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Day/Night/Month/Year cycle for city builder


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#1 codeman_nz   Members   -  Reputation: 238

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:51 PM

Hi everyone,

 

I want a day/cycle as well as a 365 day year in my city builder game.  The timing I have in mind is 1 real second = 2 game minutes.  This would mean that a game year would be 73 real hours.

 

Is that too long?



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#2 Shane C   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1283

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 06:57 PM

I think it is. If you have multiple years to keep things interesting, such as 4+ years, you may want to have each year 10-20 hours. Unless your game is meant to be really long.

#3 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3510

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 07:08 PM

Time cycles are fairly dependant on how you utilise them in your game mechanics - for example if you were to cast a spell but then require a day (game time) to be able to recast it - would the resulting 12 minutes be a fair delay in the gameplay for the spell to be unavailable or if looking at it from the perspective of your city builder if you embark on a building spree and each building takes 3 months to complete i.e. 18 hours or so - do you have sufficient other gameplay elements/mechanics to keep the player entertained whilst awaiting the buildings being built?

 

 Hope this helps :)



#4 wintertime   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1999

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 02:19 AM

Do your players a favor and make it adjustable by pressing +, -. When planning and building people often go into pause mode to not waste time, when watching things people want a low to medium speed, when waiting people want a very fast speed not wait ages for your snail paced game or sometimes skip ahead with a fast forward mode that autostops on an interesting event.



#5 AngleWyrm   Members   -  Reputation: 554

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:22 PM

The timing I have in mind is 1 real second = 2 game minutes.

 

That would put a game day around 20-25 minutes of real time; that's the same approximate scale as MineCraft. Seems to work fine in that game.


Edited by AngleWyrm, 17 October 2013 - 10:24 PM.

--"I'm not at home right now, but" = lights on, but no ones home

#6 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 11121

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 10:30 PM

You need to start the other way around.

Have an estimate of a user play session.

Then determine how many cycles you want the player to go through during that play session (on average).

Then do the maths to make it happen!



#7 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1937

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 05:57 PM

I have been toying with taking a rather different approach to the whole issue for a modern city/region builder/simulator. However my goal is to produce a far more 'simulation' style tool than what many 'city builder' games are.

 

While the vast majority of city builders run in 'real time' with varying speed controls, I have instead been looking at it as more of a turn based affair with various simulations that would have to be completed before the next turn begins. Most likely going to based around monthly council meetings where plans get their final okay or rejections, user gets primary feedback from the city, and any plans/designs that were prepped before hand may be set to begin for the following 'turn'.

 

If at the start of the turn the city has produced something that is going to change values (ie, higher density buildings completed which then require more power, water, sewage, garbage, traffic flow, etc, or construction begins on a project that is large enough that it would affect traffic, etc.) then the related 'system simulation' would have to be run against the various demand times. Cycle your power grid, transit/road system, etc for their high and low periods on weekdays and weekends. If a given simulation would not have changed, then it is not needed to be rerun before the next cycle may begin.

 

This means that if nothing is really changing in your city for the next six to eight months, then there is very little that needs to be done and you can quickly skip ahead in time. However if lots of things are changing and developing in your city, then the user is going to be able to see actual changes going on and the game pace will slow down so they can enjoy it better.


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#8 codeman_nz   Members   -  Reputation: 238

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:47 PM

I have been toying with taking a rather different approach to the whole issue for a modern city/region builder/simulator. However my goal is to produce a far more 'simulation' style tool than what many 'city builder' games are.

 

While the vast majority of city builders run in 'real time' with varying speed controls, I have instead been looking at it as more of a turn based affair with various simulations that would have to be completed before the next turn begins. Most likely going to based around monthly council meetings where plans get their final okay or rejections, user gets primary feedback from the city, and any plans/designs that were prepped before hand may be set to begin for the following 'turn'.

 

If at the start of the turn the city has produced something that is going to change values (ie, higher density buildings completed which then require more power, water, sewage, garbage, traffic flow, etc, or construction begins on a project that is large enough that it would affect traffic, etc.) then the related 'system simulation' would have to be run against the various demand times. Cycle your power grid, transit/road system, etc for their high and low periods on weekdays and weekends. If a given simulation would not have changed, then it is not needed to be rerun before the next cycle may begin.

 

This means that if nothing is really changing in your city for the next six to eight months, then there is very little that needs to be done and you can quickly skip ahead in time. However if lots of things are changing and developing in your city, then the user is going to be able to see actual changes going on and the game pace will slow down so they can enjoy it better.

 

That's a neat idea.  Hope it works out for you.



#9 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4119

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 01:06 AM


However if lots of things are changing and developing in your city, then the user is going to be able to see actual changes going on and the game pace will slow down so they can enjoy it better.
Ugh... I would hate that. The game can't be in charge of the pace, only I, as a player, can (by pressing some button, whatever, it just can't be the game's decision). It's me playing the game, not the way round.

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#10 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1937

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 08:47 AM

 


However if lots of things are changing and developing in your city, then the user is going to be able to see actual changes going on and the game pace will slow down so they can enjoy it better.
Ugh... I would hate that. The game can't be in charge of the pace, only I, as a player, can (by pressing some button, whatever, it just can't be the game's decision). It's me playing the game, not the way round.

 

 

I should probably make it clear that my simulator design is more from the mayor's desk, and less god-like eye in the sky. It is as much, if not more, a tool for urban planning experimentation and research as it is a video game.

 

I meant it as in there are no 'dead' spots where you're sitting there twiddling your thumbs running at the fastest setting waiting for time to pass. The design means you jump from one decision making point to the next where there is actually something different going on.

 

Unlike SimCity where if I have no cash, and therefore nothing to do, I sit there for five or six minutes on full speed waiting to earn enough to DO something in a few income cycles, in my system I could click through the meetings for all those months in a few seconds. If something has actually changed in the simulation (ie, something the player would obviously care about) then the game is 'slowed down' time line wise as you spend more time in the current cycle (turn) exploring the changes. 

 

The key difference is that rather than having a 'real time' aspect that you speed up and slow down, you instead have 'turns' that last between one and four weeks. If nothing is happening for ten weeks, and there are no real decisions you can or want to make, then you just keep clicking and blitz through them if no red flags or unique opportunities spring up. Rather than spending the 6 minutes needed in SimCity for an entire day to pass on the highest speed so you can get paid again when nothing is going on in your city, you can see that nothing is going on in less than 5 seconds based on your monthly report and your personal plans for the city, and then click next. Boom, you've moved on to your next month after a few seconds of processing. Still nothing to do? Click next again, Boom, next month. STILL nothing? Next...

 

When I said that the 'game' would slow down, I meant that the player would not have a reason to force it ahead or there are new versions of the simulation to be crunched and reviewed. The in game time advances based on stuff actually happening, or not,, and not based on some imprecise speed controller.

 

In my attempt you are not going to have a time where you are running at full speed and failing to notice that one of your city blocks is starved for power for months, or that garbage is piling up to the point that you get the popup of "Something horrible is going wrong!", because the moment something is going wrong it is going to be obvious in the reports.


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#11 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 1204

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 11:22 AM


When I said that the 'game' would slow down, I meant that the player would not have a reason to force it ahead or there are new versions of the simulation to be crunched and reviewed. The in game time advances based on stuff actually happening, or not,, and not based on some imprecise speed controller.

In my attempt you are not going to have a time where you are running at full speed and failing to notice that one of your city blocks is starved for power for months, or that garbage is piling up to the point that you get the popup of "Something horrible is going wrong!", because the moment something is going wrong it is going to be obvious in the reports.

 

Based on your telling, I sense that this is not much of city builder. Sliding from arcade to simulation is a story but that's another. Yours seem more of a "user friendly" way of entering numbers to create simulation.

 

What if I want to build something or query what's going on? It is a reason for me, will I pause game in that case?

 

Also about missing garbage/power shortage or so, this is why I always play Simcity at normal speed, boring sometimes but my style.






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