Startopia


The RTSC Guide to Startopia
Part 3: What's in a Peep?


The Station provides the venue, but the Peeps are where all the heart, soul and action is. Peeps lead their own simple lives. They all have a name, a simple history, a few hobbies for laughs, some spare e to spend, three performance ratings and nine character attributes that affect their behaviour, employee performance and whether or not they want to stay on board and make you rich.

Peeps have nine character attributes and several employment ratings. Interestingly enough, these are crudely paralleled in the Station itself. Each of the decks corresponds with Body, Mind and Soul, and many of the Station's essential services are expressly designed to service each of the Peep's character stats. Each of the alien species also has a theme that moreorless represents one of these attributes. The Grays represent all things medical and with health; the Sirens Love; Karmaramans Sleep; Turrakken Mind; Targ Fun; and so on.


Visitors and Residents

All aliens are Visitors until you hire them, whereupon they become permanent Residents. Everyone else just hangs around until they run out of money or find the Station so unappealing they leave in disgust. Residents from all players are marked by a symbol representing their employer floating above their heads. Your Residents need to be looked after with appropriate sleeping, eating, amusements, sanitary requirements and career promotions otherwise they'll resign and leave you, too.

While most peeps will jump for joy at the prospect of scoring a job, don't get too upset if a few turn you down. You may have insufficient finances, they may have personal problems or they simply think the Station's just not up to scratch. Employee ratings ultimately affect how efficiently your Station runs. The higher the number of stars, the better the employee - and the more expensive they become to hire. Apart from the initial payment up front and subsequent promotions, Peeps don't receive any wages. This was originally intended for the game, but never implemented. Once employed, they will slowly start to improve their skills and gain rating stars - but they will need to be promoted lest they get upset and resign. Promotions are easy: just click on the flashing stars next to their name in the Peep Menu.

Right clicking on a Peep brings up the Alien Interface (above right). This allows you to converse (albeit primitively) with them one on one. By conversing with individuals you can find out their names, hobbies, or their criminal record; hire or fire them and ask them what their pressing needs are. Straight off the bat you'll see three obvious attributes that will decide whether you want to hire a Peep or not: Skill, Dedication and Loyalty. Each of these are shown as five star ratings.


Skill Quite simply, this is how well your Peep performs at their job. A poorly skilled worker takes longer to execute tasks or may produce an inferior result to a skilled one. In the case of an unskilled Grey medic, you can actually kill off patients! In a firefight, this shows just how straight a Peep can shoot - or not.
Dedication This how long they actually stay at their post, regardless of more pressing needs. A 5 star dedicated Peep will stay at their post longer than a no star undedicated Peep who'll disappear off the job at the drop of a hat.
Loyalty This is how likely they are to respond to a firefight. I think it also determines how long they stick it out. Loyalty might also apply to Peeps using other Administrators' facilities when neighbouring territories are open to each other, but I'm not entirely sure. I think disloyal peeps might use the oppositions facilities - at your expense!


Peep Personality

Okay - now for a bit of an in-depth exposť of what makes a Peep tick: the character stats. Some of you will almost certainly find this next tedious and anal (and probably unnecessary, given Startopia's freewheeling approach) and want to jump on to the next page. Much of the following has been gleaned from the text data files found in the Mission subfolder inside your Startopia install on your hard disk.

Peeps have nine character ratings much like an role played character, but they live in a live, simulated environment and not a dice rolled sheet of statistics made for turn based play. The game engine uses these stats to simulate a crude little personality, like nine different fuel gauges inside their heads, instead of static ratings to show how well they can smack goblins. Stats don't differentiate between characters or to show if one is superior or inferior to another: Startopian Peeps are all fundamentally identical on the "inside". All Peeps are born equals. These character stats are simply tracking how everything on the Station affects them. The nine "health" bars record everything from actual health through to how drunk they get down at the local. If a certain stat gets too low then it triggers a response in the Peep to try an restore those lost points. The only clues to a Peep's current state of well being come from the cute little animations they do, the floating "emoticons" that come and go above their heads, or... or you find a corpse.

Each Peep's character stat has a maximum capacity of 10,000 points. The actual behaviour of a Peep depends on how "full" a particular stat is. Any stat sitting between 6000 and 10,000 points is considered optimal, and the Peep is perfectly satisfied in this area. That is, it might be happily well fed, feeling loved, fit as a fiddle, enjoying the perks of a perfectly relaxed bladder, and so on.

At less than 6000 points, the Peep's mood changes; they start to feel the first pangs of hunger, feel a bit off colour, experience tiredness, etc. and the need to replenish those missing points starts to concern them. Whether or not they immediately act on these needs tends to be influenced by their employment ratings. They will head off to seek the nearest Station facility that can address this need, and you'll be informed by a small greeny white "emoticon" materialising above their heads to let you know what's on their minds.

Below 3000 points, the attribute is considered minimal and the Peep's need becomes really pressing. Emoticons turn an urgent shade of red. The Peep will drop everything and try to get those points fulfilled as soon as it can. At this point in time, the depleted stat will start affecting other characters stats - invariably for the worse - so trying to keep Peeps out of the red, so to speak, is a smart move. At under 10 points, the attribute has effectively zeroed. This is usually when you see a Peep experience death, deep depression, psychosis or they decide there and then to resign and leave the Station.

A lot of things influence a Peep. Just by standing around doing nothing, a Peep slowly loses all their points; they get progressively bored, hungry, tired, and eventually need to got to the toilet. On top of that, if they've caught a disease, or they feel under-promoted, or the Station has too much litter, or they're standing in a patch of Bio-Deck they really like, or there's a queue at the Lavatron, or whatever - then all these effects will stack up on their little psyches too. Some species will lose more of one stat than another, e.g. Gem Slugs are "fussy" because they bore quicker than everyone else; Karmaramans are "lazier" because they lose Sleep points faster, Kasvagorians get hungrier faster, and so on. (Grekka Targ by comparison, don't have any specific racial bonuses - apart from being rather boring to the other species - they're sort of Startopia's Platonic ideal of a Peep).

If a Peep eats a Dine-O-Mat meal, receives a Sick Bay cure, gets smacked around the ears by an rampaging Skrasher or struck by a laser beam then their various stats change in a big lump sum. Again, racial types, the Peep's current situation or the state of the facility they are in will affect how these events change the final outcome. So, what are all these influences? And how does a good Station Administrator minimise the yucky ones and encourage good ones? As mentioned before, Startopia is fairly easy going. Its a sim management game, not StarCraft; its not a sudden death contest where split second decisions make or break you. Things are indirect and take a little time to show. Kick back and take it easy. Enjoy the view. Get yourself a nice big hot chocolate or something. Works wonders for me!


Basic Peep Character Stats
These are the major emoticons that manifest above your Peeps' heads to let you know what their most pressing needs are. Usually they glow a greeny-white, but if they're glowing red, then the missing points are minimal and the situation needs urgent attention.

Body Body
These are your classic, standard issue health points. At optimal levels, a Peep is in the peak of health. Under 6000 points, they are considered ill; at minimal levels, seriously so. At zero, it's dead! But long before that a Peep will be seeking medical treatment at a Sick Bay. More details.Back
Nourishment Nourishment
This tracks hunger. At optimal levels, a Peep is perfectly well fed. Below optimal levels it starts to feel hungry and seek the nearest Dine-O-Mat.More details.Back
Toilet Toilet
This tracks the state of their personal hygiene levels. At optimal levels you have a freshly coiffed and permed Peep. Toilet points are lost progressively, but eating and other shocks to the system can literally give a Peep "the shits" and suck points (bleeargh) from their Toilet total. When things get a low they try and find a Lavatron to spruce up, take a shower and a quick vent, with all the appropriate noises... More details.Back
Love Love
Startopians aren't mindless drones you know. All Peeps need to fall in love occasionally, and finding yourself unloved and lonely on a strange space station in the aftermath of war presents a Peep with serious personal issues! When they feel a bit lonely they gravitate towards the Love Nest. More details.Back
Fun Fun
At its simplest, this is a boredom meter, and a Peep feeling a bit low on Fun points needs to get out a bit and have some fun. Fun is awarded when a Peep goes shopping, enjoys the attractions of the Entertainment Deck, take in the sights on the Bio-Deck or a quick dip, socialises or gets hired. Peeps bore very, very easily. Keeping them entertained can actually be one of the hardest jobs of a Station Administrator. At zero levels they actually get depressed! More details. Back
Sleep Sleep
This tracks Peep tiredness. When it starts getting low a Peep will seek out some rest, often picking accommodation worthy of its social station. Sleep deprivation can be great news for the Zedem Monks. I've yet to see anyone pass out, though. More details. Back
Soul Soul
This is a funny one for traditional strategists, but in the simulation genre its becoming more common. This tracks the current state of a Peep's Soul. At optimal levels, a Peep is at one with the universe; below 6000 points corruption starts to set in and Peeps start straying from the straight and narrow, engaging in criminal activity. When they hit rock bottom (I think) they become psychotic! (Not all murders on your Station will be committed by secret agents.) Spiritually depleted Peeps can seek redemption at a Zedem Temple or by conversing with a Zedem Monk. Being rehabilitated in the Lockdown Brig is also a good option. More details.Back
Mind Mind
As far as I can gather, this is sort of a "grand total" of all the other ratings. Mind points indicate a Peep's mental state, and for all intents and purposes it qualifies as an approval rating for your Station. In other words, if your sorry mismanagement drives them crazy, they'll leave! At optimal levels, you get the Smiley Face. At rock bottom you get the dreaded Out The Door emoticon and they leave, there and then! More details.Back
Drunk Drunk!
All peeps are created sober, which means these are the only points that start at 0 and work in reverse to everything else. Drunk points are gained at any of the fine binging establishments on your Station and have to be lost to sober Peeps up. Peeps can literally drink themselves under the table, and this has interesting effects on all their other character points - generally speaking, not terribly good ones, but it helps replace lost Fun and even a few Soul points at the cost of everything else - which will need to be attended to. A well pickled Peep is good for Station business... More details.Back

On the Job!
All Peeps enjoy working for you. But not all get the same experience out of it, enjoying their occupations more than others. I'm unsure if a Peep's employment ratings affect all this as well. Some races score a special racial bonus in keeping with their theme.

For every second on the job, Peeps score +3Mind +1Soul and...

Groulien Salt Hogs Grekka Targ Greys Dahanese Sirens Kasvagorians Karmaramans Turrakken Zedem Monks
+2Love +2Sleep
+3Fun
+2Love +1Sleep
+3Fun
+3Love +2Sleep
+5Fun +10Body
+10Love +2Sleep
+4Fun
+2Love +2Sleep
+4Fun
+4Love +3Sleep
+4Fun
+4Love +1Sleep
+4Fun
+2Love +2Sleep
+3Fun +5Soul

What happens when a Peep is...
...hired? All Peeps, without exceptions, score massively in just about every area in one huge lump when you give them a job. Essentially, any problems they had are promptly fixed so you get an instantly useful employee.
+5000Mind +5000Soul +5000Love +5000Fun +1000Nourishment +1000Sleep +5000Toilet
...fired? In stark contrast, terrible, terrible things happen to those poor souls who are sacked. Only Mind and Soul are affected, but these are some of the biggest emotional hits a Peep can suffer in the game.
-7000Mind -7000Soul
...over-
promoted?
You can over-promote your employees. Just keep clicking on that promote button until you max out their official star rating. It'll be expensive for you, but good for their sense of well being. Like all bonuses, they stack on top of the gains made by working. Over-promoted Peeps gain every second
+1Mind +1Soul +1Love +1Sleep  & +1Fun
...under-
promoted?
An under-promoted - and therefore unappreciated - Resident becomes upset at your failure to recognise their strengths. They progressively lose most character stats until they eventually resign and leave if nothing is done for them. Its the exact opposite to being over-promoted. They suffer every second:
-1Mind -1Soul -1Love -1Sleep& -1Fun


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Last modified Wed, Jan 28 2004 by Lindsay Fleay