Author Topic: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts  (Read 21259 times)

Jonathan Christ

  • Tech Director
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Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« on: February 07, 2013, 12:18:37 AM »
Hi everyone!  I realize the project has only just been announced, but it's never to early to hear what people think.

In this thread, post anything about At the Gates that interests you or that turns you off, anything you'd like to see in the game or anything you wouldn't, or just any random thoughts you'd like us to know!

Feel free to create your own thread, too.

Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2013, 01:25:26 AM »
With the success of an Ironman mode in XCOM and Eador, and some very nice 'roguelikes', I would definitely like to see a default to ironman mode in ATG. This means that winning should therefore be a real success, and you should often lose, and still enjoy the game.

Be nice if the availability of resources pushed you in particular directions strategically, without ever completely defeating you. If you can win with just horses and iron in one game, and stones and wood in another, but using quite different strategies, that would be interesting.

It seems like the game MAY be simple enough that you could use a logical inference engine as one part of the AI. Maybe. I know this is hard, I've tried. At least the AI has to be TRYING to advance its own interests - it seems that AI design that assumes something else goes off the rails easily.



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Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2013, 09:39:52 PM »
I recently played Shogun TW again (the first one) and was amazed by the sound effects.  Particularly the load game sound and the end turn sound but also various other sound effects on the campaign map like the one for when you catch a Shinobi.  I am NOT referring to the dated voice overs...  I'm not one for flashy graphics and expensive sound bytes (prefer the effort to be spent on game mechanics/balance etc.) but the effect for me was remarkable. 

ATG has quite a different theme but you could do a lot worse than quickly revisiting STW sound effects when thinking about the ones for this game.
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Jon Shafer

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Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 07:19:17 PM »
With the success of an Ironman mode in XCOM and Eador, and some very nice 'roguelikes', I would definitely like to see a default to ironman mode in ATG. This means that winning should therefore be a real success, and you should often lose, and still enjoy the game.
I've really gotten into roguelikes recently (whoa, tongue-twister) and I totally agree. I don't know about defaulting to ironman, but making it an option definitely sounds good. :)

Quote
Be nice if the availability of resources pushed you in particular directions strategically, without ever completely defeating you. If you can win with just horses and iron in one game, and stones and wood in another, but using quite different strategies, that would be interesting.
Yeah, this is something we're going to have to work out through iteration. I'm sure the balance of the game as it stands right now is awful, but that's why we're not planning on releasing until mid-2014!

Quote
It seems like the game MAY be simple enough that you could use a logical inference engine as one part of the AI. Maybe. I know this is hard, I've tried. At least the AI has to be TRYING to advance its own interests - it seems that AI design that assumes something else goes off the rails easily.
Jonathan and I have yet to decide what approach we want to take with the AI, but that's definitely on the table.

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Jon Shafer

  • Lord of the Forest
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Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 07:20:55 PM »
I recently played Shogun TW again (the first one) and was amazed by the sound effects.  Particularly the load game sound and the end turn sound but also various other sound effects on the campaign map like the one for when you catch a Shinobi.  I am NOT referring to the dated voice overs...  I'm not one for flashy graphics and expensive sound bytes (prefer the effort to be spent on game mechanics/balance etc.) but the effect for me was remarkable. 

ATG has quite a different theme but you could do a lot worse than quickly revisiting STW sound effects when thinking about the ones for this game.
Wow, the first one? I tried playing it for the first time a year or so ago and it was... rough.

Have you played the second one? I bought it but never found the time to actually dig in...

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 10:01:59 PM »

Wow, the first one? I tried playing it for the first time a year or so ago and it was... rough.

Have you played the second one? I bought it but never found the time to actually dig in...

- Jon

I've played the second one a bit and found that it's better than any of the releases in between.  I find the first one (still) good because it is sleek, or 'harsh' might be a compromise term we could agree on  :).  I find the simplicity and starkness quite a relief from unneccessary fluff which weighs down many games and the choices you are left with are strategic. It also fits the theme.   (I'm not much of a RTS battle player though, so I don't play it all that often.)

The sound effects were well done because they underlined what was happening in the game.  (I guess you could say that they were integrated into the design?)  Hitting the end turn button made you feel like the future was being decided.  Moving an army on the campaign map sounded like a moderately important decision, loading a game an important one, the cymbal crashing of catching a shinobi sounded mysterious and notable, etc.

Often sound effects are just so much fluff and a couple of games I've found are actually better without them.  Okay it is good to know that your keypress has been registered but really the sounds should add to the game experience, for example, taking an important diplomatic decision should lead to a notable acoustic feedback for the player.  On the other hand having an impressive and intrusive sound for every time a unit moves is more than likely to irritate players and detract from the game (from the little I have seen about how ATG plays).  But the capture of a Roman city?  That probably should 'sound' significant.

Perhaps all this is worth thinking about for At The Gates?  (I'm not in a position to contribute to the game financially but ideas are free, aren't they?  ;))

Peter
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Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 10:47:48 PM »
Yea, I wouldn't default to Ironman either.  However, having the option would be great! Also, as a longtime fan of roguelikes, I'd love to hear what you're playing, but I guess that's a post for the Off-Topic forum.

As for sound, that's something I never really pay attention to in games. I'm usually listening to music or a movie while I play, but I also usually play grand strategy games where there's a lot of waiting around.

Jon Shafer

  • Lord of the Forest
  • *
Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2013, 10:07:42 AM »
I've played the second one a bit and found that it's better than any of the releases in between.  I find the first one (still) good because it is sleek, or 'harsh' might be a compromise term we could agree on  :).  I find the simplicity and starkness quite a relief from unneccessary fluff which weighs down many games and the choices you are left with are strategic. It also fits the theme.   (I'm not much of a RTS battle player though, so I don't play it all that often.)

The sound effects were well done because they underlined what was happening in the game.  (I guess you could say that they were integrated into the design?)  Hitting the end turn button made you feel like the future was being decided.  Moving an army on the campaign map sounded like a moderately important decision, loading a game an important one, the cymbal crashing of catching a shinobi sounded mysterious and notable, etc.

Often sound effects are just so much fluff and a couple of games I've found are actually better without them.  Okay it is good to know that your keypress has been registered but really the sounds should add to the game experience, for example, taking an important diplomatic decision should lead to a notable acoustic feedback for the player.  On the other hand having an impressive and intrusive sound for every time a unit moves is more than likely to irritate players and detract from the game (from the little I have seen about how ATG plays).  But the capture of a Roman city?  That probably should 'sound' significant.

Perhaps all this is worth thinking about for At The Gates?  (I'm not in a position to contribute to the game financially but ideas are free, aren't they?  ;))

Peter
No problem Peter, thanks for the suggestions! Everyone can contribute in their own way. :)

Sound is very important. I'll be tackling that side of the game myself (with some help from Kay), so any ideas there are definitely welcome. Does anyone know of any good sound libraries we could license for ATG? Obviously our budget isn't massive, so we probably can't use what most other developers do.

- Jon
If you have any questions, please send me a private message here on the forums or an email at [Contact@ConiferGames.com]. Thanks for your support!

Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 10:15:35 AM »
Hi, I cannot express how overjoyed I am about this project.  It has been my sincerest hope
for a while that kickstarter will enable exploration of game genre which is deemed "unprofitable"
but which I loved above all else. 

One thing I want to say is...XML sucks.  It is ugly, clunky and verbose.
JSON or even better YAML formats are much more usable.

And in all honestly, I think that using an executable scripting language is no less readable, and far more useful

Anyway, best of luck!


Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2013, 06:27:26 PM »
The Vandals - A case study against which the game mechanics of ATG will be compared

While already migrating a lot for a couple of hundred years, in 400 AD, the tribe was largely located on the Danube.

In 406, they crossed the Rhine (6 years, 72 turns). Doesn't seem too far to go in 72 turns.

In 409 they crossed into Spain (3 years, 36 turns). From North of Gaul to Spain.

In 429 they crossed to Africa (20 years, 240 turns). From North of Spain to Gibraltar and beyond. Plenty of turns to move that far.

In 430 they took Hippo Regius (1 year, 12 turns). Quite a distance along the coast. Moving every turn presumably.

In 439 they broke their latest treaty with Rome and took Carthage (9 years, 100 turns). Not so far to move in that time. Settlements were probably stationary for a period.

Post 439 - continued warfare, on and off, with Rome and other tribes. Major naval and land battles, sack Rome in 455. Eventual destruction in 534.

Some interesting things...

- Sometimes as peace with Rome, sometimes at War, neither was ever 'settled' and relationship ebbed and flowed.
- Moved all the way from North Europe to Africa over a period of 30 years (360 turns?). Driven by fear of Rome (at times), new resources? (at times), opportunity to take existing cities (at times).
- Had various leaders. Some died and were replaced by sons, etc. It did matter, but will 'leaders' be represented, and will they age or be eternal?
- What score did they get? (do you get points each turn or is it just how you end - wiped out). If the first, they probably got a good score. If the second, they scored 0.

So how well will ATG allow us (drive us?) to replicate the journey of the Vandals?
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Jonathan Christ

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Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2013, 01:43:51 AM »
One thing I want to say is...XML sucks.  It is ugly, clunky and verbose.
JSON or even better YAML formats are much more usable.

And in all honestly, I think that using an executable scripting language is no less readable, and far more useful

Yeah, XML can be a burden, but we're using it anyhow.  We chose XML over a scripting language because the information we're putting in the XML is all just configuration information without any actual logic.

Hmm, I suppose I could still use a scripting language for that, though.  And that would allow me to do some programmatic creation of properties, which would be nice.  Didn't think of that.  Will definitely consider it for the next game.  As for At the Gates, we'll see what we can do about making the XML easy to use.

So how well will ATG allow us (drive us?) to replicate the journey of the Vandals?

I like this question...I'll see if I can get Jon post something about it.

Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 02:13:37 AM »
Honestly I think this post should be lots of separate threads, isn't that what the sub-forum is for? But, since it's here, might as well participate.

This isn't so much a suggestion, as something to think about and maybe a question. The reason I enjoyed Civilization was that it allows you to decide HOW you want to win the game. Civ V seemed to undermine that, from my perspective having played nothing more than the demo, by making combat a huge mechanical focus, even more so than in earlier games.

But playing as a Barbarian Tribe during the fall of Rome is different. And I'd like to know, specifically, what your design philosophy behind this game is? What decisions do you want us to be making? Is combat with the Romans 'inevitable'? Will there be more than one way to 'win the game', or in general what will the win states be?

A lot of this I'm sure you're going to cover, but it's hard to give specific advice when we know so little about the game! I suppose my point is just know that you WILL be compared to other games, especially Civ, so the game needs to have its own mechanical ... 'Identity' I suppose, and that identity should be pretty clear - and it's hard to give specific advice until we know that identity.

I mean, I have plenty of ideas, but this is, after all, your game, not mine. I didn't pay enough money to say 'make this more like Civ', assuming I want that (I'm not sure honestly), and I wouldn't try to do your job for you even if I HAD gone higher up.
Game design is the fusion of art and structure, the domain of the Architect.. - me, just now.

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Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 05:44:16 PM »
I have been listening to The History of Rome podcast lately so I am stoked about this game. That said, I had some thoughts on the seemingly predetermined fall of the Roman empire. My understanding is that the Romans will start out strong and end with a whimper. If the assumption of the Romans always falling apart it incorrect, my apologies.
How is the degradation of the Roman Empire going to be handled? Are there fixed events/pieces that happen to the East/West Roman halves in every game to slowly weaken them? Or perhaps a set shrinking resource pool the Romans have to draw from. It might be frustrating for someone to choose to be "romanized" only to helplessly watch their allies fall apart regardless of what they do. Is it possible to go "full Roman" and prevent either the East or West half from degrading? I know saving the Romans was not the reason you choose this time period but I am curious if it is possible.
-thanks


Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 06:07:19 PM »
I have been listening to The History of Rome podcast lately so I am stoked about this game. That said, I had some thoughts on the seemingly predetermined fall of the Roman empire. My understanding is that the Romans will start out strong and end with a whimper. If the assumption of the Romans always falling apart it incorrect, my apologies.
How is the degradation of the Roman Empire going to be handled? Are there fixed events/pieces that happen to the East/West Roman halves in every game to slowly weaken them? Or perhaps a set shrinking resource pool the Romans have to draw from. It might be frustrating for someone to choose to be "romanized" only to helplessly watch their allies fall apart regardless of what they do. Is it possible to go "full Roman" and prevent either the East or West half from degrading? I know saving the Romans was not the reason you choose this time period but I am curious if it is possible.
-thanks

I was thinking the same thing too in regards to "saving the Romans".

Here was my idea:

Quote
I am curious as to whether you will do something to simulate the foederati? Perhaps if a tribe completes 5 requests then they could be asked to settle within the Roman borders and help defend them. Perhaps there will be a time later when the tribe can stab the Roman Empire in the back.

Info on foederati from Wikipedia but I'm sure you are very familiar with that but maybe for other people's edification. :P
Quote

    The Empire

    Later, the sense of the term foederati and its usage and meaning was extended by the Roman practice of subsidizing entire barbarian tribes which included the Franks, Vandals, Alans and, best known, the Visigoths in exchange for providing warriors to fight in the Roman armies. Alaric began his career leading a band of Gothic foederati.

    The word foederatus is derived from foedus, a Latin word indicating a treaty of mutual assistance between Rome and another nation. At first, the Roman subsidy took the form of money or food, but as tax revenues dwindled in the 4th and 5th centuries, the foederati were billeted on local landowners, which came to be identical to being allowed to settle on Roman territory. Large local landowners living in distant border provinces (see "marches") on extensive, largely self-sufficient villas, found their loyalties to the central authority, already conflicted by other developments, further compromised in such situations. Then, as these loyalties wavered and became more local, the Empire began to devolve into smaller territories and closer personal fealties.

    The Franks became foederati in 358 AD, when Julian the Apostate let them keep the areas in northern Gaul, which had been depopulated during the preceding century. Roman soldiers defended the Rhine and had major armies 100 miles (160 km) south and west of the Rhine. Frankish settlers were established in the areas north and east of the Romans and helped with the Roman defense by providing intelligence and a buffer state in place. The breach of the Rhine borders in the frozen winter of 406 and 407 made an end to the Roman presence at the Rhine when both the Romans and the allied Franks were overrun by a tribal migration en masse of Vandals and Alans.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foederati
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Re: Ideas, Feedback and Random Thoughts
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 06:45:08 PM »
Would it be wrong to speculate on the 8 (10) tribes to be represented?

- Huns
- Franks
- Picts
- Ostrogoths
- Visigoths
- Vandals
- Persians (Sassanid)
- Burgundians
- Suevi
- Thuringi
- Saxons
- Gepids
- Basques
- Maybe Berber, Ghassanid and Slavs as 'background noise'?

That's too many, since we are only getting 8. I speculate the first 8?
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