of the problems in most strategy games is in the later stages where you KNOW
you've won but you have to mop up. This can take hours to do and sucks all the
fun out of the game for many players. In a game where you may control 100
planets, cities, whatever and your enemies only control a half dozen total, the
game is over. There is no scenario where they’re going to come back and win.
But conquering those last few cities/planets can be incredibly tedious,
especially if they are built up.
We try to avoid that sort of thing in GalCiv through a variety of mechanisms.
But no mechanism is as straight forward as common sense. You see, most strategy
game AI design is focused on the philosophy of ganging up on the leader.
Hence, if you're winning the game, even your closest friends will slowly move
away from you. This makes no sense at all. Why would your allies and close
friends turn against you or even sneak attack you when a) they’re your friends
and b) you’re much more powerful? In GalCiv, civilizations will try to gang up
against the leader when it makes sense.
the Arceans control 40% of the galaxy and the humans, Drengin, Yor, and Torians
control 15% each, then the Drengin may come to me and say “Look, the Arceans
are starting to dominate, we need to covertly work against them.”
because there’s still a good chance that the Arceans can be brought down. If
you work together, you can crush them.And in fact, if the Arceans start destroying the Drengin and they feel
it’s hopelessly, they’ll likely surrender their forces to you, the Torians, or
the Yor in order to help you guys if things are looking good.
the other hand, if the Arceans go on to control 90% of the galaxy and the
Drengin start getting crushed, they’ll likely just surrender to the
Arceans.Or if you are the one with
90%, they’ll surrender to you They make the determination not to fight to the
last colony and surrender.
how we try to avoid unnecessary mop up. Sure, you can fight to the
bitter end all you want. But the aliens won’t try to drag it out necessarily.
the critical mass problems we see in many strategy games arise more so than
from any other condition from the fact that the players will gang up against
the leader no matter what.
causes critical mass problems more than that. And it is, IMO, a very very BAD
game mechanic. In the real world, it works the opposite. The more powerful you
are, the more other governments will tend to want to get along with you. Sure,
they may snipe at you or whatever but they're not likely to go to war with you.
it’s frustrating as well. What if I’m trying to win the game via a diplomatic
path? Or trying to be a galactic trade czar? Such tactics become useless if as
soon as you start to have some success that you have to suddenly have to switch
to military conquest mode as your friends begin to become enemies.
In GalCiv’s design, mop up usually is a minor thing in the game because AI
civilizations who are hopelessly outgunned will beg for mercy and want to
eventually become your ally even. Failing that, they'll surrender outright.