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Oolite Bulletins • The Feudal States
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The Feudal States

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:55 pm
by Ramirez
Having got back into Oolite recently I've been thinking about doing another flavour expansion along the lines of Commies and Dictators, and I thought I'd start to have a go at the feudal states. I need to do some background research to understand exactly why feudalism took off historically, and what unique opportunities a feudal system could present in the world of Oolite.

When I think of feudalism I immediately think of heraldry, and so here's scope to use a handful of basic ship models with different coats of arms to keep things varied. For the dictators I based all the unique ships around the humble hexagon - for the feudal states I'm basing the models around a tetrahedron, adding and cutting away bits and pieces to make a range of ships that have a consistent theme. Here are three ideas that I've knocked up in the past few days:

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(b.t.w. I realise the last one looks a bit like the Vegastrike Llama but it's still just a variation on the tetrahedron theme)

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions for things to try including, let me know.

..

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:29 pm
by Lestradae
Sounds like a good idea for an atmospheric oxp in the line of commies and anarchies to me :)

What about feudal stations - main station covered with banners from nobility, family clans giving out missions with the purpose of weakening other clans or strengthening their own agendas etc.

Cloak and dagger go space opera. There is a lot of unique flair in this idea. I like it.

Re: OXP Idea - The Feudal States

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:37 pm
by Screet
Ramirez wrote:I need to do some background research to understand exactly why feudalism took off historically, and what unique opportunities a feudal system could present in the world of Oolite.

If anyone has any ideas or suggestions for things to try including, let me know.
I do like the ships models...but as a german, I'm not too eager to see that eagle on the ship, it reminds me much of what we had on the D-Mark (I do love the euro, for me, the eagle is just close to having a german flag on such a ship, and I don't like that) ;) I wouldn't complain about the german titles, although there are comparable ones in english.

If the ships are a little bit similar, like you mentioned, but still have differences, I'd say it even fits itself easier into the whole gaming experience.

Concerning feudalism: I guess the system lord would give parts of the riches to a few so that they would exploit them and deliver their part to the ruler...thus the old astromines and so on could be run by different families, each with their own part of space...and that those might not always be too peaceful to each other, probably no open hostilities, but like hiring the player for shooting down the mines/factories of their competitors in the hope that those properties could get re-assigned to themselves or people they like more. It could also have the idea of the ruler trying to get the player into fights with one of those people, as they became too strong. If you look/read Dune, especially the problems between Harkonnen, Atreides and how the emperor mixes in, you probably get an idea. The newer Dune movies probably give a better idea of that, compared to the original movie, as they take some more time to elaborate those things.

There could even be different emblems on the ships, probably combining the ruler's and the house it's being run by. War-heroes probably have their additional markings and tougher equipped ships. Then, the player might have to do some sort of "missions" for one of those fractions in order to get his hands on the more powerful models, maybe even having to assassinate the offspring of rivalring clans. There could really be quite some "missions" concerning those systems, probably even a ranking system for the player within one of those houses...uhm...the whole thing probably provides many more possibilities than you could build in.

Your model suggestions all look like some sort of craft that is primarily a fighter or combination ship like the CM3, thus maybe there could also be some dedicated cargo carriers which are guarded by those fighters and which also could become target during hostilities, disrupting the power of competing houses/clans. Those carriers would not only run the W/N route, but also between planet/station and the factories/mines.

Grrr... I *really* like the look of those ships...PLEASE DO IT! Seems it'll be a long time waiting for that oxp to be released, as I would install it right now if it were available with such models.

Screet

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:50 pm
by JensAyton
It’d be a bit weird for every feudal system to be part of the Holy Roman Empire, though. Ideally, you’d have a selection of different heraldic elements, and select one or a few per feudal system.

This could be done with lots of shipdata entries with conditions, but it might be simpler to do it with a decal shader… although planet_number is currently only available to shaders on the player. This should probably be addressed. (The downside of any shader-based solution is of course that it’s only available to people with shader support.)

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:56 pm
by Screet
Ahruman wrote:It’d be a bit weird for every feudal system to be part of the Holy Roman Empire, though. Ideally, you’d have a selection of different heraldic elements, and select one or a few per feudal system.

This could be done with lots of shipdata entries with conditions, but it might be simpler to do it with a decal shader… although planet_number is currently only available to shaders on the player. This should probably be addressed. (The downside of any shader-based solution is of course that it’s only available to people with shader support.)
...and I've got shaders disabled because ships often become soooo dark. Is that my driver?

Concerning the empire...yes, you're right. Probably the systems could even use titles in different languages, based on some algorithm to determine it from the planet number, if that becomes accessible. Might well enhance the flavour.

Damn! I really will have difficulties awaiting that oxp now!!!

Screet

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:20 pm
by Thargoid
Ahruman wrote: This could be done with lots of shipdata entries with conditions, but it might be simpler to do it with a decal shader… although planet_number is currently only available to shaders on the player. This should probably be addressed. (The downside of any shader-based solution is of course that it’s only available to people with shader support.)
Just please don't forget those of us whose kit can't cope with shaders ;)

Also a reminder that at the moment some elements of using conditions are somewhat, shall we say, erratically working...

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:24 pm
by wackyman465
The first one also looks a lot like a hydra. I love them, though.

Posted: Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:37 pm
by Disembodied
The first thing to remember about feudalism is: there's no such thing as feudalism. :D It's basically just warlordism. I suppose you could call it an oath-based society, where people take oaths of loyalty to an individual (and, technically, to his or her family). They promise to carry out services in return for protection and reward in the forms of both moveable and fixed property. "Property" here includes currency, valuables, livestock, slaves and land; "services" include working on fields, paying taxes, building and maintaining infrastructure, and turning out to fight. The classic "pyramid" structure with a King on top, nobles etc. underneath him, knights and sergeants-at-arms below them and the peasantry on the bottom is, while wildly unrealistic, a decent model to assume for game purposes.

Given that Oolite is a trading game it would probably be best, and more interesting, to assume a late (15th/16th century) feudal setup rather than an early one, where currency and non-noble (but very wealthy) merchants are mucking up the neat picture. You have military families subsisting on ancient glory and (rapidly fading) military usefulness, being simultaneously fawned over and undermined by the rising bourgeouis class. See if you can get hold of a copy of Jabberwocky: it's a great guide to that sort of period.

Noble families would be contemptuous of mere trade as an avenue to wealth: riches and power should be achieved by force of arms. However they would be extremely jealous of, and tempted by, the enormous amounts of cold hard cash that trade makes possible.

Noble Houses could maybe have their own family convoys, with a Python or a Boa or Anaconda protected by a squad of outriders against both pirates and raiding parties from other noble houses. There would be royal convoys too, which presumably would be the richest and best-guarded. Nobles might occasionally try to rob these, if they were feeling rebellious, but generally they would probably confine their pilferings to lone traders and other Houses. They might sometimes encourage or even pay the occasional freebooter to take a pot at one of their rivals, though, and they'd be admirers of military skill.

A particularly powerful noble House, or perhaps a major religious order, might even set up its own trading station: or maybe (if combined with Thargoid's Planetfall OXP) players could try landing on the planet for a bit of direct trade. This would probably be frowned upon by the Crown, who would try to maintain a bottleneck grip on trade for taxation purposes (because actually getting one's overmighty subjects to fork over what they owe you is more of an art than a science). Bypassing the Royal trade centre – presumably the main station – should give better deals, though.

Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:49 am
by JensAyton
Screet wrote:...and I've got shaders disabled because ships often become soooo dark. Is that my driver?
It is a known problem that ships are not lighted properly on the loading/demo, shipyard and open game screens. If you’re seeing problems somewhere else, a screen shot (in the bug reports forum) would be helpful.
Thargoid wrote:Just please don't forget those of us whose kit can't cope with shaders ;)
I was thinking along the lines of having one appearance in all systems without shaders, and varying it with shaders.

Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:58 am
by Ramirez
Thanks for the early ideas. Don't worry too much about my use of the Holy Roman Empire as an example - I just picked that particular one to give an idea of how the heraldry could work, with different families presenting different coats of arms on their ships. Maybe not one per individual system, but a condition covering a range of planet numbers should do it. Once I've done more research I'll probably aim to come up with a handful of original blazons for use in-game that avoid any current national symbols.

Disembodied - I agree that a simple pyramid structure with the King at the top and peasants at the bottom will suit, and your suggestion about force of arms being all-important fits in with my initial thinking. It's early days but I think it's going to involve lots of noble families vying for power, with the player taking advantage of such opportunities. Ransom should also be quite a feature. As with Dictators, once I've worked things out I'll aim to write up some System Profiles to explain what's what.

Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:30 pm
by Commander McLane
Only one question: I seem to very loosely recall that somebody already had proposed a Feudals.oxp, and perhaps even started working on it. Not sure by any means, but I think it could be worthwhile to do a search on the board before you go too deep into it, Ramirez.

Or was it you anyway? As I said, it's only a very vague memory.

Posted: Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:34 pm
by wackyman465
I think this ought to have missions. You know what bugs me? Whenever Disembodied posts something, he writes such a good post that everybody else doesn't have anything else to say. Stop throwing your reputation as best writer on the forums around (not counting drew, he doesn't write long posts)!

Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:40 pm
by Ramirez
Your're right - last June Caracal posted a teaser OXP which introduced a practice range in feudal systems. I've been in contact and as he's a bit tied up with RL stuff he's kindly let me have a go at developing some more ideas.

In trying out Caracal's OXP, the idea of a tournament comes to mind, with the player competing against various nobles in different events for cash prizes. Generating the challengers could be achieved using some of the techniques that Littlebear has introduced so brilliantly in Random Hits, so I'll have a look at the scripting to see exactly how that OXP worked. Using similar methods, it would be possible to create some semi-random missons as well.

It looks like decal shaders are out for the moment, but if I keep the nobles limited to a fairly small range of custom ships, I can create a large number of duplicates with different arms and display names so as to keep things varied.

Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:51 pm
by Thargoid
I've got something similar to the practice range in mind for an OXP too (look on my wiki page for a clue). But it's a different concept (and if you implement it as a jousting tournament then it's taking it away from what I've got in mind) and will be in a single location only. So will be fun to see how they progress, and how different coding and styles make them differ.

But it sounds a very intriguing concept, just not sure where you'd fit a lance on a Cobbie III :lol:

Posted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:40 pm
by Disembodied
Ramirez wrote:Ransom should also be quite a feature.
Oh, definitely! A captured noble should be worth a fair amount, whether you pick him (or her, since we're also talking aliens here) up in genuine combat or in a competition bout.

Ostentatious display should also be a big part of the scenery, too... things like asteroid bases carved into giant beast-heads where you dock through the mouth would be great to see. Or if that's too many polys then just big baroque paintings on the stations would be suitable, too. Or a big stained-glass effect. And gargoyles!

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