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Author Topic: Should there be a culture system to better flesh out the various factions?  (Read 1934 times)

Kos135

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The impending expansion of Luddic lore brings to mind an idea I had for Starsector recently. Should/can there be a culture system introduced to go along with factions? I don't know the first thing about programming so I'm not sure how burdensome it would be to introduce such a feature. Also I am aware off Nexerelin and its introduction of faction alignments and that is similar to what I'm talking about.

But to my point - take the Pirate faction for instance. They're all the same faction as a means of representing the role they play in the sector, their means, etc. But when you read about the lore of various pirate hideouts you quickly realize they are not the same culture, ideology, etc as one another and the only reason they are all being referred to as "The Pirates" is because they all use piracy as a means to get pursue their goals.

Two examples of this would be the "Askonian Revolutionary Council" of Umbra, and Jorien Kanta of Kanta's Den. ARC are political ideologues who have found themselves on the losing end of a conflict and are doing what they have to in order to survive. Jorien Kanta on the other hand, is simply a bandit. She does not appear to have any guiding ethic, ideology, religion, etc. Only a cruel and selfish desire for power and wealth and mayhem which she makes no effort to disguise with some pretense of morality.

Introducing a culture system would allow more nuance in how the Pirates, Luddic Path (despite all of them being hardline Luddics they are said to be decentralized so I'm including them), and especially Independents are represented. They can be divided up into many different factions and their similarities can be represented by culture. ARC and Kanta both practice piracy and would thus have "Pirate" as their culture, but they're definitely not the same faction with the same goals or even the same means.

Regarding the means of various Pirate factions, the skill Wolfpack Tactics gives us a quote from Kanta stating that she prefers frigate gangs to larger ships. That is another distinction between Kanta and some other pirate groups (not implying Kanta has a monopoly on frigate gangs). Same thing would go for Pathers and especially Independents, not every LP or Indie world has the same fleet composition, officer personalities, etc.

But what should this culture system actually do in-game? And how should it be implemented - each faction has its own culture? Each planet has its own culture? Perhaps both in order to represent worlds like Mazalot, which is mostly inhabited by Luddics but is ruled by the non-Luddic Persean League?
The most obvious impact of culture would be its effects on diplomacy between factions and, if there are cultures for both factions and planets, the interactions between rulers and subjects. What else?

EDIT: Just dawned on me there's an entire board for this type of thread. Sorry!
https://fractalsoftworks.com/forum/index.php?board=5.0
« Last Edit: August 12, 2022, 06:52:35 PM by Kos135 »
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BigBrainEnergy

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It is a little weird that your reputation among pirates is shared when their ideology and goals are often at odds with each other. At least it makes sense for independents because they share information with each other so they can hold out against the influence of the major factions (or at least, that's my understanding of "loose coalition"). It'd be nice to have a separate tab for "minor factions" where each different pirate group can have their own opinion of you, but that'd require a rework of an existing system that already does its job good enough.
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robepriority

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Or just have the contact system override rep in certain instances - e.g. if you're friends with the port boss, the system they're in is friendly to you.

OmegaMan

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Having multiple competing pirate factions would be interesting and add flavor.   Right now pirates always seem weak in vanilla.  If they were separated into 3 different factions They could be made stronger with some code to make sure the weaker two usually gang up on the strongest pirate faction.  It would open up new missions opportunities to boot.
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Brainwright

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It is a little weird that your reputation among pirates is shared when their ideology and goals are often at odds with each other. At least it makes sense for independents because they share information with each other so they can hold out against the influence of the major factions (or at least, that's my understanding of "loose coalition"). It'd be nice to have a separate tab for "minor factions" where each different pirate group can have their own opinion of you, but that'd require a rework of an existing system that already does its job good enough.

Better would be melding pirates in with the independents and have a separate faction bar representing your reputation as a pirate hunter.

Frankly, the game would probably be better if you didn't know a pirate was a pirate until it jumped you like the pirate scavengers or it was a large, combined fleet made up of ships from Kapetyn.

And I'm all for tying reputation to contacts made planetside.  Sign me up for that.
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Kos135

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Frankly, the game would probably be better if you didn't know a pirate was a pirate until it jumped you like the pirate scavengers or it was a large, combined fleet made up of ships from Kapetyn.
Interesting idea. As I said in the OP pirates are a very diverse bunch. Piracy isn't a religion or even a profession you have to dedicate yourself to, it's an activity. It's entirely possible for a starship captain to commit only one act of piracy but otherwise perform legitimate work, does that make them a capital P pirate?

Some of the more established pirate factions like Kanta or Kapetyn may not be very shy about advertising their identity since they have a fairly large military and industrial base to back them up. Some pirate factions such as ARC may not even see themselves as pirates despite engaging in piracy, and thus wouldn't feel any need to conceal their identity. If you're talking about Pathers then they certainly wouldn't care about keeping their identity a secret.

But some random murder hobo who may not even be affiliated with a pirate faction would probably want to keep his identity and intentions unknown until the last possible moment.
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smithney

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When it comes down to it, none of the factions are exactly uniform. The Hegemony probably comes the closest owing to its military ideology, but even then you see outliers like the businesspeople at Raesvelg or the entirety of Tigra City.

Regardless, I think the feeling of dealing with subfactions could be served well enough with contacts. It’s just a question of fine tuning their mechanics to make it seem like the place where the contact is located influences what way the contact communicates and what missions they give you.
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Daynen

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It's actually kind of funny that pirates are a faction at all, now that I think about it.
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Megas

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I like Independents as a whole to know better and not pick a side when player sat bombs a non-Indie world (to punish the faction the player is at war with).  When Indies get mad at the player for sat bombing a non-Indie world, they have effectively sided with the enemy and become a target too to sat bomb off the map for getting involved in a war they have no business with.
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Aethelric

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Interesting idea. As I said in the OP pirates are a very diverse bunch. Piracy isn't a religion or even a profession you have to dedicate yourself to, it's an activity. It's entirely possible for a starship captain to commit only one act of piracy but otherwise perform legitimate work, does that make them a capital P pirate?

Some of the more established pirate factions like Kanta or Kapetyn may not be very shy about advertising their identity since they have a fairly large military and industrial base to back them up. Some pirate factions such as ARC may not even see themselves as pirates despite engaging in piracy, and thus wouldn't feel any need to conceal their identity. If you're talking about Pathers then they certainly wouldn't care about keeping their identity a secret.

But some random murder hobo who may not even be affiliated with a pirate faction would probably want to keep his identity and intentions unknown until the last possible moment.

Kanta, the ARC, and the Pathers would still all appreciate the ability to blend in as "Independents", if only to allow them to do piracy more effectively. Pathers in particular seem to spend a lot of their time trying to hide in plain sight before striking, at least when operating as cells.

Lore-wise, it's a bit funny that you can just immediately recognize a pirate once you get within sensor range whether or not their transponder is on; it'd make more sense in general for the player to work on the same premise of patrols, where a ship without a transponder remains unknown unless it chooses to reveal itself and you're forced to react based on that knowledge. Smugglers kinda work this way already, but it'd be interesting to see pirates and Pathers as merely suspicious looking fleets when not actively engaged in piracy rather than as clearly identifiable targets. This would require some retooling of the system to basically make such elements work like the player does when transponders are off: no one knows your identity, but once you do something suspicious or illegal in a system then word of who you are spreads.

I think a lot of how pirates currently function, however, is a remnant of much earlier days of Starsector where pirates were needed as targets for players in the starting (and only) system. Now the fact that they basically function like MMO mobs feels out-of-place in the much more fleshed-out Starsector of the 2020s.
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SCC

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I think a lot of how pirates currently function, however, is a remnant of much earlier days of Starsector where pirates were needed as targets for players in the starting (and only) system. Now the fact that they basically function like MMO mobs feels out-of-place in the much more fleshed-out Starsector of the 2020s.
Their purpose is still pretty much the same.

BCS

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It is a little weird that your reputation among pirates is shared when their ideology and goals are often at odds with each other.

It also makes the game too easy.

Even if you start with the tutorial there's only one pirate fleet you actually have to fight which means you can start the game proper with -68 reputation. Pirates will become non-hostile at -49 or more which isn't exactly hard to grind with dead drop/spy sat deployment/smuggle missions, at which point there is no force hostile to the player in the core worlds outside of Pathers who will simply not engage you if you have even a modest frigate fleet.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2022, 11:31:51 PM by BCS »
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Aethelric

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Their purpose is still pretty much the same.

Functionally, yes, but the universe itself has changed significantly since those early days. I'd like to see the game move a bit away from that structure and begin to treat pirates more interestingly.
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Kos135

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Functionally, yes, but the universe itself has changed significantly since those early days. I'd like to see the game move a bit away from that structure and begin to treat pirates more interestingly.
Exactly! Since the current development focus is Uniquifying the Factions why not go the extra mile and "uniquify" them even more?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2022, 12:14:50 PM by Kos135 »
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