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Yet another game idea: a space strategy/politics sim


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#1 G. K. Chesterton   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 06:03 AM

Hi, I've only been reading these forums for a bit so I hope I'm not making any mistakes posting here. I have a project that I've been playing with. I have a little of it implemented (in PyGame.. not a super performer but easy!) as a tech demo, but it's not really playable or worthwhile yet. I'm just a hobbyist programmer with no real goal other than to make a cool game that strategy gamers will enjoy (not a commercial product).

 

The game is about space colonization, with a focus on politics plus space & technology. I know a good game design is focused and this isn't totally nailed down yet, but I'd like the player to be a space agency manager in the year 2099 or so. The game borrows aspects of classic strategy games that worked well in Civilization and Crusader Kings, but with a very different setting and plot than most 4X games.

 

Gameplay would mainly of operations at the agency: you send missions to explore, found new colonies, exploit natural resources, and expand humanity into the solar system. This all happens in a world where there are powerful factions but no dominant power, so politics and influence are especially important. The countries of the world (there aren't too many now!) all have their own space programs and ambitions for the solar system. In addition to the main countries the world is run by "groups" (like corporations) and characters (like presidents). The play is very sandboxy, but as in SimCity there's obviously a goal of expanding and prospering as much as you can. As science fiction goes the game semi-realistic. It will take a long time to travel between planets until your technology is upgraded significantly, and while it will be possible to engineer habitable environments all over the solar system, building in some places will be a real challenge. You'll develop new technologies and build stuff, primarily by contracting out to groups, and each country - including space colonies - has some internal political dynamics to keep things spicy.

 

Obviously just a vague sketch so far, but these are the main things I've been thinking about. I know the game will change a lot in implementation, but that sounds cool to me. Please give me your feedback: Would you play this game? Are there obvious flaws that would make this game bad? Any suggestions?

 

Thanks for your advice!



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#2 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7635

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:44 AM

I applaud your concept. I've always been interested in developing and/or playing a similar game.

 

I would suggest having a look at Starship Corporation. Though it may not have the same scope as your idea (its much more down to ship design with the 'metagame' being the corporation budget), it still has the same approach where this isn't a 4X game about one race to kill them all, and I appreciate this idea.

 

Good luck!



#3 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3556

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:07 AM

Sounds cute. I would download and try it.

 

 

The only things that worries me is if you are not taking more you can chew. I mean, it's all cool and everything, but I would prefer a simplier game I could play now than a complex perfect one in a distant future (or never finished). I would concentrate on simplifying, cutting down all that is not absolutely needed (focus on core fun) and releasing a playable thing soon (so I can play it :D). You can always make a better, more complex version later. In short, don't try to make it like Civlilization and Crusader Kings, these were made by big companies, you are a lone programmer, you don't have the same resources.


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#4 G. K. Chesterton   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 09:04 AM

I hear ya. My plan is to bite off only a little at a time - the pre-alpha can have very basic mechanics, and placeholders for future features, and certainly no good graphicstongue.png If nothing else it'll keep my brain occupied for a while. Thanks for the support!



#5 Camilo   Members   -  Reputation: 189

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 08:53 PM

I have experimented with similar design ideas before, and am currently also developing a "grand-strategy" (well, more like a real-time risk with diplomacy sorta thing) game, and my experience is: making abstract(-ish) strategy games fun, while obviously not impossible, is really hard, because you give up on all the "cheap" thrills of action and fancy graphics: you have to focus on gameplay, intellectual immersion, balance.

Another thing to keep in mind, IMO, is that needless complexity is a dangerous trap: try to have every action the player does be a decision, that is, both doing and not doing some action should be related to some outcome (not necessarily linear or even deterministic, though). E.g. if the game requires you to build thing X on every colony for it to function, that's not a decision, it's only needless complexity.

 

On the theme of Space, while maybe slightly overdone, it does have the nice characteristic of being relatively simple to implement for one person (who, I am assuming, is a coder and designer, not a graphic artist): you can use circles or dots on a mostly black background to represent galaxies, stars, planets or whatever: Much easier than e.g. trying to make good looking terrestrial maps. It also makes it well suited for platforms with less powerful graphics (the web?).



#6 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3556

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 03:54 AM

try to have every action the player does be a decision

Well, I think it's a bit of exaggeration, not every single one make a decision. Let's change it to "try to have MOST actions the playe does be a decision" :) But I agree with the premise.

 

 

E.g. if the game requires you to build thing X on every colony for it to function, that's not a decision, it's only needless complexity.

Yes, but... Sometimes it adds to the mood, and mood is important too. If I play a space base building game I want to build oxygen generators and such. Of course, I agree, it would be best if these were a decision. But if the designer can't make it a decision I still say keep it, it's important for the mood.


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#7 AngleWyrm   Members   -  Reputation: 554

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 11:45 AM

Please give me your feedback: Would you play this game? Are there obvious flaws that would make this game bad? Any suggestions?

The setting seems interesting, and I like the idea of a fresh take on politics. I'de especially like it if you could influence one faction's opinion about another faction. This could either be direct, like paying to move an opinion slider. Or it could be indirect, like selling warships at a steep discount to the enemy of your enemy.

 

I'm leary of the idea that it will take a long time to travel between stars. What will the player be doing during this long time? Will it be fun to play the game while this long time is in effect? Because if I discover that I'm playing a game but not having fun, I'm very likely to go do something else.


Edited by AngleWyrm, 28 July 2013 - 05:46 PM.

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#8 Ironmaggot   Members   -  Reputation: 155

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 03:47 AM

Look up Neptunes Pride. It is the most simplistic, but yet a great space empire building game. It would be a solid base for future expansions.






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