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11
AtG - General Discussion / Re: Issues and suggestions V23 alpha
« Last post by clayffo on April 05, 2018, 08:11:51 PM »


. I don't have problems with fishing either, not sure what the difficulty you are running into could be- I think I always click on the fishing boat (perhaps the first selected thing will be the camp, just click again to cycle to the fishing boat) and move with the numeric keypad onto the water. I think you have a good idea for besieging though.

The thing about fishing is that I learn the skill and then the skill is always greyed out.  I can have multiple livestock guys at level 8 and none of them will train the skill.  Oddly enough, I can train a trawler to improve fishing, but I cannot train a tribe to do it.
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AtG - Developer Updates / Re: April 2018 Update - Playtest Report
« Last post by Hunter on April 05, 2018, 02:06:03 AM »
All sounds very interesting. Let us know when you want us to jump back in to playtesting.
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AtG - Developer Updates / April 2018 Update - Playtest Report
« Last post by Jon Shafer on April 04, 2018, 03:49:23 PM »
Hey all,

As I'm working on the diplomacy system the next few updates will follow along with my broader playtesting efforts, which I try to spend at least an hour on every day. Along the way I'll be detailing what's in the game, what needs work, and most important of all: what it's actually like to play AtG. The format will more or less follow my own internal notes that I use to log what happened while playing, what decisions I made and why, and then in a couple weeks I'll post another update with some analysis of how different aspects of the game are working and what might need attention based on my recent playtesting.

(Note: this playtest is for the March 5th Group Game that's now available in the latest Steam build, and it's quite a fun one so if you already have access to the game I might recommend holding off on reading this post until you've had a chance to play.)

This first "chapter" of the playtest report is a turn-by-turn account of the game. I end this post on turn 43, which might sound like a weird number but ended up being a natural stopping point given in-game events that I won't spoil just yet. We'll pick up the story of this game in May's update, so stay tuned!



March 5 Group Game Playtest - Turn Log





Our very, very dry starting location




Our initial lineup of clans.


Turn 1 … April 400 AD ... Nothing pushing me too far in any particular direction right off the bat, so going to start with an Explorer and plan on training Clan Adelmar (level 5 in Discovery) as a Surveyor. Clan Ulfert being both Adaptable (no extra training for switching Disciplines) and Eager (-1 turn to train) will definitely come in handy, and since my Explorer will definitely be retrained within a couple years I decide to make them my initial Explorer.

Turn 2 … New Clan Ahlert (Adventurous, meaning extra movement and vision but unable to Dig In for a defensive bonus or Encamp to avoid supply damage during the winter) is sowell-suited to being an Explorer I just can't resist - time to add another! This is probably a bad idea, but whatever. One of the things I like about AtG is that it sometimes will push you into trying new things, and this is a good example. First Explorer will head southeast and wheel clockwise back to the Settlement, the second will start northwest and do the same.

Turn 3 … New Clan Wilmot (Intimidating, meaning no other Clans on the tile may commit crimes, and Obedient, which means no extra training time for switching Disciplines but gains XP slower) will make a solid Gatherer, as we'll want to retrain them as something else before too long. Looks like the NW passage might be sealed off by bandits, but we'll find out shortly.




Bandit Central. We'll need to be polite and pay the neighbors a visit some day...


Turn 4 … Nope, not sealed off! Can just barely sneak through. That bandit camp will be a pain though. Just realized that Clan Habel, which is quite bad at a lot of other things (due to being Esteemed, and thus double training time in Agriculture, Livestock, and Metalworking Professions) would make a great Wood Collector, especially given that they're also Efficient (+50% Resource Production). Also going to start heading towards Archers, since it seems we have a couple of uppity bandit camps nearby that should be cleared out before too long. The 30 Wealth I got from the goody hut to the SE will be helpful in buying more Weapons.

Turn 5 … June 400 … I find two Tribes to my east. Kind of annoying given that it seems like a lot of good resources are over in this area, but by focusing on Archers early I should be able to maintain the advantage (though with the AI still a WIP I doubt there will be much real competition in this game). Going to have the Surveyor head south to the plants first, as this will allow me to start surveying immediately, then move onto the mineral to the east. My Gatherer can survey the plant north of my Settlement during the winter once its unable to continue foraging Berries.

Turn 6 … First Caravan has nothing particularly special, though the Stone on sale is kind of tempting (Caravans can have special deals, both surpluses on discount and shortages which offer extra cash if you're willing to sell) - will hold onto my money though, as this will allow me to buy more Weapons later. Only 3 Weapons for sale! Geeze. [Fixed this by increasing the amount for sale to 5. This is the nice thing about being the designer: if I run into something I find annoying in the game I can fix it in real time! I originally had this number really small so that players couldn't easily buy up an arsenal, but changes to the economy make this less of an issue in the current version of the game.]

Turn 7 … Decided to go for a Wood Bundler, as it provides a large multiplier on Timber foraged by Wood Collectors, and together will allow me to stockpile a bunch of Timber fairly early. Not sure what I'll do with it yet, but if nothing else I can sell them in order to afford other stuff I need early on.

Turn 8 … New Clan Ottokar is also Esteemed! Should make a pretty good Wood Bundler though (makes me wonder if noble clans should be alright with Crafting professions... hmmm). Couple of goody huts to the southwest are guarded at a chokepoint by bandits. Probably worth the risk though! I contemplate if it's worth having my Wood Collector hold off on Foraging until my Wood Bundler is online, but in the end I decide to simply go for it.




The whole area is pretty flat and dry.


Turn 9 … First Archer is done! Where to send them… First order of business is probably protecting our Surveyor to the south, as there are bandits not too far off.

Turn 10 … Starting to run out of Clans... Just discovered some Flax to the south, so going to pack up this turn and move S-SE in order to grab the Flax and a still-unidentified mineral. Would like to besiege the bandit camp with my Archer, but they outnumber me, so no dice (you need to outnumber the enemy army in order to besiege them, which is usually a really good idea since you can cut off their supply and destroy them without taking any damage). So, yeah, gotta get another Archer online ASAP! So much to do… Might be time to start thinking about bringing one or both of my Explorers home, since I need some more folks working. Speaking of which, my Explorer to the SW has successfully snuck around the Bandits and now has two Abandoned Ruins to feast upon next turn. Woohoo! In terms of research I think it's time to start going after that Flax soon, but winter will be setting in before too long, so it might make sense to wait until next year and have my next Clan become an Archer.

Turn 11 … September 400 … The first Ruins site contains… Bandits! Oh dear. Let's hope our intrepid Clan Ahlert (Explorer) can remain alert and make it out alive. It's going to be tricky now though, as our friend is now quite pinned into a tight little corner of the map, surrounded on all sides.




Not looking good for Clan Ahlert!


Turn 12 … Ahlert managed to avoid being attacked! Phew. Would have been really bad if we'd gotten stuck, as losing a clan this early would have really, really hurt. Now to grab the other Ruins and escape. And the second Ruins provides us with… 10 Weapons! Wow. Quite a haul, and definitely one we can make use of - too bad I already spent all of my Wealth buying the new Caravan's supply. Oh well, can definitely make use of them anyways (especially now that it's possible to spend Weapons to 'Fortify' Structures and increase their Control (Border) range). Our Wood Bundler is now online, providing us a massive +9 Timber per turn. Time to start having Clan Wilmot (Gatherer) survey for a bit, as we've just hit 24 turns of Food (and beyond that you suffer spoilage, so it's quite inefficient to keep driving that number up higher and higher). Training Clan Ewout as an Archer is going to take forever, but whatever. We need more Archers and we don't have a lot of options. Not gonna be doing a lot for the next few turns while we wait!

Turn 13 … Clan Adelmar (Surveyor) finds... GOLD! Wow. This game should be fun. And it might be time to start thinking about changing my plans. The Flax suddenly seems a lot less interesting now. Clan Ulfert (Explorer) has just about returned from the north, which will give us a solid new Clan to train. Maybe a 3rd Archer is in order?




GOLD!


Turn 14 … Going to bank some progress towards researching Woodcarvers while I wait for my current Archer to finish - once that's wrapped up we can move on to getting that Gold Mine online. The question is, do we want to make it out of Stone? (Timber-based Structures degrade after a year or two, while Stone-based Structures last forever, and are thus a huge upgrade - but extremely expensive to bring online.) This should be a tough question in the game, and at the moment I think it is, although it will take more balance testing to say for sure. It's incredibly hard getting enough Stone Blocks to get the thing online, but the fact that it's 10 Wealth per turn until the end of time… well, that's hard to pass up. Let's see how hard it actually is to pull off! Really should have bought that Stone on discount a while back… Our plan will be to buy normal Stone from the Caravan, then have a Stone Cutter turn it into Stone Blocks ourselves. I think having someone speed up our research would be quite handy though, so we'll take a detour towards Lorekeepers.

Turn 15 … Getting really cold and Clan Ahlert (Explorer) is Adventurous… meaning they can't Encamp. Oh yeah. Damn. Well, that complicates things. Time to get home ASAP! Wish I'd known that before. What a brutal-but-fun trait. [This is where some of the roguelike elements of the game really shine, IMO, although I know not everyone will feel the same way. Sometimes you just get bad traits or bad clans and that's the way it is. Figuring out how to make the best of them is part of the game though.]

Turn 16 … Lots of plants to the SW. Should be useful down the road.

Turn 17 … December 400 … Clan Adelmar (Surveyor) uncovers... Sheep. Seems I have the potential for quite the Cloth engine, between these little guys and the Flax I found earlier. That said, there's only so much you can do at once in this game, and with my attention focused on getting that Gold Mine online it'll probably be some time before Cloth enters the equation. Clan Ulfert (Explorer) is trapped in a Blizzard! Well, at least they can Encamp. Clan Ahlert (Explorer) has been quite lucky, and hugging the mild-weather coast has thus far avoided any additional supply damage. As I suspected early on training two Explorers probably wasn't the best idea, but finding the Ruins to the south paid off at least. A bandit has left the camp to the SW, so it seems it's about time for the bad boys to start stirring up trouble.

Turn 18 … Second Archer is finally online! Of course it's now late December, and no one is going anywhere to do anything particularly useful. A new Clan (Ingel) has also finally joined… and happens to also be Adventurous (no Digging In, no Encamping). Great. Given how harsh the winters here are I'm not going to be holding my breath in terms of everyone getting to go run off all the time like they seem to want to. Gonna be a while before another Clan shows up though (7 turns), so it's definitely time to start thinking about how to increase my Fame. Unfortunately Ingel doesn't look like they'll make a very good Archer, so I'm in a bit of a bind there. Making them Miners for the Gold probably makes the most sense, since they don't need as much time to train in active professions.

Turn 19 … Nothing much to report this turn. In the dead of winter. Don't even have anything to train in the Settlement (which isn't great from a game design perspective - will be addressed!). [Despite my earlier comments, I now realize that it might actually make sense to train Clan Ingel as another Archer - despite their inherent weaknesses in the role, they could at least stay within our borders during the winter. Might make sense to give the player the option to write notes upon saving and exiting, in order to remind themselves of what they might have wanted to do before.]




The dead of winter.


Turn 20 … Both Explorers finally return from their adventures, and Clan Ahlert is chosen to become our Lorekeeper (although not started yet in our reloaded version of the game where I went back and turned Clan Ingel into an Archer).

Turn 21 … Not sure what to train this turn. Clan Ulfert (the Adaptable Explorers) as a Stone Cutter once that's done in 4 turns? Might make sense.

Turn 22 … Finally time to begin the siege of the bandit camp! The weather in the area just turned, so we no longer need to worry about supply. [Picking the game back up on this turn after a long hiatus, and I'm now realizing I really should have left myself some notes before taking a break. Think I'll add a "Add notes before you quit?" prompt to help alleviate this.] We definitely need to start thinking about what our next source of food will be, as the Berries are only going to take us so far. The vast field of wheat to the south is quite appealing, but pretty far away. It might be time to spend some Weapons and Fortify my Settlement (increasing its Control range), as that would definitely help. I could also use this turn as an opportunity to move south towards my prize. I decide to Fortify first, spending 5 of my 8 Weapons on the task. I can then retrain Clan Wilmot (Gatherer) into a Farmer and start bringing in a ton of Food - our current stockpile (14 turns) should last long enough to get the Farm online. I shift Clan Ewout (Archer) west to protect Clan Wilmot as they finish surveying.

Turn 23 … March 401 … Time to pack up and move south. Not much else to do this turn. The siege continues.

Turn 24 … Warm again! Just as in real life it's nice to see the color return to the landscape. A wounded marauding bandit appears to the west (Slaves actually - interesting!), making my placement of Clan Ewout (Archer) quite fortuitous. Clan Adelmar (Surveyor) uncovers a Large Herd of Deer, which probably won't factor much into my plans. I'd really like to start surveying some more minerals in order to grab Stone or Coal, but nothing is too well-placed at the moment. A rock to the northwest is too close to a bandit camp for comfort, although Clan Adelmar could always help out on this front. Caravan has just arrived, and it's time to trade a ton of Timber for Stone (and some Parchment to help out with training as well). Going to switch Clan Ulfert (Explorer) over to Crafting in preparation for them starting their task as Stone Cutters next turn.

Turn 25 … Looks like a new bandit has spawned on the besieged camp. This would normally be incredibly annoying, but since I actually have 3 Archers it shouldn't hurt me much. Gonna have to send Clan Adelmar (Surveyor) to a herd of animals to the west rather than the mineral to the northwest, but so it goes. New Clan Askan starts with 3 levels in Crafting… how handy! Can now use Clan Ulfert for something else. Making them my Gold Miners seems like kind of a waste though, given how flexible they are. Maybe this is a job for Adelmar instead? Lines up nicely with finishing the Metalworking Tech next turn, giving them a head start.

Turn 26 … The new bandit attacks us! And the battle does not go well for them at all. Time to find new trees for Clan Habel (Wood Collector) to chop. The northeast is a bit unguarded, but will have to do for now.

Turn 27 … Our bandit camp is starting to feel the effects of the siege. Shouldn't be much longer before we can wipe them out. We definitely need to start thinking about how to increase our Fame, as the pace at which Clans are arriving is incredibly slow now. With our Vast Wheat Farm online coming soon a Feast Master is probably the right fit. Maybe something for our versatile Clan Ulfert to do? Bringing a second Stone Cutter online for a bit might not be a bad idea though, as waiting 20 turns for our 20 Stone to turn into 20 Stone Blocks seems brutal.




The siege.


Turn 28 … Clan Ingel (Archer) joins our combined army, which is just about ready to pounce. This will be just in time as well, as it's time to retrain Clan Wilmot (Gatherer) as a Farmer. Our Stone Block operation is now active as well - and once we get our Gold Mine online we should have a nice, steady stream of Stone Blocks for the foreseeable future.

Turn 29 … June 401 … Bandit Camp cleared out! Thanks to our successful siege we take zero casualties as well. Wondering if it might be time to start dismantling my Timber operation in order to repurpose the Clans its monopolizing.

Turn 30 … That final bandit makes a suicide charge at us. Still 2 more turns until the Wheat Farm is online… yikes. This winter might be close. Might need to retrain someone as a Hunter or something just to get by. Wiping out that Bandit Camp gave us 20 Wealth which we can use to buy a bunch of fun stuff. First off is some Tools for our second Stone Carver, and another 10 Stone for him to make use of. I send Clan Ingel (Archer) south to finish exploring our little corner of the map, and discover an unemployed Neutral Farmer (Clan Everard). Hello there, stranger! I think it might be time for us to start farming some Flax! The remaining Archers fan out to the northeast and northwest to fortify our secured area. I'd like to go after that Slave Camp to the northwest, but there's probably not enough time left in the year to take a shot at it - something to look into in 402. Before we end the turn I decide to try upgrading Clan Ulfert from level 1 to 3 in Crafting before starting to train them as Stone Cutters. It'll cost me 1 Parchment but save me a turn, which is probably worth it. I decide to start researching Watchmen instead of Woodcarvers, as I kind of feel like it'd be cool to expand. Might not be the smartest idea, but oh well!

Turn 31 … Okay, time to decide: a second wheat farm, or a flax farm? We are running low on Food and can always convert the surplus into Fame and Alcohol. Probably a safer bet than starting to invest in Flax, which I can't really use yet anyways. Fine, we'll play it safe for now.

Turn 32 … Seems that was a good idea, as our food surplus after getting the vast wheat farm online is still only 1.2. Yikes. Okay, maybe we will need a Woodcarver to increase our Fame rather than a Feast Master… Archers are spreading out and securing the perimeter - everything looks safe for now.

Turn 33 … Up to 2.7 Food per turn with the second Wheat Farm online. Looking better now. Will need to invest more in our Food infrastructure in 402 though. Time to train Clan Adelmar as a Miner… oh wait, I forgot to buy an extra Tool from the Caravan. Great. [Jon proceeds to cheat to remove enough Timber from his stockpile to have afforded to buy 1 Tool.] This definitely reminds me why base Professions shouldn't need fancy Resources to train… [Will get into this more in the next update post.]




The Goths are expanding!


Turn 34 … Bandit launches a surprise attack on Clan Ewout (Archer) in the northeast. Was not expecting that, but the bad little boy is dispatched without trouble. Good thing I had my perimeter fence in place! New Clan joins: Eldric, who is Obedient but Impatient. A bit annoying, but should still be useful. Next Clan arrives in 10 turns, so we have a bit of a wait ahead of us. Woodcarver time? Will require 10 Tools though, so gonna need to pay the final Caravan of the year quite a visit. Might be easier to just retrain Clan Ulfert (Stone Cutter) into a Blacksmith and convert the little stockpile of Iron I already have. But I need another 6 turns of him in his current job. Hmmm. I can probably make things work if I sell off some other stuff, as I really want to buy up every piece of Stone I can.

Turn 35 … September 401 … Miner is ready, but the Stone Blocks are not. Hurry up and wait… Starting to wonder if it might make sense to declare a kingdom soon. With my massive amount of Wealth coming in I should be able to buy the Parchment I need, and the huge boost in Fame would definitely be welcome at this point. I could settle down out west near all the Unidentified Plants, and Fortify my Gold Mine in order to grab the nearby Flax and Sheep. Only challenge with that setup is that I would have no reliable source of Timber. Might be worth setting up a Watchtower in the dense forest to the east (once the AI is online this won't be so easy though, and would likely require a war - exciting!). Or it might just be better to move my Settlement over there and set up a Stone Block-based Woodworks the old-fashioned way.

Turn 36 … Last Caravan of the year. I sell Timber in order to buy enough Cloth to raise my popcap, and decide to trade in my raw Iron for Tools in order to get my Woodcarver online (I have JUST enough to afford this). I spend a Parchment to continue training up Clan Eldric in Crafting.




The known world.


Turn 37 … Not much to do this turn, for once! Nothing to train even. I decide to use this as an opportunity to pack up and move my Settlement east so that my Wood Collector can continue foraging for Timber throughout the winter - I could actually move all the way as far as I need to in order to get my stone-based Woodworks up in the ideal spot in the large forest, but that moves my Settlement out of range of the Gold Mine, so I'm unfortunately unable to kill multiple birds with one stone.

Turn 38 … I can, however, at least move up a bit to the NE to cover my Wood Collector this turn, when things have turned cold and removed his free supply. We finish researching Woodcarvers, but Clan Eldric will still take 5 turns to train because of his unfortunate set of traits, so I decide to level him up with Parchment one more time. For my next research project I go with Bread Makers, as increasing my Food production will allow me to do a number of other things (e.g. Feast Master, Ale Maker). I pull back my picket Archers so that they don't take supply damage.

Turn 39 … Moved some units around, but that's about it. Farms are now offline, but we have 19 turns of Food in the bank, so things are looking pretty good on that front for the next year. The real question is how to get the next batch of 20 Stone Blocks for my Woodworks. Waiting 20 turns for my soon-to-be-solo Stone Cutter is a bit… eh. We can probably just brute force it with the help of our Gold Mine, so I won't worry about it too much for now. I'm starting to think that turning Wood into Coal into Stone Blocks might not be a bad way to go. A bit roundabout, but doable, and would require only 3 Clans in total to bring in 2 Stone Blocks per turn. To get things online sooner I abort my Bread Maker research to start on Coal Maker, as I want to get Clan Ulfert (Stone Cutter) working ASAP.

Turn 40 … We start switching Clan Ulfert over to Metalworking. We will finally have 20 Stone Blocks and can start on our Gold Mine next turn!




The settled clans of our tribe.


Turn 41 … December 401 … As I start working on the Gold Mine I realize that I'll also be able to assign Apprentices to the Mine, allowing me to really supercharge my economy (Apprentices are Clans in the same Profession as the Clan which built the Structure, and basically increase output by an additional 100%. Only Stone Structures can be assigned Apprentices). The cost is simply another Miner and 10 Alcohol. Think I know what I need to buy next! So many different things to do in this game - one of the big reasons why I love playing it so much.

Turn 42 … Someone new (Clan Warren) finally joins us! And wow, are they built for battle: Wild and Tough, giving them extra Power, Morale, and reducing the Damage they suffer in combat by half. Damn. Makes me want to knock some heads together. Might be time to bring back the Adventurous Clan Ingel (Archer) and retrain them in something where they don't need to be able to encamp… I decide to research Spearmen after finishing up Brick Makers, pushing back Bread Makers yet again. Just imagining Clan Warren as a Spearman makes me giddy. Making them Lancers would be even more fun, but there's definitely no way I'm amassing Warhorses at this stage of the game.

Turn 43 … PERMANENT GOLD MINE IS ONLINE! Now is when the fun really starts. Clan Ulfert is now making Coal, and it's time to switch Clan Askan over to turning that into Stone Blocks - I think this should be a nice, reliable way of producing my permanent Structures.




Gold Mine is now online!



...



And with that we'll wrap things up for now. In the May update we'll get into some of the fun things I do with that Gold Mine!

- Jon
14
AtG - General Discussion / Re: Issues and suggestions V23 alpha
« Last post by danangleland on April 04, 2018, 02:51:00 PM »
At this point the game is no longer playable because every game crashes in 50-75 turns and I cannot recover it. it's too frustrating to constantly start over, especially when I have a good roll.  Here are some thoughts

-  the resources are pretty good now.  some things are too expensive still such as fortify costs, sledge upgrades (logging), healing, etc.
- stone block costs for V2 resources are still too expensive.  I think that 10 blocks would be more fair
- upgrading bowman weapons is a bit too expensive.  can't really do early game
-  I primarily use bowman because spearman and calvary are too expensive for early game.   It requires 3 bowmen to be effective, which is pretty resource intensive, unless you find neutral camps to raid for workers
-  fishing still does not work for me at all. I  train the skill, have zone of control, but my guy won't go on the water.  right click does no action on that square
- upgraded blacksmiths/weaponsmiths should provide a benefit.  I would recommend 6 return for 4 iron.
- Fortify camps is a good way to create the early game expanded territory.  I think it's somewhat fair cost wise overall
- I think that disguising the hunter as a bandit is a great idea and works well.  However, there needs to be a prompt so if you click on one of your resources, you won't automatically attack your own people/camps
- farms are really not that good right now.  even if you upgrade them, they don't produce that well.  berry picking is the way to  go, especially with the upgrade. I think that upgrading the farming production should be modified from +2 wheat to +4 wheat
-  there should be a pop up note regarding besieging.  you wouldn't know if you didn't pay attention, but if you besiege in the winter and the square your on is red on resources, your guys lose health.  you have to encamp during the winter and besiege when the squares are not cold.  There should also be a counter for how many days to complete a besiege depending on the number of bandits in the camp

I think resources relative to cost of various professions/constructions is fair, perhaps even a bit generous. Getting loggers boosted by either the sharpener or sledge driver, for example, ends any wood worries for a long time and leaves you with a plentiful trade item if needed (of course it is cheap but I am usually making so much I can sell 50-100 to get something like cloth or oil). I usually wait until I have a spearman or two before going for Bandit camps; if I am not able to take them out first time and need to heal the spearman, it isn't usually a problem because by that stage of the game I usually have a strong enough economy to either be producing cloth or oil myself or simply have enough money to buy 10 of each from caravans with ease. Varies depending on if I have found a lot of resources and what clan attributes are, but usually not a problem. I don't have problems with fishing either, not sure what the difficulty you are running into could be- I think I always click on the fishing boat (perhaps the first selected thing will be the camp, just click again to cycle to the fishing boat) and move with the numeric keypad onto the water. I think you have a good idea for besieging though.
15
AtG - General Discussion / Re: Issues and suggestions V23 alpha
« Last post by clayffo on April 02, 2018, 02:32:15 PM »
I started up a game that had previously crashed and made it to turn 202.  I had a kingdom and got quite a ways in.  I can see some of the broader issues now.

1.  I don't know what the design intent is, but the way the game plays right now, it is a long play through.  at turn 200 I was nowhere near ready to attack anybody except bandits.  This play though could potentially exceed 500 turns, which is a multiple day deal for me.  Here are some of the items that slow the game down

-  it takes time and expensive resources to build up an early military.  I have gone with 2 bowmen and 1 spearman as my primary force against bandits.  However, investing in these resources takes a lot of turns.  Once players are active, this will only slow the game pace down more.  Bandits tend to spawn on all sides of you and often times very close. 
-  as the tribe grows and gets to 15+, food and resources become insufficient.  I have to stop progressing and invest time and money into wine and 2nd tier skills in order to upgrade my camps.  The 20 stone thing for permanent camps really drags the game out as I always have to wait for 4 caravans to buy enough stone
- The stone cutter only does 1 stone per turn.   The next upgrade for stonecutter takes a lot of time to get and seems a bit overkill, so you're stuck waiting on caravans and +1 stone
-  the coal mine caps out at +4  coal per turn without apprentices.  It should be set up to receive the same upgrades as farms and loggers.  5 horses for a significant upgrade to production.  +4 coal doesn't cut it once you get into mid game.  Yes you can make  coal with wood, but you are consuming more workers to do that, which has it's set of issues as well
-  mid tier fame is a real big deal because otherwise it can take 25 turns for a new recruit.  It is challenging to maintain a military, upgrade food resources, and develop +5 wine /  turn to maintain the high fame.  The challenge is good but it slows the game down. 
-  tribes should have an upgradeable skills tree.  They do not scale with the growth of the tribe.  yes they upgrade levels, but that is only so they can do high level skills.  There should be a way to further improve their productivity so it scales with your tribe size
-  Starting a kingdom doesn't feel like it has any real benefit.  Yes you get more control area and some resources, but it's really not what it was advertised to be.   My play style does not change at all.  Kingdoms should allow for some real benefits such as these suggestions:
          1.  Development and improvement of common map squares (see suggestions earlier in this thread)
          2.  Option to build walls and defensive towers that can damage enemies with range
          3.  Slow down enemy movement in your area of control
          4.  cultural and social influence to spread to nearby bandit camps and other players
          5.  ability to recruit bandits after their defeat
          6.  ability to upgrade your camp to a castle and upgrade fame
          7.  Improved and additional buildings with the castle such as training grounds, grazing areas (production of more animals based on your existing pastures), local farming (+food), and special / cultural world wonder type buildings. 
                  - new building types could be constructed by adding a builder to the  crafting skills



16
AtG - General Discussion / Re: Issues and suggestions V23 alpha
« Last post by clayffo on March 19, 2018, 11:51:27 AM »
At this point the game is no longer playable because every game crashes in 50-75 turns and I cannot recover it. it's too frustrating to constantly start over, especially when I have a good roll.  Here are some thoughts

-  the resources are pretty good now.  some things are too expensive still such as fortify costs, sledge upgrades (logging), healing, etc.
- stone block costs for V2 resources are still too expensive.  I think that 10 blocks would be more fair
- upgrading bowman weapons is a bit too expensive.  can't really do early game
-  I primarily use bowman because spearman and calvary are too expensive for early game.   It requires 3 bowmen to be effective, which is pretty resource intensive, unless you find neutral camps to raid for workers
-  fishing still does not work for me at all. I  train the skill, have zone of control, but my guy won't go on the water.  right click does no action on that square
- upgraded blacksmiths/weaponsmiths should provide a benefit.  I would recommend 6 return for 4 iron.
- Fortify camps is a good way to create the early game expanded territory.  I think it's somewhat fair cost wise overall
- I think that disguising the hunter as a bandit is a great idea and works well.  However, there needs to be a prompt so if you click on one of your resources, you won't automatically attack your own people/camps
- farms are really not that good right now.  even if you upgrade them, they don't produce that well.  berry picking is the way to  go, especially with the upgrade. I think that upgrading the farming production should be modified from +2 wheat to +4 wheat
-  there should be a pop up note regarding besieging.  you wouldn't know if you didn't pay attention, but if you besiege in the winter and the square your on is red on resources, your guys lose health.  you have to encamp during the winter and besiege when the squares are not cold.  There should also be a counter for how many days to complete a besiege depending on the number of bandits in the camp
17
AtG - General Discussion / Re: Issues and suggestions V23 alpha
« Last post by clayffo on March 12, 2018, 04:36:11 PM »
I played a bit of 23.2 and here are some more ideas.  I'm going to leave the "raging barbarians" aside as I think we all know it's not balanced

The basic idea behind nomadic tribes of this era was that they would pick a spot typically grasslands surrounded by forest and near fresh water.  The main camp was set up as a semi permanent structure for at least 1 year, maybe more depending on the land and local politics.  Herds and farmland were established surrounding the campsite.  Local resources were exploited, such as game, wood, and iron.  It was typical that herds would be used for multiple functions, such as meat, milk, furs, clothing, tools and finished goods, such as the use of wool to create rugs and clothing.  Trading was a big part of this as it created a way to get products not locally available and allowed for the transfer of knowledge and culture. 

The way this game plays, the main camp is really just like a settler that allows for the establishment of camps.  There is no real feeling of a "tribe" when you have  camps that are 10+ squares from one another.  With that said, the recruits you get don't seem to have any level of commitment to a "one tribe" mentality. 

Here are some suggestions:
-  the stone for permanent structures is really not a good mechanic.  Stone is damn near impossible to get unless you trade.  Structures like farms and mines should last a good long time on their own and should be upgradeable to the stone structures in the future.  this would allow for longer term use and a bonus to production
-  allow for the development of common squares around the area of influence .  These squares will not have the same productivity as named resource squares, but will be upgradeable and sustainable for 1 or more years.  Allowing for this development from the onset of the game will create greater responsibility to pick good spots and commit to them
- require camp locations to be permanent for a minimum of 1 full year
- allow for empty squares to be cultivated (by appropriate trades) for future development (ie. create forests, grazing lands, herds, etc)
- allow for watchmen to build defensive structures (watchtowers) for a more reasonable cost.  20 wood is too expensive.  I would say 5 wood max as you will need at least 4 of them. 
- a big missed opportunity is with the waterways.  I have yet in 20 games to even do fishing much less anything else.  establishing at the head of a river and body of water should have a set of benefits that offset the loss of land other than just setting up a trader. 
   - establish more profitable over water trading routes
   - ship yard
   - fisheries

 The way the game plays, each recruit you have has a variety of traits and skills; they interact with each other.  therefore, I think that they should contribute more and have more individual value:
- - right now tribe recruits are essentially the workers.  They should be leaders of their own workers
        - Create a tech tree for each tribe leader and allow for the automation of their minions to create and develop around the resource captured.
        -  use skills to uniquely develop resources and extend their viability
        - Create the ability to gain multiple uses out of a resource (such as cows for meat, hides, milk, parchment)
                   - build roads and infrastructure necessary
       - create a way to integrate individuals into the core "tribe" system over the course of time or a rewards system (such as a title)

Trading - the current system just sucks.  The sell prices are undercut and the buy prices are over priced.  it also makes no sense to have an anonymous trader that only offers some goods and only comes by once every 5 turns.  There should be regular trading during spring, summer, and declining in fall.  very little in winter
- being able to trade with other factions and "neutral" factions is key to trade, technology and culture.  there should be a trader sub category for establishing trade routes with other tribes.  If you establish a trading facility, you should be able to train and supply caravans
- base trade would be gold only as an enhancer to the existing facility.  any goods you add to your trade caravan shall be offered in trade or gold based on each stop of the caravan.  Goods of no value to anyone will simply return to you as "unsold" I hate the idea of cheesing the NPC into buying 200 wood they don't need just because of a mechanic that forces the sale

The next is bandits.  if you destroy a bandit camp, which takes at least 2 bowmen, you receive an incidental reward, not even as good as a ruin.  worse, you most likely won't have the oil needed to heal those bowmen, so they are of diminished value later on.   a bandit camp should yield (1) recruiting opportunities (2) use of their camp as a defensive outpost, (3) any workers they captured previously (4) some gold and other materials.





18
AtG - Developer Updates / Re: March 2018 Update - Diplomacy
« Last post by dancingbogman on March 09, 2018, 07:04:23 PM »
Thanks for the update Jon.
19
AtG - Developer Updates / Re: March 2018 Update - Diplomacy
« Last post by Hunter on March 02, 2018, 06:11:08 PM »
This sounds good. Your ability to think clearly and in new ways about these game mechanics is your strength. I think it will work out to have everything exposed, rather than trying to hide much from the player. The only exception I can see is if a leader is clearly trying a ruse, doublecross type approach. That cannot possibly be exposed to the player. How will this work?
20
AtG - Developer Updates / March 2018 Update - Diplomacy
« Last post by Jon Shafer on March 02, 2018, 10:11:38 AM »
Hey all, in this update we'll be taking a quick tour of the design for the new diplomacy system.

In last month's post I talked a lot about high-level design goals, but another important consideration is how things actually play out from the player's perspective, especially with an abstract system like diplomacy. What is the actual thing that you're doing? What is the player trying to achieve? You know, what's the point?

This being a game about Barbarians in the Dark Ages diplomacy in AtG is pretty blunt and straightforward. Your goal isn't building trade networks, spreading your religion, or anything particularly nuanced - the focus here is on war and relationships which lead to it (or not). Having someone declare war on you is the punishment for unsuccessfully navigating the turbulent waters of international politics, and remaining at peace (and thus able to follow through on whatever agenda you're pursuing) is the reward for success.

Success won't come easy though, as some leaders are naturally cranky while others might be in the midst of a feud and expect you to take sides. Who you support and who you snub is a big deal in AtG, because make someone mad enough and you can be pretty sure that they'll show up on your doorstep with lots of unhappy friends.

Furthermore, once you've made an investment in a relationship there should be a tangible reward for having done so. This is often where diplomacy systems in other strategy games fall short, as the fickle whims of the AI RNG can easily spoil a lot of hard work. If the decisions you make don't effectively keep you out of war then everything falls apart pretty quickly, so we also need to make sure relationships in AtG are fairly reliable.

With all of this in mind here are the elements we've included, and the very specific roles we have in mind for them.



Relationship Components


Leverage

Leverage is simply the sum of the player's Relationship Level, Influence, and Reputation (see below) that is or would be spent in a single transaction in order to get an AI Leader to do something, such as declare war on another Leader. After a transaction is finalized, the Influence and Reputation used in achieving it is spent and forever gone, while the Relationship Level remains unchanged.


Relationship Level (RL)

The most basic metric into diplomatic relationship is your Relationship Level. RL determines how favorably or unfavorably disposed an AI Leader is towards the player. It shapes that Leader's behavior, e.g. willingness to make Demands or go to war. In terms of specifics, it is a fundamental component of how a Leader decides which "Approach" to use (see below) and RL is a factor in determining Leverage when negotiating a transaction. The RL scale ranges from -4 to +4 and normally starts at 0, but can be modified based on a Leader's Personality Traits (e.g. -2 RL if 'Belligerent'). Having 9 total levels provides both enough room to do interesting things but also not so many that keeping track of where you are on the scale becomes a chore - each level matters while still providing enough wiggle room to move up and down with varying granularity based on the situation (refusing a request for aid is bad, but declaring war is really bad).


Influence (Inf)

Influence is, in essence, diplomatic currency with a Leader. It can be spent alongside RL and Reputation in order to increase your Leverage with a Leader when negotiating a transaction of some kind (e.g. asking the Leader to Denounce someone else, or publicly Declare Friendship). Inf is usually earned and lost alongside RL - doing a small favor for a Leader might increase both your RL and Inf by 1. This gives players the option of achieving some kind of bigger diplomatic option once, after which the Inf is spent. The player's options will be more limited after that, but they will still remain friends with the other Leader. The Player can proactively earn Inf by Offering a Gift or Holding a Feast in a Leader's honor (see below).


Reputation (Rep)

The fourth and final Diplomatic metric is Reputation, which is similar to Inf except for being a global currency that can be spent with any Leader (in addition to or instead of Inf). Rep is fairly hard to earn, and usually comes from facing down some kind of difficult situation (e.g. agreeing to help a Leader in need, or refusing a demand from Attila knowing he will go to war as a result). The effect and usage of Rep can differ based on the Leader and their Personality Traits (e.g. an 'Isolationist' Leader might ignore Rep entirely, while it might have double the effect on a 'Gullible' Leader).



Diplomatic Actions

The game contains a list of core actions that can be taken by either the human player or AI Leaders. The full list is as follows:
  • Denounce
  • Offer Gift (Wealth)
  • Hold Feast (Food Gift)
  • Request Aid (Food)
  • Request Alliance
  • Request Denouncement
  • Request War
  • Demand Tribute
  • Demand Denouncement
  • Declare War
Each Action has different requirements, costs, and effects associated with them that I won't bother to list out in full here, as it's a lot of numbers and I mainly want to focus on mechanics. For the most part Actions can usually only be performed once, so it won't be possible to butter someone up by holding feasts in their honor every few months or anything like that (though you can of course declare war more than once).

The effects of an Action are pretty much fully predictable. If Attila Demands Tribute of you, then you know that by accepting your RL will increase and he'll leave you alone. Refuse and it will drop, making you a target but also earning Rep that you can spend with other Leaders (should you survive long enough to take advantage of it!).



AI Leader Behavior

The final piece of the puzzle is how the AI leaders actually decide what to do on their end, and this is ultimately defined by their "Approach" towards each other Leader. Different leaders will have preferences for different Approaches, but the effects of the approaches themselves is fairly consistent.

The early game doesn't involve much diplo - players are simply exploring the map and run into each other. Not much happens on the diplomatic front during the first 48 turns - from this point on things start to get interesting though.

Early interaction mainly takes 3 forms:
  • Bullies trying to put other Leaders in their place, primarily through making Demands (and then following up with war should they refuse to give in).
  • Friendly Leaders (especially those with the 'Social' or 'Needy' Personality Traits) making requests.
  • Leaders who dislike each other trying to undercut their rival with the Player's help.
These behaviors are defined by which one of several Approaches an AI Leader has chosen to adopt for each relationship:
  • Ignore
  • Bully - Active
  • Bully - Inactive
  • Adversary
  • Enemy
  • Appease
  • Support
  • Friend
Similar to the Diplomatic Actions above there are a lot of numbers associated with each of these that I won't bother with here. Which Approach an AI Leader chooses for a relationship very much depends on the RL, with Personality Traits and to a lesser extent randomness also being factors.

A Leader's Approach will often change based on game events, such as being denounced or given a gift. Valid Approaches, along with the percent chance of transitioning between them after different triggers (e.g. receiving a demand) are defined by the Leader's Traits. These Approaches don't predefine what a Leader does, but do define the pool of options and the likelihood of each being chosen after how long (e.g. if demand refused 50% chance of denouncing 3-6 turns later).

I thought a bit about whether or not a Leader's Approach should be visible to the Player, and after going back and forth for a bit I decided to go ahead and make it public and announce all changes via notification. Transparency is very important in a system like this, and having something which fundamentally drives an AI Leader's behavior hidden under the hood felt like a mistake, especially given how straightforward the rest of the system is (RL, Leverage, etc.).

Making Approach visible means announcing changes via a notification is necessary, as the last thing we want to do is encourage players to check the diplo screen with every Leader every turn! This was a flaw in some early Civ diplo systems that I very much don't intent to repeat in AtG. On the plus side, this will help highlight the system for newer players, as although nothing is changing mechanically it reminds you that diplomacy is, you know, a thing, and if other Leaders are starting to get upset at you that you need to get up off your butt and be proactive.

As one last aside, I considered adopting some kind of "storyline" system where different Leaders would follow somewhat pre-structured plans for their diplomatic endeavors, but ultimately deemed it to be too much work for this game - perhaps a project for a future game!


That's it for this month's update. Given that diplomacy is the last big system to go in from here on out we'll probably be focused more on details and less on high-level design concepts.

Thanks as always for reading, and we'll be back in April!

- Jon
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