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jfclavette

Peoples of Varandor

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jfclavette    1058
Here's a game idea I've bee fidling with for some time now. It would be to long to explain the gameplay so I'll try to compare it to other games. It would be a kind of mix between Civilization and Heroes of might and magic. a big map more like HOMM one, with the difference that you are allowed to build cities. You choose a race and basically control itsdestiny... trade with other races (for now: humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, undeads, ogres, halflings, eaglemen, merfolks) make alliances, pacts, you name it... declare war too. Battles will be fought in a kind of Myth-like point of view. (BTW, everything is turn-based). Here's a premise Varandor was a land of peace, with only minor dissensions and small rivalries between races. Each race had his own (form of) government, and everything was overseen by the council of the Ancient Oak. The council was formed by leaders of each race. The council met monthly in various locations, and had to gather around the Ancient Oak once a year, at Spring Equinox. The Ancient Oak was located on the top of the highest peak of the land, and the leaders of every race had to climb up the mountain to attend to the yearly. Leaders could only be changed at this moment and a leader had to succeed in the ascension of the mountain to be considered worthy of his title. One day however, the Ancient Oak, who was, after centuries, considered to be a normal, natural oak that had die but was just frozen there came to life and told the leaders that their reign was over. (weak point... hacvent come up with something better, you'll see why I don't do pre-apocalyptic bullshit.) The Ancient Oak vanished, and leaders were all killed during his destruction. Only three leaders made it back (differents each game to add dynamics to the starting game) These three leaders tell the world what happened, but there is some suspicion between races. That's it, that's where the game start. Yeah, no war, no burning bodies or crying children (well except for those of the leaders). The world is not stable anymore, but no war has erupted yet. For a reference, take the current state of internationals relations and scale US/IRAQ/Palestine etc down a bit. There's a risk of war, but none as of Yet, and the war in this game WILL be totally avoidable. Not as, you can win without millitary tactics in Age Of Kings but as no war at all. This game is a Strategy/Role-Playing game that emphasizes on the world’s history and diplomacy, rather than sheer military tactics. Invading an enemy of equal strength will be a dangerous, risky, and often disastrous adventure. Alliances, pacts, and trade deals will be necessary for the player to succeed. The world has a history, and the player will continue to write it as he play the game. Players’ actions will affect the outcome, just as AI players actions will. There will be no campaign, play modes or anything like this. Every game starts the same… but none will ever end the same. Morality is going to play a huge role in the game. The players’ actions will dictate how the world will evolve, how his cities and how his people will evolve and how other factions will behave when they see him. It will not be black and white; the player won’t have to “choose a path”. Morality will be an interestng twist. Everyone will start of with medium technology, neutral moral. (yes event the orcs and the undaid, they aren't evil). Player's action will be dictated by the player's (and the AI players) actions. And then everything, like units, buildings, and even the land will be affected by it. while a good human player might get palladins and clerics, an evil one will produce things much more close to the Death Knight and evil wizard. This however wont go bad-neutral-good. there will be an indicator for chaos-order, and one for evil-good, wich can be from 0 - 100. Another twist. Every race will have his own government system, which can be modelled over thiings like democraty, monarchy, dictatorship, communism, republic, independant city-states etc. (I dont see a way to implement anarchy for human players yet). Each with his advantages and inconvenient. what do you think, this is newborn, any ideas or comments will be welcome. BTW.. i used the future, but I'm not saying I will be coding that yet. No anti-newbie flames now. BTW, I know my english is ugly. Bear with it please. [edited by - xMcBainx on April 2, 2003 3:24:15 PM]

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snak_attack    136
It sounds cool. I think you should provide the player with a bit more structure in terms of goals however. It looks like you don''t want to force the player down a single path, so maybe you could let the player choose some goals for himself from a predefined set (either explicitly near the start of the game or by providing multiple win conditions).

An idea on morality - you could give each race a different code of ethics. For example, if you were a human, you''d lose points for razing cities. If you were an orc, you''d lose points from not declaring war over an insult. I think it''s fine to give each race different values - thats a big part of what differentiates cultures

Two other games your idea reminds me of that you might want to check out are master of magic and europa universalis. MoM has the same sort of setting, but is very focused on war. EU is much more realistic. Wars are expensive and usually pretty indecisive. The game is very open ended but you start the game with certain predefined tensions between countries that eventually drive activity.

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jfclavette    1058
thanks for your reply

your code of ethics idea is really interesting. As for the goals, I am still trying to define them... First there would be the "conquer everyone" path, another thing I tought of is a kind of economic victory yet to decide. There would be a kind of badass superduper victory like "be allied with everyone, so they elect you leader of the land".

Toughts about the economic model:

each race should not produce everything. For instance, humans could produce houblon needed by the dwarves for their ale, while dwarves might produce the gems and the metal needed by the elves to build their enchanted weapons. Humans would need the elf mages to write most of the powerfuls spells into book, as elf are the best ispell inscriptors... etc etc you get the point.

I think that could add a lot of dynamics into the game.

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Ganryu    122
Sounds really interesting :D
However, at the moment it''s very much just a concept. You need to DESCRIBE more stuff to get us other people interested.

What kind of different government types are there?
What kind of diplomatic actions can you take?
How are battles fought?
Etc. etc.

Generally, whenever i think up a game idea, questions like these are what i ask myself.

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jfclavette    1058
*BIG BUMP HARD*

The project is still on his way... the game is in a fantasy settings and I actually needother''s advice on my choice of races?

I''d have


  • Humans

  • Elves

  • Fairies

  • Dwarves

  • Halflings

  • Gnomes

  • Humans

  • Undeads

  • Orcs

  • Goblins

  • LizardMen

  • Trolls

  • Giants



I''m toying with the idea of implementing aerial and/or underwater races.... But I fail to see how i could balance them with the rest.. I mean, humans cannot attack mermaid cities right? any advices?.

The economic models are

  • Capitalism

  • Communsim

  • "Anarchim" (anarchoist economy where there is no property at all, public or private.


  • The governments types are

  • Democracy

  • Theocracy

  • Monarchy

  • Dictatorship

  • Anarchy

  • Technocracy

  • "Perfect democracy" (Would require some sort of telepathy-enabled race, toying with the concept


  • Any input or suggestions would be welcome. Original units idea for each race are welcome too. There''ll be a lot more civilian units than military ones. Units (Military or Civilian) belongs to one of these categories: Baby, Kid, Man, Women. (Tough they can accept more than one type of candidate).

    Yes, I will make women and men different. At the risk of sounding like a ugly sexist pig, I do believe that, on average, men are stronger than women and women are more agile than men. Don''t worry they''ll both have their usefulness.

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    Srekel    168
    I just read the first short explanation of the game, but if you haven''t already, try Age of Wonders. It''s a cool game and it sounds a lot like what you explained.

    There is a AoW II, but I haven''t really played it much so I don''t know if it''s as much fun.

    You should also try to find the old game Master of Magic. It''s basically Civilization I in a fantasy setting, great game


    Also you might be able to get some ideas from Tropico.

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    smiley4    193
    Maybe you should have a more integrated trading system. If each race is only good at one thing, then only one other race will have what needed for the other race''s stuff. It will go around in circles! I suggest starting out with only a few races to begin with before tackling all those other ones into the game.
    Why not have popularity ratings amoungst trade goods that appear at random? Also, one thing in one country may not be as important in another country so it becomes cheaper to buy and then sell to a country that sees it as great importance.

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    jfclavette    1058
    Hummm yeah... I just have problem typing too much in the forums. Well, I haven''t got to the economical model design phase, but as I see it. No race will have a monopoly over a ressource, but dwarvs and gnomes will definately have access to much more iron are than the elves. And the elves Will have much more wood available. Dwarves will still be able to place lumber camps outsdie their mountains, but it won''t be an easy task. Also, the player, depending on the economy type, probably won''t be able to prevent merchants from selling wood to the dwarves. Unless he gets his population totally mad at the dwarves, but thats another story...

    Such an economic model would bring much more interaction between races, and might create tension, Iraqi oil anyone? (DISCLAIMER: I AM KIDDING, don''t hurt me)

    Its just floating in my head as I design other stuff... any toughts ? A non-technical design document should be up by july

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    Atlas    144
    quote:
    Original post by xMcBaiNx
    thanks for your reply

    As for the goals, I am still trying to define them... First there would be the "conquer everyone" path, another thing I tought of is a kind of economic victory yet to decide. There would be a kind of badass superduper victory like "be allied with everyone, so they elect you leader of the land".


    I like your idea of having a game that makes violence optional. I therefore think that goals that support this flexibility would be very cool.

    Example goals would be to control as much as possible of certain resources, such as land, forests, trade routes, mineral deposits, magic schools, hospitals, or specialized knowledge. The beauty of goals like these is that there are multiple ways to achieve them: grabbing them before anyone else does, trading them, stealing them, developing them, or outright fighting for them.

    Each way of acquiring a resource would have its pros and cons, of course, in terms of relationships with other nations, costs, and other repercussions.

    Atlas
    Spiral Graphics

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    Atlas    144
    quote:
    Original post by xMcBaiNx
    I''m toying with the idea of implementing aerial and/or underwater races.... But I fail to see how i could balance them with the rest.. I mean, humans cannot attack mermaid cities right? any advices?.

    I love the ideas of underwater people. Here''s how I''d do it:

    Mermen are amphibious, so they can operate on land as well as underwater. They start with underwater cities. However, if they wish to develop a strong economy, they are forced to leave the water to build and trade on land.

    The advantage of Mermen is that their underwater cities are safe-havens that are free from all dangers, except maybe water-breathing magicians. The disadvantage of Mermen is that they are the slowest and weakest of the races on dry land.

    I agree with what smiley4 said, though, about starting with fewer races. I''d pick no more than 4 or 5 races that are truly original from all the others. More races will make your development job much more difficult without adding enough value for your players.

    Atlas
    Spiral Graphics

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    jfclavette    1058
    Well, I need at the very least... 6 races for things to be interesting, since there are needs for complex inter-racial interactions ( duh that sounds weird ).

    I might play with the idea of an aerial race, or even an interplanar race. Those would be cool, Yet they would be real hard to balance, Since they would be literally indestructible.
    HOWEVER, say I implement merfolks and mermaid, there could be balance underwater as well. Humans could reach either one through diplomatic means. But then that possibility would be gone as soon as onerace is defeated or become too small.

    I had already incorporated "mercenary" races tough. Units that would fight for you for money, fame, to reward you and for plain fun. Those units could be theoretically used to reach the other races, but, I would have to put a lot of them.

    I could also use water-breating wizards, but it''d still be absurd that they would be able to win against mermaid wizards...

    Hummm water pollution.... dunno, would be weird.

    Map balancing would not be an issue tough. I intend to provide only 2-3 maps, maybe only one. I''d just put scenarios, that all use the same map, with different starting conditions / stuff.

    BTW, assuming a turn-based battle system, how hard would it be to simulate projectile flights accurately?, I''d love to see an arrow bounce on a force field just to strike that pesky wizard''s best friend beside him *evil laugh*






    website coming soon

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    Atlas    144
    quote:
    Original post by xMcBaiNx
    I might play with the idea of an aerial race, or even an interplanar race. Those would be cool, Yet they would be real hard to balance, Since they would be literally indestructible.


    Here''s an idea for balancing an inter-planar race:

    Advantage: They can zip into another plane at any time, making them virtually indestructible.
    Disadvantage: Their religion (or something else) forbids them from ever killing another living being.

    An aerial race could be balanced much the same way as a mermen race, the only difference being that their safe-havens are on the high mountaintops rather than under the sea.

    Atlas
    Spiral Graphics

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    jfclavette    1058
    I think I could make an aerial race settlement as reachable as any land-race settlement. I''ll just make them a bit weaker, to compensatefor their ability to fly.

    However, an aerial archer isn''t much fun to fight... They would have to be allowed to fly only for a certain period I guess... Oh and by the way, I''m not putting fairies in the flying races... Because I don''t feel they belong there. They fly alright, but their little size/wing strength don''t allow them to counter wind/gravity too well above a relatively small altitude

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    Don''t get too hung up on balancing them in the context of battle. Just making them slow, or preventing them from actively killing, oversimplifies what could be a wicked groovy system. The Hawkmen are stronger, faster, better looking, and able to fly, and they live in mountaintop cities that no army could ever assault, but nothing grows on top of mountains, so they''re dependent on trade to get food and medicine. Hawkmen giving you guff? Embargo their asses into the poorhouse. Of course, not having enough economic clout is just as crippling as a sissy army, so you have to keep yourself balanced. In fat seasons you can rack up the respect, and then when your a little lean you can call in those favors.

    Also, when it comes to economic and political models, make sure you read up on some actual political theory. There''s a lot to it, and it''s dangerous to try to design a true model of, say, a Communism based on the Western (Americanized) view of it. And make sure you know the difference between a Democracy, a Representative Democrocy, and a Constitutional Democracy. That''s the sor tof thing that''ll really bite you in the butt.

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    jfclavette    1058
    This is still in embryonal(sp?) state, I''m in a CS program at some technical school (somewhat equivalent to community college i think) which has some courses equivalences with uni. Im prolly going to master and I have well... about 7 years to complete this project, with a few friend coders willing to help. So aside from art, we have all the ressources and time we want to bring up something neat. I plan at least 2 years of design heh.

    The problem which arises with the hawkmen however, is that in a 8 player game, if they pick on you.... its kind hard to convince the other to embargo them too... but oh well, if you cant defend and have no political power, it should be obvious that you are doomed. Conquering however, might not be so easy. if he get absorbed by say, the hawk men, I might allow the player to flee with a coupleof followers. He could then rally somme ally, and help from there, until he conquers his places back... or backstab the ally.

    I think different locales will be interesting... Sea, underground, mountain tops, lands and forests, other planes(maybe). It will be easy to give different advantages to different races, advantages that are easily justified.

    The weapons and armies won''t be that different. There WILL be mermaid swordsmen, elf swordsmen and human swordsmen. (not necessarily swordsmen, but you get the idea.) And you''ll be able to pick up watehver the ennemies drop. This could add a whole new element to super duper weapons. All right you got that badass catapult, but just be sure you win the battle because you''ll be in trouble. And that might provide the fairies with some advantages too... ever tried a fairy swordT?)

    And I perfectly agree with you. I wanted to read on that stuff and that''S even where the idea came from. The perfect game of that type would be a nice allegory of the current world. Where the player can actually be in the shoes of the people he hates because he don''t understand them. He could also see how it is hard to stay cool as a leader when you really think your opinion is the best and your populace starts complaining (hint: iraq).

    I have a friend who''s going for political sciences so I''ll be able to get some advice...

    And you''re right about the western view too... I''ll try to get some unbiased sources (HAH) about most types of governments

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    jfclavette    1058
    I just learnt that I''d be working in a library this summer.. "mainting computers and assisting users" AH! there are 4 PCs... Guess i''ll be allowed to read "a bit"

    *lazy*

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    Peon    276
    Talking about balancing... I was thinking of an online, browser based strategy game I play called Utopia. Avians can''t use war horses (which add to your offense) so perhaps in your game, races with flying units could partially be balanced by the inability to hire mercenary armies. Also, they would have weak armor because it would be quite difficult to fly if you were wearing heavy armor

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    jfclavette    1058
    Well, I could balance things this way, but WHY wouldn''t they be able to hire mercenaries, that''s another story... What I could do however, it apply a strong penalty when they attack in the forests or underground, for instance. It would be pretty easy to do it that way...

    Hmmmm, something like they can''t fly anymore at say, 50% health could work, or allow units to aim at the wings...

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    Kars    184
    Ideas on balancing:

    The mermen. They can only go say 200 feet below sea level (maybe 400 feet for short times), so their cities would have to be relatively close to shore. Since their language developed underwater, they have trouble communicating with any race other then other mermen (causing political snafoos, wrong shipments, etc).

    Interplaner races. The need to concentrate for a set amount of time before they can cross planes, so once they are in a fight they have to stay and duke it out. You would also want to put a restriction on how much they can carry when the cross plains, otherwise whoever had them as an ally could just poof an army into their enemies fortress.

    Bird- people. Their mountain/tree top fortresses are very hard to attack directly. But since they spend so much time flying, they need a lot of food so the spend most of their time eating/trading for food. Maybe transporting small valuables for food would be most of their business. This would also make them very vulnerable to a siege (assuming you could keep the bird-people from fling in supplies).


    [edited by - kars on April 3, 2003 12:28:01 PM]

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    TechnoHydra    122
    I''m glad to see you''re willing to dedicate a decent amount of time to the design. In which case I''d like to give you a few pointers. If you haven''t already done so, start a design document, organized in a way you can find what you''re looking for quickly and add to it. If you''re looking for feedback or opinions. Set it up on its own free little website and put a link to it in your signiture here. Any time you update it or if you need to flesh out an idea, post here and I''m sure someone would be happy to take a minute looking over it and responding. Just a thought.

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    For the avians, take a look at a pigeon or something, and you''ll know exactly how to balance them... When walking on the ground, anything with big wings, and built very lightweight (thin bones, not much muscle outside the wings), is going to be *very* clumsy. And of course, the wings makes a nice target too And flying while fighting is probably very tricky too... Sure, you get a nice turn of speed, letting you use a bit of hit''n''run tactics, but for actual melee they''d be in trouble(trying to evade a sword, with wings flapping madly to hover near your enemy is going to be tricky)

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    jfclavette    1058
    My design isn''t mature enough to be shown on a website yet. It is started however, about 7-8 pages long.

    My template is almost done; it is inspired by Chris Taylor''s design document template, but heavily modified and make more use of words style, so the look can be customized with a mouse click. I might release it if I feel it would be useful to others.

    Yeah thats and issue with extraplanar creatures... I''ll drop those as a stand-alone race. I might include them as mercenaries too. Good assassins and negotiators (read kidnappers can come in handy

    The avian race won''t be that hard to balance... Still the mermaid will feel kind of alone I think... Maybe a second underwater race would do the trick. But then an alliance of those can bring destruction to every single fishermen of the land heh.

    The balancing, however, should not intefere too much with my designing ideas since most of it will be handled by the scenarios creators.

    I would like some input on the battlefield action (BTW, I start with the battle aspect not because it is important, but because I feel it is the easiest part to design. I try to encapsulate it so that I can modify most out-o-battle stuff without interfering with the battles.)

    First, the player will basically combine "squadrons" of the same unit. All the squadrons are independantly moved on the world map, and can be stacked together. The world map will be tile-based, and the battles will occur when another army squadron walks in the square. (The defender might try to hide, but this only works for small forces)

    However, the player might switch to battle mode even if there is no ennemies. He will to this to assign positions to his (individuals, groups of ten, hundred... we''ll see.) This position might have advantages and disadvantages. elvesarcher might want to climb in a tree as an example. The defender could then set up his troops the way he wants them to be.

    He could also impose different levels of awareness to his troups. From "get ready to ambush" to "stop trying to screw the field nurses" This level of awareness would dictate the percentage of chances that the unit is actually in position when the battle begins. However, high levels of awareness that are enforced too long bring the morale down quickly.

    On the battlefield, I would like nice stuff, like the ability to launch boulders from mountains and set fire to the forest or fields.

    Any input on any subject appreciated

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    snak_attack    136
    i think it''s been mentioned before - you really should check out master of magic. it''s an old game, but similar flavor to what you describe, and it has a very fun tactical combat engine

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    TechnoHydra    122
    Does the underwater race have to be mermaid like then? You could make it an exo-skeleton race. Being out of water for extended periods of time could be detrimental to them in some way. Just a thought, it might help with the problem of balance.

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    jfclavette    1058
    Itdoesn''t have to be mermaids, that was merely a tought. You are right about the avians. Along with making thm clumsy on land and mostly unarmed. They won''t be able to stay inthe air perpetually.

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