Real Time and Technology trees

Is what I’ve been working on recently.

January is an exam heavy month so a lot of time was spent outside of the office working for cold, hard immediate cash but I did find some time to keep the Free Company fires burning. The grand strategy layer has now been moved over completely to a controllable real time based system (though the amount of time that each thing takes to do still requires much careful balancing). Instead of having to hit ‘end turn’ to advance progress you can just unpause and watch events play out at whatever time speed you like. This system will be further upgraded (probably soon) with a system of notifications that pause the game and automatically present you with some information when some important event occurs (lore research complete, building constructed etc).

Parallel to that I’ve also been building up the lore research sub-system gradually working out new technologies and what buildings, skills, items and further technologies they unlock. The tech tree helps provides a kind of narrative to the strategy layer and some interesting prioritisation choices when multiple projects are available simultaneously. As in X-com I plan to gate some lore/technology based on the discovery or ‘recovery’ of certain items from the tactical battle component. It is just one way that helps tie your actions in the two layers together in a deeper way than just a win/loss dynamic.

My todo list informs me that I also have tasks coming up to work on a proper injury system for mercenaries, the aforementioned notification system and some more work on buildings.

Inspiration wise I’ve been drawing on a few new games recently that I’ve finally gotten round to playing in the post x-mas period.They are  Eador: Genesis (a HOMM-alike with excellent AI) and Dark Souls (a properly rewarding and challenging action RPG with a classic D&D inspired melancholic mythos). I heartily recommend either.

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5 responses to “Real Time and Technology trees

  • Stian Stark

    What kind of research system do you have planned? Is research basically a thing you sink money in and the more you spend the faster new tech gets out, or do you need special units to do the researching? Or something completely different?

    Also, we demand more screenshots! 🙂

  • Dan Lawrence

    Yeah, I need to put out some screens but this poking around in menus UI stuff, while necessary, is a little unglamorous to look at 🙂

    The research system as planned doesn’t actually cost any money at the moment, instead you will be able to devote some of your mercenaries to it on a per project basis with the fringe benefit that it will also act as a method to train up a skill. You can also assign nobody to it and it’ll just tick along at your base research rate/divide by the number of projects on the go (that base rate is currently determined by what buildings you’ve built so I guess there is a bit of money sink there).

    For example, if you pick to research ‘Advanced Alchemy’ and stick your mercenary Sneaky Bob on the project to help speed it along he’ll also train up at half, or quarter, normal training speed towards the ‘alchemist’ skill. That skill perhaps helps him to use poisons or other concoctions more effectively in the tactical battles. Conversely if you’ve already trained Sneaky Steve as an alchemist and assign him to the ‘Advanced Alchemy’ project he’ll be a much more effective researcher and add a bigger bonus to the project research rate.

    I’m not sure if it’ll all end up meshing together properly but the principle is to give mercenaries something else to do when not on contracts, in the perhaps vain hope that I manage to make group composition meaningful enough that you will naturally gravitate toward different mercenary setups for different types of contract.

  • Stian Stark

    Sounds good! So is your mercenary home base a sort of worker placement system where you drop recruits on buildings to do certain types of work like research, crafting etc?

  • Dan Lawrence

    Yep, pretty much.

    So far I have it planned at a basic level so that the various systems (research, manufacturing weapons) work without assigning mercenaries but adding a mercenary will speed up the process. I’m considering expanding that later so that a mercenary with certain skills might be required to unlock extra options (unique crafting recipies, special techs).

  • Stian Stark

    Nifty! I think the importance of feeling attached to the units you own cannot be understated and it’s stuff like being able to make one unit your smith and another your alchemist that make this stronger. It’d be super awesome if units could also have a comprehensive trait system like some roleplaying games (GURPS, HARN come to mind) do that could further individualize them. Instead of just relying on statistics like charisma and attack skill, a character could develop a trait called “extreme cruelty (-3 charisma, +3 attack skill)”, which is a lot more interesting than just giving those modifiers to the stats. Just a thought.

    Anyway, reading about this game makes me realize there’s not a single thing I don’t like, you seem to be making all the right choices. 🙂

    Cheers and keep at it!

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