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Old July 25, 2001, 06:32   #1
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Atrocities
I read the Planet Buster thread from earlier and I thought I might start a new discussion about atrocities.

I was thinking it might be nice if the atrocities were more sort of sophisticated. For example, if someone uses planet busters against you and you retaliate with planet busters, both you and the other person become pariahs, which I think is really unfair.

Also, it sort of sucks how you can't improve your integrity by doing good deeds. I mean, they were even thinking of lifting the sanctions on Saddam Hussein!
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Old July 25, 2001, 10:19   #2
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I always thought that commiting an atrocity on an enemy faction shouldn't be remembered forever, as well. And if it is, it sure shouldn't lock you into a permanent state of war.

Still, the "smart" system you reccomend might make it into civ3 or possibly a smac2 in one way or another.
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Old July 25, 2001, 10:37   #3
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I think that releasing worms right next to a friend's base should be considered an atrocity...if you think about it that's horrible...
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Old July 25, 2001, 10:45   #4
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The worst is if you try to nerve-staple your citizens as a progenetor...i did that once and my energy grid was shut down for several turns
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Old July 25, 2001, 16:26   #5
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My question is do you really want to PB the faction that PB'ed you back? Is it really worth putting up with the constant destruction of enhancements and having to allocate extra resources to defend against the worm rape?
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Old July 25, 2001, 16:53   #6
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IMO the PB idea is just so that when in a near-destruction situation you can PB the heck out of the enemy...
I find the PB as just a nice toy for those that get tired and want to see some big kaboums. For strategic use, it's just a deterrent, and a very ineffective one. And if a player has a good ODP network, he can close his eyes from the threats.
PB's are a great way to lose good ground. I usuallu, if ever, use only Fission PB's that just blow the city apart, not the Singularity ones that wipe out entire continents.
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Old July 25, 2001, 16:57   #7
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What's wrong with wiping out a whole continent?

My favorite is PBing the ruins. A singularity should completely sink those precious monoliths...
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Old July 25, 2001, 17:47   #8
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Death_head, you are a dirty bastard... First that Miriam joke on SP video thread and now this...
I really see no use for the PBs. Just a waste of resources, time and good solid ground. I'm glad that the game doesn't give us an impression that a Nuclear War would be easy with no consequences.
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Old July 25, 2001, 18:44   #9
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Wait, you mean there are consequences? Kass, nice quotes..I see you're sticking with the 'Lazy Finnish Postman...Lazy Americans' motif.

I really don't think it's unfair to punish anyone who takes a whopping chunk out of the mother planet, even in 'defense'. Anyways, what is 'fair' in war? But yes, it would make the game better if these things were forgiven eventually. Along those lines...

I wish there were actual Units for the supreme leaders. Can you imagine the feeling of satisfaction at assassinating Yang, himself, with a probe-assassin team? Further, I'd like to see some silly units, like 'the media', which could be stuck in the middle of the battlefield so that you could watch far-away wars on Chiron-News. Hrm, other silly units?

Oh, the topic. Maybe there could be a few more options on taking a base. Prison camp, slave labor, genicide, 'freedom' from their original government: setup as a whole new faction with tithes to their 'liberator'. Now, choosing prison camps seems gross, but the game already has 'genocide' as an option (obliterate base), which I think is far worse. All of these could carry various penalties, not just on the 'Horrible Nasty Inhuman Dictator' meter--atrocities. Some could penalize your diplomacy slightly, some your relations with Planetmind, some with your own people, sickened at your Tyrrany. Just some ideas.

PS.. why does 'Obliterate Base', ie, your troops manually slaughtering thousands, seem worse than Planetbustering? Is it just the 'Can't see it, can't care' mentality? Just asking myself I suppose.

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Old July 25, 2001, 22:37   #10
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I agree with kassiopeia and others, pb's are bascially wastes of minerals and time. And death head, you are acting a bit weird...

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Oh, the topic. Maybe there could be a few more options on taking a base. Prison camp, slave labor, genicide
Sure wouldn't fly well with the mass market, I'm suprised the obliterate base option wasn't the cause of an uproar. I think smac2/civ3 can still be a good game without extreme options like that, however realistic they are.
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Old July 26, 2001, 01:16   #11
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Yeah, its the wording really... 'Obliterate Base' just doesn't sound that bad. It's a game after all. No one dies. Like the roadrunner, they just pop up again in a new colony pod somewhere else. But the real risk was in calling bad-things 'Atrocities'. That's a scary word. Any more realism on that end would cause an uproar I think. One nice thing about the Civ-Smac series is they are totally abstracted. The 'people' you deal with are untoucheable leaders...everything else is a unit, oh, except 'drones' and their ilk, which you can't actually attack. It's an interesting impasse. I don't think many people would allow themselves to buy a game that is about real warfare. There always has to be an abstraction. War stinks. There's just nothing good about it. But in a game, all the things around it, the strategy, etc. seem 'fun'. Weird. .

On a lighter note, er.

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Old July 26, 2001, 02:17   #12
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I'll try to keep this on topic, but as a Vietnam Era US Air Force Veteran I have a question for the rest of you.

Marketing considerations aside, would a simulation that more realistically depicted the reality and aftermath of war serve as a greater deterent to war as the players got older? As we can see in the forums here at this site many of the games today have a large international audience.

I'm thinking of something were there are no cheat codes to make things go better, no Superman standing on ground zero to catch the shell or bomb and toss it back at the enemy or harmlessly off into space or it's game equivelant. I know that we speak of and sometime consider ourselves to have been used for or to be cannon fodder, but commander's do in fact pay a price for indescrimenant loss of manpower. Troops should have to be returned to medical facilities that are adequate for the task to be healed and returned to battle. And all troops would not be able to be returned. After all some will became severely disabled and other will die either on the way to medical care, dispite or even because of the care that they receive.

While I personally don't enjoy or play the shooters nor do I truely believe they cause good people to become evil, if they indeed do have behavioral modification abilities shouldn't we try to put those effects to a good use? Or at least those aspects of the games that modify the persons behavior?

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Old July 26, 2001, 03:32   #13
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No I don't think it would serve as a deterent. E.g. Children who were beaten are more often beating their own children, compared to those who wasn't beaten. Exposure to anything makes one more prone to what you are exposed to. I am a hunter myself and don't have any problems with that, and of course my father played an important part in me getting interesteing hunting - as he hunts himself: human see human do.

But the problem is more complex than that of course, if one gets 'exposed' to actual infantry combat for some years - then I guess that experience will serve as a hell of a deterent.
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Old July 26, 2001, 05:23   #14
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I supose we will need to wait a few more years to get final results from the child soldier experiments in Africa, but from what I 've read and heard so far that does not look too promising either. How much of the reports of force drugging and brainwashing to get the kids to functioned as desired is indeed the truth I don't really know. Perhaps the claims that the faction leaders had to resort to those methods to get the required performance provides the best hope that early exposure does not mean early converts to extreme violence. Although from what has been reported so far here in the U.S. the children were more vicious than the adults.

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Old July 26, 2001, 05:28   #15
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I think you raise a really interesting side-topic Ken. My guess, if your question wasn't just rhetorical, is that the more realistic a game became to the harsher sides of warfare, it would both become more 'fun' b/c some people like that adrenilin rush (like you mentioned the 'shooter' games), but also less fun if the effects were lasting and/or tangible in a physical sense. I know that's not where you were going but taking a tangent here:

Carrying this concept to the extreme, if it were possible for a simulation to actually affect real people in physical ways, ie reach out and 'zap' them, or kill them, it might as well then be the actual thing, war. There would be a point of development toward that game when the 'player' would be feeling the pain, taking the real risks of life and death, and dealing in 'real' consequences like caring for injured/maimed friends, talking with relatives, reviewing a battlefield of real people that had lost their lives. It's the point at which we are negatively affecting other real people that it ceases to be a game in the strictest sense and becomes either gladatorial or murder. It's a twisted thing, and humans being odd critters seem to desire to approach this as closely as they can without actually doing it (in most cases, but then, there were the romans, and certainly many others who made and make sport of real lives).

But back to where we were, I don't think a game that only simulates these things, no matter how realistic, will positively affect people away from war. Somehow, most of us humans seem to draw a line, and this game would land on the 'It's a game' side of that line. But you meet people for whom seeing a toy gun is disturbing, who find even strategy games like Smac disturbing or gross, so that line must be flexible.

I think I agree with Horus on all points. The last one is interesting though. Some people who are consistantly the 'winner' in real warfare, build a lasting interest in it, perhaps never learning the true pain possible and imagining it a game? Others seem to be able to tolerate it, for all the complex reasons there are (patriotism, a job, etc.), and probably some do become immune, numb, even to war. But it seems to me history supports your conclusion: many people who have been soldiers in the ditches or fields of battle for awhile seek never to do that again if they can help it (barring the same reasons above).

I don't think 'shooters' necessarily make people numb to real violence. If you take a guy out of an arcade and punch him in the nose, he's not going to think it's just a game. I do think that adding 'realism' to games only serves to make them more fun, more of an escape, more full of adreniln, what have you. If there were a game that was a beaurocratic and full of logistics, politics, dirt, grit, and what have you, as a real war, I don't think many would want to play.

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Old July 26, 2001, 05:31   #16
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I think the idea of puppet regimes and whatnot is really cool! On a related note, has anyone ever had an enemy's base experience severe drone riots so that it defected to you?

It might be interesting if there was more variation in the atrocities; for example, the ability to deport occupied populations, take civilians hostage, or capture enemy soldiers and send them to labor camps. Perhaps the integration of captured bases could be more sophisticated too, to reflect the transition between factions or between military and civilian administration.

The game does pretty well in my opinion in showing how horrible war is (albeit indirectly; nonetheless, I can still feel it when my soldiers get gassed). The only reason I brought up the retaliation thing is that if a real country was the victim of a nuclear attack, it would demand the right to retaliate (and if it was powerful enough, it just might get it).

Does anyone happen to know what Nerve Stapling actually is?
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Old July 26, 2001, 05:49   #17
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Speaking of Singularity PBs, they tend to be nice. Caretakers started on a small island, had some big bases on it, and some more around it in the sea. With two Singularity PBs, I wiped out 15 bases, and had the victory over them. Look, the AI is too dumb to build satellites. If it ever does, you can easily knock them down. Not the case with humans, though, as they know the value of satellites, and will really get angry at you if you PB them.
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Old July 26, 2001, 13:36   #18
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I have a caveat on your last statement. The AI is to dumb to build satelites if you are winning. If you are doing poorly, they will send them up like mad. I have experienced this several times when I have had bad starts or made particularly stupid mistakes in the early game.

I had one game where (as Miriam) Domai was spanking me left and right. I eventually managed to fend off his assualts and set up a decent defensive base in a chokepoint to hold of the next few waves, and set my central bases to produce planetbusters. Three turns before the first one was constructed, he launches an ODP. By the time I had five nukes, he had seven or eight ODPs up (along with 10+ of each of the other satelites). I won that game by cheating (rushing the Ascent with lots crawlers once Domai built the Voice of Planet).
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Old July 26, 2001, 15:30   #19
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In my MP game, I am about to teach my other two players exactly how useful PB's are.
My first strike did not finish off the player I need to kill, and since I NEED to wipe out two of his secret projects (cloning vats/cloudbase acadamy), and I know I cant capture/hold either, this is the only option.
So lots of crawlers from my energy and tech cities converge, build a PB in ONE (count it ONE) turn, and my 16 range (which beats the hell out of my nerve choppers) means he kisses his capital and two other cities goodbye.
Thats 30% of his population, and will make the difference between his recovering from this war, and his harrassing me for a while before getting ground to dust.
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Old July 26, 2001, 16:44   #20
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Quote:
Does anyone happen to know what Nerve Stapling actually is?
I believe the practice involves "control" of the nerves, etc, making it so you can be forced not to riot. Either that or it's just a very painful procedure that serves as a deterrant. IIRC it's mentioned somewhere in the manual..

Quote:
Yeah, its the wording really... 'Obliterate Base' just doesn't sound that bad. It's a game after all. No one dies....One nice thing about the Civ-Smac series is they are totally abstracted. The 'people' you deal with are untoucheable leaders...everything else is a unit, oh, except 'drones' and their ilk, which you can't actually attack. It's an interesting impasse. I don't think many people would allow themselves to buy a game that is about real warfare. There always has to be an abstraction. War stinks.
Yeah, I suppose if they named it "slaughter the civilians" and showed them being butchered it would've gotten people upset. Still, the game made it pretty clear to me the idea of the option wasn't just to "erase the base" from the board. You're right, it is an interesting situation.

And ken, that could backfire like you can't imagine. Playing a war videogame isn't a way to teach about the horrors it can cause.

Quote:
I don't think 'shooters' necessarily make people numb to real violence. If you take a guy out of an arcade and punch him in the nose, he's not going to think it's just a game.
Treasure your intelligence, not many have it, sadly. You'd be suprised what kind of people are out there.
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Old July 26, 2001, 16:45   #21
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B Sunrise, that's MEAN! You don't get at least friends by PBing the heck outta them.
Have you built loit's of Psi Sentinels with High Morale and Hypn. Trance? 'cuz you're gonna need them; get ready to be worm raped.
PS. Use only fission PB's, if possible, they wipe out just the base square, not the landscape. If you have to do it, do it the with the more neat way.
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Old July 26, 2001, 16:57   #22
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Nah, I already used nerve gas, so everythings gone to hell.
8 years after the war started, and water levels are estimated to rise 2100 meters (more), so far. It would have been worse, but they launched the shade, that slowed it down a touch.
PB should push it over the edge, and make it a waterworld.

Hey, every one of my units is at least commando, so I'm making scout patrols left and right.
Right now, I'm trying damned hard to shake the table hard enough to knock everyone else off, hoping I can stay on.

Weird strategy: Anger Planet, and pray you can survive better than everyone else.
Pirates, Green economy, every infantry unit at least commando (so scores and scores of scouts in every city), and you just use TONS of nerve gas and a PB if you can.
I'll let you know how it works out.

Did I mention that after 8 years of war, I have 994 more years of sanctions coming up?
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Old July 26, 2001, 16:58   #23
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I was very happy to find out that you could actually obliterate bases. I like variable options and realism even if it makes game more complex or makes some people feel sick, people need to see.
I've only used obliteration techniques once, because it really was the only way to survive...a bit longer. But for the state, the absolute value is, the state...that goes with factions too. We've seen it in history. Of course the definition of state as absolute value only goes with totalitarian system, but you know how it works.

I'm usually an ethical player, go out and have laugh, but I actually like playing without constantly committing atrocities even in cases where such actions would have no real effect. It's inefficient, but it's the right thing to do!

In any case. I'd love to see concentration/labor camps and more variable options in handling of captured population. Now, one thing I wonder. How come a Democratic society with Free Market and highly sensible values obliterate bases without suffering any problems in civil order? And how on earth can't you Planet Bust a target of your choice? These are the fundamental questions I ask from myself whenever playing SMAC...maybe I should try asking Firaxis.

And, Fitz...that's not cheating, it's strategy, even if against the AI.
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Old July 26, 2001, 17:00   #24
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what tech allows Singularity PBs ? I have not yet noticed them.
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Old July 26, 2001, 17:57   #25
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The tech which allows you to get a singularity reactor, which is... *digs out Tech Tree poster from cupboard with dust and all sorts of things coming out at the same time*
Singularity Mechanics, D14.
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Old July 27, 2001, 03:50   #26
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I've heard that gassing Progenitors doesn't carry the same penalties as gassing humans. But do their leaders react in the same way?
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Old July 27, 2001, 05:22   #27
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Atrocities against aliens doesn't count in Planetary Council. So gas them all you like, I certainly do. Nerve Gas give you such an edge against their "supremacy". Also remember that under Sun Spot activity other factions don't notice your atrocities...so if you like it down and dirty...
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Old July 27, 2001, 07:15   #28
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Planet still notices.
mmmmm, sea levels rising!
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Old July 27, 2001, 07:35   #29
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i once had sea levels rising 1400 metres. I tried to launch a solar shade, but the council whacked the proposal
the next turn, Santiago wants to melt the polar caps, and the measure passes!. AI was on a suicidal mood that day...
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Old July 27, 2001, 16:42   #30
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Especially when developing factions often don't have Pressure Domes...
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