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