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Member Since 26 Jun 2009
Offline Last Active Nov 20 2013 09:32 AM

#5011662 Card mechanics (for a strategy game)

Posted by on 17 December 2012 - 06:45 AM

2) How to deal with increased resources (and ability to play more cards per turn)? At the beginning you get +1 resource per turn lat's say and a card cost 2 on average. Then you build a factory and get +1 res/turn, then another... You see the problem
It's not that visible with standard mechanics but with cards it's more visible. There are so many cards you can have on hand at once (both display limit and human's brain limit) and increasing it is not a real option...

You can use cards as resource in addition to these or have some cards require upkeep. You could increase the amount of required resources. For example, you start with +10, factory gives you +1 and cards require multiple of 20. That lengthen the buildup time, but doesn't make the problem go away.

#5010049 Minimalistic space empire building game

Posted by on 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.

#5003484 How a team for 2D JRPG should be formed

Posted by on 23 November 2012 - 07:10 AM

You can't just drop people and use their work. They still hold copyrights unless you have a contract saying they forfeit their copyright if they are inactive for X time.

My suggestion here would be to create a game that doesn't require fancy art. From experience, artists will rarely work for free. Pixel artists even less. This might also have the benefit of scoping down the project and allowing you to actually finish it.

About arguing with team member, it's usually a good thing up to a point. Sometimes, you run head first into a wall and the only thing that can save you is someone hitting you with a baseball before you reach the wall. However, it must not be taken personal. If someone starts saying "use MY idea or I quit!!!1", then you should definitively not use their idea and find someone else. The better ideas will be created when you try to bridge different concepts in a simple and efficient way.

#5002478 Minimalistic space empire building game

Posted by on 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.

#5002387 4 X Economy & Layers

Posted by on 19 November 2012 - 11:07 AM

Right, when I talked about rare resources, it wasn't necessarily scarce but rarer than common resources. They need to be rare enough to be hard to acquire, but not so rare that you expend more energy than what you could get with common resources. You might find common materials on half the planets and rare ones on 5~10%. Yield of rare materials would be similar to common materials so it's a matter of securing the correct planets.

About fuel, the way I see it, it's the backbone of every economic decision. Everything can be traced back to energy efficiency. Creating a ship requires a shipyard which requires ship components which requires a factory which requires resources which requires energy to extract and transport. Ferrying cargo or building a refinery on the spot is a question of energy. Does it require less energy to ferry raw materials than building a refinery, ferrying refined materials and defending the refinery? A ship design then becomes a counter to another ship design when its total energy cost * lose% is lower than the other ship's.

#5002326 4 X Economy & Layers

Posted by on 19 November 2012 - 06:51 AM

I would tend to agree, and though the victory is inevitable, it leaves you hoping. One of my main concern with Galactic Civilization is that it allowed this to happen, and it was the most unfun situation I've seen in any 4x games. With a tech tree so vast, you could reach a point in a game where there was no way you could win whatever you did, whichever winning condition you were aiming for, but the game wouldn't let you know that until 10-20 turns later. The aftertaste of that was so bitter that it felt like an utter waste of time. It was frustrating. The opposite also happened a lot: you got simply stronger than everyone else, that one of your ships could probably annihilate all other warfleets in combat without taking a single hit. Yet, the game allowed you to expand at will and play sim city.
I want an environment that's thoroghly balances, where its hard to gain any form of an advantage. Ships, themselves, won't overpower each other that much. It is the resources you have under your control that determines whether you can rebuild a fleet and continue waging war. So if your opponent's strategy is superior (he has intelligence that confirms capturing planet X would cripple your ability to stay in the fight) then so be it, even if his fleet is largely inferior. This means he's taken advantage of the knowledge he has to even the scores. Besides, if you have a 'rich planet' you should definitely put it out of reach. Building starbases on the fore-front is a risk: it can allow your reinforcements to jump straight into the fray and sustain a military push, but it can also be your downfall if its overrun. Think about the Death Star's destruction in Star Wars, and imagine how the empire can recover from that.
Yet, like I said, it shouldn't all be decided on a single planet. Otherwise, this means your are a bad strategist with a poor economy. You need to stretch your empire deep, and then choose the planets you will develop. Sometimes, it means neglecting a faraway rich planet just because it is not within your real area of influence, too far off to really contribute to your economy substancially: it requires more military forces to keep within your area of influence than the resources it yields. That, too, is recognizing good strategy.

In essence, you want to destroy the slippery slope while allowing fatal blows if the enemy is careless and have a strong focus on economics.

How about associating rare resources to a given counter? You retain the base resources used in every ship. For advanced components, you add a rare resource. Its counter component would require another rare resource.

If creating a new base requires a lot of resources, you end up with a few refining/production bases and lots of mining planets. Players would then target specific planets based on the rare resource mined there. If you're building armored ships, then you could target armor piercing resources to make it harder for your enemy to counter your fleet.

Also, you would be unable to mine everything. Even if you have lots of planets, fuel costs would prevent you from ferrying it all. Choosing which resource to mine, ferry and refine becomes part of your overall military strategy. That will reduce the slippery slope effect.

#5002019 4 X Economy & Layers

Posted by on 18 November 2012 - 06:44 AM

@Tiblanc: Your idea could do, but I really want to emphasize shortage and its effect on the game. One of the reasons for this is that I believe a 4X game may tend to go on forever. If you deal a crippling blow to your enemy's economy (by, say, disallowing him permanent or temporary access to ability to produce shields or beam weaponry for example) it should lead to a downfall of that player and shorten the game. Always having alternatives just makes it artificially longer with comebacks, etc. I think keeping it more finite and black&white makes it easier to see the danger of space and plan accordingly. As a result, a player using a single base to mine a specific good will FEEL vulnerable, and so should he.

They would feel vulnerable. If all you do is mine low quality materials, you will get crushed by high tech ships because they can produce them more efficiently. You can still cripple another player by raiding his high quality mines. The difference is you cannot kill a player by capturing a single key planet.

#5001853 4 X Economy & Layers

Posted by on 17 November 2012 - 04:07 PM

I would go with quality levels. There would be few resources types, but they would have sub types. For example, Electronics would be a type with silicon chips and superconductors being sub types. When building something, you can use any sub type for a given category. Building a ship could require Metals, Electronics and Fuel. You could build a ship with Steel, Silicon chips and Petroleum or go with Titanium, Superconductors and Elerium. You could also mix and match quality levels.

The point here is to allow different strategies to emerge. The 2 main types are quality and quantity. Depending on the availability of raw materials, you could adapt your economy to optimize your output. If raw materials are abundant, going with a quantity strategy is optimal because it allows you to field more ships in a given amount of time. As materials get rare, it becomes better to invest time to turn them into higher quality components. One key aspect is to allow any sub type to become any other sub type. A low quality iron ore could be worked into a high quality armor, but would require much more time and energy than if you started with a high quality metal.

The advantage is you cannot lack any key resources so economics work at small and large scales.

#5000578 4X Space Conquest Games: Ship Customization?

Posted by on 13 November 2012 - 08:15 AM

Check out Starship Unlimited. It's an old game where you had 3 or 4 ships at the most. It could have benefit from a few more, but it's old and was pretty nice back in the day.

I see where you're going with this and it sounds like a good idea. The biggest challenge is making sure stack strategies do not become dominant. You don't want players creating huge armies and going from planet to planet obliterating everything. How to do it properly I don't know for sure. Resupplying sounds like a good deterrent. If you have too many ships around a planet, they would drain its resources faster than it can produce it, stranding them or requiring you to have a big supply fleet.

I think going up an abstraction level would work well. Instead of moving ships to specific tiles, give them missions like disrupt supply lines, sabotage communication satellites, etc. This would allow the player to wage the economic war instead of going all out in one glorious battle. The success of missions depends on the defensive missions the enemy assigned. The nice thing is you can do covert ops more easily like this. In standard 4X games, if you send a small squad to disrupt enemy lines, they will get crushed fast. With this system, they can do their thing and bail out when they get detected. That would work well to defeat the stack strategy because you cannot react fast enough to counter enemy missions. They would happen simultaneously so if you have all your ships at one planet, all other planets are completely vulnerable to whatever is coming their way.

#4999334 4X Space Conquest Games: Ship Customization?

Posted by on 09 November 2012 - 10:10 AM

When playing an opponent, there's a huge strategic difference between knowing or not the base ships they have on their fleet (or could have). By limiting this to 12 known types with a few permutations and tech upgrades, you're playing a strategy game much akin to playing chess ot SC2. Thers's back-and-forth, tactics change and evolve, etc. Because you have a basic grasp of the opponent's strengths and weaknesses, you can attempt to surprise, play around them. If each player can do "anything", you end up playing a game of information where you need to know as much as possible about the enemy fleet, and if there are no limits to how many designs are available to a player, then the game can be pretty random if your opponent makes no single ship like the other.

To me, what in theory gives the player more choice actually ends up decreasing the fun, but I might not be seeing the whole pic there...

I agree with you here. I've been toying with game ideas that involved customization and found out that without categorization, everything becomes a giant mess of random stuff and no strategy emerges. I'm sure there are counter designs to ships in MOO2, but without doing a spreadsheet analysis, there's no way to figure them out. Also, since tech evolves and designs become outdated, it becomes irrelevant.

What I felt worked best was providing ways to categorize designs into common features. Depending on the keywords attached to a design, combat dynamics change. For example, you use heavy armor on your ship which tags it with Armored. Armor Piercing weapons get a bonus against Armored designs. It becomes clear that using an armor piercing weapon is optimal in this case.

Also, going into micro details is a waste. The player will not care how many weapons can fit on a ship. The answer is always as much as possible. That's why I would go with these choices :
- Hull
- Main Weapon
- Secondary Weapon
- Armor/Shield
- Utility Slot

This gives you more than enough design choices without being a burden. Hull dictates the strength of other slots. A battleship would have 10 main weapons while a fighter would have 2 for example. It then becomes easy to figure a counter design because you're limited to few meaningful choices.

This also tie nicely in espionage. Your spies can report the tags of the enemy fleet which can be inaccurate. "We spotted a fleet of Nimble ships equipped with Tracking weapons". Nimble and Tracking are properties countered by various components so you can build accordingly. If the report is inaccurate, you can omit tags or give the wrong one.

#4969844 [NotSoWeekly Discussion] on RPG Genre's flaws - Week 6 : "Safe Havens...

Posted by on 15 August 2012 - 08:42 AM

My biggest problem with safe havens in RPGs is usually just that they exist xD You're being told that an ancient soul-sucking evil has been unleashed on the world to cause chaos wherever it turns up, so why are villages so close to ground zero still hosting carnivals? It really kinda ruins the tension in an effort to make the game 'varied' and 'relatable' instead of focusing the theme.

The average citizen is oblivious to the imminent doom, so they still hold their carnivals. The big bad evil guy usually prepares the world destruction from his secret lair. Citizens will get annihilated when the evil plan is completed, but in the meantime, the big bad evil guy don't want interference so he has no need to wreck havoc on the local towns. Doing so would get an army knocking on his door instantly.

#4958518 Weekly Discussion on RPG Genre's flaws [Week 3 : Attrition]

Posted by on 12 July 2012 - 01:28 PM

That said, I see how it can apply to changing monsters every so often, but I don't see how it correlates to attrition per se.
Care to elaborate?

It's not related in any direct way. That was a comment about ways to figure out how long is long enough. If you set the target at 30 minutes and a battle lasts 2 minutes, then you should aim to have at most 15 encounters before progression. That can then be used to figure out the dungeon length, encounter rate and encounter danger level.

#4958115 Weekly Discussion on RPG Genre's flaws [Week 3 : Attrition]

Posted by on 11 July 2012 - 11:44 AM

Not sure if I agree with this. If the purpose of easy fights is just to let the player relax why have them at all? I think a game should strive to make every encounter challenging. If an encounter doesn't challenge the player in any way, its worthless.

I think the level of challenge should change but all encounters should have some challenge. You should be able to die during every fight. If there is no fear of dying, there is no enjoyment.

I have to disagree. Easy fights are necessary to create contrast with boss fights just like you need out of focus background in photography to make the subject stand out. If everything is highly challenging, the boss battles do not stand out as much. There should be some challenge in random encounters, but it shouldn't be a life or death situation.

#4957333 Weekly Discussion on RPG Genre's flaws [Week 3 : Attrition]

Posted by on 09 July 2012 - 11:21 AM

This seems loosely based off D&D 4e's long rest system and the action point reward (mixed with healing surges)?
When exactly would that number reset to full (leaving dungeon? resting in a town?)

Now that you mention it, it is similar to the short rests of D&D 4e. Healing surges being replaced by restoration tokens and encounter powers being MP. It would regenerate when you go to the inn(extended rest). The difference between the 2 is you always come back at 100% strength. In 4e, you do not regain daily powers.

Would it be unecessary to add additional rewards? (5 encounters in a row without a restore means you get 125% Experience reward or something like that).

Additional rewards sounds nice. Really pushes the risk/reward further and might make random encounters interesting.

I'm just a bit on the fence as to how it feels so arbitrary, but you've probably designed that on the fly so ;)

More like on the way to the restroom from my desk ;) I agree it's completely arbitrary, but so are most mechanics. HP makes no sense, but it provides a simple way to measure the ability of a character to withstand damage and is a solid foundation for finer gameplay elements.

#4957288 Weekly Discussion on RPG Genre's flaws [Week 3 : Attrition]

Posted by on 09 July 2012 - 08:40 AM

An issue with attrition is the effects are not directly visible. You know 1 hour from now if your decisions were good and allowed you to reach the end of the dungeon. A related issue is random encounters become very easy because their goal is to slowly wear you down. It's very hard to balance because the number of encounters is variable so you never know how many encounters the player will face before reaching the end. The player end up using basic abilities to save up enough resources in case something bad happens. That usually makes all combats Fight+Heal because it's more efficient to preserve resources for burst damage for bosses.

A solution could be to restrict out of combat healing to a specific amount and allow ways to regenerate this based on dungeon length. Out of combat healing would be done by spending "divine interventions" or something similar. It's a complete restoration of resources, but limited to 3 uses. It's restored when resting at an inn or throughout the dungeon. What this allows over potions is the controlled usage limit. It makes it so you will not always enter the next fight with full strength, so random encounters can be a bit more dangerous without being lethal. If a dungeon is set to trigger 12 random encounters, that means 4 encounters per restore(assuming 1 before the boss). They can be designed to consume 25% of the player's resources. Without it, they must be designed to consume 5% of the player's resources to leave some for the boss. That makes them tougher in the player's eyes.

Another benefit is decisions have their consequence in a shorter time frame. You get feedback based on how many encounters you won before using a full restore. Using one after 2 encounters instead of 4 is direct feedback to the player that something is wrong. Because it's a full heal, anything that happened before that point is irrelevant from that point on. This means the player only has to figure out what happened during the last 2 to 4 encounters to fix his strategy. Also, since it's a full restore to every character, it encourages the player to use offensive abilities. The most efficient strategy is one that makes all character lose strength at the same pace. If your healer is out of MP and your nukers are full MP, you need to heal up. If you nuked the monsters instead, it would have saved on the healer's MP and allowed you to squeeze in another encounter. This allows diverse strategies to be used by the player without fear of being out of offensive power for the boss.

For longer dungeons, some mechanism can be added to give the player new restores. It could be a shrine that regenerates 1 use once, but refreshed if the player exits the dungeon.