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starbasecitadel

Snowballing and Turtling

27 posts in this topic

If it's a futuristic game, why not assume a shared economic environment with investors. If according to some metric a player becomes highly unlikely to win, investors in their side pull out for fear of being stuck with a losing bet. Their economy thus crashes. This could perhaps be a defeat condition [as opposed to being destroyed completely], or maybe just render the player in a death spiral where they quickly get swallowed up. This way a player is completely viable immediately prior to being deemed destroyed, instead of this slow grinding-down process a lot of rts's have. Helps with snowballing because the defeat condition is not a point of utter destruction, and thus it's only a matter of tipping the scales to put doubt in the minds of investors. Helps with turtling because it would be a relative level of success [one team that aggressively grows becomes more likely to defeat a player that sits there well defended] that determines a winner. Maybe against an extreme turtling player, just the act of branching out and growing while they sit there would be enough to cause collapse for them.
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[quote name='Waterlimon' timestamp='1349439127' post='4987084']
An interesting mechanic would be that your factories and army produce wastes of various kinds, which radiate/pollute the air/ground/take space, so you need to take them away.
[/quote]

Thanks for the idea. I've never seen this or considered it, that's a pretty cool mechanic you came up with. Might even win some Greenpeace points too [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img] I haven't gotten too detailed in some of these kinds of what I'd call planet-starship-logistical mechanics yet, have a real void there so this gives some food for thought..

[quote name='Oolala' timestamp='1349451627' post='4987157']
If it's a futuristic game, why not assume a shared economic environment with investors. If according to some metric a player becomes highly unlikely to win, investors in their side pull out for fear of being stuck with a losing bet. Their economy thus crashes. This could perhaps be a defeat condition [as opposed to being destroyed completely], or maybe just render the player in a death spiral where they quickly get swallowed up. This way a player is completely viable immediately prior to being deemed destroyed, instead of this slow grinding-down process a lot of rts's have. Helps with snowballing because the defeat condition is not a point of utter destruction, and thus it's only a matter of tipping the scales to put doubt in the minds of investors. Helps with turtling because it would be a relative level of success [one team that aggressively grows becomes more likely to defeat a player that sits there well defended] that determines a winner. Maybe against an extreme turtling player, just the act of branching out and growing while they sit there would be enough to cause collapse for them.
[/quote]

Good idea, and I was going somewhat down this path already possibly with a timer. Making it tied into the economy is a really nice touch-- first it is less "super obvious game mechanic-ish" than a timer yet it serves some of the same very helpful purposes. Also a big benefit that I really like is it makes strategy more dimensional which is what I'm looking for at this stage. In other words, there are multiple goals to manage.. the economy becomes more immediate and meaningful which is a good thing I believe. To give a parallel example of multi-dimensional goals, in LoL you are trying to kill other players but also to kill towers. Some times these goals conflict such as you sacrifice your life but taking down a tower, or vice versa. Too many distinct goals makes a game too confusing but at this stage I feel the game has too few and like this a lot.


Another issue I've been thinking about recently:


[b]social interface[/b]

In desktop games, it is much easier to create a social interface: you can simply make chat windows where you can message individual players, teams, or All. Additionally, ventrilo is available.

I'm thinking of the need / importance for a social interface on this as a Tablet application.

My assumption (could be wrong though) is that typing on a tablet touch keyboard would not really work well. Since this is an iPad, the software keyboard pops up and it takes up most of the space, so you can easily get shot at and destroyed unless you first move to a safe position. Plus, the software keyboard is relatively annoying to type at compared to a nice desktop keyboard. Maybe it would work out fine but I have serious doubts.

In terms of things like pings, for that I do plan on making icons that are easy to click, perhaps with the following: "help, incoming enemies", "escort this resource mining vessel", "retreat", "group here for assault on base", "defend this location". So at least for those you won't need to type.

But it is more the social aspect that I'm wondering about, particularly for the Admiral interface where it would be nice to introduce more diplomacy.

Along the same lines, I'm wondering if a built in voice-chat (probably limited only to the Admiral, Generals.. perhaps also allowing starships to use it within a single sector) would make sense. Part of me thinks it could be awesome, but also it could be terrible if you had someone with a really annoying voice, or playing crappy music in the background. While you would be able to mute them, I'm still leaning against offering voice chat for these reasons (as well as technical feasibility and server bandwidth/CPU consumption).

Also at the extreme end of things, I'm considering changing the platform for the Admiral's interface (and probably Generals as well) to be desktop PC. Then they could at least be able to type effectively to other players and teams. That opens up a huge can of worms though.

Yet another possibility is that for Admirals and Generals, you would not have accelerometer support, thus making it easier to have an external tablet keyboard which would perhaps be recommended.

I'm curious if anyone has seen Tablet games that have come up with good solutions to these issues.
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I've been rethinking the social aspects after spending some time playing the current tablet MMOs this morning which I haven't touched in a while. I think the standard chat interfaces work better than I was expecting. Yes, it is somewhat slower to type on a tablet than on the PC but definitely much more feasible than I feared.

So that simplifies things quite a bit. I can keep the game as a single platform (iPad/tablet) and single client codebase. The Admiral and General interfaces will have some differences in UI but they will still be distributed as part of a single game client app. It would be nice to eventually offer integrated voice chat but that is bottom of the priority list.

Here's another social game design question, this time about the social metagame:

[b]Carrier Group Cohesion (meta)[/b]

I've renamed the term "Squad" to "Carrier Group". A Carrier Group consists of a group that gains bonuses fighting in proximity to each other consisting of 5 players piloting individual starships and a 6th player acting as the General (who controls the Capital Ship / Carrier).

I'm wondering how much to emphasize the cohesion of Carrier Groups. Specifically, should they be able to Queue together? In Ranked games, would the competing Admirals see a list of Carrier Groups and compose their teams Carrier Group by Carrier Group (as opposed to Fully Premade or Player-by-Player picks)? Would your experience points / rank be additionally weighted by your Carrier Group's performance so that even if your team loses, if your Carrier Group performs very well you still gain rank?

I'm still tossing these ideas around but am leaning on emphasizing Carrier Groups for a couple of reasons.

* First, it gives the game another social aspect. People won't typically have 50 friends all playing this game to form a team with, but 6 friends is another story. Guilds will help out with forming full pre-made teams but the Carrier Group concept makes it easier to form quick, smaller groups.

* The Carrier Groups could also add a sort of mercenary element to the game which I think adds depth to the social aspects.

* Psychology plays a role too. In a 2-team game, you win and lose roughly 50% of the time. In a 5-team Free for all, you win roughly only 20% of the time and lose 80% of the time. That is a bit of a hit to the ego, and perhaps people will feel they are playing worse than they really are. But if your Carrier Group has a good game that gives you something to hold your hat on even if your team loses.

* With 50 players to a team, it could be easy to feel lost or overwhelmed. The Carrier Groups create a social mini-context and some additional structure within the game.
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