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Dev Watercooler #1 - Laws

Demosthenes

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As a nation simulation game, one of the biggest aspects the development team has to focus on is the implementation of some sort of law system. This is where most of the potential for nation customization happens; where you can, at your leisure, be a militant dictator, a benevolent monarch, or anything else you wish to be as leader of your nation. PT Alpha's law system reflected that decently well -- laws were numerous and diverse, and had relatively small effects on your nation that could rapidly build up to make you an economic powerhouse, a sprawling utopia, or a swiftly-dwindling nation of oppressed citizens that were doing everything they could to get out.

But, at its core, the Alpha system was fairly simplistic. You had a set list of laws, your chances of passing any given law were purely based on how much of a majority you had in your government, and each law's effects were fixed and uniform for every nation that passed them. For the most part, all of the top nations passed the exact same laws. For Beta, we wanted something that had more depth and felt a bit more organic so each nation could be different without sacrificing customizability.

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With Beta's law system, every nation has three graduated scales:

  • Foreign Policy: Interventionist - Isolationist
  • Economy: Capitalist - Socialist
  • Social Freedom: Authoritarian - Libertarian

Each law passed affects your nation's place on one (or more) of these scales; so (for example) as you pass more socialist laws, your nation becomes more socialist. Laws whose values resemble your nation's will be easier to pass than those that do not -- which means it will be easier to pass multiple laws on one end of the scale.

As an example, let's pretend my nation is far to the Authoritarian side of the Social Freedom scale. If I wanted to pass another law that resembled the ones my nation is known for -- say, pervasive government surveillance -- it would be considerably more likely to pass than, say, a law allowing freedom of speech.

The impact of your nation's scale doesn't stop at just passing your laws, though. The impact each law has on your nation is modified by how closely it matches your nation's policies as a whole -- so even if I somehow managed to pass that freedom of speech law, its effect on my nation's stats would be significantly diminished compared to its effect in a nation that is typically libertarian.

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Government types in Alpha were never really touched. Every nation was a Democracy (though as far as mechanics went this meant basically nothing), and there was no way to change it.

Clearly, this tied into laws -- so we decided to integrate the two.

Any nation will be allowed to attempt to change its government type to one of four options: Democracy, Republic, Oligarchy, or Autocracy. Your government type will affect how you pass laws.

  • Direct Democracy: All citizens vote on each law. Instead of holding elections for representatives and attempting to gain seats in a parliament, your chances of passing laws will depend on your citizens (and how happy their are with your rule).
  • Republic: Will function as it did in Alpha. Elections may be held up to once every 3 days to determine seats in Parliament; your chances of passing a law will depend on how many seats you control.
  • Oligarchy: Instead of elected officials, you have a council made up of self-interested oligarchs. You may gain influence over them by funneling some amount of your tax income to them, and -- like the number of Parliament seats for a Republic -- your amount of influence will determine how easy it is to pass laws. The percent of your tax income that you use to bribe your council members may be changed at most once every 3 days.
  • Autocracy: You have supreme rule over your nation. Any law you attempt to pass (including changing government type) will succeed, but your nation will suffer significant happiness and growth penalties. Additionally, any laws you pass while an Autocracy have a chance of being automatically repealed when changing back to a different form of government.

Attempting to change your government type will consume your ability to pass a law for the day. Additionally, you may not change your government type for 3 days after calling an election (if you are currently a Republic) or changing your bribe amount (if Oligarchy).

It is our hope that this system will reduce the amount of cookie-cutter nations we saw all too often in Alpha, by creating multiple viable paths and encouraging nations to form their government and policies as they wish.


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Just a note, some changes to Autocracy have been discussed in the hours since this was posted. It was realized that there was a fairly easy to exploit loophole in the outlined setup. Demo will post with more details about the issue and the proposed workaround later.

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Just a note, some changes to Autocracy have been discussed in the hours since this was posted. It was realized that there was a fairly easy to exploit loophole in the outlined setup. Demo will post with more details about the issue and the proposed workaround later.

Updated the post. Changes noted in red.

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I would of liked to see more Government types, but i think overall, i cant wait to see these in work. Very happy. 

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Man, and I thought laws on Alpha were all-encompassing...

 

Question: If we elect to run our nation with a Direct Democracy, will we no longer even have a Senate, or will the Senate become more of a "House of Lords" type body? Edit: Same way with Autocracy and Oligarchy, really. Will the Senate still be there for those too? Also, will there be any ability by the citizenry to overthrow a government type they dislike? (most likely Autocracy/Oligarchy obviously).

 

Very excited to see the Laws get added! Keep up the great work guys! :)

 

Edit: As to not take up space with another post:

 

What about some type of monarchy? Laws are introduced by the regent, voted on by the Senate body, and possibly passed. It's like democracy in that way. But if a law is not passed, the regent can forcibly pass the law to the ire of his or her citizens and the Senate - making populations and happiness decrease and the Senate less likely to pass laws brought forth in the future. Too close to a cross between Autocracy and Democracy?

 

The issue is, all of the government types need to be mechanically distinct from each other. As you can see above, every government type has a different way of passing laws, and is thus going to cause you to gameplay in a different way.

 

If you can think of other government types and a realistic way of passing laws (read close to how that government type works in reality) that is mechanically distinct from the current government types, we'd be more than happy to hear them. We couldn't come up with any.

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The issue is, all of the government types need to be mechanically distinct from each other. As you can see above, every government type has a different way of passing laws, and is thus going to cause you to gameplay in a different way.

 

If you can think of other government types and a realistic way of passing laws (read close to how that government type works in reality) that is mechanically distinct from the current government types, we'd be more than happy to hear them. We couldn't come up with any.

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Very interesting. I'd like to see some sort of severely limited democracy though, if possible.

 

I honestly do not know what you mean by this. Can you elaborate?

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Man, and I thought laws on Alpha were all-encompassing...

 

Question: If we elect to run our nation with a Direct Democracy, will we no longer even have a Senate, or will the Senate become more of a "House of Lords" type body? Edit: Same way with Autocracy and Oligarchy, really. Will the Senate still be there for those too? Also, will there be any ability by the citizenry to overthrow a government type they dislike? (most likely Autocracy/Oligarchy obviously).

 

Under the current plan, the "Senate" for lack of a better term will not exist in any of the government types besides Republic. Currently there's no plan for the citizenry to be able to overthrow a government. 

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What if we were able to choose a government archetype, like we do now, but be able to add a custom name that people see? We have something like that in "real life" - the single-party, totalitarian family dictatorship known as the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea" is one example. That would abstract the naming convention from the "distinct differences" in government archetypes!

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Very interesting. You said it arrives sometime in the window of this week-ish, right?

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im really looking forward to seeing how this aspect will develop the game...good luck with it, guys...

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Yay for direct democracy! I can't wait to get to use it.

Although I do have a question.

What will happen to the

 

Political Party:Free Technocratic Party

section of the main page under different types of governments? Will it be something like prevailing ideology in direct democracies? Will the main political party function any differently under oligarcy or autocracy, or will it stay the same and essentially become the force with a hedgemony on societal power?

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You can already name your nation whatever you want. Thus doing exactly what the DPRK does. 

Apologies, for my example was flawed. What I was meaning by it, is that there will be 'mechanically distinct government types' built in, as I understand this. However, there won't be many flavors of each, in that I mean how they are labeled to people. For example, if I were to choose a Republic, but wanted to express a more democratic view, have it show that my "government type" be Democratic Republic, vs. just the mechanically distinct name of "Republic." This would satisfy the mechanically differences that the underlying game would use, while giving an added aesthetic/showing of an ideology, to have a somewhat customized government type.

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Gotcha. I don't really see why something like that couldn't be added, though it's of course up to the developers. 

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Will there be a way to say change the amount of people in the national legislature, make it bicameral or unicameral and decide the election practices (ie first-past-the-post or proportional representation.)?

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How steep of bribe rates are we talking for the Oligarchy? Because I plan on using it as kind of a Cabinet-level deal. In Jovenia the Executive and Legislative branches are one in the same. I figured an Oligarchy would fit, because I could explain the "bribes" as mere allocation of funds to those particular ministries. I just want to know exactly how greedy they would get? I, obviously, can't dedicate my entire General Fund to the "ministries/oligarchy."

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What the bribe rate is will be entirely up to each ruler to decide. Obviously the higher the bribe rate, the more likely the Oligarchs are to do as you wish. Harder to pass laws might require you to raise your bribe rate from where you normally keep it, and vice versa.

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Any idea when will get some additional features to the game, like when the Laws, Trading, Research etc. will be finished?

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