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Member Since 16 Jan 2010
Online Last Active Today, 02:59 PM

#5309821 The Value of Procedural Generation

Posted by on 07 September 2016 - 09:44 AM

I see the problem (especially in the most recent example of No Man's Sky) as being an obsession with every single variation being present in the game so that they can make that magical 18 quadrillion whatevers claim.


If you're going to use procedural generation to make player-ready content, you need to make sure it produces easily distinguishable results almost every time. You need to cut out something a sizable percentage of the results so that the differences between the things you keep are more obvious and more enjoyable.


And then, perhaps most importantly, you need an interesting game to make use of that content. Don't rely on assets of any sort to carry your game, whether procgen or hand-crafted.

#5307863 Want to program game in Python just for experience and education, where do I...

Posted by on 25 August 2016 - 10:33 AM

I did some development, including game development, in Python and had a blast with the language. My games were fairly simple when it came to graphics, and - as I recall - Pygame proved to be basically everything I needed. It provides simple graphics and input facilities (it probably does more, but it's been a few years now, and those are what I recall using). Easy to use, good documentation, and a big enough community to handle any questions that outlast the first two.

#5306763 Apocalypse/ Collapse of Civilization

Posted by on 19 August 2016 - 12:07 PM

Have you played Project Zomboid? It takes place (or CAN take place, depending on the settings you use) immediately on the event of a zombie outbreak, so things like food and tools are relatively plentiful and the power and water are still usable. Managing inventory is pretty important in that game. It is Early Access and I believe they are planning things like AI characters who do their own thing, but the last time I played the only other entities in the game were zombies.

#5305133 Question: Questarrow / Guide That Fits With Ingame World?

Posted by on 10 August 2016 - 10:32 AM

I rather like the bee idea, it doesn't seem particularly forced to me (especially if the bee is very small and can essentially be ignored if you aren't currently going after the objective). Like Valrus I enjoy it when your "quest arrow" is a result of an action the player takes.


Couple ideas off the top of my head:

  • Throw a rock up, rock turns into a bird, bird flies in the general direction of objective. (though I don't know if there is magic or anything like that in your game)
  • Blowing the seeds off a fuzzball and they drift towards the objective.
  • Something about the environment always pointing the way: like the way moss tends to grow on the north side of trees (in the northern hemisphere). Maybe trees tend to lean towards the pylon, or their leaves grow thicker on the pylon-facing side, or something like that.

#5300725 Automated Space Combat (4X)

Posted by on 14 July 2016 - 08:52 AM

You have important characters who are part of the military in your Empire, right? I don't remember how fleshed out your character system is, but assuming they are given personalities, traits, and some form of political importance (IE, you as the Emperor would want to keep them happy, use them, get their support for things, etc) then you can tie together the political and strategic elements in ways that also occurred in the real world.


Think of some of the non-military reasons that ships get built, and decisions are made between building another battleship or switching to aircraft carriers (or some other general strategy): politics and economics. In Imperial Japan they continued to invest in battleships even after it was fairly clear the aircraft carrier had made them obsolete because politically powerful admirals pushed to keep building them. Here in the United States even as we speak we are building weapons and ships and all sorts of military projects not because the military wants or can use them or because they'd be effective, but because those military projects provide some jobs to certain regions and lots of profits to certain powerful people.


So say one of your military leader guys has the trait: "Favors Strike Craft." Every time you increase the rate of production on Strike Craft (fighters and bombers) this guy is more likely to support your other decisions. And, because you've got all these Strike Craft lying around, you start using them in your fleets more. This affects what else you build - no need to build anti-strike craft cruisers when you have so many fighters. You'll need more fast carriers if you want to deliver strike craft around the galaxy quickly. Etc etc. Soon enough, because of one influential character, your entire military strategy is shaped - and that's without even considering whether or not it was the best choice militarily. 

#5283391 Humanoid mobs drop more useful items!

Posted by on 25 March 2016 - 09:11 AM

Is there an imperative reason to work towards this balance? Why not let animal mobs be less desirable to fight? It could introduce new decisions into the game, allowing for players to avoid fights when they wish rather than feeling obliged to kill everything "for the loot". This gives you new balance levers to pull, as well. EG: Quests that venture into the sewers could now be harder because the rats down there down't drop any useful loot, meaning more preparation is needed before heading in.


That being said, you mentioned trade goods. If the players require food, having animals drop meat and such could make them attractive targets depending on how hungry the PC is. Assuming there is magic in your fantasy setting, perhaps magic-using players of a necromantic bent could "harvest" soul-energy from anything they defeat. Certain animals could be very valuable in soul energy even if they don't have loot. 

#5277473 Interstellar trade at a relativistic timescale?

Posted by on 22 February 2016 - 11:44 AM

Years ago the economist Paul Krugman wrote something about this: 



#5276024 Victory conditions for a 4X

Posted by on 16 February 2016 - 04:23 PM

The coronation thing is good - you're right, sudden endings are kind of annoying, even if it's a supposed victory. Especially in a game like this (which I expect will be more about creating an evolving story than mechanical achievements).


Maybe there could also be "negative" points that are difficult or even impossible to remove? So you could have 8 points (the win number) but also one "negative" point from something you did or failed to complete, thus having a net 7 points and not able to crown yourself yet.


Trying to think of what negative point things would be though. Something that harms your prestige and standing - maybe having been found out in a murder plot you instigated, or similar stuff. Things that would cast your character/dynasty in a worse light.

#5275780 Victory conditions for a 4X

Posted by on 15 February 2016 - 11:06 AM

Perhaps the "fulfill X other conditions" could be an option that sits alongside the player being able to select any one of these options as their win condition? For games like 4X which tend to suffer player boredom and abandonment far before win conditions are met, giving the player more control over those win conditions is a good idea.


Or for simpler setup, you could have "easy, medium, hard" with different numbers. Easy = Fulfill 1 condition, Medium = Fulfill 3 conditions, Hard = Fulfill 5 conditions.


Either way, I definitely like the idea of having to "collect" win conditions out of a set. I'd say go for it on that score.


For the disasters, my only reservation is: are the "disasters" present from the very beginning of the game or is it possible the player will have to wait around for them to come about? I'd say that surviving a disaster should simply be rolled into the set mechanic; ie, surviving a disaster counts as an achievement and counts towards your total, rather than being a separate set you need to collect.

#5275153 Modifying the Map before Playing a Match

Posted by on 10 February 2016 - 11:13 AM

Ah, it does help to simplify the concept down to basics. So now the pre-game phase is really a choice between one of several advantages: knowledge, advanced preparation, harming the other guy's strats, etc etc. That's a good way to think of it. It also lets me keep with the "minimum info known" at the beginning of the game.


Thanks for bouncing these ideas back and forth. Now to decide if I try to prototype this stuff now or later...

#5274876 Modifying the Map before Playing a Match

Posted by on 08 February 2016 - 11:43 AM

With that said, I would concentrate on balancing not so much the "fairness" of your design, but its "rage factor". Giving players the ability to "officially troll" their opponents can be fun in some games, as long as its tightly controlled. The last thing you want is that your players feel their opponents using cheap tricks, "cheating", and doing so by using (or "abusing") the games own official rules. Its when a not so balanced game turns into a broken one... and even if this would balance out over many games, many players will just look at that one match that made them angry like hell, forgetting the other matches where they owned....


This is very much one of my focuses. I mentioned earlier the possibility of win/loss tiers. Right now in almost every game, a loss is a loss is a loss. People will "gg and concede" games that have turned against them (with varying levels of tolerance for the longshot comeback) because the only likely outcome left is defeat. The idea would be that even if your enemy has gained an advantage you can attempt to salvage the situation by holding them to a less meritorious win condition, or attempting a "minor victory" condition yourself.


The ability to modify the battleground would likely always be fairly minor, and ideally used to correct for certain strategies you think you might be weak against. However, it would almost certainly be necessary to have information about your opponent to make useful, meaning my "don't know the enemy faction" desire wouldn't work very well. Perhaps different game modes could allow for the possibility.You mentioned the "random encounter" and "siege" type scenarios, and I've envisioned others as well. All these could allow for different win/loss conditions - the downside being all the learning a player has to do to compete across all scenarios.


@valrus: "cake-cutting" is a very cool concept, but I think like Luckless' Tile Laying it doesn't fit as well into this particular design as envisioned. I want to resist the temptation to make the pre-battle phase too time-consuming for the players (if I include it at all).

#5274253 Modifying the Map before Playing a Match

Posted by on 04 February 2016 - 09:20 AM

To be clear, I'm well aware that random maps is not new and there are issues with it in multiplayer. I'm asking people's thoughts (and of any known examples) on specifically the idea of players modifying said maps before the match starts.

#5199033 Multiple battles in same place

Posted by on 18 December 2014 - 06:36 PM

With the given scenario (two attackers independently attacking the same planet) I would have the attackers fight each other, then the survivor fights the planet. This gives an advantage to whoever owns the planet itself, and mirrors a bit of history - occasionally two independent armies WOULD go for the same fortified place at the same time, and when that happened they would often tear each other to pieces over the "right" to take the planet, weakening themselves past the point of actually being able to take it.


So for any fortified or otherwise conquerable area, that's how I'd do it. If the fight lasts more than one turn, the fortified area fights no one - unless they choose to specifically attack one fleet, maybe?


For three different fleets meeting out in space somewhere (assuming that is possible in your game), you can try to decide on other factors (do fleets have a "speed" attribute of any kind? If so, the two fastest fight first), or have the game try to guess what will give the player the most fun - and what THAT means is entirely up to you. As battles can last more than one turn, you may need to have a system where either defeated fleets "flee" a short distance or multiple hostile fleets can actually occupy the same tile, even if only two can fight each other at a time.

#5154007 Macroeconomy

Posted by on 16 May 2014 - 08:06 AM

Here's another fairly simple question: How long would the economy be able to run itself, without interference with the player, before disaster strikes? So far the various moving parts you've described don't need/allow much input from the player, except tariff rates and taxes which govern how much money the government pulls in. What does the player use that money for?

#5153322 Macroeconomy

Posted by on 13 May 2014 - 09:15 AM

...And they want *DIFFERENT* things biggrin.png There is a conflict inside the society. That's the primary thing I want to "change".


Alright, I think I've got a better handle on your aims now. (I also agree that Tropico tended to be way too easy. One of the newer ones had some sliders you could adjust at the beginning of the game, and I always jacked them way up to make the game as hard as possible).


Well, as Shane mentioned you're going to have some serious work to do on the AI front even for a simple self-directed economy. Though to be honest, that sounds like a lot of fun too.


I think it will be important for their to be a fairly large amount of detail to your map so that a lot of differentiation happens with regards to choice building locations. That way you won't just have conflicts between rich and poor, but even competing rich factions. Take the following situation: A factory baron and a shopping mall conglomerate both want the same location because of reasons. The surrounding population is heavily in favor of the shopping mall, but the land is already owned by the factory baron. The locals try to block the construction legally, and at the same time the conglomerate offers to buy the land fairly cheaply. Being that this is a dictatorship (or something like it) you can either choose to allow the factory to be built, or not.


Allowing it makes the people unhappy (though it will open up lots of jobs, which might help your overall situation if you have high unemployment), and will displease the conglomerate, but will please the factory owner and perhaps the unions who will have more workers/dues payers.


Denying it makes the people and the conglomerate happy, but pisses off the factory barons - and because they already own the land, if they refuse to sell to the conglomerate you might have a big unfinished building and useless plot of land sitting there for awhile, when you could have had productive use. Forcing the baron to sell will just piss them off more (but it could be an option).


The above scenario springs out of the simple fact that construction is expensive, and some places are FAR more attractive (and cheaper) to build on than others. "Location, location, location," as they say.


I'd actually suggest that the player represent a "legislature" of some sort rather than an out and out dictatorship, as you will need to put limits on what the player can do with regards to private property (like having the ability to force the baron to sell the land or just taking it away from them) OR you will need to implement a lot of that political stuff and the danger of assassinations and uprisings if you abuse your power too much. The fun of your game will be heavily influenced by how many of the "economy's" decision you cannot change.


Anyway, those are a few thoughts of mine.