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About Polama

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  1. Polama

    To use or not use RNG in combat?

    If there's a geometric aspect (flanks and such), I think randomness is worth having just to introduce variation in outcomes along the line when two walls of units approach each other. Given that the player is sort of a coach, my design instinct is to introduce unpredictable wrinkles in combat to strategize around. In terms of range of values, there's two levels a combat can be viewed in: at the low level, it's pairs of individuals fighting. If 100 equal soldiers per side pair off and fight to the death, 95% of the time each side will end up with 40-60 soldiers (binomial distribution). As the armies grow larger, that collapses into a tighter and tighter proportional range (1000 vs 1000 is about 470-530). At another level, though, it's a team activity: If there's a lot of victories at one flank, the forces can wrap around and start seeing big advantages in that region. If an individual trips, he might leave his allies vulnerable. If one guy panics, it might sweep into a general retreat. At this level you can have much wider variations in outcome (although there's no standard equation anymore).
  2. Polama

    WMD gameplay in a strategy game

    Biological agents might have diminishing returns as vaccines are developed. They're also the most dangerous for the user (virus escapes the lab, sickness spreads to your own troops) which could have either accident risk or just an internal morale hit. Chemical weapons could be defended against (provision of gas masks to the citizenry). You specified they could only be used on cities, but chemical weaponry in particular can be used as an "area denial" weapon. I think the biggest questions, though, are on theme and tactics. War games are inherently violent, but chemical and biological atrocities are particularly heavy content. Does it fit in with the tone you're going for? Could it hurt marketability? How are your going to present these actions? Tactically, they can have a major impact on how a war is fought. Is there still a role for ground troops once nukes are in play at all? If it's a free-for-all among multiple empires, does the mutual destruction action make for fun gameplay (where use of WMD beget counter-use of WMD and leave both empires weakened and easy pickings for another side)? Would the stockpiling of weapons and then a sudden carpet bombing of a player leave them unhappy with the game? The basic idea is fine, but I think the implementation details need careful thinking.
  3. Assuming there are fixed routes and you're looking for something simple: Each star is connected to a finite set of other stars, each link has a weight (randomly or based on factors like distance, relative wealth, scientific interest, etc.) Each star has a base number of travelers based on local conditions, and a bonus % based on the links (quantity, quality, variety). Essentially each month a fixed number of people will definitely travel and some additional might travel if there's a convenient, cheap option. From a gameplay perspective, adding more routes grows the travel pool creating an inherent profit instead of just dividing the pool. A fixed percentage of travelers are divided up based on the link weights (so more people are going to Earth than a backwater). The rest are put in a general "going somewhere pool", approximating an averaging out of people with multiple choices (It'll take multiple hops to get to my destination, I don't care where I stop in the interim, or I'm going on vacation and any of these 3 planets would be fine). When a ship is leaving, you first draw from the fixed travelers going there, then from the general pool (possibly to an upper limit, like 50% over baseline). If it's turn-based-y, these are monthly travelers or whatever, if this is realtime use the total to calculate the interval to add a new traveler.
  4. From a realism standpoint, the main issue is that if you can land a soldier you can probably land a nuke (or drop a big rock) and if you aren't overly concerned with collateral damage that's likely to be a much cheaper option than waging war on a distant world. Dune uses technomagic shields that only let slow moving objects through. Something similar could be used to hand-wave in an army requirement. Alternatively, if you make the value delta large enough a developed world and a destroyed one, you could just make invasions far more profitable (although with potentially tricky-to-balance impacts on the value of settling new worlds). You could also make this the "rules of engagement". Since dropping rocks on all alien planets is so potent, this could be outlawed by convention with everyone agreeing to destroy a transgressor. If you think too much this creates weird situations (false flag bombardments and such) but it could work as a hand-wave. The flip side (armies without fleets) is easier to solve by making them easy to destroy in transit or by making it hard to wage war without orbital support. I'd be less concerned about sneaking a fleet onto a planet than waging war without a large, slightly removed source of supplies. Assuming a scorched earth policy by your foes, how would you ensure a war's worth of supplies at single landing, without just landing large supply depots for the defenders to bomb?
  5. Polama

    Growth mechanics for city builder

    Rather than measuring population access (where these become additional heatmap resources), what about making these more like achievements/unlocks? So rather than +1 pop per 20% of the population with access to ale, you gain +3 cap for collectively drinking 500 barrels, and +3 cap for having a brewer's guild (with some complicated set of requirements to construct). I find discontinuities like that tend to create more exciting gameplay moments, and it gives you a more flexible framework where each goal can be distinct.
  6. Here's how I might approach it: The noble houses rule baronies of planets. The emperor is the political leader of the empire, but lacks direct authority: he requests fleets, taxes, etc. from the nobility and they provide it (or don't). The barons are mostly in competition with each other: they view themselves as the true source of power in the empire. They covet each other's planets and nurse secret ambitions to raise a large enough fleet to seize control over the entire empire. As the emperor, you have a certain amount of discretion in doling out power. Newly settled or conquered planets must be granted to the barons. Internal migration and trade rules shift economic power. If you build a new spacestation the baron controlling it is strengthened. If a baron acts against your wishes (or more importantly, against the wishes of his fellow barons) you can punish him, giving away planets. Possibly you can play the whole game this way, making sure no baron gets strong enough to seize control while keeping them happy enough to not just kick you off the throne. But more likely you'll want to strengthen your tenuous source of power. As you have successes, you can increase the imperial authority. First you might make military requisitions mandatory. Then you form an imperial fleet directly in your control. Eventually you claim direct authority over the fleet. You claim a capital planet in your control, then a whole imperial barony. If you act too rashly the barons will dipose you, but by keeping them focused on each other and slowly gaining power you can eventually abolish them and take sole control. From a gameplay perspective, this also provides a natural feature gating mechanism. At the start the barons are powerful so you have limited tools at your disposal. By taking a power (I get to appoint the high admirals) you unlock a new mechanic, hopefully having figured out the basic ones by now.
  7. In a totalitarian global total war scenario there's presumably not much international trade going on, so something superlinear in the number of cities could simulate the value of non-local resources and specialization. If you wanted to get simulation heavy this could take into account resource diversity, but you could also hand-wave away and say "any city is going to be rich and poor in different resources." In essence by conquering a new city you got access to purer iron ore letting you smelt steel faster and produce more tanks, which is all abstracted into "more wealth." This would encourage snowballing for quicker games where somebody gets an edge and then conquers the world. Especially if you require geographic diversity this could have a counter where a player has to stretch themselves thin to maximize wealth, opening themselves up for counterattacks until they can resolidify with the additional wealth. Another resource to consider is "stability": If people aren't being fed, they'll turn to scavenging rather than showing up for their shift at the factory. If people keep vanishing into the countryside to get away from missile strikes, specialized knowledge keeps getting lost. If the highways are crumbling, deliveries are slow. Here construction would lead to better stability (more farms, road repair projects, hospitals), but it would mostly be a function of not letting your cities be attacked. Spies sowing unrest, air strikes, raids on truck conveys between cities would do economic damage, so you could fight wars two ways: either seizing cities with troops for knockout blows, or wearing your opponent down and then going for the conquest.
  8. The easiest solution to grinding is to have a shallower difficulty progression. If a player doesn't have to grind, most won't. If you want to actively discourage grinding (e.g. you want them to fail a lot at greater depths, or the system and setting are causing players to grind even though they don't have to) timers and exponential cost/reward both work. Another option is consumables: Every day in the dungeons sees your party growing stronger and getting better equipment, but losing their health potions/spell reagents/whatever. By doling out more potions the deeper they get, they're being lightly pulled along (but have some pacing decisions of their own) Another variant is the constant risk of catastrophe. The deeper you go the bigger the danger, but even at a shallow depth an angry RNG will kill you. You might die 50% of the time if you're too deep, 15% at the "right" depth and 2% during grinding. Now grinding is a tradeoff, because you're making later content easier but it's eventually riskier to keep facing this lowgrade danger rather than just racing to the end.
  9. Polama

    How to balance "proc" in RPGs ?

      Yup, that was the situation I was referring to (not that proc uses forces speed, per se, but that speed forces greater and great proc focus). Basically if the game is well balanced you probably won't see slow attackers using procs, or pure DPS fast attackers. That could be fine, but it's a loss of valid customizations. That said, it does make the general balance problem easier if you're willing to focus on a slice of valid builds and let non-standard builds have expected poorer performance. Note that this is basically the observation that even though option 1 exacerbates the issue, it's still an issue at some level with option 3.     It's kind of option 3 with a big caveat. A 40 turn attack might causes 40 ongoing damage. A 10 turn attack causes 20 ongoing damage. So after 40 turns, the faster attack has proc'd a lot more ongoing damage. But there's limited or no stacking, so actually if all 4 attacks were against the same target, it only has 20 ongoing damage. To get the full 80 point of possible ongoing damage the attacks had to be distributed among 4 enemies. The viability of that approach does depend on the larger combat system.   If you've got various skills with different effects, you might want to consider a reverse option 3 more seriously. It does break a certain expectation (maximize speed to get the most procs in), but it sort of feels like it fits the combat roles better: the slow attacker has a few important decisions about which powerful proc to activate (and then waits around for the attack to finish). The fast attacker is then responsible for using his greater flexibility to deal with the stronger effects his opponent is dishing out.
  10. Polama

    How to balance "proc" in RPGs ?

    Generally speaking, I think a fast attacker should be slightly weaker in aggregate than a slower attacker. If the fast attacker gets better benefit from proc's, this would mean the slow attacker needs substantially higher core damage per turn or health to make up for this additional drawback. I think option 3 would actually start locking characters into roles, where the fast attacker needs to maximize proc output to keep up. The reason the fast attacker will tend to be weaker is that they have more opportunities to switch strategies. A slow caster has to commit to an action 100 turns from now when the situation may have changed. A fast attacker can swig a potion or start retreating or use a different skill at much shorter notice. So we expect them to get better situational benefits, which needs to be balanced by something else. Stack limits seem like a natural way to provide variety: The slow proc is stronger, so the slow attacker has an edge one-on-one (offsetting their strategic limitation). However, the fast attacker has more aggregate proc output assuming they can spread it around. So in a crowd situation the fast attacker has the edge in proc power. However, in keeping with his role that requires smart situational awareness: maximizing proc output needs to be balanced against the benefit of defeating opponents one at a time to reduce aggregate damage output. The slow attacker is less flexible but is optimized for the obvious case of "take them down one at a time". The fast attacker can achieve better raw output, but needs to balance that against basic tactics.
  11. Polama

    Communism the Card Game

    It feels like a quick party game: perhaps an amuse bouche to kick off a boardgame night. The core mechanic seems to be a cooperate vs. mooch simultaneous decision, but I suspect the strategy will be limited from your randomly drawn hand. If you have 4 leisure cards this hand, you're going to be mooching whether that feels strategically correct or not. Still, that sort of chaos can make for a fun light game, where everyone has a chance to win. And the more game savvy will pick up on changing play based on everybody else's draws or even tracking whether key cards have been played this shuffle, so there's a bit of depth for those who want it. Keep it moving fast and I think it's a fun base. If you want a deeper game, I'd figure out ways to penalize non-mooching play (grinding out your VP fairly is probably the safest and least interactive path) and some mechanism for shifting your strategy beyond your random hand of cards.
  12.   I like the idea, but one thing I'd note is that social anxiety is not a symptom of Asperger's. An Asperger's individual might also experience social anxiety, and I can absolutely believe its more common in that sub-population, but they're different things. An Asperger's individual might, for example, have very specific circumstances where they feel prompted to reply in a social situation. That may be interpreted as social anxiety by others, but subjectively the individual is just following their specific social norms. It's also not uncommon for an Asperger's individual to have the opposite problem of the protagonist and have trouble with social cues about when it's not "appropriate" to keep talking on a subject.   Your protagonist is an individual, so it's totally reasonable that his experience matches your mechanism, but I'd caution overgeneralizing that.   Depending on the point of view you want to express, you might have the "win" state being the creation of relationships with like-minded, supportive individuals. Asperger's spectrum includes a tendency towards very passionate interests, finding interest groups on the topic could flip the interactions such that engaging reduces stress. It's also not unusual for an Asperger's individual to be very talkative with a very select group of friends/family and silent otherwise. Perhaps the accumulation of personal coping strategies and a supportive social network allows the player to accomplish things previously outside their ability (holding a job or getting promoted, romance, etc.)
  13. a few more ideas:   "I Want to be a Poser!" "Posers Save The Day" "Our Hero The Poser" "The Great Poser Adventure"
  14. Polama

    A basic plot for my MMO game

    What's the demons' motivation?   One possibility: The demons secretly provided the magic for the cataclysmic spell. They neglected to share the cancellation spell. Their strategy is to frighten powerful magical beings off their world and then cancel the spell at the last second and invade the abandoned world. Perhaps they are physically powerful and have some innate powers (interdimensional travel), but lack magic. So they steal the magical technologies of other beings.   That could leave an expansion where the players can return to a demon controlled world A, filled with massive cities torn by war, abandoned, and then looted and populated by demons.
  15. Polama

    Zombie types (enemies)

    Some other possibilities:   zombie animals zombie torso's: The aftermath of a zombie feeding frenzy, incapable of much motion, but hard to notice slightly sentient zombies: Able to use simple tools or shoot a gun guard zombie: chained in place, sign a human wants to keep people out graveyard zombie: The risen dead, more rotted and so weaker, but in especially big hordes
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