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Old 23-11-2019, 15:58   #1
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Lightbulb I'm making a new civilization game

I've posted about this idea before, but things are gonna get real, so it deserves a new thread.

New versions of Civilization always get stuff added that doesn't belong there and awesome features taken out, because Firaxis' philosophy has been "one third old, one third improved, and one third new". New versions create profit and only sell if they offer something different. My plan is to create a similar game that is subscription based and will stand the test of time. We'll only improve it along the way. Similar to esports, games like World of Warcraft and Counter Strike, that do not change. They just get better.

Most importantly I want this game's main focus to be on multiplayer. There will be a single player option - there has to be - but while Sid Meier's Civilization's main aim is single player with a multiplayer option, I want to do the opposite.

In recent months I have learned about how to start my own company, how to find an investor, and created a plan (although not on paper) on how this would become viable. I also attended a game developer conference, which was tremendously useful! I learnt that I still have a long way to go, but have talked with several people that gave me advice. And most importantly: they all said my idea was very interesting and that they would like to play the game when it's there. Also, I am fortunate to live in a city where game development is thriving. There are many gaming companies here, of which two you probably know: Roxio (Angry Birds) and Colossal Order (Cities: Skylines).

Next weekend, I'm going to a cottage with four friends. Two are programmers and the other two graphic designers, of which one is skilled in making music and sound effects. This I consider my dream team. At the cottage, we are going to kick start this thing and try to create a very simple, basic game in only one weekend. Actually we only have the Saturday for that. I think one day won't be enough time, but my main point is to get them enthusiastic, have fun together and do some bonding and such.

So here is what I have in mind:

Most importantly, and most shocking perhaps, is that there won't be any cities as such. Instead of having a city that uses tiles around it for food, production and commerce, there will be loose population units that work on tiles by themselves. There will be agglomeration advantages (and disadvantages) for multiple units to work on the same time, and that constitutes a city, but they are not an entity on itself. Those units can produce food or build buildings and weapons. Resources are collected from the empire when building things if they are available. If there is no iron, you cannot make swords, etc. If the resource is far away, you'll have a long and fragile supply line.

Military units are created by mounting weapons to a unit. Combinations are possible, like guns and horses, constituting cavalry. (Shields?)

For example, with iron you can build a forge. Once it's done, a unit can work on that tile to forge swords using the same iron. Once the swords are done, they can be mounted.

Technological advancement is something I haven't worked out yet. I cannot think of anything better than what Civilization has. But I do want to make sure that small nations don't have to rely solely on their own development, but can lift on advancements by their neighbours, unless they have very tight borders like a police state.

Another thing is that I want to split improvement of the same vs entirely new technologies. That is, you can get highly skilled swordmen if you continue to improve your swords and train with them in barracks. Those pikemen can then still be more effective than the earliest musketmen, but at some point they will get outdated. This will create the unique units that are not bound to whatever nation you picked at the start, but you create your own specialties. The same might apply to buildings.

Then multiplayer. We just had a bit of a discussion in our WhatsApp group about double moves. Playing fully turn based would make the game go x times as slow as there are x number of players, so that won't do. There are several alternatives. In due time we might offer all options, but for our 'minimal viable product', or MVP, we need to pick one.
- Simultaneous turns for all players, except those at war. They only have half the turn time, or the turns take longer.
- No turns. Units need a certain time to move to another tile or finish their production. This is similar to Paradox games.
- You give your units orders that get executed at the end of the turn. Those order might be intervened by attacking foreign units. This is similar to the board game Diplomacy.

Finally, this will be a browser game. Instead of having to start up the game, connect to the host, download the savegame and only then play your turn, you can simply browse to the website and play your turn immediately. It allows you to check the situation conveniently whenever you like. One thought I've been playing with is the idea that the browser based version is free of charge and the fancy looking desktop application costs money.

That's it for now. Please share your thoughts!
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Old 23-11-2019, 22:24   #2
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From Sullla's article, I really like the idea of Master of Orion-like scale changes that operate seamlessly from, say, military encampments or civic infrastructure centers. Haphazard citizens at first, individually working on things, that gradually conglomerate into hubs (akin to Civ6 districts) to make them manageable as scale increases.

Common techs could permeate through borders just like trade routes, religions, ideologies - and common adopters of those would get synergies all around, vs opposing cartels that slow them down. This kindof mirrors what Yuval Noah Harari wrote in Sapiens about how technologies, religions and ideologies get gradually adopted and sperceded from within in time, or opposed and overthrown from outside forces. That book inspired me greatly, precisely regarding game design (in my case, would've been a D&D campaign).

The mechanics of simultaneous combat with pre-programmed orders are also intriguing and potentially rich as a novel gameplay mechanic (to me anyways, I never played games that operate like that). Allowing strong and fast units to defeat more than 1 warrior each turn of the clock is a plus. It might be a heavy undertaking to ratify combat rules that automatically use unit stacks along with promotions, walls, towers, ranged units, cavalry, terrain etc. But I like the concept. And MoO kindof did it 25 years ago with AI-on-AI combat.

Guns and lances and shields could combine to make Monster Hunter World's Gunlance
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Last edited by Beorn; 23-11-2019 at 22:28.
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Old 26-11-2019, 06:56   #3
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Originally Posted by Matrix View Post
Most importantly, and most shocking perhaps, is that there won't be any cities as such.
I've also come to be bored with the concept of cities a la Civ. Not sure where to go from there though, but I would essentially have raw resources (crops, wood, metal, etc.) be harvested in the countryside, and have cities of different sizes produce finished goods and knowledge. Hum, much like Civ actually.

- You give your units orders that get executed at the end of the turn. Those order might be intervened by attacking foreign units. This is similar to the board game Diplomacy.
That is exactly one of the pillars of my own game idea, and Diplomacy is my reference too. I remember fighting for a hill with a spearman at a CDZ gathering, I think it was at Beam's; the messy flow of the multiplayer game was fun with a beer in hand, but to the detriment of pure strategy.
Another of my pillars is to have zero random element in the game (except for setting the game up if you want), again like Diplomacy.

Finally, this will be a browser game.
Ugh, too modern for me.
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