The Good, The Bad and The Ugly about Active Non Player Civilizations

January 20, 2015
By R. Ritnour

Active Non Player Civilization (NPC) fleets have been roaming the galaxy during the entire time that the current PBEM has been running. However, the largest fleet consisted of only 5 cutters. That changed this past month as new subroutines were added to the existing programs. The number and types of starships built by NPCs depends on the attacks on their empire worlds. NPCs have built carrier fleets and made retaliatory strikes in and around contested star systems. NPC planets have built FTR groups and land forces in self defense. The response from players has been mixed. Some like the increased interaction and challenge. Others have cried out in despair.

Both the positive and negative responses have validity. Creating realistic responses to alien attacks is an important balancing tool in the game. No one wants NPCs that you can just roll over. No challenge, no fun. The flip side of that is an NPC that is too strong. Having an invasion spoiled because an enemy fleet shows up is a far cry from having your main war fleet crushed by an NPC. Nobody wants to get beat by the computer. No chance, no fun.

A few interesting issues have cropped up in this short test. First, the fact that low tech NPC planets can call on their high tec parent empire rankles some players. The argument goes that low tec worlds should not have the capacity to communicate with anyone off-world.

Second, the current strength of NPC response could seriously impede the natural growth and expansion of a new player empire.

Finally, there is the rather obvious problem that all NPC planets, even those below tec 10, are part of an empire. There is not a single independent planet in the galaxy. There should be scads of low tec worlds out there that are not affiliated with empires because they don’t have the tec to communicate with anyone outside of their star system.

So, after viewing the results of the last few weeks, we have decided that we will render some of the new programs inactive to go over possible changes. An important function of the Takamo PBEM is to test possible additions to the Takamo Universe beta programs. We appreciate your feedback as we introduce new features into the original game. Thank you to all of the players who are helping us determine the best programming to introduce in Takamo Universe.

Stay tuned!

Illustration by Spark Warrgon
Illustration by Spark Warrgon