Author Topic: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!  (Read 4866 times)

Offline Valtiel

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2013, 02:10:38 PM »
I just won Hamlet Idyll on Torment difficulty, with 17 turns to spare, by mindlessly placing whichever building would net me the highest score. I think something is wrong.

In more detail:

At a first glance, it looks like the optimum strategy is to divide the map in half, pile all the nobles and banks and temples in one half and all the peasants and peasant workplaces in the other. I might be right about this, I might be wrong, but if I were going to try playing smart, that's what I'd do.

It's difficult to assess how much the spawning characters (peasants, nobles, etcetera) are harming my score, because the game doesn't display how much score you WOULD get if they weren't in the way. It would be nice if the game would display this, ideally greyed-out or struck through, at least during the beta-testing phase so we can work out how much effect they're having.

Several times, without planning to do so, I found myself in the position of placing in the same space repeatedly, because there was a group of buildings - usually Noble housing - surrounding one square, making that square intensely lucrative for temples, banks, and more nobility. The proposed "builder" would fix this, but again, I'd like to be able to see the score cost incurred by these.

Despite the stack of five buildings, it seems difficult and pointless to plan ahead. For one thing, if you place a building at the static, low-scoring end of the queue in the hope of getting a combo from something at the high-scoring end of the queue, it had better be a bloody good combo because not only do you get fewer points for what you just placed, you've just cheated yourself out of an extra pile of points when the building you intend to place next moves along the queue into a lower-scoring box. It almost feels like the scores scale the wrong way along the queue!

Let's think about this. If the scores didn't scale with queue position, would there be any tactical reason to play from one end of the queue or the other? Answer: No. Wherever you play from, you get one replacement building, and the only building you lose from the queue is the one you played. This was rather different when buildings would fall off the end of the queue every turn: There, you could potentially be in a position where the building about to fall off the queue was something you needed, so you'd play it straight away rather than lose it. With points scaling down as building options get older, you'd have an incentive to play things quickly, before they get stale and eventually vanish.

If the scores scaled the other way with queue position, so they'd move to the high-scoring end, which tile would you preferentially play? You'd still aim for the highest scorer wherever possible, in order to bump the others up in score. However, you'd actually have more reason to plan ahead - with the two spaces at the high-scoring end of the queue being your preferred choice, you'd be able to see in advance which buildings you were going to want to place next.

As things stand, you're preferentially playing the newest tile, which means the building you're going to want to place next turn is the one that hasn't arrived yet. You can't plan ahead -  or you can, but you're planning for tiles you haven't seen yet, and taking a big risk in doing so. I don't think it pays off.

Imagine, for a moment, that the queue only had three tiles in it, but you could see the next two tiles that were going to be added to the queue: greyed-out and unplaceable, but you know you're going to get them next.. Would this encourage more forward planning? Yes, I think so. Now, scaling the scores the other way - highest scores at the static end of the queue - works in a similar way. You WANT to place the tiles at the high-scoring end. The tiles at the low scoring end aren't actually greyed-out, but they might as well be, because you don't WANT to place them yet: they score too low. Would you ever find yourself wanting to place them anyway? Occasionally, maybe to score a combo (maybe placing that noble house first and THEN the temple will score more than doing it the other way around, even bearing in mind the noble will have a higher multiplier if you place it second?); to clear out civilians with a slum; or, when you've painted yourself into a corner and you've got something that's going to give you a negative score no matter where you put it, to get it out of the way before the multiplier racks up.

Am I waffling a bit on a subject I don't know much about? Maybe. I haven't yet made a serious effort to approach Hamlet Idyll with a mind to building combos and getting high scores.


Edit: Also, the Mayor's House never showed up. Can you code this so it has a somewhat higher chance of appearing, but will never be added to the queue if there's already a Mayor's House in play?
« Last Edit: August 17, 2013, 03:16:43 PM by Valtiel »

Offline Valtiel

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #16 on: August 17, 2013, 04:09:52 PM »
An additional comment: In Hamlet Idyll mode, there's no way to change the map layout. If you have a horribly-placed cluster of dead forests or something, you're stuck with it. This could potentially make the game unwinnable, or nearly so, on high difficulties.

I'd like to be able to place new map tiles (fields, forests, etc: everything that can appear naturally in the Hamlet Idyll map, so no blight or anything). It would cost a turn and score no points, and wouldn't move the building queue along, but it could correct a potentially doomed scenario. Certainly not something you want to use every game.

I'd put the menu for map tiles either underneath or above the Help button.

Offline Misery

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #17 on: August 17, 2013, 06:59:36 PM »

Ok, so how about having the Japanese town centres generate mythological beasts, but spend resources to do so? I think the cost for generating Myths in this way should be a fraction (1/2?) of the cost for placing them normally, possibly minus the soul imprint.

This fixes the problem of the Japanese amassing vast piles of incense and diamonds (because those are being spent whether you want it or not), while also giving the Japanese a unique drawback (you can't necessarily place the Myths you want when and where you want them, because Kagu-tsuchi has already spent all of your incense on producing fire-breathing killer chickens) and a unique advantage (discount mythical beasts).

While it's not a bad idea, I think it still leads to the same problem, which is the player having little reason to bother keeping the Japanese gods around.   Suddenly they've got more units they probably didn't want.... AND it's costing them resources. Instead of those gods being useful but dangerous, suddenly they're only dangerous.  AND expensive.  The most obvious, risk-free, and viable strategy, to most players, is likely to be simply killing off the related gods ASAP every single time they appear, since at this point they're only offering negatives.

Offline Valtiel

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #18 on: August 17, 2013, 07:10:48 PM »
I've thought of another reason to reverse which end of the Hamlet queue scores high. With the current setup, when you get a rubbish tile in the top-scoring slot, you can play the second or third slot, and then forget about the bad tile because it'll drop into the low-scoring regions which you never play from.

With the scoring reversed, when a bad tile shows up, you HAVE to deal with it sooner or later, because in five turns time it'll be sitting in your most highly-scoring slot, and if you leave it there and never play it, you're shooting yourself in the foot.

Offline nas1m

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2013, 12:22:40 AM »
I've thought of another reason to reverse which end of the Hamlet queue scores high. With the current setup, when you get a rubbish tile in the top-scoring slot, you can play the second or third slot, and then forget about the bad tile because it'll drop into the low-scoring regions which you never play from.

With the scoring reversed, when a bad tile shows up, you HAVE to deal with it sooner or later, because in five turns time it'll be sitting in your most highly-scoring slot, and if you leave it there and never play it, you're shooting yourself in the foot.
I think you make a convincing case here. Seconded.
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2013, 12:28:59 AM »

Ok, so how about having the Japanese town centres generate mythological beasts, but spend resources to do so? I think the cost for generating Myths in this way should be a fraction (1/2?) of the cost for placing them normally, possibly minus the soul imprint.

This fixes the problem of the Japanese amassing vast piles of incense and diamonds (because those are being spent whether you want it or not), while also giving the Japanese a unique drawback (you can't necessarily place the Myths you want when and where you want them, because Kagu-tsuchi has already spent all of your incense on producing fire-breathing killer chickens) and a unique advantage (discount mythical beasts).

While it's not a bad idea, I think it still leads to the same problem, which is the player having little reason to bother keeping the Japanese gods around.   Suddenly they've got more units they probably didn't want.... AND it's costing them resources. Instead of those gods being useful but dangerous, suddenly they're only dangerous.  AND expensive.  The most obvious, risk-free, and viable strategy, to most players, is likely to be simply killing off the related gods ASAP every single time they appear, since at this point they're only offering negatives.
You have a point here. I did not think of this  :-\.
But I am curious: How do you like my Nemesis idea from a few posts back? This would solve the issue fairly elegantly, wouldn't it?
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Offline Misery

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2013, 02:40:53 AM »
Hm, even if there was some sort of enemy boss spawning extra things, I dont think it'd really do anything for the main problem of what in the heck to do with the Japanese gods and their units.  The AI being what it is, the god on the player's side would likely not stay focused on the enemy boss for long, if at all, and the problem with the out of control god-units would still exist;  the safest solution still remains as simply nuking the Japanese god ASAP to put a stop to all of that extra risk; it'd be my usual tactic, at any rate.   Both sides could then simply focus on the boss and his minions.   The chances of the player using Armageddon-style powers would likely rise here as well if unit overload occurs due to even more bandit-style things showing up (due to spamming more units than usual to attack those added foes).

I'm also guessing that it'd be too much to implement as well.  There would be art to do and abilities to program and so on.

Offline nas1m

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2013, 03:14:58 AM »
Hm, even if there was some sort of enemy boss spawning extra things, I dont think it'd really do anything for the main problem of what in the heck to do with the Japanese gods and their units.  The AI being what it is, the god on the player's side would likely not stay focused on the enemy boss for long, if at all, and the problem with the out of control god-units would still exist;  the safest solution still remains as simply nuking the Japanese god ASAP to put a stop to all of that extra risk; it'd be my usual tactic, at any rate.   Both sides could then simply focus on the boss and his minions.   The chances of the player using Armageddon-style powers would likely rise here as well if unit overload occurs due to even more bandit-style things showing up (due to spamming more units than usual to attack those added foes).

I'm also guessing that it'd be too much to implement as well.  There would be art to do and abilities to program and so on.
Ah no, you got me wrong :). What I meant was this:
- Remove the automatic spawning of myth units belonging to the Japanese gods from Japanese Town centers
- Spawn a new kind of monster cave instead.
- Let the Monster Caves spawn myth units belonging to some other Japanese deity (which is not present on the board) at a reasonable rate 

So, no boss at all ;). The basic idea is to motivate the player to summon myth units to handle the extra threat coming from the monster caves, while still providing some reason lorewise why the Japanese side should tackle Japanese myth units (which makes much more sense if these are not the same units that can be summoned directly, very weird)...
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 03:18:56 AM by nas1m »
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2013, 03:48:11 AM »
Here's another thought:

Why not simply follow the path you selected for the Japanese gods to it's logical conclusion?

You chose to make them so that they are able and supposed to actively rampage the countryside.
The problem we have, as I see it, is that we have a truckload of really bonkers Japanese myth units which lead to a lot of fun on the board but which the player is not inclined to inflict on himself as they will make things substantially harder. Additionally these units are (as of 1.900) so expensive that the player is further warded from using them.

My proposal is this:
Remove the ability to place god related myth units for the Japanese faction altogether!
Instead, let the Japanese gods spawn them on their own accord in a certain radius of their position.
If they are supposed to spread trouble - let them do it right ;).
If spawning a creature every turn turns out to be too tough this can easily be toned down by increasing the time between spawns and/or randomizing it within certain bounds - similar to what is done with the Woes.

TL;DR: Make the Japanese gods into mobile Woes :).

Possible consequences include some resources (moonstone, sunstone) being neglected by the Japanese faction and a certain incentive to kill off the Japanese gods if possible.
Both issues are neglectible/solvable in my opinion.
The resources may either be put to use by adjusting the costs of the remaining myth units and tokens or to work toward culture based victory (which takes a lot of sunstone I hear).

Or the Japanese gods could demand some upkeep in terms of moonstone/sunstone and turn hostile against their own faction for some time if being denied the resources. *That* might turn out to be an interesting mechanic!

Killing them off should be easy to make troublesome, either by adjusting the gods stats if needed or e.g. by assigning a point penalty to their death. Killing them using Super Smite would be okay in my book as the player would have to work somewhat toward culture to achieve this. Maybe make it more expansive if used to purge a god if needed (I think somebody proposed context sensitive costs for this in the past).

So...
Thoughts :D?     
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 03:49:59 AM by nas1m »
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Offline Misery

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2013, 05:36:50 AM »
With the way some of the unit abilities are, I cant think of many ideas that dont lead to "kill the Japanese god ASAP every single game" which still doesnt seem quite right to me.   Not to mention that the Japanese faction currently feels like it has a much lower amount of options for dealing with situations;  they seem to almost entirely rely on Shinigami to survive nasty situations, since they dont have any of the mega-powers that the other two have with their god tokens.   Oh sure, they have other myth tokens of their own, but Shinigami is the only "big" one for dealing with major woes and other huge situations.     Which, in the current version, I end up firing off even more often, because the moment something like a Tanuki appears, the Japanese army is screwed.   Or I end up dropping Komainus on the town centers over and over again. 


The gods running around randomly farting out monstes would probably end up being a bit of the same problem:  save big "nuke" powers and use them over and over again to stem the flow, probably dedicating a large portion of the other side's resources to moon/sun stones for this exact purpose, and then nuke the god ASAP to stop it, because a "super monster cave" that runs around like a crazed maniac is possibly a bit much.   Particularly since other myth units often cannot hold a candle to some of the god-units, particularly in large numbers (particuarly once they level up, but some are terribly dangerous even at level 1), and human units are basically worthless against them.    Though.... as a completely seperate thought aside from this situation, maybe add something like a slower ally camp that can spawn things like this (like, not every turn, but every few turns, and maybe certain units such as Hou-ou might be restricted from appearing there) that just appears as an added effect (probably age of gods only), as this concept is actually not a bad one, I just dont think it fixes the main god-unit situation.


To me, the original idea was the best one:  Where the new units pretty much are just god tokens in unit form, with the same potential big risk VS potential big/useful effect, except that they then stay on the board as a mobile unit.  But the effects of many of them ended up being mostly risk, with little or even no benefit, for a number of reasons.

In many cases, I think simply switching up some of the effects a bit would fix this.  The Tanuki for example;  have it not affect the army that summoned it, and perhaps make it's effect temporary even (like, lasting 5 turns on any given unit or something) but then increase the range to 3 or 4.  It would be effective against enemy human units, and still risky, having a chance to go on a bit of a rampage depending on what happens (particularly since melee units would be worthless against it).  Something like Hou-ou would be similar; that one doesnt work out well for the specific reason that it chooses a faction randomly;  you cant be sure which side you're helping.  If it worked JUST on the faction that summoned it, it'd be helpful because of the guaranteed power boost.... but still quite risky as the army could get really out of control (and you still wouldnt know which exact unit it would target until you used it).    Other units like Nue actually ARE decent.... but their cost just doesnt add up.  Nue is useful for his simple ability of being able to launch across the map in one turn, BUT, he costs so much (and isnt THAT powerful in terms of health/damage) that his cost rendered him unusable. There's a good number of them that fall into that category beyond just Nue.  Basan (though he's a bit situational, mostly usable just on the bamboo map), that creepy tree thing, Kitsune (though it's effect is kinda weak) and various others. Those guys could be good with cost changes, and in some cases a bit of stat changes.  And some of them simply have abilities that dont really make sense as to how they could be used;  Kodama, Enenra, Hihi, Tengu, and all of Suijinsama's units all fall into this category.  They're all either total negative, or so ridiculously situational that they just have no use.

Perhaps working up entirely new mechanics isnt the answer, but some simple tweaks might do instead.  Granted, since these are currently a bit of a mess it's a whole pile of tweaks, but I dont think that it'd be a matter of like, complete recoding or outright replacement.   

I guess this is probably the best suggestion I have, since I really do think the original concept for these units was a very good idea;  it just came out very wonky in it's original execution.


That's my thoughts anyway.  Wether or not they're USEFUL thoughts is another matter  :P

Offline Valtiel

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #25 on: August 18, 2013, 06:27:55 AM »
I really can't think of an answer for this one. The Japanese god-specific Myths are frequently the kind of thing you'd never want to place, because they cause chaos, and that makes it harder to win the game. We then changed things so they're produced automatically, but this causes even more chaos and you desperately want to get rid of the god that's causing them to spawn. The only answer I can see is to make the Japanese Myth units less disruptive so there's more of an incentive to play them, but this could remove a lot of their character and general coolness.

Offline nas1m

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #26 on: August 18, 2013, 08:17:04 AM »
I really can't think of an answer for this one. The Japanese god-specific Myths are frequently the kind of thing you'd never want to place, because they cause chaos, and that makes it harder to win the game. We then changed things so they're produced automatically, but this causes even more chaos and you desperately want to get rid of the god that's causing them to spawn. The only answer I can see is to make the Japanese Myth units less disruptive so there's more of an incentive to play them, but this could remove a lot of their character and general coolness.
Raising the number of points granted by playing them significantly might well achieve what we want - it works for the more inconvenient God tokens of the other factions after all: You play them to accumulate score.
The downside of this is that we would likely have to increase cooldowns significantly as well to prevent the score gates from becoming irrelevant, thus taking a bit of uniqueness from the Japanese faction (read: more frequent god tokens/myth units).

But if we hit the sweet spot here - that may be the easiest and least disruptive solution to the problem that we yet discussed... 

Perhaps working up entirely new mechanics isnt the answer, but some simple tweaks might do instead.  Granted, since these are currently a bit of a mess it's a whole pile of tweaks, but I dont think that it'd be a matter of like, complete recoding or outright replacement.   
To my demise, you are probably right here :-\. I still like the other ideas we played with, though ;)...
« Last Edit: August 18, 2013, 08:22:27 AM by nas1m »
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Offline x4000

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #27 on: August 19, 2013, 09:11:55 AM »
Whew, okay.  Thanks for all the notes folks -- this was hard to internalize, but I have thread and I think I have a plan of action that you'll like.  Lots of points well taken here.

There were a couple of questions that I noticed that were based on misconceptions, or things that I just think are not a good idea for past playtesting reasons; in particular:

1. FYI, the hamlet civilians don't affect score, they just block where you can place new buildings.

2. In the past we had no overlays for the tiles in terms of the points given by hamlets, but that was incredibly difficult.  And let's be honest: if we took that away, we'd just be making players do lots of un-fun math.  The actual choices of where to place tiles for an immediate gain should be just as easy as it is now.  But the choices on how to delay gratification should be more interesting.  It's like leaving open a column for a long piece in tetris, etc.  I think a lot of the other suggestions here will probably completely handle this.

3. In terms of the god mythos, I think the simplest thing is a reworking of many of their abilities, or at least a tuning.  I will look into that.
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Offline Valtiel

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #28 on: August 19, 2013, 10:03:00 AM »
1. FYI, the hamlet civilians don't affect score, they just block where you can place new buildings.

I think there might have been some miscommunication here. I know the civilians don't affect score. However, I can't see what score I'd be getting from placing in the tile occupied by the civilian. For example, if I have a temple to place, and there's a nice little ring of noble houses, the middle square could be worth around a thousand points. However, if there's a civilian in that space, I can't see the "+1000" display over that tile, so I don't realise that the civilian is cheating me out of a massive score boost.

If I could see that, I'd be able to give you much better feedback on how much of an effect the civilians are having, and whether or not I benefit significantly from taking efforts to remove them.

Offline nas1m

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Re: Skyward Collapse 1.900 Beta "Release Candidate 1" Released!
« Reply #29 on: August 19, 2013, 10:05:52 AM »
Whew, okay.  Thanks for all the notes folks -- this was hard to internalize, but I have thread and I think I have a plan of action that you'll like.  Lots of points well taken here.

There were a couple of questions that I noticed that were based on misconceptions, or things that I just think are not a good idea for past playtesting reasons; in particular:

1. FYI, the hamlet civilians don't affect score, they just block where you can place new buildings.

2. In the past we had no overlays for the tiles in terms of the points given by hamlets, but that was incredibly difficult.  And let's be honest: if we took that away, we'd just be making players do lots of un-fun math.  The actual choices of where to place tiles for an immediate gain should be just as easy as it is now.  But the choices on how to delay gratification should be more interesting.  It's like leaving open a column for a long piece in tetris, etc.  I think a lot of the other suggestions here will probably completely handle this.

3. In terms of the god mythos, I think the simplest thing is a reworking of many of their abilities, or at least a tuning.  I will look into that.
Sounds good to me :)...
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