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The Culture - proposal / looking for interest


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I primarily intend to enjoy this game by designing ships and treating it as a huge sandbox creating stuff.


However, my interest in the game was also fueled by the potential I see in trying out social ideas.
Because Dual Universe will give us very, very powerful and flexible tools we can use to mold organisations in any way we desire.
I am really frustrated with the way our real life democracies work, yet I am not a fan of authorian regimes or anarchy either.
But what else is there? Well, the flexibility Dual Universe organisations will give us, will let us experiment however we want!
With the caveat and advantage both that the stakes here are way lower than trying stuff out for real after winning your local revolution. :-)


If there is any interest at all from other players, I will take the time to translate my thoughts about this subject into english and post them.
But the basic idea is pretty simple, and I will detail it here:


In Dual Universe a member of an organisation can be either a player, or another organisation, allowing for a hierarchy of organisations.


So imagine an organisation, where only other organisations can be a member (like an alliance of guilds).
We'll call this organisation "The Culture" (like in the books from Ian Banks).
The basic rules for The Culture are thus:
- Every member organisation has voting power proportional to the number of members it has
- With 60% majority, laws can be created (restrictions, obligations, ...)
- With 40% of the votes, laws can be abolished
- Every member organisation is completely free to determine its decisions, and how it votes, in any way it sees fit - direct voting, electing of representatives, dictatorial fiat, oligarchy, whatever!
- Every member organisation can give itself any rules it wants, so long as they do not contradict laws of The Culture.
- Obviously everybody can leave a member organisation at any time.
  A member organisation does not have to accept somebody wanting to switch to them from another organisation in The Culture,
  but this mostly should not be a problem - the new member gives them more voting power after all!
- Every big enough member organisation determines a speaker (->role tag). All speakers together form the executive council. This council is purely ceremonial unless laws are voted in, granting them powers.
  Only organisations with at least 5% of all members of the culture send a speaker to the executive council. Smaller member organisations that together have 5% voting power, can band together to send one speaker.
- In contrast to normal alliances, there is no teritorial division between the member organisations. Instead, the members are intermingled.
  This also makes it easier to switch organisations within The Culture if you are frustrated with the way your organisation is treating or representing you - you do not have to move your home! :-)

- people in the Culture are always free to band together and form a new member organisation. There are no conditions or approval process necessary.


Okay, that should do it for now. Everything else is details.
If you have read the devblog entries I linked, you should see that everything described here should be easily achievable within the framework that Dual Universe will provide us! :-)


So: I have not looked through the organisations that have already been proposed. Has anything close to this already been suggested?
If not: Would anybody, or any existing organisation be interested in exploring this concept?
All that would be needed would be a broad shared goal like "Explore the universe" or "become an economic superpower" or whatever. And then the member organisations could keep their members and work together as described here.


This is just a call for interest. If nobody is interested, I'll look for a friendly corp or something, build my ships and be happy with this game.
But if there is interest, I could give way more background to the ideas presented here, as needed, and maybe make a dream reality.
(I have a whole essay about the problems of democracy, the advantages of having such a meta layer, and how all this could be organised in real life. It's in german atm, though.)


So, thoughts, anybody? :-D


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You are right, the two ways of organizing societies (Ian Banks "The Culture" and what I am proposing in this thread) are quite a bit apart. And I am open for alternative naming ideas.


But there are at least some similarities, or I would not have thought of the name:

Every ship in the Culture is an autark entity. It can do anything it likes, as long as it respects the basic rules - like letting anybody leave who does not want to stay on it, and otherwise respecting the rights of the beings aboard it.

So a ship is kind of similar to a member organisation, in that the overall Culture makes no judgement calls about how it should behave, or how its internal society works.

And you can kind of compare the "speaker" role I defined to a ship mind. Only kind of though, we have no all knowledgable AIs here. ;-)

The big difference is of course that there is nothing like the ability to make binding laws if 60% vote for that - Ian Banks "The Culture" is much closer to anarchy.


But it would definitely be cool if one member organisation is just a ship flying around and exploring, at the same time as it is a member organisation of The Culture, don't you think? :-D


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There are a few reasons why I feel its unlikely we can recreate anything that has values similar to the Culture within the confines of the game, or even a similar structure "politically", or at least not one that would be stable.


Banks' own notes on the socioeconomical underpinnings and background/prerequisites of the Culture are a good read: http://www.vavatch.co.uk/books/banks/cultnote.htm. I found them quite enlightening.


But I do think it would be cool to have a structure/group similar to the Culture in game, I just don't see how that would be feasible within the given context.

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I have already read that, and you are right - it is extremely interesting (especially after having read the books)! :-)


The problems with trying to replicate that in Dual Universe exactly are that we don't have the AIs which are a necessary cornerstone. And that having an entity that almost never engages in warfare, does not have sharp borders, and only really works because it is a lot more powerful than all neighbouring entities ... is just not very fun in a game. That is not to say that if one faction in Dual Universe where to absolutely dominate, it could not take on similar characteristics to Ian Banks "The Culture". Still, it would not make for very engaging stories (which is the reason that Ian Banks stories are told on the fringes of the culture - there just would not be enough conflict otherwise).


So I am trying to lift a few ideas from the books, at least enough to give it a passing similarity, and have stolen the name. But I am in no way saying that I am trying to replicate the society of the books in the game - it would not work, as you rightly say.


And as noted initialy - I am just throwing this out to see whether anybody is interested in something like this. Or whether something like it has already been proposed.


EDIT: Just thought of another argument to justify taking up the name "The Culture": From this political framework Ian Banks "The Culture" could have straight up arisen. No revolution necessary. So, it's like a proto Culture. ;-)

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