Author Topic: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)  (Read 3162 times)

Tom

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Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« on: January 12, 2016, 02:10:30 PM »
Due to some literature I'm reading at the moment, I got this idea that I like for giving the game more depth and making politics more important as well as integrating politics and warfare more closely:


It isn't as easy as many people think to get humans to killing other humans. There are interesting studies from World War 1, especially the US troops which were unused and badly prepared for the killing fields of Europe. One of them showed that, if I remember correctly, a large percentage of fresh soldiers simply didn't shoot at incoming enemies. The inhibition to killing another human was stronger than even the fear of being killed yourself.

For as long as we have history, rulers and generals have understood this basic principle. The counter is to dehumanize the enemy, to run propaganda to paint a picture of the enemy as sub-human, not-quite-human. Check out war propaganda and you will be surprised at how often animals are used to portray the enemy.


For Might & Fealty, the idea would be to complete the new war declaration system with a ramp-up phase where you can run propaganda in your realm to make your human soldiers ready for war. This would be represented as a morale boost to battles. Mercenaries would not need this propaganda effort, as they are professional soldiers. Likewise, very experienced soldiers would need less propaganda to be effective (they are also becoming more or less professional soldiers).

I'm still thinking through the details of how exactly it would work and how to define the targets. One thing I know is that I would want a kind of "absolute limit" on hatred. You cannot just keep your people hating everyone all the time. So if you prepare them to see Rathgar as monsters, you will have to drop the propaganda against Ascalon a bit. You can have one really hated enemy or several somewhat despised ones, or many that you don't like. You can change, of course. You can change your propaganda, but it will take time to ramp up the effects.



Purpose and effect on gameplay:


Firstly, to make diplomacy and warfare interact more.

Secondly, to make nemesis situations possible and beneficial, so make wars less arbitray ("who are we going to fight this week?") and reward people who have consistency in their roleplays, diplomacy and warfare.

Thirdly, simply to bring this element of realism into the game, to make people understand what it really takes to wage war. We already have the military aspect and increasingly the logistics aspect. Now we will bring in the psychological aspect.

Fourthly, to make betrayl a more interesting option. It will be more difficult to turn around and fight the realm that you were best friends with until yesterday, but because it is more difficult it will also be more unexpected. This increases both the risk and the reward of such moves.



Andrew

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 02:29:16 PM »
The longer this game is in existence, the further we get from our characters basically being the incarnation of rule to the commoners that they started out as.
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Arx

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 02:55:00 PM »
Tom, have you considered the difference between the WWI environment and the middle ages? I'm sure there was certainly some propaganda involved, but you don't really hear about the massive Norman anti-Saxon propaganda machine, or Norse chieftains briefing their raiders on how the people they were raiding weren't real people.

This is pure speculation, but it seems likely that globalisation (even the relatively little that had taken place by the early 20th) would increase the amount of propaganda needed, whereas in the time period M&F emulates common soldiers would know nothing about their enemies except that they were told they were there enemies.

The longer this game is in existence, the further we get from our characters basically being the incarnation of rule to the commoners that they started out as.

I have to agree, it seems a bit odd that a First One can rock up and take a settlement from another First One (and the militia will then follow them perfectly loyally!), but with this implemented they wouldn't be able to make their soldiers fight.



From a pure game design perspective, are you sure you want to make it harder to get into wars? Most of the realms I play in are already sketchy about going to war without needing to start presumably detectable* preparations weeks in advance.

Does the game need more realism? And if it does, does it need propaganda as realism? There are a lot of other changes people have been asking for, particularly concerning warfare. Ultimately, this is of course your game, but do at least briefly consider the playerbase (not too much though. I'm a great proponent of dev autonomy).

Honestly, it sounds like it'll slow the game down even more, and the game is already hellishly slow.

I also don't know how sustainable a nemesis situation is anyway. What happens if one side is able to commit more to propaganda? Without the real-life limitations on total war, it seems like it would be highly unlikely for the sides to be perfectly equally balanced, which is what it would take to have a meaningful nemesis relationship. Unless they decided to tone it down using RP, in which case... I don't know, something just rubs me the wrong way about having to play differently to make up for what's essentially a game design flaw, if you want nemeses.

I assume defending realms won't need as much propaganda? I doubt, say, the WWII Polish soldiers really needed to be preached to about how terrible the Nazis were before they would fight them. It stops being a 'kill or be killed' and becomes a 'kill or be killed, and your family too'. In that case, it would be a nice buff to defending realms.

*If they're not detectable, then the idea is not good for game balance. A realm will be able to massacre another realm effectively using their propaganda programme without the other realm having a chance to respond.

De-Legro

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 03:02:52 PM »
The longer this game is in existence, the further we get from our characters basically being the incarnation of rule to the commoners that they started out as.


Agreed. I always thought part of the guiding principle of this game was the peasants were a simple resources, and not a mini simulation like in BM.


It isn't as easy as many people think to get humans to killing other humans. There are interesting studies from World War 1, especially the US troops which were unused and badly prepared for the killing fields of Europe. One of them showed that, if I remember correctly, a large percentage of fresh soldiers simply didn't shoot at incoming enemies. The inhibition to killing another human was stronger than even the fear of being killed yourself.



Partially right, but mostly slewed by rationalisation from people that haven't actually been called upon to serve. It takes preparation, that starts all the way in basic. Do you think it coincidence that military men are frequently in brawls where ever we go? No we are preconditioned to violence and in most armies we are also preconditioned to think of our platoon mates before ourselves. People might not kill to save themselves, though the reality in the situation was not a case of fear of death, it was a lack of immediacy of the realisation of death that accompanies modern warfare, more on that later, but they will kill to save those they care about. Basic training actually does very little in giving you skills to fight, it is almost entirely about breaking down emotional and logical barriers.


Now immediacy of death. Oddly enough bullets hitting near you when the distance is still a good few hundred meters away, will drive you to cover, but you don't generally have a belief that death is imminent if you don't do something. Hand to hand fighting, or close fire fights are another matter entirely.


So far this doesn't grab me. Do you know what other realms are doing, does their propaganda help you when an attack you didn't foresee arrives at your borders? Do you need to spend months preparing your populace to avenge a IC insult via message of the like? Is this just one more nail in the coffin of bothering to have conflict, just so we can say yay realism?


Tom, have you considered the difference between the WWI environment and the middle ages? I'm sure there was certainly some propaganda involved, but you don't really hear about the massive Norman anti-Saxon propaganda machine, or Norse chieftains briefing their raiders on how the people they were raiding weren't real people.

This is pure speculation, but it seems likely that globalisation (even the relatively little that had taken place by the early 20th) would increase the amount of propaganda needed, whereas in the time period M&F emulates common soldiers would know nothing about their enemies except that they were told they were there enemies.

I have to agree, it seems a bit odd that a First One can rock up and take a settlement from another First One (and the militia will then follow them perfectly loyally!), but with this implemented they wouldn't be able to make their soldiers fight.



From a pure game design perspective, are you sure you want to make it harder to get into wars? Most of the realms I play in are already sketchy about going to war without needing to start presumably detectable* preparations weeks in advance.

Does the game need more realism? And if it does, does it need propaganda as realism? There are a lot of other changes people have been asking for, particularly concerning warfare. Ultimately, this is of course your game, but do at least briefly consider the playerbase (not too much though. I'm a great proponent of dev autonomy).

Honestly, it sounds like it'll slow the game down even more, and the game is already hellishly slow.

I also don't know how sustainable a nemesis situation is anyway. What happens if one side is able to commit more to propaganda? Without the real-life limitations on total war, it seems like it would be highly unlikely for the sides to be perfectly equally balanced, which is what it would take to have a meaningful nemesis relationship. Unless they decided to tone it down using RP, in which case... I don't know, something just rubs me the wrong way about having to play differently to make up for what's essentially a game design flaw, if you want nemeses.

I assume defending realms won't need as much propaganda? I doubt, say, the WWII Polish soldiers really needed to be preached to about how terrible the Nazis were before they would fight them. It stops being a 'kill or be killed' and becomes a 'kill or be killed, and your family too'. In that case, it would be a nice buff to defending realms.

*If they're not detectable, then the idea is not good for game balance. A realm will be able to massacre another realm effectively using their propaganda programme without the other realm having a chance to respond.




You have not thought this through. The English for example dehumanised the Norse raiders, Roman armies regularly declared their opponents barbarians, barely better then animals. English Dogs, filthy immoral French, HEATHENS. All of that is propaganda to dehumanise a group, to make it more acceptable to exploit them, to fight them or whatever.
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Arx

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 03:22:14 PM »
The point is that much of the time either it's on such a grassroots level that rulers wouldn't really be controlling it (there's still a big thing between England and Wales, AFAIK, or the Norse raider culture - nothing to do with the leader), or it's a self-defense thing (against the Norse raiders, or the Normans). And some wars (Hundred Years, for instance) were fairly self-sustaining due to both sides believing the other was the aggressor - which would reduce the need for propaganda.

Further, propaganda isn't so much to make the soldiers fight as to make the civilians support the war, so they'll join the army or make donations or whatever. Not such a problem in the feudal system (or similar), where you will take a spear and you will stab the enemy or either the enemy will stab you or I'll stab you. And if you don't want to pay taxes to support the war, that's fine, we'll kill you.

Also, in the absence of a Geneva Convention or whatever you can bribe soldiers with plunder. Technically propaganda maybe, but of a different kind.

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2016, 03:24:46 PM »
Tom, have you considered the difference between the WWI environment and the middle ages? I'm sure there was certainly some propaganda involved, but you don't really hear about the massive Norman anti-Saxon propaganda machine, or Norse chieftains briefing their raiders on how the people they were raiding weren't real people.

Absolutely. However, even into antiquity, there was war propaganda. It was made easier because many enemies actually were very much different, with different culture and language and religion, but it is a recurring feature of war to turn your enemies into half-animals.

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2016, 03:30:36 PM »
The point is that much of the time either it's on such a grassroots level that rulers wouldn't really be controlling it (there's still a big thing between England and Wales, AFAIK, or the Norse raider culture - nothing to do with the leader), or it's a self-defense thing (against the Norse raiders, or the Normans). And some wars (Hundred Years, for instance) were fairly self-sustaining due to both sides believing the other was the aggressor - which would reduce the need for propaganda.

Further, propaganda isn't so much to make the soldiers fight as to make the civilians support the war, so they'll join the army or make donations or whatever. Not such a problem in the feudal system (or similar), where you will take a spear and you will stab the enemy or either the enemy will stab you or I'll stab you. And if you don't want to pay taxes to support the war, that's fine, we'll kill you.

Also, in the absence of a Geneva Convention or whatever you can bribe soldiers with plunder. Technically propaganda maybe, but of a different kind.


Rebellions happen, they happen particularly when you are at war when it is a unpopular war. Propaganda is also about those other power brokers, knights, lords, sheriffs. If you think savvy rulers and their councillors didn't encourage such "grass roots" systems you are fooling yourself. Were the methods as slick as today, course not. Does not mean they were not used.


Against the best example, the Church demonising anyone they needed to, other religions, wayward sects, realms whoms rulers where difficult. And then what did needy rulers do, they took advantage of the Churches work, encouraged their own clergy to preach against the supposed enemy, introduce secular rumours and arguments to further cement the idea that the enemy were not worth consideration.


Hell there is an entire area of academic study that revolves around the propaganda inherent in tapestries.
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Tom

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2016, 03:40:51 PM »
Thanks for the great replies so far. Let me clear up a few things that apparently were not clear:


Firstly, this is not about soldiers not fighting. I'm talking about a morale bonus. Just enough to make people care about it, not big enough to be crippling if you are caught off-balance. In numbers, about the difference of having your men equipped with spears vs. halberds. It matters, and if you have both available you will probably want the halberd, but by itself it won't decide a war, you can compensate it with superior numbers or better armor - you get the idea, yes?

Secondly, I think especially Arx missed the point about limits. Imagine that you have a total potential of 100 "points" of hatred in your people. You can, through propaganda, change its allocation. You can make one really hated enemy out of someone and get the maximum bonus against them, but if you want to go to war against someone else, no bonus for you. Or you can pick two main enemies at 40 each, and a few minor ones with just a few points allocated. The bonus would probably be the square of your allocation (I really like diminishing ROIs), so you would get +10 in one scenario and only +6 in the other. You could not ever get an unlimited bonus.

Thirdly, the attack vs. defense is high in my mind and one part where I don't yet have an answer. One idea I have is that it is easier to run propaganda against someone who hates you.

Fourthly, I don't think this will make the game slower. Wars are already prepared, and this won't stop you from a surprise attack, especially if your enemy doesn't have propaganda against you running you are on equal playing fields and thus no difference to now. Only if you want to take this small advantage you have to invest preparation time. And yes, one of the purposes of this is to make the whole war preparation more detectable.

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2016, 03:44:27 PM »
The main issue I'm fighting with in my head is how to avoid "dodging". If propaganda is targeted against specific realms, people could just form a new subrealm and switch all settlements to that. Of course I can avoid that by targetting higher realms, but that would make the game move more towards main realms fighting each other, which is specifically what I don't want, I want smaller realms to fight independently of their mother realms. I don't want a whole empire dragged into a border skirmish, so that is out. I could let propaganda target individual estates, but I'm kind of opposed to that idea.

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2016, 03:51:10 PM »
The main issue I'm fighting with in my head is how to avoid "dodging". If propaganda is targeted against specific realms, people could just form a new subrealm and switch all settlements to that. Of course I can avoid that by targetting higher realms, but that would make the game move more towards main realms fighting each other, which is specifically what I don't want, I want smaller realms to fight independently of their mother realms. I don't want a whole empire dragged into a border skirmish, so that is out. I could let propaganda target individual estates, but I'm kind of opposed to that idea.

I know you've said a couple times that we're not supposed to be so nationalistic. Why not have it target specific people and their immediate relations? Usually this would be the ruler of a realm or subrealm, and it'd apply to the realms they are a part of.

Still not sure I like the idea as whole given it's admitting the commoners are more than a resource to us, but you seem like you'd implement this regardless.
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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2016, 03:52:04 PM »
The main issue I'm fighting with in my head is how to avoid "dodging". If propaganda is targeted against specific realms, people could just form a new subrealm and switch all settlements to that. Of course I can avoid that by targetting higher realms, but that would make the game move more towards main realms fighting each other, which is specifically what I don't want, I want smaller realms to fight independently of their mother realms. I don't want a whole empire dragged into a border skirmish, so that is out. I could let propaganda target individual estates, but I'm kind of opposed to that idea.


You probably can't, and if someone is willing to do that, we have moved past reasonable actions by a player at any rate.
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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2016, 04:26:09 PM »
From a historical perspective this seems awfully anachronistic. Not the fact of there being something you can call propaganda, but the deliberate effort by a government to spread it.


In the Odysseus there's a scene in which Ulysses and his men raid a town and him and his men get drunk after all the pillage and raping, and stay too long, giving enough time for people from nearby settlements to fall unto them and kill some of them while they retreat back to their ships. Morale of the story? Rape and looting is not a problem at all, but being too greedy and careless is. You won't find a single story in all Greek literature on a moral dilemma involving treating foreigners badly.


The further back you go, the smaller was the moral circle of people (quoting Peter Singer). To a Roman all non-Romans were not people, and even fellow Romans were not necessarily either. Even their patrician concept of friendship was tied to the making favors and gifting. To a medieval aristocrat the serfs are property, barely above cattle. Foreigners? Those are weeds if non-compliant.


This starts to change gradually as Christianity starts becoming universal in Europe (so the people have a common identity ground, but they still found many points to disagree and consider the others heathens), and only takes real impulse with the iluminism, the French Revolution, the universal rights and all.


That, and what De-Legro said about the difference between modern warfare and ancient one, is what explains the behavior of the soldiers of World War I. Medieval people didn't need incentives to consider others non-person. They did that by default, more often than not.


---


Now game-wise, this is bad. It makes warfare harder (requires more planning) and less interesting (jumping to good opportunities becomes riskier), and it promotes total annihilation wars and player nationalism.

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2016, 08:21:00 PM »
I think it is hard enough to keep an army in the field for very long as is.  So while I the the idea is a fine one, I do not think it is a great idea to make this something that ever effects you negatively.

If what you are saying is that using the diplomacy and war declaration process in advance instead of waiting until your army is already there, will help get your army stronger and ready for that war then two thumbs up.

This would help make those options important instead of an afterthought.  I would like to see the same thing done for the RP message sent when you attack someone too.

Instead of getting messages like "die you north scum" maybe an RP (call it what you want, that is a generic name and people always derail because they do not like what I call things) bonus.  You put in 4 or 5 lines of text instead of 4 words and you get...SOMETHING.  Anything.

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2016, 10:31:58 PM »
Still not sure I like the idea as whole given it's admitting the commoners are more than a resource to us,

They are a resource. But resources want to be taken care of. Just like you need to build mines to make the best of your metal, you could have to make propaganda to oil your war machine.

I don't plan to ever introduce autonomous actions by peasants, like BM has. They will not rebel and throw you out. And again, they will not refuse to fight your war. They will just do it more enthusiastically if you prepare them for it.

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Re: Propaganda (ramp-up to war)
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2016, 10:35:39 PM »
If what you are saying is that using the diplomacy and war declaration process in advance instead of waiting until your army is already there, will help get your army stronger and ready for that war then two thumbs up.

This would help make those options important instead of an afterthought.  I would like to see the same thing done for the RP message sent when you attack someone too.

That is basically the whole idea, yes. I want that war is not just something that happens. That is why I work on this war declaration thing and why I'm thinking about "firing up your people".