A major reason why I am looking for community feedback is because I know from lessons learned over the past several months that just because I've played a game for a long time doesn't mean I will be able to notice every single detail. As an example, back in April-May of 2015, I had been designing an RTS using Majesty (A base-building sim, with indirectly controlled heroes) 1 as inspiration. I had thought that since players lacked a lot of ways of managing their heroes, I felt that if the base-building aspects were removed so that the player could focus entirely on managing the heroes (as managing heroes and trying to motivate your heroes to defend your base could be troublesome). So I had designed out basically every feature for that game idea by the start of June 2015. However, a few days after I had finished the Design, I ran across an old forum post discussing Majesty 1 and made a startling discovery. Apparently, the aspects that players loved the most about Majesty 1, was the base building aspects and absolutely hated the indirectly controlled heroes, many wishing they could have directly controlled the heroes instead of indirect control. It was mentioned that they don't like having the illusion of control and that if they had to deal with indirectly controlled heroes without the base building aspects, the game would have been a boring game rather than a cult classic. Thus I realized at that point, the game I had designed would unlikely sell and discarded that game idea. I learned much from that mistake, and at the time after learning this I switched gears to go for a RPG instead (which was most of June, all of July and part of August, with in August realizing that I don't really enjoy the RPG genre as much as I had thought).
This is why I want to engage the community NOW, rather than put a lot of effort into the design and then ask.
Now as for the game idea itself, the game will be designed into 4 tiers (tier 0 - tier 3). At each tier, the player can play the game basically like Outpost 2 is played; you control the aspects of a colony on a single map, managing resources, morale, people, disasters and likely (I haven't yet figured out the enemy yet) combat as well. (Bit pressed for time, but I'll explain these in greater detail later) So the tiers:
Tier 0: (Planetfall) = Here you take your colony ship and pick a planet (or one is picked for you; undecided at this point). Then you pick a landing zone to land your colonization convoy. You then, take your convoy to any point on the map (each landing zone is a separate map) and you deploy the convoy into temporary structures.
Tier 1: (Colony) = Here you have a colony with all fixed structures, just like in Outpost 2. This tier plays almost identically to Outpost 2.
Tier 2: (Planetary) = Here you have multiple colonies throughout the entire planet. You can leave a Local Mayor AI in charge of each Colony, which each Colony being in separate Zones on the Planet. You can of course go out and create a new colony yourself, or leave the AI to do this kind of work and instead doing the tasks of the Planetary Governor, that oversees the entire planet.
Tier 3: (Empire) = Here you likely have multiple planets, with a Planetary Governor for each Planet, with Many Local Mayors for the various Colonies. You can take on the role of A Governor, Mayor, or the Empire President, while AI handles all the others (The AI will be designed to handle each role).
Now, I don't intend to build all of these at once, but, I did intend to get a prototype put together dealing with Tier 0, and part of Tier 1 and then going to look for Funding, to fund the rest of the development of the game.
1a -> 1b) Thanks!
1c) I found that to be the case with basically all of the Morale-based structures; if you didn't research them, they didn't screw with your Morale. Though, the structure that always made me curious morale wise, was the GORF. Without one, you get a Morale Penalty, but with one you get neither penalty nor benefit. Here is a question though, did you find Morale was easier to maintain once you had recreational facilities / forums than if you didn't have them researched at all?
1d) I felt that way with the Tech Tree as well; once you finished all the topics, it did feel empty. However, at the same time, I've seen some games like Alpha Centauri try to get around this by having a research topic that could basically be researched as many times as you wanted, but none of the times it was researched provided any benefit. Preferably, I'd prefer a research topic like that to provide some kind of benefit, but I'm not entirely sure what. Maybe "a leaf" could be taken from what online browser-based games do (like O-Game) where you have topics like Energy Research which provides a benefit of +10% power production, and it could be researched as much as you like, but takes progressively longer to complete with each iteration completed.
Would you prefer to simply have a longer tech tree, or an infinite research topic like in Alpha Centauri with no benefits, or an infinite research topic like in O-Game, or preferably a bit of all of them?
As for sticking for low-end firepower over more powerful weapons, I think part of that problem comes with the fact that Microwave and Laser are both immensely cheaper to produce, and the more powerful weapons often requires a lot of Rare Ore, even at Lynx Level, and thus you could produce 2-3 Laser Lynx for the price of one Thor's Hammer Lynx. The Thor's Hammer might deal more damage per target, but it is more likely the 2-3 laser lynx will destroy the Thor's Hammer Lynx faster, and thus are more economical. I think there are a few ways one could balance out these kinds of weapons, but I doubt it would be possible in Outpost 2. As an example, for Thor's Hammer, the Lightning Arcs, and hits additional foes near the initial foe, for say 50% of the damage dealt to the first foe. Or Railgun could penetrate a target completely and hit a target directly behind it for the same damage. Or Supernova could knockback any foes not destroyed by the explosion quite a distance (and thus break up a vehicle formation, in addition to damaging vehicles).
If weapons did more than just damage, and had after effects, that the initial weapons didn't have, then people might prefer the advanced weapons over the less advanced ones. Though, a Laser Lynx rush at the early game when you lack defenses could still be effective.
1e) Well, I've created a long list of various weapons from many different games myself, and I'll readily admit that there is a lot of interesting ideas from other games that I too wouldn't remember offhand. If any do come to mind definitely mention them. Now as for the artillery weapon, I think that could be possible if it had a minimum range and thus faster units could get close to it and destroy it (much like a Howitzer)
1f and 1g) Thanks!
2a) I didn't know about the fact that destroying all your turrets and vehicles with weapons caused the enemy to send a smaller attack force. That is a very interesting point. A design oversight perhaps where the calculation to determine what size of attack force was based on how many turrets and vehicles you had. Personally, I'd have the attack force size designed based on how many resources you have stored up, more so than how many attack-ready units you had. Though... that would require coding in stealing mechanics as if they were raiding you based on your stored resources, then they'd want to grab those resources in said raid. Hmm...
As for the Yield, if you look in I believe the Mines.txt (in Sheets.vol) you'll notice that each yield has 3 different possible outcomes for the 1 bar, 2 bar and 3 bar. As for getting around that issue, I had considered using a system like in Earth 2140, where you could put a mine wherever you wanted, but based on where you put it determined if you got resources or not, and how quickly you got those resources. I had wanted to create a system where you could set a mine anywhere, and based on where you put it would determine your resource yield. I also considered having the Surveyor and Scout unit merged into a single unit and use it to determine where resource rich areas were. Still a WIP on how the player would know what areas are better or not (ie color-coding specific areas) and if the yield was variable like in Outpost 2 (where it initially goes up, reaches a peak, drops, until levelling out)
2b) Well I had considered having multiple labs all working in tandem to research a specific topic... which would be more frequent in Tier 2 and Tier 3 (as mentioned above), though it could be done in Tier 1 if you had the scientists and the labs.
I had also considered for the two damage types to expand them further; concussion damage applies a slowing effect on the target based on damage dealt compared to their maximum health in a slowing percentage for a few seconds (ie if dealt 100 damage to 200 max hp, would be 50% slowing effect) and penetration damage causes the projectile to penetrate the target and hit any targets in a line, dealing damage based on 50% of the previous target in damage (ie so if you dealt 40 damage to the first target, the second target would take 20 damage, and the third 10 damage, etc). Does that sound like a good idea, or more likely needless complexity? Or perhaps the complexity would be best suited to individual weapons over giving that advantage to all weapons doing that damage type?
2c) Good point well made. Its funny, because I thought Plymouth should have had that factory as they were the ones better at managing morale. Though, as Eden was the more technologically advanced group, I would have also thought that they would have utilized Arachnids moreso that Plymouth would have as the Arachnids seem pretty technologically advanced compared to wheeled units. Hmm...
2d) Fair Enough.
2e) Yes, I'd also want to be sure that any rules the player must abide by, such as storage of resources and research times, the AI should abide to as well. So the only way they'd be able to build a building is if they had it researched already and had the resources.
2f) Would it be even better if pathfinding wasn't locked until having the RCC or do you feel the RCC should remain (ie it's pathfinding improvement should be kept)?
I'm assuming by locking cargo trucks on Mines and Smelters, you mean that if you have too many in a route then they have a major traffic jam resulting in no one getting out of the smelter and none getting in?
2g) Fair Enough.
2h) Alternative victory conditions are always nice to have.
I also agree that if you need to spend a lot of time getting to something, that something should provide a return on your investment. Overpowered weapons can be a nice return on investment, as long as they aren't too overpowered. Or weapons with additional features that lower-tech weapons don't have.
Part of the reason I wanted to break the game into 4 tiers, is because I want specific research to take longer, and to address the added length, you need many labs all working jointly towards a goal. Like in today's world where many labs all over the planet are working on a cure for cancer. And of course, if you have multiple labs, you'll need multiple colonies to support those labs and such forth. The farther in the Tiers you go, the more rewarding each new Technology is, but each takes more time than the last.
Yes thanks for clarifying your points. Much clearer now. If I missed something though, do mention it.
3a) That might be hard to do if the player was forced to read the Novella to be able to make those decisions.
However, the player could be given specific choices during the campaign that would affect which parts of the Novella are readily accessible to the player. As an example, say you have two choices in Mission 3. Each choice unlocks a different Novella for perusal after the mission is completed. Thus if you chose the first choice, Novella 3a would be available. If you chose the second choice, Novella 3b would be available. Then, at Mission 6 you again have two choices. This would mean that there would now be 4 different Novellas (since there are two choices in Mission 3 you have to account for those paths as well) so: ac, ad, bc, bd (where a and b are the choice paths for mission 3 and c and d are the choice paths for mission 6).
After you complete the Campaign, all the remaining paths could be unlocked, so that the player could find out what would have happened in the Novella if they had chosen a different path OR like in many Visual Novels, those Novella paths could remain hidden until you redid those missions and chose the different path. Thoughts?
3b) Yeah, I'll definitely think hard on that. If I can't figure out how to find that kind of information or if it might take too long to research it, I might do what most developers do and try to make it sound realistic when in fact you likely have no idea what you are talking about.
3c) Well, as for this, I had considered three ways of continuing to use these labs:
1] The Lab could be used to work in conjunction with the University to reduce training time, as some practical experience in a lab would likely be a greater learning experience than just classroom work.
2] Scientists in a lesser lab could research safer components of a more advanced topic in their own lab and add research data points to the primary lab researching it, or help out in other ways such as data recording, or performing statistical research on the data to help the other lab out. So this could provide any scientist working in the lesser lab could provide 50% the research data as a single scientist in the primary lab (ie The Advanced Lab is researching Dual Weapon Systems, which I believe requires up to 18 scientists; The standard lab, could host another 18 scientists that works with the Advanced lab, where each scientist in the standard lab provides 50% the benefit of a single scientist working in the advanced lab, so effectively, there would be 27 scientists working on the project (18 * 50% = 9 effective scientists)).
3] My tiers would have labs of the same kind working on the same project together. So say three Advanced Labs could jointly work on Dual Weapon Systems, while two standard labs are working on Reinforced Turret Construction.
3d) One poster from a while back (I can't remember which or which post it was on) felt that the game is best played as a game where you micromanage things and felt that automation would turn the game into a macromanagement type of game and thus defeat the core mechanics of the game and turn it into something it is not. Thoughts?
Personally, I'd think with automation, it would allow the player to micromanage the things they wish to micromanage, while the things they don't want to micromanage could be handled by the AI. As an example, if people loved micromanagement so much, then they shouldn't use the cargo truck mining route. If a player had to manually send the truck to the mine and back to the smelter and back to the mine always, they'd have no time to micromanage anything else. Thus, I do feel that automation is necessary... but how much automation is too much... or is there too much?
To elaborate further on this point, there is a game called Tzar: The Burden of the Crown. It has a unique feature called AI Assistance. AI Assistance has 4 options: Off, Economy Only, Military Only, or Both. When it is turned on, you can always still grab any unit and have it do whatever you specific want it to do. However, the assistance provided allows you to say run an economy, while the AI builds up a military and sends it off, allowing the player to focus entirely on the economy without fear of being attacked because they aren't working on the military. Alternatively, the AI could be left in charge of the economy, while the player goes out and attacks the enemy. I feel that a similar feature would work well here in this game as well.
Because, lets be serious, if an enemy is attacking your front door, you aren't going to be able to micromanage your economy, building more units, repairing structures and attacking the enemy with any semblance of tactics all in real-time without some amount of AI Assistance. Thoughts?