[Challange]Court Intrigue, Politics, Fantasy World Sim and some Kingdom Management.

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by adrixshadow, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. adrixshadow

    adrixshadow New Member

    I'm sending this topic on a couple of design forums since it seems reddit hasn't generated much response.
    If you think you have any game design talent(which I doubt) come up with a game or any mechanics and concepts based on the below mentioned requirements and restrictions.
    The game is about political intrigue and NPC simulation. Think about Crusader Kings but more in depth on one nation and without much of the external factors outside of your nation.
    The closes game to this to date that I know is The Guild 2.

    Here is the list of requirements and especially restrictions:

    Not Democracy(the game). This is not going to be a standard political simulator and spreadsheets. This is about a fantasy world simulation and about characters how they interact.

    Not Dwarf Fortress or Rimworld base management, not a city builder. While you have things you control and develop(house, feudal land, kingdom) it is not about optimizing bases or controlling units.

    No Grand Strategy/4X. While there are armies and army development like the above kingdom management, there is no map movement or any in depth strategy. Other nations have to be handled diplomatically and politically with the focus on feudal lords backstabbing each other to get ahead politically rather then working together even in a crisis.

    Business management is fine but you probably won't do better then The Guild 2 and Patrician 3. Obviously its not the focus, politics do go hand in hand with economics. NPC simulation is a opportunity here so try to find interactions. Crafting, building, items and gear that grant special powers are also interesting. King's contracts, restrictions and monopoly on resources as well as some smuggling and criminal organizations on the side are an interesting idea.

    Simple Combat. I hope you saw this coming. It's not going to be Diablo. You have gear, you have skills, you win or you don't. Duels again can be interesting as away to manipulate audiences and impressions.

    Gambling is a great opportunity. I was greatly impressed by the mini-game in Sorcery! 2. Obviously information gathering and spying is essential in a political game.

    Obviously Dialog and NPC-Player and NPC-NPC interactions is the main focus and the system and mechanics that has to be developed the most.

    Not a CYOA game. Think more procedural and gamey like The Sims based on actions and verbs rather then dialog trees.

    Skullduggery and investigations is the second main focus and how to handle the detective work puzzles to find secrets so you can manipulate things. Things like causing the relationship between two NPCs to deteriorate can have wide reaching consequence.

    Now on to the main goal of the game, it is to take control of the kingdom through a few paths:

    If you are a prince you can inherit it by being the successor and eliminating other competitions.

    You can marry, the king, prince or princess and eliminating the other ones standing in your way.

    You can make the ruler a puppet through seduction, loyalty or psychological terror.

    You can lead a rebellion if your and your allies forces overwhelm the kingdom's forces.

    This are just couple of paths that I come up with, don't take it as the only thing possible.

    On each path there are other characters that are scheming for the same thing and are your completion that gets in the way of your plans.

    Status is also an important factor. Things like marriage will encounter a lot of resistance from the court if you are not of the appropriate status. You can't develop an army if you can't control an army.

    A main part of the game is also how you go from a lowly peasant boy or a humble merchant to a political powerhouse. Family and inheritance is also an important factor.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  2. richy

    richy Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you've got quite a lot already - I would start building a prototype now rather than more design fine-tuning. Also re.
    Unfortunately that's the main thing people are interested in here! Would you reconsider allowing some strategy in the game?
    keithburgun likes this.
  3. adrixshadow

    adrixshadow New Member

    For people harping on about "violence" or combat you sure go immediately to your comfort zone.
    This is about politics,relationships, management, world simulation and backstabbing.
    This is not a game where you fucking build an army and conquer the world.
    In other words not a 4X game or Grand Strategy.

    Of course its going to have "interesting decisions" and abstract "strategy" in that sense. It's not exactly a twitchy action shooter.
    Yes I want a "game" out of it and not a fucking around simulator like The Sims.
    There is also a goal. Get the kingdom.

    Prototype what? This is just a list of requirements and restrictions. In other words a challenge.
    It has no gameplay or mechanics other then what you can't do.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  4. Batlad

    Batlad Well-Known Member

    Not really sure why you're being aggresive towards everyone. It doesn't seem to be the way to encourage people to help you.

    Edit: Usually by prototyping a lot of things become clearer. For example, you might realise that there are some stats that are absolute like, renown or faction size, and others that are relative, like how much an individual loves or fears you. Once you know that you can think about actions that might raise or lower these variables and what effect they have on actions you or the NPCs might attempt.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  5. adrixshadow

    adrixshadow New Member

    Like I said prototype what?
    Where do you even start?
    I coming here completely in a blank, I make no assumptions.
  6. Plumlum

    Plumlum Well-Known Member

    A prototype would be actually coding your game (or building it in a program like Game Maker). Seeing it laid out before you let's you spot the details you need to flesh out to actually make it into a playable game. Only after you've actually got a playable prototype can you answer the question "is there actually something here? Is this a game people want to play?"

    It's a massive barrier to entry. It's a ton of work. There's no getting around it. There's a reason that even small indie games take years to finish. When I saw this thread I thought "wow this poster is sure asking a lot".
  7. adrixshadow

    adrixshadow New Member

    I am not demanding the impossible here.
    I am just asking for some ideas, whether they work or not I don't care, that's up to me to resolve.
    Just asking for your imagination.
  8. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    You have a sprawling unwieldy game concept which is going to be very difficult for a single person to make, even if you have a design for it, and will take a huge amount of design effort because it's so sprawling and unfocused.

    You want us to do your design work for you for free, which is not very interesting for us because we get to do unpaid work for something we have no reason to be passionate about and we're less likely to see our work ever made into a game than if we just design our own games and help make things for the other people already here who actually have a track record of finishing games.

    Also, your second sentence is a totally uncalled for insult to all of us.
    Hopenager likes this.
  9. Batlad

    Batlad Well-Known Member

    Try this very first step in designing a paper prototype, make a short list of NPC's and the player and figure out what stats they will have. Figure out how those stats are related to one another. Think about how your ideas can map onto those stats, and think about similar ideas that could influence or be influence by those stats.
  10. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Hi @adrixshadow, and welcome to the forums. Can you try to post in a slightly less hostile fashion? Stuff like: "If you think you have any game design talent(which I doubt)" doesn't help your post at all and is only likely to make people angry and/or have them not take you seriously.

    Anyway, your "restrictions" sound more like almost a whole game design doc. You should just finish it and write it up as an insult-free game design doc and I'm sure many (including myself) would be happy to give you some thoughts.

    Also I will say that any one of the ideas you have written here could be expanded, but as other people have hinted at already, actually, the ideas are the easy part. Linking them together in some kind of coherent way, that's the hard part.

    Even better would be to build a prototype, like others have said.
  11. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    I kinda took that hostile tone as intended as playful trash talk but I dunno maybe I'm wrong. I also thought this wasn't so much of like "hey guys what do you think of my game idea" but more like "here's a challenge for you: design something based on these criteria, go!" But again maybe I'm wrong.
  12. adrixshadow

    adrixshadow New Member

    On the other hand you can do this with a simple map with a list of actions. Not having classic game concepts means you also don't necessarily have demanding game content. Management games have always been on the easy side to make.
    A bunch of rules and code is much easier to make then writing, level design, puzzle design, enemy encounters, abilities and balance.
    If you don't want the challenge you can ignore it. Nobody is forcing you to do anything. This not for you and not all people think like you.
    I have my own thoughts on this sure but they are not quite mature. But what I wanted is people to come with ideas from a complete blank slate. This can be tremendously useful.
    I know that the guidelines may sound like a design doc but that's not really true. Constraints confer creativity. It's the same philosophy behind Game Jams. Only this time its more complex and focused.
    There is very little information on this topic: Dwarf Fortress,The Guild 2, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Crusader Kings, The Sims, Mount and Blade, 4X Games are barely scratching the surface. Chris Crawford has been in a swamp for decades(no link, search erasmatazz sitemap). If we can make one game with concrete gameplay and without any shortcuts we can unlock the potential of procedural narratives and world simulation. We can make fantasy books real! This is my ideal.

    The reason I appear so demanding is that I have some expectation of this community.
    There has been very little thought about this topic for decades. There was always easier things to do. I think the game design community needs to do some thinking about this. Not just this forum. All of it.

    This is a challenge, says so right in the title.
  13. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    It seems to me you're leaning heavily into social AI, they can be really frustrating to play with if they're not managed well. Have you tried Prom Week? You can play it on facebooks gameroom thing.
  14. Batlad

    Batlad Well-Known Member

  15. adrixshadow

    adrixshadow New Member

    This is actually pretty interesting and relevant.

    But the problem I have experienced when playing games with this elements is not that you can't do anything(intention/volition) or can reach any state(consequence), those are fairly easy in a game with lots of actions you can do and a large flexible possibility space. The Sims did this decades ago.
    In a game like Romance of the Three Kingdoms 13 or even the above mentioned Prom Night the problem is there is no challenge which is much more important.
    You can solve to reach any state from turn one very easily even if it could take a lot of steps.
    That is precisely the problem, there is not much game in it. There is no challenge. So what happens is going to the closest convenient familiar gameplay that I listed above and leaving that as an appendage at best.
    What it needs is reactivity, opposition, resistance,surprise and reevaluation, things going wrong and things even possibly resulting in loss. And all those things should not be arbitrary left to the whims of dice.
  16. sammyminh

    sammyminh Active Member

    On the one hand you want interesting decisions (strategy game), on the other hand the "event log should read like a nice little fiction". Don't Chess or FTL already provide a nice little fiction at the end? Isn't all you really want a strategy game like Chess/FTL/Euro-game with the specific theme you laid out?

    I would suggest you keep it simple, almost like a board-game. As soon as you start programming an advanced social AI the project is doomed, I would think.
  17. adrixshadow

    adrixshadow New Member

    I don't know what you are talking about. Their gameplay is quite clear on what they are.

    Sure if you can give examples that work with my requirements.
    I don't make that much distinction on complexity. To me either parts work or don't. Either Dwarf Fortress like simulation or board game like mechanics can equally work together if put in the right place. Everything is just a bunch of rules ultimately anyway. A computer is good as computer like things so its pointless to limit yourself exclusively to board games.
  18. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    You're talking about a complex mappable system, which is exactly what you're getting with Prom Night. You can do the same thing a different way, and you could definitely polish up what Prom Night is doing, but you have to have a systemic representation of the other intelligent entities in the game.

    Prom night doesn't let you use as many steps as you want. It's very easy to dig yourself into a hole you can't recover from.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  19. adrixshadow

    adrixshadow New Member

    You misunderstand. What I meant is that you can solve the whole situation by looking at the data without moving an inch.
    This is a huge problem because once a player gets skilled enough the magic disappears and everything becomes boring.
  20. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    There's a bunch of different ways you can address that. You can put a bit of randomness into the behavior of your entities so players can never "solve" for the optimum path, rather they have to make educated gambles. You can increase the complexity of the system to the point where normal players won't bother trying to solve each turn because it's too paralyzing. You can force the player to react within a fixed time frame so they only have so much time to crunch numbers.

    To me a bigger problem is that it's harder to read pretend digital people than it is to read real people. Pretend digital people don't have betraying facial expressions which our empathy pathways can track to, and it's really hard to make lying or withholding information feel human. I suspect this is the primary reason more games don't have complex social interaction systems. Even when they're really brilliant they don't generally feel right.

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