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AtG - General Discussion / Re: 2 Updates in 1 month!
« Last post by Athelas on December 23, 2017, 06:59:00 AM »
Today another one!
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AtG - General Discussion / Re: 2 Updates in 1 month!
« Last post by clayffo on December 18, 2017, 06:36:39 PM »
Hopefully they keep coming.

Does anybody know how I can get into the Beta forum? When I bought the game, after Kickstarter, I believe it said to PM him and he will let you into the Beta area? But he hasn't been online in over a year so I still can't get in.

Thanks

good luck with that  ;D
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AtG - General Discussion / Re: 2 Updates in 1 month!
« Last post by benmerrick3d on December 18, 2017, 11:20:22 AM »
Hopefully they keep coming.

Does anybody know how I can get into the Beta forum? When I bought the game, after Kickstarter, I believe it said to PM him and he will let you into the Beta area? But he hasn't been online in over a year so I still can't get in.

Thanks
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AtG - General Discussion / 2 Updates in 1 month!
« Last post by RickDeckard on December 15, 2017, 12:02:05 PM »
Jon just posted another update for this month, with a changelog and some more in depth coverage of some of the new changes.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonshafer/jon-shafers-at-the-gates/posts/2072199

Hey all,

From here on out most of the updates will focus on the details of what's been added to the game, though I'll also occasional discuss broader design concepts when appropriate.

To kick things off here is the still-WIP changelog for v23, which will be posted to Steam next Friday, the 22nd (and should be up on Humble shortly thereafter):

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v23 Change Log (WIP)

MAJOR FEATURES

    Can now 'Declare Kingdom', which causes the Settlement to become permanently immobilized and costs 25 Parchment, but provides +2 Control range and +10 Fame per turn.
    "Borders" are now back in the game, and all Structures (including Settlements) now have a default Border radius of 1. Borders are now called "Control" both in code and in-game text.
    All Structures must now be constructed within a player's Control.
    Structures can now be "Fortified" by spending an increasing quantity of Weapons, allows their Control Range to be increased to a maximum of 4 tiles.
    Apprentices can now only be assigned to a Structure after spending Boards in order to add "Apprentice Slots". The Resource cost of adding both an Apprentice Slot to a Structure and assigning a Clan as an Apprentice to a Structure increases by 50% each time (can be modified via XML).
    Removed all level 3 and 4 Structures. There will now only be two versions of each structure: a basic Timber-based version that depletes the Resources on a tile, and a Stone Block-based upgraded version that lasts forever (WIP: currently only prototyped with Wheat Farms).
    Added basic conquest victory condition after capturing a Roman Capital.

MINOR FEATURES

    Brought back the Watchman Profession, which can construct Watchtowers outside of your Control and start with a Control Range of 2.

    Added support for Resource-harvesting-but-non-depleting Stone Structures.
    The Woodworks Structure (Logging Camp Mk. II) now requires only Stone Blocks to construct and does not deplete Forests.
    Started work on converting over all other Structures to the new design approach.

INTERFACE

    Added rudimentary victory screen.
    Improved layout of Clans screen.
    Added tagline ("A Survival Strategy Game") to main menu (mainly to help unwitting Civ players who expect a very different kind of game from what AtG aims to deliver).

MISC

    "Fortifying" a Unit to give it a defensive bonus is now called "Digging In" (so as to not conflict with the new "Fortify" feature for Structures).
    New AIPlugin implementation in AI2. Can switch between the new one and the old one by modifying Plugins.xml.
    Pressing F7 will now quit the game from the Main Menu and World Screen (for debugging purposes).
    Can now modify the Control Range of a MapObject via the debug console.
    Expanding Control now makes full use of the localization and rich text formatting system. This will be utilized for all future changes to the Selection Panel (and elsewhere in the UI).
    Added color override support to RichString.Append_RawTextToFormat().
    When using the quickloading debug option while the quicksave is out-of-date the game will now show a popup informing you such, instead of simply aborting the game launch with no feedback.
    Added help info to the new "CONTROL" debug console command.
    Added new CompositeString constructor which takes a raw string. Not super-useful in the long-run, but helpful while the text system is in transition from an older raw text-based format to the fancy new system.

BUGS

    Fixed bug where missing pillaged Watchtower texture would cause the game to crash when constructed.
    Fixed bug where the Resource cost check when allocating Apprentices would only be applied for a single Resource rather than the full list due to the check being static.

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What's New

As noted in the previous update the focus lately has been on the midgame, some of the changes for which I'll go into a bit more detail on.

The biggest change in this new build is the ability to "Declare a Kingdom", the main effect of which is to fix the player's Settlement in-place for the remainder of the game in exchange for a couple nice bonuses. The main goal is to provide additional structure to the game, splitting it into three discrete parts of an overall arc towards overcoming the Romans (in a future update I'll be talking about how the final third of the game will play out).

The Fame bonus you receive for Declaring a Kingdom is the real prize, as it's rather significant and allows you to attract a large number of new Clans fairly cheaply right when their arrival really starts to slow down should you not have prioritized investing in it. The other of the two bonuses is directly designed to help mitigate the price of setting down: making it harder to reach new Resource Deposits. The additional Control Range (borders) gives you a relatively cheap way of dramatically expanding what you can reach, although you obviously have to plan ahead and make sure you actually get something out of it.

Speaking of which, the other big change in the game is bringing back "borders", or as we call it in AtG, Control. The previous system dropped borders from the game and required you to move your Settlement around to and fro in order to set up new Resource-harvesting Structures, after which they would remain online and you could move somewhere else. It was kind of a nifty system mechanically, but not super-intuitive and absolutely non-viable after making it possible to permanently glue your Settlement somewhere.

You now start with a small radius of Control surrounding your Settlement and each Structure you build, and this radius can be expanded by spending an ever-increasing amount of Weapons in order to "Fortify" them. I like this design not only because it allows the flexibility of growing one big giant blob or a bunch of smaller satellites, but it provides a distinctly economic role for a traditionally military-exclusive Resource. Instead of deciding between spending your Weapons on this type of soldier or that you can now pump them into something completely different. And of course Weapons themselves come from Iron, which itself can also be turned into Tools. So we now have multiple layers overlapping in a relatively straightforward way. This be how good strategy games get made!

There are, of course, some smaller changes we've made in this upcoming build as well, but pretty much everything is related to these two big features and the midgame generally. I won't go into any more detail here, as I have a tendency to go overboard as it is and we still have a game to finish up!

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What's Next

Next on the agenda is wrapping up the design changes to the game's Structures, a big update to the tutorial, followed by some playtesting, bugfixing, and polishing. The goal is to post a new version of the game reflective of the design changes discussed above and get feedback on what it is we need to focus on as we're wrapping up the game in 2018 (and if the pacing is completely off or the game is super-buggy that's definitely going to be an obstacle).

I have a pretty good idea of what's left (more diplomacy, AI stuff, victory conditions), but how we distribute time to each of these features will depend on what players find most compelling and deficient. If we find that diplomacy is something everyone really feels is weak then it makes sense to spend more time on that than, say, additional iteration on the tutorial or improving the balance of the game's Professions and Structures. As a creator you always need to have a strong core vision for what your project will eventually look like, but without getting feedback it's possible to go down completely wrong roads without even knowing it. Your vision needs to be both strong but flexible. A bit of a contradiction at times, but that's why art is, well, art!

When the next build goes up we'll be including a link to a survey where players will be able to provide feedback in a structured format that will be easy for us to process and digest. I'll let you guys know what the results from that are in January.

Anyways, that's it for now. We'll be back with another update soon. 'Til then!

- Jon

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AtG - General Discussion / Re: Game update posted on Kickstarter page
« Last post by Bohodor on December 13, 2017, 10:28:52 AM »
thank you a lot for repeating this post! it was very informative! thank you for informing us about every game update! appreciate this!
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My point was really time.  10 hours for act 1 means a single game played full through could take days or weeks.  This is fine if you're doing the game in a grand strategy style like crusader kings or Victoria. 

However, Jon doesn't have the manpower to do something like this. 

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I'm not Jon, but as someone who played a lot of the backer beta when it was still being updated - the beta game is basically only that "initial" 10 hours and is a lot of fun - I don't necessarily agree with his solution, but that 10 hours won't be boring. Its really unlike any other 4x game out there (still), and you have an interesting game where you put down temporary roots, exploit local resources, and then have to decide the best time to move on - you don't want to be trapped in the Winter in a bad spot. Instead of upgrading buildings, you gather and upgrade clans within your tribe with specific roles (and likes/dislikes).

Hopefully he opens up the beta to more backers - I think the game (untouched the past 18 months) is a lot of fun, and is really only lacking a metagame goal/endgame.
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so I'd like to comment on a few items here.

 "I'll be active again here and on Twitter so if you have any questions (or justified rants) I'll be around to answer them."  So despite being one of the more vocal members of this and the KS forum, you have never once engaged me directly either on a forum or privately.   Does this update me you will start to communicate with me? 

Secondly, I requested on KS that you open up the beta testing to all backers, as I think we're well past the expectations for those who contributed more.  As someone with over 2,000 hours on Civ 5 and many more hours on Civ 4 I think I could positively contribute if I had access to the game.

finally, "Instead of just migrating around the map for ten hours as resources run out all around you, roughly a third of the way in you'll start to settle down before building a secure kingdom and eventually confronting the Romans directly." 

ok so wandering around the map for 10 hours foraging sounds a bit excessive and boring.  I suggest you immediately do away with that nonsense. 

Is this game going to be like Civ 5 whereby the routine decisions are simplified and made for you or is it going to be more of a paradox Grand Strategy game?  Either way, I would like some clarification on establishing a kingdom and how it will work?  we are playing as Scandinavian peoples that have gone though a forced migration west due to the Huns and have ended up in Roman controlled lands.  Some end up being Roman soldiers, some are in regular conflict with the  Romans, and some are fighting each other.  The common thread that they share is war and it took approx. 1,000 years for Rome to finally fall.  How do you plan to reconcile and integrate the politics and cultural issues involved in getting these people to work together as a common nation against Rome?


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Welcome back...

I am hoping you will finish this baby in good time.

I wonder also on cultural differences since I also ended in Sweden... and its been interesting XP so far!
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AtG - General Discussion / Jon posted another KickStarter update on 12/01
« Last post by RickDeckard on December 04, 2017, 02:51:10 PM »
Jon has added Update #44 to the Kickstarter.

As promised in #43 "from here on out I'll be posting a project status update on the 1st of every month."

Update #44 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonshafer/jon-shafers-at-the-gates/posts/2060227

Hey all,

This monthly project update will be dedicated to talking about the mid-game, as that's currently the largest challenge remaining.

One of the biggest challenges with AtG is figuring out exactly what the arc of the game is. All along we've known it's about "barbarians", moving around the map, depleting resources, the seasons, and so on. But as I alluded to in my last update the vision of having the entire experience be based on migration wasn't something that held up over the course of a multi-hundred-turn game. So it's been time to evaluate what that extra step is, as is often the case in developing a big, complex game. You start with an idea and need to iterate on it in order to reach full potential. Having good, solid, fun mechanics are a nice start, but that only holds up for so long. You need a cohesive "fantasy" to tie it all together, to provide a reason why you're playing in the first place.

So what's that cohesive fantasy in AtG?

First of all, this is a survival strategy game. It's not so much a game about a continuous upward arc throughout history, ala Civ, but about fighting against the world and the odds in order to make it. The fantasy is also tied into the subject matter: in this case, the fall of the Roman Empire, and the place of the Germanic Tribes within this new world order.

So how does that translate into a strategy game?

AtG will now comprise of three "acts". The first will be based on survival and migration, and embody the philosophy which has defined the game thus far. The second act will be settling down and establishing a kingdom, putting your stamp on the world. The third will be defending and reinforcing this new polity, protecting it from those who seek its destruction - the Romans in particular.

In detail, this means two big changes: declaring your kingdom and "Control".

Declaring your kingdom is an important dividing line between the early-game and the mid-game. It will now be an action you declare which causes your Settlement to be permanently fixed in place for the rest of the game. It will also cost a small amount of Resources, but also provide a large bonus to compensate. In a sense, it's an important punctuation mark on transitioning into an important new phase of the game.

Control is, in essence, borders. To prevent players from simply building and capturing Structures anywhere on the map there needs to be some kind of rule dictating what you can own, where. Previously you could only construct things adjacent to your Settlement, but they would remain online after you moved away. This was strategically interesting, but somewhat confusing, and doesn't really work super-well with the new concept of having a glued-in-place Settlement. Control now extends from every Structure you own, giving your kingdom the ability to grow over time, and building certain special Structures will now allow you to plant your flag anywhere on the map, as long as you have the proper Clans and Resources to allow for it.

Together these two changes will reshape what the mid-game looks and plays like. Can't show them off in-game just yet, as they're currently in-progress. On the 15th though I'll be back with another post which articulates what all of this means in detail. 'Til then!

- Jon

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