Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

Designing Pressure Groups in Democracy 3

Sooo… the system for pressure groups in Democracy 2 was fairly simplistic in comparison to this. See how this sounds.

There are a host of different pressure groups in Democracy 3. Some are relatively harmless and are mostly a way of registering dissatisfaction by voters. Some of them are more aggressive, some are extremist groups that are actively dangerous to your government. The extremist groups contain the rioters, the assassins, the corporate mega tycoons, fascists and crazies who will try to blow up your presidential car and so on…

Every voter in the game has a predisposition towards militancy. Each group has a required militancy level for people to join it. if you are mild mannered, no matter how upset you are, you will not join the peoples revolutionary army, although you might join the peoples socialist party (for example).

Here is the fun part…

The extremist groups (revolutionary army) have parent groups that are used as a ‘funnel’ into their membership (and that is the only way they get members). So if you are a member of the relatively harmless peoples socialist party, you will, providing you stay angry at the government, get ‘radicalized’ over time. If this radicalization meets a certain threshold, and your innate militancy is high enough, then you become a recruit of the more extreme group. There is also a point at which your radicalization will fall enough for you to quit the extreme group. Only the extremist groups are really worrying.


I think this is much more realistic, and should give rise to some interesting phenomena, especially ‘lag’. By this, I mean that carrying out an action that really upsets a group of voters (say… a war for oil) will have long term effects because it will push people into radical groups where previously they were happy to just shout slogans. The key is that the ‘leave’ threshold is way below the join one (giving groups some internal momentum) which means that once someone joins the revolutionary army, you need to really cheer them up if you are going to reduce the long term threat and have them leave.

It also means that a large and growing ‘harmless’ pressure group, is a warning sign that you could be looking at an extremist faction developing if you do not take steps to keep that group happy. If the peoples socialist party is huge, you need to be careful what you do to upset socialists further. if it’s tiny, you can probably risk it.

Obviously it will be fun to code stuff like the effects of intelligence services on radicalization, and dilemmas etc. If we arrest a radical without trial, that should accelerate radicalization, as should war. The trouble with this game is it could balloon to be the most complex software in the universe :D

10 thoughts on Designing Pressure Groups in Democracy 3

  1. Nice time code for that post ;).

    Militancy levels is a cool idea. Is there a capacity for radical leaders to emerge that could be individually “dealt with”?

  2. Will you be keeping the conversion percentage of members of harmless parties to extremist parties relatively low? I couldn’t really see large groups of people suddenly turning extremist even if they were dissatisfied with the government.

  3. this is one of the things handled by the required militancy, only a tiny percentage of people would, under any circumstances join an extremist group.

  4. Is there a possibility to got to war in the game? For example if I have a high military standard and there is for example another country that is being radicalised and is a threat to my country that I might start and go to war on it? This would make you require to use a lot of money on military obviously.

  5. Would some trade unions (particularly for public sector workers like teachers or policemen) fit into this category of pressure groups? From the way you describe them, they seem like they could act as some of the least militant forms of this kind of group, and real life trade unions can be very effective at registering their complaints against government policies.

    I would also note that there are a lot of ‘anti-radicalization’ or ‘anti-extremism’ style social policies outside of the intelligence services that would be interesting for this kind of system. This link is a short leaflet on some of the things our government is currently doing to try to combat extremism (particularly Islamic extremism) through social policies:

    Even if it’s just one ‘policy’ that you can channel money into (a ‘reducing extremism policy’), it might be worthwhile if you’re including this as a mechanic as an alternative to just policing it through the security services.

  6. Have you tested how Victoria II with the latest expansion handles the same feature? Fancy part there is there are generic extremist groups, but also issue specific. For example people who want free elections or shorter work week. That group will get increasingly agitated if you push for other reforms than their pet reform with the logic behind being that they see that the government would have the capabilities to implement what they wanted. Not sure how exactly that would fit with Democracy 3, but in general lots of fancy democracy-related features in that game.

  7. TradeUnionists are currently a voter group, which is why they aren’t going to be showing up as pressure groups as well. I like the idea of a general policy to reduce extremism.

  8. Wow, this is really looking very nicely deep and fun! Really looking forward to this one. Sounds like D3 is really going to be a lot of fun!


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