The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #361
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I think the divergence will be the final interval where you provoke (or don't) the emotional reaction you were trying to get.
    Makes sense. From another angle, if the tree diverged earlier, that'd be a way for players to glean information before we "officially" give it to them, thus defeating the entire point of the mechanic.

    Because you know hardcore players would figure out which conversations went to which profiles. That mess'd be on the wiki within a week.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  2. - Top - End - #362
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Makes sense. From another angle, if the tree diverged earlier, that'd be a way for players to glean information before we "officially" give it to them, thus defeating the entire point of the mechanic.

    Because you know hardcore players would figure out which conversations went to which profiles. That mess'd be on the wiki within a week.
    Oh, with this deterministic system it's 100% the case that the info will get out and be on the wiki within the week. That's fine. Let's not program around that. I figure by far the best counter to that will be text box when the game opens, 'this game relies on concealed information, RNG and comeback mechanics to give a good experience. While you can save-scum or read the wiki for intel it'll make the game less fun.'
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2017-07-27 at 09:52 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Oh, with this deterministic system it's 100% the case that the info will get out and be on the wiki within the week. That's fine. Let's not program around that. I figure by far the best counter to that will be text box when the game opens, 'this game relies on concealed information, RNG and comeback mechanics to give a good experience. While you can save-scum or read the wiki for intel it'll make the game less fun.'
    Agreed. Thankfully, with the system we have thus far, the biggest downside is that a player can "cheat" and find out exactly how to navigate the dialogue tree and get both information and board position.

    Our best defense against that is good dialogue tree design, such that it's fun (and not arbitrary) to navigate the "wing it" options.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Looks like it will take some time for me to go through all the wonderful art in this thread. I have never thought so much about the design that goes into a game.

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    Just as a head's up, August I've designated as a month of vacation. I don't expect to take breaks quite this long in the future, but this one is long overdue. I'm taking a trip to visit my brother this coming weekend, and then I have a family reunion in mid-August. I'll get one day of work in on the 17th, and then the week after that I should return to my normal schedule.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Just as a head's up, August I've designated as a month of vacation. I don't expect to take breaks quite this long in the future, but this one is long overdue. I'm taking a trip to visit my brother this coming weekend, and then I have a family reunion in mid-August. I'll get one day of work in on the 17th, and then the week after that I should return to my normal schedule.
    Cancel your vacation post ponies
    Some stories are to tell. Some stories are to keep.

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Cancel your vacation post ponies
    Postponies your vacation

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    Postponies your vacation
    I deeply regret that this forum has no way for me to +1, thumbs up, or add a smiley to your post. Because it is the best.
    School Fox by Atlur

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    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Cancel your vacation post ponies
    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    Postponies your vacation
    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    I deeply regret that this forum has no way for me to +1, thumbs up, or add a smiley to your post. Because it is the best.
    daggumit if you cultists are going to camp out on my lawn the least you could do is eat the grass so I don't gotta cut it
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  10. - Top - End - #370
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    Postponies your vacation


    So let's continue in the tradition of giving names and backstories to my space barbies


    Rogue Trader Fleet Profit Factor

    Archmagos-Explorator Brackmann
    (Counts as Belesarius Cawl)

    Explorator Brackmann is the bearer of an Imperial Warrant of Trade signed by Fabricator General Kelbor Hal back during the Great Crusade[1]. With its unfortunately permissive phrasing authorizing her to 'confiscate any technology deemed relevant' she's spent the better part of three thousand years looting everything that could theoretically be plugged into her body. One of her more prized acquisitions is the brain of a particularly powerful Ork Big Mek named Killgatez - this she keeps in a tube of braingel, although poor oversight procedures have allowed it to build its own mobile body and even a few assistants[2][3].

    Brackmann's personality is somewhere between Professor Farnsworth and Rick from Rick and Morty. She's a lunatic and Must Be Stopped but there's not really a safe way to do that.

    [1] the fact that Kelbor Hal sided with Chaos is mostly irrelevant.
    [2] I'm going to do some conversions between Ork Kommandos and Sicarian Infiltrators and pair it with an Orky Tech Priest Dominus - I'll have four Domini and a pile of spare AdMech Bitz so I'll definitely have the parts. In time I plan to do a full OrkMech army.
    [3] what could possibly go wrong etc etc.

    Inquisitor Walker
    (Counts as Inquisitor Greyfax)

    Inquisitor Walker is a compromise from the Inquisition. Archmagos Brackmann is too individually powerful and situationally useful to assassinate outright, but she's also a lunatic and Must Be Stopped. Enter Inquisitor Walker, powerful psyker and bomb disposal expert. Walker's job is to stand close to Brackmann and use her telepathy to mind control her out of bad decisions - and Brackmann being space senile doesn't really question why she does or doesn't do anything. In the event where Archmagos Brackmann ever does go down, Inquisitor Walker will have Emperor knows how many seconds to disable all the doomsday devices on her person/on the ship/given as gifts to starving orphans.

    Walker is accordingly the twitchiest person in the galaxy.

    Saint Kuisan, w/ Elune and Rebecc
    (Counts as Saint Celestine)

    Saint Kuisan is, as she tells it, a completely ordinary Sister of the Sapphire Shores Ordos Dialogus Missionary who's speciality is alien languages. She's just here to translate for the Archmagos. She's a bit uncomfortable about this whole 'glowing with radiant silver light and making grown men cry' thing that's been happening lately but she's sure it'll all blow over.

    The Ecclesiarchy declaring her a saint was definitely embarrassing. Her two bosses, Elune and Rebecc, swearing sword oaths to serve as her personal bodyguard and obey her in all things was a conversation she wishes she could forget. She's ninety percent sure that Leman Russ flipped itself over - and bursting into silver fire was probably a mechanical fault.

    Sicarian Ruststalkers, All Squads:

    Imagine Bender Bending Rodriguez as a networked hive of close combat sword robots. They swagger around playing with their transonic knives like mafia goons, run the black market economy in the Profit Factor fleet, and enjoy shaking down civilians and bystanders. They're the first to the fight because they've got no fear for their lives and it's a chance to strip still warm bodies for guns and wallets.

    Sidonian Dragoons:

    They kept having people fall off during disembarkation so they just removed their digestive systems, gave them neurological internet access and left 'em up there. When it comes time to leave a planet they often just leave the Dragoons to run free rather than going through all the bother of picking them up.

    Kastellian Robots #01-02, "Scratch" and "Puffy":

    Scratch is a very good boy. Puffy is also a very good boy. Whos a good boy? You's a good boy!

    They know three tricks: Sit (Aegis Protocol), Speak (Sentinel Protocol) and Fetch (Crusader Protocol). The 'fetch' target is hardcoded to be skulls and 'speak' is hardcoded to be bullets.

    Cybernetica Datapriest "Shae":

    Shae is a doting pet owner and Bad Influence who lavishes all his three meter tall killbots with love and attention and tummy wubs. He probably spoils them too much and even sneaks into the other robot handlers' kennels to indulge their killbots too.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2017-07-31 at 12:18 AM.
    Some stories are to tell. Some stories are to keep.

  11. - Top - End - #371
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Painting continues to be AWESOME. Hopefully update pictures tomorrow.
    Some stories are to tell. Some stories are to keep.

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    Day 2271: Ongoing

    Warhammer owns, 8th ed owns, adeptus mechanicus owns, everything owns.

    Links
    Some stories are to tell. Some stories are to keep.

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    Today is one of the few days in August that I'm working on game stuff, and wouldn't you know it, it's also a milestone day!

    Spoiler: Now with 50% more panels
    Show


    The Crisis dialogue now actually does stuff. The stakes are shown at the top of the dialogue box throughout the Crisis. Pick all the Blue options to get the prize, pick all Red options to get the intel, pick White -> Blue to get both. You can view the list of psychological profiles by clicking on the button in the bottom right, next to the Technology button.

    KNOWN ISSUE: The Psychological profiles panel is way the heck too big in fullscreen. It'll be fixed next milestone.

    Next up, I'm going to work on Endgame and goals, so I can honestly start calling this a game. I'll also have a post coming later today about some design discussions we need to have. I'm running out of things to build on my own because some of the remaining items require some additional specifications.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Day 2271: Ongoing

    Warhammer owns, 8th ed owns, adeptus mechanicus owns, everything owns.

    Links
    Robots! And other nifty painted things! Woo!
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  14. - Top - End - #374
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    As we come up to the end of the prototyping stage, there's still some mechanics that we need to hash out. Some of these we've talked about before, but haven't come to a solid enough conclusion for me to start work on them. Others may have been lost in the shuffle, and I need to be reminded of what we decided on.

    Global Warming

    Last I checked, all we had for this system was, "a global downward pressure on Development Levels", something about Countries adding or subtracting from the Global Warming level each turn, and maybe something about Countries having different susceptibility to Global Warming? I need to be sure of the specifications before I start working.

    Unit/Action Stacking

    Thus far, Units are not able to stack with each other, and they all perform Actions independent of each other. You can set two Executives to Forge a Link someplace, and that just gives you two rolls of the dice. You can tell two Armies to Confiscate Tech, and that just increases the rate at which said Tech is confiscated. In the early designs - and in some of the Bonuses - there was talk of combat actions being dependent on how many units were stacked up, performing an Action together. (Conventional Warfare, Insurrection, Deploy to some degree?) If units are going to be able to stack up together, then we need to figure out:
    -How do they stack/unstack?
    -How does the size of a stack affects the Actions they can take?
    -If Units from different Countries are in a stack together, how do we combine their respective adopted Technologies?

    Superweapons

    Small point here, but I think we should make Tech-agnostic Superweapons for this prototype. Doesn't have any fancy effects, just does base Superweapon things; kills all Units, breaks all links, zaps all Tech, resets to Development Level 1. That is some content that I don't think we need to see if the core gameplay is good.

    Endgames

    For now, we need two valid Endgames for testing purposes. Did you have any in mind already drawn up?

    The Map

    I still need to add Africa and the Balkans to the map. Once I do, we'll need to go through and make sure our adjacency maps are correct.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  15. - Top - End - #375
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    As we come up to the end of the prototyping stage, there's still some mechanics that we need to hash out. Some of these we've talked about before, but haven't come to a solid enough conclusion for me to start work on them. Others may have been lost in the shuffle, and I need to be reminded of what we decided on.

    Global Warming

    Last I checked, all we had for this system was, "a global downward pressure on Development Levels", something about Countries adding or subtracting from the Global Warming level each turn, and maybe something about Countries having different susceptibility to Global Warming? I need to be sure of the specifications before I start working.
    After thinking about this for some time, the entire Global Warming subsystem feels very vestigial in its current mental form. It doesn't do much except give a handle for a bunch of modifiers to contribute to and it's not obvious to me what it should do, how it contributes to strategic decisions, or how it contributes to overall game feel.

    Taking it back to base principles, then, perhaps the entire concept revolves around 'poisoning the well' - short term gains in exchange for chaotic consequences born by everyone. Something as predictable as just downward pressure on development doesn't fit. I think as this thing raises then there's increasing chances for random bad events that just knock over different countries. At the highest levels earth becomes uninhabitable and making it so might be the end goal for a Mr. Johnson or two.

    Unit/Action Stacking

    Thus far, Units are not able to stack with each other, and they all perform Actions independent of each other. You can set two Executives to Forge a Link someplace, and that just gives you two rolls of the dice. You can tell two Armies to Confiscate Tech, and that just increases the rate at which said Tech is confiscated. In the early designs - and in some of the Bonuses - there was talk of combat actions being dependent on how many units were stacked up, performing an Action together. (Conventional Warfare, Insurrection, Deploy to some degree?) If units are going to be able to stack up together, then we need to figure out:
    -How do they stack/unstack?
    -How does the size of a stack affects the Actions they can take?
    -If Units from different Countries are in a stack together, how do we combine their respective adopted Technologies?
    I think stacking, in the sense that multiple units merge to form one big unit, isn't necessary. If multiple units are stationed in one country then they all do their jobs individually. If two armies of 5 units a piece are engaged in war, each unit rolls a dice to see if it destroys another unit at the same time as the enemy does the same.

    HOWEVER I think there's a pretty immense UI challenge implied in this, especially with regard to moving large armies or groups around. I think it may be a good idea to create a 'stack' purely for player organizational purposes - this stack is one exec, two armies and one agent for example. And - in a vital understanding of a repeated gripe from anyone who plays Paradox games - these stacks need to have the option to self replenish. That is, in the aforementioned stack if an army unit dies, then there remains the 'ghost' of that army unit in that stack, and if the 'enable replenishment' tickbox is selected then the next produced army will automatically waypoint across the map to rally with the stack and fill the missing slot. Also a second 'national replenishment' option that means that if a Russian army dies then it'll be replenished with another army from Russia.

    Superweapons

    Small point here, but I think we should make Tech-agnostic Superweapons for this prototype. Doesn't have any fancy effects, just does base Superweapon things; kills all Units, breaks all links, zaps all Tech, resets to Development Level 1. That is some content that I don't think we need to see if the core gameplay is good.
    Make it so, Mr. Nailbrain.

    Endgames

    For now, we need two valid Endgames for testing purposes. Did you have any in mind already drawn up?
    The most basic one is Mr. Johnson deploys an army from his secret moon factory and tries to take over the world. This is a one time huge influx of army units. Since the reinforcements are overwhelming the player needs to fight a delaying action by severing trade links, using strategic superweapons and carefully chosen battlegrounds. N.b. - a previously unmentioned but in retrospect vital is country traits and tech modifiers that give +defensive bonuses to armies.

    The second one is Mr. Johnson inciting an apocalyptic superweapon war. A large flood of Agents appears and attempts to trigger as many superweapons as possible. Alternate takes: A WMD goes off in every country Linked to a Johnson controlled country, a WMD goes off in every Johnson controlled country pushing environmental collapse to a billion and Johnson turtles up while the world collapses.
    Some stories are to tell. Some stories are to keep.

  16. - Top - End - #376
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    You see the progression to a certain point, then you stop growing, but still it's nice

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ressurection View Post
    You see the progression to a certain point, then you stop growing, but still it's nice
    Progression and motivation dropped off progressively after I became employed and there were a few years of treading water. Mini painting has turned that around, though - there hasn't been a day in the past two months when I haven't spent between two and five hours a day painting!
    Some stories are to tell. Some stories are to keep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    After thinking about this for some time, the entire Global Warming subsystem feels very vestigial in its current mental form. It doesn't do much except give a handle for a bunch of modifiers to contribute to and it's not obvious to me what it should do, how it contributes to strategic decisions, or how it contributes to overall game feel.

    Taking it back to base principles, then, perhaps the entire concept revolves around 'poisoning the well' - short term gains in exchange for chaotic consequences born by everyone. Something as predictable as just downward pressure on development doesn't fit. I think as this thing raises then there's increasing chances for random bad events that just knock over different countries. At the highest levels earth becomes uninhabitable and making it so might be the end goal for a Mr. Johnson or two.
    If we take this in a more chaotic direction, this could turn into a real swing-y system if we aren't careful. I think we want to avoid situations where a bad roll of the die - or several bad rolls - doom a game and there's nothing the player could've done to stop it. If we can focus on consequences that are more universally bad, rather than decidedly worse for one player, I think that'd be ideal. I don't expect we'll be able to hit that perfectly all the time, but it's a good goal to strive for. (Plus, while swing-y moments can be awful if they pile on, a few swings make for good stories later. So long as there's still good, strategic depth, we'll be alright.)

    It's also worth mentioning that if we remove the downward development pressure, there will exist no mechanics in this game (outside of Superweapons) to reduce a Country's Development Level. I feel that's some wasted design space if we leave it like that.

    Strategically, I view that each player will have an optimal zone where they want to keep the Global Warming level. Or rather, since things get worse as the meter goes up, and it takes an investment of resources to make it stop/go down, each player will have their own upper limits that they don't want to surpass. To that end, we should probably have clear distinctions of what may happen at various levels in the meter. If it's too vague - "bad things happen as the meter goes up, don't let it go too high" - then it's harder to evaluate how much higher you can afford to raise it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I think stacking, in the sense that multiple units merge to form one big unit, isn't necessary. If multiple units are stationed in one country then they all do their jobs individually. If two armies of 5 units a piece are engaged in war, each unit rolls a dice to see if it destroys another unit at the same time as the enemy does the same.

    HOWEVER I think there's a pretty immense UI challenge implied in this, especially with regard to moving large armies or groups around. I think it may be a good idea to create a 'stack' purely for player organizational purposes - this stack is one exec, two armies and one agent for example. And - in a vital understanding of a repeated gripe from anyone who plays Paradox games - these stacks need to have the option to self replenish. That is, in the aforementioned stack if an army unit dies, then there remains the 'ghost' of that army unit in that stack, and if the 'enable replenishment' tickbox is selected then the next produced army will automatically waypoint across the map to rally with the stack and fill the missing slot. Also a second 'national replenishment' option that means that if a Russian army dies then it'll be replenished with another army from Russia.
    That will provide some UI difficulty if the stacked units want to perform different actions in the same country. We can tackle that when the time comes though. At least this way, we don't have to rewrite any existing actions.

    This does mean that we can't make any Technology that affects unit movement speed. All movement modifiers need to be global to a player, or else units in a stack can de-stack as they move to a Country at different rates. We didn't plan on doing this anyway, but it's good to note for later.

    For Countries that previously had a Bonus of "do a 1-Agent Insurgency in a Country", should this be more or less effective than a vanilla Agent? Should it depend on the +/- Insurgency Tech of the Country involved?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    The most basic one is Mr. Johnson deploys an army from his secret moon factory and tries to take over the world. This is a one time huge influx of army units. Since the reinforcements are overwhelming the player needs to fight a delaying action by severing trade links, using strategic superweapons and carefully chosen battlegrounds. N.b. - a previously unmentioned but in retrospect vital is country traits and tech modifiers that give +defensive bonuses to armies.

    The second one is Mr. Johnson inciting an apocalyptic superweapon war. A large flood of Agents appears and attempts to trigger as many superweapons as possible. Alternate takes: A WMD goes off in every country Linked to a Johnson controlled country, a WMD goes off in every Johnson controlled country pushing environmental collapse to a billion and Johnson turtles up while the world collapses.
    Can do. Though a Defensive army modifier may be difficult. I can see a situation where there are three Army units in a country, and only one of them has a +Defense boost. As it stands now, the attacking army is rolling to beat a DC which is modified by its own Tech and the Tech of the Country it's operating in. But in this case, success is variable based on which Army unit it is attacking. Success has not depended on the individual defending unit before.

    I'll see what I can do.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    If we take this in a more chaotic direction, this could turn into a real swing-y system if we aren't careful. I think we want to avoid situations where a bad roll of the die - or several bad rolls - doom a game and there's nothing the player could've done to stop it. If we can focus on consequences that are more universally bad, rather than decidedly worse for one player, I think that'd be ideal. I don't expect we'll be able to hit that perfectly all the time, but it's a good goal to strive for. (Plus, while swing-y moments can be awful if they pile on, a few swings make for good stories later. So long as there's still good, strategic depth, we'll be alright.)
    *Nod nod* Slap a 'continuously playtest' sticker on this.

    It's also worth mentioning that if we remove the downward development pressure, there will exist no mechanics in this game (outside of Superweapons) to reduce a Country's Development Level. I feel that's some wasted design space if we leave it like that.
    Maybe it could be an exec action - should definitely be a tech though.

    Strategically, I view that each player will have an optimal zone where they want to keep the Global Warming level. Or rather, since things get worse as the meter goes up, and it takes an investment of resources to make it stop/go down, each player will have their own upper limits that they don't want to surpass. To that end, we should probably have clear distinctions of what may happen at various levels in the meter. If it's too vague - "bad things happen as the meter goes up, don't let it go too high" - then it's harder to evaluate how much higher you can afford to raise it.

    Mmm, if that's the case then the player who wants it higher can just spike it. I do think the poisoning the well metaphor is apt as the basic intention that we then snap the mechanics to fit. Everyone benefits when the environment is healthy, and everything gets worse when it's not. Can lead to standoffs where everyone keeps the environment green, or when one player starts polluting the other rapidly gets into a feedback loop to make sure they don't get left behind from getting any short term gains.

    That will provide some UI difficulty if the stacked units want to perform different actions in the same country. We can tackle that when the time comes though. At least this way, we don't have to rewrite any existing actions.
    I'm imagining a stack as a box. Units go in the box, and you can open the box to order individual units around, but when the box is closed you can just right click the box and say all armies engage in counterinsurgency or whatever.

    Should it depend on the +/- Insurgency Tech of the Country involved?
    This one
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Maybe it could be an exec action - should definitely be a tech though.
    Tech that reduces a Country's Development Level by a flat amount, or provides downward pressure? An exec action feels really flat, but hey, maybe that's a powerful ability that makes Assassination worthwhile.

    Mmm, if that's the case then the player who wants it higher can just spike it. I do think the poisoning the well metaphor is apt as the basic intention that we then snap the mechanics to fit. Everyone benefits when the environment is healthy, and everything gets worse when it's not. Can lead to standoffs where everyone keeps the environment green, or when one player starts polluting the other rapidly gets into a feedback loop to make sure they don't get left behind from getting any short term gains.
    Right. I was using the old method of the environment system, where each Country add/removes from the meter every turn, and the main advantage of not caring about the environment was "I don't have to spend time/resources on this, and the other guy does." But it sounds like you are starting over from almost scratch here. Got it.

    (I do have an idea for an Environment system more in line with what we were talking about earlier. Will type it up when I have more time later.)

    What I am seeing from your system is the following: Players should have the ability to raise the Global Warming meter in exchange for short-term benefits. The long-term downsides are random, chaotic, and bad for everybody. Currently not seeing any methods by which to reduce the Global Warming meter. We will need to figure out the nature of these short-term benefits, and how they raise the meter. Is it a one-time addition? Does it add a little each turn over many turns? I'm more in favor of the latter.

    Is the only good answer to your opponent polluting is to do more pollution yourself? I think the answer to this depends on how players can reduce the Global Warming meter.

    I'm imagining a stack as a box. Units go in the box, and you can open the box to order individual units around, but when the box is closed you can just right click the box and say all armies engage in counterinsurgency or whatever.

    This one
    Roger roger.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    (I do have an idea for an Environment system more in line with what we were talking about earlier. Will type it up when I have more time later.)
    My thought was that Countries would have varying levels of environmental susceptibility. As the Global Warming meter rises, Countries will have their maximum Development Level dropped according to their environmental susceptibility. Some Countries could be wiped off the map if the meter goes too high, even before global collapse happens.

    Problem: Why bother investing in the highly susceptible Countries? Since players have to eat a time and opportunity cost to protect the environment, odds are that really susceptible Countries will never be able to reach Development Level 3. You'd have to invest both in the Country itself and in the Environment if you ever wanted to see any advantage from those Countries. If that's the case, then wouldn't it be more worthwhile to just ignore the environment and invest in less susceptible Countries, so you can reap safer rewards much earlier? And no matter how much you try, there's really not much you can do against an opponent who decides "screw you and also the environment." It's not an interesting or consequential conflict. If they raise the meter, they win. If you keep the meter down, you don't lose. If you decide to invest in susceptible Countries, and your opponent doesn't, you're pretty much always at a disadvantage.

    The frustrating part is that I look at this idea and it seems in the spirit of two guys fighting in an unstable building with dynamite. But I don't think it'll hold up in execution.

    (That's a lot of words for saying "the idea I had is actually garbage", but hey, better to catch it early than to spend more time on it.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    My thought was that Countries would have varying levels of environmental susceptibility. As the Global Warming meter rises, Countries will have their maximum Development Level dropped according to their environmental susceptibility. Some Countries could be wiped off the map if the meter goes too high, even before global collapse happens.

    Problem: Why bother investing in the highly susceptible Countries? Since players have to eat a time and opportunity cost to protect the environment, odds are that really susceptible Countries will never be able to reach Development Level 3. You'd have to invest both in the Country itself and in the Environment if you ever wanted to see any advantage from those Countries. If that's the case, then wouldn't it be more worthwhile to just ignore the environment and invest in less susceptible Countries, so you can reap safer rewards much earlier? And no matter how much you try, there's really not much you can do against an opponent who decides "screw you and also the environment." It's not an interesting or consequential conflict. If they raise the meter, they win. If you keep the meter down, you don't lose. If you decide to invest in susceptible Countries, and your opponent doesn't, you're pretty much always at a disadvantage.

    The frustrating part is that I look at this idea and it seems in the spirit of two guys fighting in an unstable building with dynamite. But I don't think it'll hold up in execution.

    (That's a lot of words for saying "the idea I had is actually garbage", but hey, better to catch it early than to spend more time on it.)
    I had that exact train of thought but didn't go mention it because my conclusion was the same as yours.
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    Took the Skitarii out for their first battle. Decisively crushed my buddy's Guard. Turns out Onagers with Neutron Lasers can punch a hole the size of a Baneblade in a Baneblade. Army is good. All the moving parts worked together exactly as I planned them to.

    Love this hobby.
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    Today, I invented Superweapons.

    Maybe it's just me, but the sight of everything vanishing from one of these little countries...it's a bit chilling, how cleanly it's all wiped away.

    In other exciting news, I've been doing the math on the remaining development tasks. I'd made a rough goal in my head that I'd like to be finished with development and moving onto playtesting by the end of October. That leaves us with 19 days of development (including today.) Without including the Global Warming system, and adding on two whole days worth of "things go wrong/take longer than expected", I estimate a little more than 16 days worth of work.

    I think we actually stand a chance of pulling this off. I really think we can have something ready to seriously playtest by the end of October.

    (And worst comes to worse, one of our early playtests can be seeing the difference between how the game plays with and without the Global Warming system enabled.)
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Today, I invented Superweapons.

    Maybe it's just me, but the sight of everything vanishing from one of these little countries...it's a bit chilling, how cleanly it's all wiped away.

    In other exciting news, I've been doing the math on the remaining development tasks. I'd made a rough goal in my head that I'd like to be finished with development and moving onto playtesting by the end of October. That leaves us with 19 days of development (including today.) Without including the Global Warming system, and adding on two whole days worth of "things go wrong/take longer than expected", I estimate a little more than 16 days worth of work.

    I think we actually stand a chance of pulling this off. I really think we can have something ready to seriously playtest by the end of October.

    (And worst comes to worse, one of our early playtests can be seeing the difference between how the game plays with and without the Global Warming system enabled.)
    Nice! How well do you think the Johnson personalities/AI will go? I feel like that behavior is going to be a major part of making the game have the appropriate build up of tension.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Today, I invented Superweapons.

    Maybe it's just me, but the sight of everything vanishing from one of these little countries...it's a bit chilling, how cleanly it's all wiped away.

    In other exciting news, I've been doing the math on the remaining development tasks. I'd made a rough goal in my head that I'd like to be finished with development and moving onto playtesting by the end of October. That leaves us with 19 days of development (including today.) Without including the Global Warming system, and adding on two whole days worth of "things go wrong/take longer than expected", I estimate a little more than 16 days worth of work.

    I think we actually stand a chance of pulling this off. I really think we can have something ready to seriously playtest by the end of October.

    (And worst comes to worse, one of our early playtests can be seeing the difference between how the game plays with and without the Global Warming system enabled.)
    Hey man, you're working really solidly at this in a way I've never known to expect from people I've partnered with for internet projects before. I would like you to know that I'm inspired by the consistency of your work and as of next week I'm going to focus what attention I can into Bringing It for game writing.

    My project and priority right now is to write out one full Johnson personality dialogue tree, including support dialogue from various assistants and backup folks. I'll avoid going and doing all 8 at this junction because I reckon we should build and test the game around one endgame, get it working satisfyingly, and then start branching out with additional content.

    Thinking a bit future ahead, I'm thinking about various visual styles:
    - Anime: Cheap, distinctive, and has a built-in fanbase. Downside is it risks getting lost in the crowd.
    - Painterly: More expensive, less scope for different emotional tones, but a powerful visual style that can draw attention off Steam queues and we could hang an awful lot of game off 5-10 paintings portraits.

    Incidentally, I'm thinking now in terms of presentation and business stuff that might be able to angle us at a small-medium Steam hit. There's some fairly obvious stuff here - make absolutely sure all game breaking bugs are crushed, send free copies to all the famous YouTubers and review sites - it's a pity I don't know any musicians because a kickin' soundtrack is the other major way for a game to BECOME FAMOUS.
    Some stories are to tell. Some stories are to keep.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Nice! How well do you think the Johnson personalities/AI will go? I feel like that behavior is going to be a major part of making the game have the appropriate build up of tension.
    To be clear; personalities/AI are not a focus of this first prototype. This will be the first time that we've gotten all the core mechanics done enough to play, and seeing how they work together will be a primary goal of this round of playtesting.

    I picture that we'll have 8 dummy profiles, all running off of a super barebones AI, and they'll share two Endgames between them. Only one complete dialogue tree too.

    Mind, your feeling is correct; this game will ultimately live or die on the AI and how well the personalities work. But that's a large, expensive chunk of content to create, and it doesn't make sense to spend that time when we're not even sure if the base mechanics are good yet. I figure that once we've refined the base mechanics a bit more, one of the first bits of content will be to add additional Endgames.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Hey man, you're working really solidly at this in a way I've never known to expect from people I've partnered with for internet projects before. I would like you to know that I'm inspired by the consistency of your work and as of next week I'm going to focus what attention I can into Bringing It for game writing.
    Thank you. This was a real surprise to wake up to, and I'm touched to hear that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    My project and priority right now is to write out one full Johnson personality dialogue tree, including support dialogue from various assistants and backup folks. I'll avoid going and doing all 8 at this junction because I reckon we should build and test the game around one endgame, get it working satisfyingly, and then start branching out with additional content.
    After thinking about it, I think this is wise. Having a proper dialogue tree would help a lot with the first prototype.

    As far as ordering the work goes, I would write one set of dialogue for each of the three Crises. There's a strong argument to be made for not doing any more than that. We aren't yet at the stage where we need to be churning out content, we're still in the early platesting/prototyping stage. A representative sample of dialogue will aid that, but I don't think we need any more than that.

    (Also, the Global Warming system still needs to be hashed out a little more. The nature of the random events, as well as how numbers are added to/removed from the big nasty Environment meter are important.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Thinking a bit future ahead, I'm thinking about various visual styles:
    - Anime: Cheap, distinctive, and has a built-in fanbase. Downside is it risks getting lost in the crowd.
    - Painterly: More expensive, less scope for different emotional tones, but a powerful visual style that can draw attention off Steam queues and we could hang an awful lot of game off 5-10 paintings portraits.
    Definitely more in favor of the latter than the former. Striking visuals spread quickly. Anime will get 200% lost in the crowd.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Incidentally, I'm thinking now in terms of presentation and business stuff that might be able to angle us at a small-medium Steam hit. There's some fairly obvious stuff here - make absolutely sure all game breaking bugs are crushed, send free copies to all the famous YouTubers and review sites - it's a pity I don't know any musicians because a kickin' soundtrack is the other major way for a game to BECOME FAMOUS.
    This is getting into the arena of polish. There's a great many functional games out there, and many functional games that have pretty good presentation. But it's the little, non-necessary touches at the end of development that can take a game from good to great, or even phenomenal. (Here is a good talk on polish. Well worth the watch.)

    We should talk a little bit more on IMs about plans regarding Paradox. Call me paranoid, but I don't want to get into the habit of discussing business strategies on a public forum.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Johnson #1: Alien Missionary
    Pair: Artificial Intelligence

    This Mr. Johnson is a reptoid invader, like an XCOM Thin Man, designed to prepare humanity for alien administration. He has the following priorities:

    #1: Ensure that Earth's climate is stable and global warming is contained
    #2: Control areas of the globe that are rich in natural resources
    #3: Destroy or destabilize all major political power blocks
    #4: Deprive humanity of access to superweapons
    #5: Set up for a quick and decisive war of supremacy

    He has the following restrictions:
    #1: Never use a superweapon - he wants to colonize the earth, not destroy it. Once this restriction is discovered any Mr. Johnson controlled country loses Nuclear Deterrent - the player knows he'll never press the button.

    He has the following endgame:
    The Invasion Commences: The invasion fleet arrives, providing Mr. Johnson with a one-off vast army. Due to the interstellar distances involved, Mr. Johnson cannot replenish this army, and because his priority is to disarm humanity he cannot recruit further armies from Earth. If the player can stalemate him into a war of attrition then he will inevitably lose.


    Disclaimer: While some political themes are touched on here, I just want to flag that the purpose of these conversation trees are about the psychology of Mr. Johnson and how it can be manipulated. There will be a pre-crisis discussion with an aide who emphasises 'while you may be tempted to stand up for your beliefs, this is a private talk with a sociopath. You won't convince him of anything - you're here to crack him, not redeem him'.

    Further note: The nature of the crisis here is a little nonspecific, that should change as this process evolves and is refined.



    Crisis #1: Hot or Cold?

    The first crisis provides an opportunity to get the first look at Mr. Johnson's personality behind the mask. When pressed, does he react in a hot, angry, impulsive way? Or does he remain ice cold despite all provocation?

    J0-1: "Ah, Mr. President. How do you find the time? So much exists in your head - an entire world of connections and strategies. Commercial and infrastructure links. The flowing pulse of technology policy and military conflicts in three different theatres. How do you cope with it all, I wonder? Holding the facts of an entire planet in your mind at once? I especially wonder how you manage to do such a thing while also worrying about democracy. An enlightened man like you shouldn't have to spend so much of your time grovelling to the snivelling ingrates who can barely work up the willpower to tweet out their opinion of your suit. Don't you agree?"

    A0-A: Mr. Johnson, you are correct in one thing: I have a lot on my mind and I don't have time for pointless talk. Withdraw your forces.
    A0-B: Mr. Johnson, this might be hard for a man like you to understand, but I have confidence in my fashion decisions.
    A0-C: You don't like the idea of grovelling, Mr. Johnson?


    J1-B: "Well, Mr. President, now that you've raised the topic... your confidence is misplaced. The traditional language of power is the triangle. Suits are constructions of triangles, which subtly reinforces your intelligence and authority. The language of visual design further demands bold singular colours to emphasise your conformity and aspect as the master of the system. Your use of curves and secondary colours implies a level of femininity and disorganization that your political rivals will instinctively respond to. Don't underestimate the power of base instinct when the mob makes its decisions."

    A1-B-A: The difference between our citizens, Mr. Johnson, is that mine are educated. The only thing I have to fear from them is failing to do my job. If I do not act to stop your blatant power grab here then that - not my wardrobe - will cost me my job.
    A1-B-B: Mr. Johnson, fashion is not a tool of control! Fashion is expression! Fashion is art!
    A1-B-C: Mr. Johnson, you sound almost afraid of being seen to be feminine.

    J2-B-C: "Fear has nothing to do with it - this is a simple question of design and symbols. The design is one of authority. The symbols have to reinforce authority. Humans crave certainty and, as political leaders, our job is to provide it to them regardless of our feelings to the contrary. Your decision to dress in a non-traditional manner is self indulgent. You are destabilizing your country to fuel your own ego."

    A3-B-C-A: My country is not the concern here, Mr. Johnson. I have already instructed my admirals to move the carrier fleet into position and already four hundred television channels are drumming up public support for intervention - all while you have been doing the very thing you accused my lowliest critics of wasting their time on. If you are so concerned with certainty then do the math on your own time. We are done here.
    A3-B-C-B: Symbols change, Mr. Johnson, and our purpose as leaders is to guide and shape society into more pleasing and perfect forms. While you are content letting your society stagnate in regressive biases I am building mine into a more pure and just place. When your people see you they see the same authority that they can see in photographs from WW1. When they see me they see something new.
    A3-B-C-C: Mr. Johnson, the purpose of political leadership is to satisfy the ego. Nobody reaches for the heights of power because they want the job. The job is boring, frustrating drudge work - you said so yourself. I am the ruler of my people, and they shall suffer my whims. You act like a whipped dog, intimidated by your peoples' subliminal biases. I have never seen anything more pathetic.


    A3-B-C-A is the correct path. It draws Mr. Johnson into a contradiction with what he wrote in J0 and strikes directly at his self image. This elicits the desired psychological reaction and forces him to withdraw his forces from the contested area. I'll write out the other branches to this dialogue tree soon, and there may be other conclusions that work as 'wins'.

    Crisis #2: Human or inhuman?

    It's been settled that Mr. Johnson's personality is like ice - but is this within the range of human responses? Is he trained as a spy? A pure nihilist? Or is there genuinely no emotion behind those eyes?

    Crisis #3: Alien or AI?

    Mr. Johnson is not a human. There are only two options: an artificial intelligence or an alien life form. We need to find out what his drive is - pure logic or something more sinister.
    Some stories are to tell. Some stories are to keep.

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    Day 2288: The Coolest Thing Ever

    Lesson #1: I need to learn how to take better photographs with my cell phone camera because every single one of the pictures I took of the Coolest Thing Ever turned out blurry as hell except one. And that one doesn't show even a quarter of the scale. So, here it is:

    Links (The ultramarines, dreads and flier aren't mine, all else is)

    This was my part of the battlefield, and it's a pretty good shot of the Dunecrawlers I spent the last two weeks working on, the spidery walkers right at the bottom of the frame. There's tonnes of other stuff here I've done and haven't posted clean shots of yet. But this was the first time I've put my entire 40K army on the table in anger and, by Celestia's beard, it looked AMAZING. The entire army hung together with total visual cohesion, unified by my consistent theme of blue and bone. Even the purple branch of Electropriests looked amazing as a contrast point. Also, given how many un-or-partially painted armies there were on the table I felt like I possibly had the best damn look in the store.

    Oh, and there were a few armies in the store. Maybe twelve. All on the table at once.

    One guy brought twelve Imperial Knights.

    One guy brought an Imperator Titan. It was half my goddamn height.

    This was an Apocalypse game. Everyone brought their entire armies. Every table in the store was pushed together. There were 14 24x24 inch battlemaps on the table.

    It was literally the coolest thing I'd ever done.

    We on the Imperial side were on the offensive here, which was bad because It meant we needed to advance directly into the enemy firing lines to try and clear them off the portals. An impossible task. Made a damn cricket try though.

    From this starting point my Skitarii managed to cross 2/3 of the board and were only 8 inches away from the objective when the game ended on account of it being 1am. It was amazing to see - the battlefield scorched clear by pulses of radiation and relentless fire from the Onagers. I reckon if we had one more turn I could have got that objective, but there simply weren't enough bullets in the world to rip that many Necrons off a point in three turns.

    The two MVPs from my team were Inquisitor Walker and the Custodes. I was up against two chaos armies and some Necrons pretty much single handed, and one of the chaos armies was Tzeentch devotees and based around psychic power. Walker spent every phase shutting down power after power single handed, defanging my opponent of their most potent offensive powers and letting the Custodes run wild. Walker's relentless domination of the enemy psykers won her the 'Master of the Warp' award at the end of the game as the single psyker who did the most to sway the battle. The Custodes, meanwhile, made me glad I put those damn storm shields on them. One of the enemy chaos players developed a vendetta against them and spent two entire turns firing everything he had into them. I think they absorbed two thousand points of units shooting at them for two full turns. Dudes earned their keep.

    I think that was quite handily the coolest thing I've ever done. Like, I've spent my entire life waiting for such a time as I had the resources in place to play Warhammer, and I didn't think once that any of it would be half as awesome as that game was - that was an outside context event for me.

    This is the best hobby ever.

    I'll take more pictures of my mans when I can.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2017-09-03 at 06:02 AM.
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    I've been working on getting Africa together, and I've noticed a couple of peculiarities regarding their Bonuses.

    Resource Curse: 2x Development speed to any Tier 2+ country linked to this one
    This is always on Tier 1. Should this also always have the Ban keyword?

    South Africa
    TIER 1
    Resource Curse: 2x Development speed to any Tier 2+ country linked to this one, International Port, Rogue Nukes
    TIER 2
    Loses the effect of Rogue Nukes
    The Tier 2 bonus here is identical to slapping the Ban keyword on Rogue Nukes. It makes for an underwhelming Tier 2.

    TIER 2
    Independence Movement: Gains Graveyard of Empires and Conflict Zone
    TIER 3
    International Revolution: Gains Exports Terror
    This doesn't seem to be any different than just giving them the associated Bonuses. Am I missing something?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    He has the following priorities:

    #1: Ensure that Earth's climate is stable and global warming is contained
    #2: Control areas of the globe that are rich in natural resources
    #3: Destroy or destabilize all major political power blocks
    #4: Deprive humanity of access to superweapons
    #5: Set up for a quick and decisive war of supremacy

    He has the following restrictions:
    #1: Never use a superweapon - he wants to colonize the earth, not destroy it. Once this restriction is discovered any Mr. Johnson controlled country loses Nuclear Deterrent - the player knows he'll never press the button.
    I like these. They're a lot more interesting than a bunch of "I prefer to go for X" sliders, and can give watchful players clues into Mr. Johnson's profile outside of the Crisis system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Disclaimer: While some political themes are touched on here, I just want to flag that the purpose of these conversation trees are about the psychology of Mr. Johnson and how it can be manipulated. There will be a pre-crisis discussion with an aide who emphasises 'while you may be tempted to stand up for your beliefs, this is a private talk with a sociopath. You won't convince him of anything - you're here to crack him, not redeem him'.
    I think this is important. We may get a lot more mileage out of these conversations with the proper pre-crisis framing between yourself and your aides, so we should consider the intro writing carefully.

    Dialogue seems fine thus far. Had a lot on my mind this last week, and haven't really been able to go over it in significant detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    This is the best hobby ever.
    Hot dang. That...is a game on a mind-bogglingly huge scale. I didn't even know they got that big.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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