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Expanding on faction standing and landing

They don't take kindly to outsiders at Dvaered High Command.

To provide a brief overview: In 0.5.1, the landing and faction standing mechanics will be changing in a big way. They’re both no longer hard-coded in C, having been moved to flexible Lua scripts that can operate differently for each faction.

Important military outposts and such will now be restricted to factional allies, seldom (if ever) accepting bribes, and attaining standing with a faction will require campaign missions rather than just killing the faction’s enemies.

Landing

Landing has long been a rather simple mechanic in Naev. Plainly, being neutral or friendly with a faction means you can land on any of their assets — up to, and including, their primary military and political headquarters. Likewise, if you’re hostile with a faction, you can simply bribe your way into the spaceport.

Yet somehow, it seems that high-ranking bureaucrats and military officers might frown on enemies of the state traipsing around their headquarters after throwing a few credits at the landing control officer. As such, it’s become a priority to do away with the overly-simplistic permission system.

Our new mechanic for this is rather more nuanced. As we’ve done with many things, landing is now handled through Lua — the behaviour is no longer hard-coded in C. The simplistic landable-if-not-hostile model has been replaced with a ternary system that can operate differently per-faction: while civilian worlds will let neutral strangers land, important factional outposts will typically be restricted to allies. Correspondingly, a backwater civilian settlement that you’re hostile with is likely to turn a blind eye if you pay them off, while officers at a military outpost will tend to be far less lenient.

The restricted assets are also divided into tiers. While an outsider will be able to land at most of a faction’s military assets after doing a number of missions for them, key assets such as faction home worlds will remain off-limits to all but close allies.

Standing

A second, closely-related mechanic is faction standing. Like landing, it’s also far from optimal in 0.5.0 and earlier — you can become a faction’s trusted ally simply by going on a brief rampage and killing off a number of their enemies’ ships.

This may even happen inadvertently through normal gameplay. It’s a given that players are attacked by pirates in many areas of the galaxy, and since pirates are a common enemy among many of the lawful factions, simply fighting off pirates ingratiates players with all of these factions.

For 0.5.1, it’s undergoing a substantial revamp. Like landing, the previously hard-coded behaviour has been replaced with a flexible Lua solution. Generally, killing alone won’t take you terribly far. To become an ally of a faction, it will be necessary to do missions for them.

Grunt-work such as cargo ferrying and patrol missions won’t go all the way, either. Each faction has two ceilings on standing. The first is the point at which killing stops increasing your standing, and the other is the limit on how far normal missions can raise it.

To become a faction’s ally, you’ll need to do campaign missions for them. The reputation limit that regular missions can reach will be increased by the campaign missions, essentially representing an increased willingness for the faction to trust you.

The way reputation is gained through killing is also changing. The 0.5.0 reputation system is essentially omniscient. If you kill a pirate out in the middle of nowhere with no witnesses, your standing will still go up with all pirate enemies.

The new system operates on two levels. Killing a faction’s enemies in systems that the faction inhabits will trigger a normal standing increase, because you’re directly defending them and their populace. The other case is where you’re fighting a faction’s enemies outside of the faction’s space. In this instance, killing a faction’s enemies only increases your standing if the faction has a ship that’s within sensor range.

Plainly put, a faction should only take notice if your actions affect them in a direct manner. The Empire shouldn’t care if you kill a pirate deep within Sirius space, nor vice versa.

We hope that these mechanics will make general faction relationships more compelling, and ideally they will serve to distinguish factions from each other, rather than faction standing polarizing into lawful versus lawless, with one group of factions at 100% and the other at -100%.

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16 comments to Expanding on faction standing and landing

  • Intiom

    Sounds much better than the current miplementation. It always bothers me when groups are omniscient within computer games: always aware of what you have done. Good to see this is changing.

  • Kwyjibo

    Interesting. What would happen if you destroy a group of ships belonging to same faction without anyone else in sensor range and without survivors from the destroyed group?

  • Deiz

    The standing loss remains as it was. When you kill a ship you always lose standing with the ship’s faction.

    It’d of course be more realistic to only diminish standing when there are witnesses, but that’s abusable, e.g. by killing lone pirates in Empire space, and then killing lone Empire patrol craft along the northern rim, which would eventually make you neutral with both the Empire and the pirates.

    Having kills always subtract standing enforces a sort of mutual exclusivity.

  • DarthKev

    This definitely sounds better in terms of gameplay. When will we, the players, get to try this out for ourselves?

  • Daemonward

    The Prisoner Exchange mission will need to be modified, since the player’s standing with the Empire cannot be high enough to get permission to land on Polaris Prime at that point.

  • Deiz

    It’ll be in 0.5.1, which, while officially is “done when it’s done” will probably in two or three weeks, assuming no unexpected delays occur.

    As for the affected missions, the issue will be remedied for release.

  • Joseph Brower

    @Diez:

    Perhaps having the ships show a “transmission” or something showing that they have signaled they’ve been attacked could work. That would still keep the exclusivity, but would make more sense. Also, another idea would be to have that transmission happen if they are alive after a certain amount of time. In other words, a quick kill wouldn’t be transmitted. That would allow missions that are exceptionally high risk (landing in an enemy stronghold because you Rep with them is good and perhaps stealing goods or somesuch.)

  • crimson_shade

    i’m guessing that a spaceport or planet would also record any kills if there are not faction ships nearby.

    i’m in favor of the short time delay before transmission (i might have mentioned this somewhere)so that if you are smuggling, you could quickly take out lone police without it affecting the odds that you can land on the nearby planet/spaceport.

  • Yukabacera

    If you kill a Police though, shouldn’t their ship’s transponder send out a distress call?

  • DarthKev

    Agreed, there would be automatic distress fail-safes in place just for that reason, I would think. You wouldn’t be able to kill a ship without that beacon going out unless you could jam their transmissions.

    Of course, that could also possibly be an opening for an illegal ‘transmission jammer’ outfit to be found on pirate worlds. Maybe not since the trade-offs for such a device would have to be extraordinary or else it would simply negate the efforts to ensure players can’t become friendly with everyone at the same time.

    On a related note, killing Collective drones improves the players reputation with the Empire (and their allies) AND the pirates. Since there are a few systems where players could kill drones in view of pirate vessels, that would give players an opportunity to become friendly with all the major factions at once.

  • Does it zoom in and out? I could add that ez :) in d3d + all your stuff + textured quads….anyways looks neat is it easy to mod too? I’d love to do my own version, yet have so little time…I played a ton of escape velocity, personally i’d make the game world smaller centered around earth start over when dead….not enough games play that way ;p

  • Hans

    Just try out the daily build and got the “Empire Recruitment” mission. I have to deliver the parcel to Madeleine Station but they deny my landing request.
    => Ensure that the destination of parcel is land-able or grant a landing permission

    I would prefer the second solution. “… To fulfil the mission you receive a special landing permission” (like the pirate landing pass).

  • […] Expanding on faction standing and landing […]

  • cb4

    Currently I have the situation where I have Hero standing with all the factions except Traders/independents and FLF. I achieved this by blowing up lots of pirates/FLF until I was a Hero to the lawful factions, and then blowing up Traders until the pirates started to like me. Now I can fly around unmolested anywhere (except by the FLF), and steal from any Traders I come across anywhere at all. It’s decidedly odd watching pirates and empire duke it out and have them both show green.

    Maybe my pilot file is messed up?

  • Sudarshan

    Thanks for making such an incredible game!

    I just realized what this change means when I fired up 0.5.1 for the first time. While this adds a lot of realism, it makes the game significantly harder since one has to actually work one’s way up the ranks of each faction rather than just kill pirates to become a “hero” with all the major factions.

    BTW, it seems that a side effect is that factions don’t give away branded ships for free (earlier even a person with a standing of 10 could buy branded or faction specific ships which was somewhat unrealistic) 😀

    However I still think that standing loss being unconditional is a bit hard on end users, although I do understand the reason why this had to be done :(

  • cairn

    So, basically, since I’m playing 0.6.0 right now, if we want to improve our stance with any faction that regards us as enemies, the best first steps are to start doing standard missions posted on the boards of one of their planets/stations, and to start helping them kill enemies within sensor-range of at least one of their military ships? Is that correct?

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