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Diplomacy is the main subject of the latest developer diary for Triumph Studios' upcoming Age of Wonders 4. There, we can learn about the game's approach to trade, the various treaties and diplomatic states we'll have at our disposal, the different ways to resolve grievances, and how AI rulers fit into all of this.
We're also treated to an extended developer livestream that showcases how that works in the actual game. Check it out:
And here's an excerpt from the diary to get you started:
Welcome to another Age of Wonders 4 Dev Journal! My name is Thom (not to be confused with Tom or Thomas), I’m a gameplay programmer at Triumph Studios and primarily responsible for the Diplomacy systems and related AI.
Today I will take you through some of the changes and additions we’ve made to the Diplomacy systems. There is a lot to go through as we had many objectives when working on the diplomacy system for AoW4:
- Improving the overall experience of how players interact with each other.
- Increased player agency while still focusing on how AI players can manage difficulty and pressure in a more proactive manner.
- Clearer AI behavior and proper foreshadowing of actions and shifts in the AIs attitude.
- Greater variety in gameplay and the role of personalities.
We’ll start off the journal by talking about the trading system, which is at the heart of your negotiations and dealings with the other rulers in the realm. Throughout the series we’ve featured Diplomacy in various forms, always trying to improve upon the last iteration, and we hope that the new system is no exception.
With Planetfall we introduced free form trading where you can haggle with AI players to try and achieve specified trade deals, sometimes at a great profit too. The only downside was that you’d have to go back and forth with AI players to broker a deal, which did not always work out since there was no way of knowing which deal would work for the AI beforehand. For AoW4 we have reworked this system entirely, focussing on clarity and providing a more straightforward experience.
When entering the trade screen, players will always be presented with trade options that the AI player will actually consider or would consider if the certain conditions are met. Each trade option can have various conditions, which are shown in the tooltips, when these are met the AI player will always want to make that trade, though they may ask for something in return. Clicking a trade option leads to the close deal screen where the AI will present one or more offers or requests in order to make the deal work, sometimes they will not ask for anything in return if they think the deal is fair. Selecting any of their proposed options will round up the deal. You may sometimes also propose the deal as a gift to the other ruler, which grants a relations bonus. While this takes away the haggling, it offers a much simpler and faster way of making successful trade deals with the AI.
Trading with other human players will still have the free form approach where you can specify the trade items and amounts exactly to your liking.