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Feedback Needed: A slight design paradigm shift into more player control.
9 replies to this topic - Started By Rayvolution, Jul 06 2017 02:34 PM

#1 Rayvolution

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Posted 06 July 2017 - 02:34 PM

Greetings fellow players,

For a while now, I've been debating a paradigm shift in Rise to Ruins. This is mostly a result of everyone's feedback. There are many features in Rise to Ruins that are heavily requested, but I usually respond with a polite "no" and explain myself. The reason provided is Rise to Ruins is intended to be a Godlike Village Simulator, with as little "Village Management" as I can get away with. The core philosophy of Rise to Ruins is a "Hands off" approach, similar to some of the game's grandfathers, like the game Black and White.

Many of these features requested are completely reasonable, wouldn't be hard to code in, and would make the game much more fun. They just don't fall under my vision of what a "godlike" is.

A very common counterargument I hear when I tell people "no" is that "You already have a ton of direct control, like placing buildings or assigning workers". Guess what? They're absolutely correct! Would it even take away from the godlike elements to allow a little more? Likely not.

My only concern is losing the godlike charm seen in games like Black and White while also adding some of the management roles seen in games like Town, Rimworld and Banished. But, I think it still can, and of course, the end goal is for everyone to enjoy playing anyway.

Here's a few examples of some of the requested features I get constantly, that I turn down and the reasoning behind it. These are some of the things I may change my mind on, depending on your feedback to this post.

1. "I would like to be able to select what building can, and can't store"

This one simply feels like way too much direct control. You're a god, you should not be able to explicitly tell your villagers where to store things.

2. "I would like to be able to configure my towers to attack closest, farthest, lowest hit point, or highest hit point monsters"

Like above, it feels like too much direct control. It's not up to you to decide how they fire, it's up to the villagers (in reality, the AI for each tower is configured to what I feel is best. But players may disagree with my choices and want something different)

3. "I want to control storage distribution priority."

Somewhat in line with number 1. Another reasonable setting. Again, I set these things based on my own personal opinion what is best, and again, this is something players may disagree with me on and want to change themselves, in-game.

4. "I want to control how much of items are made"

This is a big one, currently the system uses a ton of algorithms to decide how much tools, armor, items and everything else is made. The system is completely autonomous. Just like all the others, I feel this is how it should be as a godlike, because god does not get to decide what the villagers do with their resources.

Now the great thing about adding everything I mentioned, is many of these will work just like they do now anyway, the only difference is you'll be given control to change them. So while it increases micromanagement, it'll only increase micromanagement for players who decide to do it.

Going down this path may result in an even more entertaining game. But it will cause a subtle paradigm shift in the long term development, pushing it a little closer to more traditional village simulators, like Towns, Rimworld, Banished and Gnomoria.

Please, let me know down in the comments what you think, and vote in this Strawpoll with your final overall answer.
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#2 owen

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Posted 07 July 2017 - 05:24 AM

Personally I don't care if it's a god game, a village manager or whatever.  If it's strategically interesting you can make up whatever genre you want for it.  You say that a god shouldn't be able to tell villagers what to do with their resources; I ask why he should even direct construction.  My point is that handcuffing yourself by trying to fit the game into a genre is not a good idea, in my opinion. The core mechanic seems to be that you can assign villagers roles and tell them to build structures but you can't precisely order them like you would in an RTS. And there is magic involved. So, just design the game around that.


It's also not only about simply giving the player finer control for the sake of giving him things to do.  Those well-written negative reviews that you get say that the game is boring because it's tedious and repetitive.  The game needs more impactful decision making and variety on each playthrough.  For example, having more control over resource flow as suggested in points 1 and 3 goes doesn't really make the game more strategically interesting.  It just makes it production more efficient. On the other hand, if you were to add dozens of legendary items that could be crafted, for example, then controlling which items are made as you suggest in point 4 would be a welcome change.


As the game is now, I don't care about points 2 and 4 because more control in either of these areas isn't required to "win".  With a bit of planning, job assignment, and use of the all-powerful grab spell, it's possible to direct resource flow, so 1 and 3 aren't really necessary, either.

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#3 KyoShinda

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 10:19 PM

Hey! It's been a while since I played but I'm back. I'm probably going to play it a little before I give some deeper feedback on a subject like this.


I do like a little bit of control over the village, like maybe a DEFCON level (villager caution) and setting tower priority. What I do like about the way it is already is that it does eliminate micromanaging and that can help the flow of the game.

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#4 Kiyalynn

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Posted 08 July 2017 - 11:07 PM

I feel that there are far too many things the player does to order villagers around for me to consider your game anything but management with god like second as it is.... I honestly thought it was suppose to be a management game.

I have to compare the idea of 'god-like' to Reus, a game where you play a set of gods and your only interaction is to place the landscape and resources for the planet's population to use. You have zero control over the villagers but instead effect how they develop by the quality of resources around the villages. For this reason, I consider everything but god powers to be in the management category. Your game so far, has limited god powers, to the point the player could choose NOT to use them and still survive, that tells me this is a management game, as a god game would mean the god powers MUST be used.

I look at this game and given its current design, I personally don't think this game has the capability to be a true 'god-like'. God like doesn't bring up the ideas of me directing villagers to build my prefect maze with dug ditches in the lanes or managing their 'day and night' cycles to expand during the day and rest at night like. I have to add, that having to Miro-manage the clearing of FLOWERS, rocks, and trees before a building can be placed on an area is more management than town managers such as Banished, where villagers go clear the land after you choose the location for a building.

God like would mean minimal interaction with the villagers, and I don't see that in this game.

On top of all the the management parts of the game that aren't god like... there is the idea that an ai for this type of 'survival' game, could be smart enough to make the player happy leaving them to their devices, to me that is far fetched, and I don't mean that as a dis to your programing skills. Its just the fact that AI's are the hardest to program, and every game I have ever seen the AI is flawed... it simply cannot account for every probability every event and come up with a good answer. From villagers getting trapped between a wall and a rock or when a tree grows on the path they won't go chop it down to get out but instead stand there and starve.Then there's my favorite the villager that randomly decides to wander out though the entire maze and just hang out there like it was some sort of thrill (that villager died a horrible death because they were so dumb I wasn't going to save them). These are problems that will frustrate players, and the less ability the player has to direct villagers 'save' themselves the more frustrating they become (I don't' want to spend my god powers constantly to 'rescue' dumb villagers). Another AI problem for god-like is things like the tool smith and armor smith using all the Iron bars when there is plenty of tools and armor rather than saving some for towers, I solved that problem by simply not building either of the smiths as not having an Iron stockpile is a fatal mistake.

The problem with going God like instead of management is it puts far more pressure on the villager's AI being smarter. After all, if you had less control to harvest minerals... and villagers are constantly opening holes in the rock/forest walls it wouldn't be much fun to play, so you put the 'management' into that and have players tell villagers where to harvest, This could be fixed with 'farms' for resources a place able mine or wood farm, but then your switching the player from choosing what to harvest... to choosing to build the building which isn't god like either.

If you went god-like, more things should be automatic. Such as the tedious job of upgrading roads one at a time. That should be build a way maker and they auto upgrade paths. Villagers should upgrade buildings, find their own jobs,automatically harvest materials from nearby when needed (like I turned off gathering water because I had piles of dirty water on the map, and then none of the villagers bothered to start harvesting again when the purifiers were empty and they all dehydrated). The problem with taking the player out of this stuff is then... what does the player do, if not manage the game?

I also feel I should point out to people... that god-like games, ARE management games. You have to manage your god powers, your influence. Debating this is a subtle difference, just changing one type of management for another.

I for one, vote forget the genre's as regardless as to what subcategory it fits, its a management game.... go with what makes the game fun. After all, the most important thing is for a game to be entertaining and fun.
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#5 8uur

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 03:52 PM

  Everything depends on how exactly you want to develop this game. If you don't feel player should have so much direct control over the village you should add to the game better tools for player to indirectly control it. Said that, I think that lorewise it would be sensible to be able to directly control structures that require Crystals(Magic) to operate. Towers are already unmmaned so as magical constructs give God ability to tell them how to behave. 
  You should also make Player busy playing the game. Right now in lategame there is nothing to do, while early game is way to easy. 
  Expand early survival game based on monsters: with start of every map game would randomise seriers of predefined scripts that would modify game monster spawning making player to set up his defenses against cartain enemies throughout the ongoing session map; ie. more horde, singular strong enemies, flyers, horde flayers, ranged enemies etc. During ongoing sessions introduce more and more chalanges untill player is able to secure whole map or get trampled over. 
  Add natural disasters ( as planned anyway ), rare boss spawns, world wide upgrades/enchantments, more weapons for common folk, artifacts (tool articafts would be cool), combat classes and expand map size. 
  Maybe it could be possible to make so that every started village would be played simunateusly. Corruption of evil could slowly spread throughout world. In such world forntier villages would be about trench defense and slow reclamation of land. While secure worlds would pump out resources neccessery to maintain high level equipment pivotal in offense. 
  This is how I was imagining this game in few years. 

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#6 owen

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Posted 15 July 2017 - 08:02 AM

Then again you could just make the AI build the village and assign tasks itself.  The player could influence the development of the village through divine inspiration, spells, and other forms of intervention.

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#7 Dryton

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 01:37 PM

Hi Ray, I feel you're doing great with the way it's going.  My suggestion (from a design point of view) would be to stay the path, create the game you intended to design.  Once it's complete make it possible for people to create their own mods later or introduce new functionality / game mode with updates.  Keep up the great work.


Best regards,



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#8 abc

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Posted 23 July 2017 - 09:28 PM

I completely agree with you. I don't like micromanaging too much in games, and this is a unique approach to a village simulator.
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#9 Woogity

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 12:14 PM

I think the game should be balanced and designed around not needing to micro-manage these things, but that maybe they should be options for more replayability, and more creative ways to play. Especially with things like tower priority, trying to make unique or hyper-efficient defenses might be a fun way to challenge yourself when playing the game many many times over.


I would say that if you can get a slight edge out of micro-managing things and make the game easier on yourself if you want, that could be a good thing. If you can get a large edge, then the AI should be changed to address that. 

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#10 espresso

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 04:03 PM

"Now the great thing about adding everything I mentioned, is many of these will work just like they do now anyway, the only difference is you'll be given control to change them. So while it increases micromanagement, it'll only increase micromanagement for players who decide to do it."


You said it best here. You can continue to support a hand off approach to all aspects of the game, while also including the option for more micro-intensive control. I think this would make the game much more enjoyable for different types of people.


There are those who prefer not to think about balancing resources and ratios, and that is why you have the algorithm determining production and such. But there are also those who enjoy figuring out and optimizing ratios, production, storage, etc. You can cater to both groups by allowing a kind of "manual" control button for certain parts of the game.




I posted a suggestion thread a few minutes ago (hope you read it) and one of the proposed improvements was the ability to "direct" or "guide" or "motivate" guards to move to a location instead of having to build multiple outposts in the direction you want them to move.

This is partially in the direction of more "control" but you can keep both parties happy by keeping guards autonomous while allowing the "option" to guide them to a location if a player wants to.




That is just an example but I hope you see my point. You can maintain your hand off design approach while implementing an optional "manual" control for various aspects of the game to cater to those who enjoy more micro.

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