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Acharis

Mechanic for internal struggle of an empire (strategy)

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It just occured to me, all strategy games are about some map on which you move units and fight other units (I know, I would not get a nobel prize for this discovery :D). I could't find even ONE counterexample (if we exclude various tycoon games and city builders games), which was quite surprising to me.

 

So, I wonder, how to make a game (or find an appropriate mechanic) which is about an internal issues of an empire (or other things that are not just war and moving units around). Generally, something where you feel like an emperor that is running an empire but it's not about a map and units moving on it.

 

Is there a way to get rid of the overdone map+units mechanic yet still get the feel of an empire building game?

 

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That's a hard question. Personally I would keep what makes this type of game this type of game and try to focus on innovating through story.

Maybe others can offer more insight.

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I've been following the topics about the game you're making, but I'm still not sure -- other than the empire that the player is supposed to rule, are there other countries? And if so, how powerful are they?

 

But my general advice is to consider what you expect your fictional emperor to do/have to do with their time. You know, set taxes, send troops collect taxes, squander taxes on pointless luxuries -- that sort of thing.

 

A map is... probably mandatory, since the player is supposed to rule massive amounts of territory, and the best way to prove it to them is just to show them a map. Instead of controlling troops though, you could just have them give orders to their generals, and if they've given the military enough funding, the right research, and good recruitment campaigns (or just conscript all of the poor people, like a real emperor), the general will come back in a few months to a few years with good or bad news. Maybe with some messages in between just to keep them up to date. And if the player is really, really lucky, the general won't start a coup. Actually, maybe you could keep a smaller, elite army under your own personal control just in case the real army tries something (like the SS in Nazi Germany... if I remember my history, that is).

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Did you find the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games or others by Koei? It's been awhile since I've played (I think) the 3rd one but I seem to remember a great deal of the game is done through menus and report screens where you manage your kingdom, generals, advisers, and successors. There is a map that shows the various empires but it probably could be thought of as just another report (not much happens on it). War and your military are of course prominent elements but you only really worried about positioning of your units while battles were taking place.
 

Otherwise you'd be looking at a game that is even more of a "spreadsheet" manager game. Not that it can't be fun but you need to have something that the player can relate to and visualize success. Which leads to the question, if your empire management game isn't about war then what sort of successes are the player is aiming for?

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So, I wonder, how to make a game (or find an appropriate mechanic) which is about an internal issues of an empire (or other things that are not just war and moving units around).

With one player I see discovery, exploration and construction. With two players there's competition, cooperation, trade. With three, there's the ability to team up against the other guy, political games and confidence games. Four players introduces team vs team sports.

Edited by AngleWyrm

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That's a hard question.

Yep :) I can find answers to easy questions on my own, only the hard ones are, well, hard to aswer :) And I agree that hard question sux :)

 


I've been following the topics about the game you're making
Well, I usually make post about similar kind of game, but here I'm asking generally. I'm just curious how such mechanic can be made. Don't tie it to my other posts. Here I'm just curious why all strategies are about map+combat units and if there is way (even if only theorethical) to break from this pattern.

 


A map is... probably mandatory, since the player is supposed to rule massive amounts of territory, and the best way to prove it to them is just to show them a map.
Map is OK, just no military units fighting each other.

 

Did you find the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games or others by Koei?

I played ancient Genghis Khan (I guess they all follow the same pattern). It was still a map with units fighting each other (albait, it was done in a very way). Still, it wasn't what I'm looking for, in its core it was map+units.

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Is there a way to get rid of the overdone map+units mechanic yet still get the feel of an empire building game?

 

Well, if the problem is the map (2D/3D), you could make the game dimensionless. For example it could be like a trading card game. If your empire is attacked by another, you could choose an action from your hand, like sending another army to fight, resist from a city, exchange a beautiful princess for peace. Each win could give you points to build cities or armies, learn technologies, do diplomacy, etc.

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Well, primarily I wanted something that is different from 4X games in the overall mood and premise. By internal struggle of an empire I meant rebels, uprising of your population, problems with powerful factions, part of your population fighting with other part of your population, maybe some usurper that has a claim to your imperial throne.

 

I don't mind map (alone) nor combat units (alone), but I don't want these both at the same time, I don't want the overdone pattern of map+units that fight each other.

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I think internal struggle is something that is hidden for a king, until bad things happen. The way to discover it on time is through the eyes of his spies. So you could use queues of spies (thinking on Master of Orion) for the cities of your own reign and foreign cities. These spies will reduce or increase problems in a city. The actions could be controlled with slides or could be a mini-game like trading cards. This will depend on how complex you want the interaction to be.

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So, I wonder, how to make a game (or find an appropriate mechanic) which is about an internal issues of an empire (or other things that are not just war and moving units around). Generally, something where you feel like an emperor that is running an empire but it's not about a map and units moving on it.

 

Were you looking for something other than the current understanding of how strategy games work? If not, your best bet is to avoid representing the map, granted it's an empire, and stick to tactical decisions based on any other type of knowledge. Turn based tactics is what I'm told it's called here:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_genres#Strategy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turn-based_tactics

 

Maybe avoid the cliche where you have a group of soldiers you dictate commands to and focus on a single perspective, a microscopic look into the grand scheme that takes place.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/the-definition-and-meaning-of-the-strategy-game-genre

http://psp.about.com/od/pspglossary/g/strategydef.htm

 

If you want to define a new type of strategy game you may have to call it an adventure game, and let other people mull over whether it was really strategy or not. I'm not sure, but when I see "adventure" as the genre it seems to imply the game's about trying new things. You could even delve into visual novels like Phoenix Wright, and focus primarily on supplying dialogue for which outcomes you want your game to have.

 

Did you want more ideas about how the empire can be influenced? Is any of this helpful?

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