CREATING POLITICS AND GOVERNMENTS

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Liberty
Am I doing this right?
19817
Let's chat a bit about the creation of governments when it comes to games, and how politics plays a role in your story.

This is NOT a topic to air political grievances but there may be some talk about current or past political and governmental structures.


When I make a game I try to do so in a realised world. Part of that is creating different governmental groups for different areas of that world, and referencing them. Of course, to reference them I'd have to have an idea of what they are, how they run and their general aim in regards to the current climate of that world, during the course of the game. I might have to touch on the history of those governing bodies, too, as well as past or present actions that they've had on the area in which the party roam.

Do you make politics a big deal in your games? If so, in what way do you do so? Do you have different governing bodies and what kinds do you like using? How do you go about creating those governments? Do you draw inspiration for them from anywhere in particular? Are there any real world mirrors or do you try to avoid that?

Let's talk about creating political worlds/stories and the governments made for them!
I've always enjoyed forcing politics into the back seat. Like, for me it is an interesting backdrop for the events to unfold in front of, but I've never had luck amalgamating it into the main storyline without it becoming boring as heck. The last project I worked on was highly politicized, but I ended up spending so much time worrying about the realistic ramifications of the player's actions that I got bogged down trying to worth out 'plausible' scenarios. Ancient evils might be cliche, but I find them personally far more fun to work with. You can always wizard up some answer whenever you need one, rather than launching into a twelve-hour subplot because you need an excuse to go into an enemy city.

That being said, I like unusual and fun governments, especially on the local/regional level. I like them to be structured interestingly, even if they aren't at the heart of the story. And that always gives me lots of NPCs to play with if I need an obstacle/hook for the quest to move along.
InfectionFiles
the world ends in whatever my makerscore currently is
3662
I would never want to see a really well thought out government in a game for reasons Kaempfer stated. I also like to play games that allow me a moment to delve into a fantasy world.
I think it helps to think of politics in the people aspect, as opposed to the big abstract we've built up in life. In games, we don't need to represent the weird interplay of numerous topics that build up political parties, but we can use those sorts of topics to help inform on human motivation. This helps us create more complex characters, and sympathetic ones who side with people we are against, but in an understandable way.

In a short example, you have your typical evil empire, and your rebellion. You need a reason for a rebellion, so we say that the empire enslaves a certain race and is militaristic. Cool, players can easily get behind taking down a slaving/warring empire. But now we run into one of their generals, who is overall a nice gal. When brought up, she says she's against slavery, but she was a skilled soldier in another realm who was held down by nobility being the only ones allowed to lead. When the empire came in and her realm lost, she was offered a promotion based on her skill, as opposed to her lineage. Thus, she sees the empire as rather egalitarian (skill based promotion as opposed to family), and yet there are inconsistencies in her beliefs that can be leaned on to show depth and character.

This encompasses several ostensibly 'political' topics (forced labor, racism, aggression vs other nation-states, merit based governmental operations, nepotism), but because part of it is in our understanding of the world (how the empire works visa vis why its bad), and the character herself (her motivations relative to other ways it works) we can have a far more nuanced understanding of the world in a more grey as opposed to black and white view.
Corfaisus
Unallocated Skill Points
4458
What I've tried is keeping it simple. Have a queen as opposed to a king and maybe throw in a colony of people who don't get along with some other colony of people because of one or two things that may or may not have some resemblance to real world issues, then introduce the heroes to these people and have them not just sweep in like they own the place. You wouldn't just barge in to the king's/queen's chambers demanding they supply you with the troops necessary to wage war and save the world, they've got their own problems.

Then you can have wars and semi-plausible tactics (only semi-plausible to maintain a level of innocence and fantasy, because we've all seen what happens when you brand your game as big on political intrigue but the hero goes about it in a completely ass-backwards way) between them to flesh out your game and introduce conflicts when none of the heroes are currently in the middle of an existential crisis.

It's also okay to not have one of the world's political conflicts be resolved in the end. Some differences are irreconcilable.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
4927
The key is for the government to be secretly controlled by ancient demons, bent on collecting the world's five crystals so that they can open a doorway between this world and the netherworld and allow their armies to invade. Then the rest of your story will just fall into place.

I'm kidding, but I'm also not kidding. I do this even when my games are set in the real world, because it just makes a really good power fantasy that the player doesn't have to think too hard about. It turns out that very few people like governments in general - they like neither the abstract idea of them nor the way their own country's government is being run right now. And so the idea of having a morally good reason to take an entire government down is extremely satisfying to players.

There's zero intellectual depth to it, obviously. If you want to tell a complex political story, you should do something that isn't so stupid.
Corfaisus
Unallocated Skill Points
4458
I think what it really boils down to is having at least one big friendly castle and one big not-so-friendly castle; the first to explore and the other to destroy. After that, it's just figuring out who's going to be the one to destroy it. I'm thinking about experimenting with one of the bad guy's minions destroying the not-so-friendly castle because he's sick and tired of being an underling and just wants to watch his place of employment crumble.

How's that for political?
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
4927
Corfaisus, I think that was the plot of Office Space.
I've always loved faction design. There's people with agendas and goals and then factions within factions. And especially in fantasy design you can have a lot of fun with the political implications of a faction (or "political party" if you like) that just wants to summon demons (I mean in the end a faction wanting to summon a demon to destroy the world isn't all that different from some real world political faction, knowwhatimean). I remember it was a comedy-ish story but it was all about a cthulhu cult that had to deal with the day-to-day business of actually running the cult. There's the higher goals and then there's realpolitik.

So much fun can be done with various politicking. I mean A Song of Ice and Fire is all about the politicking and that's really what makes it so damn good. (In my opinion, others might just like dragons or whatever)

Good old scheming. Recruiting monsters for the greater good. The power behind the power. Clashing political systems. Is there really anything that can't be improved by having some thought out faction design in it?
Well, Nihilo is a post-apocalyptic world (on a somewhat lighter side of the spectrum), where the central nation of Autenon was mostly like a typical Western country before it was hit hardest by the Calamity some 10-15 years ago. Now, all the territory around the former capital of Borealis is shrouded in darkness, nobody (human) goes in or out, and the survivors of other regions of Autenon are huddled in small settlements in the post-Calamity desert, barely in contact with each other.

So, your seaside hometown is in decent shape at the start, as it was about as far from the capital as possible. Your people have no idea what happened to other places because of this remoteness, though, so they send out the two protagonists (Estus and Nikolai) to make contact. (There's also internal squabbles involved, since many assume it's a suicide mission and our characters were sent on it for a reason.) The first place they encounter is a former mining town that used its caverns as an underground shelter, and people still refuse to emerge until they know it won't happen again (and because the engineer who rebuilt the caverns couldn't resist exploiting their gratitude and became a cult leader of sorts.)

The next is a small city, Skuud, that is now controlled by a former Mad Max-style gang who settled down, had kids, got responsibilities of actually having all kinds of people under their care, and are now fighting a radical & idealistic insurgency against them (you get entangled in that, and can ultimately back either side). Then, you are in the vast expanses with hardly any humans, where you eventually stumble upon Makal, formerly 2nd largest city. Life is relatively normal there because it's protected by soldiers of a country across the pond, which used to be the enemy once & wasn't as badly hit in the Calamity, so they still have centralised government which can afford to send in occassional gunships & such. You need their help to get to whatever is in Borealis, where some hard choices will have to be made.

I also planned for a DPRK-style country somewhere to the south-east on the same continent, which doesn't exactly have much to do with anything yet, besides being a place on the world map cordoned-off by barbed wire & automated turrets, and providing some backstory for a few characters. There are potentially references to inaccessible places on other continents as well and...I think you can tell why the game has been on Hiatus for a while.
author=LockeZ
The key is for the government to be secretly controlled by ancient demons, bent on collecting the world's five crystals so that they can open a doorway between this world and the netherworld and allow their armies to invade. Then the rest of your story will just fall into place.

I'm kidding, but I'm also not kidding. I do this even when my games are set in the real world, because it just makes a really good power fantasy that the player doesn't have to think too hard about. It turns out that very few people like governments in general - they like neither the abstract idea of them nor the way their own country's government is being run right now. And so the idea of having a morally good reason to take an entire government down is extremely satisfying to players.

There's zero intellectual depth to it, obviously. If you want to tell a complex political story, you should do something that isn't so stupid.


I can get behind this. Personally, I love a good political conflict. Some of my favorite video game plot hinge around political conflict. But I get the impression that a lot of writers have this idea that "my story should contain political elements! Because it'll be more mature and sophisticated!" And so they add political elements into their stories. But I think it's almost never a good idea to add political elements to a story. If the political elements are a working component of the story, that should be apparent at the point where you're working out what the basic premise is.

Looking at the plot of, say, Final Fantasy Tactics, it pretty clearly did not pass through a state where there was a basic framework of a plot, but the author decided it needed political elements added it it. The plot minus the political elements hardly qualifies as a plot. If you intend your story to have political elements, but the plot does not clearly demand them, I think it's a sign you should consider changing something about the story.

If your story relies on political elements, and you want to learn how to write compelling political drama, I think studying history is a lot more helpful than studying other people's political fiction. Explore obscure parts of history, or the obscure elements of well-known parts of history. You'll find the same fundamental patterns you would by looking at better-known material, but the specifics can inspire ideas that will seem a lot more original than the stuff you'll get from the history everyone else already has at least passing familiarity with.
Corfaisus
Unallocated Skill Points
4458
author=NTC3
I think you can tell why the game has been on Hiatus for a while.

Going by that post, not really? You never actually went into the why for the hiatus. One thing I want to know more about is this:

author=NTC3
Makal, formerly 2nd largest city. Life is relatively normal there because it's protected by soldiers of a country across the pond, which used to be the enemy once & wasn't as badly hit in the Calamity, so they still have centralised government which can afford to send in occassional gunships & such. You need their help to get to whatever is in Borealis, where some hard choices will have to be made.

Why would the enemy country simply not take over the more severely hit country? What reason do they have to be cooperating now (aside from resources, which they could've just ransacked)?
I think one interesting example is FF8 actually. A lot of things don't really add up but the point is that a lot its politics revolved around education being combined with military. It's in such a way that anyone who's been in school can interface with strongly even if it's super fantastical.

Squall and Seifer got into a schoolyard fight, so they're obvious rivals. Quisitis is your teacher but super young, so she's a child prodigy. The school was funded by jabba the hutt, so it's in lockdown and your principle has no power. One of your party members is a transfer student who specializes in sniping, so he's super impressionable dude. The school politics are understandable but the military stuff has an exciting impact. Like you just aced this exam and now you're tasked to kidnap a president, how cool is that.

This is a little more about how the characters fit into the politics than like the broader aspect of FF8's world but I generally think that's what interests me the most when it comes to this subject.
What's my big frustration in games least of the JRPG which one might have some form of saving the nation or the world. Government is huge on that level and politics matter. Now mind you it all depends on what type of game you're playing from who perspective. If you're playing a high school teenager in United States unless politics is going to be the focus of the game The Creator is going to assume the least know the basic basic of US government. Versus if you're playing as Andrew Jackson during the War of 1812 and the Seminole Wars with his invasion of Florida, you're going to have to know the politics in the function of government of the day, since you're fairly high at the food chain and the most popular man alive during that time period.

Now let's see if you have Rebels vs Empire. You damn will need to know the workings of government and the politics. And you can't do the half-ass evil empire good Rebel. Because real life is never that simple. Most Empires that start out trying to become Empires they stumble into it. But because now they have mash of populations colonies they're going to have a huge bureaucratic system an old class of nobility possibly and century-old monarchies maybe even merging companies etc. A complex infrastructure military if they have a parliament/congress/Senate rival political factions. You're being very different perspective from the mother nation and her Colonial counterparts. Then you got asked why did the rebels rode in in Rebellion? Which are you the time and rebellions are the extremist idea or radical and whatever political factions going and normally themselves are splintered into several subgroups even sometimes fighting against each other depending on the situation or the country.

I'll let see your character overthrew the government or created new nation and Rebellion that's going to be huge power vacuum or a complex problem of putting a nation together.

I take most of you guys on here teenagers so you normally don't do too much research into real life scenarios and understand the complex issues that create these conflicts. Example historical you look at the Thirty Year War in the old Holy Roman Empire or the period of Warlords in the early and mid 20th century China. Trust me no one's good guys there. If you base it on reality the situation is going to be incredibly complex both politically governmentally and militarily,socially. And that is damn good storyteller. Your game politically doesn't even have to take place in the real world but take inspiration from real conflicts understand the functions and nekia and the politics and the political realities of the government archetypes you pick. Every ounce of plausibility you add is another depth of immersion, it will make the world feel more real. Right now I'm taking US government in Civil War and I took several classes in US and world history in college. Nothing's ever simple guys and normally there's no bad guys or good guys just a whole lot of gray and people trying not to die.
author=Corfaisus
author=NTC3
Makal, formerly 2nd largest city. Life is relatively normal there because it's protected by soldiers of a country across the pond, which used to be the enemy once & wasn't as badly hit in the Calamity, so they still have centralised government which can afford to send in occassional gunships & such. You need their help to get to whatever is in Borealis, where some hard choices will have to be made.

Why would the enemy country simply not take over the more severely hit country? What reason do they have to be cooperating now (aside from resources, which they could've just ransacked)?

Because full occupations are costly in the real world, especially when you share no land border and it has to be done through sea (where the routes are still unsafe, both due to the pre-Calamity mines and the all-new monsters) or air (far too expensive). And if successful, they leave you in charge of all the reconstruction, as opposed to spending treasure on fixing your own stuff (less severely hit ≠ unscathed). Not to mention, they might be the most advanced country on their continent, but they are not the only one there either, and going too far in on the foreign adventures will inevitably leave them vulnerable to attacks closer at home.

Same goes for the resources - not much point in owning an oilfield or whatever when transporting said oil back safely will cost more then what it's worth. (Especially since most of the mines were north of the capital & relatively close to the impact site, and so getting to them requires one to contend with the stronger monsters and some of the worst conditions.) As such, their intervention is more about power projection for now - the ability to intimidate & humiliate former enemies and impress the people at home with footage of their feats (long-distance communication is still suppressed globally by whatever caused Calamity in the first place.)

Lastly, Makal is home to a minority community that's small in Autenon but influential in their country, so the soldiers stationed there are really protecting them first. Their military is hoping that once Calamity is dealt with, Autenon will become a client state, with a new capital in Makal and led by members of the said minority. They'll thus help your party, as long as you go along with their plans. You can settle for this kind of a future, or you can try double-crossing them eventually, which may or may not go well.

Hope this explains everything.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
4927
author=JoelMB12
English words strung together at random, without forming any meaningful sentences
What the fuck are you talking about, dude? I can barely understand what you're saying because your English is so bad, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with video games. Your political setting only needs to create the impetus for your protagonists and antagonists to take action. If you spend time explaining anything beyond that, you're just ruining your game.
author=LockeZ
author=JoelMB12
English words strung together at random, without forming any meaningful sentences
What the fuck are you talking about, dude? I can barely understand what you're saying because your English is so bad, but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with video games. Your political setting only needs to create the impetus for your protagonists and antagonists to take action. If you spend time explaining anything beyond that, you're just ruining your game.
One where did you get that from that because that not in anything I post in this thread. I am very clearly about what I'm saying. There's no reason to be rude or snarky just because this the internet. The political government background doesn't have to be in your face but it's an incredibly important aspect of the world. Now its involvement depends on of course he'll Focus would be in story. And that all depends on main characters or their party members position in the world and the general scale of the story. I'm giving examples for a premises. And I'm setting real world examples and scenarios. Because I sad thing is my friend games about government Empire Rebellion are incredibly complex and their actual real-life realities. And many times these games make it superficially black and white destroying the real nuances and complexities of the situations. Stated more simpler it depends on the scope of the game and what you're trying to do but even if it's at the local level it's good understand how local government works in whatever time period you're trying to stimulate.
Liberty
Am I doing this right?
19817
Lockez was summarising your post, basically saying he couldn't understand much of what you were saying since you seem to have some trouble writing English correctly (there's a lot of missing words here and there which make it a bit difficult to read. No big deal, you can write another language better than I can XD )


Anyway, I think it mainly depends on the focus of your game. If your game is about infiltrating a government sector in order to pretend to be x role and has a small part where you have to play the part of that role, then knowing more details about the actual government and how it runs might be required (depending on what you're required to do).

If your interaction with the government is basically carrying a letter from the ruler of one country to another, then knowing the details isn't that important. You still need to know some things, depending on the government (a normal monarchy that requires you to talk to an official before you go in to deliver the letter to another official, for example, vs an atypical monarchy where only women are allowed in the castle to see the ruler) but not as much as if the story is centred around the government/s of your land/world and how it/they interact.



Also, a fair amount of people on this site are well above teenager years. We have some younger peeps, sure, but we got a lot of over-20s and over-30s and even a few older members. Never assume~
It's subjectively from my experience my friend. So I'm sorry for the projected bias, your good person for so polite. There's this to Sean Adventure game series called the infinite sea. And the world that takes place in is this low fantasy setting. The player comes from a culture that's a cross between Regency England and early nineteenth-century Spain. In the beginning of the game they're son of old nobility but borderline going on bankruptcy as well a dragoon officer. You are going to have to have an in-depth knowledge of the military because of your rank and a deep understanding of politics because of your family. But what the game does well if it doesn't info dump you or shove it all in your face at once. It's slowly organically spoon-feed you the information when it's necessary. The world your character lives is incredibly complex. With a realistic and complex government and political structure and huge amount of lore. But it doesn't show it on your face. You read the newspaper understand how people view the conflict back home and what political factions are complaining about it and who is supporting.
Even the war you're fighting it it's not black and white. You are part of the invading Force but your nation needs to show strength because the otherwise be bully by the other power and made defects vassal to them all in but name. And since you are a little ranking officer in the beginning you see very intimate perspective and the over around damage of the war on both sides and the people that get caught in between. Not even going into the economic damage the wars causing home and that mess you're returning to.

Then we can take someone like the real life Andrew Jackson by today's standards a real son of a b****. But is the real life archetype of almost every stereotypical jrpg hero. The Revolutionary War caused him to lose his home and family through a combination of attrition and English there Indigenous raiding and burning his backwoods village he grew up in he fought as in regular in the revolution before he was 14 and it was a pow by that age. By the time the war is over he was 15 he a orphan former pow, veteran and both physically and emotionally scarred by the war.
My main setting, the Shackles of Varn, is VERY political.

But it's also pretty simple. Basically, every major faction is out for themselves and each has their own goals and structure. If you take one down, there's many more out there, and the one you crushed will likely just get absorbed into another faction or come back as something different.

I find this has been giving me a lot of room to work with for story ideas. With factional dispute comes inevitable conflict where decent regular folk are caught in the middle of a struggle that is far bigger than them, without having to resort to "Save the world!"

Sometimes it's as simple as "Two nations are at war, provoke a neutral third one into helping you. Oh shit, the neutral one is playing everyone for fools for massive profit".

Other times, there's your big "Paladin-esque" faction that's poking their noses into things and offing people who are delving into things that should not be known, while silencing their own secrets.

Or there's the tangled mess I'm still trying to figure out for my thief style RPG where it's set to the backdrop of a bunch of nobles squabbling over whether or not to abolish slavery in their home country, with those who make lots of money from the Trade doing whatever they can to throw a wrench into the works, as the main character is forced to becomes an off-the-books investigator trying to get to the bottom of the conspiracy.

I have to say, designing new cultures and factions and nations is really interesting stuff.

Even if I did scrap that idea for a nation where provincial rulers were purely decided via gladiatorial matches in order to have leadership be in constant flux to prevent corruption. XD
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