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Topics - Impaler

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1
Suggestions / Soapwort
« on: October 21, 2015, 08:20:54 PM »
This is a simple additional plant that would provide a low quality early soap for personal hygiene and cloth washing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saponaria_officinalis

Use would consist of one plant being added to a bucket of water to create soapy water, each instance of the plant is used just once.

2
Other Games / Khazad - An opensource Dwarf Fortress like game
« on: February 25, 2015, 12:41:45 PM »
This thread is to both advertise and receive feedback on my open-source (GPLv3) game under development called Khazad. It is 3D, written in Java and uses the JMonkey engine and it's associated Nifty GUI system.

Code is available at https://github.com/ImpalerWrG/Khazad

Currently the engine is still under development and the game is not playable, new developers are desired as well as initial testers, game-play ideas and goals are also welcome.




ABOUT:

If this game were a song it would be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytWz0qVvBZ0 This will be a game that revels in the glory of the Dwarves, their rise and fall and re-conquest of their homelands. The flavor will be somewhere between Tolkienesque and Warhammer, visually it will resemble a slightly higher polygon Minecraft or Mythruna.

Khazad aims to become the preeminent open-source Dwarf Fortress like game by leveraging the talents and skills of the genres small but highly skilled fan base. In addition to DF it draw inspiration from 'A game of Dwarves', 'Craft the World', 'Gnomoria', 'Banished', 'The Sims', 'The Settlers', 'Zeues', 'Prison Architect', 'Civilization', ''Evil Genius' and naturally 'Dungeon Keeper'.

A firm technical foundation is being built first, so far this includes

A flexible map structure structure that can be expanded in any direction at run-time and which tracks volumes as well as surfaces.
Highly optimized and multithreaded path-finding which renders everything else in the genre obsolete, unit counts of ~1000 should be possible with game speeds that will have the dwarves moving too fast to even be seen.
3D rendering of terrain, rotating camera and visual slicing of the map to overcome confusion inherent in isometric or 2D perspectives.
Efficient object update queue, rather then iterating every game object every loop all objects are awoken at a dynamic determined future time.

Still under construction...

A new Job management system which groups individual tasks into logical group and assigns workers the same task type repeatedly to reduced wasted travel time.
Demand-pull basied crafting and stockpile management also know as 'Kanban', consumption triggers production without micromanagement

GAMEPLAY GOALS

Khazad aims to be Deep, Challenging and Accessible.

Depth comes from a complex and emergent interaction between the choices the player is presented with. Choices need to be impact-full to the game and non-trivial for the player to find the best solution. The classic example is Chess, the player has a modest set of choices, but they are very impact-full and very difficult to choose between. In creating a settlement the player should be faced with numerous choices of what and in what order to develop and how to manage conflicting internal interest groups. Their should be no EASY choices or choices without a downside. All elements within the game world which are presented and uniquely named will be differentiated in some game play manor, mere 'cosmetic' complexity will be avoided.

Khazad aims to be Challenging, it has become the norm to think of the DF-like genre as a 'sandbox' in which the player (once familiar with the game) builds a settlement that is very resilient and will generally resist all external abuse given even a modicum of effort by the player. In contrast Khazad will be intended as a challenge for the player at all times, a game in which survival of the settlement is always in doubt and being knocked-back several stages is common occurrence. Should the player build their settlement to a mighty city they will face the challenges of keeping and maintaining a kingdom built on fragil alliances, diplomacy and the sword.

Lastly Accessible, the deficiencies of Dwarf Fortress UI have already been mostly corrected in games such as Gnomoria, Khazad aims to have a comparable UI built using Nifty. 3D rendering adds additional accessibility as was seen in "A game of Dwarves" and Khazad will feature nearly identical earth X-ray like rendering of underground tunnels.

KEY CONCEPTS

Dwarf attributes, in keeping with an RPG theme all creatures have a basic set of attributes, but keeping with the detail orientation of the genre the attribute set is larger then the 6 in D&D, a set of 14 attributes will be used, 7 Physically oriented (Strength, Flexibility, Dexterity, Vitality, Reflexes, Endurance, Speed) and 7 Mental oriented (Logic, Perception, Charisma, Memory, Judgement, Willpower, Intuition). A roll of 2D4 is the normal range for each attribute. Each attribute will directly and transparently effect a different aspect of a creatures behavior and performance in certain jobs and skills.

Skills, rather then the genre standard of each Dwarf having a skill level in each possible skill Khazad will combine the class-tree system of 'Evil Genius' and 'A game of Dwarves' with the classes of Dwarf Fortress into a large tree of 3 tiers with an initial first tier division into 7 core classes (Worshiper, Thinker, Fighter, Crafter, Builder, Laborer, Gatherer), 3rd tier divisions may yield upwards of 100-200 highly specialized classes, but the bulk of game play will be done with the core classes and their 2nd tier divisions. Low level classes act as generalists so a settlement can be effectively run with just 7 Dwarves. Classic D&D character classes will be present to fill a variety of roles and multi-classing might also be possible.

Off Map activity, rather then having the players settlement sits passively and receives attacks, trade and migrants from an outside world the player in Khazad will send OUT just as many interactions as they receive. These Expeditions consist of hand-picked dwarves and stockpiled materials that are directed to a particular world map location with a specific goal, all of which have an effect on the outcome. The Expeditions are run and resolved entirely in the background without players being able to control or see the results until the expedition returns (if it returns). Significant political activity, wars, alliances and the like will play out with the player bringing the whole of the Dwarven race under their kingship as a possible outcome.

3
Suggestions / How to Spoil Food
« on: August 06, 2014, 05:02:05 PM »
The infinite lifespan of most food items presents a significant gap in the games realism and challenge, it's been said many times that sieges can't be threatening when the player has a untouchable food reserve.  Spoiling food would limit the size of reserves and also introduce a lot of potential for happiness mechanisms, without fail in all cultures and at all times eating fresh food is considered highly pleasurable and rotten food is extremely unpleasant so giving the player control of what (and perhaps how much) is eaten is the single most powerful happiness tool in the players arsenal.

The main problem with implementing food spoilage is how to present it to the player in a understandable format.  The naive implementation is to simply make each food item 'rot' after a set period of time.  As most crops are harvested in a short period of time this means an equally short period of time later in which it will all rot.  This can be very hard for the player to manage as sudden disappearance of food can seemingly come out of no ware and put the settlement in danger of starvation.  Worse the player could be confronted with a quandary if foods rotting time is sufficiently long that multiple batches of different ages of the same food stuff are in storage at the same time, a strawberry that is a month old is now very different from one that is a year old and about to rot.  Displaying all this information for every type of food stuff would be an interface nightmare.

Thus I propose that food rot on a PROBABILISTIC basis rather then on a purely time driven basis, think of it like radioactive decay, over a given period of time each unit of food regardless of age has the same change of rotting.  This eliminates the need to distinguish between different strawberries, the player just needs to know his total strawberry count and he can accurately predict how many will rot over any foreseeable timer period.  We can go further by grouping food into classes of equal decay rate, if all strawberries, apples and other fruits have the same decay rate then their quantity can be aggregated without impairing the players ability to predict.  I believe that just 4 classes should be adequate, half life is relative to a real year for illustration purposes, adjustment to Gnomoria day/month ratios will be necessary of course.  AI of course eats the most perishable food first.  Lastly it is vastly simpler to program as food doesn't need to hold a variable to record it's age, we simply iterate all food on a regular basis like once per day and roll random numbers to rot or not rot it.

Very Perishable - half life 3 days     (Grapes, Strawberry, Milk, Sandwich)
Perishable - half life 2 weeks          (Oranges, Eggs, Meat, Bread)
Stable - half life 3 months               (Apples, Sausage)
Very Stable - half life 1 year            (Wheat)

In addition it makes sense to have several stages of rottenness before food items disappear completely so the player can both see the gradual change and that the rotting dose not immediately removes food from possible consumption but rather reduces potential happiness from the loss in quality.  Again 4 states seem appropriate, each food retains it's original perishability rate as it rots so highly perishable milk would continue to advance through each state at the same probability.

Fresh - Maximum Happiness gain
Stale - neutral Happiness
Rancid - Negative Happiness, 25% reduced nutritional value
Rotten - Very Negative Happiness, 50% reduced nutritional value plus disease potential

Rotten food that decays further simply disappears completely into unusable muck that simply needs to be cleaned up.  The AI automatically eats the most rotten food first but the player can set a lower limit on what will be eaten, so for example Stale could be selected as the limit and anything below that (Rancid and Rotten) will be thrown out immediately and only Stale and Fresh will be eaten.  Any of the 4 levels can be selected as the limit and Stale would be the default limit.  Setting a higher limit guarantees more happiness but will result in more food being thrown out, a lower limit will guarantee no food is wasted but at the cost of lower happiness.

Lastly we want to let the player control the quantity of food consumed, many of you may remember Oregon Trail and it's food settings, again I'll go with 4 settings here, shamelessly ripped strait from OT.  I'm assuming that Gnomes don't have fat reserves so some of the effects here like disease and weakness are more immediate then would be logical, loss of strength is a major factor in making military weak.

Sumptuous  - 133% of requirements, bonus happiness
Filling - 100% of physical requirements for normal work, normal happiness
Meager - 66% of requirements, work slows, strength reduced, happiness penalty
Bare Bones - 33% of requirements, work nearly halted, strength nearly gone, large happiness penalty, disease very likely

Between the two big 'levers' of food quality and food quantity the player gains a lot of control over their settlements happiness and the game becomes a lot more flexible to changes in food production, we move away from the boring binary states of 'more food then I can eat that piles up to the sky' and 'less food then needed so mass starvation and rapid death'.  Having this kind of flexibility is the first requirement of making food production less reliable as under the current system it will just push the player into the death zone without any real way to respond.  But with Perishable food and these simple but powerful management settings adds immediate game-play while opening the door to future improvements.

4
Suggestions / Greater diversity in goal metrics
« on: March 08, 2013, 01:58:31 PM »
Currently players have relatively limited set of goals that they can receive feedback on in a concise numerical manner, theirs wealth and too a lesser degree happiness.  I think we could use a broader range of metrics/goals all with numerical feedback for bragging purposes and game-play effects, also they should be closely related to Gnome (Dwarf) cultural values.

Here's a stab at coming up with some 'metrics' that your game can be measured in.  They are intended to be 'moral virtues' in that these could be applied collectively to the whole settlement or to individuals (or clans?) to establish a social ladder internally.  Likewise foreign-relations with other gnome settlements would be logical if foreign settlements were also rated in a similar metric, extending the social ladder up to the city-state level as you compete politically for dominance.

Wealth: The obvious already existing metric, a simple accumulation of every item owned, Treasure hoarding is fun.  Still acts to attract invaders but perhaps not as much as before as the other attributes dilute some of the weight.

Age:  Plain old enduring year after year, but modified by having Lore-Masters to record all this history in books, no records no credit so their is a certain material and labor over-head to getting this virtue.

Skill:  Having large numbers of elite crafters, and to a degree their ratio to the rest of the population, excludes the skill/levels of military

Reputation:  Basically if you keep your word, fufilling oaths/taking revenge for insults.  In foreign-relations you must send aid to your allies in time of need etc.  Your not obligated to make promises but making and keeping them is necessary to raise this metric.

Lawfullness:  Punish criminals and generally have low crimes rates, I know Gnomoria doesn't have crime and punishment yet, but I assume it eventually will.  This provides some benefit to punish criminals, the settlement gains Lawfulness which is significant in attracting migrants.

Piety:  Having adequate temples and ceremonies to honor the Ancestor Gods and gain their favor.  This is a rather straightforward resource sink and it can be substantial if you wish to reach high levels, the intervention of the Gods can be worth it though (Similar to the Zeus: Masters of Olympus game)

Might:  Victory in battles, local or foreign, high proportion of military and high military skill.  Significant portion of invader aggro goes hear from wealth, sometimes they don't want to steal your stuff, sometimes they want to preemptively attack you cause they are afraid you will attack them first.  Or it's just Orc Machismo at work and they want to battle the toughest Gnomes they can find.


The composite of all these metrics would be your "Honor" level.  Notice that "happiness" is not a goal metric, while the player should certainly see happiness it's not really a good goal metric.  First off Happiness is not in it's self a virtue, rather is (or should be) the result of having the other virtues.  Second Happiness is practically it's own reward in most DF-like games because it makes every other activity faster more efficient etc so it's a boring goal.  In contrast some of the virtues I've listed above are in conflict, if you expend resources on Piety you lose Wealth, if you focus on training Crafters you neglect military, the trade-offs are everywhere and choices need to be made, interesting choices which are the soul of game-play.

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