Arcen Games

Games => Stars Beyond Reach... This World Is Mine => Topic started by: x4000 on October 27, 2014, 11:26:24 AM

Title: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 27, 2014, 11:26:24 AM
This isn't a full-scale screenshot (it's 75% scale), and it's just a tiny snippet of the screen.  But it does give you some idea of what we're up to. :)

(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16506.0;attach=9123)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot.
Post by: nas1m on October 27, 2014, 11:33:25 AM
Cool, thanks :).
Replying here to not derail the other thread (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,16505.msg182277.html#msg182277) even further.

Looking good. Not what I expected from the last teaser outlining the races for some reason.
Maybe it's that the image is looking more "painterly" to me than I expected the game to look like? I don't know.
But I guess I will withhold further judgement until there is more stuff to be seen ;).

Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot.
Post by: x4000 on October 27, 2014, 11:40:44 AM
Here are a few more.

This one is a thumbnail of it zoomed very far out to show a large part of a midsize world with a normal map style (continents and islands and poles and whatnot, and all the season zones).  The pale green buildings are ones that have been modeled but not yet painted.

(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16506.0;attach=9125)

This is a full resolution view (if you click to expand) of a bit of desert:
(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16506.0;attach=9127)

And a full resolution view (if you click to expand) of where the polar zone currently is butting up against the northern temperate:
(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16506.0;attach=9129)

And a full res view (if you click to expand) of where the northern temperate is hitting the tropics slightly:
(http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=16506.0;attach=9131)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot.
Post by: Aklyon on October 27, 2014, 12:36:22 PM
Those are looking great! (except for the green buildings, of course)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot.
Post by: x4000 on October 27, 2014, 12:39:58 PM
Thanks!  The artists have been working super hard. :)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot.
Post by: x4000 on October 27, 2014, 03:37:38 PM
...
4. Hexes are by nature abstract.  I feel like the more people try to hide that abstractness, the less the hexes have a point in general.  My direction to the artists for our own upcoming hex game was "let's not hide the hexes, let's flaunt them."  I feel like having tiles that are merging things like coastline plus ocean are inherently messy and confusing both visually and conceptually (as a player), and so I prefer to have something that is inherently a little more abstract, but proud of it.  Hexes can be done in a really gorgeous way, and personally I get excited just seeing them...
This.
Point 4 makes me really excited to see what you guys do with SE.

Also, I have a question regarding how the planet is mapped in SE, how do you guys handle wrapping? The reason why i ask is that cylendrical wrapping, while popular and pretty easy to implement, doesn't actaully do a good job of representing an actual spherical planet.

I'm responding to this one here, to avoid dragging the other thread off-topic.

Basically, we originally had both x and y wrapping, and it was something that worked well, except it was pretty confusing.  If you went north, you'd pass a pole, then temperate, then tropical, then temperate, then another pole, then temperate, then tropical... wait, was that the north pole or south pole?  Etc.

Plus you'd get kind of odd things where you were looking at the "top of the globe" so to speak, but it felt like an island of ice rather than the actual polar ice cap because it's all being projected onto a flat plane.

Those things were... annoying, but realistically the player would not spend that much time zoomed out and panning like crazy to where that would be a frequent issue of confusion.  And adding the minimap would solve the issue of "where am I."

Well... we added the minimap, and that just compounded the problems.  Being able to zoom out crazy far was limited heavily by the need to not have the same tiles repeating on both sides of the screen, and the inherent difficulties of doing that in an orthographic projection rather than a literal top-down view.  I'm not aware of any other hex games that are in an iso view, but as Keith will attest it complicates things enormously from a basic viewport math point of view.

Anyway, so the zoom was a problem, but the minimap was absolutely the end of things.  Because of the nature of how the hexes fit together, we couldn't make a square or a rectangle out of the minimap without repeating tiles.  We'd always have a gap at the top and/or bottom because of the way the things project.  So... yeah, that was a problem.

Adding up all of the problems, the wrapping simply wasn't a good mechanic.  It caused confusion and troubles at every level, so late last week we decided it had to go.  Instead we are now using a hex-shaped world, where the internal angles are 120 degrees (as opposed to the sharper 90 degree corners of a rectangular map), and it lets us handle things far more gracefully.  It's an unusual shape to have the world be, for sure, but it works out surprisingly well.  And the game immediately felt way more intuitive and so forth.

My big concern, and why I'd wanted wrapping, was to avoid the ability to "hide in corners" or "be stuck in a corner."  But having 120 degree internal angles instead of 90 degree ones really does solve that pretty neatly.  The corners really aren't too much of a corner.  And with the way the game has evolved, trying to turtle isn't really a relevant thing, anyway.

AND, incidentally, not having wrapping lets us have greater distances between points on the far ends of the map than wrapping would.  With wrapping, half a world away is as far as anything is.  Without wrapping, it can be a full world away.  So you get a greater feeling of space without the wrapping, which was a complete surprise to me.

We're going to be doing a variety of map types, not all of which depict all the zones in the first place.  Some just tropical or just polar or whatever other slices we want.  So what you're normally seeing is a slice of the vertical axis of the planet, theoretically.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot.
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 27, 2014, 04:20:21 PM
Things that I'm curious about: The significance of the red spiky crystals, 1 building per hex hinted by the first screenshot. What sort of resources will there be to gather/find/fight over?
(I can picture the Spire needing crystals... or spreading crystals).

14 races is a lot... considering that how are you planning them to look different?
will they share building artwork (sane) or do they get there own (Good but expensive, 14x the work is a painfully large multiplier) Or will the buildings be coloured with your race colour (cheap but effective) or something else to differentiate them? (Like red spiky crystals/forests surrounding cities of different races)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot.
Post by: Castruccio on October 27, 2014, 05:41:03 PM
I am so psyched about this game.  Those screens look excellent.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot.
Post by: x4000 on October 27, 2014, 08:15:51 PM
Things that I'm curious about: The significance of the red spiky crystals,

These tend to be rich mining spots for various resources.  There are minerals all over, but they are most dense in these areas, so they can be hotspots to acquire or defend.

1 building per hex hinted by the first screenshot.

It's not always one building per hex.  Or rather, one hex per building.  Each hex has at most one building on it, let's put it that way.  But sometimes buildings have footprints that are 2 or more typically 3, and one has a footprint of 7.  Most buildings are 1 hex, though, to keep things manageable.

What sort of resources will there be to gather/find/fight over?
(I can picture the Spire needing crystals... or spreading crystals).

As with Civilization, there are kind of two levels of resources.  One is the more direct stuff that you manage at a high level.  Those are things like money, energy, morale, and so forth.  But then there are resources like oil and minerals.

Unlike Civilization, those oil/mineral type resources are not hard gates to things (you can't have chariots if you don't have horses), but rather are pathways to greater efficiency.  This is one of the key tenets of the design of this game for me: make it so that players have a limited number of steps to do something in kind of the basic way, but so that the optimal way is a matter of debate as well as being more involved.  Keeping the civ example, you would not be blocked in building chariots without a source of horses, but when you got horses that would be a "large supply of horses" not "any horses at all," and having those horses would either make the chariots stronger, or produced faster, or some other effect.

There are also some other "resources" of a sort, mainly involving making the atmosphere more to your liking, or spreading the sort of terrain of your home world.  The terrain that you see here is all the "vanilla" terrain that is native to the planet itself.  Each race will have 3 different kinds of terrain unique to themselves, though, and there are various benefits to them to surrounding themselves with their kind of terrain.  The early game will look very different than the late game, terrain-wise.

Although, I take that back: the Neinzul and the Spire are both flying races, and so they don't have terrain.  Their "buildings" are actually floating living beings.

14 races is a lot... considering that how are you planning them to look different?
will they share building artwork (sane) or do they get there own (Good but expensive, 14x the work is a painfully large multiplier) Or will the buildings be coloured with your race colour (cheap but effective) or something else to differentiate them? (Like red spiky crystals/forests surrounding cities of different races)

Some of each thing.

There are 6 races that are not-ever-human-playable out of those 14.  Those are the Acutians, the Andors, the Thoraxians, the Spire, the Neinzul, and the Yali.  All of these races work entirely differently from all the human-playable races.  Each of these races has something like 5-6 unique buildings for themselves, and they use their entirely own economic mechanics, AI, and everything.  They aren't playing the same game as you at all.

The other 8 races are all human playable, and they share possibly all of their buildings, maybe with one or two unique per race.  Not sure on that yet.  There are some buildings that will be AI-only though (aka only used by AI players for these races), and some that are player-only.  Remember that the story is that the players are new to the planet, while everyone else is established.  So there are some differences there, and yet more asymmetry.

All of the races that are not flying have their three unique terrain types, which will tend to spread out from their cities.  So that kind of informs you that you're coming in to Burlust territory, when you start seeing their red angry sort of plants and lava pools, etc.

Each race also has a specific two-tone border color associated with them, too.  You can see the one surrounding the territory of the buildings in that first screenshot up there.  We'll see if more than that is needed, but at the moment I don't feel like it will be in terms of identifying which race a city belongs to.

Speaking of races, there are a variety of languages spoken by them, and you have to learn them before you can speak with races that speak that language.  Overall there are 8 languages, and which race you start as determines which language you know from the start, versus which ones you have to learn.  Starting as one of the races from TLF gives you a bit of an advantage because they all speak Solar Common.  Except for the Thoraxians, which are an older group that never visited the solar system in TLF.  These Thoraxians still speak Proto-Thoraxian.  The other languages are Zenian, Spirian, Neinric, Yalven, Fain, and Kronish.

And again speaking of factions, there are three possible leaders for each faction.  Each of these leaders has different bonuses, but also a different personality.  Taking the Civ analogy, basically Gandhi would not always be the leader of India.  Sometimes he would, and he'd act like the nuke-happy guy that people are used to.  Other times you'd encounter India under other rulers.  Overall that gives you 42 different leaders in the game, 24 of which you can directly play as.  This helps us to have differentiated sub-factions, only one of which is present in any given game.  So the Burlusts act one way in Game A because they are under Leader 1, and a different way in game B because they are under Leader 3.  Etc.

I am so psyched about this game.  Those screens look excellent.

Thank you!  :D
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 28, 2014, 07:28:36 AM
You said it was a little premature to be talking... but I can sense the excitement brimming over. It sounds very interesting. I'm trying to boil it down to key points. So far I have:
"The short:
4x, hexes, hex-shaped map, 14 races planned (8 playable), 3 leader options per race, no units (think SimCity), futuristic but planet based and with co-op multiplayer."

(Feel free to suggest more accurate summary words, I'd like to keep working on the preview draft, updating for now based on your teaser posts. Until I can get my hands on the game that is... *steeples fingers*)

I'm still wondering about the multiplicative maths there... 3x terrain 12x land-locked species is 36 unique terrain types... Which I can imagine getting a little crazy both in terms of art assets and struggling to tell them apart. Although if the 3 represent farms/forests/city backgrounds I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to tell who's who. Or if they represent arctic/lava/crystal fields you'd see slowly spreading terraforming...
...do some races share preferred climates?

The resource mechanics sound interesting. Will you be trading things with the AI? (assuming you know their language). I can imagine not knowing the other players languages could slow down diplomacy (5 turns to unlock breathing, 5 more to unlock grunting, 5 more to unlock talking) and push you towards ignoring it entirely in favour of conquest. Especially if the other players are actively damaging your terrain through hostile terraforming. That said, it would be interesting to have the diplomacy text be more and more detailed/unambiguous as you understand their language better, much like the spire conversations do in AI War. But perhaps having a little bit of diplomacy available at all times would be enough to prevent that worry from becoming an issue. (firing a warning shot is a solid form of non-verbal communication, giving a gift shouldn't require anything more than dumping valuable gems near their border etc.)

Also... I'm a little sad that the player doesn't get his hands on giant spire floating cities... But as both the Spire and Neinzul weren't the main races in AI War either (by dint of their awesome power) I'm not completely surprised. I'd love the ability to get a few of their terrifying toys either during the game or in an expansion though.

Also... (I know I'm full of questions, obviously I hope you'll answer but feel free to say 'ask me again later, it's a WIP' and I'll understand.) Will there be any orbital stuff? I'm assuming there's a reason they're all stuck on the planet together... perhaps a reason that interferes with satellites/spaceflight. Are the flying spire and neinzul the orbital equivalent - how high do they float? I'm assuming it's just an artistic representation of their buildings... is there any mechanical differences from them floating? (can they move, build over oceans, float over your cities?)

I know I repay each post with a dozen more questions, thanks again for spilling a few more beans. I'm just excited, your excitement is rubbing off on me. Good luck with it all.

[edit. Added eXplorminate feedback]
Nasarog:
Hmm, that an interesting Q/A. I see the similarities to Simcity, which I like, but for me, I would want distinct buildings sets for each race (human played or not) and whatever overlap there is in building/tech to be explained in lore. Even though, a 4x sandbox game works because we, the players, create our own narrative as we play the game, there has to be some base. This base is provided by the developers. A good studio set the tone of the game and lets the player run wild with it. This tone is important for new 4x entrants because they often feel very lost and don't "get" the genre.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 28, 2014, 08:53:19 AM
You said it was a little premature to be talking... but I can sense the excitement brimming over.

Haha.  Yeah, pretty much.  Part of why it's a little premature is that we're still in the prototyping phase, and so some of what I just told you may wind up not being true by the time we hit beta.  So take that with a grain of salt that not everything has been proven out yet.  As an example, the Risk-like elements from before were just graphically confusing as well as a lot of busywork for the player.

Anyhow, so none of what I'm saying thus far is an ironclad promise, but it is what we're working on at present and what we plan on doing unless something better comes up.  There aren't any real scope concerns with the stuff that I specifically mentioned.

It sounds very interesting. I'm trying to boil it down to key points. So far I have:
"The short:
4x, hexes, hex-shaped map, 14 races planned (8 playable), 3 leader options per race, no units (think SimCity), futuristic but planet based and with co-op multiplayer."

Thanks!  And yep, that should all be accurate.  Though one thing we are not above cutting if it comes to time is co-op multiplayer.  We're not super crunched for time here, but we want to come out with a very polished game at 1.0 and so don't want to GET crunched for time.  I think we'll be able to handle the co-op fine, honestly, but it still has to be said.  My wife and I plan to play the heck out of the co-op together, so I have a personal stake in making that happen. ;)

(Feel free to suggest more accurate summary words, I'd like to keep working on the preview draft, updating for now based on your teaser posts. Until I can get my hands on the game that is... *steeples fingers*)

 ;D

I'm still wondering about the multiplicative maths there... 3x terrain 12x land-locked species is 36 unique terrain types... Which I can imagine getting a little crazy both in terms of art assets and struggling to tell them apart. Although if the 3 represent farms/forests/city backgrounds I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to tell who's who. Or if they represent arctic/lava/crystal fields you'd see slowly spreading terraforming...
...do some races share preferred climates?

One thing to bear in mind is that you'll see all those sorts of terrains clumped up around the race, so you don't have to remember the terrains individually.  But in terms of those terrain types, with things like the Andors it's not even living terrain.  Instead it's these kind of golden robotic forests and fields that are much more mechanical.  For the Burlusts, it's very lava-like, etc.  And so on.  Each set of 3 terrains has a very distinct feel to it, very different from any other race, so it shouldn't be something that causes confusion (hopefully).

The resource mechanics sound interesting. Will you be trading things with the AI? (assuming you know their language). I can imagine not knowing the other players languages could slow down diplomacy (5 turns to unlock breathing, 5 more to unlock grunting, 5 more to unlock talking) and push you towards ignoring it entirely in favour of conquest. Especially if the other players are actively damaging your terrain through hostile terraforming. That said, it would be interesting to have the diplomacy text be more and more detailed/unambiguous as you understand their language better, much like the spire conversations do in AI War. But perhaps having a little bit of diplomacy available at all times would be enough to prevent that worry from becoming an issue. (firing a warning shot is a solid form of non-verbal communication, giving a gift shouldn't require anything more than dumping valuable gems near their border etc.)

Conquest in a direct fashion is something that is abnormally difficult here, or that's the plan.  There are some other mechanics that I haven't really mentioned, such as Planet Mood, which gets to the freaky guy you heard in that teaser video.  The languages are literally transcoded text, so as you use linguists to unravel the languages you don't know (if you care to), then you can better piece together what is being said.  At the moment my intent is to make it so that you can take a guess at diplomatic discussions by kind of mashing buttons in languages you can half read. ;)  And then see the results if you want to take that sort of gamble.  That may not work out in practice, but I have some interesting ideas there that I want to play with, anyway.

Regarding diplomacy, that's something I'd rather not talk about just yet.  That sort of thing is always one of the most unsatisfying parts of most 4x games, and attempting a traditional route is likely to lead to the same sorts of bad feelings for me at least.  Keith has had some excellent ideas about "implicit diplomacy" where your interests align with other races based on circumstances, and it's really compelling stuff that I feel certain will make it in.

But then there's also another layer that I want to have in order to give a sense of life and personality to the races and their leaders.  It's a risky sort of potential time-sink, and so I'm trying to figure out a way to handle that gracefully.  If you want to talk about multiplicative math, THERE's the real challenge in terms of coding and particularly writing.  But in particular after reading the Civ:BE reviews, the need for really strong personalities makes itself abundantly clear to me.  And honestly, thinking back to my time with Civ V, even there the less recognizable leaders were a problem in terms of me not feeling any connection to them.  So I have my work cut out for me in that area.  It's not directly on my plate yet, though, as a lot of that boils down to vertical content rather than horizontal mechanics.

Also... I'm a little sad that the player doesn't get his hands on giant spire floating cities... But as both the Spire and Neinzul weren't the main races in AI War either (by dint of their awesome power) I'm not completely surprised. I'd love the ability to get a few of their terrifying toys either during the game or in an expansion though.

The main reason for certain specific races being AI-only is the way that they work so differently.  As much as I'd like for the player to be able to play a completely different game from the base one in terms of having floating cities of unique buildings, that's just incredibly beyond scope, heh.  But having AI factions do that is really fun.  And being able to ally with them and get them to help you is something I plan (the opposite too, of course -- naturally).

In terms of expansions... who knows!  I haven't remotely gotten my head to that sort of space yet, but there's plenty of room for more beyond the base game.  In the sense that the world is a wide one, and the mechanics are broad -- not in the sense that there's something planned to be missing!

Also... (I know I'm full of questions, obviously I hope you'll answer but feel free to say 'ask me again later, it's a WIP' and I'll understand.) Will there be any orbital stuff? I'm assuming there's a reason they're all stuck on the planet together... perhaps a reason that interferes with satellites/spaceflight.

No problem on all the questions, again thanks for the enthusiasm. :)  There is not likely to be any orbital stuff, but I'm not sure if I'm really ready to say why just yet.  I'm not sure yet at what point in the story that reason is going to be revealed.  Possibly right upfront, or possibly as a reveal further into the game, not sure.  One of the victory conditions will be escaping into space, at any rate.

Are the flying spire and neinzul the orbital equivalent - how high do they float? I'm assuming it's just an artistic representation of their buildings... is there any mechanical differences from them floating? (can they move, build over oceans, float over your cities?)

These are basically antigrav "buildings" that are still in the atmosphere, but high.  They can't be positioned over the territory of other races, or above mountains, but they can go over water.  The Yali are actually completely water-based, incidentally.  And the Thoraxians dig tunnels all over the place, under water and land.  Aside from looking for resources with sonar, you also have to watch out for tendrils of Thoraxian tunnels.

As to whether or not the Neinzul and Spire "floating buildings" can move or not, I'm not yet sure.  I've considered it, but I'm not yet fully convinced either way.  There are pros and cons, given the other game mechanics.  At any rate, there are lots of flying craft that can go over mountains and whatever else, including the floating buildings.

I know I repay each post with a dozen more questions, thanks again for spilling a few more beans. I'm just excited, your excitement is rubbing off on me. Good luck with it all.

No problems at all. :)  And thanks!

[edit. Added eXplorminate feedback]
Nasarog:
Hmm, that an interesting Q/A. I see the similarities to Simcity, which I like, but for me, I would want distinct buildings sets for each race (human played or not) and whatever overlap there is in building/tech to be explained in lore. Even though, a 4x sandbox game works because we, the players, create our own narrative as we play the game, there has to be some base. This base is provided by the developers. A good studio set the tone of the game and lets the player run wild with it. This tone is important for new 4x entrants because they often feel very lost and don't "get" the genre.

There actually is a very good reason that there's a lot of overlap between the type of buildings that the core races use, although I'm not sure I'm ready to spill the beans on that yet.  It's related to why you can't get into orbit.

In terms of having unique buildings for every last race, I think that one thing that isn't clear (mainly because I haven't made it so) is the sheer scope of buildings in this game.  Right now my target is about 200 in all, which does include something like 60ish race-specific buildings IIRC.  Trying to duplicate that sort of thing across multiple races but simply with different art would just be an absolute nightmare, both in terms of multiplicative math and in terms of players learning the game at all.

If you look at games like Civ, they have all the same buildings and units for all the different factions (a tiny exception or two here or there), but they have some distinct art for the cities themselves and a few other bits and bobs.  That still is enough for them to charge quite a bit for added DLC factions, which I don't blame them for.  But that sort of added cost there really harms the ability to make the new factions more unique in ways that are more than skin-deep on some parts of themselves.

There are definitely examples of 4x games that do every sort of thing various degrees of well.  Some have amazing faction diversification and unique graphics for all of them, and that's fine.  But unless those are just absolutely backed by a huge publisher and start with a huge following, or have really simple graphics to start with, they tend to suffer in other areas.  One of those areas tends to be the scope of number of buildings/units/whatever available per faction, because art costs are simply too high.  Or the number of factions total, as the case may be.

My goal is definitely to not try to take the "cheesy way out" of any aspect of the game, but at the same time play to our strengths.  And not to try to be all things at once, because that tends to lead to being "jack of all trades, master of none."  We've seen examples of that sort of game where they hit all the tickmarks on the back of the box, but it's all very shallow and uninteresting.  I still intend to hit most of those tickmarks, but skip any that would cause the game to suffer for the simple sake of hitting a tickmark.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 29, 2014, 07:35:31 AM
Thank you for such a long and detailed response. (It's 3 sides of A4 after trimming, feels more like a full interview. Much more detail than I expected)
I've cross-posted it back to eXplorminate and will see what questions they have about it later. For now the first follow-up questions that spring to mind are:

What is planet mood? Will the planet get annoyed with your growth/wars/terraforming? Interactions with the planet was a core feature of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC, the beloved 4x of yesteryear) In it certain buildings and policies harmed the planet - which could then attack you with mindworms- and certain victory conditions involved communicating with the planet. Will the player be dealing with the planet in a similar way? How much of a similarity is there?

The diplomacy mini-game sounds interesting... I'm not sure if the description won me over. Comparing it to SMAC, how tricky is it to code language/parsing as well as mini-games *and* different content (3 leaders) for each race? I know a lot of effort goes into something that when it works you aren't supposed to notice. (It just feels fluid, thematic and adds to immersion).
SMAC Faction editor, with diplomacy 'fluff' the sentences/pronouns/etc that give a little life to a leader:
(http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e248/DrFranknfurter666/SMACfactioneditor_zps758604a0.png)
How easy is it to make the races say more than a single scripted line every time? (How do you stop a language mini-game getting repetitive without lots and lots of writing to draw from? How do you add lots of text and then see how the game parses the text you enter? I'm curious about things like translating to French, I assume you need good linguistic and coding skills to handle diplomacy. It'd give me a headache anyway.)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: Aklyon on October 29, 2014, 07:59:31 AM
Aw, I'd wanted to play as the spire. The rest does sound pretty interesting, though! Terraformer races in Master of Mana were my favorite, and it sounds like everyone is doing it here :)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 29, 2014, 08:58:14 AM
Aw, I'd wanted to play as the spire. The rest does sound pretty interesting, though! Terraformer races in Master of Mana were my favorite, and it sounds like everyone is doing it here :)

Fun but overpowered. Malakim spreading deserts with automagically spawning oases, trade routes and a movement bonus gave them a distinct advantage. Beautiful to watch your terrain spreading though. (Especially if you've got a battle between Malakim deserts and the snowy arctic wastes of the Illians and the Lizard's swamps. Or Lannum turning land to sea more actively)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: Aklyon on October 29, 2014, 09:36:29 AM
The Aristrahk (Also known to me as the Hard-to-spell, the ones that the Calabim can transform into if you want if you don't just start as them instead) had an interesting variant of it. Similar to the Illians, they spread terrain most others aren't going to have much use for. But Wasteland tiles are literally useless to every other race but them, convert into desert (I think, might be a different terrain) if you take over the area, and are horrible cities to claim control over because the undead do not eat (souls are a seperate mechanic) and you do, so the city quickly starves to near-redeath and you have no decent food tiles anywhere around. You'd have reasonable production (and butttons of stone and metal) if the city wasn't starving though, I suppose.

Essentially the Ari are like a sentient incarnation of Hell terrain, but with the Agnostic trait, very cheap (but very terrible) early-game units, and don't actualyl spread hell terrain proper, just death and doom and greyness and waves of skeletal soldiers led by vampires. Their hero is also obtainable reasonably quickly and is almost certainly your best choice for early firepower, considering he can revive in the capital if he gets killed.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 29, 2014, 10:15:08 AM
Thank you for such a long and detailed response. (It's 3 sides of A4 after trimming, feels more like a full interview. Much more detail than I expected)
I've cross-posted it back to eXplorminate and will see what questions they have about it later.

My pleasure. :)  And thanks for continuing to broker.

What is planet mood? Will the planet get annoyed with your growth/wars/terraforming? Interactions with the planet was a core feature of Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC, the beloved 4x of yesteryear) In it certain buildings and policies harmed the planet - which could then attack you with mindworms- and certain victory conditions involved communicating with the planet. Will the player be dealing with the planet in a similar way? How much of a similarity is there?

I'm honestly not prepared to fully comment on this one yet, as my designs on this have yet to be integrated into the prototype and thus I don't have a good sense of what might have to change.  I don't want to say something on this that might turn out to be woefully incorrect, particularly given the high standard that SMAC sets.  All that said... yes, you will be interacting with the planet in several ways, and the planet responds back in kind.

The broad concept right now, without getting too specific: To some extent, it is like SMAC.  In other ways, this is actually like AI Progress from AI War -- even reverse AI Progress, depending on how you play.  The mood can be a force that is helpful or harmful for you and other races as well, and unlike AI Progress isn't something that just works against you.

Take the above with a big grain of salt, because things like interface clarity, fun and understandability, etc, may cause revisions.  I'm familiar with how SMAC did it, and I think that was great, but I'm interested in a more robust system.  The trick there is making it more robust without making it complicated for the sake of complexity, if that makes sense.  That's why I'm reluctant to talk too much about specifics prior to actually having a prototype I'm happy with on that part.

The diplomacy mini-game sounds interesting... I'm not sure if the description won me over. Comparing it to SMAC, how tricky is it to code language/parsing as well as mini-games *and* different content (3 leaders) for each race? I know a lot of effort goes into something that when it works you aren't supposed to notice. (It just feels fluid, thematic and adds to immersion).

That's definitely one of the challenges, yes.  In terms of the language parser, I already have coded that myself.  It's a fairly straightforward process that is more akin to encryption (well, technically hashing) than it is to literal language translation.  So that kept it quite simple on that front.

In terms of handling the language for the various leaders, that's something I still have some major figuring-out to do with.  Scope creep with that can get insane if I'm not careful.  I have a variety of potential approaches, but I need to further refine them as well as get a prototype of the most promising one and see how that fares.

SMAC Faction editor, with diplomacy 'fluff' the sentences/pronouns/etc that give a little life to a leader:
(http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e248/DrFranknfurter666/SMACfactioneditor_zps758604a0.png)
How easy is it to make the races say more than a single scripted line every time? (How do you stop a language mini-game getting repetitive without lots and lots of writing to draw from? How do you add lots of text and then see how the game parses the text you enter? I'm curious about things like translating to French, I assume you need good linguistic and coding skills to handle diplomacy. It'd give me a headache anyway.)

Nifty!  I had not seen their thing before.  In terms of doing the overall parsing in the style you're describing, I'm afraid that is one-language-only, as not all languages even see similar structures.  I'm not sure that I'm keen on having the sentence structure always be so darn similar as it is in SMAC, with just words popping in and out of stock phrases.  If you look at a lot of the things that are said in TLF, all of that is hand-written and there's a lot of freaking text because of that.

If the game were ever to be translated into any other language, it would have to use a more brute force approach like that.  And that brute force approach is frankly better for true variety, anyway.  Exactly what my plans are in that regard I don't yet know.  In terms of races saying more than a single scripted line every time, that is my hope.  Depending on the number of different kinds of lines, that becomes increasingly feasible the fewer overall sentiments that need to be written.  If you look at what we did with text in Valley 2, for instance, there are sometimes a dozen or more options for what get said in each situation.

There are serious pros and cons to all the approaches, so again it's something I have to continue to study and refine.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 29, 2014, 10:15:53 AM
Aw, I'd wanted to play as the spire. The rest does sound pretty interesting, though! Terraformer races in Master of Mana were my favorite, and it sounds like everyone is doing it here :)

You bet!
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: MaxAstro on October 29, 2014, 12:20:13 PM
Fun but overpowered. Malakim spreading deserts with automagically spawning oases, trade routes and a movement bonus gave them a distinct advantage. Beautiful to watch your terrain spreading though. (Especially if you've got a battle between Malakim deserts and the snowy arctic wastes of the Illians and the Lizard's swamps. Or Lannum turning land to sea more actively)

Don't want to derail the thread, but I had to do a double take when you starting naming Fall from Heaven races and mechanics and associating them with a game I'd never heard of before.

One google search later explains the reasoning, but still confused the heck out of me for a moment.  :)

...And now I'm going to lose an entire day playing FfH again.  Thanks guys.  :p
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 29, 2014, 12:45:19 PM
Thanks for the replies. I hope once the mechanics are in the game you'll be tempted to give a few more teasers as to how planet mood works. I can see in my head how it could work... especially with the AI Progress analogy. But how that works depends almost entirely on what mechanics that number is hooked-up to and how it's presented to you. (units, terraforming, events, global-warming, luck...)

I'm glad I could show you something you haven't seen before with SMAC. I used to edit the .txt files manually rather than using the editor to make silly OP races (like the Borg), change the pace of the game or enable satellites from early game techs. But I thought the faction editor was a nice way of showing the broad *feel* of a faction that you get from just a few bullet-points of text. (The Hive described as ruthless when someone is complimenting them, it only goes downhill from there.)

Nasarog wants me to do a LP nearer the release. I've not done an LP before... but first things first, everyone not a developer will have to wait for January to join in the beta fun... or whenever I can weasel my way into an alpha/beta... and am then free to talk about it (NDA dependent obviously).

Oh and on the side-topic:
I've poured quite a few hours into the different Fall from heaven mod-mods. Orbis/Rife/Master of mana. Only Master of mana is still active (I think), with work progressing slowly towards a *very* different game than Civ4, or the original mod, or even other versions of the same mod-mod. (Also it's a 4x game side-discussion in the thread for a new 4x game, not too off-topic IMO... and yes I love undead races too, mostly for having unique mechanics - like robotic/lithotrophic races in not needing food. But I dislike the inability to gain xp on mindless minions and having generally terrible troops... but that's just balance stuff, seasoning to taste. The dish itself is solid.)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 29, 2014, 01:14:31 PM
Thanks for the replies. I hope once the mechanics are in the game you'll be tempted to give a few more teasers as to how planet mood works. I can see in my head how it could work... especially with the AI Progress analogy. But how that works depends almost entirely on what mechanics that number is hooked-up to and how it's presented to you. (units, terraforming, events, global-warming, luck...)

Right, for sure.  I plan on doing lots of videos as well as written-up stuff in advance of the launch of this one.  We learned with Valley 1 that there's a fine balance between too-early (when things are changing and people think you might be insane) and with Bionic with too late (when there's no time left to show).  Of course, this project isn't changing so much as Valley 1 was over its period, but still.

I'm glad I could show you something you haven't seen before with SMAC. I used to edit the .txt files manually rather than using the editor to make silly OP races (like the Borg), change the pace of the game or enable satellites from early game techs. But I thought the faction editor was a nice way of showing the broad *feel* of a faction that you get from just a few bullet-points of text. (The Hive described as ruthless when someone is complimenting them, it only goes downhill from there.)

Nice!  That does sound like fun. :)

Nasarog wants me to do a LP nearer the release. I've not done an LP before... but first things first, everyone not a developer will have to wait for January to join in the beta fun... or whenever I can weasel my way into an alpha/beta... and am then free to talk about it (NDA dependent obviously).

We don't put people under NDAs, but if we do a period of a few weeks where it's invite-only, we may ask that people hold off on posting stuff for a bit.  But sounds good, and I plan on doing some LPs, too.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 29, 2014, 02:18:20 PM
We don't put people under NDAs, but if we do a period of a few weeks where it's invite-only, we may ask that people hold off on posting stuff for a bit.  But sounds good, and I plan on doing some LPs, too.
I quite like the direction some developers are going with the dev-streams. Firaxis, Stardock etc using twitch to broadcast some early builds of the game then posting it up on youtube. (certainly got me interested in their newest games... however I feel about the actual product.)

So yes, I think it's a good idea from a marketing standpoint. Even if it doesn't get a massive number of views (just a few hundred for some of the Sorcerer King dev-streams on youtube for example.) I wouldn't let it get you down. Even if it's <100 views some of those will be reviewers or others that can spread the word if they like what they see. And it'll be great material for students of game-design in the future to peek into the mind of a developer. (Independent of the game's success).

With Bionic Dues... I've only put in 17h according to steam (better than half the games in my library actually, top 20/70 but not top 10), but I really enjoyed those hours and those couple of games. I should go back and play it on hard. I'm sure it's a different beast once the enemies match your abilities... only I can picture the frustration of wanting to do a 'perfect' run. Something I don't feel with AI War or TLF... not sure what the magic difference is between them. Perhaps it *feels* less forgiving of mistakes, rather like Tidalis in that respect. The difference between difficult and unforgiving. I'm not sure it's all marketing... even if I can't put my finger on what the difference really is... I really would like to be able to put it into words better. Oh well, I still hope you go back to it one day when you have cash and time to spare on pet projects and give it a nice expansion, something to get me racking up the hours like with TLF and AI War. Until then I await whatever you end up calling this game. (...I still like the name Spectral Empire. But I'm terrible at naming things. I keep almost posting in the name thread then deleting my suggestions/opinions for being rubbish. Names really aren't my area of expertise.)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 29, 2014, 02:24:20 PM
Our main backlash with Valley 1 wasn't a lack of interest, rather it was too much early coverage on big sites and then having to publicly defend every sort of design shift we made during prototyping.  Plus everyone constantly guessing what was final and what was not.  We got tens of thousands of views on videos, plus various articles and interviews, and that was a mixed blessing.  I prefer being able to work in private a bit more until things are past a certain point.

It also makes sense on Bionic Dues, I'm not saying it's all marketing.  But we really had a very low amount of press at launch, mainly because we sprung it at the last second during a busy time of year.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 29, 2014, 04:54:15 PM
I find the line between public and private is confusingly blurred when comments are online. Any formal-sounding statements can be quoted, misquoted or (like the old quotes I commented that referenced risk-style features) be out of date quickly but don't clearly show when they were said, for what game/beta version they apply or in what capacity the words were uttered.

As a Developer it sounds very hard to change your mind. (I'd hate that, science is all about changing your mind when the evidence changes). Even if it's the right decision for the best of reasons... it's all about perspectives, having 'lead dev' on your forum sig makes each post sound like a formal declaration to some. Off-the-cuff comments, hopes and ambitions can become counter-productive if they are misinterpreted or taken as promises. It's like saying "Speaking as a formal representative of his majesty... teas should have two sugars" Little comments have added weight when a conversation isn't person-to-person but Title-to-title be it King-to-king or Developer-to-customer etc.

So yes, with all that in mind... I'll be updating the little preview as the game moves on. I know it's not a massive press article but the chat here feels more like a press interview for some reason... perhaps it's just my perspective because I'm thinking of how to edit everything that's been said and I've seen down into a single steam post... of something like 2000 words. Something that I can update and hopefully use as a review with the same character limit. It's easy to want to put everything in... the concise bullet point bit is tricky. As is knowing what to quote and how much context to provide with the quote. (Keep everything and run on to lots of pages, cut too much and risk butchering the true meaning).

Anyway, let me know if you think I've said something wildly wrong at any time. Stardock did... we worked it out more openly than is probably best from a marketing standpoint... PMs are probably best for those sorts of dirty-laundry conversations if they get a little too emotional. Hindsight and perspective... best not to wallow in the past and see how things can be better in the future. (Unless you can prevent future problems by fully analysing the past... grr... clarifications of absolute statements with seemingly obvious but not actually explicit words is a good example of such annoying over-analysis of words)

Anyway, I hope you have plans in place for marketing, the steam release window, interviews lined up when you have something ready to show them... etc. whatever it takes to make the game reach the right audience at the right time. It's a shame some titles haven't reached their full potential not due to mechanical/gameplay problems but the whirlwind of outside market forces. Still, they're part of the catalogue... each good game released is an opportunity to show the others to a new audience. Some games in the back catalogue will cater to a new market years from now if the gameplay is solid.

(Sorry for my walls of text, I do ramble. I've not got any more questions for the moment, I'm content to wait for the next trickle of news as you prototype features and see how it actually pans out. Even saying that, I feel like a reporter who's just put away the pen and paper but hasn't actually switched off the microphone. I can see how annoying it must be sometimes, and how nice it is to have less of a spotlight, quiet forums are more relaxing for exactly that reason. You can let your hair down... figuratively)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 29, 2014, 05:07:44 PM
It's all good!  I don't have any problems changing my mind, but I hate having a pressure to not do so.  Hence just the strategic sharing when we are ready, etc.  We're looking at a launch in April or May, so we've allocated quite a lot of time to a combination of polish, marketing, interviews, LPs, and so on and so forth.  We hit a pretty good balance of that with TLF, and I hope to do so again, but without the rush at the end that was caused by TLF's timeline slipping so much thanks to combat.  Fingers crossed.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: ScrObot on October 30, 2014, 05:38:36 AM
Regarding having shared building models and differentiating between races, could a simple system be put in place where the generic building models are given primary colors and/or a highlight color or two that are automatically applied to that race's buildings? Then, even if those models are the same, Burlust buildings have red and black trim, Andor buildings with blue and white, etc? That might be a nice little visual spice that could be scripted and not require additional art assets. *shrug*
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 30, 2014, 09:44:12 AM
I like the idea ScrObot... a quick search and I found this comment from TLF about having different cosmetics for the same ships:
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=15939
"Unfortunately, based on the way that we do the hue shifts, that's not something that is really possible now.

If this was a big desire, then in the future we could theoretically add a second layer that was colored that people could adjust on their flagships. A layer or two, depending. But right now that would not be possible. "

I suppose having an additional layer or two to buildings that is based on race colours - beyond the previously shown hex borders- would let you tell the race cities apart if they somehow managed to grow into one another (and therefore had no undeveloped edges to show race ownership). I'd certainly welcome it.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: ElOhTeeBee on October 30, 2014, 10:16:35 AM
Aw, I'd wanted to play as the spire. The rest does sound pretty interesting, though! Terraformer races in Master of Mana were my favorite, and it sounds like everyone is doing it here :)

You bet!

YES

About how much of this post (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,16204.msg181336.html#msg181336) do you at least want to try to make work?
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 30, 2014, 04:16:12 PM
Regarding having shared building models and differentiating between races, could a simple system be put in place where the generic building models are given primary colors and/or a highlight color or two that are automatically applied to that race's buildings? Then, even if those models are the same, Burlust buildings have red and black trim, Andor buildings with blue and white, etc? That might be a nice little visual spice that could be scripted and not require additional art assets. *shrug*

I suppose having an additional layer or two to buildings that is based on race colours - beyond the previously shown hex borders- would let you tell the race cities apart if they somehow managed to grow into one another (and therefore had no undeveloped edges to show race ownership). I'd certainly welcome it.

It's... a possibility.  It requires a lot more in the way of extra draw calls just for this, but only for those kinds of tiles, and the payoff might be substantial.  So... I don't know, maybe.  Combining these in the main dictionary actually means it wouldn't be any more draw calls at all, come to that, but rather it would be more on the pixel fill rate.  Though probably not much at all.

I'm not sure.  It's certainly a possibility, and it wouldn't require us doing a complete retool of the art or anything.  It would be something that we'd probably add later on if there seems to be a need for it.

Aw, I'd wanted to play as the spire. The rest does sound pretty interesting, though! Terraformer races in Master of Mana were my favorite, and it sounds like everyone is doing it here :)

You bet!

YES

About how much of this post (http://www.arcengames.com/forums/index.php/topic,16204.msg181336.html#msg181336) do you at least want to try to make work?

No satellites, but there are some ground-based buildings you can use to adjust the temperature on the planet, as well as the atmospheric mix.

Temperature fluctuations cause deserts to expand and contract, same with ice/snow, and for sea levels to rise and fall.  You can flood out coastal buildings with rising seas if you drive up the temperature enough.

You can't raise mountains, and there's no concept of height in the game (unlike SMAC, and like Civ:BE).  I know that bothers some people, but representing that in a way that was attractive and clear was something we tried and failed to do.  And in the end, we're able to get at the same sort of resultant gameplay without that.

You can clear forests and certain other kinds of terrain, but you can't raise back up natural forests.  However, depending on your race you have one of three kinds of terrain that is unique to your race that you can seed.  So you can draw all the phallic obscenities you want. ;)

I've thought about having land expansion onto water, but I'm not sure yet.  I have a couple of models in which it could work, but I worry that it would trivialize certain aspects of the game.  At any rate, if you find yourself stuck on an island, you can expand your empire via docks, airstrips, and helipads with ease.

In terms of making yourself resistant to atmospheric poisons, that's an interesting concept, and not one I've thought about.  Although, I guess I kind of implicitly have.  The atmosphere is by nature going to be hostile to at least some of the races, because the races have a mixture of partially-compatible or completely-incompatible requirements.  Those that are ill suited to the atmosphere don't just die, but it will slow them down a lot because of their need for rebreathers and other things.  So you can push the atmosphere in ways that will help you (and implicitly some other races that have some similar needs), while pushing out other races.  I suppose that part of that would be to potentially have some expensive tech to increase your tolerance of specific atmospheric elements, although I don't want that to get in the way of the primary push and pull too much.

You can't see the sky, so color picking wouldn't have much use. ;)

So it sounds like a lot of the things you wanted were already things I had planned. :)

Bear in mind that I haven't had time to actually prototype any of the environmental stuff yet, except for the temperature changes and how that affects coasts/deserts/snow/ice.  And basic clearing of land, of course.  But the more sophisticated atmospheric manipulation, and the planting of your own native flora/terrain isn't something I've gotten to yet.  I have plans, many of them quite detailed, but it's a matter of making sure that they actually survive the prototype intact based on them turning out to, in fact, actually be fun.  SOME form of those things will survive, I'm certain, because that's really a cornerstone of how you can compete with the races non-militarily in this game. 

Having other ways to interact with the races other than just military blows and cheap diplomacy is something I'm definitely driving towards.  So many strategy games focus on the military above all else, and kind of let the other elements wither.  Heck, with AI War I made the conscious choice to do almost nothing BUT military -- there's nothing wrong with that approach.  Here I wanted to make the military no more attractive of an option than any of the other playstyles, but at the same time not making it so that the factions are isolated -- they should be in constant competition even when not militarily engaged.  Even if you never actually fight anyone in an entire game, it should be a bitter "battle" the whole time on at least a couple of fronts.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: ElOhTeeBee on October 31, 2014, 12:52:46 PM
You can't raise mountains, and there's no concept of height in the game (unlike SMAC, and like Civ:BE).  I know that bothers some people, but representing that in a way that was attractive and clear was something we tried and failed to do.  And in the end, we're able to get at the same sort of resultant gameplay without that.
My point was less about the defensive implications of mountain ranges and more about the effect they have on local weather patterns - one of the cool things you could do in SMAC was, well, exactly what I mentioned. I forget whether the wind was east-to-west or west-to-east, but if you were on the right side of the coast, you could raise a mountain range to catch all the precipitation as it blew in, making your side more fertile and turning the other side into desert.

You can't see the sky, so color picking wouldn't have much use. ;)
Throw it in as a bit of flavor text on some sort of high-end atmospheric manipulator, then.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on October 31, 2014, 01:07:56 PM
Got it, yeah -- I know what you mean in SMAC about the precipitation levels.  The problem with that was that it was very dependent on a certain type of sub-data on the tiles.  There were, what, three factors on the tiles that made them unique?  Precipitation level, elevation, and fungus or something like that?  I don't have plans for a localized weather system like that here, as I feel like it does get a lot more complex in a way that isn't helpful for this particular game.  It's hard to represent, and in SMAC that was never something I felt like was really represented super well, though it was cool as all get out.

Fertility of tiles really isn't too big a thing at the moment, either, at least not at that scale.  Although I may try to sneak some things in, we'll see. ;)
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: DrFranknfurter on October 31, 2014, 07:01:11 PM
On SMAC, it used the rule of three: Food, mineral, energy determined by precipitation, rocky-ness and height. (then modified by everything else). I think it's a nice way to do things - sticking to three variables makes it easy for a player to remember and work with, and three is about the minimum to have some interesting complexity.
In a similar way you have three unique terrains per race, 3 leaders per race etc. (3s all around. I like that for the above reason. I'm curious as to what other 3s this game will have)

If not weather patterns, perhaps mountains could alter the footprint of terraforming building effects or similar. It doesn't have to be too complex, nor hidden too deep (just to make you care about the shape and texture of the map, especially if you end up having some way of messing with it later). In SMAC, it didn't explain it to you through tutorials, instead you had messages like "Spartan workers at fort Scary have altered rainfall patterns at xxx" Which makes you think, wait... you can alter rainfall? How do I do that? I'm *so* gonna do that.

Anyway, I hope you have a look at the building colour stuff. Just a thought but couldn't the building textures all generated at game-start or even before that, to avoid extra work during the game? Or have a sheet for each building with it rendered in different colours for it to pick one piece of to draw? I'm reminded of this old post (from may 2012... I went looking for it) discussing blitting and trying to improve performance of draw-calls during the development of Gemcraft 2, it's half way down after he mentions the problem of lag:
http://gameinabottle.com/blog/2012/05/gc2cs-features-sparks-monsters/
Although that's the extent of my knowledge on the issue. It sounds like one possible way of making buildings both pretty and not too cpu-intensive. Whatever he did it certainly worked for Gemcraft (IMO it looks much more beautiful now than the first games). Also I know he does *Science!* and actually compares the results on different computers using different versions of DirectX and other such experiments to squeeze out every drop of performance improvements he can get, usually favouring better performance on old computers over new computers (which is nice for those who aren't swimming in RAM). I'm not sure if it's helpful. But it can't hurt... well it could... but if it did that would be a very unhappy blitting accident.
Title: Re: Tiny tease screenshot (okay, several, plus a small info dump, turns out).
Post by: x4000 on November 03, 2014, 09:13:36 AM
Definitely some things I will keep in mind, thanks!