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Wavinator

Space Empire and Space Adventure???

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A strategy game is a fair fight, while an adventure is a journey. Have the two ever been combined (or if not, what elements would be needed to make them work)? I'm a fan of the now practically defunct space adventure genre. For those unfamiliar, a huge component of games like Star Control 2 and Starflight were exploring, puzzle solving and the slow revelation of history. I also love 4X empire games. But these are usually about researching the fastest, producing the most and racing to the finish line. Do you think these two ideas can coexist in the same game, especially one that's multiplayer? Or is the pace and the kinds of reasoning required too incompatible? One way to do it would be to make the elements interdependent. For instance, to solve certain inventory puzzles, you'd need to research something about the items. Once solved, you'd get a dose of story that would tell you something about the strategic nature of the galaxy, and maybe unlock a valuable empire building resource. For example: You explore the map and find dead world after dead world. One is unusual, an artifact rich Eden that's rumored to be a pandora's box. Claiming it might really boost to your empire. However, you have to gather six missing components to open the shield. Spending resources sending ships on archaeological digs and using bribes and diplomacy to pry information from aliens reveals the location of the six components. But they're so advanced that you have to unlock six different technologies to use them. After that, it's up you to use the story clues to figure out the logic puzzle determining how they are to be combined. If you get the puzzle wrong, every player on the map suffers something REALLY BAD (like the return of malevolent Ancients, or a tech destroying plague). Of course, there's the problem of players from both camps not liking the gameplay of the other. One fix might be to divide the map into half adventure, half strategy. Either type of player could win, but one who played both ways would have an edge. Thoughts?

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Each time you discover a new planet in a 4X game, that in itself could be an adventure, or have elements of an adventure game. You could perhaps incorporate some sort of Explore or Send Expedition down on the planet to discover things about it.

A result from one of your expeditions could probably be that you discovered an ancient high-tech tomb with a locking mechanism in it, to which you must solve its puzzle to unlock it. So each time you claim a new world and Explore/Send Expedition to it, there might be a series of puzzles you have to solve to know more about the planet's secrets. This would be especially cool if you had to learn the planet's language to which you don't know much about yet (ancient runes, pictographs, mathematics as a universal language, etc).

I could definitely see these two genres coming together.

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In a game with a full economy (and society) in which the player can take part in, create/control a sector of the economy and possibly even have control over land (king/emporer/etc.), an adventure/RPG could allow the player both experiences. Such a system would have to have a fully realized socioeconomic system in place. It could be done in a single-player RPG but an MMOG would eleviate a hell of a lot of AI code.

My current project is aiming for exactly this. However, since it's such an ambitious undertaking, I'm building it in a series of games, starting off simple with a subset of the rules and building up from there.

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Original post by Tangireon
Each time you discover a new planet in a 4X game, that in itself could be an adventure, or have elements of an adventure game. You could perhaps incorporate some sort of Explore or Send Expedition down on the planet to discover things about it.


I like this. It reminds me of a mechanic for a board game I once read where you have to park a unit of sufficient scientific level around a planet over a certain number of turns. In the beginning, you get gross details about it. But over time, you get vital info such as whether or not it has a deadly virus, or is prone to horrific geological conditions.

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A result from one of your expeditions could probably be that you discovered an ancient high-tech tomb with a locking mechanism in it, to which you must solve its puzzle to unlock it. So each time you claim a new world and Explore/Send Expedition to it, there might be a series of puzzles you have to solve to know more about the planet's secrets. This would be especially cool if you had to learn the planet's language to which you don't know much about yet (ancient runes, pictographs, mathematics as a universal language, etc).


One thing I didn't touch on is types of puzzles. I'm assuming probably the only really safe puzzle would be inventory based.

How do you think conversation puzzles would work? For instance, ones that rely on the player's exploration of the environment but which aren't explicit (eg, "Fly through the Dragon's Eye to find the Time Tomb Key" and you have to find and talk to a surviving Elder to know that the Dragon's Eye is a triplet of neutron stars-- now all you need is the tech to survive!)

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Original post by coderx75
In a game with a full economy (and society) in which the player can take part in, create/control a sector of the economy and possibly even have control over land (king/emporer/etc.), an adventure/RPG could allow the player both experiences.


I like your approach, but I haven't yet shed my irrational hatred for all things MMO. The AI code is a good point, though.

One challenge to avoid is that a lot of puzzles require specific solutions. There's a pattern that, once learned, is easy to remember and beat for some players.

I'd need to avoid this however possible. Focusing on inventory puzzles helps, because you can throw them and the clues to find them on different worlds.

Conversational puzzles and ones that reveal the game's history are likely much harder to randomize, though.

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Do you think these two ideas can coexist in the same game, especially one that's multiplayer? Or is the pace and the kinds of reasoning required too incompatible?

I have toyed around with an idea that might be useful in this style of game. Basically, you have to design ships, but the ship designs would end up being a puzzle, but not obviously a puzzle.

When designing a ship you would have components of various sizes and shapes that have to fit and interlock together for a ship design to work. This is the puzzle. Players can research new component shapes (in addition to more powerful/different component techs as normal in a 4X game), which might allow them to use that piece in a different location, thus allowing different ship designs.

There would not be one solution to the puzzle of designing a ship, but there would be an optimum solution according to the pieces that the player has (there might even be several optimum solutions). However, a less than optimum solution would allow the player to deploy a less than optimum ship (so it would be slower, be less powerful, more fragile, or have less carrying capacity, etc), but it still would be something that player could use.

The puzzle is actually created by the player due to the research the they do and the purpose of the ship they are wanting to design.

As an example, a player might want to design a fast combat ship. They have a pre-set hull shape (from research). They then choose to include an engine, crew quarters (and life support), power generator, shields (armour is too heavy) and weapons.

Each of these components has a certain shape and size. The player has to fit all the components into the outline of the hull with the engines having certain locations where they will be useful (at the back). Depending on where the weapons are located, it will determine where the ship's defences need to be re-enforced (to simplify use a hexagonal base shape for locations).

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If you get the puzzle wrong, every player on the map suffers something REALLY BAD (like the return of malevolent Ancients, or a tech destroying plague).

Actually this could be a really interesting mechanic. Have the player have to cooperate to achieve goals, while at the same time try to stop them achieving the goals first (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner%27s_dilemma ). If you have ever played the board game Diplomacy ( http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/483 ), you will know what I am talking about. However, don't just have this for military actions, research, discovery, colonisation could all included this mechanics as part of their gameplay.

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Of course, there's the problem of players from both camps not liking the gameplay of the other. One fix might be to divide the map into half adventure, half strategy. Either type of player could win, but one who played both ways would have an edge.

This is the risk of any cross genera game, especially one that is from two quite different genres. But, if you want to take the risk, I think you would have a unique game that would stand out from all the other 4X games, or puzzle adventure games (BTW, most game cross genres to some extent, it is that this type of game straddles the line unashamedly :D ).

I think this type of game would either have a strong niche market, or stand out as something unique.

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I've been throwing around a game idea for a while that combines strategy and adventure on a small scale. I really like the idea of leading an empire, setting up armies and bases, reaching out and exploring space... But one thing that always left me cold was the dull and frankly statistical battles for planets and territory. In my mind, the game should give you the option to be a pilot fighting in the battle above a planet, or putting you into the boots of a soldier/mech/tank/etc fighting on the ground for supremacy of the planet. Or maybe you decided to launch a mission or envoy to the planet where you're put in the shoes of the diplomat/bodyguard/scientist/spy/assassin and have to achieve something. I'd love the idea that you get wind of a new technology and thus launch a stealth FPS mission to the planet in which you play a spy trying to steal the technology; or you want a leader taken out, so you launch an assassination mission against them, etc.

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