Note: Implementation of Factions is not planned for the first version of Colony Sim. Factions may be added at a later date.
Factions will represent different paths of development that a player can choose. Players will be able to play any faction they like, and will not have to choose on exclusively. Colonies can be all one faction, or they can be blends of multiple factions.
Factions would represent races (humans, robots, aliens), corporations (each corporation has its own area of expertise), or groups of people (much like countries or political parties). Each faction will be distinct! This will be done by playing off popular archetypes that autistic players will have an easy time identifying. Giving each faction a distinct colour, unique symbols, and keeping buildings with the same style would be a good way to accomplish this. Players will have a rating with each faction.
Example: The Tree Hugger Collective's buildings and research a geared towards a more eco-friendly colony, whereas Unchained Autonomous buildings focus more on an industrial look and make robots.
Buildings, units and technologies will be associated with different factions. Creating buildings that belong to a specific faction will increase the player's faction rating for that faction. New buildings and units will be available to the player based on the player's faction rating. Some buildings may give bonuses to some factions and/or penalties to others.
For example, the player would like to build a tree skyscraper. However the Skyscraper requires trees and a rating of 60 with the Tree Hugger Collective (THC) neither of which the player has. The player can build Tree Farms though, which produce trees and give a THC rating. The player builds 20 of these farms, granting him enough faction and wood to make the skyscraper.
If a player destroys a building they will lose the faction bonus associated with it. We could implement a level system, where once a player achieves a level that gain is permanent, but their faction could still change. Levels could override a faction requirement. Some buildings would not have a level option and would require a high faction. Once a building is built it will never need to check the players faction rating again.
Example: Jimmy has spent a lot of time making tree farms and skyscrapers. In doing so he has reached 1000 faction rating and advances to level 2 with the Tree Hugger Collective. However Jimmy decides that he doesn't want his tree farms anymore and decides to destroy all of them and replace them with "Unchained Autonomous" robot factories. His rating with THC drops to 25 as a result. Jimmy likes the idea of his robots living in tree sky scrapers, but needs to build more skyscrapers for his colony's people. Since he has a level 2 faction rating with THC and the tree skyscraper requires 60 Faction OR Level 2 he can still build more sky scrapers for his robots to live happily in.
In this example I used level N to indicate the faction level. This could easily be assigned something more visually identifiable. Maybe a military rank or something else that use insignias. The player's current level would be shown at all times beside the Faction Bar.
Detailed faction information can be viewed from its own window in the game. On the game screen the Faction could be shown as an level up bar coloured with the faction's predominant colour. The faction rating will be displayed in the centre of the bar. The bar will indicate how much more faction score the player needs in order to achieve the next level with that faction.