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Member Since 27 Aug 2003
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 06:11 PM

#5258432 What makes a City Builder fun?

Posted by on 21 October 2015 - 03:59 PM

I tend to drift towards city builders that blend general design with system building and problem solving.


Lately I've really been into traffic simulation and transit design with systems that focus on relatively realistic cities, but I did really enjoy what I considered "Tool-chain" games when I was younger, such as Caesar III, and more recently the Anno series.


I'm really enjoying most parts of Cities: Skylines, but the traffic design tools leave a little to be desired. (Weird random 'snap' placement and curves at times, lack of pre-planning that leads to frustrating budget issues.)



But what I really want is a good solid and realistic colony game. Outpost 1 revamped kind of thing. There have been a number of 'colony' games that I've seen lately, but they're all horribly shallow and short tool-chain builders. 

#5257504 Relation between mines & factories

Posted by on 16 October 2015 - 10:07 AM

Personally I would either go with a multiple vector resource and logistics system (Even if it is as simple as flagging production, stockpile, and staging areas and their supply lines at a very abstract level, but I'm very fond of logistical planning.), or just abstract the entire thing away to "Industrial Capacity", which you then direct towards different outputs, such as Military Hardware, Research, or "Consumer Goods". 


In the Industrial Capacity model you would be acknowledging that you don't really care how it gets done, you just care about whether or not you want to invest any of your current IC here and now into producing more IC for you at some point down the road. These systems can be made more complex with various things factoring in, such as whether or not you develop "direct" IC on distant parts of your empire, or if you centralize everything, in which case it could automatically deploy 'indirect' IC and gain some bonuses based on outlying holdings. (That way you can't just pile on all your IC development in your capitol while expanding your empire and keep "max production" even if you're losing most of your land. Gaining outlying land/planets would give you a bonus to your IC even if it is all in one place, but losing it would then still knock down your IC as well.)



But also remember that you don't need 1:1 "just in time" usage. Hearts of Iron does things in an interesting way in that you need to think far ahead with regards to your resources, and issues with that depend on who you are playing as. Producing way more than you actually need right now is a good thing, as conflict can then radically change your empire's input of resources. You could be trading and buying up far more resources than you need for your industry at the time being, but doing so means you can keep your war machine rolling after much of your external supplies dry up during conflict. Build up stockpiles during peace time, and then burn them as "War Fuel" during conflict. 


Then there is also the "Catan Trading" option when it comes to resources. Don't have a specific resource you need? Convert a large amount of another type into a small amount of the resource you desperately need. Combine that with the Strategic Stockpile and External Input concepts from above, and you have a far more interesting system than "One mine feeds one Factory that feeds Ten Ships". 

#5254373 How do I know what Android version to target?

Posted by on 28 September 2015 - 08:03 AM

Dig around on google for 2 things:


1. User stats, what devices are actually being used in your target region.

2. Testing services who can cover all, or at least most, of the devices in the list you made from the above searching. 


Given how many devices there are out there, and how widely the performance and differ, it really can pay to just hire someone else to do your basic testing. Think of how much it would cost you to buy the half dozen or so most popular devices, and then think about how much it will cost you for ten hours of testing to get someone else who already owns all those devices to do an install and basic play sweep. (Pro tip: Design your application for a robust "debug" build system. If the testers can jump through to the different parts of the game from the main menu it really speeds up their testing. Especially if you run into a bug like "App crashes when doing X in level [very high number]", then they can jump right too that spot on the next build. Also means testers can confirm that the error is something with playing the level itself, rather than playing for x amount of time or something, which just happens to end up putting you in the same level consistently.)

#5254174 Currency in post-apoc / zombie world?

Posted by on 26 September 2015 - 03:43 PM

Since the topic of ammo has come up, I think that taking time, possibly in another thread (and possibly on another forum actually, not sure how well a detailed discussion on making ammo would go over here...) to talk about what it would take to make 'important things' in the kind of game scenario a given game might be using, such as making more ammo after civilization has pretty much ended.


So I would have to say that the hardest part about producing your own ammo is going to be your chemistry, not your physical dimensions. Making a bullet that is sized to a given firearm is really fairly trivial once you're set up for it, and even forming brass casings isn't that hard of a job, and it can all be done with just hand tools if you're really pressed for it. Reliable primers seem to be one of the tricky things, seeing as it isn't a well known technology even among people who deal with firearms.


I don't even own a gun, but I can make a moderately reliable basic black powder simply because I'm a history geek, and I know enough that I could probably cobble together nitrocellulose for a more modern product. (Oddly enough I learned about making that mostly from exploring early photography rather than weapons.) However making a reliable primer? That's rather tricky from what I can see. One of the biggest problems is that the stuff, by nature of its use, needs to be easy to set off, which in turn makes it rather tricky to produce due to how easily you can screw up and do unpleasant things like blowing your fingers off, or worse.


With a bit of googling it appears that lots of people seem to know a fair bit about the making of old black powder, far fewer know much about producing smokeless powder, and fewer still seem to have much to say about the subject of making primers or percussion caps. So that can make producing ammo a rather interesting problem, and could possibly cause tech to split in two directions. Some communities might fall back to using blackpowder in modern style cases with a weird revision on a flint lock and flash pan firing method, and other communities with better chemists producing modern smokeless powder with modern primer caps. 



Thinking a little more about the problem and the risk of poor powder resulting in under velocity rounds is leading me toward the idea that a break barrel rifle might have a lot of value due to being able to quickly check that your barrels actually cleared before reloading. 



To me, small details make a huge difference in game lore.

#5253991 Why didn't somebody tell me?

Posted by on 25 September 2015 - 08:01 AM

Good to know! It'd be alot more user-friendly if you could just select it, or if there was a URL link: "Search for this message online" that automatically opened a webpage with the search results (plus it'd drive traffic to Bing ), or for a known Microsoft error ID, brought you strait to Microsoft's help page for that error.
...I should add that to the Assert() dialog box of my own game projects. It'd probably make user-support easier.


Error: Something about system networking not functioning...

#5253854 Currency in post-apoc / zombie world?

Posted by on 24 September 2015 - 12:34 PM

If you have access to modern firearms and ammo, even if the supply of ammo is limited, then why would you revert to something as crude as a muzzle loading gun? Collect casings and reload them. Primers are a bit of an issue, but working out a solution around that problem and reusing existing modern weapons would still be a more sensible solution than tooling up to build muzzle loaders from scratch. Self loading firearms might give you some issues, but a good modern bolt action rifle with a decent magazine setup would be miles ahead of any kind of muzzle loader. (If you have the resources to cast lead shot sized for a muzzle loader and build a new muzzle loading gun, then you have the resources to cast lead bullets and build tools to reload bullets... or just, you know, use the tools for reloading that already exist.)

#5253096 Battleground Fantasy- crowdfunding question

Posted by on 19 September 2015 - 02:19 PM

7. Get backing and community support rolling BEFORE you start a kickstarter campaign. 

- Something I've frequently seen in failed campaigns (as in failed to meet their minimum goal) is that they try to get the ball rolling on "Day 1" of the kickstarter campaign itself, rather than months before hand. If you don't already have a solid fan base worked out and interested in your upcoming campaign, then you're in for a very hard time as you then have to try and drum up enough interest to fund your project with a hard and fast deadline rushing toward you. Get your core fan base lined up before your campaign goes live, and then you can easily push back "D1" and only launch when conditions are feeling best for you.


Once you have a solid base that you can rely on to probably meet your minimum goal, then you can leverage them to drive your campaign forward and do more of the advertising for you with good use of stretch goals.

#5253052 Currency in post-apoc / zombie world?

Posted by on 19 September 2015 - 10:17 AM

If you set it in Canada, you have two more coins to work with! ( 1$ loonies and 2$ toonies)


Actually we now use polymer bills, so the new $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills will survive fairly reliably, but we got rid of the penny awhile back, so you're only going to find those in caches of thousands of the useless things tucked away in forgotten locations wherever someone stashed the large jar of them and never did anything with them...


Personally I would say that it really depends on your game design, and what is needed.


If you look at real world barter economies that aren't focused on a form of currency then you find that they're not actually the "I'll give you 3 sheep for the cow..." as much as they are "Sure, you've done a lot of stuff for me in the past and you're known to be an honourable person, so go ahead and take these sheep."


So you really don't need to earn 'currency', but rather you can just earn and spend 'renown' or something, which can even vary between different communities. Things can get even more interesting and meta-game when you consider that gaining renown in one community could in turn also affect your status in other communities. 

#5250263 Idea for a GoogleMaps Strategy Game

Posted by on 02 September 2015 - 08:25 AM

Also be careful about the copyright issues. That map data is provided for use, but there are limitations on it. You'll have to study the TOS very carefully and make sure you're not stepping over any lines. Some of the data providers selling into Google Maps have been VERY aggressive over improper usage. 

#5233209 I'm being trolled by my own game

Posted by on 06 June 2015 - 01:37 PM

Vaguely reminds me of the testing issue I dealt with a few years ago as end user QA. Dev team kicked us more than a dozen builds that had some some graphics glitch blocking the very last puzzle. Each time they said they had fixed it, and each time we sent it back to them saying it was exactly the same as before. Recoded entire sections of the whole thing, added massive error checking, and burnt weeks of dev time sorting it out.


Then someone realized the guy fixing the bug wasn't properly merging his code with the QA build branch... Reverted and properly merged, and the original fix actually worked.


Good times.

#5229461 Marvel/DC Comic Games Copyright / Royalty

Posted by on 17 May 2015 - 10:33 AM

I would suggest finding other IP to work with. Either come up with your own, or go and seek out smaller comic artists who are building up their own IP.


In theory you could try and run a Kickstarter campaign as a 'blank slate' project before you've settled on a world. "We're still on the hunt for the exact story to tell with this, but here is our core game design and what our software can achieve: [neat if slightly generic action stuff, none of which clearly ties into any given IP or character designs]", but I do not suspect you would have much luck getting backers unless you were an already insanely popular dev group. (And if you mentioned DC or Marvel, even to say you were hoping to license their IP for the final product but were open to others, you would already be on terribly thin ice and open to lawsuits.)



Be careful, and pay attention to IP law.

#5227143 Business Sim Game How to simulate the Market

Posted by on 04 May 2015 - 09:05 AM

Wait, are you going to model each customer, and calculate stats based on how they liked each product in the market on the fly? Because that sounds like it would be a lot of number crunching and data storage that really isn't needed. 


Look at it from a 'market trend/desire' stand point, and grow or shrink them over time. So you have an overall desire for Product Type X, which then has market desires for various features. From that you compare the various products of Type X on the market, and calculate its market share. You can achieve a market simulation using just dozens of values, rather than millions.

#5226741 Copying a scene from a movie?

Posted by on 01 May 2015 - 12:52 PM

I think Tom Sloper's reply really should have been a "No.*" 


* The general idea of a team dropping cards from a plane onto a mountain and chasing bad guys in and of itself is not readily something you can claim copyright over. You could probably try claiming ownership over something like that, but it is unlikely to go over well in court for whoever tries to push such a vague claim. However, if you're actually copying elements of the scene, then you're getting out on thin ice.


Taking the line "Dropping cars out of an airplane onto a mountain and racing/chasing bad guys", and then running with it to design a scene for your game: That's good.

But taking the actual scene itself, and trying to run with it? That's not so good. Don't hold up screen capture or clips of the movie and try to recreate that in your game, because that IS stepping on their copyright. (And potentially trademark if you model real world stuff too closely.)

#5225340 Steam's compensated modding policy

Posted by on 24 April 2015 - 04:26 PM


When fallout 4 comes out, I begin porting the mod to fallout 4, and release small patches every few hours, until it's done. Would valve allow that kind of early-access style stuff to occur? Would the potential hit to their reputation justify this model? I could see them stepping in to prevent cases like this.


If I was a developer, and I didn't like it, I'd disable Steam Workshop for 45-90 days until after release. And for the next game I release, I just wouldn't enable Steam Workshop until I wanted to.


But I don't see it being a problem... especially if you're basically selling day-one DLC that the developer gets a significant cut of, without the developer doing any production work. And I seriously doubt it'd detract from official DLC sales, unless the official DLC is crap, or unless official DLC shows up alongside 3rd-party DLC (currently it does not).


Plus, many games sell their official DLC from within their own game (though it requires Steam-overlay or the program minimizes and poping up the Steam client for you), whereas very few games have built-in Steam Workshop support within the game's interface.



Paid mods made by third party developers who hand over a cut of their sales, and who can be kept at arms length from the publisher and developer? How is that remotely a bad thing from the stand point of the dev/publisher? 


"Hey look at our awesome game with its great core game play, expansive official DLCs, And beyond that there is even more large scale quality polished mods! Oh, that mod was a flop and sucked? Yeah, we heard about that, but the only thing we can do is suggest that customers avoid stuff from those guys. Oh hey, speaking of avoiding stuff from those guys, have you seen our latest DLC?"


Don't want to pay for mods? Don't click on the paid mods filter.

Don't want to make people pay for your mods? Don't release them as paid mods

#5223488 When you realize how dumb a bug is...

Posted by on 15 April 2015 - 12:33 PM

My usual programming stance is to update comments to reflect that there is a change in progress, and describe what the change is, how it is supposed to work, etc, etc. Keep updating comments as I go along with code and section tests, and then when I'm done I go back and clean up the comments a little, moving outdated info into a module journal. It means I write two or three lines of comments for any given line of code, but it also means that when I get back to my code after a random break I'm able to not only read the code itself, but read the random little thoughts I had along the way and get back into the same mindset I was in when I first came up with it.


So far I haven't gotten myself into too much trouble when I put that much more time and effort into it, but rather often have problems when I get lazy and put it off till some time 'later'.



Also, my biggest headaches tend to come weeks or years after I came up with something 'really neat and clever'. So my general thought now is that if I think I was being clever when I wrote something, then I probably should rewrite it.