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Tying Everything Together - World Map Campaign Progression, etc.
10 replies to this topic - Started By ZeroGravitas, Oct 13 2016 01:57 AM

#1 ZeroGravitas

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Posted 13 October 2016 - 01:57 AM

+ My Main Thrust With This Thread:

There are a whole load of great little player suggestions for adding this feature or that, and a metric-bunch-ton of additional content that you have alluded to on various threads that I'd love to see. (I've researched as best I can, here and on Steam.) However, these mostly treat 'the game' as playing an individual map, in isolation. As such, they only add small increments of extra play. Also, as of inDev22, I'd say that barely half of that (building types, etc) are needed to get to a point where you can feel like you've won.

What I'm most eager to see implemented is the frameworks that tie playing multiple maps together in a structured and purposeful manner. Some relatively modest additions here could easily multiply the player engagement time 2-10 fold.

I appreciate RPC is still early access, and I presume you are wanting to put in as much content as possible before capping it off. But I think there may be a decent argument to develop additional content such that it fits into an overarching framework from the get-go. Have the two reinforce each other.

 

Also, you said that you were aiming at one point (I think I saw) to have a complete game very roughly around 2015, so it's easy to be a little concerned about development getting stuck in a kaizen (continual improvement) situation, adapting to feedback, too. I think it might be good to be able to move RPC towards being a truly releasable whole while still continuing to augment (and refine) it with additional free content - the Terraria model that's been pretty successful. :)


+ Preamble and Praise (Waffle):

Village/city simulators (Banished, Sim City/Skylines) and tower defense (Defense Grid, etc) are my favorite, most addictive, kind of games. So you've really sparked my interest here. I certainly got the same un-put-down-able (too many) hours of flow-state game play from RPC. (On my second attempt).

I love the WYSIWYG format where my brain is continuously assessing the setup, adding little improvement and tweaks. It's very mentally easy to not have to re-orient or task switch. There's no hidden tech trees or such to break this up, or to have to try to keep in in the back of my mind.

I love being able to take the grand, high level, strategic overview, and have the minions figure out all their own little steps in between. It's entirely possible to not have to worry about what each villager is doing, or if the best one is assigned to the job. Scrolling endlessly through personnel lists to repeatedly solve that grueling multi-variable optimization problem isn't that much fun (as in SpaceBase DF9) and doing it manually greatly limits the scale of settlements.

I was going to say that the AI was excellent and left nothing to be desired. Certainly they are pretty robust at not getting killed, fleeing overwhelming situations, etc. Although, as I looked closer to qualify this, I noticed how painful the process of building a single wall section can be, with villagers coming in from all over to each give it a little hit in turn, (or running around the other side for no particular reason). Presumably largely intended, to make building look more involved. Then I also saw a farmer die of starvation while carrying home a carrot... But I don't think this is a micro-managing game and these niggles go away if one can relax to take a broader view.

There are a lot of neat little details down there too, that are great to discover: them chatting away, their names, etc. But I actually like that there is much oversimplification, abstraction and not trying to be too 'realistic' to real world technologies. I anything, I think it could bear to develop in more fanciful, perhaps slightly silly/entertaining mechanic directions, a little like Theme Hospital diseases, say. The minimalism of no time factor control is a good simplicity. When I have such luxuries I tend to over-use them (e.g. in Stronghold HD recently), getting bogged down in slo-mo, trying to finesse everything perfectly (or worrying that I'm not).

I don't like heavy handed RNG that's dominant in determining success, as with FTL, rogue likes, where there's a good chance that whatever you do, you'll be screwed most times. I like that if you've figure things out and play well you'll succeed. And the desire for replay is to do things better from a fresh start. I think that with such a heavy focus on building up a well laid-out settlement that most players who enjoy this will really hate to loose their hard work - too much to tolerate (once they've learned to get past the initial quick failure modes).

 

Better to let them keep their creations, but provide good reason to want to start over and build something new/better. Startup is great for games that are 30min-1hour long, like skirmishes in Supreme Commander (vanilla - another favorite of mine), but having spent most of a day (or more) on a base I personally found Don't Starve to be too brutal (kind of got too stressful trying to avoid loosing, such that I couldn't really commit to playing it as intended). I'm sure there are plenty who love this kind of survival meta though, I'm probably just  too weedy! ;-)


+ First Impression (more waffle):

With lots of options on head, I went to try a quick skirmish first.

Apparently I picked an overly protected/cramp starting positions and couldn't figure out how to make any additional space for enough buildings to get going.

So I watched the official 'tutorial' (by FallenShogun). It was probably a little tooo informative and prescriptive, in that once I knew that monsters path infinitely (around walls) and what the most essential buildings are, that was it: I walled in quickly, mazed up and won... Well, in conjunction with fire ball weeding of graveyards (which felt cheap, or at least too simple and final in it's efficacy - I know there's changes to meta afoot).

I didn't even get to harvesting crystals, way-making, etc, hence saying that there's a lot of underutilized content already.

The rush of throwing everything up was great, but the influx seemed almost too overwhelming, until it just plateaued and stopped. Not just that I was fire-balling spawn sites faster than they went up, more that they almost stopped spawning altogether. (Something that might be very quick to tweak, for a massive impact on game experience.)

Then after that one initial long evening of play (way past sleep time), there was another 2 of being at a loose end: finishing out the build tree, upgrading paths, the slow process of waiting for births. I actually left it running for over an hour (while at the supermarket) and came back to only 10 more population, up from 70. Then the fiddly process of plucking and plopping individual villiagers (and resources) into the cullis gates, staging for the next map.

Actually, I'd first tried to start a new map assuming I'd get a new allocation of ~30 (free) villagers... But because my limbo only had a half dozen random people plus the 100 odd monsters I'd dumped there to get past the early rush, I had a rather more ignominious spawn in. Lol. Pretty amusing, to be fair, though a little too brutal. Then of course the map was lost, unplayable, and as far as I can figure unsalvageable: seems to be no way now to port in villagers fast enough to jump start things (against heavy odds).


+ Closed Loop (down to business):

I generally dislike the concept of games scaling enemy health bars entirely arbitrarily to match player ability, worst still if the game asks up front how big they want those bars to be; the game should be the game, a problem set to be solved. But there could be more mechanics in RPC that calibrate around player progress to step things up at various waypoints.

Currently, it seems like monsters/graveyards spawn in a kind of open-loop style, at predetermined time, without any feedback...(?)

I think that can make sense for a skirmish, or a future sub-type of skirmish(?), where one is litterally trying to see how long one can last on a map as things ramp up inexorably. (As per your initial "no winning" goal, that's still up here on the website.) The reward for that could be as simple as an end score, ideally tracking personal bests (like Don't Starve), ranking Steam friends, for that top spot, and globally (like Defence Grid, Infinifactory, etc). Maybe it's even possible to still beat (some of) them, in theory, if you're insanely clever at it. So then the aim becomes maxing out parts of the scoring metric (like Magicka missions). I don't know how tricky a scoreboard system would be to setup and maintain from a Dev perspective(?).

But for the campaign maps, perhaps it might make more sense that rate of graveyard spawns ramps up (asymptotically) towards a set level, such that the more you weed out, the faster they grow back.

 

And how about setting that level somewhat like Terraria does, where reaching certain conditions (e.g. player max health) triggers an increase in monsters and/or a boss. And/or taking explicit objectives might instigate a 'hard mode' thereafter, which is itself necessary to access higher tier builds.


+ Progression - Escalation and Narrative:

Although I agree that you shouldn't try to shoehorn in a 'story', per say, it'd be cool to think you have some kind of underpinning concepts in mind, even if they are barely ever hinted at. (I imagine you do already...?)

Like, what I'm getting so far: it might be that these monsters are crossing over through/from the void, drawn by the warm bodies of the villagers... So then the more population you have, the more (quickly) monsters might be drawn in.

 

Here I'm thinking of Charles Stross's Laundry Novels ('computational demonology' in the context of an IT tech support protagonist in a budget strapped civil service department, with major human resources issues, staving off the end of the world): the Cthulu-like monstrosities can hear the sound of conscious thought (or complexity) between parallel universes (and certain mathematical, geometric constructs can open portals, etc). But anyway, back to RPC... So past a certain threshold (of population) you might make enough 'noise' to disturb the attention of progressively bigger horrors.

Loosing population might scale spawns back a little, but only to a way point baseline, perhaps.


+ Focus on Expanding Tower Defense, Please:

The initial monster rush is a fun challenge to figure out how to survive, with fairly short map failure times. But getting overwhelmed by monsters after spending ages building a substantial base is more dismaying, especially when it can take hours to be slowly, but unavoidably, worn down. (Since the villagers are actually such a robust line of defense, and monsters never attack the castle itself, for a knock-out blow). That's basically why you've retained the ability to fireball the enemy's (main) spawners into oblivion, right, to avoid being overwhelmed while there isn't yet the tower scaling to cope. (The monster level cap too.) Hence why the difficulty curve kinda feels more like a step change (and then a step-off).

You've already been talking about this, of course. Expanding tower capabilities is obviously in your pipeline. I'd just like to support you working on that soon, beefing up this other side of the game play, which will hopefully help things scale up more.

 

I think play should transition to be increasingly about this tower defense aspect, as a map progresses, with more player time and villagers soaked up by it. Currently it's a kind of a side dish, rather than a whole second course. I personally would like to see RPC as a more fully hybrid (and therefore more unique(?)) game.


+ Monsters the Problem *and* the Objective:

Again I'm going to reference Terraria, where monsters are initial just a pain in the ass, as one's trying to mine resources. But further through progression (in later updates) they become a resource in themselves - 'farming' monsters for RNG loot drops. You already have this, which is cool, but again it's currently pretty marginal.

I really want monsters to become a major, limiting, resource. Such that the player will want and need them to attack them in volume to progress further.

Currently they mostly drop essence, but that's far from essential. Even if you had later, more challenging, maps without any crystals to harvest, for example, it's only the defense structures that currently consume it anyway. Village enhancing buildings that need it might be one option (e.g. hospital - for life extension, or monster to villager re-animator, or 'radiance school' - for leveling up the little-uns). Or you could rework/re-balance essence. Or add in some new resource(s) dropped by (new) higher difficulty monsters (of specific types, maybe), to be used as a building/crafting material, fuel, currency, whatever.


+ Purpose in Village Optimization:

I really like the wayfarer road upgrades. They're a great sink of resources (and play time). But they currently seem mostly superfluous, only worth utilizing after one has already 'won' the battle to survive a map. (Also a little overly fiddly - perhaps we could have a dedicated, expandable brush, preferably that only upgrades to a one specific tier at a time, avoiding creating accidental mis-match patches, at overlaps, etc.)

I'd like to see that my efforts in building up a fast network really pay off. That it's essential even. I imagine this tying in with the idea of higher population attracting more enemies, such that one needs efficiency to progress capabilities, rather than just throwing more villagers at work.

This could be particularly pushed for, say, building an objective within a limited time frame. Say, a huge monument/tribute that can only be built during a particular season. Particularly if it is necessarily located a good distance from one's main base, or the only source of stone/wood in the map. (So greatly benefiting a fast road connection.) But it could also just be the ongoing, daily process of village life would falter without that speed boost. A kind of stealth progress barrier. Emergent.


+ Motivation to Play More Maps:

With Terraria there seems to be quite a number of players who will obsessively chase down and remove/purify every single block of 'corruption' (or 'crimson') in an entire world (taking a huge amount of play time), just so that an NPC's dialogue will read: "this world is 0% corrupted [how wonderful]!". So a similar RPC world completion readout might be sufficient reward to motivate some enthusiastic players to build up settlements on every map. Just pushing back the evil veil of shadows with your light of life, or whatever.

Most will need a denser trail of breadcrumbs. You could have a linear Super Mario style campaign trail leading from map to map... (But meh!) That could more deliberately introduce building elements, while ramping up difficulty (pseudo-tutorial style), but would be a lot of careful work that could be better spent elsewhere.

The simplest, most logical mechanism I can think of to limit map accessibility and reward/enforce playing more maps: start of with a circle of influence, with only 2-3 maps within it and accessible (the rest greyed out). Currently the island region does look like it's set up to invite players to start in the green middle, the 'Vale', and work outwards through tougher landscapes, towards the black sands of 'Mordor'.

This radial progression could be made by having your circle expand as a product of 'super-influence' keyed off total world villager population. Centered upon some epicentral artifact/totem of your initial power. Or, the frontier could expand out around each populated village in a more bubbly manner.

 

rS5cAQG.png

 

I think simply limiting access can be a decent motivator to progress, verses having everything laid out with no particular reason/excuse to bother with any option. But you'd probably want to still make latter accessed maps tougher in some way, than earlier ones. Merely tweaking the resource distributions in maps could do this a little (but awkward to overhaul all those maps).

You could remove some resources altogether, requiring them to be exclusively imported from other maps... Provided you could make that process far slicker than it currently is (with accessing limbo) and also without requiring need for continual, rapid map switching (tedious).

Monster presence could be heavier earlier, seasons harsher, etc. These may already be implemented, to an extent? But I found black sands (for example) currently just as easy as other maps. Topology seems to be the main difficulty modifier - if there's nowhere sheltered or if there's little/no space to expand into (without clearing it).

New debuffs against your powers could be brought in, with increased mana expense (and/or decreased potency) on maps further from your regional nexus. (Possibly to the point where you can barely ever even afford to grab things, by the end.) And/or debuffs against your villagers, e.g. confusing/distracting them at random, shortening their lifespans, reducing fertility, or walking speed, or whatever. But I'd favor working with what you have already, as much as is reasonably possible.

Of course, as you add new buildings content, those could be rewards per map progression too...


+ Unlocking a New Building/Ability From Each of The Adventure World Maps:

  • Via a Map Specific Objective - an abandoned (non-destructible) church/school/etc to be restored, enabling that technology to be built anywhere in the world while it's up and running. There might need to be multiple maps with essential unlocks on, to avoid punishing village failure too harshly (or not :wacko:).
  • A Monument - for each unlock that can be built on any map. But it requires so many resources to build, or rather personnel to maintain it, that it would be unfeasible to have more than one (or two) per map. e.g. teacher/alchemy academy, training hospital, monastery. I like this in that it's like real world technological development, with larger connected populations needed to maintain the number of trade specializations for a certain level of technology (there are historical cases of island becoming isolated from mainlands and backsliding, interesting stuff).
  • Simpler (but less logical) - just surpass an arbitrary total population count, or other objective, for permanent unlock... e.g. excavate a ruined building from a mountain, get a plans drop from a particular monster boss (meh). Total population might work fairly well psychologically as an unpredictable reward (at non-obvious intervals).
  • (Additional) abilities might be unlocked as you fill up some kind of 'super-influence' bar that they hang off (along the top of screen). That would make sense based of the total world villager population (a measure of 'belief'). Or off the number of maps with a threshold of 50 villagers, say, and/or with a specific enabling building, like church/temple, or (boss) monster widget drop...

With one of these kinds of system you could continue to add more new building unlocks to the game as you develop it, with new maps further out on new islands that pop up out of the sea, with later game updates (kinda like Besiege's growing content).


+ Smoother Map Transitions:

Could you have a new building specifically for the purpose of collecting together colonists to travel off to the next map?

I found manually collecting up villagers fiddly and uncertain, especially to make sure I had enough females (and that's before I knew of their 3 child limit) and time consuming just waiting for the influence mana to use.

So, an 'excession encampment' or 'portcullis caravan'? Set the building to take 30 'workers' and it'll automatically select a roster of most viable candidates. And maybe have them load up some bonus/required starting resources too. Then to launch it could charge up with essence, or take a big chunk (entire bar) of regular God mana, or whatever.

Something like this could be a building unlock a couple maps in, to make the player appreciate it's helpfulness and be happy with the compromise over exact control.


+ Popping Out Expansion Kiddies:

Others players have lamented how slow populations are to grow (even with no work set and loads of spare housing). I found this to currently take significantly longer than the initial build up to a stable village base. I think you've already been talking about having taverns, perhaps coming to boost happiness and impregnation...?

But maybe you could (also) implement events like throwing a 'festival', committing to a somewhat risky day's holiday, with significant bonuses including fertility. Also, hospitals could prevent birth complications, like maternal mortality or infertility (if you then had a softer, probabilistic cap on number of offspring per female).

Of course, if the difficulty of keeping monsters at bay is better balanced towards continuous challenge then that would give more things for player to be doing while waiting (precluding the possibility of risking AFKing it). A busy-task that directly enhances population would be a good compliment here, even if it didn't contribute all that many new minions.

For example: additional ghosts (that can be resurrected). These could be spawned occasionally/rarely by graveyards. (Also providing another reason to not want to blow those up.) Or very rarely from monster kills. Or forged from collecting some new monster drop. Or some gimmicky building that re-souls zombies, or meatifies spectres, or whatever. Or a (randomly located) map objective that pops up to be captured/killed.


+ Closing (Disclaimer):

Anyway. Apologies for being super-waffly and perhaps pushy. This is all just my vague notions, given on the off-chance that something happens to align with a direction you were already thinking of. That I might then help reinforce, clarify or even aid your motivation.

 

I imagine a lot of the above has been fairly obvious, that you've already considered all such things, ruled them out, or even have some in mind still. I personally hate being told to do things I was already going to do, so sorry if that's the case. And great work on being so open to people like me tossing their 2 pence in.

I'd be happy to try to sound off further thoughts arising, or just leave this all uncommented on ( no offense taken). I obviously have the utmost respect for your artistic/creative prerogative, especially seeing everything you've created here so far - very impressive!

In fact, I'd implore you to stick to your guns and be brave taking your own direction through the well intended rain of suggestions and demands. I'm a little weary of the potential for memetic selection with these requests: they will be biased towards additional features, that are small and simple to articulate, that sound good in writing (though not necessarily in practice), etc. In addition to the potential for design-by-committee bland/bloatedness, or just generally getting way-laid, with doing such a great job listening to (seemingly) all the feedback everywhere. Hence the attempt above to convey more nebulous and overarching ideas (that I think are important to take time to consider).

 

I was planning to make a second thread with a big list of relatively simple, little tweak and addition suggestions too, as a lower priority, but we'll see...

Thanks for reading and happy developing! Also, HEY THERE to all you longer sitting super-fan-supporter peeps! I'd be happy to see any of your thoughts too, of course. :)


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#2 Rayvolution

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 01:51 PM

*Cracks knuckles*
 

+ My Main Thrust With This Thread:
 
There are a whole load of great little player suggestions for adding this feature or that, and a metric-bunch-ton of additional content that you have alluded to on various threads that I'd love to see. (I've researched as best I can, here and on Steam.) However, these mostly treat 'the game' as playing an individual map, in isolation. As such, they only add small increments of extra play. Also, as of inDev22, I'd say that barely half of that (building types, etc) are needed to get to a point where you can feel like you've won.
 
What I'm most eager to see implemented is the frameworks that tie playing multiple maps together in a structured and purposeful manner. Some relatively modest additions here could easily multiply the player engagement time 2-10 fold.
 
Certainly agree, my overall endgame focus is tying all this stuff together into a "world" to play in. I have tons of plans to do that, and oddly enough it sounds like we're both on a similar page on how I expect to accomplish it.
 

Also, you said that you were aiming at one point (I think I saw) to have a complete game very roughly around 2015, so it's easy to be a little concerned about development getting stuck in a kaizen (continual improvement) situation, adapting to feedback, too. I think it might be good to be able to move RPC towards being a truly releasable whole while still continuing to augment (and refine) it with additional free content - the Terraria model that's been pretty successful. :)
 
I think that estimate is going to come back and haunt me forever until I finally leave Early Access. The original game design was no where near as complicated as the game became after all the feedback. I don't mind though, it's a better game for it.
 
I actually am modelling my development plans after other "Sandboxy development" style games, Terarria and Don't Starve quickly come to mind. RPC, like the other two mentioned, is the kind of game that can never actually be completed. I could just keep developing endlessly. But, I would like to reach a "Warm and fuzzy" point in development where I feel the game is complete enough to be called "complete" without any additional content. Once I reach that point, I'll leave Early Access (and then, continue to develop it anyway).
 

I was going to say that the AI was excellent and left nothing to be desired. Certainly they are pretty robust at not getting killed, fleeing overwhelming situations, etc. Although, as I looked closer to qualify this, I noticed how painful the process of building a single wall section can be, with villagers coming in from all over to each give it a little hit in turn, (or running around the other side for no particular reason). Presumably largely intended, to make building look more involved. Then I also saw a farmer die of starvation while carrying home a carrot... But I don't think this is a micro-managing game and these niggles go away if one can relax to take a broader view.
 
There are a lot of neat little details down there too, that are great to discover: them chatting away, their names, etc. But I actually like that there is much oversimplification, abstraction and not trying to be too 'realistic' to real world technologies. I anything, I think it could bear to develop in more fanciful, perhaps slightly silly/entertaining mechanic directions, a little like Theme Hospital diseases, say. The minimalism of no time factor control is a good simplicity. When I have such luxuries I tend to over-use them (e.g. in Stronghold HD recently), getting bogged down in slo-mo, trying to finesse everything perfectly (or worrying that I'm not).
 
Heh, AI is very complicated to program on this level. I'm always trying to improve it. It's a tall order though. There's also tons of micro-problem solving that has to go on that otherwise could be ignored completely in a traditional RTS where you can just order your units to go where you want.
 
Your wall story is actually perfect example of the problem. For a human player, it's easy to see where the most logical work location on a wall is and who should be sent to do it, for a computer, not so much. I already put in quite a bit of checks to try to pick the best location to work, but those can quickly fail in random situations. For example, the workers always try to work on the wall on the "In range" side, so they don't trek halfway across the village and around the wall to work on the other side. Problem is, what if a villager is already en route to the soon-to-be-out-of-range  "wrong side" because there's a nice big open space (and thus the range map wraps around and the other side is in fact, in range), but while en route the space is closed off? What now? Should it repath around the wall, pick a new wall, pick a new more reasonable work location? Even worse, what if he made it to the other side of the wall and the opening he used was closed off *after* he made it through? Now he's trapped outside in a dangerous area. A human would quickly see the problem and fix/prevent it. The computer needs to have a special branch in the AI to handle all those specific scenario.
 
The workers doing their "one hit and done" thing is another good example. I actually have an AI subbranch already that handles that, as soon as a worker completes their job they instantly try to "repeat" the job so if there's more to be built, he'll just keep on chugging away. But only so many workers can work on a building at once. So sometimes with low-resource objects (Walls especially) you may be left in a scenario where another worker(s) are already en route to do their "hit" on the wall, and thus the worker already there wouldn't have any valid work to do on the wall even though it's not completed yet because there's other workers already assigned to the remaining work on their way. A sub branch can (and eventually will) be added to solve that problem as well. But for now, it leaves the door open for some stupid behavior.
 
Lastly, the farmer is actually a bug. I'll need to look into that. When a villager is starving, the first thing he should do is check whats in his hands, and if it's food, equip and eat it. For some reason the farmer isn't doing that! It's possible that the farmer's delivery AI is overriding his hunger checks. :)
 
But, I'm not really making excuses for the behavior, all the problems you've described are on my list to fix. AI just seems to be a never-ending always-improving aspect of the game, since the AI in this game is incredibly more complicated to program than most (even other village sims) because of the complete "hands off" controls.
 
 

I generally dislike the concept of games scaling enemy health bars entirely arbitrarily to match player ability, worst still if the game asks up front how big they want those bars to be; the game should be the game, a problem set to be solved. But there could be more mechanics in RPC that calibrate around player progress to step things up at various waypoints.
 
Currently, it seems like monsters/graveyards spawn in a kind of open-loop style, at predetermined time, without any feedback...(?)
 
I absolutely hate games that scale with the player, it just doesn't make sense to me. (See: TES Oblivion). It makes it feel like you're being punished for knowing how to play.
 
The spawns are actually running off an RNG, each mob has an X in Y chance of creating a spawn. But, because there's so many mobs, even though it technically runs on an RNG, it averages out to appearing like a predetermined system on a clock. But it's not. :)
 
The spawn creation system is in it's infancy, only added a few patches ago and mostly ignored since. I'll no doubt head back and redesign a more complicated system. I'd like something that feels more like the monsters are making various little "camps" around the map, not just random spawn points popping up all over.
 

I think that can make sense for a skirmish, or a future sub-type of skirmish(?), where one is litterally trying to see how long one can last on a map as things ramp up inexorably. (As per your initial "no winning" goal, that's still up here on the website.) The reward for that could be as simple as an end score, ideally tracking personal bests (like Don't Starve), ranking Steam friends, for that top spot, and globally (like Defence Grid, Infinifactory, etc). Maybe it's even possible to still beat (some of) them, in theory, if you're insanely clever at it. So then the aim becomes maxing out parts of the scoring metric (like Magicka missions). I don't know how tricky a scoreboard system would be to setup and maintain from a Dev perspective(?).
 
As cool as a scoreboard will be, you'll probably never see one. Mainly because I haven't (and don't plan to) code in any sort of cheating/hacking protection what so ever. So the scoreboard would just end up a train wreck if the game ever became a huge hit.
 

But for the campaign maps, perhaps it might make more sense that rate of graveyard spawns ramps up (asymptotically) towards a set level, such that the more you weed out, the faster they grow back.
 
I like that idea, I'll keep it in mind when I eventually overhaul the spawning mechanics. ;)
 

And how about setting that level somewhat like Terraria does, where reaching certain conditions (e.g. player max health) triggers an increase in monsters and/or a boss. And/or taking explicit objectives might instigate a 'hard mode' thereafter, which is itself necessary to access higher tier builds.
 
Huh, I had an idea like this. But (as I said previously) I hate games that scale with the player. But if done correctly, it can be done without feeling like it's punishing the player, more so than it's just a dynamic of the game play you have to deal with. The idea I was tossing around what certain building types would attract certain monsters. So if you say, had more churches, you'd get more undead. If you had more farms, you'd get more animals like badgers, rabbits, etc. Sometimes these would result in triggering possible events, like boss spawns, if you had enough of certain types of buildings. I have to walk a tightrope to make it feel like it's not punishing players though, because that's no fun. Attracting wolves because you have a butcher in your village makes sense, just making the game harder because you're better at playing doesn't.
 
But, this is just a random idea I was tossing around. It's not planned at all right now.
 

Although I agree that you shouldn't try to shoehorn in a 'story', per say, it'd be cool to think you have some kind of underpinning concepts in mind, even if they are barely ever hinted at. (I imagine you do already...?)
 
I have a bunch of lore I want to properly write and get out to you guys, not a story at all though. Just an explanation for why the world is the way it is. But since that sort of information is more "Gee-wiz" than actually important to the game, it's really far back on the back burner. It might not even makes it out before leaving Early Access.
 

+ Focus on Expanding Tower Defense, Please:
 
I have multiple patches planned for this, and they'll probably be somewhat soon (Possibly InDev 25? We'll see how it goes. InDev 23 and 24 are pretty much locked in right now).
 
I'd like, at an absolute minimum, at least one tower for every tower defense "stereotype" we're all used to. Like RPC-lore-equivalents to traditional gun, sniper, rocket, boost, quake and slow towers. I'd also like to have tower upgrades as well, and those may actually come sooner than the new towers do.
 

+ Monsters the Problem *and* the Objective:
 
Get out of my head! This was pretty much exactly what I was planning. Although the idea was to attract/trap/kill them rather than go out and hunt them.
 
I just can't do much about it now since I lack the buildings needed to work with "Zombie skin", "Bone Meal", "Gooey Slime" or whatever. :)
 
For now though, I have to go. I'll come back and continue my reply later, but this should be plenty to chew on for a bit. :)

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#3 ZeroGravitas

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 04:49 PM

Geez dude, tl;dr! Trololol... But seriously, thanks for taking the time to reply! :) I hope it's not setting you back tooo much more. :P Great time/attention management skills replying in chunks (I'm so all-or-nothing). And sorry, I'm going to add a little more for you to find time for, if/whenever you're able (no rush; days go by quickly for me).

 

Get out of my head!

Sorry, I've just been picking up on your hints and direction so far, plus we clearly have a lot of common game inspirations.
:) Don't think I'm contributing much of anything though. Church mouse preaching to the high priest... But nice to hear you expand on what you are were already planning and your reasoning. :)

 

 

The spawn creation system is in it's infancy,

 

Catching graveyards in the process of spawning, when they are hammering up their HP, it did seem like it had been built by a mob. But I wasn't sure, as there didn't seem to be any mob building animation (like as with villagers). It would be cool to have the monsters seem like a bit of an "I am Legend"/Morlock/whatever counter-culture, with some hidden depths (to be revealed).

 

Is there a chance you have a glitch whereby new graveyards can't be built atop locations where old ones were previous built and destroyed? I can't be sure, but after bombing them out they don't seem to come back much at all, certainly not as fast or dense as they initially seemed to.

 

As for difficulty scaling, I don't know TES Oblivion, but I'm thinking that it would be more pushing back against overly ambitious rate of play: as with Terraria, if you go at a gentle pace, making every set of armor and weapons along the way and taking the time to max out reforges, etc, then it feel easy, but trying to speed-run the whole thing (say, in one day) means being under-geared and having to make big steps up in difficulty. Walking through waist high water is fine, but running is nigh impossible. Not so much to force players to do things at a certain pace, but to provide a greater challenge if they want to set one for themselves.

 

Perhaps this isn't really (yet) translatable to RPC.

 

Although the idea was to attract/trap/kill them rather than go out and hunt them.

 

To be sure, that's mostly what I meant: building up a great big tower-maze grinder. But wonder also if adventuring out, or extending a limb of the base out, to attack a specific boss and voluntarily initiate greater difficulty, might be a thing too (much more complexity and not sure how it'd fit the meta).

 

Maybe add loot magnet towers/buildings to less painfully extract drops from one's maze. Maybe have (certain) mobs rarely dropping metal ores (as Terraria does with slime mobs and fishing now).

 

Do you think something like a monster stork, that has a chance to spawn on each child birth (say after having 4 or more children there already), can fly over walls and abducts child villages, would be too punishing? Would help prevent complacency after maze setup... ;)

 

Ugh, anyway, breaking into a bunch of little suggestion I should wrap into that other thread I've threatened. :rolleyes:


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#4 Rayvolution

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Posted 14 October 2016 - 07:10 PM


Geez dude, tl;dr! Trololol... But seriously, thanks for taking the time to reply! :) I hope it's not setting you back tooo much more. :P
 
You've set back RPC's release date about an hour, you're a terrible person and you should feel terrible! ;)
 

Catching graveyards in the process of spawning, when they are hammering up their HP, it did seem like it had been built by a mob. But I wasn't sure, as there didn't seem to be any mob building animation (like as with villagers). It would be cool to have the monsters seem like a bit of an "I am Legend"/Morlock/whatever counter-culture, with some hidden depths (to be revealed).
 
Yeah, being built by the mobs is sort of only half-correct. I guess a more correct way of looking at is it they're generated by mobs, but they're built on their own automatically.
 
I do plan for them to actually be built by the mobs though, but the AI needed to run the harvesting and building (Similar to how Villagers do things) is going to be a bit complicated, so I haven't added it yet. But I want them to actually "Build" them in the future. :)
 

Is there a chance you have a glitch whereby new graveyards can't be built atop locations where old ones were previous built and destroyed? I can't be sure, but after bombing them out they don't seem to come back much at all, certainly not as fast or dense as they initially seemed to.
 
Nope, they can be rebuilt (just tested to be sure). Probably just dumb-luck you're not seeing new ones in the old one's place.
 

As for difficulty scaling, I don't know TES Oblivion, but I'm thinking that it would be more pushing back against overly ambitious rate of play: as with Terraria, if you go at a gentle pace, making every set of armor and weapons along the way and taking the time to max out reforges, etc, then it feel easy, but trying to speed-run the whole thing (say, in one day) means being under-geared and having to make big steps up in difficulty. Walking through waist high water is fine, but running is nigh impossible. Not so much to force players to do things at a certain pace, but to provide a greater challenge if they want to set one for themselves.
 
In Skyrim, every region slowly scales up with the player to an eventual "peak". So there's still "newbie areas" and "Will get your ass kicked as a newbie" areas. Where as in Oblivion, while there was still a little bit of a lean to "easy" and "hard" areas there was no real logical cap.
 
A typical scenario in Oblivion is the newbie area right outside the castle you start in would have minor monsters, like wolves or poorly equipped bandits with little to no armor and maybe a dagger or wood bow. As you leveled the mobs in the area would get better stats and better gear, to the point you'd have completely ridiculous situations like regular trash-mob bandits equipping glass armor and swords (High end gear) and still do silly things like demand "20 gold to pass or they'll kill you", when their own armor is worth like 2,000GP. It just made no sense what so ever, and was completely unrealistic.
 
Skyrim (as well as Fallout 3 and 4) does a much better job, the regions do still scale with your level, but they all have "Top and bottom" caps, once past the area won't continue to progress, so newbie areas remain newbie areas.
 
But anyways, that's what I want to avoid. I want "Day X" to be roughly the same for every player on that map. The only variables might be situations where building certain buildings might attract more spawns, like a butcher shop or a sheep farm might attract more wolves to spawn. But it wouldn't be something as silly as if player A builds an entire village 4 times the speed player B, player A's "Day 3" is just as hard as Player B's "Day 12". That's completely unfair and feels like it defeats any will to play the game better as you'll just be punished for it.
 

Maybe add loot magnet towers/buildings to less painfully extract drops from one's maze. Maybe have (certain) mobs rarely dropping metal ores (as Terraria does with slime mobs and fishing now).
 
That'd be an interesting late-game mechanic, maybe a magic powered item magnet near the "kill zone" that sucks things in and drops them in storage buildings. But that's something I'll have to plan for later, since obviously I need a lot of other mechanics in the game first. :)
 

Do you think something like a monster stork, that has a chance to spawn on each child birth (say after having 4 or more children there already), can fly over walls and abducts child villages, would be too punishing? Would help prevent complacency after maze setup... ;)
 
Nah, still like that would be fun if done right. I actually considered adding something like that already. Like a witch mob that would sneak in the village and try to kidnap and eat children.

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#5 Rayvolution

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Posted 18 October 2016 - 12:11 AM

Sorry for the delay, got caught up working on the new upgrade system, Round 2!
 

*Recracks knuckles*
 


+ Purpose in Village Optimization:


 
The roads actually do pay off quite a bit if you get them up early, but timing is important. If you can get them up to about the "Cobble and Log" point, they increase your overall production speed quite a bit. Especially when worried about stocking your ammo for the towers or getting resources to and from main harvest sites. I do agree though, for the most part, especially the higher end roads, usually feel somewhat like an end-game ordeal, since by the time you can invest the time to build them you've already won.
 
That's a problem I'm hoping actually solves itself. As I add more content, the build tree will slowly grow more complex and add more depth to the game. One (unexpected) trend I noticed while developing the game is as I add more content, I am continually forced to make the game "easier" to balance it out. What's basically happening is as the game becomes more complex, it takes longer to create a stable village. As it takes longer to become stable, the monster spawns become more complicated to deal with. So if the current trend continues, a single complete play through (before "winning" or being killed) should generally take longer overall, and thus allow for more time to invest in roads and other future side-buildings while you're working on everything else.
 
So basically, I guess another way of looking at it is I'm hoping that the massive increase in content over the next year of development will actually cause the "stealth progress barrier" effect you're going for by extending the overall gameplay to get to the same "development safe point" and thus allow you more in between time to work on things like roads. (Wow, that was a mouthful) The idea is this has an effect of making each game day less valuable than it was before, but also means the time spent working on side projects (IE: roads) becomes "cheaper" because the overall time to build a road stays the same, while the rest of the game takes longer. 
 
What's weird, is what I'm basically saying sounds like I'm going to make the game easier, and I'm not really. I'm making "village development" more complex/harder, and thus have to slow down the spawn rates so the player has a chance of surviving.
 
Hopefully what I'm explaining is clear, I may be losing something in translation, as it's sort of a hard concept to explain and I feel I went in circles. :)
 


+ Motivation to Play More Maps:



 
I agree with your idea. It's a great way to solve the problem, and the one I plan on implementing is very similar.
 
My plan was basically to add a difficulty level to every map in the game, and the further out you expanded from your start point (In my plan, that starts around "The Quiet Forest" just Northwest of your suggested area). Each map theme would have it's own set of monsters, animals, spawn rates, and weather.
 
Like your idea, you would be limited to your area of influence, but my plan was something along the lines of the player can pick their first start region, probably only 2 or 3 maps surrounding the "Quiet Forest" map. then once they build up enough villagers, can expand out in any direction they want, but they can only expand in directly adjoining tiles.
 
As for *why* they would want to expand, I'm honestly still working on that. Overall I'd like the ultimate goal to be to "control the entire map", although I'm unsure how to really motivate the players to want to do it rather than forcing them to do it out of necessity. It's a design flaw I actually see quite often in sim games with world maps (Sim City 4 suddenly comes to mind). 
 
I'll certainly keep your ideas in mind though. It's a tough problem to solve, that from my experience, seems like no one in this genre, with this setup, has actually solved.
 


+ Unlocking a New Building/Ability From Each of The Adventure World Maps:


 
A lot of your ideas are again similar to mine, lots of stuff I've been tossing around to solve the "World map progression" problem. I'm a bit against the idea of having to "unlock" structures through having to find/reclaim them though, mainly because of certain design restrictions (like basically forcing power players to only be able to play specific spots on maps). But I did want to add special buildings you can't build yourself, but when reclaimed offer some unique perks. A pretty common idea a lot of traditional RTS games use. None of the buildings would be required to survive, but would all help in their own way.



+ Smoother Map Transitions:



 
This is a cool idea, but will be completely obsolete soon when I implement a new feature I'm not quite ready to announce yet. :P
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#6 ZeroGravitas

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Posted 07 December 2016 - 05:16 PM

Sorry for the delay,

 

Bah! Hey, got nothing on me (he says, coming back two months later...). Many apologies, there were some interesting chronic fatigue (CFS) research papers out, that pulled me into discussion on forums and such, then they had a massive conference with even more 'exciting' developments, since then I've mostly just been too crappy to get back to this. But had this tab open the entire time! ;-)

 

Anyhow, as I've just said in my new thread (of little suggestions), I've just today had a first go at InDev23:

 

The village centre upgrades worked nicely. Restrictive fun.

 

Kind of weird seeing the new "Ancillary" buildings; I feel self conscious now, heh; anyone said what a stupid name that is yet? ;-p

 

The game totally kicked my arse! Seriously, I didn't feel like it could be beatable. Similar to this guy on the Steam group, I basically got rolled over by an insurmountable wave of monsters, well inside of 10 days. Despite using the best of my knowledge, and not seeing any significant errors that I made (not perfect, of course).

 

My villagers just seemed to be stretched too thin in every direction, just no way to be able to output enough damage to get even close to dealing with the influx of monster hit-points. Couldn't even get close to getting the string of buildings needed to power more than one combobulator, missing stone cuttery->crystal havestry->crystillery->essence collector->various defence. Let alone fancy fireball towers for the splash damage.
 

Of course, you've made it impossible to weed out all graveyard spawns from orbital bombardment, as you said you would. With their doubled(!) hit points and reduced burn damage (which I also thought weird, seeming to catch fire less often in summer). But this makes sense, rather than having an obligatory whack a mole mini-game built in to win.

 

And area denial is much more limited now too, via build slots. Although I still managed to cordon of about as big an area as I would have previously (in InDev22).

 

You haven't yet implemented specific difficulty boost on this map yet, have you? Sandy South. (Next update?) Maybe you might point out what I built unnecessarily, unbalanced? (Below.) Not sure hospitals are of any real use yet? Not sure if Ancillary workers transport more items than regular folks either (worth having more than 1 or 2 employed there?)

 

A potentially significant issue was not having a kitchen, since I see the food satiation values have been decreased and I did loose a couple (later on) to starvation. Maybe I should have started in the map's top right, where there is more plentiful food (but it's harder to box it). Am I right in thinking that it's actually a bad idea to build extra farms during a famine? Since farmers plant food in place of eating it? I'm still not clear on the productivity/exact mechanics of farms (farms a good candidate for info-graphic additions, later)...

k6Q0A23.png

 

By the end of everyone (day 11) there were almost 500 monsters (including those I'd been shovelling through gates into limbo.)

oHdJWfA.jpg

 

I presume that other players are finding it beatable, still? (And it's not just my PC, or anything weird?) It does make me want to try again (since sandbox, peaceful aren't of interest), see if I can get any closer or figure something out. But I might wait for InDev24 (that before Christmas?). I know RPC was originally meant to be brutal, but this feels literally like trying to hold back the tide, at present. There's just a build-tree wall, with almost everything a high priority need to be setup immediately, to get defences running, while being continually harassed more by monsters the whole time.

 

The nomads were a good source of warm bodies (far faster than birth rate ever was), and they were enough to replace my losses to the early monster scouts. (Of course they all had to be grabbed up very quickly to save them, no chance of walking it, unless they spawned base-side.)

 

 

So, anyway, I'm still thinking about the potential merits of some context adaptive monster spawning/de-spawning - with them potentially going back to their crypts (dissipating, getting bored and wondering off) if there aren't many villagers around yet (to eat).

 

I'm curious, too, to hear what your planned lore is all about. I wonder if you could find a way to have it dropped in conversation lines between the villagers... Like if you zoom in close on them, you can see wording in their speech bubbles (although not really sure that fits the aesthetic).


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#7 ZeroGravitas

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 07:28 PM

Ok, so I was a bit of a hopeless whiner above; I since fired up InDev24 Unstable 1ab today and made it past the initial onslaught. :-)

iBmBKA8.png

Days 5 to 10 (roughly) were still a total hell, though, with a few losses to a suddenly big monster wave and some starvation, simultaneously (as before) despite shovelling over 100 monsters into limbo by day 7 and manually grabbing a whole bunch of food too. (Surviving the winter was trivial by comparison.)

So, I got to try out the upgraded buildings, which were cool. :-)

jgSxKUR.png

Tthe differences this time, that let me *just about* make it through:

  • Chose a more enclose map - "Narrow Path".
  • Claimed the majority of the buildable space early on (below the screen shot, to the bottom of map), stretching the available building slots to the max with ancillary and camp upgrades.
  • Totally forgoing lumber shack until very, very late.
  • Using rock/stone, with bullet towers seemingly doing far better damage output than bow towers have previously (easier to keep stocked too with single tumber). Sling towers on diagonals didn't seem to shot through the gap often enough to be useful.
  • Used mana almost entirely on grabbing monsters and food. With scant extra spent taking out radiance pools (helping more essence reach my unpowered combobulators, I think, as well as preventing high level creeps). But I did find that once I started grinding a significant number of monsters, dissolving and hoovering up the essence, there was enough to start fire-bombing spawners again, keeping their growth in check.

It seems the spawner fireballing meta is reversed (or I didn't notice before), with the *larger* graveyards now more efficiently damaged (despite their much great HP) - hitting all four corners, they seem to catch fire for at least double damage (if it's not raining). I'm liking this more involved process, and feels right only being able to start on it later, no cheese now.

 

I think maybe you should shift the balance with the ancillaries a little, to give, perhaps an extra building slot (or two) per building, at each level, and then allow fewer ancillaries later (when it currently seems to be getting towards the point that they are being littered everywhere). Thus easing off a little of the crazy pressure, early game too...

 

But then you probably have other things in mind already (to take up this slack), and I'm pretty impressed with how the feel of the game has matured and deepened since InDev22, with only fairly subtle additions. (Great work btw, of course.)

One thing though, the *need* to be shovelling monsters into limbo still doesn't feel right, of course (but I think you were already talking of changing limbo mechanics more?). I really can't see getting past early game, currently, without doing that; once villagers start having to drop tools and fight everything just starts to get more and more delayed (besides the losses and injuries).

 

Anyway, this was just a quick update to correct my remarks above, may come back with more thoughts. Keep up the good work. And I hope the Vive has been a fun break, but not *too* fun! ;-)

Edit: Oh, and while initially the early game frame rate bumpiness seemed a little better than InDev23, by the time I had ~80 villagers, ~40 golems (and ~500 monsters) it was regularly dropping to 1-3 fps (once all the essence was flying the the golems started pathing en-mass). Turned particles to "minimum", and "smooth", still pretty near unplayable ~30% of a day. (Desktop PC, Win7, AMD FX6100, GTX1060, Sata 3.0 SSD.)

Edit 2: reworded a bit.


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#8 ZeroGravitas

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Posted 10 December 2016 - 12:28 PM

Further update: I pushed through the slide-show frame rates and fully upgraded my castle. :)  Plus one of each of the other buildings.

 

WaA2Jwu.png

 

By the end here it became literally unplayable, at below 1fps much of the time (even zoomed in), especially in rain. F3 Debug mode, below. None of my CPU cores were actually maxed out, though (nor GPU, obviously).

FItKXWW.jpg

I hope you're able to keep making significant performance optimisations, because I'm definitely looking forwards to building out bigger, even more involved RPC cities.

With the nomads, I think you probably shouldn't scale up their numbers so much (or at all) over time (with village housing/defence growth, or whatever). Having them at a flatter (or lower capped) rate would necessitate a transition towards focusing on birth rate related population growth, which is nearly impossible early on, but could have a lot of encouragement/booster related building later on, when there's more slack in the essential work roles to be filled (which you have planned, I think). Also, it would keep the village population size more manageable, from a game performance perspective.
 

 

As for *why* they would want to expand, I'm honestly still working on that. Overall I'd like the ultimate goal to be to "control the entire map", although I'm unsure how to really motivate the players to want to do it rather than forcing them to do it out of necessity. It's a design flaw I actually see quite often in sim games with world maps (Sim City 4 suddenly comes to mind).

 

I really think that progress on subsequent maps should feed back to previously played one. Such that there is mental continuity; all one ongoing project (trick us into thinking we'll just be jumping into a new map for a bit, before coming back..). There should be some kind of major mechanic that has diminishing returns, such that you can't finish building up a map in isolation. Such that it will actually be quicker to start over and build up a whole new map, that to just try and brute force through (or straight out impossible).

 

You already have map-global bonuses, shown in that new efficiency system drop, so why not island wide bonuses from other maps. Sim City 4 had fairly arbitrary demand caps that forced you to build up neighbouring maps to relieve them (right?), is that what you were thinking of? So this has to feel less like that glass ceiling, and more like player is getting something genuinely additional.

 

Maybe like real world empires of old, minor cities have to pay 'tribute' to the capital. Some resources that enable it to grow bigger or specialise more with it's vocations (more abstract, less proverbial survival)...

 

Past a certain population villagers might start drifting away, emigrating (becoming nomads). Or being taken off (more frequently) by (unstoppable) flying monsters. Or just simply dying of disease (epidemics) that become more frequent with higher population, thinning out numbers...

 

Or, I suppose the map bonus could be a feed forwards process. If you were bing as brutal as your original remit: make map death inevitable, but give a significant boost to starting over on the next map (kinda like Adventure Capitalist's resetting global bonus), such that you get father, faster, before the inevitable demise. I'm definitely not keen on arbitrarily loosing a village build though. But it could maybe be a one-off timed objective that you will (almost) certainly miss first time around...

 

The way the castle has become such a big focus, I'm really wanting it to come under (unavoidable) siege, acting as a kind of ark to save (a certain number of) the population, and some resources to start over. Like a massive temporary invasion, or a freak atmospheric/celestial event. A planetary alignment, with/or a scorching sun that burns everyone up who's outside, plus all monsters and wood level buildings (and damages other buildings).

Hmm, I'm getting very unhelpfully vague and wishy-washy, here, sorry. Should go post the rest of my simple little suggestions.


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#9 Rayvolution

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Posted 27 December 2016 - 02:48 PM

Again, sorry for the slow reply. As I explained over on twitter, a mix of remodeling/moving into my new office and the holidays slowed me down, so I had to take time normally used to reply to these nice big feedback posts to recoup time lost actually developing. But now that the whole mess is slowing down, I'm finally regaining that extra time I had to tackle these big posts. :)

 

 


I'm getting very unhelpfully vague and wishy-washy, here, sorry. 

 

Hah, it's fine. I will say everything you posted is great feedback. Only problem is I keep coming back to this post trying to figure out "how" to reply with it, and I'm always lost trying to find an answer to that question. I've read the entire thread 3 times now, and made several notes for things to change either now or in the future though. The post itself is just fairly long and detailed (not in a bad way) that it's difficult to pull out and address specific points since most of it all sort of ties together.

 

I dug pretty deep into performance issues late game last week, dedicated about a week to just digging around in the code and optimizing (That's actually why my Twitter went pretty quiet about the new content, because there wasn't any!), I believe I've increased late game performance quite a bit. But it's hard to tell until I get some more players out there with villagers your sized playing in the next patch. But my early testing is showing a very decent improvement with many of the new search algorithms and AI tweaks I've done. I wish it was possible to benchmark the changes against your village, but sadly that's not possible since your save won't load in the current version.

 

I think once I release InDev 24 Stable, I'll dedicate a few minor patches to performance tuning for a while before starting in on InDev 25. I may even setup a system so players can submit their "laggy" villages to me so I can use them for benchmarking.

 

As for nomads, I've slapped a cap on them. Now no more than 10 can spawn at once, it'll take some play testing to see how that works out though. 

 

The original basic math was pretty straight forward, just take:

 

First random number between 0 and (3+(Current Day/4))

Second random number also between 0 and (3+(Current Day/4))
Combine the above results and add 1 (so the results are never 0)

 

So on say day 8, your nomad count can be between 1 and 11. (Random number between 0 and 5, plus a another random number between 0 and 5, plus 1).

 

The reason I use 2 random numbers this instead of something like a single random number between 0 and (6+(Current Day/2)) is to get "dice roll" probabilities, that will result in usually getting a number somewhere in the middle of the RNG, not far on the left or right side. So with the above math, I get between 1 and 11, averaging falling around 6. Rather than a random number between 1 and 11 and the results average being equal between 1 and 11.

 

http://gwydir.demon....ty/calcdice.htm

 

All I did was throw a cap on the above math, so any time the results are higher than 10, it knocks it down to 10. Meaning that late game you'll almost *always* get 10 (because the math above will almost always result in a number above 10 late-game). But Early game you'll still probably get the normal uncapped amount.

 

The original idea (and why there was no cap) was that as the map itself became overpopulated with monsters, you'd need more and more nomads to spawn to fight their way through, else they'd all just die. But it's not quite working out that way, so I tossed in the cap. We'll see what happens with play testing if that cap needs increased/decreased. :)

 

As for shoveling monsters into Limbo, you're right. That shouldn't need to happen. I've been rethinking the entire monster system as of late. Deeply considering tossing out a lot of the currently "spawn and slowly takeover" mechanics and redirecting it to a wave system of sorts, where monsters exist on the map (but aren't the main threat) and another mechanic kicks in to actually attack the village in a much more controllable way. I'm tempted to take a page for classic TDs and have a "wave" system that activates at night, although I need to avoid making it feel arcade-ish. This is just stuff sitting on the drawing board though, I can't say for sure if any of it will work, or if it will make it into the game at all. But a wave system would solve many of the game's problems, including a lot of late-game performance issues due to the huge numbers of semi-active monsters roaming about.

 

Anywho, if I didn't address something specific, feel free to poke me about it. I did read the entire thread though, and many of your comments I agree with and are already part of my "long game" plan, I just haven't gotten to the point I can refine them to work how I want. :)

 

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#10 ZeroGravitas

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Posted 28 December 2016 - 04:46 PM

Thanks for making the time to reply. Hope you've had a decent, festive, holiday so far too.

 

Good to hear that you've been plugging away at optimising, initially thankless as that is. Is it possible to bypass rebuilding via playing (taking ~2 days) by using sandbox instead? (Not used it much. Monsters different, etc?)

 

 

The original basic math was pretty straight forward, just take:

Oh right. I suppose simple to know what's going on, but isn't there a handy binomial/normal/Gaussian distribution function that you could have used instead?  :P  ;)  With tweakable parameters to bias the curve's peak position (or just scale it afterwards)... Or with your current system, wouldn't it be better to cap the 'Current Day' value used instead?

 

Not sure quite what you mean with a 'wave system', given that day/night cycle is already a kind of wave scheme. You mean, only a portion of the monsters get triggered at various stages of the night? (Hopefully spreading out their pathing AI demands.) I'm still feeling like having excess monsters (relative to villagers) 'evaporate' away somehow, dissipate exponentially, could help keep their numbers manageable for play and computation.

 

Anyway. I think you've addressed as much here as is appropriate, with you continuing to work on everything involved. Keep it up, and good luck figuring out the detail and getting it to work nicely. Hopefully I'll come back and bother you some more in another patch or two, depending on what gets added, etc. :) 


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#11 Rayvolution

Rayvolution
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Posted 28 December 2016 - 06:40 PM

Thanks for making the time to reply. Hope you've had a decent, festive, holiday so far too.

 

Good to hear that you've been plugging away at optimising, initially thankless as that is. Is it possible to bypass rebuilding via playing (taking ~2 days) by using sandbox instead? (Not used it much. Monsters different, etc?)

 

Oh right. I suppose simple to know what's going on, but isn't there a handy binomial/normal/Gaussian distribution function that you could have used instead?  :P  ;)  With tweakable parameters to bias the curve's peak position (or just scale it afterwards)... Or with your current system, wouldn't it be better to cap the 'Current Day' value used instead?

 

Not sure quite what you mean with a 'wave system', given that day/night cycle is already a kind of wave scheme. You mean, only a portion of the monsters get triggered at various stages of the night? (Hopefully spreading out their pathing AI demands.) I'm still feeling like having excess monsters (relative to villagers) 'evaporate' away somehow, dissipate exponentially, could help keep their numbers manageable for play and computation.

 

Anyway. I think you've addressed as much here as is appropriate, with you continuing to work on everything involved. Keep it up, and good luck figuring out the detail and getting it to work nicely. Hopefully I'll come back and bother you some more in another patch or two, depending on what gets added, etc. :)

 

Oh yeah, totally a million other probably better ways to do the nomads' final spawning math. This ways just a quick-fix to the overpopulation issue though. I tend to go back to this stuff and refine it later with better math when I have time.

 

There's actually a lot more going on in the nomad system than just the final calculation deciding how many are eventually spawned. The rate has many different factors that they in of themselves also add a lot more variation to how many you get overall from playing.

 

The chance the nomads would even spawn in the first place (before firing all the math I mentioned above) is based on;

 

- Vacant housing (This value is worth more in InDev 24 than 23)

- Overall village desirability (All of the buildings in the entire village's combined desirability score)

- Overall defense. (Towers, Golems, etc)

- and finally, added in InDev 24; Overpopulation (More people than available housing, will have a negative effect on their chances of appearing)

 

So, because of all those variables above, it wildly changes their average rates based on the player's play style. But, because of that, it may not really be necessary to complicate the final spawn count math as the above values (Especially the housing) can be used as a control for the player to encourage/discourage nomads.

 

As for the waves, I've been pondering the idea of instead of monsters all semi-randomly attacking you at night in large groups, there's a proper countdown timer that once fired, will tell <N> amount of monsters of a certain type (or types) to attack, and inform the player when it happens.

 

For example, say you're playing on Day 3, once night falls a countdown timer will start (and the timer will be random). Once the timer hits 0, you'll get a banner message that "A large hoard of Zombies are attacking!" at the same moment the zombies are flagged to attack the village. In later days, there will be larger, stronger or more waves.

 

This will allow me a lot more control on difficulty scaling, and prevent some of the unfair situations from popping up, where just by dumb luck players get massive unmanageable hoards of monsters simply because the RNG was cruel that night.

 

From a code standpoint, that style of wave system would actually be very simple to program. I could have it working in a day or two. But it's more a question of if it's the right direction for the game, or if it feels too "Arcade-y" or "Tower Defense-y". ;)


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