How governments will work after the politics update

Hey everyone,

we are close to the release of our politics themed update. If you follow our dev logs you might already know a lot about the upcoming changes, but judging from discussions and comments on Discord and our test server there are a lot of open questions how everything is supposed to work after the release hits.

So here is a quick write-up of the most important features and thoughts behind the update. Please feel free to ask questions and give feedback.

Parliaments

In the past the inhabitants of a planet could only vote for a single governor. The release changes that and the size of the parliament is dependent on the amount of bases a planet has:

Base count Parliament size
1 - 24 2
25 - 149 3
150+ 5

Please note that these sizes are not set in stone and are a first draft until we have more experience with parliaments.

In order to allow more players to participate in politics, we removed the rule that would limit a player to one office at a time. It is now possible to run for multiple offices at a time and also be part of multiple governments. The new POL shows current runs, current offices and past offices for any player:

POL command

Government & Context

Once the election is over all elected players form the new government. The player with the most votes becomes governor, everyone else member of parliament. Governors and MPs are essentially the same thing, with the exception that the governor’s vote will break ties when it comes to deciding the outcome of motions.

There is a new GOV command that lists all MPs and motions for a given term:

One big drawback of the old governor-style system was that the accounting of the office had to be managed via a one-person corporation to be effective. The update fixes that by moving adding a accounting system to the government itself. Only the individuals voted into office have access to this accounting.

We wanted to make sure that we can reuse many of the existing commands when it comes to governments so we implemented contexts. A player in the company contexts can manage their company and the the commands will return data that belongs to their company, for example the current liquid assets FINLA.

When switching to another context, say the government context of a planet, the same commands will show the data of the government instead of the company. The context becomes available once elected and will be unavailable again after the term ends. Any changes made to the screens (that are unique to the context) will persist if a player is re-elected at a later point in time. The context selector will be shown next to the screen selector if there is more than one context available.

context selector

Not all commands are available in all contexts!

Motions

In the old governor-style system a governor could change production fees, warehouse fees etc. without leaving much of a paper trail. Players on the respective planets would just be noticed that the local rules changed, but given no details.

With the new update all changes to local rules have to be made via motions. The government members can create and vote upon motions. Once these motions leave the draft stage, they are visible for everyone.

Motions can consist of several components, similar to custom contracts. For the initial release we support the following components:

  • Payout
  • Production fees
  • Warehouse fees:
  • Local Market fees
  • Population infrastructure fees
  • Workforce program

Most of these components are self-explanatory and replace the previously existing way of changing the local rules by the governor. They payout component allows to transfer government funds to any player.

Please not that there are currently no components for the population infrastructure upkeep and for providing a government with external money.

For now, the existing mechanism of donating upkeep materials to POPI will stay the same. Governments can use the payout motion component to pay individuals to provide upkeep materials if they want. In the future we could have two mechanisms to replace the current upkeep system. 1) Upkeep contracts that would pay one ore more players to provide all necessary upkeep materials for a given infrastructure over the course of a certain time frame. 2) A government provided store front that allows to sell upkeep materials to directly to the government without the need of a contract. We are currently discussing the pros and cons of both methods.

Governments can not create contract drafts and can not be sent custom contracts to. That excludes governments from accepting loan contracts. Right now it is not possible to inject money into the government other than the existing fees. We’ve noticed that many planets are dependent on the benevolence of their governors. We won’t include government bonds or loan contracts at this point, because we want to see how the future governments will handle taxes. As stated above it is still possible to contribute materials as it has been before.

We are looking forward to your feedback!

5 Likes

I am going to strongly encourage the second option as this allows for free license players to contribute to the upkeep of a planet.

I’m working from a hypothetical Verdant based free license player in this example.

First, it allows free license players to sell goods there. If they are making RAT and DW (typical farm start) and the COGC / POPI buy prices for such goods are slightly above the bid, the players can sell directly to the planet without having to fly to Moria and back.

Secondly, this opens up another option for free license players to partake in the larger economy of the game - shipping. Currently this is only available via the local market, but if a planet had a buy price for a good that they make at higher than CX prices, they could ship it themselves.

Currently free license players only ‘extra’ use of ships is CX arbitrage. Having the planets offer a store front to buy specific goods at a price would enable free license players to become POPI / COGC traders too and increase their ability to interact with the larger universe economy (in a limited way).


For the upkeep contract, there’s a significant enough churn of players so that there are real risks of breaching a contract. Having someone have the upkeep for COGC for a starter world and then breach the contract would have significant negative impacts on a large number of players.

Furthermore, such a contract would either be “pay up front” (which gets into planetary account issues) and a breech of the contract means 250k credits for COGC disappears, or this is only available to fairly well capitalized players. Not everyone is capable of floating a “loan” of 250k to a planetary gov and hopes that the planet is also sufficiently solvent to be able to pay it out.

The thing with the contract approach, it limits who can interact with planetary upkeep and adds risks for everyone on the planet that it won’t be filled.

I believe that this approach would end up with the members of the government offering the contracts to themselves and paying it out to themselves only to mitigate that risk.

While it would be possible to continue to do this (set all POPI/COGC buy prices to 0, payouts to individuals to handle receipts of goods, contracts to PRO license players as an option for “I need this” (devs: CONT NQDPKIJ and CONT D5V37RO as two examples)), this doesn’t offer significantly more to the game than it has now.

9 Likes

Just to confirm – Is this a minimum or maximum parliament size?

If it is a minimum then that would mean a planet with 150+ bases would not have a functioning government unless at least 5 people run for office.

If it is a maximum then that means a planet with 1-24 bases would have only one GOV/MP. If that player stops playing then the government would become inactive until the next election concludes. I would suggest making the maximum for small planets 2 instead of 1 to reduce the chances of that happening.

1 Like

I also prefer the storefront route. If I may weigh in to the 2nd option - I would also highly suggest that the planet COGC has a resource buffer in the same way that POPI buildings (SST) do. Without this mechanic, the public “storefront” becomes very sensitive to stock levels and contributions being made in a too-timely manner.

Additionally, this means it will work great for primary worlds where lots of new\free players will contribute to this. And it means small worlds run by old players can just continue to do what they already do: maintain a 6 month buffer on-world and 1 person just “owns” that COGC and is their job to feed it.

P.S I love the complexity of the system. This is a much more in depth comprehensive rework! From the paperwork to the context system, it’s a much needed refresh.

3 Likes

I would personally like to see the government be able to utilize the planetary WARs, potentially even in excess of what players are allowed. To me, this is a better solution than a direct contribution allotment from players to the POPI and infastructure for a couple reasons.

  1. It allows the government to slowly purchase,receive the FABS and other construction materials for projects, but provide the freedom to change course if the planetary circumstances change.

  2. It allows the government to ration upkeep items like DW if the donations/purchases/etc. have a lapse. The government can choose where to place the limited items to keep any single building from going idle while they perform emergency efforts. A 30 day buffer of DW on the SST may not be ideal if the DW on the PAR is empty.

Overall, I would like the government overhaul to place much more in-depth gameplay and allow much more direct financial impact on the planet and it’s bases. Some of the most powerful financial moves from a country are dictated by the large government contracts and obligations.

I also have concerns about such a simplistic way of running that. I personally would like to see completely different elections with different re-election timeframes. There are too many open questions that I can’t presume good answers for with a winner-take-all style election.

Inactive GOVs, not enough people running for GOV to create a parliment, a complete 100% turn-over of both GOV and parliment every cycle can create a bit of chaos if all new membership takes over.

In his example of how I won the PROM governorship in the 3-way vote. I only won because I was the very first person to self-nominate. To me, the tie should have gone to the incumbent.

The way it works right now is that if the potential parliament size is 3 or 5 and there are not enough candidates then the parliament size is reduced to the next smaller size. E.g. in a 5 seat parliament with 4 candidates there will be three members of parliament.

1 Like

I’m with the others in preferring the store front to contracts. I feel like the contracts would obviously contain a lot more risks (as is typical with the contracting system in game) compared to being able to just get compensated for the materials immediately. Just thought to provide some input, but I look forward to what comes of this update, I hope it tosses around the politics in-game for a bit! :sunglasses: :woozy_face:

That seems even worse. If a medium or large planet has only 2 candidates then they would also end up with just one MP.

1.) Does a parliament size of 1 means “there is a governor and that’s it?”
2.) Parliament size of 3 means “1 governor, 2 MPs” or “1 governor, 3 MPs?”
3.) If the size is 3 and 5 people run, but only 1 person gets any votes at all, who becomes the MPs?

Thanks for your feedback so far. @Counterpoint and I had a chat about the parliament sizes and related questions.

We decided to adjust the parliament size for small planets to two. That means that on smaller planets there can be a governor and one member of parliament. We hope that this will reduce the potential problems of a governor going AFK.

The parliament sizes are maximum sizes. There can always be less members of parliament than stated in the table above. If there are no candidates then there will be none, if there is just one, it’s just the one…

Parliament size 3 means: 1 governor, 2 MPs, total of 3

Good point! We will ignore candidates with zero votes from now on.

1 Like

I am very excited for these changes! I think there will be some big changes in the fabric of the galaxy after these land. Being able to track income per-planet is really great.

Others have said it very well, but I also support the idea of a store-front like system for soliciting COGC/POPI materials. I imagine a system where a motion is made to set the prices for all the materials, using a grid very similar to the taxes grid. Motion-makers could either disable materials they don’t want, or set arbitrarily low prices. Developing planets with poor income (or socialist themed governments) could set prices to zero and operate off entirely donated goods. Or governments could set them at a premium to encourage high supplies.

The reason I love this is that it opens up a new mode of emergent gameplay- it’s a new way for players to interact with the game. Players yearn for new “space jobs” and imagine opening shipping business, exploration, prospectors, etc. Players also want to make the niche items like FOD… but that’s a challenge right now because the way the market works for FOD, you’d have to establish a regular recurring contract with a governor who consistently needs it, and that tends not to be accessible to new players… so you get a chicken-and-egg issue.

By having a store-front option, you can encourage players to make all sorts of upkeep items, and seek out and deliver these interesting items to new and interesting places, rather than dumping them on the CX- giving people more choices to use their produced items. The production mechanics in the game are already strong, so building on top of them has a synergistic effect. It’s also easy for new (and free) players to interact with.

Choosing a set-and-forget storefront is a lot easier than managing contracts- I’m convinced that repetitive UI tasks are the biggest source of burnout, so anything that gives you more meaningful gameplay per click is a huge win in my book.

Configurable storefront prices seems to address concerns with planets running out of money. Being paid a standard rate also mitigates complaints about unfair government payouts (via the contract payout motions) for people who are contributing POPI (which is presumably going to be the governor). I think that’s good, unless the development goal is to create a boat that is easily rocked.

Even if this adds a few weeks to the dev cycle, I think it’ll be really worth it.

4 Likes

Now that I think about it, having 2 instead of 1 parliament size for small planets works out well in the event of inactivity. A governor is the tie breaker in motions, meaning they can still run the planet as seen fit but if they stop playing the other member will be able to perform actions like usual. Basically like a governor and lieutenant governor. Is my understanding of that all right?

2 Likes

That was my reasoning. I’m glad to see the devs agreed and changed the minimum to 2 instead of 1. Thank you. Now the only delay will be in waiting for the motion voting period to complete if someone is inactive rather than having to wait potentially a month for the next election.

3 Likes

Thanks for your feedback! I just wanted to make it clear that the upkeep contract / storefront features will not be part of the initial parliaments release.

Yes, that is the idea.

2 Likes

How will the local currency for fees and taxes be decided for systems without a faction affinity?

If say XG-326c were to have one MP with a HQ in non-faction space, another with a HQ in Antares space, and the governor with a HQ in Hortus … will it be possible to have the fees be collected in NCC rather than one of the other currencies?

(Aside: this significantly impacts free license players who don’t have access to FX and look at expanding outward (not that XG-326 or YI-715 is that far out there) but find that the local currency for the system is something from the other side of the map that they have no way of reliability getting)

Side bit: YI-715 is non-faction aligned system but YI-715b but is a Neo Charter starter world. Having Verdant collect taxes in anything other than NCC would mean that players starting in that system would be paying fees in currency that they don’t have access to beyond the initial 1000 credits that will run out soon enough.

And how can we properly convert all the planets to use AIC, especially those in Western Antares like Hortus and Northern Antares (Benten)?

Sorry couldn’t help myself :grin:

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Since we have no proper game mechanic in place to change the faction affinity we implemented an interim solution: each admin center will look for the starting planet closest to it and just use the currency of the respective faction.

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Some ideas from supporter chat to support some gaps in funding coverage.

  • Base Establishment Tax - require all new bases to front some funds to support the filling out of the population of that new base. If we can’t fund a government directly, then that means any new population for new bases would require the existing bases fund it. That makes no sense, especially when that new base is most likely a competitor to existing bases. Why would I want to fund my competitor’s population growth?
    Instead, leverage an establishment tax that any new base must pay. This primarily is for newer worlds lacking large populations, where a single base can significantly impact the POPs of existing bases. You may or may not want to add an upper bound to prevent arbitrary gating of planets by raising establishment taxes to some extreme number (20M or something.)

  • One Time Assessment Tax - Allow a motion where a set multiplier is applied to the local order tax rules and imposed all at once (rather than when an order is received.) This would allow for easy funding of new POPI or emergency funding for other activities. It should be scaled per housed POP, rather than an efficiency basis, so that everyone pays equally based on how many POP they use rather than how often their factories actually run.

With these two vehicles, I think you’d be able to avoid adding loans or direct money transfers to governments by benefactors.

1 Like

Regarding the lively discussions on discord about funding a government directly, especially for starter planets that need to run immigration programs, several interesting ideas have been proposed.

My simplest idea is simply adding a “Reverse Payout” / “Negative Payout”. That way someone can send the 100k to the government so they can run a few immigration planets and get a new planet off the ground.

We already know a payout option exists.

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(that being said I like Hern’s ideas more (or in addition to those)). Or I like government bonds- loans the government could issue. Realistically they’d probably be issued to members of parliament anyway.