The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #421
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Day 2359: Triumverate

    And here's the Yncarne! I thought it was a terrible model when I saw it but, as has happened a few times with GW minis, turns out I just hated the default colour scheme. I like my version much more!

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    Bonus Wraithys





    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  2. - Top - End - #422
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    I won Armies on Parade in two categories - best first army and best monsters and machines!

    Pretty chuffed about it, aw yea.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  3. - Top - End - #423
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    Spacemans Update:

    Not much on the finished pile just now because the recent area of focus has been constructing. I hacked together a set of Fantasy elven Shadow Warriors with spare AdMech bits and made a sicknasty squad of custom Eldar Rangers. I also put together a couple of awesomely posed Wraithlords (one of which is sitting cross legged, nice), and a Wraithknight I managed to finangle into a kneeling pose, sword across its knee, like it's a knight before its king. Awesome.

    I also figured out the colour scheme for the backburner Emperor's Children dudes I'm assembling out of spare chaos mans.

    Progress is slow but that's what I want. I just finished a Wraithguard this evening that, though it didn't look nearly as cool as the absurdly complex reference picture I tried to imitate, wound up looking pretty badass for its own reasons. Mounting bird skulls on the end of your gun: awesome.

    I'm really appreciating the decision to slow the hell down and treat each mini like a character - the results are fantastic and it's saving me a lot of money. My rule is that I can't buy new things unless it furthers the goal of finishing the Eldar army which I think is going to do a lot to prevent me ending up buried under a catastrophic backlog - as could seriously be the case if I buy all the things I Want.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  4. - Top - End - #424
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Spacemans Update:

    Not much on the finished pile just now because the recent area of focus has been constructing. I hacked together a set of Fantasy elven Shadow Warriors with spare AdMech bits and made a sicknasty squad of custom Eldar Rangers. I also put together a couple of awesomely posed Wraithlords (one of which is sitting cross legged, nice), and a Wraithknight I managed to finangle into a kneeling pose, sword across its knee, like it's a knight before its king. Awesome.

    I also figured out the colour scheme for the backburner Emperor's Children dudes I'm assembling out of spare chaos mans.

    Progress is slow but that's what I want. I just finished a Wraithguard this evening that, though it didn't look nearly as cool as the absurdly complex reference picture I tried to imitate, wound up looking pretty badass for its own reasons. Mounting bird skulls on the end of your gun: awesome.

    I'm really appreciating the decision to slow the hell down and treat each mini like a character - the results are fantastic and it's saving me a lot of money. My rule is that I can't buy new things unless it furthers the goal of finishing the Eldar army which I think is going to do a lot to prevent me ending up buried under a catastrophic backlog - as could seriously be the case if I buy all the things I Want.
    I believe Calvin and Hobbes has covered this exact dilemma.
    http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1995/05/27
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

  5. - Top - End - #425
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    Exoditeus

    A lot of my mind is occupied thinking up lore for my Space Elfs. The music isn't quite as easy as putting on Infinite Synthwave as I did for my AdMech - their theme is more exploratory, mystic, proud. The soundtracks to Skyward Sword, Breath of the Wild, Metroid Prime, Ori and the Blind Forest (thanks again for that game Anarion - that vibe was perfect for channelling my thoughts here) and The Witcher 3 are the majority of my tunesing. But what's tied it all together is Within Temptation's album Unforgiving - that's the beat I really needed to move it out of the abstract into the specific, and that album's been having a huge influence on my recent thoughts.

    So here's my thoughts, freeform style:

    Primary colour: Orange. There's a significant amount of bright orange present on every model I've worked on and it's the army's key guiding them. Secondary colours are white, red and black. Tertirary colours are blue and purple.
    Primary effect: Duality, sharp or blends. Comfortable and soft clothing and robes, elaborately painted statuary.
    Army theme: Spirit hosts backed by rangers, few if any Aspect Warriors or Guardians.

    The Spiral Monarchy of Talithia
    The Exodites of Maiden World Talithia

    The Spiral Monarchy is the kind of Exodite world that all the Eldar, Craftworld and Commoragh, see as the future of their species - and it knows it. The Phoenix King Marivaste, youthful and cunning, flawlessly manipulates the elders of his species into sacrificing for Talithia with the same skill that Eldar normally manipulate Orks. Everything about the structure of Talitha's society is designed to provoke the memory of the Eldar Empire at its height and even cruel and jaded Archons can be moved to tears by the hint of lost glories promised in the sunset colours of Talithia.

    Marivaste regards these ancient powers with contempt - relics to be used and discarded to further his own glory. He takes a certain ironic satisfaction that this attitude only deepens the sense of nostalgia that drags the Eldar before him in the first place. He has boldly claimed to be the reincarnation of Asuryan which makes ancient visionaries gasp and swoon at his hubris, longing for days when that arrogance was justified.


    Princess Yinthal (Yvraine) is the Phoenix King's general and representative on the field of battle. She is a follower of the god Ynnead but, contrary to Yvraine and 'mainstream' Ynnari thought, considers him to be the reborn soul of Asuryan and the psychic projection of her father's mighty glory. Summoning the Yncarne to the field is celebrated as Marivaste taking to the field personally, and each triumph is regarded as a glory of the new Phoenix King restoring order to a cosmos that has forgotten Eldar rule.

    Marivaste was quick to weaponize the World Spirit of Talithia - the Exodite version of the Infinity Circuit - and wields Spirit Host weapons without hesitation or regards to morality. Ancient martial temples are awakened and deployed, living statuary bearing the images of the greatest Eldar triumphs is sacrificed without second thought - in the Phoenix King's mind, yesterday's glories are worth nothing in comparison to his own ambition.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2017-11-27 at 06:51 PM.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  6. - Top - End - #426
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    Day 2379: Exoditus

    So here's some spacemans.

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    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  7. - Top - End - #427
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    Hey folks! Been a while since I've posted a game update. A lot of that can be blamed on the sudden lack of milestones, which were my main reminder to take a break and tell ya'll how things are going. Sorry about that, the time just ran away from me.

    So what's been happening? I reached the end of the milestones I'd planned, and started the ball rolling on playtesting. For all the game development experience I've had, I've not yet tested a game this mechanically focused, nor on this scale. Usually it's a matter of how physics affects the game feel; this is a case of what the mechanics are accomplishing, and how we want them to work. It's been a learning experience, but a good one.

    I've got the barebones idea of a playtesting plan laid out. Thanqol, you can expect a PM soon on that front, I'd love to get your thoughts on what I have. The main idea is that I'm going to be creating little scenarios for folks to playtest, and the data we get from them should tell us a lot about what mechanics need iteration, where our numbers for variables should be, and so on. I'm going to be playing those goals a little closer to the chest, because I don't want the knowledge of the goal of the playtest to influence the test itself. I'll be sending out questionnaires with each test, and also asking for a metrics file that the game will spit out.

    When will this start? Hard to say. I'm currently wrestling with a dumb AI, as some of these tests will require you to play against a computer opponent. It'll also give me good experience for when the time comes to write the AI for realsies. Plus my Christmas break starts next week, and I don't expect to do much until the New Year starts. I could really use the vacation time.

    That's about it for now. I'll let ya'll know how my struggles against the infant Skynet turn out.

    (PS: One of the sad lessons I learned is that I really should've thought about playtesting more in-depth earlier in the process. I probably didn't need to build the Bonus system for these first few tests, and we could've saved some time there. If Still, it's a solid system, and at least we've learned for next time.)
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  8. - Top - End - #428
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    Oh, yeah, thoughts tomorrow Amish - I've had a rollicking weekend so haven't had time to go through the build.

    Day 2394: Muralize

    I am so proud of these guys.

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    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  9. - Top - End - #429
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Nice job! I like how you got the color to blend/fade on the ship.

  10. - Top - End - #430
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    Nice stuff! I really enjoy these! :D

  11. - Top - End - #431
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    Thank you! What a difference six months makes, huh?

    With the completion of the Wraithknight I'm done with the Eldar guys for right now! I submitted the big guy to a painting contest so I'll get pictures when he's back. Right now I'm doing some more Death Guard and, wow, these guys are looking sharp, especially next to my old ones.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  12. - Top - End - #432
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    Day 2429: Grossmans

    I'm currently doing Death Guard! I had a Vision, see.

    I've painted... a lot of mans. But! I don't have many pictures because I'm planning on basing all of them at the same time because that's the bit that'll benefit most from mass production I think. But here's a sneak preview of my HQ section.

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    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  13. - Top - End - #433
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    I'm making pretty phenomenal progress on my Death Guard, and I've even accidentally developed a rad new Process to go with it:

    Over the course of painting 30+ guys in the same colour swatch I inevitably learn some stuff. I try variations, discover what works, and home in on the key skills and techniques. This means that the guys at the end of the painting queue look much better than the guys at the front.

    My recent procedure, though, has been to leave all basing until the end - and the end meaning 'when the entire rest of the army is finished'. This means I'll be basing 50-100 models all at once - actually super efficient because basing requires a whole different bunch of tools and mindset than painting so I'll be able to do a much better job this way than doing it per-squad. The catch is that I don't have many progress pictures to show - but rest assured what I've done over the past month includes:

    - 30 Plague Marines
    - 8 Blightlord terminators
    - 2 Bloat Drones
    - 4 special characters

    So asstonnes of work basically. When I do my big basing experiment then there'll be a huge amount of pictures.

    But the other advantage to this process, eluded to before, is that it means at the end of my painting procedure I'll be grabbing out every single one of my finished models, scrutinizing it, and then I've got an opportunity to make adjustments, apply additional highlights, and correct small errors. I've noticed in myself an extremely strong compulsion to call things 'done' - as soon as I've put the base down the mini is finished and I need to move on rather than continuing to fiddle with it. This is super healthy because it helps me get past the endless tweaking spiral into insanity - but it does lock me out of that potential very helpful second-pass editing and cleanup. Coming at a mini with fresh eyes and accumulated experience means I can make a few careful corrections before knocking it off forever.



    Oh! Also! My Eldar Wraithknight won second place at the Golden Brush and my full Eldar army won second place best painted at the 40K Friendly! Super chuffed by both of those things
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  14. - Top - End - #434
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    Day 2450: Bigman

    Did this today! :D

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    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  15. - Top - End - #435
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    Thanqol, I've sent you a playtesting build for thoughts and feedback. Let me know what you think, and if there's anything that you can see that needs changing.

    Within the next week or so, I hope to be sending it out to all ya'll.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  16. - Top - End - #436
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    Day 2486: Here's What I Did Last Summer

    As previously discussed, I've been holding off on the photos until I finished the army, based it all at once, and did a big ol' group photo session. Well, it's been almost four months since I finished my Eldar and here's what I did in that time:

    The Lore for these guys is sourced from the book Unremembered Empire in the Horus Heresy. In it, some rando Alpha Legion tactical squad dresses as Ultramarines, show up in Ultramar and are like 'hey we're Calth veterans, can we talk to Gulliman?'. Somehow everyone who's job it is to provide security for the Primarch between them and Bobby G totally fails to ding them and they just walk up to Roboute, fully armed, fully armoured, and unload their boltguns into him. Not like a full Alpharius op with distractions and backup and as a piece in a larger plan; they're totally alone and unsupported. But they still managed to shoot up Gulliman and almost had him too.

    F*ckin' legend. The dude who ran that squad is my Daemon Prince, and these guys are his warband: The Eight Scribes

    Their primary skill is that they have a profound grasp of paperwork and Imperial standard operating procedure - which is probably really rare amongst Chaos warbands who spend all their time murdering each other to death. They're all very boring, staid individuals who will wait patiently in line, fill in all the forms required, keep up to date with Administratum politics, etc. Their warships just patiently cruise up to checkpoints, dock properly, and only then do they walk on board and kill everyone in a very polite and regular way. In between ops they go to great lengths to shove all their guts back into their bodies, clean up and shine their armour plates to parade ground standard, and from a distance they look like a perfectly ordinary wall of blue, white and gold covered in skulls.

    Their greatest relic is a vial of Gulliman's blood that writhes in the grip of one of Nurgle's favourite plagues. When a sample is taken from this holy blood and implanted in an Ultramarine progenoid gland it allows a Scribe's Omophagea to digest information from Gulliman's mind. Previously this was just used for the Scribes to get tactical insight into how Gulliman might have planned a campaign, which grew increasingly less useful as time shifted tactics, doctrine and technology. Now that Gulliman is awake, however, the Scribes have a vector that allows them to read the mind of the Imperial Regent directly.

    Naturally, Alpharius is keen to use this knowledge to take another shot at the big blue. The Eight Scribes are ghosting Gulliman's Indominus Crusade, and no matter how many spy cells they burn out the Ultramarines never get any closer to closing off the true fount of the Scribes' knowledge.

    Design Principles:
    - Line troops dress as Ultramarines in all particulars. Red helmets for squad leaders, white helmets for special weapons guys.
    - Vehicles sufficiently normal looking, Land Raiders, Predators etc, are also done up in the Ultramarine style.
    - Anybody making unconventional entrances, or otherwise too ****ed-up and mutated to be concealed, wear traditional Alpha Legion cerulean.
    - Line troops adding Alpha Legion iconography or colours to their armour is a violation of OpSec and discouraged by Alpharius, but the Alpha Legion's curse has always been arrogance so it does still happen.
    - Worship Nurgle as the ultimate infiltrator.
    - Endgame is to assassinate and eat Gulliman, impersonate him, and drive the Imperium off a cliff.


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    Line Infantry:








    Specialists:



    Terminators:





    Support Vehicles:



    Daemon Prince:
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2018-03-19 at 01:00 AM.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  17. - Top - End - #437
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    Hey Thanqol, have you had a chance to play that demo yet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Day 2486: Here's What I Did Last Summer

    As previously discussed, I've been holding off on the photos until I finished the army, based it all at once, and did a big ol' group photo session. Well, it's been almost four months since I finished my Eldar and here's what I did in that time:
    Fantastic lore, and fantastic painting.

    EDIT: I think the biggest mistake I've made thus far in developing this game was not planning out the playtesting prototypes first thing. Yes, we were still ironing out ideas for mechanics, but I'm getting so much valuable information and insight into our core mechanics by messing about with them. Much more valuable than getting every mechanic implemented.

    Mind, I don't think that effort was wasted. I like the implementation of the Bonus system, even if it mucks about with everything else, and that's work we can reuse. But I do think my view of "minimum viable product/playable prototype" was wayyyyyyyyyy too big. Lessons for next time.
    Last edited by TheAmishPirate; 2018-03-22 at 09:30 AM.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  18. - Top - End - #438
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Hey Thanqol, have you had a chance to play that demo yet?
    No sorry, I've been alternating between sick and exhausted all week and now I'm coming to feeling fine but bitterly and undirectedly angry. I'll find time over the weekend.

    Fantastic lore, and fantastic painting.
    Thank you!

    EDIT: I think the biggest mistake I've made thus far in developing this game was not planning out the playtesting prototypes first thing. Yes, we were still ironing out ideas for mechanics, but I'm getting so much valuable information and insight into our core mechanics by messing about with them. Much more valuable than getting every mechanic implemented.

    Mind, I don't think that effort was wasted. I like the implementation of the Bonus system, even if it mucks about with everything else, and that's work we can reuse. But I do think my view of "minimum viable product/playable prototype" was wayyyyyyyyyy too big. Lessons for next time.
    *Nod nod* As always, I'm still surprised and appreciative that you put your money where your mouth is and took on a project like this. I'll endeavour to match your effort with my own.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  19. - Top - End - #439
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    To anybody's who's had issues with this game in Windowed mode, could you give some more details on what specifically you saw going wrong? I'm having some difficulties figuring out the problem on my end.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  20. - Top - End - #440
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    Day 2501: Clean Desk

    So on May 22 it'll be the end of Year Seven of learning how to draw, and this really has been the best year yet - and by a long margin. I've gotten so much done, at such a consistently high level of quality that I'm blown away by myself. I love it. It's everything I ever wanted.

    I think I might do away with the Day X system, though. It doesn't fit at all with the ongoing nature of painting and the biggest hangup I'm currently having about this thread is having to back calculate the number of days since my last picture update. I'm not sure, though, I appreciate the occasional morale hits that come with looking at that number and thinking, 'has it really been two thousand five hundred days since I made this decision?'


    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    To anybody's who's had issues with this game in Windowed mode, could you give some more details on what specifically you saw going wrong? I'm having some difficulties figuring out the problem on my end.
    It's specifically on the opening title screen not resizing. The 'press enter to begin' one. It may be fine once the game proper is loaded.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  21. - Top - End - #441
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    It's specifically on the opening title screen not resizing. The 'press enter to begin' one. It may be fine once the game proper is loaded.
    Gotcha, that makes sense. Should be a relatively easy fix.

    Have you had a chance to look at the build I sent you? There's a few bugs I already know about and will fix, but if everything else looks okay, I can send it out to other folks for playtesting.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  22. - Top - End - #442
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    Oh! Also, I've put together a spreadsheet with some basic tech growth scenarios, and the ability to see what happens when you plug different numbers into the Technology system. Do you want to tinker around with it?

    I've also had some thoughts regarding the Technology system. They're currently in that playtesting document I sent you, starting at the end of page 3. I can paste it here for further discussion.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  23. - Top - End - #443
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Gotcha, that makes sense. Should be a relatively easy fix.

    Have you had a chance to look at the build I sent you? There's a few bugs I already know about and will fix, but if everything else looks okay, I can send it out to other folks for playtesting.
    Yeah all seems functional to me!

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Oh! Also, I've put together a spreadsheet with some basic tech growth scenarios, and the ability to see what happens when you plug different numbers into the Technology system. Do you want to tinker around with it?

    I've also had some thoughts regarding the Technology system. They're currently in that playtesting document I sent you, starting at the end of page 3. I can paste it here for further discussion.
    Post it here, it'll fit with my rhythm better.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  24. - Top - End - #444
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Yeah all seems functional to me!
    Excellent! I'll see about sending out builds this week to folks for playtesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Post it here, it'll fit with my rhythm better.
    Here is the spreadsheet. I have my own copy, so no worries if you mess with the values here. Top-left are the raw, growth-per-turn values for the various components of the Technology system. On the top-right, there are a bunch of relatively common scenarios. The number next to them will represent the number of turns required for a country to go from 0 -> 1 (AKA 0 to Adopted.) If the number is negative, then that means the Technology is declining instead of growing. If it helps to visualize what the numbers mean, the negative value represents the number of turns required for a country to go from 2 -> 1 (AKA Fully Saturated to just barely Adopted)

    Spoiler: And here's a wall of text about the Technology system.
    Show
    There are two bits to the system: How technology spreads, and what that technology does.

    Right now, technology spreads in these ways:
    -Influence links: A Country that has adopted a Technology will push it on its connected neighbors.
    -Units: Executives can Push Tech, Armies can Confiscate Tech, units that have adopted Tech push it wherever they are
    -Labs: Countries with Labs will get Tech growth
    -Country: Whether or not a technology is banned, base Technology growth

    As to what technology does, there are two effects: Numbers going up/down, and enablers.

    For numbers going up/down, you would think that it’d be a simple matter of “give production the good numbers, give their production the bad numbers”, but you gotta remember that numbers going up and down has dual effects.
    -Giving your Exec production +Forge Link also makes it much more vulnerable to enemies forging links with that country
    -Giving enemy Exec production -Push Tech also makes it harder for you to push bad tech on that country

    Enablers are:
    -Conventional Warfare
    -Superweapons


    Furthermore, every Technology can have multiple effects, and many of these effects are unknown.

    So really, it’s rarely an idea of “SPREAD IT EVERYWHERE” or “BAN IT EVERYWHERE”. The former is too risky, and the latter is intensive. A player wants to apply Tech surgically. The system prevents this:
    -The spread system ought to encourage growth and spread. Neutral Countries act as carriers for disease. Getting 2 linked, neutral countries pushing on you should be a strain. 3 or more and it’s like holding back a wave.
    -Furthermore, the spread system should have the resources to prevent spread, but it’s costly. A dual outbreak is a nightmare. Linked countries can be pushy.
    -Influence links are a large part of how technology spreads, but are key to how units move and so positioning for a Tech move may hinder your plans for units/secure borders

    So that’s what we ought to be testing. Build a scenario where they can do a surgical strike, but then see if it gets out of hand. Or tell them to stop a push via neutral countries while also doing something with their units.

    Bonus: Our AI can be mad easy. Just stationary, holding position, etc. Don’t even need to have much in the way of goals.

    A concern: Is this too...vanilla? Is “apply Technology surgically” the only move that a player will ever want to do? I mean, I think they’d want to spread tech willy-nilly over their opponent’s lands, just to make them waste resources on dealing with it. Ooooh. Like, you could ferry an Exec to someplace near Enemy lands that you don’t plan on taking, break the link you came in on, then just make it LOUSY with harmful tech. Get it all reinforced with each other. Then start tactical links to their territory. Like a Tech bomb.

    Once we get these numbers refined in small-scale, we should test it out on a larger scale, and see what strats we can do with this set of interactions. That will answer our question nicely.

    EUREKA!

    “Apply Technology surgically” might be the primary way players want to interact with this system. But you know what’s key? You don’t know why your opponent wants to surgically apply this technology! You don’t know what negative (or positive!) effect he’s trying to pull. Is he opening you up to Conventional Warfare? Trying to launch a Superweapon? Making it easier to forge links into your territory? Slowing down your deployments? That’s where the hidden information is meaningful!


    Some more thoughts:

    I was having difficulty figuring out what the actual moment-to-moment tech conflict looks like. What we ought to be designing for. Here is what I’ve found.

    As a system, the Technology system achieves our goal of making things messy. The player wants to be able to surgically apply a negative technology to just one country. However, the optimal strategy to push technology on an unwilling, enemy-controlled country, is to push that tech on bordering, neutral countries, and then use both them and your Executives to push into the target. Additionally, as your troops move about, they will spread their adopted technologies to whatever neutral countries they move through, and that adds up. Additionally, if there ever is a slugfest, then who knows what’s happening there.

    Tech conflict itself can be thought of through two factors; whether a player is winning or losing in a particular board state, and the degree to which they are winning or losing. The relationship between the various numbers affects both of these factors. Which numbers are higher than others and the degree to which they are higher affects whether or not a particular board state is favorable. (Ex. Growth + Push < Ban + Confiscate) The degree to which you are winning and losing is also determined by the relative scale of the underlying numbers. Double all the numbers, and results are doubled as well, and so forth.

    The degree of victory and loss is important because even if one side can scrape together a winning scenario, it can be such a narrow win that even one turn of typical loss will erase all their gains. (We should totally tell the player how close/far they are from adoption/unadoption.)

    So. Our design should define a tech-agnostic set of states with degrees of winning or losing based on how we want tech conflict to go down.

    Side note: Defender’s advantage is already in the game, without tweaking numbers. The defender gets a number of army units for free that cannot move, and can confiscate to their heart’s content. It is probably that one exec can beat two execs simply by running interference, while being backed up by the military. And Executives are powerful units, with many uses on the board. Any Exec that gets tangled up in a tech conflict is NOT forging useful links, breaking harmful ones, sending development aid to your countries, or pushing useful tech on your own lands.

    So what does this mean for our model? When will we know that we have the right numbers?
    1. We should know which states we want the attacker to be winning in, and which states we want the defender to be winning in. This is relatively cut-and-dry.
    2. We should examine borderline states to see what other states might easily be reached from there. We should examine the degree of success/failure, and contemplate how this will affect tech conflicts as a whole.
    3. We should think carefully about how easy/hard it is to get into a hypothetical board state. See #5. We won’t get it perfectly right, but there are some scenarios that we can probably guess at. (Ex. Getting 10 adopted units and 5 neighbors is probably a low percentage scenario.)
    4. For very small degrees of success/failure, they can practically be counted as the opposite result. If it takes 40 turns to push a tech on some country, then you might as well have lost the units involved anyway. Then again, this may tie up your enemy’s units as well, so it’s worth considering as a “I harm myself to harm you more” strategy.
    5. Ultimately, we will have to test this through play. The numbers might tell us that there are interesting decisions to be had, but only by playing the game will we actually know how easy/difficult it is to get into a particular board state.


    These notes were primarily written to myself, so they may be a little messy, but it shows where my head is at regarding Technology.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  25. - Top - End - #445
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Official Playtest, Round One!

    I've got a build that's ready for testing and feedback. It's a very simplified scenario; it's just units w/limited movesets on a smaller board, played against a basic AI. The goal is to get control of as many of the target Countries as you can by the time the game's over.

    Notable Changes from Previous Versions
    -We've changed up how units are controlled and selected. Now, you select Countries and Units with left click, and this will deselect anything else you have selected. Right click is used to move Units or - if you right-click on their current Country - this will bring up a pop-up menu of available actions. Right click can still be used to drag the map.
    -When an Agent is performing Insurrection or Countermeasures, an icon will appear over the target Country. Fire for Insurrection, a crosshairs for Countermeasures.

    Once you've played the game all the way through, the game will spit out some metrics files. If you could zip those up and send them to me, that'd be great. In addition, I'll also be sending along a short questionnaire. Please fill it out after your first playthrough. (If any of your thoughts change on subsequent playthroughs, make a note of it, but don't erase your old answers.)

    If you'd like to give this build a test run, let me know right here and I'll get the material sent to you right away.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  26. - Top - End - #446
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    If you'd like to give this build a test run, let me know right here and I'll get the material sent to you right away.
    I would like to, though I promise you nothing save a promise to deliver on everything that I have promised (which is nothing).
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    “Apply Technology surgically” might be the primary way players want to interact with this system. But you know what’s key? You don’t know why your opponent wants to surgically apply this technology! You don’t know what negative (or positive!) effect he’s trying to pull. Is he opening you up to Conventional Warfare? Trying to launch a Superweapon? Making it easier to forge links into your territory? Slowing down your deployments? That’s where the hidden information is meaningful!
    Exactly, you've nailed the heart of my vision for technology. I generally think we're totally on the same page as far as this goes. I think the added layer of Technology Modification also serves as a comeback mechanic that lets you mitigate or undermine a technology that's spread beyond your control for whatever reason.
    Soldiers, no poor sap ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by being all that he can be. Damn the torpedoes, or give us death. Eternal vigilance is the price of duty and to the victors go the spoils. So remember: you are the best of the few and the proud. So ask not what our country can do, only regret that we have but one life to live.

  28. - Top - End - #448
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Hey Thanqol, I have a trio of game dev tasks for you. The first two are pretty high-priority; if you could get them done by next Thursday, that would be fantastic. The last one is more of an ongoing consideration that we ought to be planning for, so just keep it in mind.

    1) Take a look at that Technology spreadsheet I sent you, and fiddle about with the numbers. Try and find a few configurations of numbers that you like, and we can playtest those. I've done some thinking about the ways these numbers relate to each other, but as I don't have my notes at this exact moment I'll put those thoughts in a post after this one.

    2) Brainstorm AI goals and constraints. I don't need full AI profiles, and I don't need a complete inventory of everything that might guide an AI's tactics. What I do need is a list of general goals and constraints that make a good, representative sample of what the full profiles might use. The closer you can get it to actual game terms, the better. (Ex: Instead of "control areas rich in natural resources", go with "control countries with the Resource Curse Bonus.")

    Alongside my roadmap planning, I'm outlining some ideas on how we might make the AI for this game. Knowing what this system has to be capable of parsing will greatly help me in figuring out how to build this thing.

    EDIT: Especially things that you imagine certain AIs won't do. In my initial designs, I'm finding it easy to give, take away, and adjust the priority on goals/tasks, but the idea of forbidding certain actions could be a thorny issue. It's difficult to say, since the only example I have right now is "this AI profile is not allowed to use Superweapons."

    3) To test the base mechanics of this game, I'm becoming increasingly convinced that waiting for the AI to be done is a mistake. To that end, I think our best bet for early, effective playtests is to have one of us play the role of Mr. Johnson. Consider who you might be able to get to play through a full game, with you in the same room, playing Mr. Johnson's turns.

    PS: Anarion, I haven't forgotten about you, I'll be getting those materials to you soon. This last week has been a little crazy.
    Last edited by TheAmishPirate; 2018-04-26 at 03:28 PM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Noted. Also, Amish, you and I probably have enough timezone overlap to where we could schedule a hangout and one of us could be Johnson.
    School Fox by Atlur

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    Anarion's right on the money here.
    Quotes

    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.”
    Oscar Wilde Writer & Poet (1891)

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Here are those thoughts on the relationships between Technology Growth numbers, as promised. If anything needs further explanation, just let me know.

    Spoiler: Tech Numbers
    Show
    -The base level of tech growth + lab present growth < ban penalty
    -Which means that both those numbers must be < ban penalty
    -base tech growth + push tech > ban penalty
    -base tech growth + push tech ?? ban penalty + confiscation
    -I propose that it is a narrow <
    -Justification: Defender's advantage is a thing. But also, it would feel janky if your basic defense action was not able to match an opponent with an equal number of units.
    -X number of adopted neighbors + Base ?? ban penalty
    -Keep in mind: The average country can have a maximum of 3 links.
    -I want to propose the following results:
    -X = 1, <
    -X = 2, >
    -X = 3+, >>
    -X units with adopted tech ?? ban penalty
    -The lower X is, the easier it is to unintentionaly spread tech as you travel through neutral countries
    -This will also depend on play. The point of this is twofold:
    -In flashpoints, you're accidentally spreading technology.
    -It gives you another way to tip the balance in a Ban + Confiscate scenario
    -Here are some results that I will initially propose
    -X = 1, <
    -X = 2, <
    -X = 3, =/=
    -X = 4, >?
    -push tech ?? confiscation
    -We know that base tech growth < ban penalty
    -We (are pretty sure we) know that base tech growth + push tech (narrowly) < ban penalty + confiscate
    -We know that base tech growth + push tech > ban penalty
    -Ergo, base tech growth + push tech - ban penalty < confiscate
    -I think that push tech has to be bigger than confiscation, such that the addition of both to the first equation narrows the gap, but does not fill it completely


    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Noted. Also, Amish, you and I probably have enough timezone overlap to where we could schedule a hangout and one of us could be Johnson.
    That's not a bad idea. It'd be a bit janky to do remotely, unless we could find a way to screenshare/mouseshare, but that could work.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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