# My Dream Game

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Hey, me and my friends have never designed games and have minimal programming experience, largely based in java. However, we have had an idea for a very AI based game, and as we have been toying with the idea of creating said game for several years now, i felt like it was time to start working.

The game would basically be like the civilization games, only real time, and far less player controlled. The player would have choices about the climate of the planet, species dominance, fertility, etc. However, instead of directly creating a successful civilization, the player would simply create an environment in which several AI nations would develop. I could explain more in depth, but that is not the purpose of this post.

As i said before, my friends and I have very minimal knowledge of game developing, that said, we have already created some base equations that would decide the spread and growth of your species. I programmed these in a java, creating a kind of text based version of this game, but i haven't gotten past the creation of nations using random intrigal equations, and the said civilizations forming aggressive or passive personalities. I was hoping that one of the more experienced game developers on this forum could walk me through/ help me in creating a more complex and at least slightly visual version of my game, which i could then hand off (hopefully) to a larger company or more experienced developer to complete.

[RECRUITMENT WORDING DELETED BY MOD - Recruiting is not permitted in the discussion forums. Use the Classifieds.]

Thanks! Edited by Tom Sloper

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So this game is essentially completely AI controlled civilisation without any player input through the actual gameplay. In that case whether its real time or turn based probably wont matter as much and you should be able to simplify things a little then.

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I'm not sure quite what you're looking for, but this might get a better response in Help Wanted.

Best of luck with your project.

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6677, Not really, though. The player would control the temperature of the environment and other similar factors, which would in turn affect the type of cultures that evolve, for example, cold environment means the AI hunts rather than farms, hunting makes them develop better weapons, which then makes them more warlike in the future.

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Recruiting is not permitted in the discussion forums. Also, this is a Game Design topic, not a technical discussion, so I'm moving this to Game Design.

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Sounds rather like SimLife and SimEarth. Neither of them were terribly popular games, partly because they were so passive and goalless. I'd like to hear an explanation of how and why the player playing this game would be having fun. Maybe they would, I just don't see from this brief description how it would work. Edited by sunandshadow

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It would be similar to those games, but the player would have more of an immersed or realistic experience, being able to zoom in and watch progression, as well as battles. Not to mention the species would always be human, but the AI culture and goal would be based around the environment, which the player controls. It may not be popular, but as i see it, if this is my dream game, there have got to be others who feel the same. I am also considering adding things such as natural disasters, and more direct player involvement. This would attract players who like feeling like gods... which includes most of humanity.

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6677, Not really, though. The player would control the temperature of the environment and other similar factors, which would in turn affect the type of cultures that evolve, for example, cold environment means the AI hunts rather than farms, hunting makes them develop better weapons, which then makes them more warlike in the future.
Boring.

Things like that are fun to code but boring to play (or rather watch). I suggest to abandon this concept.

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I'm going to suggest that you develop the text-based game to completion. Most likely, nobody outside of your circle will play it, but if you really put effort into it, it will be an incredibly cool in-group project. Not only that, you will have at least a chance of success. The kinds of complexity you are imagining are not easily realized (not impossible either) in a graphical environment. Combined with the facts that you have effectively zero game development experience (I'm not trying to be negative, but there is no other way to put that) and that you have made an assumption about the game development industry that probably won't hold up (that some company out there will pick up your prototype and make a game out of it) and you basically have a recipe for failure.
Now, if you are very interested in game development and just want to learn, there's no reason you can't start teaching yourself about graphics (using say, C# and XNA, or C++ and OGRE), and game physics, and animation, and content pipelines, and for that matter, artificial intelligence (if you can easily write and solve an equation to determine some behavior, it's unlikely the AI will be very interesting or emergent). And while you are learning, you could try to make some progress on the game idea.
Honestly though, if what you know is basic java and your goal is to play this game, not to make it, or make money from it, stick with what you know (you might use a basic GUI to organize the info on a civ, instead of pure CLI). It won't be pretty, but you are already imagining the epic battles and sprawling civs in your head anyway, what's wrong with that? Anyway, good luck whichever route you choose.

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Sounds a lot like the approach Master of Orion 3 took. Nearly everything runs on its own, and the player merely guides the civilization. Most people hated it.

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Thanks for the input . I guess ill just give up, at least until i find someone with more experience and similar desires. I will see my dream someday...

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[quote name='m.boop127' timestamp='1341339066' post='4955383']
6677, Not really, though. The player would control the temperature of the environment and other similar factors, which would in turn affect the type of cultures that evolve, for example, cold environment means the AI hunts rather than farms, hunting makes them develop better weapons, which then makes them more warlike in the future.
Boring.

Things like that are fun to code but boring to play (or rather watch). I suggest to abandon this concept.
[/quote]

Did you ever read the book guns, germs, and steel? I'm still reading it, as it's a complex book, but it details how things like climate and many other factors led to the European-centric world we live in today. It's also a very thick book.

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1341403782' post='4955600']
[quote name='m.boop127' timestamp='1341339066' post='4955383']
6677, Not really, though. The player would control the temperature of the environment and other similar factors, which would in turn affect the type of cultures that evolve, for example, cold environment means the AI hunts rather than farms, hunting makes them develop better weapons, which then makes them more warlike in the future.
Boring.

Things like that are fun to code but boring to play (or rather watch). I suggest to abandon this concept.
[/quote]

Did you ever read the book guns, germs, and steel? I'm still reading it, as it's a complex book, but it details how things like climate and many other factors led to the European-centric world we live in today. It's also a very thick book.
[/quote]No, I haven't read it. But I made a game similar to the premise described and it was boring very quickly (athrough, I had great time coding it )

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[quote name='aattss' timestamp='1341499643' post='4955992']
[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1341403782' post='4955600']
[quote name='m.boop127' timestamp='1341339066' post='4955383']
6677, Not really, though. The player would control the temperature of the environment and other similar factors, which would in turn affect the type of cultures that evolve, for example, cold environment means the AI hunts rather than farms, hunting makes them develop better weapons, which then makes them more warlike in the future.
Boring.

Things like that are fun to code but boring to play (or rather watch). I suggest to abandon this concept.
[/quote]

Did you ever read the book guns, germs, and steel? I'm still reading it, as it's a complex book, but it details how things like climate and many other factors led to the European-centric world we live in today. It's also a very thick book.
[/quote]No, I haven't read it. But I made a game similar to the premise described and it was boring very quickly (athrough, I had great time coding it )
[/quote]

Well, it's a good read. Also, I suspect that you could make it more interesting by making it possible to cause "disasters" like in SimCity, or by letting the player play in the world he made.

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alright, so i'm going to develop the text based game, for my own purposes, but i am running into an issue. I created a map with several location where tribes could start (i will decide there location with a random number gen), however i want intra tribe relations to be partially based on location, if two tribes are on opposite sides of the map, they likely won't have relations, the problem is i cant find a way to program in an equation that decides whether or not other tribes are near by, how would you do this using numbered locations? thanks!

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Sounds a lot like the approach Master of Orion 3 took. Nearly everything runs on its own, and the player merely guides the civilization. Most people hated it.

This is the game I was thinking of when I was reading the brief. Actuall MOO3 was a pretty good game, but it really siffered because the fanbase was used to MOO and MOO2 which were very much about micromanagement. When MOO3 came along it was so different to the expectations that it got a large negative reception. One criticism I did have of the game was that it was never really clear on whether what you were doing was really having the impact you were intending.

My suggestion would be to give clear feedback to the player on what impact their change is having, or they will be unsure as to what is going on and what impact they are having on the game.

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alright, so i'm going to develop the text based game, for my own purposes, but i am running into an issue. I created a map with several location where tribes could start (i will decide there location with a random number gen), however i want intra tribe relations to be partially based on location, if two tribes are on opposite sides of the map, they likely won't have relations, the problem is i cant find a way to program in an equation that decides whether or not other tribes are near by, how would you do this using numbered locations? thanks!

If you have a map set up using coordinates you would do something like this:
 Vec2i tribeStart = thisTribe->getCenter(); int x = tribeStart.x; int y = tribeStart.y; for(int i = 0; i < getTribeCount(); ++i) { Vec2i tribeCenter = tribes->getCenter(); int cX = tribeCenter.x; int cY = tribecenter.y; int distance = sqrt( (x-cX)^2 + (y-cY)^2 ); myTribe->relationships.init() = 100-distance; } 

Obviously that's not how it would look in Java, but its the basic point. Calculate the distance between all the tribes and assign a value. I suppose you would want to calculate a value between NPC tribes too, in which case you just need another for or something like that.

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well, my idea would be based around a toolbar near the top of the screen that the player uses, the toolbar has different abilities that are progressively unlocked in future game play. Another idea i have to make the game more interesting would be points the player could use to advance a specific tribe, warm or cool the climate, etc. This would give more of a challenge and a purpose to the game. For me, the absolute game-changer for this idea would be the ability for a player to zoom down to the developing tribes and watch the AI work and develop, which would require insane programming and artistic ability, but it is a dream after all. And thanks for the programming help! Edited by m.boop127

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Don't give up your dream, but don't be afraid to change your dream a bit if needed to meet your goals.

It almost sounds like a more complex, simulator-focused version of spore. Kind of like sim city, but with God powers. Not so great as a multiplayer/competitive game, but as a rich simulator it'd be fun, I think. Simulators are a strange genre of game to me, but if you add more features to them and market them correctly, they can be wildly successful (Sims and Sims 2 are both in the top 5 selling PC games of all time).

Start small and build up! With effort and with good game design, you can make your dream appeal to even more people.

: Silly grammar. Edited by Humble Hobo

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The way nations are built are determined by resources, the most determining factor (and most dynamic) being food. Food depends on climate and geography (both of which can change as well) and it sounds like this is the players biggest impact on the civilizations. The biggest design question is how does the player's controls effect the "food" in that region. Keep this in mind as you develop this game idea. It is fun playing at making nature work the way it already works, playing at making it work wrong is fun because you can learn why doesn't work that way. It seems some here are saying that this simulation view of game design isn't fun to play. I think Will Wright would disagree since his career was defined by this passion.

The design idea isn't the flaw here, you could easily take this idea in a fun-to-play direction and players could learn a lot from this simulation as well if you were interested in the eduction factor. The hard choice is visual depiction of the simulated data you want to display. The balance is choosing economic assets and the only way to do this is physically designing them. All good designs start with good concept. Most all great concepts are sketches and doodles. Pickup a pencil, pen or wacom. You are using historic reference so find as many images of the civilizations and environments as you can and use you're knowledge of games to decide on sprite types (2D painted, 2D rendered, 3D) and level design. All the design experience in the world can only tell you what was appealing, you're job as a game designer is to figure out what is appealing.

Consider this, in theory you could play a card game without the cards, you could use stones with engraved numbers and symbols but playing cards feel right, they move right and they sound right and card game's were designed by figuring this part out. Cards are the best game asset designed to depict the data the player interacts with. Sketch out the best assets you think display the way players should interact with the simulation you want to explore and if those assets along with the design idea are successful you should be able to attract other developers to the idea and eventually gamers to the game. You might even find after creating the concepts that you are able to produce those assets yourself, there are lots of tools out there to help learn to craft game assets.

Its nice to hear that someone wants to do the work behind you're ideas, but leadership is fueled by passion and the best way to depict passion is to show that you are willing to do the whole thing yourself if you have to.

Hope this helps. Goodluck!

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Thank you so much!, i know it won't look good, and in the end, i may very well be playing this game with cardboard rather than on screen graphics, but i will try! i guess i do have an entire summer to learn!

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If you are still using indexed locations, rather than coordinates, what I would do is generate a weighted graph and assign values to the connections which represent the distance between locations. You can use a directed graph if a connection favors one way travel (e.g. a river is much easier to follow downstream, the south Atlantic can only be crossed westward by wind power). You could generate these weights randomly, but will need to apply lots of constraints if you want to represent a real physical space, that is, excluding directional or other terrain factors, the sum of distances between several locations have to 'add up'. Of course, as this system gets increasingly complex, it may be prudent to just use coordinates and weighted terrain after all.

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i was thinking another possible expansion of this idea would be a spore like species creator, so you could not only watch humans develop, but other less human species. also i was thinking of doing the same with animals, tell me if this would be a good idea, or if i should stick with a more direct simulator

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I haven't played Spore (so take my opinion with a grain of salt) but from what I've read, the in depth creature creator stuff really derailed the game aspects of it. Basically, making monsters and playing with evolution and biology is cool and fun, but doesn't necessarily mesh well with the idea of civilization sims. This really shouldn't be surprising though, as brilliant evolutionary biologists are only just able to coherently explain biological development, and how various factors might influence it, and even then only in somewhat simple cases. On the other hand, we have so little sample data with which to study civilizations, that history is more of a liberal art than a science. Combining these two tremendously complex fields together in a way that is fun and even remotely accurate seems unlikely.

Not to mention, smaller scope (remember that a civilization sim is already among the broadest types of games) is almost universally going to lead to better results for an independent developer.

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I haven't played Spore (so take my opinion with a grain of salt) but from what I've read, the in depth creature creator stuff really derailed the game aspects of it.

I'd say it was the other way around

The creature creator was really well done, an amazing bit of technology, and lots of fun to mess around with. Unfortunately, the rest of the game basically boiled down to a sequence of minigames, almost all of which were weak, dumbed down implementations of their respective genres. Ultimately, the creator had minimal effect on the rest of the game. (none at all in fact, after the first couple of stages).

I think if it had been a 'create a bunch of creatures and watch them survive/die off' type simulator, it would have been much more fun than it actually was. Even if it was still boring, it couldn't have been much worse than the string of dumbed down, half arsed subgames it actually was.

All that aside, to the OP: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid). This is especially true of your first project. Get something that works - you can always add more cool features to it later.