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Yvanhoe

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  1. Have a stupid but overwhelming ennemy : ZOMBIES ! I never played DOTA but apparently this is the same motivation. Tower defense games involve a predictable, stupid but overwhelmingly powerful enemy. It takes skill and strategy to defeat those. Alternatively, you could have a game where a natural process is the "enemy" : manage an ever growing population, manage resources in a sea-rising world, build a civilization/city/base with a countdown timer that unleash a vague of destruction you have to resist for the longest time, etc...
  2. My take is : ditch 3D. A board is 2D, mapping a 3D space into this is going to be uncomfortable and unrealistic in some way or the other. 3D strategy anyway is not that interesting and usually very complex to visualize, even on a computer. Yes, turrets would probably cover 360° (and most of a sphere even in 3D) but if your game would be more fun if ships had to turn in order to shoot on rear, just do it. Anyway, in a space combat simulation, you are probably ditching realism somewhere. However, if you feel like going to the extent of using inertia and turning rules that are similar to navy rules, seriously consider doing a navy game instead (one can make a navy game in a SF setting, see Waterworld for instance)
  3. I am waiting for orbital combat. Here is a simplify proposition about how it could work : Have a set of dots representing the possible positions for ships. Have five or six concentric circles representing different orbits. Smaller orbits have fewer dots. Each turn, ships moves automatically one dot in the orbit they are, in a set direction. Moving one more circle in any direction costs a token of energy. Going into lower orbit costs one token, going higher costs two. Give each ship the ability to launch missiles that obey the same rules and have a set limit of energy. Correctly done, this means that lower orbits will be completed faster, and that higher orbits will provide with cheaper bombardment. Increased complexity can be reached by using line-of-sight for laser weapons or for solar recharging the energy. Hmmm, thinking about it, it could be a good computer game as well :)
  4. Mount & Blades has a similar (albeit very simplified) system : you begin like a single warrior, managing a troop that at the begininng looks more lika aa band of bandits than anything else. Your goal is to raise in the hierarchy of a kingdom. At first, when you get accepted as a lord, you are the lowest and weaker lord of the kingdom. The highest place you can get to (through voting by others) is marshall of kingdom, deciding which places to siege and when to lead a campaign against ennemies. Their system is straightforward : you first have a relation score system toward factions (the opposing kingdoms) the higherit gets, the more willing lords will be to ask you for strategical missions. You also have a relation score to each individual lord, that raises when you do missions for them, help them in battle, (depending on the criticality of your intervention) and lowers when you fight them or plunder villages in their fiefs. Each lord apparently has a relation with every other lord. When voting occurs, they simply vote for the person whith whom they have the highest relation. Even such a simple system can become quite complex : a mission for lord A could involve persuading another lord B at the cost of some relation with B. When choosing who must get a fief, you are almost guanranteed to make ennemies as you have to choose one amongst many, etc... Unfortunately, I have never seen a game using such a system combined with a good planner. I am working on planners right now I would love to make a game where NPCs would be treacherous bastards with a hidden goal they would do anything to reach.
  5. Light rules are fine, but the more complex rules will be, the more interesting negociations will get. If every territory has the same strategic advantage, trading them becomes straightforward for instance. But if some faction has a technology that makes one territory very useful to them but some other faction could get an economical edge through it becoming unused, etc... everything becomes more interesting.
  6. There are a lot of heavily RP MUDs out there but most of them still have a regular stats system beneath them. If you want a purely RP game you will need a game master and there you will find play-by-mail, play-by-posts (on forums) or IRC game sessions. However, there is a fine line between "interactive fiction" and role playing game. As someone who likes RP very much and tend to have contempt for stat-based RPGs, I still think that a decent RP-only game still needs a combat engine beneath it. When you do roleplay, you have to roleplay ABOUT something. If you want to be heavy on diplomacy, for instance, it means that violence is possible. Even without being focused on war and combat, if you want to roleplay about merchants intrigues, you have to be an economic system beneath your game, otherwise, it will become shallow. In a situation where you have to choose a camp, it is important to have some way of at least have a vague idea of who is powerful or who has an edge in a direct confrontation. For me, a RP-focused game means that confrontations will be rare. The more rare they get, the more RP-focused the game is, but also the more important the result of confrontations are. I think it would be a grave error to think that because confrontations are rare, removing them completely is possible. It is like saying that in most detective fiction, murders are rare and protagonist usually do not kill each other (there is often only one murder that happened before the story begins) but even rare and not shown, removing it would make all the rest of the story impossible. In fact detective fiction is a good example at how important it is to have a detailed "murder system" especially when only one murder happened : you get interested in the shape and locations of wounds, the weight of the body, its condition, strangulation marks, and so on. Even if most of the novel will be about chatting and gathering clues, it all relies on the "murder system" being coherent.
  7. Quote:Original post by TriKri By the way, I read a book before sometime which contained a chapter about a computer or a computer program (don't know which) called Eurisko (you can see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eurisko). Ever heard of it? I think that used Lisp too, or at least something similar. That computer achieved some amazing things! Does anyone know how it worked? It would be really awesome if my program could do about the same thing! I have spent some time documenting myself about Eurisko. Unfortunately, the details available in the literature are sparse. It was a rule-based system that had rules to generate new rules. It was some sort of an expert-system designed to create expert-systems. Very interesting stuff. Now its designer founded CycCorp. I am not sure about how well it is doing but he got a truckload of money to develop datamining software for antiterrorist purposes. Unfortunately it makes most of his work unpublished. There is an open version of Cyc named OpenCyc but I never really understood how one was supposed to use that. If these interest you, I suggest you read about rule base system, planners, theorem solvers, and all that falls into the GOFAI (Good Old Fashion AI) field.
  8. Quote:Original post by lithos I'm still convinced that "magic" would be used just like technology would, I doubt "natives" would even be able to tell the difference between science and tech or have any real reason to "need" to tell the difference. In the end to the "natives" it's just an application of skill, knowledge, and time. Oh, I agree completely. In a realistic setting, the use of magic would be incorporated like any other technologies to everyday life, military campaigns and romance drama. I am merely pointing at the fact that magic is used, as a game design device, as a way to enhance a character in an exaggerate (and downright unfair) way. Usually the designers do not take into full account the way magic should completely change their universe.
  9. Quote:Original post by lithos I've never understood why soo many people keep magic and tech separate. The truth of the matter is that magic is technology in your world. As a matter of fact even a lowly foot soldier is likely to know some magic, just like any of our soldier's know some physics.And that is exactly why many people keep magic and tech separate. Magic is used as a device to give more power to specific individuals (usually incarnated as the players or the villains). In settings where magic has a little background theory, its use is usually binded to some "active" people (the players) or to some rare items (collectible by the player). Another argument that my grumpy-scientist half whispers to me is that many people (including players and game designers) are more comfortable with a magic system that can do about anything suitable for the game ("how does it work ?" "magic!") than with technology that comes with a lot of constraints for it to be believable.
  10. In close combat, you'd still prefer a gun or even a riffle to a sword. The reason there are still bayonets on rifles is that they don't use any space (they are knives with a special handle, usually not mounted) and they can be used as a last resort weapon when ammunition is depleted. About the possible co-existence settings, the first black-powder portable weapons were inaccurate and of short range, less efficient than longbows, but they could be used by unskilled fighters more easily (aim, shoot) they just had to learn how to recharge. They also provided a shock and awe effect due to the huge thundering sound and the smoke they produced. The production of portable guns depends heavily on the ability to found steel. One could imagine an universe where this alloy is unheard of but natural and scarce occurrences exist (like Damascus steel) or a setting where iron, its core element, is rare (like Ancient Egypt, where it was extremely valuable as its only source was meteorites) About science fiction settings, Prince of Cats already covered most of them. Swords have a stylish feeling that many authors want to recreate. Another variants : The "Eternal War" comics tell about a device that changes the speed of light to a lower one and changes the laws of motions inside a bubble of up to a few dozen meters, rendering projectile weapons unfeasible. In one of my pen & paper RPG game, I used a setting I found funny. In an alternate reality, there was a forest where lived a strange kind of parasitic insect : it develops in the trunks and when mature, it grows a bubble filled with explosive chemicals in order to project its spawns inside another trunk. It can be triggered by a lightning or by a shock, like the one of another insect hitting the trunk, or... a bullet hitting it. Meaning that any missing bullet in this forest had a chance of triggering a chain reaction that amounted to an automatic burst for all the characters present. You can shoot, but don't miss ! In Shadowrun pen & paper, there are monomolecular whips and blades that cut really more easily into armor than bullets. They also have a specific kind of "magic weapons" they call focus weapons, that must be on physical contact with a magic user in order to be active and that are almost the only way to damage spirits and astral creatures.
  11. I am unsure wether it is piracy or the fact that it was discovered to be a niche market that led to its disappearance. There has been a recent remake of Sid Meier's Colonization and I am waiting for the gorgerous 0 A.D. (http://wildfiregames.com/0ad/) Granted, they put more focus on the war than on city building.
  12. - socialize : some monsters like company, others not so much. Loners will more likely flee from crowded places, socializer will tend to agglutinate. - sleep. Hey, sometimes you're just lucky. Now how much skill points have been invested in stealth ? - haul things. There are many things to be done in the dungeon. Monsters can help. They carry torches, candles, food, wine, tapestries, stones, pieces of wood, clothes, weapons, armors, cattle. No need to simulate a whole economy, but your dungeon can have a limited stock of these items that feed the loot found on monsters. If you want to go a bit deeper, have some place producing stuff and places consuming them : food goes between the kitchen and the dining room, wood goes from the exterior into the forge, enslaved virgins from the prison to the sacrificial altar... It could even be the goal of a game to find a specific item (or prisonner) in the dungeon.
  13. Great inputs ! Thanks for the insights. The sand castle/tide analogy gives me another idea : ineluctable ecological decline. People have to play on an increasingly narrow area of terrain. About Dwarf Fortress, however, a skilled player usually can get his fortress to work indefinitely. And it turns out that the other face of "losing is fun" is "winning is boring" ! (Great game though) Quote:Original post by Stangler If you are interested in trying to incorporate this idea into an MMO you could make it so that in order to mine for a certain item the player had to be "king of the hill" for as long as possible. The longer they remained king the more mining they could get done. I especially love this idea. That puts the "unwinnable" factor in the hands of other players. But what if the mined resources warrant an unbeatable situation ? It requires careful design...
  14. Touché :-) I would refer to a multiplayer online game. Preferably persistent but that is optional. Also, the zombie attack is the perfect setting for this kind of game, but what other settings could exist ?
  15. I recently stumbled on hordes.fr. It is a French web game where players form a community to try to survive a zombie infestation. During the day, players spend their action points trying to scavenge useful items and construct fortification and every night, at midnight, zombies attack. The interesting twist is that zombies get stronger (more numerous) every night in a way that makes it impossible to survive indefinitely but make it a challenge to survive the longest time possible. I wonder if people are aware of other games using such dynamics.