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Weberet

Ant Colony Simulation/Game Concept. Input wanted.

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Short Intro

 

(Scroll Down to get to the point if you don't like reading cirumstances.)

Hello, New to the gamedev.net community but have made a few limited games a couple years ago using very basic software and loved every minute of it.

 

In the past, my projects have always been not really thought out, kind of just change as I go, experiment, find something that works, and I want to change that with this one. I want to start my project knowing what the game should become, and what I want it to become. Refined mechanics, graphics, gameplay, etc. I want to create something with some real thought.

 

I've been thinking about for my next game/application, and I thought of the idea of an Ant Colony Simulation Game.

 

So I set to work with the concept of Ant Colony Simulation Game and got some of the basics thrown out there, then wondered If I was the only one who was going to find this project interesting. Which led to me coming here to attempt to get some external input to really bring some ideas to the table that appeal to a broader audience then myself.

I use a free mindmapping software called free mind for my concepts as I feel it allows me to throw my ideas out fast and organize them a bit. Here is a screenshot of my mindmap for the simulation concept:

 

The Concept in Mind Map format:

 

fhDU0vg.jpg?1

 

 

The Inquiries:

 

1. The idea? Good, bad, stupid, brilliant? Elaborate (I like to know why.)

 

2. Any thing that you would like to see done with the concept? Multi-player, skirmishes, customizations, combat systems, controls, anything? etc.

 

3. Anything you can think of to add to my mind map? (List parent node, then idea.)

 

4. Control systems you would like to see? Fully Autonomous, Fully Micro-managed, mix?

 

5. Any other input you would like to give!

 

 

Any helpful input is much appreciated! Thanks!

 

-Weberet

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The idea? Good, bad, stupid, brilliant? Elaborate (I like to know why.)

 

No one can tell, the rules are not closed (you can't say what is possible and IMPOSSIBLE within game rules). It would be better if you work down to very defined set of rules, and then just improve them, based on feedback.

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I can think of other units:

-larva: they can have uses besides siting there waiting to grow, some ant species larvae produce some glue which is used by the adults.

-aphids: some ants herd aphids, and milk sugary fluids from them.

-storage ant: some Australian species have some ants bloat up and act as living stores, they take, deposit and give sugary fluids.

-flying ants: this are the ones who start new nests.

 

As for gameplay, what is the goal?

In SimAnt it was to drive the humans out of the house and kill the red ants.

Is the goal to conquer some area? to exterminate an opponent? to build the largest nest?

 

What does the player do tho achieve the goal?

Do you go 4X style? Focusing on the fighting and having the economy as a limit to how much can you kill?

Do you go Anno style? Focusing on managing the economy and making military combat optional.

Would you make it in other way?

 

How do you control things?

Do you select the ants and point them where to go?

Do you place a task flag on the ground that all ants assigned to that task will follow?

Do you play from a more strategic point of view, controlling several nests and just assigning percentages of each nest population to tasks?

 

 

I like this idea, in my opinion i would go for economy centered, making it about building the nest and running it, and not that much focused on the combat.

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1. The idea? Good, bad, stupid, brilliant? Elaborate (I like to know why.)

I liked this game:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_the_Ants_(video_game)

It's an interesting theme as it forces you to work with the underground (much like Dwarf fortress for instance) which I believe is still largely unexplored. The concept of digging rooms instead of raising walls is something I really like to explore both as a player and a designer (Minecraft allowed me to fulfill that, to an extent).

 

 

2. Any thing that you would like to see done with the concept? Multi-player, skirmishes, customizations, combat systems, controls, anything? etc.

Underground room management.

 

 

 

3. Anything you can think of to add to my mind map? (List parent node, then idea.)

It's still very vague. You have a lot of "concepts" but no suggested implementations. Very hard to help with that without having preconceptions.

 

 

4. Control systems you would like to see? Fully Autonomous, Fully Micro-managed, mix?

It's no secret I'm a fan of micro-management. But you could use some "tools" such as: Gather resource_x from area_y (which would result in an Ant gathering the resource known as X from a specific area, and do the back and forth with the base storage).

 

 

5. Any other input you would like to give!

Good luck. I always thought Microids did an interesting take on this, but somehow nobody brought it in any other direction. It's a different theme than dwarf fortress, but touches on the same type of gameplay and I like that.

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I liked SimAnt when it was out way back when.  If you made a better version, I could see burning up a few days playing it.  It was fun and I can't honestly say why...

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@ WildField Sorry about the vagueness, totally agree with you that its not very far along or refined! If it helps I do want to do it top down, really fun graphics (Cartoon or pixel, non real) On a Procedurally generated world map so that every play is different. I also like @klefebz idea of keeping it economy/structure centered, making the goal to take over the map, or maybe eliminate all other ants by out-building, out-managing your colony.

 

@klefebz The other unit types are very helpful, I was straining my mind trying to think of what other ant related units could possibly exist! I will be adding your types to my mind map immediately. Your right about the goal as well, I will be thinking that through some more. I kind of like the idea of eliminating all other competing ant colonies though. Good control scheme suggestions as well, I like the task flag one, being ants I kind of want them to be semi-autonomous but I still want there to be an element of control. I want to make you feel like you are controlling a super organism instead of scattered ants.

 

@Orymus3 I'll be looking at the games you guys have referenced to help decide the direction. I actually have a pretty fun example for myself of underground room management, you should check out a currently alpha game being released on steam called Gnomoria, I think you would find the underground room management interesting as most everything can be built underground, I would not mind taking a few leaves out of Gnomoria for this game. Yes still very vague and undeveloped, wrote to @WildField above about a little bit of that, don't know if it helps at all. I do like the idea of a semi-autonomous command system. I will be checking out Microids as well

 

@Meatsack, I will be checking that out as well!

Thanks for the awesome input thus far everyone!

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I thought SimAnt sucked, but I like games where you get to build up a lair and a population of underlings.  I have a game concept where the player's avatar is a young 'royal' adult of an insect-like but sentient alien species, leaving their parental "nest" to found a new nest, including laying eggs to produce the first few basic units of their new populace, and exploring and fighting to obtain resources to bring back to the nest for crafting nest upgrades, and also to unlock new unit breeding options.  You genetically engineer your own offspring, among other things.

Edited by sunandshadow

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I do like the idea for nest upgrades, and unlocking new units as you go. Playing with the idea of each ant, or maybe type having different stats. Leveling up the longer the ant lives maybe. Nest upgrades, I'm thinking extra nest HP, Capacity increase, maybe some sort of economic advantage. All very nice, adding to the mind map.

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I do like the idea for nest upgrades, and unlocking new units as you go. Playing with the idea of each ant, or maybe type having different stats. Leveling up the longer the ant lives maybe. Nest upgrades, I'm thinking extra nest HP, Capacity increase, maybe some sort of economic advantage. All very nice, adding to the mind map.

There are some quite cool kinds of real ants, like winged ants, fire ants, honeypot ants, and ants that symbiotically raise "livestock" (the livestock being a different species of insect).

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Okay, updated the mind map to reflect the suggestions I would like to incorporate. Figured I do want the graphics and gameplay to be a little more on the "whimsical" side then realistic. I want to do some satisfying sounds and animations with particle effects opposed to ant corpses being torn apart. Decided I want to go 2D top down for the graphics with a UI themed around how other RTS games do it. Want it to be simulation RTS with a HUD like SC2 or Empire Earth, etc. Think I am going to build a system where you can zoom in and out on different portions of the map to check on the action going on. Want the units to be semi-autonomous, never idle like a true ant. Can be given orders but do random helpful jobs without. Listed a couple nest types, unit types, upgrades, etc in the mind map.

My next plan is to implement how I want to have the game started and the ultimate goal I have decided is to either be eliminate all other colonies, or control a certain amount of land. Not sure which I like better but feel that eliminating all other colonies would be coolest. Been researching some different real species of ants for a look into special units and abilities, possibly races. Think I will have a set of base stats for each race if I decide to do races.

One of my big conundrums is figuring how I want resources to appear and be distributed for interesting game play. As well as possibly thinking of a couple more resource types and what they would be used for. So far I only have food, water, and nest which I find limiting.

Will keep posted on how the concept is shaping up, but for now, a picture of the updated mind map:

HXy7dm5.jpg

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