Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
MeshGearFox

Thinking about making a 4x strategy game.

This topic is 3869 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Sort of. SimCity in space might be a better description, although this isn't really going to be realism focused. At its core, it's more of a interplanetary nation management sim. You still get to colonize worlds and wage war as per Master of Orion, but the war element will be reduced and abstracted. Mostly because I don't like tactical combat very much. And it's one of the more irritating things to balance, apparently. Anyway, two things led to me coming up with this. In most 4x games (namely Master of Orion 1 and 2), the other empires tend to declare war on you, apparently for no other reason than, uh, creating a challenge or letting you blow guys up. Loooogically speaking, wars are expensive and only viable when you (think) you have a good reason for starting them. Anyway, so in most space-based 4x strategy games, you have... roughly an infinite amount of resources at your disposal as long as you don't overextend your spending. Colonies have a fairly rigid population cap, and when they hit it, they basically stop growing. In other words, the only thing forcing you to really grow is, er, enemies that attack arbitrarily. Which is sort of contrived. I've also got an unusual interest in virtual pets, AI, and a-life, and would rather make the competing empires little automaton that the player feels endearment towards and wouldn't want to kill them off just because and empty universe is a boring universe. This is secondary, though. Making beneficial interactions between teams/empires/whatever, however, should probably be a primary goal. The second thing I thought about was the rather large lack of social services and civic requirements these games have. In general, you can pretty much ignore quality of life, for the most part. There are a few games I can think of that avoid this problem, but I wanna expand on the things these games do right. This is where SimCity comes in, basically. In that series, you've got to provide things like hospitals and schools. I don't want micromanagement to that extent for like, every colony/city you have, but I don't want civic aspects like these to play a very, very large role. Anyway, I don't have much at this point, but just a brief list of main ideas: A) Carrying capacity governs strategies and interactions. B) Citizen morale is key to everything. C) Citizen morale is provided for through civil services. D) The ultimate goal isn't conquest, but sustainability, which is met by keeping the citizenry in-line and the carrying capacity larger than the population. Open to suggestions! Please! Also, some other general stuff. This'll probably be text based, or very much near it, and might also run in a console. Unless I get really ambitious and learn SDL something. But really, I like text based. It forces you to focus on conveying information as efficiently as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
Quote:

Also, some other general stuff. This'll probably be text based, or very much near it, and might also run in a console. Unless I get really ambitious and learn SDL something. But really, I like text based. It forces you to focus on conveying information as efficiently as possible.


be careful this is not an excuse for your simple lack of knowledge on the topic. I said the same thing about a game project i started several years back. I didn't know much about programming at all, but decided to learn C++ and then SDL. I got pretty far with it before i went after other projects. Since i can pretty much gaurantee you won't actually finish this game, you might as well take the time to learn some new things while you work on it!

if you haven't already, you might play GalCiv which emphasizes multiple ways to win including economics, popularity (morale/diplomacy), and others besdies conquest.

Also keep in mind that SimCity isn't a game, strictly speaking. It's more of a toy. That said, i'll suggest that you read two documents:

I Have No Words And I Must Design

The Strategy Game Designer's Constitution, a WIP by me. (if suggestions or critique, please send)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, text based is more of a design decision, too. I like working with spare interfaces, on one hand, and I don't want to distract myself with too much visual stuff, and also, I want to draw a visual comparison to some of the classic 4x-in-space games like Anacreon and Stars!.

And toy might be a better description here. It's sort of a fuzzy distinction.

Quote:
Since i can pretty much gaurantee you won't actually finish this game


I'll take that as a challenge :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay. New ideas.

Conceptually, what I'm calling 'phase one' will mostly be an abstract simulator with very few genuine game elements. It'll mostly consist of fiddling with some numbers, seeing how your imaginary population reacts, and then fiddling with additional variables. This shouldn't be particularly difficult to do. Anyway, once I get this set up and a greater feel for what I should do with it, I'll start developing an actual game out of/on top of it.

I'm defining a game in this sense as something that involves interaction between multiple empires/nations. In other words, competition. More on that in the implementation section.

Implementation ideas:

I want to focus on strictly on keeping things divided into "layers." I'm also going to focus on groups of threes, because arbitrary numbers are good governing bounds. This is more of a data structuring notion than anything strictly gameplay related.

Basic ideas, though, which I'll just list and sort of explain.

You have a nation/empires. It consists of holdings, infrastructure, and social elements. Each of those three things can be broken down further.

I'm not sure how much different levels can't interact. I want to have indirect interaction with limited direct interaction between levels, and a sort of hierarchy going on, but I'm not really sure how I'll do this yet.

Central ideas:

I can really illustrate a lot of my idea for how the system works by explaining how research is handled, as a lot of things work in the same way.

Superficially it's similar to Civ, where you're allocating people into various positions, one of which is research. The main difference is that you can't do this directly.

As the player, you allocate funding to research sectors, thus creating research jobs. Researchers will then move in to take these jobs.

(Research has some additional nuances to it. There are 15 job sectors, including research, and each job sector has untrained work, trained work, and research work. The Research job doesn't do anything on its own per se. It just allocates people to research positions in other fields. Likewise, you can't directly choose what you research. Instead, you create or reduce funding in other fields to change how many positions are available).

The biggest difference from Civ, however:

You can't have just anyone take these jobs. As mentioned in the parenthetical section, you have trained, untrained, and research workers. How many of each you get depends on education levels (And ideally this can also lead to situations where the population gets overeducated and nobody's willing to take on jobs of lesser prestige).

One increases education in roughly the same way they increase the amount of research. You fund education sectors, create jobs, and the education level, hopefully, rises.

There were also be some sort of autonomy to determine which jobs get filled. I'm not sure how I'll do this yet. I need to devise a system where some jobs get paid more and are more prestigious depending on some factors.

---additional stuff---

The underlying idea behind the social system is to come up with several base traits and extrapolate on them in a tree-like fashion.

It goes something like this:

There are five (Currently. I want to base things in threes, so I might make this six) underlying societal drives.

Derived from these are (currently) 12 social sectors (I want to drop this number).

Derived from the social sectors are 15 civil sectors.

Each civil sector has 3 job levels associated with it, and probably 3 research fields associated with it.

Ideally, I can develop the core elements and build on them, and this should keep things separate enough that I won't end up with horribly obtuse relationships between each group.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I have one question, why does the enemy have to be from without(as in aliens)?

I've heard that, that it could be extremely difficult to colonize the stars with many hurdles in the way. That surely should be enought for a player to surmount in itself, without having to deal with extraneous alien threats. Our worst enemy could be ourselves(if your a pessimist). So you try to keep the civilization stable and avoid the general threats of mass extintions, civil unrests, self destructions and eventually find another home away from our dying solar system and perhaps even avoiding the extinction of the universe.

If you want an external threat, you could have the East and the West both setting out to colonize space in opposite directions perhaps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sounds cool...

So what does citizen morale give you? Is it just something you have to satisfy to prevent your citizens from rebelling?

Good luck with your idea. I'd love to play it...

How would you represent the universe in a text-based game though? For example, if I want to order my fleet to go from planet A to planet B? Are you just going to use planet names? How would new planets be discovered? Are you going to have 'discovery of planets' at all? Just some random questions...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
by "text based" he may mean "console output" which means you get all the goodness of ASCII art, maps, and diagrams.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Okay, haven't worked on this in a few days because I had other, real programming homework to do (and now I don't like Java :|).

Anyway.

By text based, I meant it's time for me to buckle down and learn some variant of curses. It'll basically, then, be single-key press menu options or, if you need to specify something on a map, entering coordinates or the planet's name. In the first mock-up/prototype version, colonization or, for that matter, space stuff in general won't be present. Once I get the job supply and demand system down, I'll branch out from there since everything will fall into roughly the same paradigm*.

Anyway, I'm a bit stuck with technology. As I may have mentioned earlier, there are 15 (Actually 20. The other five are a bit odd though) job posts, and research can be done in any of them by funding the creation of research jobs. Now, in one sense, research should improve these individual job fields. I'm mostly okay in that sense. However, research also needs to have a larger, more general effect, and I'm a bit stumped there. I wanna get away from the "Do research, unlock new units/buildings" approach

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

We are the game development community.

Whether you are an indie, hobbyist, AAA developer, or just trying to learn, GameDev.net is the place for you to learn, share, and connect with the games industry. Learn more About Us or sign up!

Sign me up!