Author Topic: Questions  (Read 122 times)

Offline jballou

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Questions
« on: April 22, 2019, 09:17:16 AM »
Breaking out a new thread to ask about a couple of things.

To start with, I'd like to talk about the mix of macro and micro management, in reference to the original and the changes in strategy game design over the last 25 years.

When I was looking through the UI forums, I saw a lot of mentions on things like managing warehouse resources, and trucking routes.

Before we look at putting in pull points and interface to make those mechanics something the player needs to manage, I wanted to ask what would happen if we treated those as "automatable" actions.

So, instead of laying down specifics on what trucks go where on manually created routes, saying "Prioritize these mines/resources" or "stop trucking when resources reach X level" may be a better way to require players to manage those, without having them become unmanageable.

It could even factor in building the trucks in a factory, or using fuel cells for the trucks, so that there could be decisions players make about using smaller trucks (faster build and resource gathering, higher fuel usage) or larger trucks (slower to get started, but can transport more ore or hit multiple mines in a trip).

Something I hate about strategy games is when a situation has only one real solution - trucks get from A to B - and I have to do a bunch of clicking and management to keep it doing the thing.

From a game in 1994, that's to be expected, but my take is that the remake should have more variability in how we interact with those systems as a player, so that the complexity isn't just sinking player time but is actually an engaging and meaningful set of actions.

Given all that, I'm not sure my opinion is the majority opinion, so I'm curious what everyone else thinks about the best way to introduce complexity in a way that adds engagement, versus just recreating the original along more faithful lines.

1. Is the overall design philosophy here geared more towards a recognizable but modernized take on the Outpost concept, or is fidelity to the original design and mechanics the priority?

2. Since this is in the future, and the future where we are interplanetary will have better AI, what's the feeling around letting the game take more control of drudgery tasks and giving the player higher-level pull points to make decisions about the macro gameplay?

3. Is there room or even a demand to have any options like this toggled, so that a player looking for a "classic" experience has a more Outpost 1 like experience, or a "modern" experience has less of the minutiae and more high-level mechanics they have to manage?

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Questions
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2019, 02:10:06 PM »
New threads are always good. :)

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I wanted to ask what would happen if we treated those as "automatable" actions.

That is the general idea -- for the mid to late game. The original had the idea of AI's that would do your bidding; set them a task and off they go. Sometimes they do it correctly, sometimes not (AI Personality Problems). In practice, this didn't work well but that's likely because they ran out of time and didn't really know what they were getting into.

The current proposed research tree (still a work in progress but it's a good start) doesn't have AI personalities, I don't suspect we'd see much in the next 20 years or so but definitely software smart enough to be able to make basic decisions. There's a branch that starts off with systems analysis and systems automation -- coupled with prerequisites for AI and AI2 being completed additional research down that path would lead to more automation of the handling of the low-level details.

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So, instead of laying down specifics on what trucks go where on manually created routes, saying "Prioritize these mines/resources" or "stop trucking when resources reach X level" may be a better way to require players to manage those, without having them become unmanageable.

That's basically what I intended. The current effort is going to include trucking but trucking won't be handled like it was in the original game. Instead, every mine facility starts off with one truck -- a route is planned to the nearest smelter that can be reached and the truck automatically starts its route. The player will then be able to build more trucks and assign those trucks to the mine and route.

Later on down the line as the AI and computer software get better through research, the player will still have the ability to go in and manage the really low-level details but having the ability to specify certain parameters and let the AI assistants handle the details is the plan.

Side note: A lot of this isn't written down, it's still all in my head and the giant stack of papers I've been scribbling notes on. I should really get around to getting this into digital form.

Anyway, to address your questions:

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1. Is the overall design philosophy here geared more towards a recognizable but modernized take on the Outpost concept, or is fidelity to the original design and mechanics the priority?

It's a recognizable but modern take on the core concepts of Outpost. A lot of the design decisions for the original game were, frankly, shitty. I don't see a point in recreating a crappy gameplay experience.

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2. Since this is in the future, and the future where we are interplanetary will have better AI, what's the feeling around letting the game take more control of drudgery tasks and giving the player higher-level pull points to make decisions about the macro gameplay?

I addressed this a bit above -- basically in the beginning the player will have to manage pretty much everything but through research will be able to assign a lot of the low level tasks to 'the system'.

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3. Is there room or even a demand to have any options like this toggled, so that a player looking for a "classic" experience has a more Outpost 1 like experience, or a "modern" experience has less of the minutiae and more high-level mechanics they have to manage?

My thinking is that adding both would over complicate the game. By allowing the player to take advantage of "AI Assistants" and override decisions and actions they may take, the player is free to micro-manage whatever they want should they choose to. Or, they can choose to not use the assistants at all and just do it all themselves.