Author Topic: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.  (Read 6536 times)

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2015, 08:18:53 PM »
5. This is definitely going to take us some time upfront here, because it's just such a big thing.  The visual area and manipulation of this new board is going to take Keith until Tuesday, as one giant chunk of it.  It's a whole other coordinate system, because these hexes are flat-topped and not in perspective, so the way you translate point to hex and hex to grid location is completely different from the main game view.  Fun!  I mocked this up with a perspective view in photoshop, and it just looked horrible, so here we are.  It's definitely worth the time, but that's one thing that adds some upfront time to the new model.  But there's plenty of other stuff, and while he's doing that I'll be writing up details, filling in data, and trying to figure out the most efficient path through the bulk of this, and then what pieces can be left until after an initial release of this (so that we can be playing with it in the beta while those last bits are added in).  Certainly not every strategic/diplomatic option will be in day 1 of the first beta release of this, so I have to figure out which things need to be for testing purposes, and which can fall to the week or two after that.
Haha, oh I doubt it was that bad. I mean, it could have been a certain PS2 RPG's skill chart. I love the game and still go cross-eyed when I look at this grid, and I doubt you're going anywhere near as crazy. EDIT: In-game version, just for comparison.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 08:20:28 PM by Watashiwa »

Offline Cyborg

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #16 on: July 01, 2015, 09:06:03 PM »
I'm concerned about these changes. It's not like I enjoy the way things are now, but diplomacy just doesn't look exciting. It's the forgotten x in 4X for a reason. Your diplomacy in the last Federation was actually really clever and probably the best I've ever seen done in a game. One of the best parts about that game is just firing it up and living through a game. Who knows what's going to happen? Nobody, and that's why you play.


In what you listed, it sounds like relationships are going to be rather static between races instead of something you can manipulate. I'm not suggesting you remake the last Federation civilization style, but I would say, you should not feel bad about taking what was fun about diplomacy in that game.


So far, this is not a better game than the last Federation (and let's not compare to AI war). Combat, while not the focus, is wonky, it remains hard to use the technology tree after repeated reshuffling. The game still doesn't feel like it's playing with me. I feel like I'm very much alone on the planet.


My suggestion to you, and what will excite science-fiction fans and people who play your games, is to bring your planet to life in the best way possible. You have all of this lore, a great audience experience with the characters from the last federation, unique and captivating illustrations, they are the stars of your show (pun intended). If you don't use them appropriately, this will not sell. You will know when you are doing it right (especially with the diplomacy) when you get people talking about their experiences and the races themselves. That's what happened with the last Federation. People started talking about them like real characters and compare notes as to their personalities. People talk about ai war  in a similar way. We have feelings about the characters in these games. But none of that exists in this game. You have to sell that.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 09:07:52 PM by Cyborg »
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Offline mrhanman

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2015, 09:50:01 PM »
You had me at "hex grid".  8)

I must confess that the diplomacy parts of most 4X's I've played are the parts I'm least familiar with, simply because they're never very fun.  The framework you've outlined sounds pretty great, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it plays out.  ;D

Offline TheVampire100

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #18 on: July 01, 2015, 10:46:23 PM »
2. The similarity to boardgames is not lost on me at all.  One of the earlier things that this made me think of is the separate scoring track for Princes of Florence.  There are plenty of other games that use a similar thing, but that's just the one that popped into my head the most.
Had to look up the game. I have a similiar game in term of scoring, I guess. Candamir, a Spin-Off of the popular Catan series. You play as a single setller dreaming of your own house with a wife, a small fortune, animals and so on. You had to trade and collect for resources, filling pieces on the score board. Interesting game.

4. Blue is a woman, by the way, but yeah she has a plenty of icons to do now, heh.  At the moment it's something like 80 already on her list.
Whoops, I'm really sorry about that! I'm very bad at guessing the gender of people on the internet ^^
This does not however change the fqact that I'm amazed at her artist skills. SBR looks very awesome visually spoken. In my opinion the most beautiful Arcen game so far (second place in my hard has TFL with all the futuristic space ships design contrary to the normally bulky and edgy designs other artists use).

6. Totally agreed on co-op victories being important.  I felt the same emptiness when doing the space stuff myself.  Ultimately part of that emptiness was because the game just let you turtle without anything bothering you, which is a problem in and of itself when you go for those sorts of special victories.  So that's still something that will need some addressing anyhow, because that just never got fully satisfactorily implemented.  But even in the best case with it being solo and a hard battle, having to cooperate with another AI is way better because that increases the interest of that scenario in a wide variety of ways.  Most likely I'll just ditch all the special victories from the very first prototype version of this so that I can focus on the standard style victory first, and then swing back around to give each special victory some special love one at a time, top to bottom.  The current build has a lot of half-implemented ones, which is no fun. ;)
I mentioned it already here that Civ had an aweful way to integrate diplomacy and victory conditions (especially in Multiplayer). It didn't matetr what you and your neighbour thought of each other or if you are playing with your best friend and want to help each other, int he end all you could do was to doom the other player. "There can be only one!"
In competitive strategic games I have no problem with this habit, in the end it's what players want to do. But Civ 5 has a diplomatic system that is an important feature of the game, the game itself FORCES this features at you with leaders that start to talk to you every time something happens. So why using diplomacy anyway if you aim for your sole victory? Even the "cooperative" victory (United Nations) ends with one player being the leader and the other players (computer or human) have to vote for you. Seemed pretty much senseless to me, in Multiplayer no one would vote for you because they want that spot for themself and in AI games the votes seemed pretty much random to me.
I'm happy that you are doing something different in SBR with allowing the player to pick up other races in the victory. That will hopefully also end in those races trying everything they can in helping you out in achieving that victory (even going so far at shooting everything down that tries to stop you).


Offline kasnavada

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2015, 02:10:28 AM »
Hooray for most of this, with one caveat.

Combat is still not fun. There really is no strategic thinking to it other than either "have military buildings everywhere because saucers can pop up in any place" or "just spam military buildings next to a target race and get the first strike". The fiddly-ness of having to match interceptors to attacker types; the limitation to attacking only the next territory over, and quite generally the lack depth of the whole affair is really sub-par for a 4x.

Now, if you really don't want to have complexity above that of Risk, then that's probably enough, and diplomacy will be the focus of the game anyways. But for bellicose old me, the martial aspect of SBR is, so far, rather unexciting.

I'm excited for the changes, diplomacy is going to be something not much seen, which... is good.

But I quite agree with this. Combat has been "better" - as I stated in the combat thread I started there is an issue with range and fixed defenses which has been solved with territories. However, it's still not very fun, and turtling is VERY powerful.

Current strategy is boring for me because it consist of those predictable steps:
- be at peace
- build enough stuff near your opponent to crush it in one turn
- "breach" a peace treaty and shoot everything your opponent
- beat up stuff with is not military.
- ...
- rince and repeat until annihilated.

Second problem, with the current mechanics, it's just impossible to expand near someone at war. As the construction speed is slow, your opponent shooting at you will prevent you from finishing anything except if you build 6 or 7 times faster than your opponent. If, if you do, there should not be a war. I mean, if you outbuild your opponent fighting capability by 6 times or more, you're supposed to be winning already.

About Nas1m's idea... it sounds good on paper but there are the following issues to consider:
- a limitation per territory means that some defense will be impenetrable (which is a HUGE balance issue in itself)
- it doesn't solve the "shoot everything in one turn" problem if (and only if) you've got multiple territories around your target.

It's going to be a difficult idea to balance, at best, for meager benefits. Not that a cap ain't needed. It is - but I'd rather go for a "civ-level" cap rather than a territory cap. Currently the whole war thing is kind of bland because it's easy to build enough military to "sneak attack" a complete territory in rubbles in one turn. Note that even if the AI did recognize this strategy, it's still possible to make it work. Just a bit longer (because you need to be constructing all in one go instead of "one by one").


I don't have "the solution" (not that there is only one) but... basically, in all wargames, the military is mobile. There's a few ideas for making armies mobile around the forum, respecting the "no unit" part. But, as long as there are the same "range" in offense / defense, low building speed, and no way to "move" units, there is an issue with turtling.


Then again, all of that might not be necessary depending on how the diplomacy fares.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 02:16:57 AM by kasnavada »

Offline nas1m

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #20 on: July 02, 2015, 02:14:33 AM »
I'm concerned about these changes. It's not like I enjoy the way things are now, but diplomacy just doesn't look exciting. It's the forgotten x in 4X for a reason. Your diplomacy in the last Federation was actually really clever and probably the best I've ever seen done in a game. One of the best parts about that game is just firing it up and living through a game. Who knows what's going to happen? Nobody, and that's why you play.


In what you listed, it sounds like relationships are going to be rather static between races instead of something you can manipulate. I'm not suggesting you remake the last Federation civilization style, but I would say, you should not feel bad about taking what was fun about diplomacy in that game.


So far, this is not a better game than the last Federation (and let's not compare to AI war). Combat, while not the focus, is wonky, it remains hard to use the technology tree after repeated reshuffling. The game still doesn't feel like it's playing with me. I feel like I'm very much alone on the planet.


My suggestion to you, and what will excite science-fiction fans and people who play your games, is to bring your planet to life in the best way possible. You have all of this lore, a great audience experience with the characters from the last federation, unique and captivating illustrations, they are the stars of your show (pun intended). If you don't use them appropriately, this will not sell. You will know when you are doing it right (especially with the diplomacy) when you get people talking about their experiences and the races themselves. That's what happened with the last Federation. People started talking about them like real characters and compare notes as to their personalities. People talk about ai war  in a similar way. We have feelings about the characters in these games. But none of that exists in this game. You have to sell that.
Although I don't see this as drastic as Cyborg, I definitely share his sentiment that the races, their background and artwork and the fact that the races developed a life of their own was the strongest part of TLF and thus should be as much front and center in this game as possible to tie in with TLFs success.
You really should do what is humanely possible to achieve this in my book. You have a real treasure trove there - please use it!
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 02:20:33 AM by nas1m »
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Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #21 on: July 02, 2015, 10:03:31 AM »
Cheers guys.  So, some notes in response:

1. Regarding the hex grid, I was referring to the orientation of the hexes more than anything else.  Having them face-on looks much better when it's just for icon purposes, whereas having them in an isometric view like the regular game (which we already have all the math for in place) looks very bad for a GUI-level thing (but is great for showing buildings with a sense of perspective).

2. In terms of the diplomacy being static in terms of relationships of other races with one another, I think that's a good example of me not being clear and part of the reason sometimes I prefer to keep things close to the vest.  The races do have a huge historical momentum behind themselves when entering this game (which will vary from game to game), but despite that things can be done.  In other words, you have some situations kind of like India and Pakistan.  For the most part, those guys are at each other's throats, and for some very specific and longstanding reasons.  That said, they are capable of working together for various purposes that benefit their region as a whole, or standing against a common enemy.

TLF is a great game, but it doesn't have the sort of historical momentum that you have to overcome.  That can make it harder to really understand the consequences of your actions, in terms of why someone hates you helping X.  Basically in this game India would always get annoyed at you helping Pakistan, but that doesn't mean that they won't join with Pakistan in attacking Bolivia (picked a random country) if there is enough reason.  It doesn't even mean that a vibrant trade relationship can't exist between India and Pakistan.  But in the short term at least (our lifetime in the real world, and the length of a campaign in this game), there's always going to be that history in the back of the minds of those involved.

3. In terms of personality, that's not something I really addressed, which I had meant to.  But yeah, this gives you a ton of ways to interact with the races, and expresses their personality in a variety of ways.  My intent is for this to be stronger than in TLF, but we shall see.  This new system gives a lot of ways to do things in-character and have personality-filled commentary from the races, which I'm very excited about.  It also gives plenty of opportunity for race-specific options and issues without being a big long list of text.

4. When it comes to my comparisons to TLF and referring to this being easier to get people in to, I mean that with a finished product here I think that it's an easier sell.  People understand hexes, there is a big love for 4x, and there's not a non-genre-style combat model that they have to consider.  Obviously you can only make comparisons based on what you see in the moment right now, and that's totally reasonable.  But in terms of my own goals and thinking, I very much have to project forward using the various plans that are in my head or on some private papers of my own and not really anywhere else.  Making comparisons to the finished product of our other games based solely on what is currently in this game (as opposed to including what is intended) is definitely an apples and oranges.  Aka, my comparisons were about the state of things I hope to reach, not the state of things today.  If I thought that things were perfect today, I'd just go ahead and release now rather than pushing back another month, you know?

5. In terms of complaints about the combat, I suppose there is still more baggage there than had really been clear to me.  I will put that in the back of my mind to marinate, although right now my mind is pretty full with the diplomacy stuff.  But I'm willing to revisit that some more, and it may be worth you guys discussing this in a thread without me for now.  I don't want to be involved yet, but it's on your mind and so discussing that amongst yourselves and then us coming together when I have more time for that specific is something worth doing, I think.  Some thoughts of mine to get you started (please don't really respond in this thread, it's a conversation for elsewhere):

a. It may be that the concept of interception needs to go away, or needs to only apply to defending non-military targets, depending.
b. Or it may be that interception needs to be something that all military units can do in terms of intercepting attacks of their same kind on other buildings of not-their-same-kind.
c. Interception probably needs to have more of a cost to the intercepting building, basically kind of like what happens to defenders in Risk.

d. Heck, there needs to be more of a cost to the attacker buildings, too.  Right now the biggest problem with battles is probably that attacking and defense is "free" in the sense of cost to the attacker or the interceptor's health.  With most games, there is a clash and we are hugely likely to mutually take at least some damage.

e. There are some existing bugs that I am aware of that make your ground troops unable to attack certain tiles, and apparently also affect sea attackers at some times, just FYI.  Those are probably contributing to the feeling of wonkiness.
f. Seaports are intended to be able to attack a bit further away (sail into the adjacent water territories from a water territory they are in), making them more of an interesting force to deal with.
g. Seaports are also intended to be able to be stacked in a chain by the AI the way that you can, but the AI doesn't really use them correctly yet.

h. With Risk, the interesting thing there is that with the Armies you have to move them into the territory that you are attacking, if you attack with them.  And you can't attack with more than your total armies minus one.  Because you can't hold a territory with no armies.  Potentially switching to a system where the player is using more mobile stuff would be a good thing.

i. Part of the deal with the new diplomacy stuff in general is that I intend for there to be a bit of a "build-up" period where you declare battle and then have to give the other person time to get ready.  Both the AI would be required to do that (like the holographic fading in), and you would as well.  You could break this and do a blitz if you want, but it would probably cost you some effectiveness on your military due to them being rushed, and it would cost you goodwill with the planet and the international community, too.  So whether you blitz or whether you attack in a more orderly fashion where the AI has time to respond becomes a major decision.

j. Right now the AI does not give you any extra costs when you do an attack on them, which is just a piece of AI that I haven't had time to code yet.  Basically if you're sneaking up on them and ambushing them in a territory even using the current system, then that's fine, but the AI should be dropping saucers on you somewhere else as well as in that territory.  Meaning that turtling is not really a thing, because you're always going to wind up in at least a two-front war, one of which is focused around your own backside.  Helping to increase the cost of war on your part.

k. It has crossed my mind that removing the ability to do specific kinds of attacks in the main might be a good thing, and instead you should be "painting" targets and having the AI of your side then immediately launch as many attacks as needed at once to take that out.  Making it so there's kind of a "strike here" button.  The exception would be the cobalt bomber, of course.

l. When we talk about things like war weariness, the ability to launch infinite attacks in one turn if you had infinite buildings is definitely something that might play into that.  That's again something that gets wrapped up in the "diplomacy" stuff.

m. One of the big things right now is that the AI doesn't really bother you offensively as much as I want it to, and so you have a sense that you can turtle more than you really can in the final game.  Why is that?  Because you don't have proper ways to talk the AI down at present.  With diplomacy in, the AI's going to be like "hey give me X" and you can say yes or no, and saying no might lead to a fight.  Or they declare a fight straight out, and you can say "whoa, dude, take this and go away, ok?"  That piece is really critical for me in terms of the military being able to be involved more, because otherwise it's all about who has more might.

n. To drive this home a slight bit more, as well, these sorts of interactions are all yet more chances for personality development and relationship building for good or for ill.  You kowtowing to others instead of fighting is going to reduce your esteem in the eyes of the Burlusts, but make the Andors like you more, as one thing among many.  But who is more of a bully and why, and who is willing to come to your aid and in what ways are big deals.  Right now you can join incidents and ask others to join, and that's it.  But asking someone to attack someone who is attacking you, versus help defend against someone who is attacking you are two different prospects and I think very relevant.

o. The concept from Risk of "reinforcing moves" is something I've thought might be interesting here, and would also solve some of the ganging-up problems.  But that could be fiddly, so I want to avoid it if possible.

p. TLDR: I suppose this is really the perfect example of why I try not to say too much sometimes, because then I wind up having to go into exhaustive detail or people are going "that's it?" ;)  But for the military side in particular, hopefully this provides a good catalyst for an interesting/fruitful discussion in another thread for you guys, and then a further fruitful one when we talk about it together in 2-3 weeks.

6. All the credit definitely doesn't go to Blue for the art -- she and Cath have both been on this fulltime, and I agree it's been amazing work that they've done together.  I'm really jazzed about that.
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Offline kasnavada

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #22 on: July 02, 2015, 01:01:36 PM »
Quote
(combat)

It depends really. IMO I think there's a large discrepancy between what combat can be once diplomacy is in - and what people can imagine as long as diplomacy ain't there. Currently there's a need to "fill" the game and combat does not feel finished, at least to me. Neither does diplomacy but that's being worked on too =).

Personally if I'm working on combat now, I'm pretty sure to think & propose something which will be the core of the game. But once diplomacy takes that place... it can take its place without being "too large" for the game.

Apart from that, thanks for the insights. What you're cooking up really sounds unique =).

Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2015, 02:12:11 PM »
Cheers, appreciated. :)
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Offline Trafalgar

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #24 on: July 02, 2015, 10:54:29 PM »
i. Part of the deal with the new diplomacy stuff in general is that I intend for there to be a bit of a "build-up" period where you declare battle and then have to give the other person time to get ready.  Both the AI would be required to do that (like the holographic fading in), and you would as well.  You could break this and do a blitz if you want, but it would probably cost you some effectiveness on your military due to them being rushed, and it would cost you goodwill with the planet and the international community, too.  So whether you blitz or whether you attack in a more orderly fashion where the AI has time to respond becomes a major decision.

If I was an evil overlord: If I decide to sneak attack someone, I will actually prepare my armies before invading.

But overall, I'm looking forward to trying this out. The diplomacy you've outlined sounds nice.

I think I'd need to see the combat in action to have any idea what's really being said about it, though.
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 10:58:11 PM by Trafalgar »

Offline jaxxa

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2015, 06:59:34 PM »
Since the release date has been pushed back to September you should probably change the description of this forum.

The page: https://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php

Lists it as:

"Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine
Our upcoming 4x title (July 2015)."

Keeping that date could cause some confusion.

Offline Dominus Arbitrationis

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2015, 08:05:00 PM »
Since the release date has been pushed back to September you should probably change the description of this forum.

The page: https://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php

Lists it as:

"Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine
Our upcoming 4x title (July 2015)."

Keeping that date could cause some confusion.

Thanks! I went ahead and fixed that.
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #27 on: July 07, 2015, 12:08:18 PM »
I am curious: How are things going :)?
Is your design shaking out as expected?
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Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #28 on: July 07, 2015, 12:43:24 PM »
It's not really going as I had expected, per se, but it's moving along and on an upswing at the moment.  My list of discarded diplomatic models is now longer than the list of ones that I'm keeping.  Having the visual aspects of this figured out helped a lot, but even so there were a number of things that were just frankly problematic because they aren't fun to do in other games and they wouldn't be fun to do here.

So I spent a lot of time messing with other games that I do find fun (not in the strategy genre) that have an atmosphere/narrative that moves along quickly despite there not being a ton of central text (in the grand scheme).  Oddly enough, I found the most inspiration from The Stanley Parable and Burnout Paradise, of all things.  I know that sounds a bit insane. ;)

And no, nobody in their right mind would ever notice any connection between those games and this one.  But it's a matter of how to bake in a narrative and personality into something that has a lot of choice to it, and/or a lot of sandboxiness to it.  But at the same time not overwhelming the player with a ton of things that slow down the core gameplay, whatever that is.  These are problems that transcend genres, and which some games solve synchronously with main gameplay, others do through forced cutscenes, and so on and so forth.

Some of it also comes down to being easier to look at another genre and ask questions.  Why do I enjoy Kentucky Route Zero and The Fall so much, but still feel more overwhelmed by trying to progress in their story compared to The Stanley Parable, which just zips me along?  Why is Arkham City fun to play, but feel a bit cold to me in the story parts -- making me feel LESS like I'm the actual center of the story -- while Burnout Paradise has so much less story (practically none) but makes me feel so much like I am the protagonist of my own story, with full freedom?  Etc.

Overall I came up with a revised list of goals, higher-level this time, for diplomacy:

GOALS:
Tell me a story.
Make me compete with the other races.
Make me cooperate with the other races.
Form a structure for how I win.
GTFO and let me get back to playing. ;)

I want to FEEL like I am the protagonist here, and I want to have interesting and hilarious encounters with the other races, but I don't want to sit around doing mental math and trade deals.   "Negotiating trade deals" is one of the least-interesting possible things to do, as the Star Wars prequels so helpfully demonstrated.

Overall I have just been searching for inspiration in nontraditional spaces, because the traditional spaces don't do what I want.  I wound up doing this with AI War, too.

Anyway, the TLDR is that I figured out some stuff late last night which is -- provisionally -- something I'm very happy with.  I'm not ready to share it just yet, but it's driving in the direction of a mix of handcrafted and procedural content that reminds me honestly of FTL: Faster than Light to a surprising degree.  We'll see if this one pans out or if it winds up being another balled-up piece of metaphorical paper in the metaphorical trash can.

That said, I've been working on the most outward part of the structure for this all morning, and that level of the structure is feeling really good and sensible, so that's helpful to know.  Between that and the visual components that were figured out previously (and which Keith is almost done with the visual coding for, not that they'll do anything at first), pieces are continuing to fall into place.

It all just basically reaffirms the need for this extra time, and I'm continuing to crunch on ideas and designs and move inexorably toward whatever the final version will look like.  That feeling of perfect clarity that I had a bit ago turned out to be false (blah that's always so demoralizing), but I'm tentatively starting to get that back again, knock on wood.
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Offline Captain Jack

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #29 on: July 07, 2015, 01:40:13 PM »
I stopped reading in the middle to figure out for myself what kind of inspiration a Sim-style 4X game could derive from Burnout Paradise, and the only thing I came up with gave a whole new meaning to "interacting with the races". ;D It'd be interesting to hear more about that thought process once the game's done. Make for a good blog post too (hint).

It's really interesting to hear your thoughts about player driven games (and fast moving games). For something closer to your genre, isn't Star Control 2 really good about making the player('s decisions) central to the plot, even with the world moving forward?

Speaking of KR0, I'd better finish act 3. I hate(love) my job.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2015, 01:44:11 PM by Watashiwa »