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Member Since 27 Aug 2003
Online Last Active Today, 03:51 PM

#5062932 Names for soldier ranks?

Posted by Luckless on 18 May 2013 - 08:28 PM

The question is how large are the units you are considering dealing with, and how much structure is there in them?


Ultra simple setup in a very primitive rebuilt society would likely only use three to four ranks at best, if not just "Leader and Followers", simply because the higher ranking titles are born out of a need for organization.


Something as simple as:






Throw in special titles such as "Runner" for say a sergent who was trusted with carrying orders between units for added flavour.


Personally I think it is just weird when writers try to suggest too complex of a force with too many ranks being used, and then have no actual need for that kind of structure. 

#5060698 What an emperor of a space empire does?

Posted by Luckless on 09 May 2013 - 03:54 PM

The thing is, nothing says they can't really be both. The universe laid out by Frank Herbert, and continued by his son, have this beautiful mix and balances of power. The Noble Houses are very much driven by economics and the management of whole planets, while the corporation side focuses more on larger scale trade and the economics across the whole empire. Your nobile houses are more like major family businesses that keep an iron fist on local markets, and the few major corporations are almost their own secret societies driven by profits. 


So the emperor's job becomes one of pitting other players in politics against each other, and it is a very delicate balance. Offer too much support to one side, and they will rise over you and cut your throne out from under you. Be too ineffective, and the nobles begin to work together and over throw you.

#5060667 What an emperor of a space empire does?

Posted by Luckless on 09 May 2013 - 01:34 PM

the actions you take as emperor should making your supporters happy

I was thinking about that part for a long time and the main issue I have with it is the mood of the game. If you are to please the people then how is emperor different from a president of a federation? It simply turns into a democration... Which is not feeling emperish at all biggrin.png Or it could turn into the old ZX_Spectrum "Dictator" http://www.nrtoone.com/dictator/ which does not fell right either.


I mean, if you are an emperor you should not make others "happy", maybe content if you really have to. But to worry all the time about your subordinates feelings or dancing to please them... No, I don't want to be that kind of emperor smile.png I don't want to at all biggrin.png


But the second part "getting those who do not support you out of power, while simultaneously making sure that no one entity ever ammasses enough power to be a threat to you" sound perfectly within the mood...


The difference between your emperor staying on the throne, and the president getting re-elected, is that the emperor only needs to maintain strong relations with a handful of people in other areas of power who support him, ie, military/nobility/businesses. While you need to be reasonably popular with the general population, it is really more lip service to them just just make sure they always stay just happy enough to not be willing to put in the effort and risk of a rebellion. 

#5060571 What an emperor of a space empire does?

Posted by Luckless on 09 May 2013 - 08:04 AM

Random mechanics:


The emperor is sitting on a throne and there is an audience. You have a pool of "money" and "people". Various officials come to you and ask for resources, you decide (one by one) if to grant it or not. The trick is you don't know who will come next and how important the next request might be, so you can't determine perfectly how much mony you can still spend safely (maybe the last one will come with an info about an invasion?)


Military (fleet and land imperial infantry regiments) could be as "tokens". You don't move them on any map but "assign/borrow" to certain task (upon request). For example an official come in and says they might have detected aliens near planet X and request scout ships squadron. You would have 3 options regarding how many ships to send (if any), and then all the assigned ships will be locked (unavailable) for X days.


That really doesn't make much sense. The last person in line brining news of an invasion would likely have badgered someone with the important news, and a group of high level officials would have pushed their way to the front of the line. If they were late and came at the end anyway, then the emperor would simply whistle get everyone's attention again and say "Well, sorry chaps, all your stuff is canceled, found something more important."



May I suggest reading Dune: House Atreides (1999), Dune: House Harkonnen (2000), and Dune: House Corrino (2001)? They deal with high politics in a space empire, and may give some ideas of what can actually be done. 

#5059900 Input method to emulate multiple sliders?

Posted by Luckless on 06 May 2013 - 09:40 PM

Use an auto gather function. Pick up one token and shake it over the pile of that given group, and stuff automatically groups into a reasonable number of the various sized tokens.


Or just have it do it automatically without user involvement if loose tokens sit around too long. 10-15 seconds maybe. 


Aim to have at least 2 of a given level of of token out before lumping them into the next highest token. So if you have 5 singles, they wouldn't auto join into a 5 pt token, but add two more and the 'extra' 5 singles merge into 1 5pt. That way you rarely have to manually break a stack if you just want to toss a few around. 

#5059863 Input method to emulate multiple sliders?

Posted by Luckless on 06 May 2013 - 06:31 PM

Just abstract it to "Worker Tokens".


Each worker is its own token. Toss a bunch of them in the "Change Machine" and it spits back whatever combinations work best, like real world coinage/bills. Tokens to represent 1, 5, 10, 25, 100, 200, 500, 1000, etc, as needed. 

#5059811 You spawn in a forest, in your backpack you have a...

Posted by Luckless on 06 May 2013 - 01:57 PM

I does not matter what you give to the player. Tons of ammunition and weaponry - kill them by bacterias. A lot of medicaments - kill by radition. Anti rad gear - kill by a landfall. And so on, so on smile.png

You definitely should try being a Game Master in an pen & paper RPG, it extends the imagination of means to kill extrmelly well equipped and skilled player characters smile.png


Yep. And just plain bad luck can do a number on them as well. A friend once rolled a 1 in a d20 system ten times in a row. (And yes, he switched dice for most of them assuming someone swapped his for a trick die.)


What gear you start with depends on what environment you are dropping them in, what amount of challenge you want to give them, and what kind of a crafting system you want to offer.


Generally they will want a blade of some sort, a day or so of food, and something to hold a limited amount of water. Larger items like an axe would often be useful. Something to create fire, extra clothing/shelter elements, etc. 



Also, you could go with something like a points based system where the player chooses what they take. Starting difficulty levels could then scale the prices for different things.

#5059801 Input method to emulate multiple sliders?

Posted by Luckless on 06 May 2013 - 01:11 PM

How about "moving population" like in MOO2?


I didn't play much MOO2, and really can't remember how that worked. Can you post a description? 



Personally I'm starting to think that maybe just going with some kind of system that is visually similar to a table with a pile of coins and cash may be your best bet for something more simple than the traditional slider system. Most people are fairly familiar with counting physical money. Have buttons to quickly 'combine' stacks in to nice, easy to see blocks of higher values, or drag them to a spot to split them up into piles of smaller coins. 

#5059767 Input method to emulate multiple sliders?

Posted by Luckless on 06 May 2013 - 11:00 AM

Well, you were looking for other options. I haven't actually tested the tree based sorting sliders, but in theory it works very well. 


If done well so that everything flows smooth and fluid, then it lets you accurately complex ratios and quickly balance stuff in various ways. 


Say I want a ratio of 2:3 for A:B, then I can drag them into their own subtree together and put them at 2:3. Any other adjustment anywhere else will always keep those two as 2:3, and adjust their values accordingly. 


Many users may well choose to just use a full flat structure, setting the value for one and then locking it, but the option is there for players who want to use the more detailed tool.

#5059761 'Communication' in a 4X game

Posted by Luckless on 06 May 2013 - 10:21 AM

I see the Programmed mission objectives as an option to go beyond your currently established 'network'. The network would take time to expand and improve quality so it wouldn't be the majority of your empire being run by Missions, but rather your frontier/expansion. How far beyond the 'edge' of your empire you can expand directly would rely on your com and sensor network. It offers a choice: Do you expand more slowly, carefully, and reliably, or do you gamble and thrust forward, somewhere deeper in space where you will have less control until you are established enough to have expanded your network to cover the area of influence. 



For a 4X space game, it could also be an interesting mechanic of establishing wormholes or something, and it could offer not only your communication network, but also a resource and military movement network options. Com networks would of course be the easiest and quickest to establish, being barely large enough to beam a data signal through, while materials networks taking slightly longer to establish, but would otherwise be mere pipes you push basic stuff through. Sending full sized ships would require a massive investment in time and resources, but could let you jump your fleet between two points on the map in a single turn.


This could give the interesting aspect of empires that spread out in new patterns. Rather than spreading merely to the 'next' system, they can instead send scouting fleets to far flung regions (with the risk of being cut off while being established) and then later 'rejoined' directly with the rest of the empire.

#5059747 Input method to emulate multiple sliders?

Posted by Luckless on 06 May 2013 - 08:58 AM

Quick sketch of my idea. Yay for MS Paint!


Drag stuff around, push nodes together to join them. Could also vary the size of the bubble based on how much you are allocating. Makes it easy to swap stuff around. In this example the player could use the left side of the tree for the 'fixed' values, and the right for ones they are adjusting. The actual amount allocated to a given task would stay fixed when moving the node around the tree, so you fiddle with numbers on the right, then when you are happy with one you toss it into the left node, and the computer calculates how much it was set to and adds that to the slider going to that node. 



It could even be expanded to have a section above the Root for Fixed Values. If you only ever want X number going to a given Task, and this doesn't change if your root pool grows, then drag them up top. As more is added to the root it flows down to the lower nodes and adjusts all the ratios as needed. Again if you drag something out of the fixed values section to the lower part, then it wouldn't actually change the assigned numbers, just adjust the sliders as needed to keep everything the same.




Mipmap's slider could also work well, but I would want to be able to drag and drop the sections to reorder stuff. That way you can quickly adjust two values accurately when you are already at max resource usage. Moving units from the left most to the right most would be annoying otherwise, as you would have to adjust each value.



Another option could be a more visual option. Your options are then pools, and to change the value of one you click and drag different sized circles from one to another. They could auto sort based on different sizes, and would need to be played with to get good values that work well in game. Add two or three units to one task? Drag two or three small icons from one to the other. Major changes? Drag that 50% ball out of one. Maybe keep a center 'table' so you can drop a large value there and it splits into smaller ones. Double click on a large ball and it splits into smaller or something. 


Not sure if that would really be more usable than just a text box, and the user directly enters changes.

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#5059528 'Communication' in a 4X game

Posted by Luckless on 05 May 2013 - 12:26 PM

On the issue of sending expeditions beyond com range with a command queue:


How about instead of exact detailed command queue they instead get a list of mission parameters. 


Where as the queue would be: 

Move to System A

Scan Planet 1

Scan Planet 2

Scan Planet 3

Move to System B

Scan Planet 1

Scan Planet 2

Scan Asteroid Belt 1



Move to Owned System X


You set parameters:

Exploration Mission: Systems A, B, C

Estimated Minimum time required: X

Estimated Max time required: Y

Max allotted time: Z

Contingency list:

--- If Planet above [Parameters]: Establish Survey outpost (Cheap throw away function that claims a planet and gathers more detailed information)

--- If hostile force [Parameters]: Retreat

--- if hostile force [Parameters]: Hold position awaiting order update

Mission End: Make best time to nearest known Com relay for mission debriefing


The further out a mission is, the longer their updates would take to arrive, and the longer mission parameters updates (ie, "SHTF-we're being over run, abort mission and get back to our space!", or "Wait, that last planet you surveyed looks really nice. Halt everything you're doing now, go back, and setup a colony, unless you've found some horrible alien race that is trying to kill you that I haven't learned about yet.")


Ideally the system would allow you to basically program all the decisions you would make ahead of time without you actually seeing the details yourself. Allow complex plans like "If a planet surveyed is of quality X, scout out to Y distance from it for hostiles/better planets, if safe return and establish full colony. Send courier requesting advanced resupply for every planet above X quality found."



I was trying to come up with a logical turn action point system, where a turn is divided into say 100pts, and orders carry over to the next turn if the unit is too far away. Sadly I can't make it work well on paper, as it always ends up favouring gaming the command system so you spend as many points as possible before attacking, and then cancel it the next turn if the results are going poorly.

#5059355 'Communication' in a 4X game

Posted by Luckless on 04 May 2013 - 11:41 PM

Personally I kind of like the idea of playing an empire game where there is a limit to the current knowledge I have. I could know exactly what is happening right around the current focus point of my empire, where ever my center of power is currently positioned, but elements further out become more and more delayed. Managing your choice of governors for your far flung regions, rather than managing the entire regions themselves, sounds like an interesting aspect of gameplay that is rarely used. (I'm personally not a fan of micro management in strategy games. I want to be stepping back, making high level choices that set in motion major changes and turning points, not deciding what colour of knob should be on Sally-1032814523 of my 300234th colony's toaster and whether or not it clashes with her eye shadow.)


Delay and forcing the user to either remain small or relying on sensible AI management can create some interesting options that we rarely get to see in games. Do you choose a great general/admiral to lead your exploration fleet at the far edge of your empire on a new mission of expansion while you ensure full control over your most valuable central planets, or do you place your capitol under control of a trusted governor and lead the expedition yourself?


You can even include a more in depth high level character advancement aspect to the game play, similar to your generals in the Total War series. Your agents gain and lose traits over time, they can have wants and ambitions, and if the player manages their followers poorly then they can find 'fun' things like an influential and highly charismatic general suddenly declaring half your empire independent. 


High level strategy and communications management/design could also mean that players could assert some form of influence over other players 'distant' parts of the empire. Encourage rebellion, subvert disloyal or generally butthurt governors, etc.

#5058661 Fleets

Posted by Luckless on 02 May 2013 - 10:40 AM

Unit movement will really depend on how you want the game to play out.


Personally I think the idea of giving fleets a home base, a stationed base, and then zones of responsibility would be interesting. Units that are produced are first sent to a fleet's home base where they receive final outfitting and crew training before being assigned to a squad there.


If the fleet is not stationed out of their home base, then any new/repaired ship will wait there until enough ready ships are there to form a convoy-resupply squad/flotilla that would then make the transit to their station base. From the station base the fleet's AI would deploy the squads/flotillas within its zones of responsibility based on various factors you've set. (such as sentry picket zones would have light recon units deployed to it that are withdrawn at the sign of trouble, while battle lines would receive the bulk of the fleet. Patrol zones get visited by squads/flotillas based on priority, value, and fleet strength.)

#5058164 Minimal ship customization in 4X games?

Posted by Luckless on 30 April 2013 - 02:35 PM

Are you limiting your search of "4X" games to space themes? Look at how games such as Civilization handle things.