Summary: Consider changing how base ownership works to avoid
problems with buoys
                 Project: Freeciv
            Submitted by: jtn
            Submitted on: Sunday 08/08/10 at 13:22
                Category: None
                Severity: 1 - Wish
                Priority: 1 - Later
                  Status: Need Info
             Assigned to: None
        Originator Email: 
             Open/Closed: Open
         Discussion Lock: Any
        Operating System: None
         Planned Release: 



Something I've been thinking for a while, but been reminded about by a
discussion on the forum

Buoys provide vision to a specific nation, so it's necessary to somehow track
who they belong to. This is currently implemented by re-using the
border/ownership mechanism: the tile with the buoy on becomes part of the
nation's territory (likely an isolated tile).

This implementation causes various gameplay issues:
* Nations at peace with the buoy owner can't move into the buoy square. This
allows obstructive nations to block off arbitrary parts of the ocean or
straits with lines of buoys (which are cheap to build).
* Buoys act as "sea bases" for the purpose of reducing unhappiness in
representative governments; buoys can be built at will anywhere in the world,
and sea units and transported land units can use that tile as a base from
which to carry out an aggressive campaign without the usual penalties.
* Unless playing with foggedborders, all players can deduce the location of a
nation's buoys as soon as they are built.
I assume these are all unintended consequences.

IMO it would be better if there were a separate way to track ownership for
bases without creating borders.

I don't think this new ownership concept needs to be per-base -- it's OK for
all bases on a tile to have to "belong" to the same nation, and change
ownership en masse -- so this probably means a change to the per-tile
structure (which probably rules out changing this in S2_2).

I also don't think it makes sense for a base to be inside one nation's
borders but "belong" to another, so continuing with a single "owner" field
should suffice; an additional per-tile flag "borders" stating whether "owner"
claims borders or is merely deriving benefits from any bases will suffice, I

I haven't thought this through exhaustively, but some implementation
* The definition of borders will be changed to treat tiles with a zero
"borders" flag as unclaimed territory, regardless of who "owner" is
(currently this is signalled by a null "owner");
* When borders recede (e.g., city destroyed), the owner field is *not*
** So a buoy near a city that is destroyed continues to give benefits to that
city's erstwhile owner.
** This leaves some "dead" but client-visible information in tiles without
bases (effectively, the last claimant of that tile). If that's undesirable,
the borders code could instead carefully clear owners except on tiles with
all relevant bases, with the same effect.
* Pillaging an owned base on unclaimed territory will not automatically be an
act of war against the owner as far as diplomatic states are concerned; it's
undefended and in international waters, thus fair game. (But of course, in
the case of a buoy, they probably saw you coming, and are free to take
exception to that.)
** Slightly unsure about this, but I think something of the sort is necessary
for balance. Perhaps it could at least be a diplomatic incident (excuse for
war) like certain Diplomat/Spy actions.
* The client UI would need to distinguish base and tile ownership in the tile
middle-click popup.

Comments? Objections?


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