(Posted Friday 20th of March 2015 on the DevBlog)
One of the ambitious and new aspects of Dual Universe is that traditional organizations that are found in other video games, like guilds, nations or corporations, should actually emerge in the game. This means that we have to design a generic structure to represent the union of several players, without biasing it towards one particular type of organization or another. The term we use to designate this structure is "organization". A state, a city, a guild, a nation, a group of pirates, an alliance, etc, are all organizations in the game. They differ in the particular way they specialize the generic definition, and in doing so they specify political orientations and implicit organizational goals. Let’s have a look at how it works.
To start with, organizations are divided into legates and members. All legates are not necessarily members, and vice-versa. The legates literally own the organization, which is divided into several shares that are distributed to the legates. Members don’t own the organization, but they have what we call “roles”. Roles are defined by a set of rights, duties and privileges that apply to members. A member can have one or several roles (and, as an legate can also be a member, there can also be roles for legates, but not always), and a role can be fulfilled by one or several members. Roles can be organized hierarchically, so that sub-roles inherit their default set of rights/duties/privileges from their parent.
One could say that legates are making decisions regarding the organization structure, while members are more in charge of running the organization. The mechanism by which legates make decisions is voting, with a weight based on the number of shares owned by the legate. A delegation system enables certain legates to gather the voting rights of other legates. This delegation can be limited in time or not, and can be for every vote or for certain types of votes only. Note that the wording used here, “vote”, induces a notion of democracy, but this is not necessarily the case. In an organization where all legates have permanently delegated all their voting rights to one single legate, you have a de-facto dictatorship. Intermediary cases involve a parliamentary system, where a subgroup of legates concentrate the voting rights of all the others, but none of them can rule alone. All nuances are possible.
There are several types of votes that legates can cast, but one crucial type is about creating roles and assigning/revoking members in those roles. Other types of votes involve approving new legates or revoking them, deciding whether organization shares are tradable or not, and many subtles details on the voting system which are meant to prevent obstruction situations.
Roles, as we said, are about rights, duties and privileges. Rights are defining what a member can do with the organization properties. Can you open containers? What type of containers? Can you access the bank account? Can you delegate your rights to other members? Can you fly ships owned by the organization? Can you control the organization territory system? Can you create subroles? Can you hire/fire members? etc. Duties are things like paying taxes on your in-game revenues or when using certain organization property, obligation to deliver a certain amount of certain assets per month to the organization, etc. And finally, privileges are things like salaries, insurances in case of death, protection in case of aggression, and other practical in-game benefits.
And last but not least : legates and members can be organizations themselves. As such, organizations can be hierarchical, like an alliance, a federation of alliances, or any kind of union.
Now, what can you do with this? Let’s try to build a corporation: you have a board of shareholders, representing all legates through delegation. They elect a CEO, who is a member with a special role that grants him/her the right to create subroles (head of marketing, head of RH, etc) and who will run the company. Each member gets a salary, and the profit of the company is shared among the legates with a dividend mechanism (voted by the legates). This is pretty close to how a real company works. Now, can we imagine creating a democratic nation? In that case, every legate has only one share of the organization and is also a member. Voting can happen through parliament representatives through the delegation mechanism by the legates/members (same thing here). Member roles’ duties include paying taxes, and privileges include possibly a minimal wage (sort of “salary”). A president role can be created and granted subrole delegation powers and full access to the nation’s assets. This president can create roles for prime minister, ministers, etc.
We will provide default templates for typical organizations, but it’s easy to figure out how you could create an interplanetary alliance of planetary organizations, themselves organized in a hierarchy of nations, cities, etc. Corporations can be members of nations, with specific roles separating them from regular citizens. And you can also structure corporations in a hierarchy of conglomerate, trusts, etc. Now, can you imagine how you would like to create your own organization, your own political system, your own subdivision between legates and members? We hope to see pretty amazing things emerge from this, let us know what you think!