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Member Since 27 Aug 2003
Offline Last Active Today, 03:28 PM

#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. 

#5056762 Planet Colony - Resources & Commodities?

Posted by Luckless on 25 April 2013 - 05:21 PM

I strongly suggest taking a look at games like Dwarf Fortress for some additional ideas on resources and finished products. 


DF, for example, has a wide range of base resources plus a larger array of final goods, with a few states between the two as far as I remember. End goods can be made from an array of base resources, and the base resource affects the value and abilities of the final product. Wood can be made into weapons, but not exceptionally effective. They can be made into machine parts, etc, but metal parts are generally far more effective. 


Personally I wouldn't go to the level of DF does for the numbers of stones and ores, but rather aim for a more middle ground of a handful of 'common' ores that are basically interchangeable with one and other for structure and the like, but with various properties. Rare materials, fewer in number, usually combined with commons in unequal proportions to change material properties that affect your end products. (ie, Adding 5% of Rare A to Common B and C results in parts being able to take 30% more thermal damage before failure, but has -5% durability) Set it up such that you can play with it, and have different properties valued differently across space. Maybe Group X favours products that are exceptionally long lasting, and would see the -5% durability as out weighing the +30% termal strength, but Group Y lives in ultra hot environments, and will pay a premium for the extra thermal strength. 


Bonus points if those markets aren't fixed, and are instead generated at run time so each game involves exploring that part. Might even want to hide some of those factors from being directly visible to the player so they have to take the risk when attempting to bring a 'new' product to market. (Maybe Group Y responds REALLY well to products with a Green hue, even if their technical stats are lesser.)

#5054643 Don't like ending games

Posted by Luckless on 18 April 2013 - 11:58 AM

There is also the option to shift gears on your game play and character development. Multiple 'stages' that the player can advance through, rather than just sticking within a single narrow line that makes you feel like nothing has really changed from the start of the game beyond the numbers are higher and special effects are a little prettier.


It can also work really well with procedural content generation tie in.


You would start at an 'errand boy' game play. You are low level, given assignments by someone else and play on a fairly short leash. Maybe you are a member of a party, but you're the lowest of the low. As you develop more skills and abilities you can get the chance to make more and more decisions, and eventually you split off into the second stage: "Adventurer/party leader"


You are calling the small time shots. A few people will follow you, you can offer some influence on other groups (ie, telling the towns people to arm themselves and barricade their families in the castle, or convincing them to stand out and fight along side you.), and you can make your choices in what direction you want to take in "life". (ie, you head off to find the dragon to slay, or stay close to town to deal with local thieves and bandits, etc.)


Second stage is about exploring the world, gaining wealth, power, fame, etc. You begin to build contacts, collect assets, and build a history for yourself. Second stage advances into the third stage: Community.


Community stage: Eventually your character puts down roots. They get some bit of land or use of a building to call their own. Maybe they'll choose some kind of industry to generate wealth for them, or just a place to call home. The game will begin to cycle the 'story' around this location, presenting challenges and such to the player to deal with, and opening avenues for them to build more wealth and power in their chosen community.


Noble Stage: Eventually you begin to gain enough wealth and power that you can begin really calling the shots. Your choices and decisions have wide ranging impacts. You pull back from doing everything yourself, and instead are sending others to do the dirty work you started with.



Combine these elements with a generational or 're-roll' persistent world play as you have in Dwarf Fortress, and I think you have something that could be really interesting to play. A lot more to the development due to basically combining RPG, Builder Sim, and possibly Empire Strategy game, but I think it can be made far more engaging than many existing linear RPGs.

#5041974 POV for ship to ship combat in pirate RPG

Posted by Luckless on 11 March 2013 - 01:17 PM

Personally I would like to see a game played mostly from first/directly over the shoulder third person, centered on the player's character, and then directing your crew through a command interface. Much of the actual details would then be handled by predictable AI manning the key positions.


Set your heading, and the helmsmen makes the most logical turn, and your officers order a suitable setting of the sails during the change.


Captain wouldn't normally be the one aiming or giving orders to fire, but rather stepping back with higher level orders: What type shot, give the gunners goals, and the gun crews do their job. Captains job is to manage the ship as a whole, not to be bothered with trivial tasks. Order the guns readied with solid shot for a long range broadside targeting a given ship, give your helmsmen a heading that brings your guns to bear on the enemy target, and when everything is suitable aligned the gunners fire.


Order a boarding party ready, and the men line the decks. (If things are obvious, ie, only one ship reasonably close/only the one ship selected as a target, then user shouldn't even have to state boarding from port or starboard) Ideally I would like to see a pirate game simulating realistic boardings, but that would be a tough AI and physics job to pull off reasonable well.


Personally I would want to play a game that lets me see and hear only what a real captain would.

#5021110 Character Creation

Posted by Luckless on 13 January 2013 - 09:41 AM

For things like skills or abilities I don't want to have to jump through hoops to get something I want. If I want to dual wield short swords, I don't want to have to play a guessing game as to what and where I need to go through a long automated setup list of questions. I much rather just grab the classic character sheet and tick off the points that interest me. A well designed rule set should make it so that the vast majority of combination options work reasonably well, and not leave you with being able to generate a character who barely survives the first level because they lack enough synergy between choices.

However, for visual appearance? I really don't want to be thrown into a room with a list of lists and a pile of sliders, and told to make my dream character with no real direction or impact. I will play with it once or twice, quickly get bored, and then promptly ignore what my character looks like. (Hell, I play minecraft, a few blocks with vague textures is more than enough for me to care about my character.)

#5020913 Character Creation

Posted by Luckless on 12 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

Skills, abilities, and bonus choices are rather important to me, but I don't find that playing with a pile of sliders to 'adjust' my character to be all that rewarding in the majority of games I play now.

Personally I think I would rather pick from a series of predefined traits that then have an impact on NPC interaction within the game. Vague options like "Strong Jaw line", "Weak Chin", "Prominent Nose", with various pros and cons within the game world, possibly with costs or bonuses associated with them. Ticking off all the boxes on character creation that generates "Heroic Prince Charming" has some kind of draw back to offset how much better accepted you are by some elements in the game.

Missing an eye, scars, etc options then offer you bonuses to an intimidation factor with a wide range of NPCs, but may negatively harm your ability to interact with others.

But really, if customizing options involve clicking through a long list of sliders, then it is likely to be more annoying than it is really worth. I'll spend a bit of time with it, find it neat for a bit, and then quickly get bored and start playing your game with basically stock/random characters. If it was a quick process where I was working more directly with the model itself, selecting various parts and pulling/pushing things with the mouse instead of a list of sliders, then it might stay more interesting and easy to use. Really needs reasonable and predictable procedural generation filters that you can apply, such as adjusting things like how fit/thin/starved you are to start with, and general body structure. Have these be able to affect in game events as well. Some NPCs may not take too kindly to the fat well fed pretty boy when they're starving after all.

#5020906 RTS games, looking for some 'racy' ideas... :D

Posted by Luckless on 12 January 2013 - 07:07 PM

An idea inspired by C&C's story line: What if one of the race options was the Tiberium?

Game play based on critical mass and spreading to collect power, the normal races would be forced to track your movements and try to contain you. Battling you directly could net them resource boosts, your core bases become resource nodes they can attempt to pacify and control if you lack the energy reserves to repel them. On the other hand their own bases and battlefields become fertile ground for you to establish new colonies of your substance and give them a massive jump start in growth if they fail to keep you from taking a foothold. Your goal would be to claim enough territory that you can gather your energy at a rate faster than other sides could combat you, and then you overwhelm them in a wave of infectious materials.