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Audience (space empire, 4X)

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A mechanic for a game I'm making. I guess the people who tend to respond to my posts already know what it is about so no description this time :)

 

 

First some screens so you can get into the mood.

 

Audience (overview):

gpRbTeQ.png

 

Audience (details & making a choice):

62o9JJL.png

 

Imperial Court (12 courtiers that act as your ministers/advisors/helpers) also Court Factions:

wKF9EF3.png

 

 

Basics:

- every like 10 or so turns there is an "Audience"

- around 12 characters/events appear to a typical audience (if there is less than 12 events then regular planetary governors will come in with a visit)

- each event/character present you with the description of the issue/opportunity/etc and 2-5 options to choose from

 

Important notes:

- it's a 4X game before anything else, audience is an important, yet secondary, mechanic (so don't turn it into an RPG, althrough RPG elements might be present if you wish, just keep in mind it's strategy first)

- don't forget about replayability!

- while it has some similarities to Crusader Kings 2 and The King of The Dragon Pass it's a game quite far from these (yet, similarities, especially regarding the mood, indeed exist)

- don't make me "write hundreds of events and storyline arcs", let's be realistic, OK? :)

 

 

Now the question:

Do you have ideas for storylines/events/mechanics/whatever I could put into these audiences?

 

 

 

What I have now (just an example!):

 

- a regular imperial official (governor, admiral, general, courtier) can come in with a visit, they give you a small report (nothing you would not know, more like a reminder what planet the govern, their name, age, etc) and you have an option to fire this official (new officials are auto hired each turn to all vacant positions, so you only fire those you don't want and then get a random new one)

 

- "Emperor was poisoned" (recurring event, can be triggered by other events, some technologies like "poison detectors" can affect the chance for this event) - a palace guard reports there was an attempt on your life (poison) and you need to be hospitalized, there will be an empire wide penalty due to you being unable to oversee it properly for X turns

 

- Choose a perk (one time events) predefined mutually exclusive choices like "all powerplants +1" OR "powerplants on lava planets +3".

 

- Choose our priority (recurring events) very similar to the one above but it reappear regularly and you can make the decision again (by default it uses your last choice) it has choices like "our schools should train more pilots" OR "our schools should train more engineers".

 

- Diplomatic incident (recurring event) a diplomat of yours messed up things and relations with major race X (you don't get this event for minor races) deteriorated. You can respond in 3 ways "complain about competence of imperial officials" (a random diplomat/official will get +1 competence), "who cares, I planned to conquer them anyway" (+10 to combat vs that race for the next 20 turns)

 

- Intelligence opportunity (recurring event) your agents were able to bribe an important official of another race (mostly this event appears vs democratic/republican/merchant races) choose one "reveal military secrets: +10% to combat vs that race for next 50 turns", "we are friends speech: their anger vs us drops by 5 points", "we don't need this planet: you get a random border planet of theirs (that borders your empire) instantly and without consequences". Again, these won't pop up vs monarchistic/dictatorial races, only races that have politicians capable of selling their own country for their personal gain can be the target of this event.

 

Here is also a related topic on Writing subboard but it's going slow:

http://www.gamedev.net/topic/671475-storyline-for-an-imperial-court/

 

 

 

If you have some comments, more ideas, better ideas, different ideas, anything related, post.

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How about the opportunity for one peon per session to come and vent their spleen at you?

 

"Oh beneficent ruler, we, the people of Grok IV, have to put up with terrible [...] Can you help us in our plight?" ;)

 

Then obviously your reaction has an effect on your empire-wide popularity or something.

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Are you looking solely for narratives that could take place in an "Audience with the Emperor" situation, or are you hoping to see narratives paired with gameplay ramifications? While the latter is what (I hope, at least) will be in the game, it's difficult to think up ways to impact the game systems when those systems aren't kknown to us. If that's what you're looking for, maybe give a brief overview of the types of systems/resources/mechanics you're ok with the Audience mechanic interacting with.

 

If you're just looking for imperial court stories, however, I imagine there has to be tons of medieval political/fantasy literature out there, take a look at some of those scenarios, and think up their future/sci-fi equivalents, maybe.

 

Some potential ideas:

 

 - Two delegates from neighbouring planets need you to settle some sort of territorial dispute (who has to clean up the crashed space station, who has the right to mine an asteroid on their border, etc). Influence with the planet you favour could increase, and decrease for the other planet.

 

 - Some fancy noble wants you to find a suitor for their daughter. Candidates could include nobles from other planets (provides some sort of trade agreement/bonus between the two planets), or alien races (the planet will be more tolerant of that race or something idk).

 

 - After a combat scenario, a war hero could make an appearance for a medal ceremony. In addition to the medals, you decide how much of a "reward for outstanding service to the imperial legion" you give him, in gold (or some other resource). A generous reward will increase morale (strength) of the army, and the opposite for a measly reward.

 

 - Public execution of an enemy spy(?)

 

 - Some sort of space gypsy witch offers to do the science fiction equivalent of reading your fortune. This could be an opportunity for the game to cryptically give information to the player that they wouldn't otherwise be able to know, like warning of future attacks, revolts, assassination attempts, etc.

 

 - Meeting with advisers. In Civilization 5 the Player as access to a group of advisers that essentially give tutorial messages about various aspects of the game (econmy, diplomacy, science, etc). This is an interesting way of giving the Player access to tutorial material while still making sense in the fiction of the game. Every audience day, maybe one of the people could be a different adviser, ready to give a bit of advice if the Player is having trouble.

 

 - Could be given the opportunity to create laws/policies regarding race/gender equality, or even military ethics (should this alien race make as much as humans per hour? should a [alien race] thief be punished more than a human thief? what should be the penalty for not adhering to these laws (alien racists/sympathizers)? is chemical/nuclear/laser warfare permitted,/ethical?). These are interesting questions that games don't cover very much (at all?), and it'd cool to see a little bit of social commentary (or at least reflection) in a genre usually devoid of it.

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Are you looking solely for narratives that could take place in an "Audience with the Emperor" situation, or are you hoping to see narratives paired with gameplay ramifications? While the latter is what (I hope, at least) will be in the game, it's difficult to think up ways to impact the game systems when those systems aren't kknown to us. If that's what you're looking for, maybe give a brief overview of the types of systems/resources/mechanics you're ok with the Audience mechanic interacting with.
Both. I'm partially trying to get into the mood, so even incompatible ones are OK.

 

As for types of systems/resources/mechanics to interact with, that's one of the problems I have :) Sure, I have some invented but... overall I'm not sure how to handle it in terms of 4X. How such audience interact with the rest of the typical 4X gameplay? Should it be fully integrated with the game? Or be a sort of separate minigame (with common points like "trigger gameover/win")? Probably some sort of both approaches would be best...

The thing is, when I try to approach it I quite quickly exchaust available mechanics/systems/resources :) So, maybe a more storyline like would be better here? Like "there is a plot to overthrow you" or "a secret organization started to operate and want to..." I mean more mechanics that trigger other storylines/events maybe?

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