Syndicates, Revolutionaries, and Opposition Governments

Post Reply
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue May 09, 2017 8:35 pm

Syndicates, Revolutionaries, and Opposition Governments

Post by Thaeris »

So, I was reading up on some various ideas, including mission ideas, and started to wonder how those might fit into the game. As of now, they probably wouldn't. But, in the future with some additional work, they just might. And, the proposals here, which certainly can't be new, might allow them to do so.




...The idea here is that this stuff needs to be procedural. If it can be made so, then once that hard part is figured out, the game should do the rest. How and when that happens is up to the masters of coding, of which I am not one. I just doodle with words, and occasionally on paper.

The game is already set up with factions which are supposed to align with some sort of general ideology. What those ideals are is a bit nebulous to me, and maybe that's a good thing - it lets the player envision their own reality.

Furthermore, those factions are in a state of cold war, just like Frontier. Cold wars are full of dirty politics. Where politics have failed completely, there's always a group who thinks their politics are better. And then, there are those who make their own rules... at the expense of others.

Part #1: Syndicates

Syndicates are high-level criminal organizations. The general idea is that such organizations allow for organized crime which a player can choose to engage with or be opposed to. Having a "syndicate system" would be a major upgrade for sandbox games in general - generally, you only get to align with certain factions, and nebulous bad guys just always hate you. Perhaps that's not wrong, per-se, but if we are willing to expand the imagination to what could be, perhaps some day in the code, it will be. Furthermore, a syndicate does not replace the small-timer gangs, independent criminals, and what have you. The syndicate is instead the difference between the mob and the gang.

A syndicate should flourish under conditions which are good for crime: weak government, weak law/military, or corruption. They do their economy through the black market. While they are at war with the police in general, they may also have inroads to getting their operatives out of a hot spot through one means or another.

Syndicates exist on multiple systems and are generally opposed to other syndicates. If procedural, a syndicate could be made to start on one system. The better their income becomes, the more they can expand. Their expansion goes from one star system to the next. They should have "influence ratings," or something like that, which can determine how far out radially from one system to the next they can expand. For instance, let's say at time state 0 a syndicate starts with influence rating 0. But, a good environment for crime exists on the system, and they go up to a rating 1 at time state 1. This rating means the syndicate in the system can propagate up to 1ly away from their home system at this time. Obviously, that's not very far. But, let's say that at time state 2, they are up to influence level 8, and two systems are now in range. The syndicate continues to expand on their home system, but the two new systems open to being influenced by said syndicate either start at 0 or some function of the influence of the "root system." Actually, here is a proposal of how propagation should occur:

[Syndicate Influence Rating] = [f(crime economy, time, population, lawful opposition, unlawful opposition, support actions, player actions)]
[Syndicate Propagation] = < [Relative* Syndicate Influence Rating] - [Target System Range from Root System] >

* Since a syndicate can expand, the original "root system" does not need to be the primary influencer. Instead, one of the subsequently developed syndicate systems can be the influencer in question. If a system is in range of multiple aligned syndicate systems, then all of those influence ratings are brought to bear against it.

...Also note that in the second algorithm, "<>" brackets are drawn around the variables. These mean that the Influence rating (or rather, the sum of ratings), based on range from any relative syndicate hub(s), must be greater than or equal to the distance to target. Or, for propagation to occur, a number >= 0 must be obtained. If a rating of 0 is reached, the syndicate can begin activity in a system and potentially grow from there.

Syndicates will fight each other, local governments, and maybe even factions. They should also have the capacity to be allies with other entities when convenient. They will weave a web of expansion that may ultimately end somewhere far away, even when their original source location has been eliminated.

So, can a syndicate be destroyed? I think that's probably a better question for a later time, if something like a syndicate ever makes it into the game. BUT, the answer should probably be "yes." Here would be my proposal for destroying a syndicate:

(a.) The syndicate must have been reduced to 1 remaining active system.

(b.) Here lies the crux of the idea - a syndicate is supposed to represent an organization that is powerful because of its dealings. If you can eliminate the syndicate from places where their dealings can be done, and force them into places where those dealings can't, then the syndicate will dissolve. Otherwise, the syndicate is simply suppressed.

...So, organized crime, and all of the stuff that could be tied into it. Missions, hits, shady politicians. On to the next!

Part #2: Revolutionaries

All of the following organizations are probably going to work a LOT like the proposed syndicates above. The difference will be their variables.

Revolutionaries are armed political movements. They exist where anarchy of the worst kind exists. They are the "wannabe" government (or governments) where government has failed. They can also be inserted by factions when the time is right - proxy wars are a terrible thing!

Unlike syndicates, revolutionaries don't just spread. A natural ally of a revolutionary movement may in fact be a syndicate as the latter can provide the tools they need to bring forward their ideals... namely weapons. Revolutionaries will also be aided by aligned governments if in range of their influence.

However, perhaps before musing about revolutionaries, one should look to the thing that allows them to become a force at all....

Part #3: Opposition Governments

Before there are revolutionaries, there are opposition governments. An opposition government represents a... generally legal organization in one faction that more or less espouses the ideals of a different faction. You know, telling the people how they should live and all that. Or, they may be illegal, depending on the laws of the faction they exist in. Regardless, they do exist. Their policies, if successful, can shift a system from one faction to another, probably by starting a civil war in the process. UNLIKE revolutionaries, which the opposition governments can evolve into (and then simply into governments after a successful revolutionary stage), opposition governments can spread much in the same way as a syndicate.

Opposition governments should get their supporters and detractors from a variety of sources. Corrupt governments may be aligned with a criminal syndicate, and therefore a populace may support the opposition government - the reverse may be true as well. A faction will never support an opposition government, but the opposing faction will if they can get away with it. Because the game is a cold war scenario, if the faction supporting the opposition government is identified, that opposition government will immediately lose a lot of its power. Better to lose the game rather than everything, after all...

...The player can also choose to support an opposition government. They can do this for the fun of it, perhaps, or they can do it on the behest of an opposing faction. The player puts themselves in serious peril if they are distinctly aligned with a faction which supports an opposition government and they are identified doing their deeds.

So, in short, opposition governments are political syndicates which operate by different variables compared to a syndicate. They become revolutionaries (and for the faction-endorsed home governments, counter-revolutionaries) under "unstable" anarchies and form on the onsets of civil wars.

Part #4: Other Ideas

It is conceivable that, if the drive is there, almost every organization in the game could have some degree of procedural programming like this. You have the factions proper, and then you have the opposition governments. Perhaps to counter nasty syndicates, you have colonial paramilitary forces or militias. The latter could perhaps evolve into a third type of militant group: a "restoration movement." And of course, your other armed citizens flying political flags are the revolutionaries and the counter-revolutionaries. You might also have religious orders, and some of those orders might not get along so well. And this does not have to mean they're all spiritual movements, you could also have secular and other ideological movements as well.

...If this sounds interesting - it certainly does to me - perhaps we should start punching out some more algorithms on the matter. Even if it never happens, it's a really fascinating thought experiment.
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:12 pm

Re: Syndicates, Revolutionaries, and Opposition Governments

Post by Gliese852 »

I was thinking about the possibility of creating some kind of algorithm, an automaton, like "game of life", only instead of pixels there will be star systems in sector map. We set the initial state (the magnitude of the influence of a given organization, for example) on some star systems, and also determine the laws of evolution of these values - why they grow, why they fade, how they are transmitted from star to star, how they interact with other entities, etc. When player enters the system, this data will be used to create specific BBS ads. And from the actions of the player within the system, the "amount of influence of the organization" can change. Thus the player will be able to influence these "interstellar entities", cultivating them, or vice versa destroying.
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:12 pm

Re: Syndicates, Revolutionaries, and Opposition Governments

Post by Gliese852 »

02:17 <Thaeris> Hmm. Hello Gliese852. I have been trying to work on improving the draft "algorithm" for syndicates, governments, and the like. I seem to be having a hard way seeing forward, however. One thing I did settle on with some confidence is the following:
02:18 <Thaeris> 1. As per "global attributes" for what we can describe as entities, there needs to be at least two to start with.
02:18 <Thaeris> 2. The first is "allegiance," or how an entity self-identifies
02:19 <Thaeris> 3. The second is "alliances," or how an entity aligns itself with others
02:20 <Thaeris> So, an allegiance might define which faction, if any, an entity identifies as
02:21 <Thaeris> And an alliance defines their relationship to another entity
02:23 <Thaeris> It makes sense that entities of a similar faction would be allies, but perhaps it's possible that once enough variables are thrown into the pot, you could end up with, say, political entities which are definitely for their faction overall, but they cannot get along with each other
02:23 <Thaeris> ...Just wondering if you have some insight to throw into this thought experiment given these thoughts here.
Maybe make the parameter relationship - the number it is -1 (hate) to +1 (love), then allegiance can be implemented as a list of relationships of a given entity with factions, and alliances as a table of relationships between entities.
Post Reply