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Dunam_

Could you imagine an interesting way of managing in a grander scale than civ?

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Dunam_    122
Large strategy games like civilization and alpha centauri have long captured my heart and the hearts of many other gamers. I feel, however, that there is an inherent weakness in these games that is worth examining. An example of a typical game (as I play it): 1. In the initial phase of the game you have few cities to manage and the effectiveness of each city is of tremendous importance, however, many turns are passed on quickly, because there is not something of interest to do every turn. You have discovered one other empire at best. 2. Your empire grows with more units and cities to look after. You have discovered nearly all independent forces(empires). Diplomacy becomes increasingly important and there is something to manage in and around your cities every turn. 3. Your empire is so large that you hardly can manage it all yourself and must subject some control to governors or other AI (if the game offers such option). If you do choose to manage it yourself it will take much personal time and hardly pass turns in the game. The third phase gives me a feeling of ineffeciency as to Real Time vs. Game time. You have to spend quite a lot of personal time, but only a small percentage of your actions are interesting and the others are boring choices. On higher difficulty settings it becomes unfeasable to give to much control to the AI, because it is necessary to maximise the efficency of your empire as much as possible. I would like to design such a large scale strategy game that would be somewhat comparable to civilization. Instead of phase 1, I would like to put the player in larger control of cities (or space bases). An interesting way would be to have the player deal with specific events and decide upon them. Examples: 'We have discovered native life on this planet, however the spores they send into the air are slightly hazardous for our health.' [attention] Eradicate them [attention] Eradicate them near human residence [attention] Study them The second phase would move away from such specific decisions and the third phase should somehow grow even beyond city management. I could imagine a game control that would say how cities should averagely be managed or such, but that would be boring. This is what I would actually like to ask you: Could you imagine an interesting way of managing in a grander scale than civ?

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Wavinator    2017
States. Provinces. As a natural part of the evolutional dynamic, built into the gameplay.


What is it about a city that makes it easy to manage? There are a limited number of choices, resources and factors to handle. However, it doesn't scale because those factors increase linearly (maybe geometrically if you consider the interaction of factors such as infrastructure or cities that can somehow supplement other cities in your build scheme).


So what if as the cities grew they became states or you could form them automatically? This would unlock higher level units, more powerful diplomatic options and even more lucrative economic options. For individual cities within a state you lose access to the build and management choices per city because they're now being handled not by AI but by mechanics built into the game rules themselves. You then gain access to build options for the state / province such as being able to build armies rather than individual units (which would be super units in comparison, as armies are in Civ 3 but on a grander scale).

I'd vote that once you form a state / province, just like with a city, you can't go back and change it. This means that you'll spend a great deal of time strategically building up the cities in the state just the way you want them, and the state's weaknesses and strength will reflect the cities within.

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krez    443
eh, i was going to say more or less the same thing, but wavinator already said it much better.

the good thing about this is that the interface and gameplay wouldn't change much, just the options you have to pick from, and the scale of the results.

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Telastyn    3777
One idea that came up during some talk on this forum was the use of technology [in game research] to antiquate some of the mundane choices/orders in the late game.

For example, the early game would require a small army of teamsters to move around food and resources. With the research of a granary [a building that automagically collects food in a certain radius], the choice becomes a strategic choice of where to place them. In the late game, the food collection process is whisked away to the background, so you can deal with more interesting things [like what to do with all of the now unemployed teamsters]

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C-Junkie    1099
The same way you write code. The same way government works. The same way business works.

Build abstractions.

With Alpha Centauri, you had no choice, either you micromanaged EVERYTHING, or you had no control of it. This is bad.

Instead, you should be able to slowly build abstractions as the game progresses. Sacrifice giving units specifics movements in exchange for giving them general orders. (not like alpha centauri where you sacrifice specific movements for... no control whatsoever)

Get that alien artifact, rather than *find some nearby unit, click, move left, left, upleft, left, grab artifact, move down, down, right, down, connect artifact to network node*

Attack commie bastard like so (draw diagram), rather than order each unit to do that. (how cool would it be to see a world map and just "draw" attack routes and defensive lines, and let the AI do the rest? you'd only need like 2 elements: defensive lines and movement of those lines, which is basically an attack)

Build bases out here here here and here, rather than manually building a colony pod, moving out there, etc. Or even one more level up, build in this direction.

The main point being, each level of abstraction is built on the other levels.

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umbrae    308
Good thoughts.

I think too much abstraction is bad though. You don't want people just clicking and the whole game plays out based on that one click. The fun part of Alpha Centari was the interactions with other races, you had to decide what to do.

The player should be still able to control from the low level, and is restricted as to how high an abstraction they can play at. The problem with Alpha Centari is that the level of play is okay if you have a limited number of units (about 20) but once the number rises micromanagement becomes too much. But it would also be bad if you could use this abstract control method when you only have one unit - size should matter.

I found that I enjoyed some of the micromanagement because I felt that I was doing it better, that my cities were more productive because of my control. I think that this could be built into the system, that if you choose to give up fine control that the unit won't be as effective as if you were ordering each unit by hand.

This sort of builds into an idea that I have written up. Influence. (Just scroll down a bit to the heading influence). Basically you have a limited amount of influence on your army or kingdom, you choose how to spend it. Giving a group of units an order requires less influence than giving each unit an order. You can focus your influence on one unit, making it better than before. This means that you can control armies and individual units. This gives rise to heros, units that are given specific orders - that are stronger than the others.

Just my 2 cents

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Dunam    174
Thanks for the replies. Especially

Quote:
I'd vote that once you form a state / province, just like with a city, you can't go back and change it. This means that you'll spend a great deal of time strategically building up the cities in the state just the way you want them, and the state's weaknesses and strength will reflect the cities within.


has inspired me. I think finite replayable gameplay is often times more interesting than infinite playability. Mainly because infinite playability always ends with boredom, whereas finite replayable gameplay can have much more satisfying endings.

I'm leaning towards designing a small schale strategy game instead with the theme of corruption. You've got to lead struggling space colony where everyone is working hard to survive. From there you have chances to grow to a welfare colony, a planetary welfare colony, a galacticly involved trading planet to eventually, a galactic empire. However, additional time spend micromanaging will increase the loyalty and infrastructure on which your empire is built. Corruption and selfishness inherently seeps in and one that has risen in power to quickly will spawn envy and enemies.

Thus the choice of growing or not becomes a difficult and pivotal choice.

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Wavinator    2017
Quote:
Original post by Dunam
I'm leaning towards designing a small schale strategy game instead with the theme of corruption. You've got to lead struggling space colony where everyone is working hard to survive. From there you have chances to grow to a welfare colony, a planetary welfare colony, a galacticly involved trading planet to eventually, a galactic empire. However, additional time spend micromanaging will increase the loyalty and infrastructure on which your empire is built. Corruption and selfishness inherently seeps in and one that has risen in power to quickly will spawn envy and enemies.

Thus the choice of growing or not becomes a difficult and pivotal choice.


Looking forward to seeing this! :P I've always wanted to see a blend of Civilization and Master of Orion taken to a galactic scale, especially if you can throw in some thematic science fiction challenges like the rise of AI or contact with aliens (maybe in v2.0 [smile])

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Spoonbender    1258
Sounds interesting... And great idea Wavinator came up with.

On a side note to the original post, you might want to give Master of Orion 3 a shot. It tried to do some of the same things, and mostly it failed... It's still not a bad game, but it failed pretty badly to solve these problems you mentioned... If nothing else, it might be interesting for you to see what you can learn from it. :)

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