Map Fog: Bringing the Chaos Back to IC

What I am about to propose here is a fairly radical change to the game’s code and the style of play that most are used to nowadays. However, it is also a nod to the earlier days of the game when fun was being had and strategies were evolving on a weekly basis.

In two words: MAP FOG.

Create a galaxy where all the advanced mapping features are disabled and blocked entirely.

In its place, a family will have a zone of vision within say 5 ticks of any system they occupy. Within that zone of vision, they can see whom owns each planet in those systems.

Outside of that zone, players will be able to only see if a planet is unexplored, or if it is owned (but not by whom).

One variation is the zone of vision could be player based, in which case the distance of visible systems could be tied into a player’s speed bonus.

Why do this? To make the game a bit more chaotic and unpredictable once again. To curtail the core strategy just a touch and encourage wide deployment of exploration ships once again.

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this is not a a bad idea! I would like to give this a try.

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Another addition could be to add an op/spell that increases an empire’s vision temporarily.

Not sure I’d like this option as it would basically be used ALL the time by many players.

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I think something like this, basically Fog of War as it’s called in Red Alert type of games, has been proposed before. I’m a big fan!
Would really make the game very interesting, much more dynamic.

Yea I like that too! Not sure if it would be used all the time, but make it an op costing quite a bit of moral and you suddenly make the bankers play key roles all the time too! Something like octarine hurricane is now :slight_smile:

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Definitely needed. I’d say let’s get even more dramatic than a 5-tick radius: they can’t see any details about the planet until they or a family member has presence in the system, or have casted an op as you describe in your follow up idea.

We’d also want to modify the map system-list tools to only show markers where a player already has visibility. This part would be a little trickier, but it would mean we don’t have to throw out the map tools entirely, we’d just make their value something that players have to earn.

Let’s get this on the list! To summarize:

  1. All systems and planets remain viewable by everybody, including logged-out guests.

  2. Although viewable, all details are hidden except for whether or not the planet is explored.

  3. To gain long-term visibility, a player must either:

    • Explore a planet in the system
    • Have a family member in the system
    • This visibility is lost if the family also loses presence in the system
  4. To gain temporary visibility, a player must either:

    • Use a new op/spell
    • Have a family member use a new op/spell
  5. The map system-list tools will only include systems that a player has visibility of, in accordance to the condition above

There is the question of non-explo fleets though: what happens if I send a non-explo unit to a system? To what extent, if any, should this impact visibility and for how long?

Do we forbid players from sending “blind” attacks? Do we allow it but penalize (or reward?) the fleet? Do we just treat it like it’s treated now?

:thinking:

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@I_like_pie You aren’t afraid that complete map fog with zero visibility radius might be TOO BIG a change for the current players? The fat lazy bankers might not appreciate it as much as the old-school attackers will.

Blindly sending attack fleets is most definitely a concern. Obviously there has to be some limitations otherwise, a family will send one fighter to every planet within 50 ticks of their HW and just let them hover in orbit all round so that they can see whom owns what.

My first thought would be that fleets can be sent but at the very minimum they must attack to see whom owns the planet, and that the vision goes away if the fleet loses the attack.

If you want to continue the dramatic angle, the ownership could remain invisible unless the fleet wins the attack. When the attack is unsuccessful, a battle report would still be produced, but it would not include details of the planets owner and family.

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One HUGE question that must be dealt with … how will fleet morale be handled?

Do we have the simple act of sending a fleet cost a certain number of morale points? Say 2X morale points for a blind attack versus a visible attack. Do we subtract additional morale points when the attack is activated upon arrival?

Or do we just leave the existing system in place as is?

That’s a really cool concept. An attacker would then have to weigh the value of cheap intel vs the element of surprise. That’s awesome.

I think it’d be fun to have a fight against an unknown enemy. It’d give more control to the players to decide how they want to handle that information, and whether or not it makes sense for a defender to message their attacker. I see lots of strategic potential there around communication, deception, etc.

As for morale, I’d think it best to leave it alone for now. I hesitate to put too much effort against it knowing that I plan to replace it with something else at some point.

I’m thinking this entire thing would be a good fit for #universal-news:infinitum once we’re done testing. We can/should code it as a galaxy setting at first, which we’ve been doing more and more with new features. If it proves successful, we can make it a standard.

At some point though, if it’s worth the change, players will just have to adjust. As with any change, we will lose players by doing something but will also lose players by doing nothing.

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I figured this might be a lot of custom coding, but based on your eagerness it must be doable.

I suggest we get a bit more feedback in here and then once we’ve reached a consensus reposting the concept in the public forums. Or we could just wait and spring it on the players. Much like Stefan did with the Donut map of MW 1. That generated so much excitement simply because it was a new and unexpected change.

Oh it’ll definitely be a lot of coding lol. But that’s no reason not to do it.

I agree on feedback/consensus. This seems to be a great test of the new roadmapping process. Once we field any issues from the rest of @team who care to comment, we’ll need to break it down into behavioral chunks that will define the feature as a whole. That will be mostly my job.

Once that’s all sorted, we’ll want to get that defined feature into #roadmap:to-do. I’m less fond of springing it on the players tbh, and think them being aware of a feature that is actively being built will generate hype in its own way.

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I like it. In this mode let’s get rid of rankings too - when you find a family you would be able to guess pretty accurately their size etc if you know nw, sizes etc. Maybe just a list of players in each family and their race.

Custom unit - scout: undetectable unit that you can send to systems to unfog

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Regarding a Vision Op/Spell, we need to decide:

  1. If it is agents, wizards, or both?

  2. What will be its reach – a single planet, a whole system, or X # of many ticks around a single system or X # of ticks around the family’s systems?

  3. Monetary/Resource cost?

  4. Amount of morale lost?

  5. Random failure rate?

This assumes that 3, 4 and 5 are not hard coded for all ops and spells together.

What do you think? Are we ready for me to post this in the general forums, or do we need to discuss it more first?

Sure, we can skip the #roadmap:ideas phase and just put it into #roadmap:to-do.

We should clarify that it’s going to be a collection of 3 related, but distinct features:

  1. map fog: the smallest chunk of this is just hiding the planet details + system lists, ignoring methods to gain visibility

  2. gaining visibility through explo/attacks (need a feature name?)

  3. new ops to clear map fog (need name(s))

They’ll all be rolled out together, but #1 can exist on its own or with either or both of #2 / #3 enabled.

I was hoping to get ONE MILLION IC Points for this idea, but alas that is not to be. :man_astronaut: :medal_military:

Searched the new and old forums to see if Map Fog aka Fog of War had been mentioned before. No surprise, but I was not the first one to suggest it.

@Airwing and @I_like_pie both had posts about it last year, and the topic apparently was discussed in IC Radio episode 1.

Going back even further, @xeno broached the idea in 2012 and went into great depth on some other ideas. I’ll post his comments in a different thread as they are worth some thought.

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In searching for a different topic I found another one about map fog here:

https://imperialconflict.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=188148

There’s an interesting take there on limiting visibility to empires, as in not even your own family can all see the same thing until they explore it themselves or share p-lists.

At first I thought this sounded too restricting, but it has me wondering about how people in unofficial alliances will actually coordinate around map fog. I can imagine them manually sharing information like family members currently do with infil results, which sounds terrible.

It might actually make more sense for Shareable Intel to be the mechanism for sharing increased visibility with other empires, family members or otherwise.

This also has me wondering, how is Find Target’s Planets impacted by map fog?

Wow. The search command there works just as poorly as the one at my nonprofit’s website. That did not even come up before when I looked.

There are a lot of different ways it could all play out. At this point, my best guess is a small test galaxy to try out the different permutations.

I could see testing everything up to a hardcore solo galaxy with no extra visibility, no ops for intel or planet lists, and even no data available on other player’s NW or home system. Not even a ranking list. That is the extreme version obviously.

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Yep, you’re right about that. We’ll just have to test and adapt as we go in a private galaxy.

So the next step then is to get this prioritized. Can we get a brief explanation of this feature posted in #roadmap:to-do for the players to vote on? We can point out that some of the details are pending, but the basics are ready to implement and test as soon as it’s next on the list.

This would only give you the location of those planets right, so doesn’t impact the fog at all. You don’t get to see the systems. Just those planets.

This thread has been linked to in the regular forums.
Should we make it public and move it there?
Or just summarize it and start a new one there?