Author Topic: Colony X  (Read 3900 times)

Offline BinaryMan

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Colony X
« on: January 29, 2007, 05:22:20 AM »
The installation zip file has been uploaded to http://www.bmfusion.com/outpost/colonyx091.zip.

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I will soon release a playable demo with the basic features on my website. For now, a screenshot is at http://bmfusion.com/outpost/colony_x_screenshot.jpg.

I am still working on good documentation, but I've got most of the mechanics figured out. I'd like to know what gameplay features would have improved OP1 so I can include them in Colony X. Any suggestions?

Unless I add some dramatic new features, the game is about 80% complete in terms of the graphics and simulation model. I'm still considering if I want micromanagement of individual buildings.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2007, 02:56:15 PM by BinaryMan »

Offline White Claw

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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2007, 06:47:32 PM »
Sweet... Can you pick the landscapes to settle on (like OP1?) or is it all snow based?

I'll have to think of a couple things I would like to see out of OP1 that I think would be appropriate. I can think of a few off hand, but I'll narrow my thoughts down to three or so...   :D  

Offline gpgarrettboast

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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2007, 07:42:03 PM »
That's actually pretty cool :) (I like the music too)  I don't see any way to scroll though.. is that possible in this game? Also, are you going to be releasing the source code? It looks fun.
 

Offline BinaryMan

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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2007, 11:51:03 PM »
Quote
That's actually pretty cool :) (I like the music too)  I don't see any way to scroll though.. is that possible in this game? Also, are you going to be releasing the source code? It looks fun.

Scrolling is only through the arrow keys right now. I'm considering how to best implement a minimap (I've done it before, but there's got to be landmarks to make it useful, and things in different areas that make the player expand that far). I think that showing all the buildings instead of the tile picker is a major interface improvement. I want to click less to get stuff done.

I want better gameplay though. There's something about the extended tech tree and micromanaging that keeps the player busy, but just managing numbers isn't fun on its own. I want to create something "else" in the gameplay, but haven't figured it out yet.

Yes, I can very easily create multiple terrain types, maybe selectable by the player. I don't want to add in that "select your star/planet" stuff unless it really makes a different on gameplay, otherwise it just wastes my time (in development, and in the game). Perhaps unique buildings for the planet types, but I doubt it. Just for show really :)

If I have multiple types, then perhaps the player can colonize multiple planets, but then it gets complicated to manage them all.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2007, 11:56:27 PM by BinaryMan »

Offline Leviathan

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« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2007, 10:00:24 AM »
Great work :D

I look forward to checking it out when you have done more and I have the time :)

Offline White Claw

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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2007, 01:44:55 PM »
I want to check it out now!  :D  

Offline gpgarrettboast

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« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2007, 09:34:31 PM »
Me too! I can't wait :)

Offline BinaryMan

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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2007, 11:18:36 PM »
Feedback on this project will make it better. Consider the following:

How is the interface? Easy to use? Efficient?

How are the graphics? Decent?

Does the information panel make sense? What should be added/changed?

How is the gameplay? Is it fun (most important question of all)? If not, why? What would improve the gameplay (mechanics or buildings, some are already planned, like space mines/solar panels)? What things are out of balance?

Offline White Claw

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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2007, 07:18:51 PM »
Some initial feedback (I may end up with some double posts or edited as I play and come up with more things.)

Overall initial impression: Good. At first play, I thought it was going to be a very easy click and watch grow. After about ten attempts (and failures) I knew a strategy was in order...

Your questions:
Graphics - descent. More than adequate for current needs. I browsed through the directories and noticed there was room for expansion. (Good!) I like some of the level 2 looking stuff.

Interface - easy to use. I would like to see additional info about the buildings though. (Prebuild) Such as how much labor, power, env/maint requirements, output, etc... I suppose this would be just as easy to include in a "readme".

Mechanics - the morale seems too unstable. I let my recycle center go under 100% coverage (it was the only thing) and the morale plummeted on the next turn (it was at 90%). I never recovered. They weren't very happy when I let commerce or education do the same. Something that could help this would be to have morale momentum. (i.e. if morale is at 90%, it would take a couple turns before it bottomed out.)

The other thing with buildings/mech - all the structures within a given group are required at the same time. i.e. I have to build residence, hospital, commerce, etc all at the same time. Usually this also means I have to build all of the support buildings too. I have been going for several turns with nothing to do, then all of a sudden I have a ton to build (then I hope I don't run out of power/labor since I don't know how much it uses). It's nice when the builds are needed at staggered intervals. I'm not sure what the exact numbers are but (for example): i.e. 1 residence per 500 people, 1 food dome per 750, 1 hospital per 1000. Same thing for the "Building Coverages"
« Last Edit: February 02, 2007, 07:19:15 PM by White Claw »

Offline White Claw

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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2007, 07:47:37 PM »
Hahaha. I was on turn 442 and just crossed 3000 people. I did my next round of buildings and didn't have enough refined materials for the maintenance costs. By turn 450 I was down to about 350 people and 3/4 of my buildings were gone. "Our colony is doomed."

Can you bulldoze buildings if you overstretch your limits or want to replace solar with geothermal? I built a lab too early and I think that hurt (I wanted to get rid of it).

I like that the tech level increases production values.

What makes buildings disappear? Lack of Env? Maintenance? Resources? Labor? Power?

I should have taken a screen shot of my colony before it was axed...  :blush:  

Offline BinaryMan

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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2007, 12:59:49 AM »
FIXED: Added "X" button to delete buildings.
FIXED: Added box to display building and command information (cost, maintenance, labor, power, name, misc).

Updated release:
http://bmfusion.com/outpost/colonyx091.zip

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Building Data: http://bmfusion.com/outpost/buildingdata.xls

General rules:
Factory/Lab = high labor/power/resource
Power generators/mines = low requirements
other buildings = low-medium requirements

I will add something to display the requirements so that it's not a shot in the dark (couple of labs will kill your labor normally). If you go a little over with power or labor, then it gives you the percentage production equal to the least filled resource that you have. So if you have 90% labor, but 80% power, and 100% materials, all buildings will have 80% of their max capacities. This could result in population die-off if critical buildings are barely 100%!

Morale is a function of how many coverage ratios are above 100%, so if one goes red usually the others do to, resulting in low morale. Morale only affects the birth rate, so don't worry about it too much.

Buildings randomly disappear if maintenance is under 100%. Bulldozing is not supported (but can easily be added).

I will adjust it so that 90% coverage is still better than 0% (right now it's a greater than or less than 100% approach).

Here is how to prioritize which things to keep above 100%:
Maintenance Post (building death)
Environmental control (10% population death)
Water
Food
Hospital
Housing (all 4 cause some death, but not as severe)
Education (affects labor force % slightly, but might change in the future)

Other Comments on non-essential buildings:
Commerce Center and Factory - improves morale. If you have 100% commerce coverage, you're good for that. If you have as many factories as commerce then you get a 20% morale boost for basic goods. If you have 2x factories, then you get a 60% morale boost (which I believe allows 130% morale).

Entertainment Complex - 100% coverage gives +10% morale
Labs - speeds up research. Each tech level is (1000 RP x tech level) to get to the next level (for now).

Recycling - reduces building maintenance by coverage ratio x 20%.

Tech levels - increase building capacity by 10% per level. Most buildings that cover population = 1000 base. Buildings that cover structures cover 10 base.

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Fun Factor:

I need your opinion on what makes this type of game fun. Having to build several types of buildings every 1000 people seems redundant and NOT fun (at least, I stopped enjoying it quickly). I need to differentiate the types of things you need to build and their functions so the simulation is more complex and requires strategy (not just, more of the same).
« Last Edit: February 04, 2007, 01:32:29 AM by BinaryMan »

Offline White Claw

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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2007, 10:52:53 AM »
Quote
Fun Factor:

I need your opinion on what makes this type of game fun. Having to build several types of buildings every 1000 people seems redundant and NOT fun (at least, I stopped enjoying it quickly). I need to differentiate the types of things you need to build and their functions so the simulation is more complex and requires strategy (not just, more of the same).

I guess that's what I was getting at when I said:
Quote
all the structures within a given group are required at the same time. i.e. I have to build residence, hospital, commerce, etc all at the same time. Usually this also means I have to build all of the support buildings too. I have been going for several turns with nothing to do, then all of a sudden I have a ton to build (then I hope I don't run out of power/labor since I don't know how much it uses). It's nice when the builds are needed at staggered intervals.

Other things that make OP1 fun for me: Being able to control the research. But I understand that building a tech tree and implimenting it is a lot of work.


Quote
So if you have 90% labor, but 80% power, and 100% materials, all buildings will have 80% of their max capacities. This could result in population die-off if critical buildings are barely 100%!
Makes sense... But if I screw up, it would be nice to be able to idle my entertainment centers and labs (instead of reduced maintenance and life support) if I overstretch my power/resources. That way, if I have a surplus of resources at some point, I can run my lab for a little while then shut it down again.
 

Offline BinaryMan

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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2007, 11:12:53 PM »
"builds are needed at staggered intervals"

I agree. They need to have different capacities, and more differentiated functions, otherwise they serve no gameplay purpose. I'll try to brainstorm on this.

"fun : Being able to control the research."

I think that was one of my main fun factors in OP1. However, you didn't see many tangible results except some graphics changes. Any research I add will be for a purpose (I hope).

"it would be nice to be able to idle my entertainment centers and labs (instead of reduced maintenance and life support) if I overstretch my power/resources."

Either I will add that option, or make it so that essential buildings take priority and disaster doesn't strike (it's just no fun to have ups and downs like it does now).

On a different note, I was remembering the fun I had with Master of Orion 2. Perhaps the simulation play style isn't enough; maybe I need to merge what I have with building multiple planets in different systems (but then it starts to go military like most in the genre). What other purposes could it serve in terms of game goals?

Offline omagaalpha

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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2007, 06:42:41 AM »
Wow interest someone try recreated outpost 1 type game.
Also please first post link with current one so people can download with search through the hold thread (like whenget several pages long)

Play when find time to play the game.
How is the interface? Easy to use? Efficient?
Well it seem very easy to use, at this level information is effiective but to interface seem to be tempory so can test work on background code ?

How are the graphics? Decent?
There good but laboroty, universtity in 091 build does not show up at all.

Does the information panel make sense? What should be added/changed?
Looks good though be nice if actual could get indiviual information buildings according what they do but take to come in later release.

How is the gameplay?
First play you immedialy if choose building lot building no idea which in that mind it be nice to have some requirment so building first need has to be built before other one and will not show up until you do.  Assume that put in all different types stuff that was in outpost 1.

 What things are out of balance? Population seem go little to fast to me.

Question do you have writtien plan that has what you want to do for this game? (For it very helpful todo one so can see it on screen what should do before go into written code and created mess of code.) Sorry if had done this it just lot one-person teams seem usually try skip this step which even for them is important.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2007, 07:18:49 AM by omagaalpha »
Sorry if my grammar and spelling is bad, but I have disablity with it.
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Offline White Claw

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« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2007, 07:51:34 AM »
I think having essential buildings take resources first should fix that problem easily without causing confusion for the player.

As for research, you could make it more tangible like OP2. Research increased production for agridomes, increased capacity residences, etc... But make it so that you have to build the new building type (as I think was the intent for OP1 but not properly implimented).

So in other words, you first have to research "Increased Agridome". After the research is complete, existing agridomes are unchanged (still produce 10 units per turn). Any new agridomes (Level 2) built produce 15 units per turn.

Quote
On a different note, I was remembering the fun I had with Master of Orion 2. Perhaps the simulation play style isn't enough; maybe I need to merge what I have with building multiple planets in different systems (but then it starts to go military like most in the genre). What other purposes could it serve in terms of game goals?
I never played MoO 2, but I think I get your point. I also agree that there has to be some reason for it. Otherwise I think you add complexity to the game purely for the sake of complexity.

Way back I created a sim-civilization type of game that was text based. The interesting thing is that it was very similar to what you have except the timeframe started at the stone age. Research accumulated the same way, you built farms, etc... What I did to add a depth of complexity/expansion was to make it so you could create several "colonies". There were up to 10 colonies for the planet. (I think I subconsiously left room for inter-planetary expansion though not implimented.) I guess what I'm saying is that you could have multiple colonies on the same planet, instead of colonizing more planets. That way the colonies seem more connected. (Although multiple planets could make the terrain a bit more interesting.)

Just another thought (though seemingly contradictory). Dang, that was long...   :blink:

(You're really making me want to pick up OP1 as my first Visual C++ project!  :D  )
« Last Edit: February 05, 2007, 08:49:08 AM by White Claw »

Offline BinaryMan

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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2007, 02:55:10 PM »
In response to the other post, I do have a design document, although I know you're supposed to complete it before writing any code, I couldn't resist. When I get stuck, I add some more to the document, so it goes back and forth, and it has helped me stay on track.

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It's rather a pain to add new graphics for each "level" of buildings. I think that's the least enjoyable part of making the game (and it's what's kept me from doing several other projects).

This program was written in Visual Basic 6.0. Although I've done C++, it takes too long to implement new ideas, and the debugging is less intuitive. That's the primary reason I will never become a programmer (no companies want VB 6.0, it's all .NET or other languages). However, you'd be suprised that you can do almost anything in VB that you can in the other languages, including hacking save-files of games and such. I've also got an automated stock data downloader (or 5) when I was interested in investing, and wrote a simple 3D wireframe engine (obsolete, but I learned the purpose of trigonometry). I edited an Afterlife (like SimCity) map by figuring out the tile byte layout. I don't really hack stuff, I just explore ;)

Offline White Claw

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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2007, 07:22:44 PM »
Yeah, I suppose that's really why I like to program too. I like to learn and figure things out. I did most of my hacking and moding to X-Wing and a little in Mech Warrior. I'm not really sure why I care for Visual C++ other than I'm very fluent in C (I did all my other game programming in C) and I have a Visual C++ compiler. Though I actually have Dev Studio 6 so I suppose I actually do have Visual Basic as well as Java (but not installed).

All the basic programming I did was waaaay back with regular old line basic, MS basic, and QBX.

I've heard VB has gotten a lot better lately though. I know it was really slow when it first hit the street.

As for the graphics, if the point is to learn/have fun programming the game, then you could simply add something corny like a "2" or "3" to the corner of the graphic for the appropriate level. Then if someone else is so inclined, they could help you out with the graphics (if you wanted).

I also thought of a two fold approach. In OP1 you could do basic research as well as specific research. Using a similar foundation, the basic research could work the way your current model is set up. Completed basic research impacts efficiency and productivity of everything to a minor degree (say 10%). Research in a specific area increases efficiency/productivity to a greater extent, but only on a specific structure (say 30%-50%).

Hmmm... I'm giving away all of my good ideas.  :D (At least I think they're good...   B)  )

 
« Last Edit: February 05, 2007, 07:29:35 PM by White Claw »

Offline omagaalpha

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« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2007, 08:16:05 PM »
Quote


It's rather a pain to add new graphics for each "level" of buildings. I think that's the least enjoyable part of making the game (and it's what's kept me from doing several other projects).
Well could always ask people submit images that want :P or temporary borrow outpost 1 images help fill in gaps.


Ps. is university and lavortory suppose not have image ingame on them?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2007, 10:04:02 AM by omagaalpha »
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Offline White Claw

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« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2007, 07:47:44 PM »
Interesting note, neither version works right on this borrowed machine that I'm on. Funny thing is that the hardware is nearly identical to my old machine. About 10 seconds after I start it up, the terrain area goes blank.

Offline White Claw

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« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2007, 07:40:09 PM »
What happened to this thing? (And binary man.)

Offline Tellaris

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« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2007, 08:19:42 PM »
I imagine he got busy.   Just be patcient.
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Offline White Claw

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« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2007, 03:43:32 PM »
Yeah, I'm sure he got busy. I was just hoping maybe he was lurking...