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Minimalistic space empire building game


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#1 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 04:30 PM

I'm thinking of a simple and short turn based strategy game of building a space empire. The primary goal is to design it as easy and fast to develop, the secondary goal is to make it relatively short to play, kind of like space empire building in a nutshell, but that's of lesser importance. As for complexity of the gameplay I'm indifferent (but probably due to the constrants above it won't be too complex).

How such game could look like?


I thought of these basic assumptions/tricks:
- strictly singleplayer
- the game is heavily random and highly replayable, can be finished in like 2-5 hours
- the game is asymetric, the player owns all planets on the map, no AI controled empires, the enemy comes (out of the screen) in a form of alien invasions only (this should simplify the AI greatly)
- part of the game could be like Tower Defence genre, where aliens invade player's empire and the player tries to stop them
- there could be a card-like mechanic involved for various things, it's easy to develop and easy to grasp for the player, yet allows a lot of different concepts to be introduced (you can "play" a "space university" card "imperial army reform" card, "technological advancement" card, etc. One mechanic and useful for many purposes).


This is an initial stage of design, kind of like brainstorming. Fell free to stray from what I described above and feel free to put not fully compatible ideas. I still try to grasp the overall concept of it.

Edited by Acharis, 18 November 2012 - 04:32 PM.

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#2 PyrZern   Members   -  Reputation: 247

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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:03 PM

Depends on how you want to define your game, I believe.

Usually, when you say ' space empire ' game, what do you think people will think ?
- Start small [1 - 3 planets to start with]
- crappy technology at first
- crappy planet development
- crappy military forces

So then, it's up to the players to decide how they want to advance. Most will agree with me that, fast expansion is usually a pretty good idea in the beginning. Then boost up your Research, develop high quality planets for industry output, then build up those shipyards and make armadas.

Will you cut all these concepts as well ? If you turn it into Tower Defence ?
If so, what's there to keep players to keep replaying the random games over and over ?
Think about that too :)

#3 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 07:58 AM

Depends on how you want to define your game, I believe.

Right now I'm trying to define the game :) So, I'm collecting unelated ideas and welcome warious "how I would do it if it was me doing that kind of game". Later, once I sort it out, I will strat another topic with more clear constraints. As for now, anything at least remotely related is welcomed :)


By tower defence part I was thinking that there are these planets/systems and there is a predefined path (order of conquest) in which invading fleet visit these planets. Wherever the players manages to stop the invasion, that's the border planet of his empire. I was also thinking about various aliens invading planets in another order (from different direction). The strength of the invasion probably could get decreased after each planet conquered (so the home planet in the center of the empire would be quite easy to defend, while the farthest ones almost impossible).
But I'm not tieds to that ides, I just thought it's simple and convey the whole warfare part quite well.


Many planets vs few planets.
I wonder which one to choose. I can make very few planets (like 5-12) and make these complex (you build infrastructure on each one, each planet is a sparate ecosystem, has an appointed governor, various population groups, etc). The second option is to make many planets, but not very detailed. You would be able to decide what the planet's specialization is (mining, industry, agriculture, science) and see what its size/population level is and what military units station there.

With few highly detailed planets it could look like that http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic1310229.jpg (one screen, not scrollable, big clickable planet icons)
With many simplistic planets it could look like that http://gametwonk.com/2012/08/24/endless-space-review/2012-08-19_00001/ (scrollable, for convenience in one axis only)


Exploration
I wonder how important the exploration part is. If I go for few detailed planets all these would be visible from the start (or very early). That would mean no exploration or crippled exploration...

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#4 Prinz Eugn   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3562

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 03:18 PM

Just a few of my thoughts...

In 2-5 hours I think you're really going to have to strategically cut down on the detail, so that compared to most empire-building games you have a few less detailed planets.

It's a cool idea but I think it's going to be hard to both build an empire and have it constantly under siege like a tower defense game and make it not really irritating to a player. Building outer colonies only to have them steamrolled sounds not fun, and I think players will have the tendency to turtle up, emphasizing the tower defense part over the empire building part... which isn't what you are going for. Plus if you are constantly fighting over frontier worlds, how does the game actually end?

My thoughts on scope:
  • Have all the planets in a single solar system (like the Firefly TV show), and include moons.
  • Treat all the planetary systems like mini-solar systems
  • Larger planets could have separate "continents" managed like the moons.
Thoughts on gameplay:
  • Have the player move into alien territory, not vice versa.
  • Break combat areas into sectors like a planetary system above, so the players can choose how much they want to juggle (attack only one system at a time or split forces if they're strong enough)
  • Combat would revolve around creating an outpost in a system on a moon, holding that outpost against attacks, fortify and use foothold to build outpost on the next closest moon, and so on until system is clear. Holding becomes harder closer to the planet you are, with holding continents being the hardest.
  • Call the game Space Conquistador

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#5 Tiblanc   Members   -  Reputation: 556

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 04:35 PM

Check out The Space Game, Creeper World and AI War. They sound like the kind of game you are going for. They are asymmetric strategy games where you expand your base and constantly fight back the enemy.

For the AI, you can have them occupy planets and wage war. Simply use a different rule set than the player and call that alien technology. This will allow you to create a simple AI and retain a realistic feel. You could also have them teleport motherships/stations and spawn units from there. It would make the entire map a potential battle zone instead of fringe territories only.

Personally, I would go with an abstracted system rather than a detailed one. There is little to gain from being so detailed if the game is supposed to last 2-5 hours.

As for the rest, it depends a lot on the victory goal. There are a lot of ways to do it. Just need to figure out an interesting mechanic, like the card one.
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#6 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:16 PM

Well, if you mainly invade other races it has a feel of a young empire. Agressive, flexible, young. It could be fun I guess, but I feel a space empire is better portrayed as an old one. I mean an old, stagnant empire rotten to the core with bureucracy, falling apart, riots on the streets, usurpers to the throne, court politics, internal intrigues and assassinations. And on top of it some young alien race attacks and you don't have the time to deal with it properly because you have "more important" internal affairs to take care of :D I think such scenario has better impact and lets you feel how it is to be a space emperor.

I still wonder how important the tower defence part should be. Maybe even I should remove/minimize it and go for regular "disaster events"? Like every 50 turns there is a major disaster you need to deal with (civil war, rise of an usurper, alien invasion, military coup attempt, the local sun turning into supernova) and a minor one every 10 turns (like assassination attempt, rampart corruption among officials, riots on one planet, pirates). These could be done as some sort of "random cards", not as a separate minigame. You get the event and you have a list of resurces (with alternatives) you need to apply to stop the event, or a list of mini goals to achieve to stop/reduce it. Like for riots you could send a regiment of an imperial army (if you have one) or some charismatic leader to solve it peacefully.

It's a cool idea but I think it's going to be hard to both build an empire and have it constantly under siege like a tower defense game and make it not really irritating to a player. Building outer colonies only to have them steamrolled sounds not fun, and I think players will have the tendency to turtle up, emphasizing the tower defense part over the empire building part... which isn't what you are going for.

Yes, there is such danger... But I don't meant a pure tower defence game, it can be done as a sheduled attack, not even most of the time. I meant something more along the lines of this: http://silverlemur.com/minigames/wiztowersim.php
Anyway, the concern of it being too important and distracting from the empire building part is valid...

Plus if you are constantly fighting over frontier worlds, how does the game actually end?

Well, for this kind of game I could even go for "the game ends after X turn" model. Not the prettiest one, but assuming it ends up being a short game it would be acceptable. Or I could go for victory points system, you need to get 5 victory points, you get 1 such point for doing a big thing (like constructing transdimensional gate, defeating alien race, building death star capable of destroying whole planets, etc).



An example how such game could be done (event cards driven empire building with few planets):

You have 8 planets (you start with one, but can annect the others quickly). Most/half of these planets would be inhabited from the start and you would be annecting these (military or diplomacy), not colonizing. The rest would be colonized when you feel like it. Each planet would have on average 2 races (multirace empire) that not always love each other (internal problems). There is a dozen of empire wide stats (integrity, stabilization, corruption, happiness), if these fall too low (or go too high in case of negative stats) it means trouble (or even instant game over). Regularly there are disaster events, you better deal with these of the empire stats will fall down. You have/build some assets (imperial army, fleet, officials, special imperial inspectors, advisors, governors, security forces, institutions, organisations), you use these to deal with the disasters. You can improve planets (buildings, garrison forces, local institutions). You can improve empire as a whole (imperial senate decrees, projects, policies, laws). You can send expeditions to explore "outer space", it's a kind of cheap replacement of exploration part, you just decide on funding and tell them which "sector" of the galaxy they should survey and then the survey team bring you alien artifacts, contacts with other races which allows trade routes and other random goodies (or space viruses that start an empire wide epidemy :D).

Note that this all sounds very rich, complex and like completely separate features, so the only way to implement it reasonably is via some abstract general mechanic (like in most card games where you have a card telling you that you encountered pirates and need 5 points of military to deal with this card and a card that tells you there is an assassination attempt and you need 3 points of security to deal with it; while these tells completely different story, it's still the same (or very similar) mechanic used).

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#7 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:35 PM

Check out The Space Game, Creeper World and AI War. They sound like the kind of game you are going for. They are asymmetric strategy games where you expand your base and constantly fight back the enemy.

Hmm, the more I think about it the more I like something along the lines of "cards". Let's take a look at Creeper World, I love that game, but it has basicly zero replayability. The whole point of playing it is because of downloadable comminiuty made maps, but on its own it has no replayability at all (ok, maybe a bit to beat your score). I also played the Creeper World's 2 auto generated missions and these are simply not good (compared to the ones made my real people). Same goes for The Space Game, generated scenarios for these simply sux.
But if you look at Weird Worlds: Return To Infinite Space its generator works perfect, I don't feel human made scenario for it would be so much better. Simply, generators work very well for such kind of game (and it basicly is an event "card" driven game).
I definitely want to avoid community made maps (too much hassle with these servers and making editors) and I need very high replayability (if the game is short it needs to be replayable, that's how it works...) also I need the game not feel like a flash game (it needs to provide longer overall experience, in either long play time or replayability)

I wonder if I should go for less combat focused kind of game...

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#8 paulscott   Members   -  Reputation: 156

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Posted 24 November 2012 - 05:27 AM

A good strategy game that uses the "card concept" is Armageddon empires( http://www.armageddonempires.com/games/AE/armageddon_empires.html ). Before the game you make a "deck" and balance the ingame-cost/deck-cost/strength/number/utility of units. Combat is also really simple at first glance dice for attack and defense(you actually see the dice so it doesn't seem unfair random), with some "commander abilities" you can build instead of units.

Basically the game takes tons of really really simple mechanics that draws from table top games and deck building games. BUT gets complexity by adding lots of "instead-ofs" and forcing choices.
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#9 ManuelMarino   Members   -  Reputation: 153

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:20 AM

ooohh finally, a turn based game, and also science fiction setting. it's my bread! Loved these games in the past and unfortunately didn't see anything interesting in last years.

The card system implemented is also a very cool idea, if you need a tester, I'm here for you, just contact me!
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#10 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:22 PM

First, thanks for all your posts. I was thinking about what you wrote and came to these conclusions/thoughts so far. Please comment them :)


1) classic (map with planets to conquer) vs unique (like cards) mechanic:
If I go with classic mechanic, like the ones Tiblanc mentioned, at best it would be perceived as a "better flash game", which is not a good trait for a standalone PC game :) Not to mention the complexity of it (development time wise) with all these AI, planets, interface to move ships and grouping ships, etc. I'm quite sure it's a dead end for the kind of game/project I can afford to make. It would either be an inferior 4X game or a full blown 4X game which take too long to make. I simply have to go for some unique or hybrid mechanic.

Also, Armageddon Empires example made me thinking. I knew about that game before, and it's the only kind of that game I know. It's also the only game you listed... In short, there are EXTREMELY few games that use card mechanic :) Well, there are some other, but these are either copies of non computer games or simple (put X monsters in a row and fight X monsters of enemy). The card mechanic is definitely not overused.


2) War focused vs Non war focused:
Most games are about combat, it's the easiest to make and the most obvious. You produce some units and attack or defend. There might be some complex economy layer involved but it's end purpose is just to make more/better military units (Civilization). I wonder if I should go that route or go for a "peaceful" one.
For example there could be internal issues of the empire, plagues to deal with, court politics, support of different factions within the empire, riots, grand projects. It could be done even without any form of combat at all... So, I wonder, should it be about war or about war + internal issues or just internal only without combat at all?

Or it can be phrased other way, what a space empire is supposed to do/deal with? What would give you the best feel of being an emperor of a space empire?


The card system implemented is also a very cool idea, if you need a tester, I'm here for you, just contact me!

I always need testers :D But right now I'm in the middle of another project, so I would be very surprised if I would start this one earlier than 6 months from now. Assuming I start it (it's just talking and thinking for now). In case I do I will surely forget about your offer by then, but I will post a topic about new project of such kind here, so if you see anything like that, just drop me a line again (actually, at that stage I always go around begging for people to test my alpha/tech demo so you would not need to contact me at all but just download it and post your feedback) :)
I always love and need testers :D

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#11 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2628

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 02:52 AM

Regarding the steamrolled outpost problem, you could automatically rebuild/repair colonies until the player explicitly forfeits them. As long as the route doesn't cross disputed or enemy space, transport ships can bring people and materials to the damaged colony.
Whenever an outpost is indeed steamrolled, the player only need to send reinforcements to protect it (maybe by diverting enemy forces elsewhere, not necessarily with a localized patrol effort) and the colony will be eventually restored.
There would be a strong similarity with the initial creation of the colony; you choose a planet and a colony blueprint and the colony is built as fast as you provide resources (e.g. from mining colonies). You can also include planet defense fleets in colony blueprints; newly made ships join the defense forces of nearby understaffed planets requiring them or, if not needed, one of the mobile fleets the player defined.
The technique of blueprints of what you want in a colony, battle fleet etc. could be refined with evolutionary steps (mining colony example: first 1 habitat, offices and 1 anti-aircraft battery; then 2 habitats, 1 mine and 2 cruisers; then increments of 5 habitats, 1 mine, 1 factory, 1 anti-aircraft battery, 3 cruisers; then when mining sites run out increments of 3 habitats, 1 research facility, 1 factory, 1 anti-aircraft battery, 2 cruisers), ratios (mining colony example: 1 spaceport every 2 mines or 3 factories, 1 AA battery every 4 habitats, 1 research facility every 9 habitats 1 mine every 3 habitats, 1 factory every 2 mines until sites run out then 1 every 3 habitats, 1 cruiser every 2 habitats), alternate configurations (e.g. a "underpopulated" colony avoids labor-intensive stuff, a "war effort" colony builds more spaceships and less of everything else) and other helpful abstractions to save the player tedious adjustments.

Regarding the tower defense aspect, a self-healing empire that doesn't require micromanagement makes continuous enemy attacks sustainable and not annoying; mobile fleets can be used to conquer new worlds and to meet other large fleets. Consider an alternative to constant, preplanned attacks: major attacks triggered by empire prosperity thresholds: large swarm fleets when the player exceeds a certain number of spaceships, genocide attempts when the player exceeds a certain population, structured conquest forces when the player exceeds a certain number of worlds, special stuff after certain advanced technological improvements are obtained, and a huge do-or-die final attack when the player conquers the whole sector.
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#12 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 04:00 PM

I still wonder if such a game should be:
1) war focused (mostly combat) [just like all 4X games]
2) non war focused (mostly court politics, internal issues, assigning officials) [I don't recall ever seeing a game like that]

Your thoughts?

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#13 Tiblanc   Members   -  Reputation: 556

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:42 PM

Non war focused could be interesting. It would allow you to dig deeper in economics and politics without having to tie everything to starship production. I would set the goal to produce a resource intensive wonder as fast as possible. The gameplay is then centered on how to be as efficient as possible in managing the empire. If you throw in random events to throw the player off balance, it will be as interesting as nuking aliens.
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#14 ManuelMarino   Members   -  Reputation: 153

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 09:08 AM

non war focused would be really interesting. Since you can play at your own pace, and also a stock market would be cool.
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#15 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 03:48 AM

Non war focused could be interesting. It would allow you to dig deeper in economics and politics without having to tie everything to starship production. I would set the goal to produce a resource intensive wonder as fast as possible. The gameplay is then centered on how to be as efficient as possible in managing the empire. If you throw in random events to throw the player off balance, it will be as interesting as nuking aliens.

Yes, might be interesting... But it does not sound thrilling, it does not make "want to play it", does not make me "wow, finally someone made it, I waited for it my whole life" :)

I think the non combat focused thing is desirable (some people like the concept), but when we come to details "the goal is to produce a resource intensive wonder as fast as possible" it is unthrilling... In contrast "lash a mayhem across the galaxy conquering other pathetic races" seems much more interesting and fun :)

Is it because war is inheritably more fun or because we miss something? Or maybe it is only my impression and you find "building a resource intensive wonder/project" more thrilling than conquest?

I was thinking, what would make me "wow" for a non combat focused gameplay and I found so far only one case. Intrigue. The assassins trying to take my life, usurpers trying to overthrow me from my beloved throne and court intrigues of my courtiers (which rarely benefit the empire or me). I mean, if I were to play as an emperor I still need a thrill of some sort. I like economy, like it a lot, I think most games focus too much on military/combat and I don't like it too much, still... If I were just to build an empire in a SimCity like style... I don't know, I feel something is missing there for me.

Your thoughts?

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#16 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 04:11 AM

People, please try to say something and/or comment more on what is already posted. It's a brainstorming phase, so it does not have to be compatible with other things at the moment. Don't tell me you have nothing to say about space empires topic. Even a simple one word comment like "it's lame/ok/love it" about an idea would be a help to me.


Another concept (sectors):

The universe divided into 5x5 sectors (=25) with around 10 planets per sector. So it means all planets of a sector are displayed on one screen without any scrolling and zooming. At the first glance it looks like tons (250) planets to colonize, but the outer sectors would be progressively dangerous, so in practice most of the player's empire would be in the central 9 sectors. I did some drawings and it looks quite nice and convenient. The sectors would be not only for display purposes but also functional. The enemy AI would be very reluctant to go to other sectors unless their current one is not fully conquered yet. The movement to another sector would be more expensive than movement inside a sector. There would be several sector wide options (the player could make separate laws for sectors instead of individual planets) and dangers (each sector would have their own space pirate that plunder sector planets only, all plagues would be limited to a single sector). So, sectors would be partially separate ecosystems.

The player, as an emperor, would be limited in the number of actions he can do. Like he could make up to 3 attacks and 6 fleet movements per turn (empire wide). So, huge fleet stationing everywhere is OK and maybe even desirable for defense purposes, but for invasion one need to learn how to concentrate forces smile.png That would cut down on micromanagement greatly I guess, which is always nice. Another limited action would be assigning officials/agents to planets (like tax collectors, propaganda corps, field medical team in case of plague), the player could put like 5 of these per turn max (actually, it would use emperor's stamina system, so it would not be "let's see which 5 I should assign this turn") but the trick is these can not be moved again. Once placed these are placed and can not be moved anymore (which sometimes might be good, in case of tax collectors and sometimes bad in case of medics when the plague already ended), the player would have an "recall order" option (not free) which recalls ALL agents (I'm not sure if sector wide or empire wide) back to the palace so they can be assigned again.

My main motivation here is to remove the player's urge to move every possible unit every possible turn. I mean, you are an emperor, not some lame manager in a big corporation, there are so many things you can do at once, and you need to rest too. So, the emperor would be limited to how much stuff he can do per turn.

Such game would be probably focused on combat and colonization I guess...

 

 


Feudal model vs dictatorship model:

Both would work with the concept above, anyway I could go 2 routes here.

1) Traditional dictatorship model. Not much to say here, the players owns & manages all his planets, builds there every single building, moves every single unit.

2) Feudal model. There are 5 noble houses serving the emperor. Each has their own fleet and treasury (very, very simplistic economy model). The player (emperor) controls the imperial planet (capital) and 2 imperial fleets (always loyal). The rest of the planets are given to noble houses by the player (20% of planet's income goes to the emperor, 80% to the noble house that controls it), each noble house owns (and pays maintenance) 1 or 2 fleets. The player can order around these fleets as desired, AS LONG AS THE NOBLES ARE LOYAL or course smile.png Sometimes they might decide otherwise and then their fleets turns into enemy fleet and... To be clear, the player would be faced with ocassional betrayal even if he cares about all nobles a lot (some random events would basicly guarantee at least one betrayal per game).

At the first glance the player would want to limit the nobles power, but it's not necessarily the best (still possible) route. The planetary imperial governors are less competent than nobles when it comes to governing a planet, same goes to fleet commanders, the imperial admirals, while loyal, are not the brightest ones. In short, if the player makes nobles too weak he might lose wars with enemy empires/invaders, if he makes them too strong he faces internal problems and attempts to take over the throne. There would be this whole court politics part and assasination attempts of course.


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#17 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2628

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:49 AM

A fixed arrangement of 5 by 5 adjacent sectors with a main core of 3 by 3 sectors makes little sense: peripheral sectors are almost 2/3 of the map, so they are going to be used, and there's no reason for them to be more dangerous than the central ones.
Instead, you could have variable-sized sectors (presumably star systems) connected by some almost instantaneous gateway to specific other sectors: pseudonatural tunnels (e.g. Star Trek Deep Space Nine), artificial structures (e.g. Transcendence), places where the jump drive can be activated in a certain direction that happens to be aligned with a star system, or something of the sort.
This arrangement has a number of advantages over sectors that can be entered by simply flying very far:
  • You can arrange your sectors as any sort of strongly connected graph, possibly nonplanar and with one-way links. For example, you can put sectors along "space roads", or make "hub" sectors with unusually many links.
  • Gateway endpoints can be important places to conquer in the sector map, and they allow much better strategical planning than expecting any kind of invasion force from any side of the map.
  • Assigning multiple FTL links to the same endpoint or to separate (and possibly distant) endpoints is another interesting kind of variation.
  • Sectors are actually separate places, not arbitrary borders on a map.
  • Peripheral sectors are actually far from the empire capital: out of telecommunication range and requiring more jumps.
  • On the other hand the capital (or the Emperor) can be moved without awkward limitations as long as you are able to reach sectors.
  • Maybe the player could build gateways; both cost and usefulness might be hard to balance.

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#18 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 09:52 AM

A fixed arrangement of 5 by 5 adjacent sectors with a main core of 3 by 3 sectors makes little sense: peripheral sectors are almost 2/3 of the map, so they are going to be used, and there's no reason for them to be more dangerous than the central ones [...]

Yes, the sectors would be used, but less. As for "no reason" there is no problem, I can make up a story smile.png There could be nearby enemy alien empires next to the border and they target the border sectors more. Or there could be more space pirates or nasty space anomalies, or space monsters or automated defences set by long extinct alien races... Anyway, I think it would be good for gameplay if the borders were more dangerous.

Do you find any problems gameplay wise with sectors arranged this way?

 

As for the rest you wrote, bear in mind I struggle to find a TRICK that would let me make this game with very low budget and very fast, I can't afford to attempt making a full blown 4X game. Still, I want it to be much more fun than an average 4X game biggrin.png

The whole concept of sectors came because I discovered a nice mechanic that is both very convenient to the player (a tiny minimap in the corner and where you hover the mouse over it the main screen quickly changes to show the desired sector) and very easy to me to code (no scrolling, no zooming, no nothing, just a plain single screen displaying rather big planets). Things like variable-sized sectors are out of my budget smile.png

 

I also realized, when I was reading what you wrote, that I hate all wormholes/FTL/navigation thing (for that game). I would prefer if these do not exist in that universe or at least were not mentioned. I want to avoid the Star Trek mood. I would rather go for Dune style folding space which no one knows exactly how it works and no one cares because they have more pressing matters like who is going to backstab them smile.png

 

As for sectors being arbitrary lines on the map, I find it OK... I mean, look at north america's map, there is a lot of these there and it works smile.png I think for that game sectors should be more like administrative divisions. Like holding people (planets) that think alike, that rebel similarly, have the same group of local pirates lurking around and having the same sector governor. Althrough, it might be something about geography too... still, that's not a priority and not an absolute requirement I guess.

 

What I try to figure out is "lines" between planets. For eastetic purposes there HAVE TO be some lines/routes diaplyed betwwen planets in a sector (otherwise it looks like some balls floating on the void). I need some purpose for these routes...

The most natural would be a network of movement connections.

Another thing is how should you move between sectors (again, I don't want scrolling of map). Warp popints is the only thing I thoight of (which I'm not too big fan of).

 

Big thanks for replying! It's nothing more annoying than talking to yourself :)

 

 

 

 

Here is the screen of sectors interface (when you move the mouse over the minimap on the right the main screen changes to the sector under mouse, when you move back it changes back to your previously selected sector, when you click on the minimap the selected sector changes; no scrolling or zooming of any kind needed and the planets can be BIG).

sectors-interface_zps8bcd45e0.png


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#19 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1698

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:05 AM

I think the non combat focused thing is desirable (some people like the concept), but when we come to details "the goal is to produce a resource intensive wonder as fast as possible" it is unthrilling... In contrast "lash a mayhem across the galaxy conquering other pathetic races" seems much more interesting and fun

Is it because war is inheritably more fun or because we miss something? Or maybe it is only my impression and you find "building a resource intensive wonder/project" more thrilling than conquest?

I was thinking, what would make me "wow" for a non combat focused gameplay and I found so far only one case. Intrigue. The assassins trying to take my life, usurpers trying to overthrow me from my beloved throne and court intrigues of my courtiers (which rarely benefit the empire or me). I mean, if I were to play as an emperor I still need a thrill of some sort. I like economy, like it a lot, I think most games focus too much on military/combat and I don't like it too much, still... If I were just to build an empire in a SimCity like style... I don't know, I feel something is missing there for me.

 

 

I wonder if the lack of wow for non-combat building comes partly from lack of risk and choices. Combat's filled with lots of little, potentially dramatic decisions that move between victory and defeat, which typically are very visceral experiences. But what's the victory and defeat of building? Cost overruns or delays aren't probably very dramatic, but what if we're talking about mega-engineering or terraforming that can have disasterous consequences? Or, at a more granular level, what about forcing tradeoffs in the fashion of moral delimmas that create consequences down the road for the rest of your empire? Imagine, as an example, that you have a colony near failure with rioting population that creates a labor shortage. Maybe you can decide to negotiate, or nerve staple them, or open the door to AI and automation, each of which potentially sets a precedent laden with future risks. Maybe negotiating weakens the economy by setting the expectation from other colonies of greater entitlements, while nerve stapling fuels recruitment for rebels and future acts of terror, while AI control potentially risks transforming the colony into a man/machine hive of "others" right in the midst of your empire.

 

It's definitely not easy to make non-combat match the spice of combat, but I think part of what needs to happen is that it can't be the stuff of deadly dull accounting. It has to fire the imagination.


--------------------Just waiting for the mothership...

#20 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3461

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 08:02 AM

I wonder if the lack of wow for non-combat building comes partly from lack of risk and choices.

I would argue about choices (I fequently feel the economy/building part of strategies give me more options than combat), but there is no doubt about lack or risk. And I think that's how it is. Even if we do some artificial things like rising the stakes with terraforming and a society at the brink of starvation (which is more about rising the difficulty level than rising emotions level) it would not work... That's simply not the strength of the building gameplay. And let's face it, economy/management/building/industry in the end and in its core always will come to being an accountant... :)

 

Conflict, that's what is, and basicly always will be, missing from a peaceful economic growth of an empire.

 

I think we too much try to stick to war vs economy. There are other options like intrigue, internal politics/issues. Intrigue could easily deliver the risk and conflict of military/war level or even higher... The question being how to make a strategy game with focus on intrigue :)


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