fleet encounter dialog. Do the fleet commanders have different things to say, depending on your standing with their faction? Maybe they can even share real information with you (like market conditions, local threats...or whatever two fleet commanders might chat about). Just thought it might be good fit for this update.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Cycerin on August 14, 2014, 02:08:27 PM
Amazing stuff, love how the scope of the patch keeps growing. It makes the wait worth it.

The Sindrian Diktat sort of came outta nowhere, will there be other "minor" factions to spice up the setting?
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: SafariJohn on August 14, 2014, 03:02:19 PM
I find the relationship names "tolerable" :P, but I agree they could perhaps be improved. Right off-hand I can think of Civ4 that had pleased and friendly, but that doesn't seem like much help. I can't help but think Gothars' suggestion of Solidary is just way too close to "Solitary" to work.

Neutral->Favorable->Welcoming->Friendly->Cooperative    Hmm... Have to keep it in context. Space factions in desperate times where many resources are scarce. Well, something to keep in mind is that these terms should work for both when you are a single fleet, and when you are running a faction yourself.


Some brainstorming later...


Perhaps flipping favorable and cooperative?

Cooperative->Welcoming->Friendly->Favorable

That would put Cooperative and Suspicious opposite one another, which I think fits. Welcoming-Inhospitable and Friendly-Hostile also work as opposites, already. Favorable and Vengeful don't mesh so well... Holding judgment on Favorable for a sentence or three, perhaps Vengeful isn't a good choice? Hateful seems like a suitably strong word, but doesn't seem to quite fit the mold. Forsworn randomly popped into my head for some reason lol :D. Hmm... turning to Favorable, it just doesn't seem like a strong enough word to represent the final level of positive relation. I had "Close" flop into my head, but, like Hateful, it doesn't fit the form of the other relation levels. Allied has come up in this thread, but it doesn't seem like a state of relations that would come from anything less than joining the faction or some sort of treaty between your faction and theirs. I've been assuming the top relation level doesn't require practically or literally joining the faction to reach. If it does, though, then Aligned could be used.

Cooperative->Welcoming->Friendly->Aligned
Suspicious->Inhospitable->Hostile->Hateful

I guess Vengeful could work if it wasn't a level a faction would typically stay at if they got their revenge on you or whomever.  ???

This brings up a question... are the 4th relationship levels supposed to be ones that are easily maintained? E.g. once the 4th positive level is reached, you would have to actively work against them to lose it and the 4th negative would also require work by you to get rid of, or would they both "degrade" to the level below them given only time/actions of the faction in question? If the 4th levels are unstable, would the 3rd levels be stable?

I think we need more information from Alex to come up with the best names for the relationship levels.


Battles involving multiple fleets, though (but with only 2 sides), I do want to look at eventually.

I'm sure you've read my suggestion about non-"instant" battles in the suggestion forum, but simply didn't comment, but I hope you keep my suggestion in mind when you decide to work on this! Here's the thread if you haven't: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=8143.0
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: MidnightSun on August 14, 2014, 04:55:26 PM
Great blog post, Alex. Chiming in with the others, I too found the "good" relationship statuses a bit confusing. In my mind, the rankings would make more sense like this (with the minimal amount of renaming):

- Neutral: intuitive
- Favorable: intuitive as well, shows you're moving in the right direction (with "a favorable reception," you can be sure they're not going to shoot you)
- Friendly: to me, this is less extreme than "welcoming" ("a friendly reception" in my mind would have acquaintances shaking hands)
- Welcoming: again, to me, this is the more extreme emotion than being merely "friendly" ("a welcoming reception" would have good friends hugging each other with warm conversation)
- Allied: as you mentioned earlier, "cooperative" implies some action. It's not an overly "friendly" descriptor, though: a prisoner can be cooperative with the police, but that doesn't mean they'll be hugging it out anytime soon. Allies would be much more likely to honor agreements, overlook minor transgressions, etc.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Mattk50 on August 14, 2014, 06:51:07 PM
allied implies some kind of formal treaty. cooperative isnt great either.

nitpicks tho.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: heskey30 on August 14, 2014, 07:28:40 PM
Well, cooperative kind of make sense actually - the only time you would be co-operating (as in actually working together for common goals, as opposed to them hiring you or trading with you) is if important people in the faction knew you personally and thought you were on their level, which, with some of these factions, is a pretty high honor. The law enforcement thing kind of gets in the way, but other than that, it does make sense.

Also, as for friendly vs welcoming, welcoming can be very impersonal. Someone can welcome you to listen to their speech. But you wouldn't usually be friends with them. If your friends are welcoming it does sound more... well... welcoming than if your friends are just friendly, though. So there are different ways to look at it. But if you are dealing with an impersonal faction I think the first one makes more sense.

But anyway, it doesn't matter much. The game itself can set these definitions. When you play the game and see how the words are used, you will fit the words to the definitions the game provides, as long as it isn't too much of a stretch.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 14, 2014, 07:47:42 PM
I feel that cooperative has a negative connotation. Perhaps Allies? Although, Close Allies would better describe the willing ness to help, but it has TWO WORDS (it ruins the simplicity/unified feel IMO)!
Mh, cooperative reminds me indeed mostly of law enforcement. How about "Supportive"? That's a nicer word, also emphasizing action. Or "Solidary" would fit very well, too.

Welcoming isn't perfect either, but better than cooperative. Wouldn't mind it staying. Alternatives might be "Obliging" or "Amicable".

Hmm, I don't get a negative connotation from cooperative. I can see how it could have one used in a coercive context, but I don't think the word has that associated with it by itself.

I did consider "supportive", but that feels like it has "emotional support" associated with it too strongly. Which someone else might not get from it, the same way I don't get negative connotations from cooperative :) Ah, what fun!

allied implies some kind of formal treaty

Yeah, that's my trouble with it.

But anyway, it doesn't matter much. The game itself can set these definitions. When you play the game and see how the words are used, you will fit the words to the definitions the game provides, as long as it isn't too much of a stretch.

That's a good point. As long as the words aren't too far off, they'll just become natural.



Not sure which dialog options you mean, could you clarify?

Just the standard fleet encounter dialog. Do the fleet commanders have different things to say, depending on your standing with their faction? Maybe they can even share real information with you (like market conditions, local threats...or whatever two fleet commanders might chat about). Just thought it might be good fit for this update.

Ahh, I see. Not really, no - there are other ways for you to get all that information. I can see adding this type of stuff in the future (and feeding it into the "reports" you have available, which is the current way you get info), but for this release I think that'd be straying too far afield.

There *is* some new dialog stuff - for example, when you're caught hacking a comm relay - but that's a one-off. It's done in a moddable way, though, so adding new conversation options is entirely possible.



The Sindrian Diktat sort of came outta nowhere, will there be other "minor" factions to spice up the setting?

Possibly! That's David's domain, so I really can't say.


Spoiler
I find the relationship names "tolerable" :P, but I agree they could perhaps be improved. Right off-hand I can think of Civ4 that had pleased and friendly, but that doesn't seem like much help. I can't help but think Gothars' suggestion of Solidary is just way too close to "Solitary" to work.

Neutral->Favorable->Welcoming->Friendly->Cooperative    Hmm... Have to keep it in context. Space factions in desperate times where many resources are scarce. Well, something to keep in mind is that these terms should work for both when you are a single fleet, and when you are running a faction yourself.


Some brainstorming later...


Perhaps flipping favorable and cooperative?

Cooperative->Welcoming->Friendly->Favorable

That would put Cooperative and Suspicious opposite one another, which I think fits. Welcoming-Inhospitable and Friendly-Hostile also work as opposites, already. Favorable and Vengeful don't mesh so well... Holding judgment on Favorable for a sentence or three, perhaps Vengeful isn't a good choice? Hateful seems like a suitably strong word, but doesn't seem to quite fit the mold. Forsworn randomly popped into my head for some reason lol :D. Hmm... turning to Favorable, it just doesn't seem like a strong enough word to represent the final level of positive relation. I had "Close" flop into my head, but, like Hateful, it doesn't fit the form of the other relation levels. Allied has come up in this thread, but it doesn't seem like a state of relations that would come from anything less than joining the faction or some sort of treaty between your faction and theirs. I've been assuming the top relation level doesn't require practically or literally joining the faction to reach. If it does, though, then Aligned could be used.

Cooperative->Welcoming->Friendly->Aligned
Suspicious->Inhospitable->Hostile->Hateful

I guess Vengeful could work if it wasn't a level a faction would typically stay at if they got their revenge on you or whomever.  ???
[close]

Thanks for giving it some thought :)

This brings up a question... are the 4th relationship levels supposed to be ones that are easily maintained? E.g. once the 4th positive level is reached, you would have to actively work against them to lose it and the 4th negative would also require work by you to get rid of, or would they both "degrade" to the level below them given only time/actions of the faction in question? If the 4th levels are unstable, would the 3rd levels be stable?

I think we need more information from Alex to come up with the best names for the relationship levels.

That's very much TBD. I think a future release will probably flesh a lot of this out.

Battles involving multiple fleets, though (but with only 2 sides), I do want to look at eventually.

I'm sure you've read my suggestion about non-"instant" battles in the suggestion forum, but simply didn't comment, but I hope you keep my suggestion in mind when you decide to work on this! Here's the thread if you haven't: http://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?topic=8143.0

Yeah, I had. Some of my ideas are of a similar direction, but it's not something I'm prepared to discuss in detail - the more I talk about it, even in "I'd like to try it" terms, the more it starts to look like a "planned" feature. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to get that in the game, but I can 1) see some technical reasons why it might be problematic, though hopefully they can be overcome, and 2) it *could* unexpectedly not actually turn out to be good gameplay wise. So, to sum it up: at some point, I'm going to try some things to do with that, and hopefully succeed in putting together something good. FWIW, I'm excited about it :) Just no chance to look at yet, and definitely not for this release.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Cosmitz on August 15, 2014, 01:15:50 AM
One thing i'd love to see emerge out of this is a change to aggro range. When you're vengeful to a faction, almost every fleet in half a sector should home in on you. When you're just hostile, maybe you have to get close enough to be called a danger and attacked.

This would tie into smuggling. Smuggling into vengeful factions territory should be a difficult feat of a fast ship, Millenium Falcon, some kind of heavily armored blockade runner that can tank encounters and evade or just a huge fleet that obliterates everything.. though in the latter its no longer smuggling but just.. agressively setting up a new trade route.  :)


All in all, i'd love for the sector map travel gameplay to be expanded.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: XpanD on August 15, 2014, 03:35:46 AM
Definitely seeing some inspiration from Mount & Blade here, haha. Looking forward to it, seems like it'd make for a more interesting game once again past the already amazing customization and combat. :)
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 15, 2014, 10:36:03 AM
...

All in all, i'd love for the sector map travel gameplay to be expanded.

Yeah, that's really something I want to take a look at. I think that probably warrants being the focus of a dedicated update, though.

Definitely seeing some inspiration from Mount & Blade here, haha. Looking forward to it, seems like it'd make for a more interesting game once again past the already amazing customization and combat. :)

How so? Oh, I guess the relationship level names - but those are the product of some time spent with a thesaurus, so that's more convergent evolution than inspiration :) As far as the mechanics, I don't think what M&B does is similar...
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: XpanD on August 15, 2014, 11:34:52 AM
Definitely seeing some inspiration from Mount & Blade here, haha. Looking forward to it, seems like it'd make for a more interesting game once again past the already amazing customization and combat. :)

How so? Oh, I guess the relationship level names - but those are the product of some time spent with a thesaurus, so that's more convergent evolution than inspiration :) As far as the mechanics, I don't think what M&B does is similar...

Maybe I worded that a bit poorly, but what you said pretty much nails it. I mostly just had a bit of a chuckle when I saw the faction relationship stuff having just finished a world domination run in Warband. Reading through the blog post I do see a few parallels with the way M&B does things, though the different setting does change things up a good bit. For what it's worth, I still love both games dearly and I don't think this update will do any harm there. :P
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 15, 2014, 11:42:01 AM
Oh, no worries, I didn't take it in a any bad way :) The names are very similar. (This is totally making me want to play Warband. Must resist.)
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Aereto on August 15, 2014, 01:01:28 PM
One thing i'd love to see emerge out of this is a change to aggro range. When you're vengeful to a faction, almost every fleet in half a sector should home in on you. When you're just hostile, maybe you have to get close enough to be called a danger and attacked.

This would tie into smuggling. Smuggling into vengeful factions territory should be a difficult feat of a fast ship, Millenium Falcon, some kind of heavily armored blockade runner that can tank encounters and evade or just a huge fleet that obliterates everything.. though in the latter its no longer smuggling but just.. agressively setting up a new trade route.  :)


All in all, i'd love for the sector map travel gameplay to be expanded.

Though taking note that dropping cargo/contraband might not make the engaging fleet break pursuit. The Millenium Falcon had to drop cargo in detection of an Imperial ship.

A high-speed ship would do as a blockade-runner. Having a heavy fleet would get rid of a blockade than penetrating the trade barrier. I might have to begin anew once the new version is up; makes no sense starting up in the old station with a 4-Onslaught fleet ready to take on the Hegemony or the Pirates (not Tri-Tachyon, due to significant technological advantage, except a Paragon Pair/Triad fleet), overstocked in fuel, supplies, credits, and crew.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Toxcity on August 15, 2014, 01:15:27 PM
I think you'll have to restart anyway to get all the new systems and factions.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: David on August 15, 2014, 10:11:12 PM
All I've gained from this blog post is that everyone's a circle in space. ;D Every single faction's banner is a circle in the middle except for pirates. Not complaining, just noticing. Also blah blah, great post, new stuff blah. I'm really excited about it, actually, just don't have much to add to the discussion.

... aw, heck!

- but not the Diktat, as Alex mentioned, and not the Ko Combine! ... which no one else has seen yet I guess.

The thing with circles in space is that it's such an easy and obvious symbol for ... stuff in space. It feels spacey. Everything in space is a circle. Planet? Circle in space. Star? Circle in space. Orbit? Same. Gate/portal. Galaxy. All circles.

So yeah, I am aware of some repeated motifs. Some I consider okay because they can be thought of as a lot of factions using the symbolism of a shared predecessor in order to appeal to its authority, eg. the circle motif of Independents, the Hegemony, and Persean League all (in my mind) harken to whatever the symbol of the Domain was (I'm guessing it's a circle of some kind). It's like how half of Europe used the eagle as a symbol of authority due to the Romans.

Ah, and now that I look at it again, the Diktat also has the circle in it - plus wings! Intended partly as a reference to the Hegemony's phoenix symbol, but heavily modified, and the red circle really is there for the star Askonia. Which, yes, circle.

Edit to add more commentary on factions:

Amazing stuff, love how the scope of the patch keeps growing. It makes the wait worth it.

The Sindrian Diktat sort of came outta nowhere, will there be other "minor" factions to spice up the setting?

I love how interesting and revealing the messiness of politics can be. Factions of highly varying ideology and levels of influence can do much to enliven the drama of Starsector's world; they're like characters with their own stories that are biased one way or another but altogether form a picture of 'what is actually going on'.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Gothars on August 16, 2014, 10:56:26 AM
I'm not really bothered by the abundance of circles, but it's bothering me a bit that the way the symbols are displayed seems to lack a formal standard (as of now). Makes them seem a bit thrown together, as a group.

- The Ludds, Tri-Tachyons, Independents and Pirates have a symbol with roughly the same edge length centered in a broad box. |  O  |

- The Hegemoney has a symbol that also has equal edge lengths, but is offset by an arrow on the left.  |}  O |
I think that's a better use of space, it looks more elegant to my eyes. I would suggest to use that for all factions, but:


- The Sindrian Diktat has a symbol with a longer horizontal axis centered in the same broad box. |--O--|





Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: David on August 16, 2014, 11:13:03 AM
I'm not really bothered by the abundance of circles, but it's bothering me a bit that the way the symbols are displayed seems to lack a formal standard (as of now). Makes them seem a bit thrown together, as a group.

This thought has come to mind, actually!

I see two approaches: make it a bit gamey/artificial and have them be totally consistent (which can be done well- I do quite like for example the Alpha Centauri faction 'crests'), or go with the thought that these factions are not using a shared graphics standards protocol /at all/ to reflect how different they are. But that might feel like an excuse to be inconsistent. Granted, almost all world flags (which can be our point of reference) follow a shared standard with some notable exceptions, but states of the world are a somewhat more stable and uniform group that factions in the Sector -- imagine if you included among the flags of the world the logos of powerful corporations and the flags or symbols of rebels and pirates.

My final answer is that nothing is set in stone.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Debido on August 16, 2014, 01:33:16 PM
@David

Actually it would be interesting to see what the old domain crest looks like, a bit of Lore. I can imagine there might be a few die hard 'the domain still exists' types hanging around.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Gothars on August 16, 2014, 03:47:55 PM
or go with the thought that these factions are not using a shared graphics standards protocol /at all/ to reflect how different they are.

I would hold against that approach that what are you seeing in the UI is supposedly not the raw data that the different factions are releasing. The menu, in my understanding, represents data that is preprocessed and streamlined for your chararacter. So it would make a lot of sense for wildly different symbols to have identical formatting, since that is choosen on the player (-sides) end.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: David on August 16, 2014, 05:56:37 PM
or go with the thought that these factions are not using a shared graphics standards protocol /at all/ to reflect how different they are.

I would hold against that approach that what are you seeing in the UI is supposedly not the raw data that the different factions are releasing. The menu, in my understanding, represents data that is preprocessed and streamlined for your chararacter. So it would make a lot of sense for wildly different symbols to have identical formatting, since that is choosen on the player (-sides) end.

That's a good angle; I'm sure the TriPad uses a standard symbol set (contact your local TriTachyon franchise officer for licensing opportunities).

@David

Actually it would be interesting to see what the old domain crest looks like, a bit of Lore. I can imagine there might be a few die hard 'the domain still exists' types hanging around.

Hah, good point! Yeah, I should come up with something. (I actually do have a vague idea for it based on how a bunch of other stuff is turning out.)
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: haloguy1 on August 16, 2014, 05:57:11 PM
Just wondering when will this update be?  ???
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: PCCL on August 16, 2014, 06:13:20 PM
is the pirate x an actual symbol?

I was hoping for those nice skull/mask things in the blog post from before... :(
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Megas on August 16, 2014, 06:26:39 PM
I like the X, although that could be mistaken for an error symbol.  It is unexpected, simple, and seems original.  That said, a good skull-and-crossbones is still a classic.  (Or maybe hockey mask-and-crossbones... or hockey mask and double chainsaws.)
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 16, 2014, 10:56:27 PM
or go with the thought that these factions are not using a shared graphics standards protocol /at all/ to reflect how different they are.

I would hold against that approach that what are you seeing in the UI is supposedly not the raw data that the different factions are releasing. The menu, in my understanding, represents data that is preprocessed and streamlined for your chararacter. So it would make a lot of sense for wildly different symbols to have identical formatting, since that is choosen on the player (-sides) end.

That's a good angle; I'm sure the TriPad uses a standard symbol set (contact your local TriTachyon franchise officer for licensing opportunities).

Hmm. I can't imagine they'd use too different a set of symbols than the factions themselves use, though. It'd be like, "we helpfully normalized the flags for you so that they look nothing like the originals!" :) Also, it seems to me like stuff is easier to recognize at a glance when it has more unique shapes, especially when the flags are displayed in smaller sizes on buttons and such. I don't know how much of a concern that is, though, since the colors are distinct. Then again, that wouldn't help if someone is color-blind.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 16, 2014, 11:03:05 PM
Just wondering when will this update be?  ???

I realize that this is an eminently unhelpful answer, but - "when it's ready". Things are moving along very well, though; just a lot to wrap up.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Linnis on August 18, 2014, 11:21:36 AM
I like the X, although that could be mistaken for an error symbol.  It is unexpected, simple, and seems original.  That said, a good skull-and-crossbones is still a classic.  (Or maybe hockey mask-and-crossbones... or hockey mask and double chainsaws.)

well, looking at how you do actually HAVE a relationship with pirate, so probably means the symbol is that of the biggest pirate group, or something. (think starwars the hutts)

Maybe we will get more information about this as lore in the future?
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: MShadowy on August 18, 2014, 12:08:58 PM
or go with the thought that these factions are not using a shared graphics standards protocol /at all/ to reflect how different they are.

I would hold against that approach that what are you seeing in the UI is supposedly not the raw data that the different factions are releasing. The menu, in my understanding, represents data that is preprocessed and streamlined for your chararacter. So it would make a lot of sense for wildly different symbols to have identical formatting, since that is choosen on the player (-sides) end.

That's a good angle; I'm sure the TriPad uses a standard symbol set (contact your local TriTachyon franchise officer for licensing opportunities).

Hmm. I can't imagine they'd use too different a set of symbols than the factions themselves use, though. It'd be like, "we helpfully normalized the flags for you so that they look nothing like the originals!" :) Also, it seems to me like stuff is easier to recognize at a glance when it has more unique shapes, especially when the flags are displayed in smaller sizes on buttons and such. I don't know how much of a concern that is, though, since the colors are distinct. Then again, that wouldn't help if someone is color-blind.

Yeah, I have to agree; it really makes very little sense for faction iconography to all be normalized without much regard to what the actual symbols look like.  Moreover, given what we're talking about, I wouldn't expect standardization between different factions either.

Beyond that, having the faction flags all look reasonably different from each will make it much more readily apparent which faction is which while navigating the UI.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Gothars on August 18, 2014, 04:27:33 PM
Well, I think there's a big difference in how a faction icon looks, and how it is presented in the space that is reserved for it. I'm all for very different and distinct faction icons, with all kinds of shapes and colors.

Thing is, it's not quite clear if we are seeing rectangular flags here, or symbols with a background. In the former case, it's all well, the factions make their flags as they like and the UI just shows them. (Then most of them would surprisingly similar, though.) But in the latter case, if these are symbols on some filler background (and that's how I understood it), the UI has to arrange them on that background anyway. So why would it not do that in a unified way?
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Bobakanoosh on August 24, 2014, 12:44:29 PM
Haven't logged on in a while. Just read the update. Alex, you and your team are doing a wonderful job!

On the point of the Luddites, I think it makes sense to have these separate factions in the same 'alliance'. Think about the Christians: the are Catholics, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodist, etc. They all worship the same god/saint/deity/flying spaghetti monster, but are in different denominations. I can see the same thing applied to the Luddites.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on August 25, 2014, 07:06:44 PM
Thing is, it's not quite clear if we are seeing rectangular flags here, or symbols with a background. In the former case, it's all well, the factions make their flags as they like and the UI just shows them.

I've been thinking of it as the former, yeah.

Haven't logged on in a while. Just read the update. Alex, you and your team are doing a wonderful job!

Thanks for the support :)
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: TheDTYP on August 30, 2014, 08:34:36 PM
Hey, so I have a question, which may or may not have already been answered. (If it has been, I apologize, I haven't read this thread in a while)

So it's been established that there are a variety of ways for players to influence their own standing with a faction, but would it be possible for factions to have the same dynamic relationships with one another as they do with the player? The more I think about this question the more complicated it sounds coding wise, but I'm wondering if, say, at some point in my theoretical playthrough, the relationship between factions like Tri-Tachyon and the Hegemony would be friendly, or at least won't kill each other on sight, as drastic as that could sound. If yes, is there a way the player can at all influence these relationships?

Actually, on the topic of hypothetical faction stuff, I'm not entirely clear on one thing. If a planet or a station is destabilized, (I know it has effects such as smaller fleets) is there a system in place that a faction hostile to the planet or station suffering this destabilization crisis could swoop in and take over, eliminating the former faction from the area? Would it be possible to sort of launch a crusade to effectively wipe a faction from the face of the Sector, or is that not how it works?

Thanks in advance! Super excited for the update, I can't wait to play it! Keep up the great work, Alex and company!
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: SadDemon on September 19, 2014, 02:39:07 AM
Hey!

Patch notes looks really good and i look forward do it. I was just wondering if there will come new weapons and/or ships in some far future patch, or do you feel finished with that aspect?   
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Alex on September 19, 2014, 09:15:46 PM
Hey, so I have a question, which may or may not have already been answered. (If it has been, I apologize, I haven't read this thread in a while)

Hi - sorry about the reeeal delayed response, ended up missing this somehow.

So it's been established that there are a variety of ways for players to influence their own standing with a faction, but would it be possible for factions to have the same dynamic relationships with one another as they do with the player? The more I think about this question the more complicated it sounds coding wise, but I'm wondering if, say, at some point in my theoretical playthrough, the relationship between factions like Tri-Tachyon and the Hegemony would be friendly, or at least won't kill each other on sight, as drastic as that could sound. If yes, is there a way the player can at all influence these relationships?

To answer your question: eventually, yeah, I'd expect to have more dynamic relationships between factions, but they probably wouldn't use the exact same mechanics, though they'd use the same relationship system. I mean, the goals here would be different - letting the player influence it, as you mention, some kind of a political landscape following patterns, events playing into it, etc. Just how that'll all pan out remains to be seen. Definitely not for this release, though :)

Actually, on the topic of hypothetical faction stuff, I'm not entirely clear on one thing. If a planet or a station is destabilized, (I know it has effects such as smaller fleets) is there a system in place that a faction hostile to the planet or station suffering this destabilization crisis could swoop in and take over, eliminating the former faction from the area? Would it be possible to sort of launch a crusade to effectively wipe a faction from the face of the Sector, or is that not how it works?

Perhaps, but not right now. That sounds like it might fall neatly together with dynamic inter-faction interactions.


Hey!

Patch notes looks really good and i look forward do it. I was just wondering if there will come new weapons and/or ships in some far future patch, or do you feel finished with that aspect?   

Hey! More ships and weapons are always an option. I think the weapon set is in a pretty good place, but there are a couple of things I'd like to add. It's just not real high priority, because, well, it is in a good place. As far as ships, let me just say that there are some exciting new developments on that front for the next release :) But they don't necessarily include brand-new ships.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: Cycerin on September 20, 2014, 07:42:29 AM
New patch notes soon? ;D More implied ship adjustments excites me.
Title: Re: Faction Relationships
Post by: senor on October 05, 2014, 01:45:57 PM
All this faction relationship stuff sounds great, Alex.  I wanted to suggest that the player be able to perform war bounties, on behalf of a faction that they were in good standing with.  Maybe this is already planned and I missed it in the blog.  Probably paid war bounty, but maybe if the economics system supports it, perhaps unpaid bounties could be an option that the player is given when the faction doesn't have the resources to pay?  i guess it's mostly a thematic thing at that point.

In addition to that I thought it might be cool for the player to gain reputation with multiple factions by doing "pro-bono" work/bounties for a faction.  For example, the player accepts a mission to protect a civilian installation or fleet from pirate attack just as a good deed, major civilized factions hear about it and think better of the player.  Or maybe the Hegemony is attacking some poorly defended Tri-Tachyon civilian colony and the player steps in to defend for free, this would give a large reputation bonus for Tri-Tachyon and maybe a small one for other factions that don't hate Tri-Tachyon (and perhaps hate Hegemony).  This would be in contrast to the player doing these kinds of things for pay, in which case factions (other than the one paying) might wave it off as mercenary work.

Further, if the player does a lot of paid mercenary work for many different factions, and/or perhaps if the player frequently or always denies to doing mercenary work for free, that might slowly lower reputation with multiple factions as they see the player as being untrustworthy or cutthroat.

What do you think?

I've enjoyed reading the blog updates about these game systems, thanks for posting them.