• Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  

4X & tower defence mix

This topic is 913 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

I realized my game (asymmetric 4X in space) has a serious design flaw. So, I'm back to the drawing board and to the initial idea which is focusing more on the tower defence part than on the 4X part. Disregard any prior knowledge you might have about this project, I want to give it a fresh look.

 

 

Basic mechanic (do not change unless REALLY important):

Galaxy is made of 300-500 systems/planets (each system is one planet), these are connected by starlanes, you start in the very middle and control like 50-100 planets. Via the edges of the map (from another galaxy) or via transdimensional rifts (or via whatever, it's less important and I can adjust) enter evil aliens that want to kill all life in the galaxy. They do so in a tower defence style by sending waves. They traverse the space (exact rules of movement can be adjusted if you desire, the default rule is they have to take over a planet before they can move to the next one) and aim for your homeworld (the planet at the very center of the galaxy) once it falls it's an instant game over.

 

Additional mechanic (OK to be changed):

I would like some other, local alien races, to inhabit the galaxy. They would be part an enemy (compete with you for the planets) and part an ally (since you are in the center and they surround you and the evil aliens start at the outskirts they need to move through these local aliens first and therefore local aliens can be treated as a free cannon fodder).

The goal of the game could be to control XXX planets and survive Y waves of evil aliens invasions.

 

I'm a bit worried about the local aliens, like if it wouldn't be so easy if the evil aliens need to pass through their territory first. Maybe make some rule that the evil aliens can skil/jump over their territory? Hmmm....

 

Another thought is how about planetary defences? I guess in this sort of game these should be important? Any maybe exert power to neighbour planet as well? Anyway, wild ideas here might be feasible.

 

 

 

I don't have a specific question, post anything you find might be useful (compatible with the basic mechanic part).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement


I realized my game (asymmetric 4X in space) has a serious design flaw.

 

which is...?

 


I'm a bit worried about the local aliens, like if it wouldn't be so easy if the evil aliens need to pass through their territory first.

 

the Golden Horde from Medieval Total War I.

 

they show up late in the game. they start on the east edge with one province and something like 40 armies, whereas a "great power" might have 6 or 8 armies.  

 

the basic idea is you give them so may units they can fight their way through the intervening faction territories and reach the player.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may consider not starting in the center necessarily, you may also start at the edge of "known universe" ( which also means "Uncharted Territory" DLC later :P ) , it can also be a difficulty setting. ( starting number of planets as well , people may get bored of beating weak aliens again and again.)

 

And, as NB mentioned, you know that you will face Mongol Horde for example if you play with Turks in M2TW, it is far less likely if you do with Spanish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I realized my game (asymmetric 4X in space) has a serious design flaw.

 

which is...?

Being unfun, which was caused by poor pace and balance caused likely by my focusing on the 4X part instead of tower defence, I think.

 

Anyway, your post about the horde is exactly the thing I'm asking for.

 

which also means "Uncharted Territory" DLC later tongue.png

:D

Edited by Acharis

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll first mention I'm a Scifi 4X solo developer who is designing his own game too but I like how yours is coming along. If you'd like to take on an additional designer drop me a message.

Hmm, changes you could try..

 

I definitely agree that you need defences for your planets. It looks like you can only have 9 fleets on a map of 300 systems or is that wrong. That might work if you could an unlimited number of ships around for planets protection without using fleets, but fleets allow you to move ships a planet that's "outside of your control". Perhaps if they are on a planet you control they give a tactics bonus to combat so they're still useful but not neccessary for defence.

 

I think you need to simplify some of the interface if possible. 0 to 5 is better than 0% to 100%, and "barren" to "ultra rich" is better still to describe the resources of a planet. In the case of "loyalty" "not very, adequately, reasonably, highly, completely" may be better. It's not clear what "12 loyalty" means, so just tell players what it means instead of using numbers.

Hide any information that isn't of any use. If the statistics count as "normal" just hide them; if there are no perks, hide the perks section. If it's not useful or different if shouldnt be there.

I'd also replace "loyalty" with something like "humanity" or "leadership"; how hard does this official push the workers, how humanely does he treat them. That can mean more work output at the cost of happiness/chance of an uprising. I'd also try at least halving the number of officers you have to sort through. Three is a adequate for having a choice, five is a good selection, seven is bordering on too many to chose from. Let allocating leaders be a short task that you do more often than a long complicated task to do all at once.

 

One that messed with your basic mechanic is trying a change with the rule about the homeworld being a win condition and make it about extinction. B-lining for a homeworld seems like an exploitable tactic when what they want is to wipe life from the galaxy. Perhaps have rare worlds that give a double bonus to something, so the player feels like they found a treasure so the player goes out of their way to get hold of it and keep it protected. If your home planet gave double the birthrate and happiness/morale of a normal planet that's reason enough to keep it protected without having a game over condition. If they've built a mighty empire their home planet could be relitively worthless in comparison to the greatly superior worlds they've developed elsewhere.

 

If you had fuel sources that could become strategicly important. Only some planets could have fuel sources and if you want to fly an additional starlane away the fuel costs more than twice as much as it costs even more fuel to carry the extra fuel. (The cost of travelling additional starlanes doubles for each extra starlane) This can make expanding quickly very costly, and gives the player a penelty for trying to spread out too thinly too soon

 

Just a few ideas that jumped out at me as I looked at what was on your site, I havent played your alpha but hopefully this was contructive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


you know that you will face Mongol Horde for example if you play with Turks in M2TW, it is far less likely if you do with Spanish.

 

yes, i was going to mention that - big difference if you're an eastern power vs a western power.  western powers like spain and north africa seldom have to worry about the horde. turks and armenians - i'm proud if i can hold onto a single province and just survive. as the horde spreads out, they thin out, just like rome did IRL, so they only penetrate so far before the other factions can stop them and perhaps turn the tide. all you have to do is hang on til then.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Being unfun, which was caused by poor pace and balance caused likely by my focusing on the 4X part instead of tower defence, I think.

 

odd - i was unaware of the tower defense aspects of the game, and it was sounding plenty cool to me. but then again, i'm a 4x fan, and prefer high level to micro-management, and haven't played it so i know nothing of the pacing or play balance.

 

how does the tower defense part work? or is a "golden horde" outside invader faction and the need to fend them off what you mean by tower defense?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

while the golden horde is based on historical fact, its also a form of late game mechanic to spice up the "steamroll the map" style game play inherent in total war titles (and 4x's too for that matter...).

 

IE in pretty much all total war titles, once you get to a certain size, maybe 1/4 to 1/3 of the map conquered, from then on, its just rolling over your opponents - assuming you play your cards right.  the golden horde adds a new angle to the somewhat predictable and repetitive late game play of "move 4000 men against their 200 - auto-resolve combat - ok, next settlement.".

 

in rome2 they added the civil war game mechanic as a way to spice up late game play. before i started to pay attention to it, i used to almost get to critical mass to steamroll the map, then lose half my provinces to a renegade prince or general. once i started paying attention (and doing things to keep political parties in my faction balanced in power) i could avoid civil war every time, no problem, so for me its degenerated into sort of a micro management task of making the necessary adjustments from time to time. the most annoying thing is you can't lookup party strengths when you have to appoint a new general or admiral to replace a dead commander. so you have to remember or guess which party is weakest and should get the next appointment to maintain balance of power between parties in your faction. IE the interface doesn't give you access to the info to make the decision when it prompts you for the decision.

 

as i recall, "steamroll the map" late game gameplay is also common in 4x's.  to combat this, 4x's are famous for everyone ganging up on the player when it looks like they are approaching critical mass to steamroll the map.  cheating? yes - but effective.

 

the late game "alien invasion" mechanic is an excellent way to avoid late game "steamroll the map" gameplay. once the player gets to perhaps 1/2 the map conquered, you take it to a whole new level, with an alien invasion by a superior foe.

 

 

but in generic design sciences, you'd start with where you're at, IE whats wrong with the pacing and balance (and anything else), and how do these issues affect each other? this is supposed to help guide you in defining design criteria for your new solution (your new design). 

 

of course, perhaps you've decided to build a somewhat different type of game. more tower defense and less 4x. sort of sounds like you may have. in which case, using methodologies from the design sciences, you would start with a triggering question such as "whats wrong with current tower defense games?" in order to come up with a superior design.

 

so do we have  paradigm shift from 4x to tower defense going on here?  <g>.

Edited by Norman Barrows

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How is the "no micromanagement"-part going to work with over 100 planetetary defenses ?

If you can't change much about an individual planet's defenses the game keeps having the same problem as pointed out in some other thread:

either the defenses hold, or they don't. On top of that it would not be much of a tower-defense if you can't micromanage the "towers"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


It looks like you can only have 9 fleets on a map of 300 systems or is that wrong.
Yes, but each fleet can have up to 20 squadrons (squadrons are the things you see on the map, fleets are just abstract administrative units).

 


One that messed with your basic mechanic is trying a change with the rule about the homeworld being a win condition and make it about extinction.
I could adjust, that part is of low importance to me. I want to keep the "lost of player's HW means instant gameover" but AI don't need to target it, just something the player worries about (also, since some mechanics use "distance from homeworld" the gomes goes to whack if the player does not control own HW). Actually, I find the lost of HW being a rare occurence (except some late game stuff), typically the player would struggle to keep the hold on the border planets, worry about internal stability and prestige.

 


On top of that it would not be much of a tower-defense if
Not like that. I'm noit trying to make a tower defence game, I'm marketing it as a 4X. I just think the tower defence mindset (waves of enemies especially) is very compatible with the feel and premise of the game. It does not need to show to the player, no problem here. I just say that I, as a designer, probably should think more in terms of tower defence when designing this game. That's all.

 

in rome2 they added the civil war game mechanic as a way to spice up late game play. before i started to pay attention to it, i used to almost get to critical mass to steamroll the map, then lose half my provinces to a renegade prince or general. once i started paying attention (and doing things to keep political parties in my faction balanced in power) i could avoid civil war every time, no problem, so for me its degenerated into sort of a micro management task of making the necessary adjustments from time to time.
Yeah. For civil war I was thinking mor about it being almost unavoidable. Like you have a rebel progress bar and when it fills up a rebelion starts and the bar resets. So, a rebellion could happen more than once. Instead of micromanaging to to prevent it the player would trade external power to internal stability (by appointing loyal instead of competent officials for example) in order to slow the process.

 


but in generic design sciences, you'd start with where you're at, IE whats wrong with the pacing and balance (and anything else), and how do these issues affect each other? this is supposed to help guide you in defining design criteria for your new solution (your new design).
* stalemate - player being unable to progress significantly or lose, very slow change of the borders (you get a planet in one place, lose it in another, when you reconquer the lost planet the first you conquered gets a revenge strike from the previous owner)

* player steamrolling if AI is weak - it's quite easy, under lower difficulty setting for the player to massively dominate the ememies.

 


you would start with a triggering question such as "whats wrong with current tower defense games?" in order to come up with a superior design.
I would reverse it, what's wrong with 4X. These are too symmetrical. Everyone start as a boring dot in the map surrounded by emptiness, everyone play by the same rules. Every single game follow the same phases (early colonization, border skirmishes, total annihilation of enemies by the player). I would like to play a game where you start in already living galaxy, filled with preexisting powers. Theses powers (AI) not playing the game to win, only the player being able to win, the rest just living ther and having their own goals and objectives and, very important, it does not hurt the player if they reach these objectives, there is no "race X has built a trans something machine and therefore won the game: game over", that sux :D)

 

so do we have paradigm shift from 4x to tower defense going on here?
Again, the tower defence here is more like a tool or a mindset. Not the goal per se. If the conclusion is it works better without it I have no problkem at all.

I just get an impression it would fit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement