Siao

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  1. Company of Heroes did it with some visual cues. Like green dots meaning good cover, etc. You can take it to the next level, maybe a way to show the advantages player's units are enjoying vs opponents. Though moderation should be taken into account too many visual cues may end up cluttering the screen and a major turn off for players.
  2. A few ideas to make social part of the game more interesting.   1. Introduce Kingdom goals. Kingdom goals are set by the King of a Kingdom, this goals can be predefined  (e.g. accumulate 5 million gold or constructing some kind of monument), basically something that requires a certain level of unity within a Kingdom to accomplish.   2. Accomplishing the Kingdom goal translates to huge rewards to the King. The King will also be able to dispense/share the rewards with his subjects once the goal is reached.   3. Give the King some form of power over his subjects, nothing permanent but definitely felt by whoever is being punished. This allows the King to "unite" his subjects to accomplish the goal he has set. Of course doing so may actually "unite" players against a tyrannic King. This makes playing as a King a balance between carrot and stick to gather support for his goal.   4. If a subject has enough power (influence?) in game, he may lessen the punishment a King may be able to place on him. Realistic to a certain level as it is easier to punish a commoner compared to a powerful Duke.    5. After winning a war, if the winner is the attacker, the attacking King may delay the losing Kingdom's Kingdom goal in some form.   Basically I think adding some form of goal be it long or short term and more interaction between players will improve the social component of the game.. who knows you may end up having some disgruntled subject/faction working with another Kingdom to sabotage his own King's Kingdom Goal. 
  3. To answer your question on whether you can build a big game by starting small. Of course you can, just look at Microsoft Word and its multiple incarnations over the years more and more options for document editing were added, and now cloud based documents, etc. So it is entirely possible to make a big game by starting small and planning big. As for the method for doing it depends on the size of your team (1 person? 5? 10?), the experience of your team (Beginners? Programmers out in the working world?), the commitment of the team (full time? hobbyist?) and where are the team members located (everyone is located at the same place?). If you have a small team, say 1-5 members with little to no experience doing this as a hobby. I will recommend the traditional waterfall method. It is simple and straight forward when compared to agile development. Don't get me wrong I like the idea of agile development and have personally been involved with quite a number of them, but agile development does requires the team to be highly disciplined (simple things like regular sprint meetings may not be possible if everyone is doing this as a hobby), and led by people who have experience in it (e.g. a good scrum master and product owner to write the stories). At the end of the day, no matter what method you chose, spend time to properly plan this out. For a good plan will let you know what is achievable in what time frame, and most importantly let everyone in the team knows how far to go to achieve the final objectives.
  4. Localized Resource Systems

    Allow the player to "rent" storages. If this is a multiplayer game, you can make it more interesting by having contracts between players to rent storage spaces. The potential for players' interactions will increase accordingly.
  5. You can try making time feels slower while in battles... Example, when you encounters an enemy army the time display freezes "15th Jan 1234" ... After the battle time suddenly moves forward with the clock jumping at a fast rate to "current time" and display all news between the start and end of battle. Actually you will have more problem with the following scenario... Player A meets Player B on the battlefield after 2 hours in real life (2 months in game time)... while the battle is going on Player C arrives with another army to reinforce Player A. Together Players A and C defeated Player B... All seems well until you realised that Player C raised this army within 2 months in game time and marched them hundreds of miles to destroy Player B. I hit similar design issue as yours until I came up with the following idea.. 1. I "instantiated" my battlefields and make them inaccessible to other players except for certain situations see point 3. 2. Each battles have limited time example: 1 month in game time. 3. Before the start of each battle, players within 1 month game time of marching/transportation etc, will be prompted if they want to join in the battle. If yes the game will auto calculate at which point of time their force will enter the battlefield. 4. Only players that knows of the battle are able to participate in it.
  6. You can block off the enemy, but what happens is the enemy will tunnel towards your based via an "easiest path". Used in some tower defence games, if you tried to block the path the creeps will attack your towers and attempt to punch through.
  7. [quote name='glhf' timestamp='1334909464' post='4933112'] [quote name='Siao' timestamp='1334908341' post='4933108']Don't forget we had been building houses for ages before the first architect was born and we had been making do. [/quote] The above is what you're reply sums up to. And my response is that the little huts etc you were building before architects came pales in comparison to the grandness of the architects buildings. [/quote] And my point is Indy teams do not have the luxury of building a grand temple, they make do with what they have which is not a lot.
  8. I assume when you said "indy" you mean small scale companies or a group of hobbyists. In such small scale environment where budget is limited everyone is expected to pitch in to contribute to the completion of project and that means people who actually get the work done - your programmers, sound people, graphics people, your system admin etc. True. A good game designer will make the difference between a good game and a bad game, but the difference of a programmer in such teams can determine whether the project is going to be completed at all. Another sad fact is that everyone can be a game designer, but not everyone can be a programmer. If you ever worked for small IT companies (or generally any small company) you will notice that almost everyone will be doubling up in different roles because there simply isn't enough resources to go around like big companies. Having said that if a pure game designer wants to get the respect they want in an indy team, the game designer will need to prove to the team that he can contribute to the indy team as much as everyone else, which comes back to the point of them needing to do things that actually contribute to the game. As for highly detailed planning, as a project manager I can tell you one thing - plan but don't waste too much time planning, because someone or something is gonna ruin your day, spoil your plan and just make your life miserable regardless of the amount of detailed planning you have. Don't forget we had been building houses for ages before the first architect was born and we had been making do.
  9. Try the following game - Clash of Kingdoms. The game allows groups of players to achieve total server dominance over other teams, when that happens the game is over. You can probably create a "history" for each server restart, show casing hour-by-hour or turn-by-turn changes in the game world. It will be quite interesting to see what is happening throughout the history before each server reset.
  10. Sorry, cut out quite a lot of information to prevent the initial post from becoming too long. [b]Experiment 1[/b]: Give various friends different pieces of information and ask them to share it among themselves. The information can be conflicting and/or unique to each friend. Interestingly, the more they work together the better they get, at the end of the experiment they worked out a way of relaying information (each person reports their information while a chosen person will collect and determine the overall picture) which is quite similar to actual military chain of command. By the end of the experiment (4 different scenarios), they are able to share their information within 1 min (4 turns in game). [b]Experiment 2[/b]: Give same group of friends (which has their way of relaying information) and give them changing information. This is to test the real battle scenario where you will find 5-20 units moving around the battlefield. At first even their way of relaying information failed, they changed and organise themselves into a pyramid structure (which is again very similar to what a military chain of command is like in real life). At the beginning of the experiment my friends become more overwhelmed as the number of moving units increases. By the end of the experiment they managed to work out a way to reduce this but are still not able to overcome the problem. The experiments are very encouraging, my friends worked together as a team to overcome the problem, I can imagine those who don't work together will be completely overwhelmed by the system (which is both good and bad). Let me go into more details for the designed battle system. As stated before there can be one to many commanders in an army. Commanders can range from unit commander (commanding a unit), section commander (commanding one or more units of a section of the battlefied e.g. right flank) and overall commander. Each commander has limited number of command points to give units orders, that regenerates over turns. Thus the army with more human commanders and capable ones will have a huge advantage over the opponent. Thus information restriction is mostly on the frontline unit commanders, whereas the section and army commanders will have a clearer picture of the whole battle thus allowing them to better direct their sub units in the battle.
  11. [b]Background:[/b] I am currently doing an online strategy game and one of its important component is battles. A typical battle will have 2 or more sides, each side able to field a number of players from individual unit commander (swordsmen, archers, etc) to the army commander. Personally I am a big fan of cooperative gameplay thus I would like to have a battle system that rewards the side who has a good team of players instead of the one who has the stronger army. The battles are timed turn-based affairs - this is to make it much easier to implement technically (browser game) as well as to make it easier on the players itself - with 15 seconds turns where players can give command to their units or sub-units (that are commanded by other players), when time is up all units move simultaneously and resolves any combat. Having multiple commanders also has an impact on various gameplay elements, from command, effectiveness of a unit and Line Of Sight. Line Of Sight is an interesting gameplay element that I feel has has yet to be fully explored in multiplayer games. [b]The design (simplified):[/b] - Every commander on the field has a different perspective of the overall battlefield. For example, a unit of spearmen on the front engaging an enemy is probably only be able to see the enemy unit it is engaging as well as a few other units nearby. It may not be able to estimate the strength of the enemy effectively. - Every commander will see different details of an enemy unit depending on the commander's ability. For example, two allied units may see different details from an enemy unit that is far off. One may see the enemy as a thousand-man strong spearmen unit, while the other may see a 500-man strong infantry unit. - Overall commanders will have all their sub-units' information have depending on the overall commander's staff ability. (Still thinking this one through but not related to my question) [b]The problem:[/b] With today's technology (Skype, Messenger, etc) players will be able communicate instantly thus making the whole "inability to get the whole battlefield picture" idea to moot. I have also done some experiments and observations on this idea and the results is kinda divided. I would like to get some feedback on whether this LOS system is feasible or is it simply a nuisance? Is there a way to implement a LOS system that achieves what I am looking for - simulating battlefield chaos that rewards players that work together as a team? Thanks.
  12. [quote name='c-Row' timestamp='1319185697' post='4874967'] One possible goal could be buying others enough time to make an escape through said portals for example. You can't win the game for yourself but would still get a sense of achieving something. [/quote] Add in a rousing scene of our hero making a speech about heroic last stands so that more civilians can escape to a new world will definitely make things interesting and emotional at the same time. Add in some kind of counter that shows the number of civilians making through the portal is giving you even more incentive to hold out longer.
  13. Market (supply and demand)

    Spotted a potential problem in the Virtual Client where the client "will buy more if price is low" this sounds to me like price fixing. What is interesting is who is controlling the VM? AI? How is VM creating his goods? You need to be careful not to create a market that excludes the player, example, you will always have a VM selling to the VC thus a player can never sell more then what the VM is selling else will the VC buy from the player? You will always have a VC buying from a VM thus ensuring the VM's survival. Correct me if I am wrong, cause I am very interested in your VM/VC idea. For me I am now looking at having a proper supply and demand. Demand = Population will buy a fixed amount of item categories every tick (e.g. 2000 pop will buy 2000 tons of grain every tick) depending on the size and prosperity of the population. The population will give a higher priority to necessities over luxury goods (e.g. grain over expensive clothes). The population will generate gold every tick, basically the formula to generate the gold is based on the prosperity of the town and region it is in. Using this gold the population will try to fulfill all its demand spending money wisely to fulfill as much demand as possible. Supply = Players transporting goods to population centers and sell it on its market or buying contracts (e.g. deliver 2000 tons of grain to ton by this date) and fulfilling it. Still very much a work in progress for me as the demand portion is really quite complicated, but I have already spotted a few problems. 1. How is gold generated without causing inflation, exploring a few ideas nothing concrete yet. 2. If no player is willing to supply some out of way towns, the towns can literally die out (if necessities are not met, population will shrink over time). Your idea of a virtual merchant is interesting, let me crack my brains on this to see if I can find a solution to this.
  14. Market (supply and demand)

    I did a simple test to see if I can force a price to hit rock bottom. Based on following formula. If selling amount outnumbers buying amount price reduce by 1 gold. A manipulating player who understands this formula can just continuously sell more then buyers, one way to achieve this is to go some remote places where other players will not take note and since there is no actual goods (30 tons of iron) I can just buy and sell any amount in this remote kingdom, I can basically force the price down by making large amounts of selling, or if there are no buyers in this kingdom just selling 1 unit will be sufficient. Assuming I have the resources to keep selling (buying from other kingdoms to make up for the amount I am selling). After a number of ticks (in your case is 8 hours), the price hits rock bottom of 1 gold (assuming that is the minimum price for any object). This is basing on a few assumptions, like having enough resources, other players have not discovered this and attempt to buy in on the cheap which disrupts the manipulator's plan. I tried to tweak this by using the following formula: If selling amount outnumbers buying amount price reduce by 1 percent of current price. This does not solve the problem at all, only makes it harder for a player to manipulate the market as he needs more ticks to make the price of an item drop to rock bottom. That's when I drop this idea and started exploring tracking the actual goods.
  15. Market (supply and demand)

    I have thought of using the same idea for an economy model and realize it can be abused depending on how you calculate the way the price fluctuates. Example 1, Fixed amount changes. If you move the price up or down by 1% depending on the volume. If given enough resources I will corner the market and just making sure selling volume > buying volume continuously for a period of time until the commodity I am targeting hit the bottom say 1 gold/unit. From then on the market for this commodity is controlled by me, I can just buy in bulk whenever I want and just profit from having such a cheap supply (with occasional manipulation to keep it rock bottom). This may be prevented if your market is big enough to prevent a particular player from cornering one commodity in one market. Example 2, Percentage amount changes. Slightly harder, but still achievable you just need a longer period of time to drive the market down. Suggestion, Keep track of scarcity of goods, then move the prices based on availability of goods in meeting this demand.