Author Topic: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.  (Read 6542 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #30 on: July 07, 2015, 01:48:26 PM »
Star Control 2 is great, yes.

For Burnout Paradise, it is a game with a variety of mechanics of increasing complexity, and it dumps you into that with no tutorial per se, and just lets you go anywhere immediately.  But it has a really good way of making you never feel lost, has a very good difficulty ramp system across its multiple types of challenges, and very importantly also has a sense of "certain things stay where I left them even while other things change," which is satisfying to me.  Among some other things. ;)
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2015, 02:22:25 PM »
Thanks for the heads-up, Chris.
Intriguing as always.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2015, 02:57:53 PM »
Sure thing. :)
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Offline Despayre

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2015, 01:35:55 PM »
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. ;)

These all sound amazing..Great way to vizualize what a diplomacy system should accomplish.

I wonder about the wording of"Form a structure for how I win." though. It makes me think that ALL victory scenarios would be driven through diplomacy? Would it be more accurate to state it provides opportunities for alternative (noncombat) ways of winning?  I mean..sure war is a state of diplomacy and maybe it's just me, but I tend to think of diplomacy in games as 'stuff I do to better prepare for war' such as trade and research agreements or alliances that give me a leg up when it comes time to kick up some dust. 

Little things like AI gifts or even just some occasional flavor text from AI frenemies that remind you 'hey, we exist! And we're bragging about something cool we did! OR complaining about something you did!' do a great deal to create a strong connection to those entities when done properly.  Those bits also make players feel extra satisfaction when they decide to compete or cooperate with them. I really like games that give every single interaction a player has with an AI some personality, ones that use every bit of text when conversing with AI to convey whatever personality traits you want the player to associate with each race.  The key is to make those bits consistent within the framework of a particular game. It's when games with AI that throw agreements and war/peace treaties around like candy seemingly every turn that break the illusion and remind us we're playing a game.

If you are looking for something more procedural, maybe you could build something like an AI personality system that could assign a number of various personality traits to give each race more unique and interesting dialog and behavioral characteristics. For example, if you had some specific attitude traits like generous, warlike, aggressive, passive, stingy, scientific, elitist, schizophrenic, expansionist, paranoid, xenophobic, etc at game start and linked a unique subset of those traits to each race (or give each race some additional traits in addition to their 'standard' set), each race could then pull from various types of text pools when interacting with the player, thus creating AI experiences that would change with each game, but remain consistent within a single game? 

Also, I don't know that I want the game to tell me a story..I'd rather it just give me enough bits for me to tell my OWN story.  SMAC and Pandora are 4x games I would point to that tell a good story, but it's a story that is really only cool the first time you see it, then it's somewhat predictable and just another piece of gameplay.  There's no mystery left.  Things like discovering hostile life on an alien planet turn from an amazing discovery to 'oh ok, the planet just got aggressive, I better stock up on some military'. I would much rather have a story generating experience that gives me a chance to tell a new story about how I overcame some random crazy new opponents and challenges everytime I play :)

Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #34 on: July 08, 2015, 02:15:49 PM »
Cheers!

In terms of the story, there's a line there between having that be something cool and emergent, and having it be something that is sensible and that you control.  I'm not really ready to talk details yet because I'm still working through detail after detail making sure this is even possible, but so far it's seeming so and I'm trying to tiptoe along the line between those two.  It kind of comes down to semi-procedural storytelling, even though it's not truly procedural.  A blend of player-driven, procedural, and pre-written is perhaps the best way to describe what I'm going for.  I dislike predictable stories as well, but at the same time I feel like the game can help out the player's imagination a bit more than a lot of games do.  We'll see how that turn sout.

As far as a structure for victory goes, basically what I'm trying to say is that I don't view this as diplomacy in general, but rather "dealing with other races."  It's been a shift in my thinking, trying to get away from the idea of "diplomacy," but more just into a realm of inter-nation interactions in general.  Killing someone or subjugating them removes them from the international equation, yeah.  But short of that, you're going to have to find some way of co-existing with them.  So either you're working on a way to make yourself safe from them in the sense of them allowing you to co-exist, or you're going to go Hulk Smash on them.

That's basically what I mean by a framework for victory.  If you and I are in a hall and are each trying to get to doors on the other side of each other, then we have a few options.  One, we can fight until one of us dies or submits, and then the winner can walk through their door.  Or we can work with one another to let each other get past and thus proceed toward our own doors at our own rates.  If one of us falls and is then in the way of the other, then the standing one can try jumping over, a headstomp (ow), or helping that person up.

Overall I'd like for the international relations system to make you react a bit like you probably did just now when I described us killing each other or headstomping just to get to a stupid door.  Sure, just wiping them out is possible, but kind of abhorrent because you're starting to view them more as an actual entity with a personality and a set of problems distinct from your own.  They aren't just The Other in a competition for survival, so your instinct to just Kill Kill Kill goes down a lot.

Don't get me wrong, sometimes it's fun to just Play Evil, and that's totally cool.  But in the course of a normal setting where you aren't intending to do that, making you feel it a bit is a goal for sure.  This isn't an RPG, and I don't want it to be.  But one aspect of actual warfare that commanders have to deal with is the emotional fallout of the choices they make.  I'd like to have a small taste of that in a strategy game, without it being up in my face.
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Offline Zebeast46

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #35 on: July 08, 2015, 06:37:22 PM »
Cant wait for the diplomacy to get done, any idea when it might be?
AI 1 = Chris.

AI 2 = Keith.

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Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #36 on: July 08, 2015, 07:00:48 PM »
I... honestly am not sure on the diplomacy stuff.  It's a tall order.  At the latest it should be about August 1.  I am out for a week between now and then, which is the main thing that throws a crimp into stuff, so we'll see.
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Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #37 on: July 09, 2015, 03:52:27 AM »
Little warning about storytelling: When you make the story integral to gameplay, make sure it's either so irrelevant I can ignore it on my n-th playthrough, or so varied and responsive that I find it interesting every single time.

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Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #38 on: July 09, 2015, 09:31:55 AM »
Hahaha.  Yeah, that is understood.

It's a funny thing about storytelling in games, because there are basically two ways:
1. Set up interesting situations for the player, with bits of thematic stuff surrounding those situations.
2. Lots of explanation, narrative, dialogue, and backstory.

The goal here is #1 all the way.  There will be dialogue, but it's kept short and quippy and is to the point of explaining what the AI wants, etc.  And there is some backstory that you can uncover, but it's not done via exposition, but rather lots of tiny scattered clues.  So if you want to figure out what the backstory fully is, that's going to take work on your part with keeping track of the things people mention and fitting that into your own mental framework.  There's not some point where someone sits down and gives you four pages of explanatory text.

The general rule I'm trying to keep it to is that AIs are allowed to say one sentence to you in order to get their point across.

Let me use Silent Hill 2 as an example of what I mean, to some extent:
- First of all, it has verbose and extended cutscenes.  So let's cut each cutscene down to one or two lines, max.
- And of course, note that this is kind of facetious text, not with a lot of thought behind it, so it's not indicative of the game quality writing.

James: Damn, Silent Hill looks different than I remember.
<Looks at letter>
James: So strange to get a letter from my dead wife.  (I can read it in more detail if I want.)  She says she's waiting for me here, so I guess I'd better go look.
<Runs through woods on long scary path>
<Enters graveyard>
Creepy Lady: Oh, you surprised me.  I'm looking for my mom.
James: Well, seems dangerous, but good luck with that.  I'm off!
Creepy Lady: Good luck, I'm sure I'll be important to the plot later.
<Runs through deserted streets>
James: Is that big pool of blood... blood!?
<Walks over to blood and sees scary figure shambling in mist>
James: What the heck was that?  I'd better follow it, because that was totally freaky and irrelevant to what I'm doing.
<Finds radio.>
James: Wow, a broken radio.  But I'm a hoarder, and this is relevant to gameplay, so I'll take it.
<Monster rises slowly behind him.>
James: Whoa, a monster!  Better bash its head in with this plank.
<Monster dies.>
James: This town has really gone downhill.
<He goes back into foggy streets.>
James: Whoa, look at all the monsters suddenly around.  It's like they were waiting for me to pick up that board and radio.
<Runs past monsters, who ineffectually run around him.>
James: Oh right, my wife said meet her at our special place, which probably means that park over by the lake.
<Tries to go to lake, finds gaping hole.>
James: Well, I guess I'd better find a way around.
<Works hard on finding a way around, eventually finds key to apartments going in that vague direction.>
James: Ha!  That will show that hole.  I'm sure there's nothing terrifying going to happen as I go through this apartment to the other side.
<Etc.>


The point there isn't that it's giving me a ton of text or that it's constantly talking to me.  There's actually really long segments of gameplay between that, and the dialogue is mildly amusing at least and helps give me clarity and a sense of purpose.  I have a thematic reason for the things that I'm doing, and clear story-driven goals.

Of course, when we're talking about much more dynamic storytelling, then the idea is that there's a ton more choice and a ton more storylines in general, which interweave.  But the point is that they give context to what you are doing, as well as giving you reasons for potentially doing things that are nonoptimal from a spreadsheet-balancing point of view if you take the story out.  Aka, maybe the Fenyn want to save all the animals, and you can win favor by bringing them animal resources.  Okay, normally the animal resources are not something you'd really class resources by -- you look at their bonuses and that's it.  But suddenly there's a new meaning to the fact that this thing's a hare and that thing's a cactus.

Why exactly are the Thoraxians pissy on this map?  What sort of varied work-together scenarios can there be for escaping into space, blowing up the planet, or even doing the Transcendence victory?  The idea with those things is to make it so that those aren't simply "optimize your volcanoes and then wait" sort of situations.

TLF was actually pretty darn good at setting up this sort of meta-narrative in a lot of ways.  But the ultimate example, to me, is again Boatmurdered.  The problem is, that took not only an interesting situation to create, but also funny sarcastic writing.  We're trying to make a bit of a mix of the two so that it doesn't require an external LP for you to get that sort of sense from the game.  We'll see how it works, but that's the goal.
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Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #39 on: July 09, 2015, 09:51:56 AM »
Oooh, another pet peeve of mine: Endless Legend.

So you have stories integrated into a 4x. Hooray, RPS says it's GOTY. Never mind that the stories are the same in every playthrough, and progress only once very specific conditions are met.

I'd say that if a story requires that the player follow it to a t, then it's useless for an open game.

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Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #40 on: July 09, 2015, 10:11:19 AM »
Yeah, I'm not a fan of that sort of thing either.  From what you're saying I think you'll be happy with what I have planned.
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Offline Shrugging Khan

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #41 on: July 09, 2015, 10:13:59 AM »
Looking forward to it in any case. You guys tend to get stuff done right, after all  :D
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Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #42 on: July 09, 2015, 10:19:07 AM »
We try, anyhow. :)
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Offline nas1m

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #43 on: July 13, 2015, 03:52:02 PM »
We try, anyhow. :)
So, any news regarding your wip concept?
Did your recreational foray into graphics settings and unity upgrades have the desired effect ;D?
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Offline x4000

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Re: Release Date Pushed Back To September 25th.
« Reply #44 on: July 13, 2015, 03:55:25 PM »
We try, anyhow. :)
So, any news regarding your wip concept?
Did your recreational foray into graphics settings and unity upgrades have the desired effect ;D?

The new build with that graphics stuff is now out, actually, just now: https://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,17874.0.html

For the new diplomacy stuff, I think it's going to be right at the end of this month before that's really ready.  I have a week off between now and then that is part of the delay, but it's also just about building up the content and data and making sure things are flexible enough without being needlessly complex, etc.
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