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  1. - Top - End - #151
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Two thoughts for now, others to come later:

    1) Do you have an idea on what info is free to both players, and what must be figured out through espionage? Adding advanced research slots, army/executive/agent movements, etc?

    2) In your example with social media, the hidden effect caused massive instability to the player country's nation. Are you envisioning bonuses/effects that exclusively affect one player?
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  2. - Top - End - #152
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    FURTHER MAP DETAIL

    After thinking about various possible economic engines I came back to the conclusion that I didn't like blunt money investments in future power - I liked incentives that promote risk taking and overextended positions on the board. Therefore I want to tie new resource generation into board position. Here's how:

    COUNTRIES

    Each country has a bonus or an output. A bonus is a global modifier - Agents may move twice in one turn, add another maximum influence link to your countries, whatever. An output is generation of a certain type of unit - if Italy has an output of Executives then every X turns it'll generate a new Executive for you to use. Some countries have labs instead of bonuses or output; this is the only way to extend your research capacity.

    There is a comeback mechanic in place here - every agent generated by a country reduces the output of the next one by 1/2, so your first Executive from Italy takes 2 turns to spawn, the second one takes 4, the third one takes 8, etc. If you lose the country you lose any units sourced from it, which means that if you're overextended you suffer the risk of taking a sudden crippling blow. On the other hand, if your agents get mauled you'll be able to bounce back before losing too much.

    However, all numbers are partially randomized. An Executive might have a 50% base chance to rewire a trade link that goes up to 90% with certain technologies, or an Agent might spawn every 2-3 turns or every 6-8 with a slowdown tech, but unless you're looking at the averages over a longer period it's hard to tell if someone is lucky or if they're using a tech to help them out.

    Countries also have technology saturation. Say all techs have a saturation between 0 and 1 where 1 is the tech has reached sufficient saturation to make an impact. Base growth is 0.1 per turn, with -0.5 for banning and +0.5 for an executive pushing the tech. Various other factors affect tech spread, i.e. having a lab in the province, technology effecting the efficiency of your bans, Agents trying to get technology off the streets, etc. 'Wild' nations have either no or random tech growth.

    UNITS AND TECHNOLOGY

    Units also have individual technology spreads. When they spawn they have all the tech their country had at the time. They also get the 0.1 base growth, -0.5 if banned and +0.5 for push same as countries, but they also get a small bonus to growth (0.25) if they operate in a country which has a technology fully adopted.

    THE SUPERPOWER

    Your capital province follows the same rules as other countries r.e. tech development. It is unique in that it has all three types of units as Outputs and two labs.

    1) Do you have an idea on what info is free to both players, and what must be figured out through espionage? Adding advanced research slots, army/executive/agent movements, etc?
    VISIBILITY

    The following things are visible:
    - Which technologies are present in a country
    - Which technologies are present in a unit
    - Location of all Armies
    - Location of all Executives
    - All country bonuses and lab locations
    - All trade links
    - Legal status of technology
    - The number of future tech slots that have been filled
    - The sum total of all known modifiers on a given unit/country

    The following things are hidden:
    - The location of all Agents. Agents become visible if they are in the same country as another Agent.
    - The effects of any technology that hasn't been researched
    - The % chance of success or failure on any mission

    (note: I'm currently wondering at the hypothetical agent/army/exec balance triangle, particularly what it means with regards to killing or destroying enemy units, how countries rebuild from losses, and how bad it is to lose a unit to a lucky roll early in the game. However this kind of balance is super not a priority at this stage and can be sorted out when there's a prototype demonstrating how they all work together, so for now I'm happy to treat them all equally in terms of resource value.

    I will also note that with the country-dies, units-spawned-from-country also die mechanic then there are going to be several absolutely critical load-bearing provinces for each player. Getting into a position to drop a bioweapon on a country that's supporting 8 army units across the map is a devastating move that should be appropriately difficult but also enough of a threat to ensure that the opponent respects the danger of it.)

    2) In your example with social media, the hidden effect caused massive instability to the player country's nation. Are you envisioning bonuses/effects that exclusively affect one player?
    Yes. A lot of it will be caused by technology that is present in your capital, but there will be other side-specific modifiers like control of certain nations etc.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2017-01-17 at 10:18 PM.
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  3. - Top - End - #153
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    SUPERWEAPONS

    Superweapons are tricky because they represent revolutionary change to the board and the infliction of potentially terrible blows to your opponent. Here are my thoughts:

    - Every technology has a potential superweapon use in its starting milsci or unique slot. Which technologies will be valid superweapons is randomized at game start, and each of them will have slightly different effects and complications.
    - A superweapon can only be deployed in a region that the technology has achieved saturation. This is to create a screen of plausible deniability that prevents WW3 - Japan suffering a tragic nanobot accident is way less plausible if nanobots don't exist in Japan.
    - To trigger a superweapon an Agent needs to spend multiple turns engineering the situation so it doesn't come back on you. Can be foiled by defending Agents in the finest tradition of Bond films. You can't trigger a superweapon unless you know about it.
    - Rarely, a superweapon function will show up in the Advanced Research lists.

    Example: You've pushed Artistic Utopia on all your surrounding regions because of its fantastic economic bonuses, but your scientists have just informed you there's a problem - its military application is Terminal Decadence, where your society kills itself in one final spectacular artistic project. You're sitting on a bomb.

    The silver lining is that the special effect of Terminal Decadence as a superweapon is that it provides a big bonus to rebuilding the country as migrants flock to see the terrible art project - but it can randomly reoccur later completely unprompted as the people replicate the original national suicide (see also: Black Mirror)
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2017-01-17 at 11:36 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #154
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Time for the lightning round!

    1) Superweapons probably can't be detonated on Superpower/Capitol nations? The logic is the same as to why conventional armies don't fight; if you drop an art nuke on one Superpower, all bets are off and everybody loses.

    2) Do agents/executives/armies move through nations one at a time? Or can they reposition anywhere with one move?

    3) Following up with that, what are the effects of proximity? What does it mean mechanically when two nations are linked?

    4) You should totally be able to name your units. And when the country switches hands, your opponent gets those units generated for them. Ex. You name your first agent from Italy Mr. Freeze, he does good work for you, but then you lose Italy. Many turns later, your heart breaks when you hear that Mr. Freeze is leading an insurgency against you.

    5) Do country production timers reset when they change hands? If I've gotten 3 agents from a country, and Mr. Johnson takes it from me, is the country producing its first agent, or its fourth?

    6) What happens when an insurgency defeats an occupying army? Do they go away, or do they stick around and fight whoever moves in? (Aside: "Aid the insurgency" feels like an Agent action, since we don't have a means of directly funding them. It also answers the previous question of what happens to the insurgency; your Agent either engineers its downfall or ensures their loyalty to the new regime.)

    7) Are you guaranteed to get some number of Superweapon techs per game? If not, I fear that Superweapons will be too unreliable on top of difficult to utilize, and they may never see play.

    8) This one is more a trap to watch out for, but we should be careful that taking countries doesn't become a win-more strategy after a certain point. If our numbers are off, then it's possible that one player could have so many generated units that the other player can't fight back anymore.

    9) When I see the army/executive/agent units, my brain parses them as tank/controller/rogue. Army units are the frontline, simple and effective. Executives shape the battlefield. Agents are opportunistic sneaks. Thinking about them like that may give us some ideas for their capabilities and moves.

    10) I am really nervous about not showing % chances of success, though I think I can see why we'd do that. The player is often not going to be privy to all the modifiers involved - hidden tech effects and other abilities - and showing them a percentage could give them information they're not supposed to know. The risk is that the player may feel like the system is too arbitrary and unfair, or worse, that their actions/decisions aren't having an effect on their chances at all. Player feedback is important to the feel of the game, and if we're not showing percentages, then we need to think carefully about how we show the effects of the player's decisions.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  5. - Top - End - #155
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    10) I am really nervous about not showing % chances of success, though I think I can see why we'd do that. The player is often not going to be privy to all the modifiers involved - hidden tech effects and other abilities - and showing them a percentage could give them information they're not supposed to know. The risk is that the player may feel like the system is too arbitrary and unfair, or worse, that their actions/decisions aren't having an effect on their chances at all. Player feedback is important to the feel of the game, and if we're not showing percentages, then we need to think carefully about how we show the effects of the player's decisions.
    This is kind of what I thought when I read the post about tech and saturation. It sounds like you're making things exceptionally networked, but combined with this hidden info it could very easily lead a player to not be able to recognize the effects of their actions. My first instinct would be to make sure the UI is exceptionally well crafted in order to make sure the player can understand exactly what is going on (barring concealed information).

    EDIT: or show percentages that reflect the expected chance not including any unknowns. Provided they know that it might not be the true value, it still makes things clearer while potentially allowing for a little deduction. Sophisticated computer models that predict this kind of thing is something I would expect out of a near future megacorp.
    Last edited by Madcrafter; 2017-01-18 at 02:24 PM.
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  6. - Top - End - #156
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Time for the lightning round!

    1) Superweapons probably can't be detonated on Superpower/Capitol nations? The logic is the same as to why conventional armies don't fight; if you drop an art nuke on one Superpower, all bets are off and everybody loses.
    Yeah, Superpowers have nuclear subs.

    2) Do agents/executives/armies move through nations one at a time? Or can they reposition anywhere with one move?
    One at a time, through the influence links.

    3) Following up with that, what are the effects of proximity? What does it mean mechanically when two nations are linked?
    Passage for units, a positive modifier to tech spread if they're linked to a country that has it adopted

    4) You should totally be able to name your units. And when the country switches hands, your opponent gets those units generated for them. Ex. You name your first agent from Italy Mr. Freeze, he does good work for you, but then you lose Italy. Many turns later, your heart breaks when you hear that Mr. Freeze is leading an insurgency against you.
    This is true facts.

    5) Do country production timers reset when they change hands? If I've gotten 3 agents from a country, and Mr. Johnson takes it from me, is the country producing its first agent, or its fourth?
    Reset.

    6) What happens when an insurgency defeats an occupying army? Do they go away, or do they stick around and fight whoever moves in? (Aside: "Aid the insurgency" feels like an Agent action, since we don't have a means of directly funding them. It also answers the previous question of what happens to the insurgency; your Agent either engineers its downfall or ensures their loyalty to the new regime.)
    An insurgency cannot hold territory. When the last army goes down then the province is lost, reverts back to a neutral state. If you have an army on hand you might be able to hermit crab in immediately.

    This means most insurgencies will be on front-line provinces, though a strike at a rear-area load-bearing province that causes mapwide disruption is still valid.

    7) Are you guaranteed to get some number of Superweapon techs per game? If not, I fear that Superweapons will be too unreliable on top of difficult to utilize, and they may never see play.
    Yes, you are. They're an essential component to the matchup.

    8) This one is more a trap to watch out for, but we should be careful that taking countries doesn't become a win-more strategy after a certain point. If our numbers are off, then it's possible that one player could have so many generated units that the other player can't fight back anymore.
    This is true and important - but keep in mind that single player gives us a TONNE of flexibility here that we wouldn't get in a perfect multiplayer mirror matchup. Basically, we can schedule an endgame where Mr. Johnson rolls out his secret plan no matter how good the player's board position is. Casual cheating is lame and shouldn't happen but 'oh f*ck' moments totally should, where Mr. Johnson pulls down 50 armies off his secret moon base and implements a policy that allows his armies to conventionally engage yours. If that happens then your military situation matters less than your control over the influence networks, and therefore your ability to stall his movements across the board while you ready a response.

    9) When I see the army/executive/agent units, my brain parses them as tank/controller/rogue. Army units are the frontline, simple and effective. Executives shape the battlefield. Agents are opportunistic sneaks. Thinking about them like that may give us some ideas for their capabilities and moves.
    Absolutely!

    10) I am really nervous about not showing % chances of success, though I think I can see why we'd do that. The player is often not going to be privy to all the modifiers involved - hidden tech effects and other abilities - and showing them a percentage could give them information they're not supposed to know. The risk is that the player may feel like the system is too arbitrary and unfair, or worse, that their actions/decisions aren't having an effect on their chances at all. Player feedback is important to the feel of the game, and if we're not showing percentages, then we need to think carefully about how we show the effects of the player's decisions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Madcrafter View Post
    This is kind of what I thought when I read the post about tech and saturation. It sounds like you're making things exceptionally networked, but combined with this hidden info it could very easily lead a player to not be able to recognize the effects of their actions. My first instinct would be to make sure the UI is exceptionally well crafted in order to make sure the player can understand exactly what is going on (barring concealed information).

    EDIT: or show percentages that reflect the expected chance not including any unknowns. Provided they know that it might not be the true value, it still makes things clearer while potentially allowing for a little deduction. Sophisticated computer models that predict this kind of thing is something I would expect out of a near future megacorp.
    Ah, I got it:
    Expected turns to success based on current assumptions: 4
    Actual turns since last success: 18
    Chance of this occurring based on current assumptions: 0.09555%

    And then the UI has a breakdown of techs in the province, highlighting what factors are unknown and possibly contributing to the massive slowdown. Solar Power (saturation 5 turns ago): One unknown military application. Brain Mapping (saturation 40 turns ago): One unknown Advanced Research (added 20 turns ago).

    So by looking at what changed and when and providing a constant history then a player might be able to derive that that new AR tech that got added recently is doing something to their output.
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  7. - Top - End - #157
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    One at a time, through the influence links.
    "What do you mean we can't march through Madagascar?!"

    "Well, you see, somebody sneezed in the stock exchange and..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    An insurgency cannot hold territory. When the last army goes down then the province is lost, reverts back to a neutral state. If you have an army on hand you might be able to hermit crab in immediately.

    This means most insurgencies will be on front-line provinces, though a strike at a rear-area load-bearing province that causes mapwide disruption is still valid.
    Neutral states! Interesting. Armies may not be able to, but can Executives and Agents move freely through neutral states? And does tech spread through them?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    This is true and important - but keep in mind that single player gives us a TONNE of flexibility here that we wouldn't get in a perfect multiplayer mirror matchup. Basically, we can schedule an endgame where Mr. Johnson rolls out his secret plan no matter how good the player's board position is. Casual cheating is lame and shouldn't happen but 'oh f*ck' moments totally should, where Mr. Johnson pulls down 50 armies off his secret moon base and implements a policy that allows his armies to conventionally engage yours. If that happens then your military situation matters less than your control over the influence networks, and therefore your ability to stall his movements across the board while you ready a response.
    Golden Horde FROM THE MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON

    Big, scary, "oh crap" moments can be cool, but we need to be cautious of introducing brand-new mechanics in the endgame. In this example, the player has yet to see an instance of two conventional armies engaging. They'd need to learn how that works before they can adequately deal with that, which runs a risk of them losing because they didn't understand some nuance of this new mechanic. And that could be mighty frustrating.

    Something to think about as we design these big, endgame moves.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Ah, I got it:
    Expected turns to success based on current assumptions: 4
    Actual turns since last success: 18
    Chance of this occurring based on current assumptions: 0.09555%

    And then the UI has a breakdown of techs in the province, highlighting what factors are unknown and possibly contributing to the massive slowdown. Solar Power (saturation 5 turns ago): One unknown military application. Brain Mapping (saturation 40 turns ago): One unknown Advanced Research (added 20 turns ago).

    So by looking at what changed and when and providing a constant history then a player might be able to derive that that new AR tech that got added recently is doing something to their output.
    Oooh, that could work nicely. I bet we'll be keeping track of similar/the same numbers in our AI logic, so this is just giving the player a way to see that same information.

    This does highlight a different - but much more easily solved - problem of possible information overload, but that's generally a matter of UI. We can playtest that out when the time comes.

    *********************************

    Speaking of endgames, how does the timing on that work? Does the player have any way of knowing some crazy big move is incoming? Do they know how long they have? What do you think triggers the endgame moves?
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

  8. - Top - End - #158
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    "What do you mean we can't march through Madagascar?!"

    "Well, you see, somebody sneezed in the stock exchange and..."
    This follows into...

    Neutral states! Interesting. Armies may not be able to, but can Executives and Agents move freely through neutral states? And does tech spread through them?
    So I'm figuring moving an army into a neutral state and hitting 'deploy' isn't like an armed takeover of the country, though it can be. It can also be like bringing the Baltic states into the NATO security umbrella. I've been thinking about a better name for armies than 'army' but I don't quite have it.

    Tech does spread through neutral states, although slowly and erratically. The most normal way for this to happen is an adjacency bonus or the neutral country having a lab which causes it to adopt random technologies.

    Executives and agents can go wherever.

    Golden Horde FROM THE MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON

    Big, scary, "oh crap" moments can be cool, but we need to be cautious of introducing brand-new mechanics in the endgame. In this example, the player has yet to see an instance of two conventional armies engaging. They'd need to learn how that works before they can adequately deal with that, which runs a risk of them losing because they didn't understand some nuance of this new mechanic. And that could be mighty frustrating.

    Something to think about as we design these big, endgame moves.
    I think that place to assign that is in the Mr. Johnson psychoprofile screen. Each of the eight possibilities has a known endgame and some details as to what'll happen when that endgame triggers. Something like:

    CONVENTIONAL GLOBAL WAR
    Endgame for: Ideological Zealot, Reptoid Invader
    - Will create a vast military force out of nowhere
    - Conventional armies will be able to engage other conventional armies
    - Superpowers can be directly attacked

    ARMAGEDDON
    Endgame for: Drunken Nihilist, Artificial Intelligence
    - Single turn/any province deployment for all superweapons
    - Superweapons can be deployed on enemy superpowers directly
    (note for this one that deploying a superweapon severs all influence links in a province and kills the agent who set the bomb, which can result in big ugly 'walls' of devastated terrain going up)

    THE NEW NORMAL:
    Endgame for: Cynical Manipulator, In Over His Head
    - If X turns go by when no countries change hands, Mr. Johnson wins.

    THE FUTURE COMES:
    Endgame for: The Futurist, the Alien Missionary
    - If Mr. Johnson can spread a certain tech/combination of techs globally he wins.

    Oooh, that could work nicely. I bet we'll be keeping track of similar/the same numbers in our AI logic, so this is just giving the player a way to see that same information.

    This does highlight a different - but much more easily solved - problem of possible information overload, but that's generally a matter of UI. We can playtest that out when the time comes.
    Yeah. It's inspired by Paradox's 'mean time to happen' for events, just made transparent.

    Speaking of endgames, how does the timing on that work? Does the player have any way of knowing some crazy big move is incoming? Do they know how long they have? What do you think triggers the endgame moves?
    So ideally it happens just as the board starts to become stagnant but before people can really consolidate and fortify their gains. I think after a certain number of turns it happens. Not sure, though, I want to see how the flow of gameplay works.

    When it happens the player gets a pop-up telling them what's happening and what the victory condition is. If they've already figured it out from analyzing Johnson they've had time to position to counter it. So when the endgame starts they get full notice and full information, the trick is getting ready for it before that happens.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2017-01-18 at 09:32 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #159
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Oh yeah, there's alleged art happening somewhere off camera.

    Day 2053: Design

    Trying and failing to get a character design down

    Links

    Day 2061: I have become my father

    I'm not unhappy with where my sketching is right now - I've certainly been doing a tonne of it in my day to day and it's becoming very natural - but the transition to inks always causes me grief.

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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Extra Credits just did an episode about strategy games that feels pertinent to this project. Namely, in that we're designing around the problem in question from the start.

    Also, you mentioned how you wanted the aliens in XCOM 2 to work against you? Funny you should mention that...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I think that place to assign that is in the Mr. Johnson psychoprofile screen. Each of the eight possibilities has a known endgame and some details as to what'll happen when that endgame triggers. Something like:

    CONVENTIONAL GLOBAL WAR
    Endgame for: Ideological Zealot, Reptoid Invader
    - Will create a vast military force out of nowhere
    - Conventional armies will be able to engage other conventional armies
    - Superpowers can be directly attacked

    ARMAGEDDON
    Endgame for: Drunken Nihilist, Artificial Intelligence
    - Single turn/any province deployment for all superweapons
    - Superweapons can be deployed on enemy superpowers directly
    (note for this one that deploying a superweapon severs all influence links in a province and kills the agent who set the bomb, which can result in big ugly 'walls' of devastated terrain going up)

    THE NEW NORMAL:
    Endgame for: Cynical Manipulator, In Over His Head
    - If X turns go by when no countries change hands, Mr. Johnson wins.

    THE FUTURE COMES:
    Endgame for: The Futurist, the Alien Missionary
    - If Mr. Johnson can spread a certain tech/combination of techs globally he wins.
    Kind of? It helps that they can know about this stuff advance, but there's also the question of practical matters/decision-making. If Mr. Johnson has one army next to the player's two armies, what happens? Are those two armies safe? For how long? What would have to happen for those armies to be dislodged? Are they dislodged, or are they destroyed outright?

    I'm not asking for answers to all these, it's more to illustrate that this hypothetical scenario involves rules and mechanics that the player has never experienced up to this point, and that can feel unfair. (Unfair in a bad way.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    So ideally it happens just as the board starts to become stagnant but before people can really consolidate and fortify their gains. I think after a certain number of turns it happens. Not sure, though, I want to see how the flow of gameplay works.
    I think that's wise. Some number of turns is a good place to start, and we can figure things out from there.

    Two random thoughts:
    -Is there going to be a leveling/upgrade system for your units, or are they all equal in power? (Country bonuses and events aside)
    -In some of these endgame scenarios, Mr. Johnson activates some policy/global tweak to change up the game. Are policies a thing outside of the endgame?

    Typing those out, I feel like I may know the answer already. It might be a good idea to run with the basic set of mechanics, and then decide based on how the game feels. We shouldn't be adding dozens of extra systems when we're not even sure how the base game plays out.
    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
    Extra Credits just did an episode about strategy games that feels pertinent to this project. Namely, in that we're designing around the problem in question from the start.

    Also, you mentioned how you wanted the aliens in XCOM 2 to work against you? Funny you should mention that...
    So this video was good and, yeah you're right, the entire nature of the setup is about late game uncertainty. Your early game is, like in all games, about attaining a winning board position, but as the player doesn't know what the winning board position is they have to be prepared for one of several possible crises. This uncertainty forces the player to develop multiple contingencies for when the endgame crisis hits. At several points in the game, the player will have the option to sacrifice board position in order to reduce the uncertainty of the endgame - and that too is a valid strategic choice with interesting tradeoffs involved.

    I really like the concept of it all and I hope it works!
    Kind of? It helps that they can know about this stuff advance, but there's also the question of practical matters/decision-making. If Mr. Johnson has one army next to the player's two armies, what happens? Are those two armies safe? For how long? What would have to happen for those armies to be dislodged? Are they dislodged, or are they destroyed outright?

    I'm not asking for answers to all these, it's more to illustrate that this hypothetical scenario involves rules and mechanics that the player has never experienced up to this point, and that can feel unfair. (Unfair in a bad way.)
    Sure, but this is a very solveable problem. I was thinking during a conventional exchange, one army moves into a hostile province and every turn the armies have a mission to destroy the other army in exactly the same way as other missions - i.e. there's a % chance every turn to succeed in the mission and kill the other army, this chance is modified by tech, and the defender has an advantage in they get to roll for mission success before the invaders. If it uses the same mean-time-to-happen mission logic that everything else in the game does it's just a new option rather than a new game.

    Two random thoughts:
    -Is there going to be a leveling/upgrade system for your units, or are they all equal in power? (Country bonuses and events aside)
    So. I'm torn. Because on the one hand, leveling up mechanics are objectively fun and give another axis to have stuff interact on, and on the other hand they're completely superfluous to the game mechanics as established and massively at risk to contributing to victory spirals. I'm half thinking some dumb cosmetic minigame where as agents level up you don't get stat bonuses but you do get new sunglasses or goofy hats or whatever.

    -In some of these endgame scenarios, Mr. Johnson activates some policy/global tweak to change up the game. Are policies a thing outside of the endgame?
    I doubt it. I can see the space where that would go but I can't see what it'd add at this phase.

    Typing those out, I feel like I may know the answer already. It might be a good idea to run with the basic set of mechanics, and then decide based on how the game feels. We shouldn't be adding dozens of extra systems when we're not even sure how the base game plays out.
    Much agreed.
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    There's two more bits in this game that I'm unclear about:

    1) Events. What are they? How often do they trigger? What sorts of things can they affect?

    2) What is actually at stake at the negotiation table?

    And as a side question, what do you expect a typical start for this game to look like? The player boots up the game, they get their starting units, they get their starting position, and they're good to go. What might they do first?
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    There's two more bits in this game that I'm unclear about:

    1) Events. What are they? How often do they trigger? What sorts of things can they affect?
    So let's separate the terms. An event is any sort of randomly occurring incident of any importance (Turkey just adopted the Space Programme tech out of nowhere!).

    A crisis is the formal thing where you negotiate with Johnson. Three of these happen before the endgame, the successful psyops of each one reducing the Johnson possibilities by half (from 8 to 4, 4 to 2, 2 to 1).

    Things that can happen in a crisis: A superweapon goes off accidentally, a huge UN push to adopt a certain technology globally, a proxy war turns unexpectedly hot and starts dragging in the whole surrounding region, the PresidentBot gets challenged by a boorish reality TV star funded by your opponent.

    Crisises can change anything - influence networks, technology spread, insurgencies, forced demilitarization, bans on hostile espionage, etc.

    2) What is actually at stake at the negotiation table?
    Big game-changing effects. Like a ban on cyberespionage could prevent your Agents from hacking Johnson's labs, or a nuclear disaster could wipe out a key country or countries. I feel like these should be weighted towards bad outcomes for Mr Johnson more than the other way around - everything else being equal the match is going to go about 50/50, and these are the openings to get a leg up on your opponent before he turns things around in the endgame.

    So the choice should generally be gain board position or gain knowledge of the endgame.

    And as a side question, what do you expect a typical start for this game to look like? The player boots up the game, they get their starting units, they get their starting position, and they're good to go. What might they do first?
    Immediately they'll have 3 influence connections to other countries. They look at these three countries, decide which one they want the most, and move their army there to annex it. Then they look at the influence grid, think about the countries they want to get in the future, and move their executive to start building channels towards it OR to start spreading a technology that they like (each side starts with a small number of randomly selected known technologies). Finally, they send the Agent to start making his way across the map to start probing for weaknesses and start interacting with your opponent directly.

    The early game then turns into both sides expanding, either rapidly or cautiously, until the front lines start to meet and the midgame starts.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Oh yeah, there's alleged art happening somewhere off camera.

    Links
    Ayyyyy. Not a bad start. Probably define the legs a little better, but the upper part is good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    So let's separate the terms. An event is any sort of randomly occurring incident of any importance (Turkey just adopted the Space Programme tech out of nowhere!).

    A crisis is the formal thing where you negotiate with Johnson. Three of these happen before the endgame, the successful psyops of each one reducing the Johnson possibilities by half (from 8 to 4, 4 to 2, 2 to 1).

    Things that can happen in a crisis: A superweapon goes off accidentally, a huge UN push to adopt a certain technology globally, a proxy war turns unexpectedly hot and starts dragging in the whole surrounding region, the PresidentBot gets challenged by a boorish reality TV star funded by your opponent.

    Crisises can change anything - influence networks, technology spread, insurgencies, forced demilitarization, bans on hostile espionage, etc.
    Sense makes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Big game-changing effects. Like a ban on cyberespionage could prevent your Agents from hacking Johnson's labs, or a nuclear disaster could wipe out a key country or countries. I feel like these should be weighted towards bad outcomes for Mr Johnson more than the other way around - everything else being equal the match is going to go about 50/50, and these are the openings to get a leg up on your opponent before he turns things around in the endgame.

    So the choice should generally be gain board position or gain knowledge of the endgame.
    Agreed. The player has to want the thing on the negotiation table. It has to be something valuable enough to make them consider ignoring the psychoanalysis route.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Immediately they'll have 3 influence connections to other countries. They look at these three countries, decide which one they want the most, and move their army there to annex it. Then they look at the influence grid, think about the countries they want to get in the future, and move their executive to start building channels towards it OR to start spreading a technology that they like (each side starts with a small number of randomly selected known technologies). Finally, they send the Agent to start making his way across the map to start probing for weaknesses and start interacting with your opponent directly.

    The early game then turns into both sides expanding, either rapidly or cautiously, until the front lines start to meet and the midgame starts.
    I'm reminded of chess openings, only expanded. Lots of jockeying for early position, setting up defenses, probing for weaknesses, and trying to get a good position for yourself when the fighting starts in earnest. (It's very awkward when the two starting Agents pass each other on their way to make mischief.)



    In all the talks about Technology, one of the consistent examples we use is "uh oh, this tech will cause massive social unrest in any country that adopts it." Thus far, we don't have any such statistics/numbers for individual countries. I think we ought to keep it that way. As the design has solidified, we've moved to a more simple view of individual countries. They are important for their position, for their output, and for their bonus. Not for their population numbers, GDP, low social unrest, crime rate, number of HBO subscribers, etc. While it might be easy to make up downsides by manipulating numbers like that, it'll also add a lot of complexity that thus far we've avoided. I think we can get by with making Technology downsides that interact with the systems we have thus far.

    Ex. "Massive social unrest" = Insurgencies are more effective in this country. "Outbreak of horrible disease" = Army outputs are lowered. And so forth.

    This also gives the player incentive to spread Technologies to specific countries. Even their own. If an Army-producing country is about to fall to Mr. Johnson, push an anti-Army Technology there. Sure, it'll be a huge pain if you ever take it back, but it won't be doing him any good in the immediate future. The player can also layer technology bonuses to counter undesired effects. If you get hit with an anti-research Tech, you can add a research bonus to a slot on an existing Tech to break even. Provided Mr. Johnson hasn't adopted that Tech in his lab countries, or he's not working on a nasty advanced research slot for the same tech, and that's also assuming you can live with the hidden effects, and you can see how this all starts to pile up.

    The easiest solution to a problem is generally "add more Tech/add a slot to an existing Tech." But this solution creates long-term consequences that get harder and harder to optimally juggle.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Sense makes.



    Agreed. The player has to want the thing on the negotiation table. It has to be something valuable enough to make them consider ignoring the psychoanalysis route.



    I'm reminded of chess openings, only expanded. Lots of jockeying for early position, setting up defenses, probing for weaknesses, and trying to get a good position for yourself when the fighting starts in earnest. (It's very awkward when the two starting Agents pass each other on their way to make mischief.)



    In all the talks about Technology, one of the consistent examples we use is "uh oh, this tech will cause massive social unrest in any country that adopts it." Thus far, we don't have any such statistics/numbers for individual countries. I think we ought to keep it that way. As the design has solidified, we've moved to a more simple view of individual countries. They are important for their position, for their output, and for their bonus. Not for their population numbers, GDP, low social unrest, crime rate, number of HBO subscribers, etc. While it might be easy to make up downsides by manipulating numbers like that, it'll also add a lot of complexity that thus far we've avoided. I think we can get by with making Technology downsides that interact with the systems we have thus far.

    Ex. "Massive social unrest" = Insurgencies are more effective in this country. "Outbreak of horrible disease" = Army outputs are lowered. And so forth.

    This also gives the player incentive to spread Technologies to specific countries. Even their own. If an Army-producing country is about to fall to Mr. Johnson, push an anti-Army Technology there. Sure, it'll be a huge pain if you ever take it back, but it won't be doing him any good in the immediate future. The player can also layer technology bonuses to counter undesired effects. If you get hit with an anti-research Tech, you can add a research bonus to a slot on an existing Tech to break even. Provided Mr. Johnson hasn't adopted that Tech in his lab countries, or he's not working on a nasty advanced research slot for the same tech, and that's also assuming you can live with the hidden effects, and you can see how this all starts to pile up.

    The easiest solution to a problem is generally "add more Tech/add a slot to an existing Tech." But this solution creates long-term consequences that get harder and harder to optimally juggle.
    I agree with pretty much all of this unreservedly. What needs to be done next?
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I agree with pretty much all of this unreservedly. What needs to be done next?
    Sorry, been busy and exhausted the last few days. Been thinking about this question, and will get back to you shortly.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Okay! Here are a couple of things that need doing, in no particular order:

    1) Compile the information we have into a master reference document. That way, we don't have to go digging through this thread for the latest version of mechanics/features, and it'll be easier to get other people up to speed on the project when the time comes. This will essentially be our working design document; we'll update it as we go and as things change. There's a million and five ways to write and organize them, go with whatever format makes the most sense to you. For me, I've found that it's helpful to split concept and mechanics into two separate documents. (Business planning goes into a third document as needed.)

    I have some sample design doc templates I can throw your way if it'll help.

    2) Work on finding concept art/music/general game aesthetic. There's a limit to what we can do here before hiring dedicated art/music people (as they will bring their own ideas to the table too) but we can get started now. Find pieces of music, drawings, poignant quotes, anything that captures the target mood and feel of this game.

    2.1) On that note, now may be a good time to write out one crisis dialogue tree for concept purposes. It doesn't have to be something we'll use in the final version, just something indicative of the tone we're going for. Plus, it'll give us a good sense on how much dialogue there might be per crisis.

    3) Do a first pass on the more nitty-gritty details of the design. Start answering questions like: What actions can the various units perform? What determines the results of those actions? What Technologies are in the game, and what effects might they have? How many nodes on the map? etc. I fully expect these details to change in playtesting, but we need someplace to start. (Aside: A good chunk of playtesting will be devoted to seeing what happens when these details are tweaked. Playing maps with 10 nodes vs 20 nodes vs 50 nodes, for example.)

    Compiling the information we have into a more comprehensive reference document should help us pinpoint what we still don't know. Alternatively, imagine somebody playing this hypothetical game, and look for gaps.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Okay! Here are a couple of things that need doing, in no particular order:

    1) Compile the information we have into a master reference document. That way, we don't have to go digging through this thread for the latest version of mechanics/features, and it'll be easier to get other people up to speed on the project when the time comes. This will essentially be our working design document; we'll update it as we go and as things change. There's a million and five ways to write and organize them, go with whatever format makes the most sense to you. For me, I've found that it's helpful to split concept and mechanics into two separate documents. (Business planning goes into a third document as needed.)

    I have some sample design doc templates I can throw your way if it'll help.
    Yeah, if you want to administer that it'd be great

    2) Work on finding concept art/music/general game aesthetic. There's a limit to what we can do here before hiring dedicated art/music people (as they will bring their own ideas to the table too) but we can get started now. Find pieces of music, drawings, poignant quotes, anything that captures the target mood and feel of this game.
    On it. I'm basically visualizing an icy neon blue/sleek silver with sharp edges for the player, and neon red/dark metal with rounded corners for Johnson. Will get deeper into research soon. The Frozen Synapse stuff is worth a look as a starting point.

    2.1) On that note, now may be a good time to write out one crisis dialogue tree for concept purposes. It doesn't have to be something we'll use in the final version, just something indicative of the tone we're going for. Plus, it'll give us a good sense on how much dialogue there might be per crisis.
    Wilco. I'm using the Dues Ex Human Revolution conversation fights as my model.

    3) Do a first pass on the more nitty-gritty details of the design. Start answering questions like: What actions can the various units perform? What determines the results of those actions? What Technologies are in the game, and what effects might they have? How many nodes on the map? etc. I fully expect these details to change in playtesting, but we need someplace to start. (Aside: A good chunk of playtesting will be devoted to seeing what happens when these details are tweaked. Playing maps with 10 nodes vs 20 nodes vs 50 nodes, for example.)

    Compiling the information we have into a more comprehensive reference document should help us pinpoint what we still don't know. Alternatively, imagine somebody playing this hypothetical game, and look for gaps.
    Awright let's get some definitions nailed down:

    COUNTRIES

    There are a few maps we can use as a model, with Twilight Struggle (50+) on one end and XCOM2 (16) on the other end.

    Traits
    0-4 Influence Links. This might be capped lower in the early game and raised with technology.
    15 technologies (number subject to change). All techs range between 0 and 2, where 1 is sufficient saturation to provide the bonus and everything else is just buffer.
    1 Bonus or Output: The resource generated by the country when controlled.
    Port. Countries can only forge influence links to adjacent countries, but if the country has a port they can forge a link to any other country with an open port.
    Developed/Developing. Developing countries do not produce outputs until Modernized and have a mallus to tech growth.


    Bonuses and Outputs
    +1 Army speed
    +1 Agent speed
    +1 Executive speed
    +1 max Influence Links
    Trade Hegemon: 2 ports
    Civilian Laboratory
    Military Laboratory
    Culturally Influential: Double tech spread to/from countries connected to this one
    Hermit Kingdom: Can sever influence links to this country instantly and for free
    Shipping Interdiction: Enemy ocean travel to any country linked to this one takes 2x as long
    Sphere of Influence: Armies in countries linked to this country can conventionally engage each other (though not in this country)
    Graveyard of Empires: Output: Agent. Permanent one-Agent Insurgency.
    Global Espionage: Once every 5 turns can teleport an agent stationed in this country anywhere on the map.
    International Aid: If developed, 2x Development speed to all linked countries
    Fortress: Immune to insurgencies
    Colonial Hegemon: Deploying in this country provides control over all unoccupied developing countries it is linked to.
    Exports Terror: Every turn an Insurgency hits one country this country is linked to, chosen at random.
    Output: Executive
    Output: Agent
    Output: Army


    Writing this discovered a really cool role for countries as regional hubs that project power over their surroundings.

    UNITS
    All movements have a base speed of 1 square per turn. Units cannot move and act. All actions have a % chance of success, influenced by technology. All units have the technologies of the country that spawned them.

    Army
    Represents combined conventional military, diplomatic and economic power.
    Can't enter a square with a deployed army. If in a square with a deployed army must leave the next turn.
    Action: Deploy. Grants control of all positive effects of controlling the country.
    Action: Confiscate Technology. Reduces technology growth
    Action: Conventional Warfare. % chance of destroying any enemy armies in this province. Disabled by default.

    Executive
    Represents corporate and financial clout.
    Action: Break Link. Undermines and destroys an influence link.
    Action: Forge Link. Creates a new influence link between eligible countries
    Action: Push Technology. Adds technology growth
    Action: Development aid. Modernizes a developing country.

    Agent
    Represents special forces and intelligence services
    Action: Insurrection. % chance every turn of destroying a deployed Army.
    Action: Steal research. In a province with a lab, steal knowledge of one technology.
    Action: Assassinate. % chance every turn of destroying a deployed Exec or Agent.
    Action: Deploy superweapon. Destroys all units in the country, destroys all influence links to the country, loses all technologies, knocks the country back to Developing.

    TECHNOLOGY LIST

    Fusion Power
    Robotics
    Artificial Intelligence
    Social Media
    Renewable Energy
    Advanced Materials
    Space Program
    Quantum Computing
    Virtual Reality
    Cybernetics
    Artistic Utopia
    Advanced Ethics
    Medical Science
    Brain Mapping
    Nanotechnology

    Technology Effects:
    +/- Deploy speed
    +/- Confiscate speed
    +/- Break Link
    +/- Forge Link
    +/- Push Technology
    +/- Development Aid
    +/- Insurrection
    +/- Assassinate
    +/- Output
    +/- Max Influence Links
    +/- Port Connections
    +/- Technology research speed
    +/- Technology spread speed
    +/- Ban efficiency
    +/- Superweapon vulnerability
    Superweapon: Yes
    Conventional Warfare: Yes
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2017-01-30 at 04:49 PM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Yeah, if you want to administer that it'd be great
    Can do. I'm wrapping up the prototype for the other game I'm working on, and so I can start on this while I'm setting up playtesting sessions.

    To be honest, this is also the part of the show where I would start writing down a prototyping plan and get to work on early prototypes, but as I'm still working on my other game right now that's going to have to wait. There is still stuff we can do, but this is where we might start slowing down until I can fully work on this project.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    On it. I'm basically visualizing an icy neon blue/sleek silver with sharp edges for the player, and neon red/dark metal with rounded corners for Johnson. Will get deeper into research soon. The Frozen Synapse stuff is worth a look as a starting point.
    Another thought strikes me: What is the fantasy we're looking to create for the player? When they play this game, what are they supposed to imagine themselves as? Ex: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger makes you feel like you're the star of your own spaghetti Western.

    This is important to figure out, because it'll influence much of the writing/the tone we're shooting for. I can see an implementation of this game where the player might wish there was a "can't we just share the world?" option, but decisions have already been made, the die has already been cast, it's a tragedy, etc. However, if we want them to feel like a genius, megalomanical businessman, attempting to go the sympathetic angle would put a dampner on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Wilco. I'm using the Dues Ex Human Revolution conversation fights as my model.
    Excellent. Make sure not to do the Fallout 4 thing, and only include a mood option for each dialogue choice. Deus Ex always had the decency to tell you your general approach and what Jensen was about to say.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Awright let's get some definitions nailed down:
    Great! This is filling in a lot of gaps. I'll ask more if I run into anything I don't know. I like the idea of using country borders with the exception of ports, because it prevents the map from becoming an unholy spaghetti mess. I also like how bonuses can make countries have a real impact depending on what their connections are. Adds some nice texture to the map, especially since said bonuses are partially randomized.

    Do you think you could explain a bit more about how taking an action works? Do actions take some number of turns to complete? Or do actions have a % chance of working each turn, and the number you get is the estimate of how many turns before you roll a success?

    Also, what do you think about giving technologies certain trends in their stats? Maybe Robotics has a couple of unique traits that are all geared towards Army bonuses and/or its ban efficiency bonuses - if it has them - are generally crap?
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Another thought strikes me: What is the fantasy we're looking to create for the player? When they play this game, what are they supposed to imagine themselves as? Ex: Call of Juarez: Gunslinger makes you feel like you're the star of your own spaghetti Western.

    This is important to figure out, because it'll influence much of the writing/the tone we're shooting for. I can see an implementation of this game where the player might wish there was a "can't we just share the world?" option, but decisions have already been made, the die has already been cast, it's a tragedy, etc. However, if we want them to feel like a genius, megalomanical businessman, attempting to go the sympathetic angle would put a dampner on that.
    Good question. I like the idea of the player being the winning superpower, the powerful megacorp slowly and ruthlessly choking the life out of their opposition - before the sudden, violent turnaround as Mr. Johnson's plan comes online. Almost like an AI themselves (I shall call you Tactics because that is all you are good for). If there's sympathy and empathy it's just a ruse to defeat Mr. Johnson.

    Perhaps the player might experience some personal horror at what they're doing but the game doesn't acknowledge that.

    Excellent. Make sure not to do the Fallout 4 thing, and only include a mood option for each dialogue choice. Deus Ex always had the decency to tell you your general approach and what Jensen was about to say.
    For sure.

    Great! This is filling in a lot of gaps. I'll ask more if I run into anything I don't know. I like the idea of using country borders with the exception of ports, because it prevents the map from becoming an unholy spaghetti mess. I also like how bonuses can make countries have a real impact depending on what their connections are. Adds some nice texture to the map, especially since said bonuses are partially randomized.
    Exactly. I quite liked the initial idea of the crazy octopus network but my design sketches quickly demonstrated it was totally unworkable. So instead I took Plague Inc's approach and visualized the port connections as dotted lines across the sea.

    Do you think you could explain a bit more about how taking an action works? Do actions take some number of turns to complete? Or do actions have a % chance of working each turn, and the number you get is the estimate of how many turns before you roll a success?
    I've been thinking a lot about this and there are three possibilities:

    - Max Random: Just a flat % chance of working out each turn. Estimate of the mean time to happen. This is the biggest and swingiest approach so it relies on the sheer volume of events to balance out. This is the Paradox technique
    - Random Fill Bar: The % chances are higher, but each successful roll adds progress to a successful mission bar - i.e. 3 successful rolls produce the output. The increased volume of rolls smooths the curve a little from the max random technique but has questions like 'when an army is 75% destroyed by an insurgency can it just pack up and drive away or what'.
    - Deterministic Fill Bar: Actions have time to complete and that just happens. Main problem is that with hidden information from technology, players can just count the days it takes for mission success and thus extrapolate the impact of their techs without researching them. Perhaps that can be countered just through the risk of blind adoption?

    My original design and gut inclination is max random but I want to experiment with the other two.

    Also, what do you think about giving technologies certain trends in their stats? Maybe Robotics has a couple of unique traits that are all geared towards Army bonuses and/or its ban efficiency bonuses - if it has them - are generally crap?
    It's tempting, but no. In practice that sh*t means 'have the wiki open when you play'.

    However, I do see a bit of an opening for certain megaprojects that require multiple technologies adopted (AI, Robotics, Space Programme > Offworld mining).
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Good question. I like the idea of the player being the winning superpower, the powerful megacorp slowly and ruthlessly choking the life out of their opposition - before the sudden, violent turnaround as Mr. Johnson's plan comes online. Almost like an AI themselves (I shall call you Tactics because that is all you are good for). If there's sympathy and empathy it's just a ruse to defeat Mr. Johnson.

    Perhaps the player might experience some personal horror at what they're doing but the game doesn't acknowledge that.
    I haven't given much thought to the question myself, so I don't have much to add here. Given the nature of this game as a strategy game you're supposed to play many times over, if we tried to make moments of horror/big meta moments they would almost certainly get annoying after the first playthrough.

    "Look I just want to see if this strategy works can we cut the dramatic music already"

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I've been thinking a lot about this and there are three possibilities:

    - Max Random: Just a flat % chance of working out each turn. Estimate of the mean time to happen. This is the biggest and swingiest approach so it relies on the sheer volume of events to balance out. This is the Paradox technique
    - Random Fill Bar: The % chances are higher, but each successful roll adds progress to a successful mission bar - i.e. 3 successful rolls produce the output. The increased volume of rolls smooths the curve a little from the max random technique but has questions like 'when an army is 75% destroyed by an insurgency can it just pack up and drive away or what'.
    - Deterministic Fill Bar: Actions have time to complete and that just happens. Main problem is that with hidden information from technology, players can just count the days it takes for mission success and thus extrapolate the impact of their techs without researching them. Perhaps that can be countered just through the risk of blind adoption?

    My original design and gut inclination is max random but I want to experiment with the other two.
    This is an excellent thing to playtest.

    I can't remember if I mentioned this, but every prototype is supposed to ask a question, and no individual prototype should ask too many. (If you can get 1 question per prototype it's ideal, but I'm also fairly new to game development on this scale so I don't expect to get it perfect every time.) In this case, we could make a prototype that randomly decides between each of the three control options, and we see how players react to each one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    It's tempting, but no. In practice that sh*t means 'have the wiki open when you play'.

    However, I do see a bit of an opening for certain megaprojects that require multiple technologies adopted (AI, Robotics, Space Programme > Offworld mining).
    That's a fair point. I'm not a fan of games that require you to have the wiki open.

    Megaprojects! What are those? I'm assuming those are actions you can unlock - "Initiate Offworld Mining Project, x% chance of success" - but where can the player do those actions? What sort of effects might they have? Given the requirements, it feels like they ought to have some pretty game-changing effects.

    EDIT: Another major gap I realized while compiling things: How does the military/civilian divide affect technology spread? How does it affect adoption by units?
    Last edited by TheAmishPirate; 2017-02-02 at 05:36 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    I haven't given much thought to the question myself, so I don't have much to add here. Given the nature of this game as a strategy game you're supposed to play many times over, if we tried to make moments of horror/big meta moments they would almost certainly get annoying after the first playthrough.

    "Look I just want to see if this strategy works can we cut the dramatic music already"
    Yeah, the rest of the game has the player in the puzzle-solver decision-maker mindset and I don't want to jar out of that for the dialogue. I want the emotional tone to be focus even if there's all kinds of sh*t happening in the dialogue.

    This is an excellent thing to playtest.

    I can't remember if I mentioned this, but every prototype is supposed to ask a question, and no individual prototype should ask too many. (If you can get 1 question per prototype it's ideal, but I'm also fairly new to game development on this scale so I don't expect to get it perfect every time.) In this case, we could make a prototype that randomly decides between each of the three control options, and we see how players react to each one.
    Understood!

    That's a fair point. I'm not a fan of games that require you to have the wiki open.

    Megaprojects! What are those? I'm assuming those are actions you can unlock - "Initiate Offworld Mining Project, x% chance of success" - but where can the player do those actions? What sort of effects might they have? Given the requirements, it feels like they ought to have some pretty game-changing effects.
    I have done some conceptual thought about these but I don't want to go into detail now. They're by nature mid/lategame goals and their role if any will depend on the emergent demands of that period of the game.

    EDIT: Another major gap I realized while compiling things: How does the military/civilian divide affect technology spread? How does it affect adoption by units?
    So in my most recent iteration I opted for a system where units use the tech of their origin country because I felt this was a huge simplification from different army groups using different technology and produces a more intuitive feel. I think that as a consequence of this my original civilian/military/banned sliding scale needs a rework.

    I actually feel like that whole policy thing is a bit of a non-integrated Paradox Slider subsystem that can be better integrated into the core map array. I think instead of the original sliding scale off in a sidebar somewhere, any country you control can have techs selectively unbanned - so you might want to unban AI for Sweden that's producing all your robot tanks but nowhere else. Catch is that countries with fully adopted and unbanned techs push those techs on their neighbours so you may have to invest resources into suppressing the spread of a militarily critical but otherwise dangerous technology.

    As originally stated, unbanned tech begins slow growth but real pressure comes from execs pushing it.

    So the country UI would show all the techs and their progress, and each tech icon would have two variables: banned/unbanned present/absent
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    In starting the documentation, I've realized that we don't have a working title for this game. We don't even have a cool codename.

    I think this means we have to shut the project down and quit the field of game design forever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Yeah, the rest of the game has the player in the puzzle-solver decision-maker mindset and I don't want to jar out of that for the dialogue. I want the emotional tone to be focus even if there's all kinds of sh*t happening in the dialogue.
    "no I don't want to reflect on the struggle of Ghandi's people I want to end this punk before he drops another nuke on me" >:C

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I have done some conceptual thought about these but I don't want to go into detail now. They're by nature mid/lategame goals and their role if any will depend on the emergent demands of that period of the game.
    Understood. I can see where they would fit in-between the early game positioning and before the endgame madness, but until we start playing this thing we won't know if that's a necessary addition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    So in my most recent iteration I opted for a system where units use the tech of their origin country because I felt this was a huge simplification from different army groups using different technology and produces a more intuitive feel. I think that as a consequence of this my original civilian/military/banned sliding scale needs a rework.

    I actually feel like that whole policy thing is a bit of a non-integrated Paradox Slider subsystem that can be better integrated into the core map array. I think instead of the original sliding scale off in a sidebar somewhere, any country you control can have techs selectively unbanned - so you might want to unban AI for Sweden that's producing all your robot tanks but nowhere else. Catch is that countries with fully adopted and unbanned techs push those techs on their neighbours so you may have to invest resources into suppressing the spread of a militarily critical but otherwise dangerous technology.

    As originally stated, unbanned tech begins slow growth but real pressure comes from execs pushing it.

    So the country UI would show all the techs and their progress, and each tech icon would have two variables: banned/unbanned present/absent
    I see. So rather than balancing one, big plate holding all of your countries, you're balancing a dozen smaller plates, one for each country you hold. Going for an advanced research slot or adopting a counter-Technology is still one of the fastest ways to get a bonus/offset a loss, only now you have to consider how many techs haven't already been messed with. There's only so many times you can pull a fresh Technology from the bin and pray that its unique traits aren't detrimental to the cause.

    Speaking of unique traits, how will this change affect them? Will they still have three, or will they only have one now? I'm thinking that we probably want to keep the unique trait slot, and at least one non-unique trait.

    Also, this could be a nerf to Superweapons if we aren't careful. Previously, a Technology could have a Superweapon in its unique or military trait slot, but now we might only have the unique slot to work with. That could mean less Technologies with Superweapon potential. And given that countries can selectively ban/allow Technology now, it could be easier to not only keep the troublesome tech out, but also make it incredibly obvious when your opponent is trying to position for a Superweapon. ("Gee, suddenly there's a string of countries adopting this one Technology, and it's headed right for this vital hub city. Hrmmmmmmmmmmmm.") It's worth keeping an eye on in playtesting.

    Will neutral countries set their own Technology policies? Or are they mostly passive about Technology spread?

    EDIT: And what about Units? Since they aren't affected by global ban/allow policies anymore, how does their Tech spread work?
    Last edited by TheAmishPirate; 2017-02-03 at 03:06 PM.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    In starting the documentation, I've realized that we don't have a working title for this game. We don't even have a cool codename.

    I think this means we have to shut the project down and quit the field of game design forever.
    The travesty is that it didn't even occur to you to suggest "Project: Snowdrop" so that Thanqol can fight you to call it "Project: Wings of Fire."

    P.S. sign me up for playtesting any prototypes.
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    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

    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    In starting the documentation, I've realized that we don't have a working title for this game. We don't even have a cool codename.

    I think this means we have to shut the project down and quit the field of game design forever.
    My files have it written down as Industrial Espionage but it needs something more pizzazzy.

    Speaking of unique traits, how will this change affect them? Will they still have three, or will they only have one now? I'm thinking that we probably want to keep the unique trait slot, and at least one non-unique trait.
    I don't see why this would change the military/civilian divide as far as research goes. Difference is you want to have +military tech in your army-producing provinces rather than every individual army.

    Also, this could be a nerf to Superweapons if we aren't careful. Previously, a Technology could have a Superweapon in its unique or military trait slot, but now we might only have the unique slot to work with. That could mean less Technologies with Superweapon potential. And given that countries can selectively ban/allow Technology now, it could be easier to not only keep the troublesome tech out, but also make it incredibly obvious when your opponent is trying to position for a Superweapon. ("Gee, suddenly there's a string of countries adopting this one Technology, and it's headed right for this vital hub city. Hrmmmmmmmmmmmm.") It's worth keeping an eye on in playtesting.
    Technology doesn't spread linearly so there's no need for the string of countries, it spreads from wherever Execs are Pushing it. And if there's an Exec pushing something in your territory you pretty much always want to be suspicious.

    That said, I do see an interaction where you'd just ban anything you see an Exec pushing out of hand, so I think it's instead worth being able to see that an Exec is pushing a tech until the rollout is complete and the tech becomes available in the country.

    Will neutral countries set their own Technology policies? Or are they mostly passive about Technology spread?
    Completely passive, maybe with random uncontrolled tech growth especially if they have a Lab present.

    EDIT: And what about Units? Since they aren't affected by global ban/allow policies anymore, how does their Tech spread work?
    Units have the tech of the country that spawned them. The army from Italy uses the +conventional warfare tech that's present in Italy. Each unit should accordingly have a little flag.
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    My files have it written down as Industrial Espionage but it needs something more pizzazzy.
    Yeah. I've got nothing right now either. Names are hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I don't see why this would change the military/civilian divide as far as research goes. Difference is you want to have +military tech in your army-producing provinces rather than every individual army.
    Could you explain the current state of the military/civilian divide then? In the current state of the design, I'm not seeing a reason why we'd divide Labs between military/civilian.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    That said, I do see an interaction where you'd just ban anything you see an Exec pushing out of hand, so I think it's instead worth being able to see that an Exec is pushing a tech until the rollout is complete and the tech becomes available in the country.
    So, to make sure I've got this right, you can see that an Exec is taking the "push tech" action, but you don't get to see what tech they're actually pushing?

    If that's the case, then does this mean the players aren't privy to the current growth/decline rates of Technologies in a country? Or are there enough potential modifiers that a player can't obviously see which Tech is growing abnormally?


    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Units have the tech of the country that spawned them. The army from Italy uses the +conventional warfare tech that's present in Italy. Each unit should accordingly have a little flag.
    Do they stay in sync with their starting country, or do they adopt/reject Tech on their own?

    *****************************

    Last Friday, I got the chance to do a ton of documentation, and consolidated as much information from this thread as I could. As expected, it brought up some additional questions/comments:

    1) In the list of Agent actions, we're missing the "Superweapon Countermeasures" action.

    1.5) Furthermore, it's a bit unclear as to how the "Deploy Superweapon" action works. Does it take a set number of turns to go off, or is it percentage-based like everything else? Does it kill the Agent who activated it?

    2) When Armies take the Conventional Warfare action, do they occupy the same Country, or do they fight from adjacent Countries?

    3) We currently have next to no details on Events other than "randomly occurring incident of any importance." Could stand to be fleshed out more.

    4) Given how actions work in this game - % chance to work, may take many turns to complete an action - we should consider the structure of the turns carefully. I expect that players will like the opportunity to set their units on a course of action, and have them auto-retry actions without them pressing the "do action" button every turn. At the same time, they need to have ample opportunity to review a unit's actions, see if things are taking longer than they should, and revise plans as necessary. There's no easier way to forget a unit exists than by automatic actions.

    You mentioned that other games have done similar things with % chances to work; how did they structure their turns?

    5) Suppose an Army is killed by an Insurgency. It was the 3rd Army, and their home Country was busy producing the 4th Army. The 3rd Army took 8 turns to spawn, the 4th will take 16, and we were 4 turns into production. How long until the next Army spawns? What if we were 9 turns into production; does this mean a new Army spawns immediately?

    *****************************

    Final question, this one's more about game design in general: What's your process? How do you take a concept in your head to a set of solid, workable mechanics? What are the in-between steps you find yourself taking?

    In the games I've worked on outside of college, I've struggled with the early design portions of the process; taking that neat, gripping concept in my head and translating it into mechanics. I've been really impressed with how you've hashed out the design of Mr. Johnson's Wild Ride here, and I'd love to hear more on your design process.
    I'm developing a game. Let's see what happens! Complex.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheAmishPirate View Post
    Yeah. I've got nothing right now either. Names are hard.
    How about, 'Complex' as in military-industrial complex?

    Could you explain the current state of the military/civilian divide then? In the current state of the design, I'm not seeing a reason why we'd divide Labs between military/civilian.
    After thinking about it for a little while you're right that the divide is irrelevant. I was mostly stuck on the idea because I had a bunch of stuff hanging off it but doing away with it gives more design freedom for tech effects.

    So, to make sure I've got this right, you can see that an Exec is taking the "push tech" action, but you don't get to see what tech they're actually pushing?

    If that's the case, then does this mean the players aren't privy to the current growth/decline rates of Technologies in a country? Or are there enough potential modifiers that a player can't obviously see which Tech is growing abnormally?
    I think players can see if a tech is increasing or decreasing, just not by how much. So if a country is getting a bunch of tech border pressure and there's also an Exec pushing something it can be hard to tell which one he's behind.

    However there is a UI argument to be made for just telling the player, I'm not sure it's that important to keep this secret.

    Do they stay in sync with their starting country, or do they adopt/reject Tech on their own?
    Starting country. It's way easier to remember that Italians are awesome at war than it is to remember that army group A is marginally better at some fights than army group B when you have dozens of units in the field.

    Last Friday, I got the chance to do a ton of documentation, and consolidated as much information from this thread as I could. As expected, it brought up some additional questions/comments:

    1) In the list of Agent actions, we're missing the "Superweapon Countermeasures" action.
    Let's just make this 'Countermeasures' and have it add a big mallus to foreign exec/agent actions with a chance of killing the other agent. Also add a +/- countermeasures tech line.

    1.5) Furthermore, it's a bit unclear as to how the "Deploy Superweapon" action works. Does it take a set number of turns to go off, or is it percentage-based like everything else? Does it kill the Agent who activated it?
    I see a strong case for a big notification and 'you have 3 turns until Germany explodes unless you stop this'. It makes superweapons weaker but it stops the frustration of 'oh no, I just lost a load bearing country and now things are f*cked'. Gives you some time to either try to thwart or at least rearranged your armies to limit the damage.

    Oh, also, add a bonus line: Nuclear Deterrent - Superweapons cannot be used on this country.

    2) When Armies take the Conventional Warfare action, do they occupy the same Country, or do they fight from adjacent Countries?
    Occupy the same country. When an army moves into a country with a hostile army they can only retreat back the same way they came.

    3) We currently have next to no details on Events other than "randomly occurring incident of any importance." Could stand to be fleshed out more.
    Let's see how the basic system works before we add the random shake-ups Events represent.
    4) Given how actions work in this game - % chance to work, may take many turns to complete an action - we should consider the structure of the turns carefully. I expect that players will like the opportunity to set their units on a course of action, and have them auto-retry actions without them pressing the "do action" button every turn. At the same time, they need to have ample opportunity to review a unit's actions, see if things are taking longer than they should, and revise plans as necessary. There's no easier way to forget a unit exists than by automatic actions.

    You mentioned that other games have done similar things with % chances to work; how did they structure their turns?
    Paradox games are 'turn based games with variable length turns'. How they do stuff like this is just run the game until the thing is done, then give you a pop-up telling you the thing is done, at which point you set new orders.

    I said turn based initially because I imagine that's easier to code, balance and structure (also more accessible) but the game could also be done well as a paradox style free-motion with pause controls. I'm slightly inclined to keep turn based unless we can get Paradox to convert it to the Clauswitz engine.

    5) Suppose an Army is killed by an Insurgency. It was the 3rd Army, and their home Country was busy producing the 4th Army. The 3rd Army took 8 turns to spawn, the 4th will take 16, and we were 4 turns into production. How long until the next Army spawns? What if we were 9 turns into production; does this mean a new Army spawns immediately?
    I think you don't ever lose production due to losses. I think if you're 9 turns into production, lose an army, then the new army spawns immediately and you keep the 1 production. Remember the scaling production costs are there to be a comeback mechanic.

    Final question, this one's more about game design in general: What's your process? How do you take a concept in your head to a set of solid, workable mechanics? What are the in-between steps you find yourself taking?

    In the games I've worked on outside of college, I've struggled with the early design portions of the process; taking that neat, gripping concept in my head and translating it into mechanics. I've been really impressed with how you've hashed out the design of Mr. Johnson's Wild Ride here, and I'd love to hear more on your design process.
    A big part about doing this game in particular is spending over 1000 hours in various paradox games which are real masterpieces of UI design, so I just kind of know what I'm expecting and what I would compare it to. Stuff like, it works like this in this really well designed game, and there's a boring trap in this game, so therefore.

    But this is also kind of how I do my posts, and how my brain works in general. I'm really good at doing conversational problem solving. There's a thing - so therefore this follows. This scene's going like this so therefore the optimal move is to have this happen. This character has established these personality traits so therefore this is what they need to do next for their character to work.

    I actually limit myself a lot in various OOC threads from talking about characters and in-game events because I'm sufficiently good at this, and persuasive when I do so, that I frequently solve other people's characters for them. "Oh no, your character's core conflict is this, so therefore you need to do this and this and this and work up towards a scene like this" and that can derail whatever their original plan was quite a lot. I happily do it when people ask me but when they don't I just focus on my own stuff.

    I actually mentioned this in Yours Truly. I have a pretty bad memory for names and dates and facts and stuff but I'm good at taking a bunch of information and producing a correct result from it, and my thought process is reliable enough that if I'm given enough seed information I can reproduce an entire chain of logic I've forgotten about entirely.

    The side effects to this thought pattern are: I'm really bad at math, I can be very persuasive even when I'm wrong, my workflow suffers a lot when I don't have people bringing energy to a conversation for me to respond to and build off. When people don't post for a while in a PBP I find it really easy to forget that PBP exists until I drag myself out of my rut to yell at them to post more (or if I haven't posted somewhere but don't have the thread marked new post or open in a tab then it's really easy to forget where I am on that).
    Roses are red,
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    Default Re: Thanqol Learns To Draw Six: Stealing Time

    Idea: What if, when an action completed, the result was presented to you as if it were a newspaper headline? Ex. "Italy strikes new trade deal with France, markets soar" for when an Executive forges a connection. Not only is it a flavorful way of giving information, but it helps reinforce the idea that all of your actions are being done via puppets. The headlines won't ever talk about your nation/megacorp, because as far as they know you're not involved.

    Note: The game would also tell you plainly, "Hey, this Exec successfully forged an influence link between Italy and France." Information is delivered both flavorfully and functionally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    How about, 'Complex' as in military-industrial complex?
    I like that as a codename, less so for the final title. It's too common a word/difficult to Google. The more abstract your game title, the harder it is to actually find info on the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I think players can see if a tech is increasing or decreasing, just not by how much. So if a country is getting a bunch of tech border pressure and there's also an Exec pushing something it can be hard to tell which one he's behind.

    However there is a UI argument to be made for just telling the player, I'm not sure it's that important to keep this secret.
    Playtesting, ho!

    Currently, I think that we should just show that a tech is increasing/decreasing, rather than hiding the amounts. But we will see how it plays out.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Starting country. It's way easier to remember that Italians are awesome at war than it is to remember that army group A is marginally better at some fights than army group B when you have dozens of units in the field.
    That's a really good point. Plus, narratively speaking, it makes sense that the home country is keeping their units supplied with tech.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Let's just make this 'Countermeasures' and have it add a big mallus to foreign exec/agent actions with a chance of killing the other agent. Also add a +/- countermeasures tech line.
    Sounds good. I'll update the doc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I see a strong case for a big notification and 'you have 3 turns until Germany explodes unless you stop this'. It makes superweapons weaker but it stops the frustration of 'oh no, I just lost a load bearing country and now things are f*cked'. Gives you some time to either try to thwart or at least rearranged your armies to limit the damage.

    Oh, also, add a bonus line: Nuclear Deterrent - Superweapons cannot be used on this country.
    Agreed. It gives them a chance to get their stuff out of the area and limit the damage, or maybe they have an Agent nearby who can save the day Bond-style.

    What happens to the Agent who activates the Superweapon? Do they die too?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Paradox games are 'turn based games with variable length turns'. How they do stuff like this is just run the game until the thing is done, then give you a pop-up telling you the thing is done, at which point you set new orders.

    I said turn based initially because I imagine that's easier to code, balance and structure (also more accessible) but the game could also be done well as a paradox style free-motion with pause controls. I'm slightly inclined to keep turn based unless we can get Paradox to convert it to the Clauswitz engine.
    A turn-based system would be easier to code and structure, but at least on the code side of things I don't think it would be that much harder to make it Paradox-style.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    A big part about doing this game in particular is spending over 1000 hours in various paradox games which are real masterpieces of UI design, so I just kind of know what I'm expecting and what I would compare it to. Stuff like, it works like this in this really well designed game, and there's a boring trap in this game, so therefore.

    But this is also kind of how I do my posts, and how my brain works in general. I'm really good at doing conversational problem solving. There's a thing - so therefore this follows. This scene's going like this so therefore the optimal move is to have this happen. This character has established these personality traits so therefore this is what they need to do next for their character to work.

    I actually limit myself a lot in various OOC threads from talking about characters and in-game events because I'm sufficiently good at this, and persuasive when I do so, that I frequently solve other people's characters for them. "Oh no, your character's core conflict is this, so therefore you need to do this and this and this and work up towards a scene like this" and that can derail whatever their original plan was quite a lot. I happily do it when people ask me but when they don't I just focus on my own stuff.

    I actually mentioned this in Yours Truly. I have a pretty bad memory for names and dates and facts and stuff but I'm good at taking a bunch of information and producing a correct result from it, and my thought process is reliable enough that if I'm given enough seed information I can reproduce an entire chain of logic I've forgotten about entirely.

    The side effects to this thought pattern are: I'm really bad at math, I can be very persuasive even when I'm wrong, my workflow suffers a lot when I don't have people bringing energy to a conversation for me to respond to and build off. When people don't post for a while in a PBP I find it really easy to forget that PBP exists until I drag myself out of my rut to yell at them to post more (or if I haven't posted somewhere but don't have the thread marked new post or open in a tab then it's really easy to forget where I am on that).
    This is some really cool insight. Thanks!

    Myself, I am a Thinker. I get a concept in my head, and then I think and I think and I think until I understand it and can work with it. Then I think some more about all the ways I can use it, how it might interact with other things, why it is the way it is, etc. I like maths and physics because of all the problems I get to solve. I like building and creating things - in part - because I get to think about characters and plots and mechanics and all sorts of interesting things and put them together in interesting ways. (This is also why I really enjoy character conversation/scenes focusing on character interaction.) The downside to this is that I am a chronic overthinker. If I'm not careful, and if I don't figure a thing out quickly, it is very easy for my thoughts to spiral and get stuck. I've sometimes spent upwards of an hour on a single post, because some little bit of wording is eluding me, and I let myself agonize over it for ages. Even writing all this out, I can feel myself wondering if I've gotten everything exactly right about myself. And I think that's what has me stumped in my own design work. I keep getting caught in my own thoughts, and not making much progress.

    One easy way I knock myself out of it is by having people to talk to. If I can get thoughts out of my head, I can process them much quicker, and move onto something else. Writing it down helps some, but having somebody else to talk it over with is even better. It's one reason why I'm so eager to work on this project; because I have somebody else to talk over ideas with.

    I think one thing that will help is taking the concepts that I'm working with, and reducing them down to a few, key, "what is this thing I'm making" statements. I tried this with the campaign idea I posted in the Fellowship thread, and it's been helping to guide my thoughts thus far. Not to mention it's useful in cutting away ideas that don't actually fit.

    Designing games is a process I'm still learning, and I'll get better at it over time.
    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
    Idea: What if, when an action completed, the result was presented to you as if it were a newspaper headline? Ex. "Italy strikes new trade deal with France, markets soar" for when an Executive forges a connection. Not only is it a flavorful way of giving information, but it helps reinforce the idea that all of your actions are being done via puppets. The headlines won't ever talk about your nation/megacorp, because as far as they know you're not involved.

    Note: The game would also tell you plainly, "Hey, this Exec successfully forged an influence link between Italy and France." Information is delivered both flavorfully and functionally.
    Love it!

    I like that as a codename, less so for the final title. It's too common a word/difficult to Google. The more abstract your game title, the harder it is to actually find info on the game.
    Yeah the final title is almost more a matter for lawyers than anything else so let's just go with the codename for now.

    Agreed. It gives them a chance to get their stuff out of the area and limit the damage, or maybe they have an Agent nearby who can save the day Bond-style.

    What happens to the Agent who activates the Superweapon? Do they die too?
    I don't know. My game design instincts say yes but my action movie plotline instincts say no.

    A turn-based system would be easier to code and structure, but at least on the code side of things I don't think it would be that much harder to make it Paradox-style.
    Turn based for now. The accessibility thing is the defining argument right now. The Civ market is bigger than the PDS market.

    This is some really cool insight. Thanks!

    Myself, I am a Thinker. I get a concept in my head, and then I think and I think and I think until I understand it and can work with it. Then I think some more about all the ways I can use it, how it might interact with other things, why it is the way it is, etc. I like maths and physics because of all the problems I get to solve. I like building and creating things - in part - because I get to think about characters and plots and mechanics and all sorts of interesting things and put them together in interesting ways. (This is also why I really enjoy character conversation/scenes focusing on character interaction.) The downside to this is that I am a chronic overthinker. If I'm not careful, and if I don't figure a thing out quickly, it is very easy for my thoughts to spiral and get stuck. I've sometimes spent upwards of an hour on a single post, because some little bit of wording is eluding me, and I let myself agonize over it for ages. Even writing all this out, I can feel myself wondering if I've gotten everything exactly right about myself. And I think that's what has me stumped in my own design work. I keep getting caught in my own thoughts, and not making much progress.

    One easy way I knock myself out of it is by having people to talk to. If I can get thoughts out of my head, I can process them much quicker, and move onto something else. Writing it down helps some, but having somebody else to talk it over with is even better. It's one reason why I'm so eager to work on this project; because I have somebody else to talk over ideas with.

    I think one thing that will help is taking the concepts that I'm working with, and reducing them down to a few, key, "what is this thing I'm making" statements. I tried this with the campaign idea I posted in the Fellowship thread, and it's been helping to guide my thoughts thus far. Not to mention it's useful in cutting away ideas that don't actually fit.

    Designing games is a process I'm still learning, and I'll get better at it over time.
    I get around thought spirals by being blunt force in my wrongness. Like, Wings of Fire, it wasn't until my most recent post that I figured her out as a character. Until then I was just throwing things at the wall, rotating my perspective and attempting new approaches and formats. Writing something down by nature transforms the idea, and the transition can be so traumatic that sometimes the idea doesn't survive in anything resembling it's initial form. Then I think about the thing and course correct in the next stage of the conversation. I generally either think of games with a warm positive, I know what I'm doing, things are great, or a more contemplative chewing through of the problem I'm having with it. In either case I continue to post and reflect on my posts afterwards.

    I very much operate on feel, and if my feeling is that something's wrong I just bounce the idea around and rotate my approach until it clicks. Meditation helps a lot. I follow the Walking Buddha practice and find my explanations in motion; a fifteen minute walk with great music and a single topic of thought dislodges a lot of ideas.

    Incidentally I don't plan for anything at all. I find it really, really difficult to do game prepwork and shy away from games that ask me for that. I go into games with my decision making process and the concepts I've meditated on and exist in the moment. I'm way better at running PBPs because I've got a lot more time to meditate on each transition and arc, I feel really unconfident in running tabletops.
    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Omae wa mo shinderu

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