Author Topic: What does the big picture look like?  (Read 6528 times)

Offline Zebeast46

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What does the big picture look like?
« on: December 12, 2014, 11:14:34 PM »
3rd topic for stars beyond reach ...daammnn. I know the title may be a bit misleading but how will the big picture look in SBR, for example in civ 5 when you zoomed out and watched a replay of a war it looks like an actual campaign is playing out, will that be in SBR. On an unrelated note how does the bidding on steam work. Is it like the top 100 highest bids get the game?
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Offline x4000

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2014, 09:36:13 AM »
Glad you're so enthused. :)

Quote
how will the big picture look in SBR, for example in civ 5 when you zoomed out and watched a replay of a war it looks like an actual campaign is playing out, will that be in SBR.

This may just not have been something I did in Civ 5, so I'm a bit confused.  I played Civs 1, 4, and 5 extensively, but I was doing so in a manner to enjoy myself, not experience every last feature.  Big games. ;)  Anyway, my recollection is that when you zoom out, eventually it shifts to a globe view, and you see clouds and other fluff.  Nifty graphics, but never seemed to have any point.  I don't recall being able to really see units from space or anything like that.  It doesn't sound like what you're describing, though, so hence my confusion.

When you zoom way out in SBR, it looks like a big hexagon with the same perspective as each individual tile.  You can see the parts of it that you have scouted, and there's a border that runs around the outside marking off where the end of the playable area is.  That border is not complete yet, which is why I'm not posting any screenshots of that level of zoom yet.

Depending on the size of the map you're playing on, and the size of your monitor, when you zoom way out you'll be able to see the various parts of the field better or worse.  Larger maps means that tiles are smaller to fit the whole world on your screen at once, so buildings are harder to pick out.  No real surprise there.

The ground troops are extremely tiny, only 14px tall and wide when you are all the way zoomed in, so they are not visible once you are zoomed out much at all.  Think of how the cars look when moving around in SimCity, as the best comparison point.  The sense of scale is honored as closely as we could, so they walk around on the streets firing tiny lasers and whatnot.  I wanted these guys tiny so that the buildings would feel appropriately large.

The boats, helicopters, planes, etc, are all (well, mostly) vastly larger.  They're meant to be carrying dozens or hundreds of passengers or pieces of cargo or guns or whatever.  Stealth stuff is smaller, and is typically what you do attacks with.  Diplomatic pods and scouts are also quite small, and zip around.

The stuff that is not combat-oriented just moves around as visual eye candy, giving some life to the cities without really doing anything.  Aka, it's not part of the simulation that the diplomatic pod goes back and forth, or that the cargo ship does.  If it were, then they would have to start and stop each turn, like trade ships and similar do in Civ.  These move smoothly back and forth all the time, giving them a function rather like the cars in SimCity: a visual indicator of something that's happening under the hood, and it looks neat, but it's not actually a directly simulated piece.

The combat portions happen "when attacks happen," which basically means that it's giving you visual feedback of the soldiers striking or the helicopter circling and firing or the missile hitting or whatever.  But underneath it's already calculated the result, and it's then showing you an appropriate animation for what it decided.  This makes it so that if you want to turn off the animations, it doesn't impact the math at all, too.  A popular option in Civ, that.  It should be less popular here, because we're less obtrustive with trying to make you watch combat.  If you watch it, fine, but if you don't then you didn't miss anything: you can easily cycle through tiles that were attacked and see summary results of what happened as well as a detailed log of what happened.  It's kind of a more advanced version of what we did in Skyward Collapse in terms of the logging.

Unlike Skyward, for the most part attacks here are simultaneous, rather than all going in a line.  That's a bit more recent-Civ-like.  In this particular game, right now the idea is that if two attacks involve the same tiles, the second one has to wait for the first one to resolve before the second one kicks off.  But otherwise they can run at the same time.  So if there's a big war in an area, and you are looking at that area, then you'll see a crazy flurry of warfare for the most part all at once, and then possibly with a couple of waves of counterattacks or whatever.  If you happen to be looking somewhere else, then you can come over there and see the summaries of what happened.

Replays of things you missed?  Er... probably out of scope, but we'll see.  It's something Keith and I have already discussed, and we'll honestly just have to see.  It's a big programming task, though, if we were to do it.

Quote
On an unrelated note how does the bidding on steam work. Is it like the top 100 highest bids get the game?

...bidding?  Not sure what you're referring to, but there's no bidding for the game, don't worry!  We'll be selecting a few volunteers from among the people who ask to be alpha testers based on our own judgement of who can best help us get to beta in good shape, which requires a variety of types of people.  Then once beta opens, anyone at all can either get the free demo of the current beta version, or buy the game and get the full version of the current beta plus of course the finished game.

Most likely we will not put the beta on Steam, just on our site, because it's a lot stronger to come out of the gate with a finished product on Steam.  And we have the good fortune of being able to pull in plenty of people on our own site alone to meet our testing needs during the beta period.  We aren't trying to fund this game through the beta period, we already have those funds on hand.  Anyone who buys the game before it's on Steam will of course be entitled to a Steam key when the official launch happens.
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Offline Zebeast46

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2014, 12:52:02 PM »
Sorry I am terrible at describing stuff. Have you ever seen a time-lapse video of Europa universalis 4 on YouTube. If not it is basically observer mode for The last federation with borders shifting and expanding. I guess I should have jut asked will the other races in SBR sort of have something like the ark and the mire in SBR. The other thing was completely unrelated, on steam there is a thing where you can turn your virtual cards into gems which you can then use to bid on a game. I was asking whether or not the top 100 bids get the game? Sorry for the confusion, but usually I tend not to phrase things correctly.
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Offline Draco18s

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2014, 07:39:19 PM »
Depending on when that invite for testers happens, i may or may not have the time. So much going on in my life right now, but this sounds really cool.

Offline x4000

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2014, 08:22:30 PM »
Sorry I am terrible at describing stuff. Have you ever seen a time-lapse video of Europa universalis 4 on YouTube. If not it is basically observer mode for The last federation with borders shifting and expanding.

Ah, I see.  Well... to some extent that would be the case, I suppose.  We don't really have a playback engine for this, but I dunno.  SimCity is perhaps a better example, because you start with a lot more available land, your cities take up much more space, and there is much less immediate pressure for military clashes.  You're going to be doing some fighting no matter what -- the "barbarians" (equivalent to Civ) are inescapable.  But whether you ever go to physical war with another race... it's possible that you might not, even though they might.

You might be helping to fund some race that is fighting a proxy war you care about.  You might be tussling with them on the open market for resources, basically fighting economically.  You might be making a social progress run, which will make you eventually fight the Thoraxians, but in a different way than you otherwise would (this is basically the "Cultural" victory from Civ, but different and also mixed with some of the ideas from Rebuild 2 and how it handles its endgame for most of the endings).  You might be fighting against the other races in a terraforming race, trying to get the atmosphere to match your own needs more than theirs.  In this you would have natural allies and enemies based on your race and what atmospheric components your race needs versus what other races need (each race needs 3, except the two robotic races and the one underwater race, none of whom care about the atmospheric makeup at all).

You might be basically just trying to turtle and then escape the planet with technology.  Or blow up the planet before anyone notices.  Those are all various paths to different victory conditions.  Well, some are just mechanics -- the victory conditions I mentioned above are Transcendence (social progress victory), a military victory (which I didn't really mention but is no surprise), escaping the planet (kind of a technology victory, but also more than that), and blowing up the planet (kind of a military and technology victory, very much more of a niche thing).  There might be some others, I don't know.  Depends on if I think of others that fit the mechanics, which is possible.

Wow, that was not the question you asked. ;)  The direct answer is that this plays out more like SimCity in terms of how things build up, and visually seeing the growth and shrinkage of empires is very much a thing.  Wars leave behind really nasty-looking City Wreckage tiles that look like they are out of WWII.  You or other races can then build over top of them if you wish.  And then of course the terraforming would grow and recede based on what you and other races are planting and/or destroying.  So the geography of the continents, plus the land area used by cities and empires, changes drastically throughout the game, and I imagine that a time lapse would look pretty darn cool.  I'm thinking about ways that might work, anyway.

I guess I should have jut asked will the other races in SBR sort of have something like the ark and the mire in SBR.

Kind of?  The makeup of the atmosphere is rolled at random at the start, and that affects races.  What resources are near them also affects them.  How much room for expansion they have, and who their neighbors are, also matters a lot.  Position matters vastly more here than it does in TLF.  Their historical attitudes toward one another also are randomly created at the start of the game, and that also affects things a lot.

I think the key part of what you're asking is how differently it will play out each time, and the answer is Very.  Oh, and of course there are 3 different leaders for each faction, each with a different set of bonuses, and so which ones of those are chosen for each race (again that's random) have an impact on the decisions the races make.

Overall my goal is less something like the Mire and the Ark from TLF, and something more like the crazy combinatorial variety that comes into play with AI War.

The other thing was completely unrelated, on steam there is a thing where you can turn your virtual cards into gems which you can then use to bid on a game. I was asking whether or not the top 100 bids get the game? Sorry for the confusion, but usually I tend not to phrase things correctly.

Huh.  This is completely new to me -- any links handy about this?  I can't really speculate without knowing more what this is, both from a back-end standpoint and from a consumer standpoint.  Encouraging players to get into a bidding war for the early versions of the game is... something I'm not super keen on, though.  While the money would be nice, I'd feel like I was gouging the biggest fans.

Depending on when that invite for testers happens, i may or may not have the time. So much going on in my life right now, but this sounds really cool.

Thanks! :)
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Offline topper

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2014, 09:55:50 PM »
Huh.  This is completely new to me -- any links handy about this?  I can't really speculate without knowing more what this is, both from a back-end standpoint and from a consumer standpoint.  Encouraging players to get into a bidding war for the early versions of the game is... something I'm not super keen on, though.  While the money would be nice, I'd feel like I was gouging the biggest fans.

Check out the Steam front page, it is on there now. I am trying to figure it out right now, but the bid amounts people are putting up are crazy!

Offline Oralordos

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2014, 10:01:14 PM »
It's not for early access to games. It's the Steam winter sale unique feature this year. 2000 games have put up 100 copies each that can be bid on in an auction. These have all been put up with the permissions of their developers, so you don't need to worry.

Offline Aklyon

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2014, 04:34:46 PM »
Theres also been some economic discussion (from a non-back-end standpoint) in the general Sales thread on Bay12, if you were interested Chris.

Offline DrFranknfurter

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2014, 05:04:31 PM »
I'm excited by the victory conditions ...blow up a planet. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but I am. I suppose I should ask, a victory condition for whom? Are you trying to blow up the planet, or are the AI players doing the research into planetary pyrotechnics?

I'm also very curious about the starting conditions. Obviously AI War has lobby options, how many? All of them. TLF on the other hand has a much more streamlined lobby.

For SBR I'd love the following:
Tech pacing (because I enjoy marathon/epic/slow games),
World size, (It's nice to have a world big enough to feel epic)
Race choice with a bit of customisation (leader choice, starting bonus etc. Some way of putting my mark on my chosen race right from the start)
Enemy difficulty (I like the 0-10 system in AI War, or at least the option for a ridiculous challenge for the masochist and a newbie game for casual fun)

For the less obvious options:
Achievement/challenge runs at game start. For example:
1 city challenge, (No new city founding, can't keep captured enemy cities)
always war (for pain. Like how being Repulsive in Master of Orion 2 locked most of the diplomacy and trade from you)
always peace (for subtle and gentle game)
raging barbarians (for a different sort of game. Call it 'moody planet' or 'schizo planet mood')
Basically the favourites of civ fanatics and AI War minor options, with appropriate wording and a unique slant.

Perhaps it's just me, but I like to see the achievements before a game starts and during the game so I know what I'm aiming for in this run. Gemcraft has challenges for each map. I'm sad that the planned system wasn't implemented but I understand achievements can sometimes feel like a chore. Here's how it was planned to look (http://gameinabottle.com/blog/2013/01/gc2cs-achievements/) and here's the list (http://gemcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Achievements_%28GC2%29)
... I like the idea of the achievement goal subtly shaping my game and goals. It seems better than being surprised when I get a dozen achievements without trying. If you implement a victory-progress screen during gameplay (I don't see why not) I'd love to be able to select an achievement from the available achievements to show up on that screen (e.g. win in 100 turns) with progress towards gaining or losing the achievement shown... but that feels like a very polish, optional extra sort of feature. Something that is less a question and more a feature suggestion I'd put on mantis if SBR has its own public section...

Anyway, Long question cut short: Are there any noteworthy or unusual starting options planned?

Also, Zebeast46's question... I'm not sure if I'm confused as well. But I'm picturing a post-victory game screen. One that has a bit more information then "You Win!" I know requests for more detailed victory screens were requested for TLF:
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=14550
I seem to recall a response somewhere to the effect of : '...it unloads the game data, so it's not easy.' But I can't find it...

It'd be nice if SBR had the victory screen not unload any data but keep it there to show you. Preferably with a log of events and a way of quickly running through them visually e.g. showing the minimap on a turn-by-turn basis, re-playing the changing minimap of a 20h 600 turn game over a minute or two for your amusement. Key events in the history of the world would be nice too, as well as saying exactly how you won. Victory text basically, but perhaps a little more numbery, so text plus a breakdown of your score (x10 for enemy difficulty, x0.1 for friendly planet setting, x1.3 for earning an achievement etc.). Lastly, and perhaps most importantly. If it doesn't unload things you have the option of a "One more Turn" Button. Always nice to have... as long as there is actually a planet left to play with. (no planet cracker victory).

Also... I'm still sad there are no zombies planned. *sniffs... then coughs painfully* Hope all is going well with the game. I'll be happy to volunteer to test it when you're ready for some alpha/beta testers. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute to a proper eXplorminate review for SBR upon release too. I know they are eager to do a podcast with you at some point. (like these here : http://www.explorminate.com/fortnightly-podcast/)

I'm more of a typer then a talker... still, they're a friendly bunch, even mentioning SBR very briefly during the last weekly eXchange. Not sure if you've communicated with Devildog, Nasarog and the others but they've been keeping an eye on the preview page and asking for updates about the development in chats on steam. So you have an audience there. Oh and an eXplorminate response to your posts on victory conditions/blowing up the planet:

athelasloraiel 21 minutes ago
wow!

(athelasloraiel posted quite a lot of little bug reports for Sorceror King, I'm sure he'd be a welcome addition to the community here if I can win him over. He also keeps things short and to the point, a trait I could do with learning.)

Offline Draco18s

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2014, 05:14:42 PM »
Theres also been some economic discussion (from a non-back-end standpoint) in the general Sales thread on Bay12, if you were interested Chris.

Oh geeze, the economics are broken and people are falling for it.  Egads.

Offline x4000

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2014, 08:22:56 PM »
Ah, okay, that -- yeah, that's just a temporary holiday promotion, so far as I know.  You can snag some of our existing titles through there, but nothing with SBR.

Very interesting economic discussion at Bay 12, thanks for the link.  I tend to stay away from auctions, too -- I use eBay, but mainly for buy it now stuff that is priced reasonably.  Mainly I get some computer hardware from there, and then I augment my growing transformers collection from it, heh.

I'm excited by the victory conditions ...blow up a planet. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised but I am. I suppose I should ask, a victory condition for whom? Are you trying to blow up the planet, or are the AI players doing the research into planetary pyrotechnics?

It's a victory condition for you, if you choose to go essentially that... story route, let's call it.  Depending on which route you take, you can find out more about your situation in different ways.  It's not a story-heavy game at all, but it does drop nuggets here and there for you to piece together, and you have to play out different sorts of endings to get all the nuggets.  There are reasons that you might want to go out in a blaze of glory, and they have nothing to do with an Evuck-like "well we're going, so let's take everyone else with us" mentality. ;)  If you're in that situation, you're already too late to contemplate this victory condition.

As with AI War, there isn't really a set of victory conditions for your opponents.  Mainly it's a matter of "you win or you don't win."  Not "who wins first."

I'm also very curious about the starting conditions. Obviously AI War has lobby options, how many? All of them. TLF on the other hand has a much more streamlined lobby.

For SBR I'd love the following:
Tech pacing (because I enjoy marathon/epic/slow games),
World size, (It's nice to have a world big enough to feel epic)
Race choice with a bit of customisation (leader choice, starting bonus etc. Some way of putting my mark on my chosen race right from the start)
Enemy difficulty (I like the 0-10 system in AI War, or at least the option for a ridiculous challenge for the masochist and a newbie game for casual fun)

For the less obvious options:
Achievement/challenge runs at game start. For example:
1 city challenge, (No new city founding, can't keep captured enemy cities)
always war (for pain. Like how being Repulsive in Master of Orion 2 locked most of the diplomacy and trade from you)
always peace (for subtle and gentle game)
raging barbarians (for a different sort of game. Call it 'moody planet' or 'schizo planet mood')
Basically the favourites of civ fanatics and AI War minor options, with appropriate wording and a unique slant.

Perhaps it's just me, but I like to see the achievements before a game starts and during the game so I know what I'm aiming for in this run. Gemcraft has challenges for each map. I'm sad that the planned system wasn't implemented but I understand achievements can sometimes feel like a chore. Here's how it was planned to look (http://gameinabottle.com/blog/2013/01/gc2cs-achievements/) and here's the list (http://gemcraft.wikia.com/wiki/Achievements_%28GC2%29)
... I like the idea of the achievement goal subtly shaping my game and goals. It seems better than being surprised when I get a dozen achievements without trying. If you implement a victory-progress screen during gameplay (I don't see why not) I'd love to be able to select an achievement from the available achievements to show up on that screen (e.g. win in 100 turns) with progress towards gaining or losing the achievement shown... but that feels like a very polish, optional extra sort of feature. Something that is less a question and more a feature suggestion I'd put on mantis if SBR has its own public section...

Anyway, Long question cut short: Are there any noteworthy or unusual starting options planned?

There's a variety of stuff, although the goal is to be somewhere in the middle of AI War and TLF.  A lot of the things that were expressed in the UI in AI War were in the gameplay in TLF, and that will remain true here, too.  But a lot of things just can't work that way, of course.  We'll be having an advanced start as well as a quick start option, unlike AI War, so that new players aren't sandblasted by a ton of options.  This is a bit more like Civ, in some ways.

There is also a scenario editor; have I mentioned that before?  So you can create custom scenarios to pit players against, like in the older Age of Empires or Warcraft games.  I always did enjoy playing those, and creating some of those, back in the day.  To specific questions:

- Tech pacing: not at the moment, but feel free to ask about that during beta.
- World size: yes, of course.  Even the tiny ones feel surprisingly epic, though I imagine that would not last through a whole session in them.  The largest maps here are I believe about 4x larger than the largest Civ maps, if I recall Keith's commentary correctly. ;)
- Yes of course with race choice, and leader choice.  For you, not the enemy.
- Yep with enemy difficulty, although I have not worked out the specifics on that yet.  A lot of the challenge comes from the environment rather than just a specific race, and overall it's about the total sum of what is going on.  So most likely there will not be per-AI difficulties or options.  It's not much like Civ in that regard, it just wouldn't feel right.  It's more like TLF in that the game comes from having the interplay of all the stuff, not from just picking a few.  Anyway, I like the 0-10 sort of system as well, but I'm not sure we need that granularity here.  For now I think it's 6-7 difficulties, I can't recall exactly.  Differentiating them has not been a big focus yet.

-1 city challenge, always war, always peace, are things that might be options, it's more of a polish thing for later in the beta if you remind us.
-Achievements will most likely be the same as with TLF, where you can view them during games or from the main menu.  Same in AI War and most of our games, really.  That's how it is now, but we haven't started designing any achievement yet (though we do have some preemptively named, heh).

-Frankly, which race you choose is a much bigger deal in this game than... any other comparable game I can think of.  Some fundamental game rules change depending on which race you are.  Some races are rated as harder to play as, and others as easier.  Leaders offer further differentiation within those playstyles.

Also, Zebeast46's question... I'm not sure if I'm confused as well. But I'm picturing a post-victory game screen. One that has a bit more information then "You Win!" I know requests for more detailed victory screens were requested for TLF:
http://www.arcengames.com/mantisbt/view.php?id=14550
I seem to recall a response somewhere to the effect of : '...it unloads the game data, so it's not easy.' But I can't find it...

It'd be nice if SBR had the victory screen not unload any data but keep it there to show you. Preferably with a log of events and a way of quickly running through them visually e.g. showing the minimap on a turn-by-turn basis, re-playing the changing minimap of a 20h 600 turn game over a minute or two for your amusement. Key events in the history of the world would be nice too, as well as saying exactly how you won. Victory text basically, but perhaps a little more numbery, so text plus a breakdown of your score (x10 for enemy difficulty, x0.1 for friendly planet setting, x1.3 for earning an achievement etc.). Lastly, and perhaps most importantly. If it doesn't unload things you have the option of a "One more Turn" Button. Always nice to have... as long as there is actually a planet left to play with. (no planet cracker victory).

The abrupt endings with most of our games (perhaps Shattered Haven and Tidalis aside, and I guess also Valley 2 aside) has long been a point of contention.  That's something that I do plan to address this go-round, and Zebeast46 game me some pretty interesting ideas last night.  I still have to talk to Keith about feasibility, and it would probably be a during-beta feature, but we'll see.  What I have in mind would not only be satisfying for the end of the game, it would also be a really good marketing tool for videos, so there's benefit to doing it sooner than later.

Also... I'm still sad there are no zombies planned. *sniffs... then coughs painfully* Hope all is going well with the game. I'll be happy to volunteer to test it when you're ready for some alpha/beta testers. Hopefully I'll be able to contribute to a proper eXplorminate review for SBR upon release too. I know they are eager to do a podcast with you at some point. (like these here : http://www.explorminate.com/fortnightly-podcast/)

I'm more of a typer then a talker... still, they're a friendly bunch, even mentioning SBR very briefly during the last weekly eXchange. Not sure if you've communicated with Devildog, Nasarog and the others but they've been keeping an eye on the preview page and asking for updates about the development in chats on steam. So you have an audience there. Oh and an eXplorminate response to your posts on victory conditions/blowing up the planet:

athelasloraiel 21 minutes ago
wow!

(athelasloraiel posted quite a lot of little bug reports for Sorceror King, I'm sure he'd be a welcome addition to the community here if I can win him over. He also keeps things short and to the point, a trait I could do with learning.)

Cheers, thanks!  I look forward to getting to know those guys better.  I sent them a note a while back, and did not hear back.  It wasn't really the time yet for podcasts about this game anyway, so it was no particular skin off my teeth, heh.

And things are going well, thanks for asking.  We've wound up having to basically split this into three prototype phases, rather than one.  The first one is very near to completion, but I'm not sure it's going to be quite where I want it prior to the holidays.  Which bugs me, but I don't have the sense that we're behind schedule in an overall sense.

I've been actually playtesting rather than just designing and unit testing, and so far I've been playing As Stupidly And Carelessly As Possible, just not really putting any effort into strategy or trying to do well at all.  I haven't been intentionally making bad choices or anything, it's been more like "what happens if I press this red button?" sort of things.  So that's actually put a lot of things into perspective with me not actually trying to do math in my head or figure anything out very hard.  I know how the game is supposed to be played, but when there are places where I shoot myself in the foot because I didn't pay attention to things carefully enough, then I know there's a problem with the UI or the game rules, etc.

In a lot of cases that meant rebalancing early tech costs and early income/outflow costs so that it was a lot harder to shoot yourself in the foot out of the gate.  I was accidentally trapping myself into super slow construction at the start by building too many buildings too fast, not really paying attention to my crowns level or my available construction skill.  That was something that could burn like 25+ turns at a go, too, and I found that really annoying.  So simply adding in (very sensible) game rules about limiting simultaneous constructions based on available construction skill made that problem entirely go away.  Suddenly that was super clear and intuitive and I wasn't shooting myself at all, which was really nice.

There were other things with the interface, too, where I wasn't getting quite enough information here or there to really make decisions, or things were too buried to make quick decisions, etc.  Really smoothing all that out so that my own play experience is really fluid and fun is one of my first goals, even before continuing to add more game mechanics, though we are doing that also.  I haven't paid that close of attention to that sort of thing this early in the process except with AI War and Tidalis and Bionic Dues.  And I've not done this much "full playtesting" (as opposed to unit testing) on any game since AI War.  It's already definitely showing, in a very positive way.  I think people will be really surprised in a good way even at the start of the alpha.

Anyway, so things are going well, though in terms of the first milestone we're a bit behind.  I don't think that means we're behind on the overall project, I just think it's a matter of some later priorities shifting forward some.  It helps me to look at mechanics and kill those things that really are overly complex and hinder the fun or make the interface impenetrable.  That in turn really makes it so that I don't find out those things belatedly leading to either a major refactor or an "oops, well that's just how it is" situation.  This again was exactly how AI War was developed, so I'm really feeling very good about that.

We'll just see how things progress!  But right now feeling very good. :)
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Offline Zebeast46

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #11 on: December 15, 2014, 07:47:19 PM »
I know this might be  kind of early to ask about this but, how will the terraforming wars and economic wars go? And by the way, I love how you get bonus social progress for doing specific building placement, it will make the races twice as fleshed out, but also how will you implement that with the ai?

Also right now I am in a bidding war on steam for Skyward Collapse and A Valley Without Wind and I honestly kind of feel bad for trying to take your games for free. {insert smiley face here} I guess I will have to buy Tidalis and Shattered Haven now.
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2014, 08:01:09 PM »
I know this might be  kind of early to ask about this but, how will the terraforming wars and economic wars go? And by the way, I love how you get bonus social progress for doing specific building placement, it will make the races twice as fleshed out, but also how will you implement that with the ai?

Also right now I am in a bidding war on steam for Skyward Collapse and A Valley Without Wind and I honestly kind of feel bad for trying to take your games for free. {insert smiley face here} I guess I will have to buy Tidalis and Shattered Haven now.


In the beginning, one gem was equal to one cent, or thereabouts. Some games were going for 50,000 gems. The valuation is completely off. But good for you if they are near free for you or something.
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Offline x4000

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2014, 10:42:12 PM »
The terraforming wars are mainly about atmospheric composition.  There are the following atmospheric components:

Methane,
    Nitrogen,
    Ozone,
    CarbonDioxide,
    CarbonMonoxide,
    Oxygen,
    Argon,
    WaterVapor,
    Neon,
    Hydrogen,
    Ammonia,
    IceDust,
    Ethane,
    Acetylene,

Different races need different ones.  The underwater and robots don't care.  A couple of components (Ice Dust, for one) are used by only one race (that's hard).  Most are used by 2-3 races, but never more than 3.

Each race (except flying and underwater and Andor) has 3 different types of terrain for themselves.  Each of those puts off 1-3 different atmospheric compounds, usually 1.  The Acutians do have terrain, I should note, even though they don't care about atmospheric composition.  They're just spreading junkyards and polluting, basically.

You want at least 20.95% atmospheric composition of each of your race's 3 atmospheric compounds in order to be 100% compatible with the air.  That's unlikely to happen, and is impossible to happen for all races, so the amount of terrain that is built by each race helps determine that.  2-3 races usually share the need of a given compound, so there are natural alliances (at least atmospherically) there.

Right now the AIs just try flat out to race to their best composition, and you're left to do what you like to try to get your own ideal composition.  There aren't any diplomacy options yet to do with convincing AIs to emphasize this or stop that with regard to terraforming, but there will be later.

---

Note that the citybuilder aspects that are super complicated in the sense of requiring a human-level intelligence are limited to the human side.  All that stuff with social progress in general is just for you.  The AIs don't even use that.  They also are not interested in the technologies or buildings you have, because they are already more advanced and/or different.  May as well post this:

Thematic Explanation Of Human Technologies, And Race Tech Tree In General
The aliens that were on board this capsule were all in cryo-freeze, and in fact are “new beings” that have recently been born and then rapidly accelerated to adulthood.  They have some knowledge that has been downloaded into their brains, but no real life experience since they are new.

The only one that is not new is you, the racial leader.  You were also in cryo sleep, but you were alive and have memories prior to landing.

Unfortunately the ship took much longer to get to its destination than planned, and it actually took you to the wrong planet for mysterious reasons.  Some sort of electronic signal also wiped out large portions of both your electronically-augmented brain, as well as the memories from your computer.

One interesting thing that your computer did pick up en-route, however, is a lot of chatter from an ancient dead planet called “Earth.”  The planet has long-since been consumed by its own star, but the transmissions persisted.  A lot of the available technology that your scientists are able to come up with are based on studying the old earth transmissions, as well as the other alien races that already exist on this new planet.

By contrast, the "non-human-associated" races are separated out to an extreme degree.  None of this human-inspired stuff at all, and they have not forgotten their racial pasts in the same way.  Just super, super alien buildings.  Blue already has been doing such a wonderful job of that with the Thoraxians and the Spire, but that's something that we'd keep up with all the other races, too.  I don't care if the players can't tell what those racial buildings are: I don't WANT them to feel comfortable or at home with those buildings at all.  There aren't many per race anyway, and so learning their functions is not a gargantuan task.  And making them feel utterly alien is a very very good thing.

By contrast, the stuff that the player is building is kind of futuristic-human-inspired, with some compromises and takeaways from various alien cultures.  And of course the alien terrain that will help make the local alien populace happier.  This works thematically really well, and it provides some extra direction for the art (which is consistent with everything we've already done so far, but helps extend that thinking beyond the player-controlled stuff and the really odd Thoraxians and the Spire).



------------

There are presently 73 entries in the tech tree, and they are what I consider the "basic set" for the player.  There's a lot more to come on that, but it gets much further into the middle and late game, basically.  Those first 73 are not all required to play the game by any means, but they comprise the kind of basic set of city buildings for your side.

The AIs all have their own unique logic, different from you and each other, that governs how they grow, what they build, when they build, etc.  Some of their buildings are visible on the surface to you, others are underground and have to be scanned via sonar.  And then you either need to send in ground troops through ruined city wreckage above, use tunnels to infiltrate from the side underground, or use direct missiles (kind of like bunker busters) to hit those underground buildings.  So there's a pretty interesting mix there.

Basically nothing exists for the AIs (from a gameplay standpoint) "just because it's like the human side."  The only reason something on the AI sides exists is because it creates interesting challenges and/or opportunities for you, the player.  So you can strike at food or energy production, or you have trouble hitting reinforced barracks underground, or whatever the case might be.  It's all designed around providing interesting premises for you to play against, militarily or otherwise.

In terms of your own empire, with all the citybuilding elements that are much more complex, a lot of the rationale is that your civilization is having to reinvent itself.  It's simultaneously very advanced technologically and also having to reinvent a lot of wheels.  Figuring out agriculture on this alien world is actually one early tech, for instance.

All in all it's very... large. :)
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Offline Zebeast46

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Re: What does the big picture look like?
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2014, 08:23:56 AM »
Sorry but I have another question. :) Will there be asymmetry in this game and how will it wok? Will it be done the way shogun 2 did it, as in while you conquered everything around you, another empire did the same thing on the other side of the map so when you got to late game it was an epic battle between the empires, or are you going to do it ai war style?
AI 1 = Chris.

AI 2 = Keith.

Taken from Bognor

 

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