Creating a new strategy game

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Creating a new strategy game

Postby piranha » Wed Nov 20, 2019 4:08 pm

I've spent quite a lot of time thinking about making another strategygame. I would like to take what I learned from our experience with doing Warbarons and do yet another attempt at making it as a game dev. I know it's a ultramarathon to make a game but it's also one of the most fun things I've ever done.
What I'm specifically trying to figure out is how to make a online multiplayer game kind of like warbarons but one that you can play when ever you want. One of the drawbacks with warbarons is that you have to wait for your turn and if you start a lot of games in order to have a turn more often it can get stressful instead when the games start to get complicated. Another problem with this type of turn based game is to attract new players. The fact that you need to wait several days from discovering this game until you get to do anything is really bad for converting possible players into actual players.

I would like to be able to open my game and do something that has value for the game when ever I want to.

I've explored different ideas in my mind what could be done instead of how it works now.

One idea is a game where military action is as now but there is a building element to the game that can be done at a different pace. Think civilization where you build irrigations and roads on the map and buildings in cities but that would not bound by the same turns that military activity. It could result in some weird scenarios that would have to be figured out.

Another idea is to take make a semi MMO approach where time goes forward regardless if you are doing anything and that everything gain action points. For example a light cav might get 4 points / h while a catapult would get 2 points / h and that a unit would have thresholds where the accumulation drop until it stopps so units wont be able to save up endless of movement. In this scenario I also envision battles to happen slowly compared to now where it happens instantly. Say every 30 minutes a round in battle happens which could cause some units to lose some HP. This would make it possible for slow units to catch up and join the battle or reinforcements from an allie to join the battle or possible units to escape a battle.

A third idea that I also thought of is a game where direct war is so costly that you only use it as last resort or when you are a lot more powerful, kind of like real world. Military is used to detract someone from aggression. A game where diplomacy would play a bigger role. Think similar map as warbarons, but you have multiple resources that may not be distributed evenly over the map. That forces trading between players. Tariffs and similar activities that we see IRL could be deployed against you if you are an aggressive player. This game would be more focused on building infrastructure on the map and diplomatic relations. Anyone played something like this?

Two things that I want to avoid is.
1 the game is fun early on when it's in smal scale and there is fun things to do but after expanding it gets boring to keep track of all the cities where you need to build the same stuff again and again. This is a problem I think a lot of strategy games suffer from. To combat that I think queuing and other automation mechanisms would be needed.

2. As much as I want to have something to do that has meaning for the game it can't turn into a job. Meaning that if you don't login every X hours you lose to someone who is active 24/7. Queuing would help.

Anyone else where who like to think about games who had similar thoughts or other thoughts of how you would like to design a game?

Also are there others here who would be interested in doing a game?
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby Igor » Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:53 pm

Very nice to hear Piranha you are thinking about a new game like Warbarons. Seems if you start to do you do this fine.
Let me wish this new game to be comfortable for old-age players (40+) who plays once a day in the evening time after their job/buisiness.
What I would add to a new game is a kind of resource, a food or so, which is necessary for armies for being ready to fight, and if there is low deal of the resource, armies become weaker. For example, it's possible now to set 24 mighty units in a city, very difficult to conquer. But in real life all they need not only gold but to eat and if there is no food they escape.
Seems a good idea to be able to make or destroy roads, bridges or so.

Anyway would be interesting to test a new thing :)
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby szymraszyn » Wed Nov 20, 2019 9:00 pm

I think new strategy game with building/trading parts is good idea. am also thinking about creating strategy game, as a hobby, and programming training. I am still a novice, so it may take me really much time. if you need it, I may help you with designing it.

for now I have 1 idea:

the game could be seperated into 3 parts:

- building up your empire - you don't fight other players, you just build, maybe fight pirates, barbarians etc.

- diplomacy - in this part all players show what they have, and they are dealing, makeing alliances etc.

- showdown - finall fight between groups and individuall players

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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby KGB » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:39 pm

Most of the things you describe here:

What I'm specifically trying to figure out is how to make a online multiplayer game kind of like warbarons but one that you can play when ever you want. One of the drawbacks with warbarons is that you have to wait for your turn and if you start a lot of games in order to have a turn more often it can get stressful instead when the games start to get complicated. Another problem with this type of turn based game is to attract new players. The fact that you need to wait several days from discovering this game until you get to do anything is really bad for converting possible players into actual players.


are addressed if you have a solo player mode vs AI's.

That's the one thing Warbarons has lacked and has kept many players from even trying it (I know because I've exchanged a lot of emails with former players at Warlorders who don't want to play multiplayer games but would like to play Warbarons in solo mode with even a semi-competent AI) for all the reasons you mention.

And yes, I know you can play AI games here but after a few turns you get locked out for a few hours to save server CPU time. Plus of course the AI is not really very challenging at the moment (I know because I've used AI's in lots of non-ladder games).

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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby piranha » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:28 am

KGB: I have also thought about continuing current Warbarons with a campaign experience. I few years back when I was really hooked on game of thrones I spent time writing down some story ideas for a campaign. It's quite a bit of work to make and compelling story and would probably require money for art and sound / music to make it of acceptable quality. Also thought of doing the AI in javascript to run it locally which would allow to give it more computation time and perhaps a better one. Then packaging the client as a .exe file and try to put it on steam. The game is a lot of fun which I think there is proof for considering that we have a bunch of players who keep playing for years. Myself I read about and sometime try new games now and then but I still haven't found anything that give me the same fun that I find in a good warbarons game. Considering that it could be a better idea to take what has been refined and works and see if it could reach a bigger audiance. I haven't really decided only that I know I want to do something with games again.

Szymraszyn: I am open for cooperation. I need to find people who want to help out so you are welcome. Doesn't really matter if it's doing a small side part for fun, learning as you go or if it's putting more time into it. Snotling is very busy these days with his job so I don't think he would have time to put into anything that isn't critical to keep Warbarons running.
About the ideas that I listed I also think the last one with diplomacy is the most interesting idea to explore because it might be possible to figure out a game where you can overcome the problem of having to wait for turns. Sounds like you also think about a mix of singleplay and multiplay. I like that but I'm not sure about having different phases. I'll spend some time thinking about this idea.

Igor: The target with Warbarons was people like us who don't have as much time. Before warbarons we had a period of playing RTS games online and the only way to be compete is to spend lots of time playing to get fast or get slaughtered. Then we played a game called travian which is a mmo strategy game which is slow where you had to guard your empire 24/7 for a year. I remember going up in the middle of the night to feed my army so it wouldn't starve. Doesn't work with family :D or having a life in general. But those games had some good things that I miss in warbarons. When I finally have time by myself and want to play for 1 hour and it's not my turn or the turn only takes 5 minutes. Some sort of balance between having meaningful stuff to do in the game without demanding a player to spend more time than you want. It's a hard balance to figure out and it can probably not happen in warbarons except for having a interesting singleplayer experience to do while waiting for your turn but maybe a different game could accomplish that.
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby szymraszyn » Thu Nov 21, 2019 4:52 pm

sure! I can try to help, but for first you have to give me really easy task, because I still have much to learn. which programming languages are you going to use?
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby 2torus » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:10 pm

@piranha, would you consider releasing the source code or creating a programmable API so that we can train AI agents?
I've reading a lot about reinforcement learning and thinking how Warbarons can be a good place to apply it.
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby KGB » Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:48 am

Piranha,

Doing an AI in javascript that runs locally is a really good idea. Not only would it run faster but players could potentially increase it's abilities over time since the code could be shared/improved on.

This was brought to my attention today (Warlords I, 2 & 3 released for sale on GOG)
https://www.gog.com/forum/general/relea ... be9a/page1
You can see how many player still remember the series by how large the thread is already getting. Many are buying it again. All of it for solo player purposes since Multi-player is more or less dead now on a 20 year old game unless it's between friends. That shows how much having a competent AI means.

A campaign would be great too of course. But without the AI there is no campaign.

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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby Igor » Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:03 pm

Game is good when the comunity is united arount it, when you may play with other people all around the world, to have this as a kind of competition.

Al may be used for duel game to make neutrals active, to let them get out of cities and be looking for any human players to attack.
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Re: Creating a new strategy game

Postby fantastory » Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:30 am

I have some thoughts about strategy games:

If it is not going to be a Live Time Strategy (Travian), than it must have a constant actions per player turn.

For me the ability to play offline like in warbarons is a must have.
The only problem is waiting for your turn, especially in multiplayer mode.
The simultaneous play resolves some waiting problems, but introduces others. Actually I hate this game mode in warbarons.

The only advantage of people playing longer shall be their experience - not collect items. It forces independent games.

From board strategy games, I bring an idea of simultaneous planning.
You have it in Game of Thrones where players plan simultaneous, but still need to do some decisions in their turns. Gameplay lasts for 4 hours.
In other strategy board game - Shogun - players also plan at the same time, but their turn decisions are limited, ending in 2 hours game play.

What I am thinking about is a game where all players declares their orders at the same time. And when last one do, the system executes all actions at once.
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