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-   -   The Campaign - replayablity (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=46893)

Bluevoss January 6th, 2011 09:37 AM

The Campaign - replayablity
This is a rethinking of my earlier comment on another thread.

I think, to make Bronze great for replayablity, the following should happen for campaigns...

1) You pick an age - all the region maps are randomized then and there.

2) You start at the correct starting position and attempt to expand (just as the current game). The further out you go into enemy territory, the more starts they get and the more difficult it becomes. In other words, its a ring of easy games, then hard, then extreme.

3) It would be unlikely to "clear a map" but your score would be based on tiles. This way if you fail big on one map and don't think you can take it, you might try another map (just so you can gain more land and perhaps a better start).

4) Off-thought - perhaps silver should be transferable between games? Maybe the user sets a ratio - for every X number of silver he owns, he gets an additional one for the next start. This could be tied to the game difficulty, so on an easy game, its maybe 1 silver for every 2 at ending, and a hard, its 1 for every 5. This way, if you have a difficult map, you might "loot up" some more silver on easier maps. You'd also work hard on generating cash even on games you've clearly won.

5) More off-thought - random events could be instituted (not as stupid as it sounds). Perhaps between games you would be given an event notification - "New pride sweeps army!" Or "Grim religious portants observed". The the next game (and ONLY the next game) one of your race's costs change by one. For example, as the Summerians, perhaps evil relgious portants mean that ziggarauts cost 3 rather than 2. Or Citidels (based on changes in siegecraft) cost 0 or 2. Or farm outputs give 0 or 2 silver. Something like this, something that comes every so often, might mean than you would suddenly (with your temporary advantage) take on that hard enemy position.

Anyway, these are just some ideas I've mulled over. Great game!

MikeLemmer January 10th, 2011 03:48 AM

Re: The Campaign - replayablity
I think randomization would go against the nature of the campaign. The AIs, when you redo a map, pretty much follow the same strategy as-is. It's not about winning/losing based on randomness; it's about finally winning by solving the map.

I think a replayable campaign could be made with one addition: let the other civilizations attack you.

1. Choose an age; this determines the size of the map.
2. Place 3-4 civilizations on the map. Each civilization starts with 4-5 regions.
3. Each civilization invades 1 region on their turn.
4. The 4 sides on the battle map are determined by the owners of the adjacent regions. Whoever wins that battle, wins that region.
5. The game ends after X turns; the winner is whoever controls the most regions.

Point 4 needs some analysis: not involving the adjacent regions would lead to nothing but 1v1 battles, but giving the region's owners their own start would need 5 start points on each map instead of just 4. I feel having each start's owner determined by an adjacent region is a reasonable compromise.

"What if my region is surrounded by enemies?"

Then it doesn't get any start location; it is picked apart as its neighbors fight over who controls the remains. A tad brutal? Yes. But it keeps things simple.

Alexander311 January 11th, 2011 06:05 PM

Re: The Campaign - replayablity
The idea Mike and Bluevoss has suggested is certainly very interesting, and it is actually something we tried when we were creating Bronze. One problem we ran into was that making the campaign "metagame" more complex drastically reduced the "fun factor" of playing the maps. Since the map starting positions became more random, there was very little balance. As a result, many maps were extremely easy or simply impossible. Winning a campaign came down to exploiting the easy maps.

Having said that, I think that making more randomized campaign maps or giving other civs an ability to attack can still be done. It will just take a lot more work in terms of making sure the balance doesn't get thrown off too much. It will definitely be something we'd like to try in a future version of the game.

It's interesting that Mike thought about transferring silver between games. We tried that at the beginning, but...players started exploiting this by purposefully building up silver when they knew they would win. As a result, we had to cut that. :)

MikeLemmer January 11th, 2011 06:25 PM

Re: The Campaign - replayablity
While a more varied campaign would be nice, I hope you work on online multiplayer & porting first. I'd like to play with my friends online, and porting this to the iPad would be perfect for hotseat games.

Bluevoss January 12th, 2011 08:31 AM

Re: The Campaign - replayablity
I was thinking about this last night. Its known that the rivers in that area were in constant flux, changing thier beds over the years. Why not alter the rivers (slightly) and move some of the deposits (a bit) - just a square here and there? Toss in or remove an occasinal swamp square. That way the maps stay mostly the same, but something that worked one time might not work so well in the following game.

Alexander311 January 12th, 2011 05:57 PM

Re: The Campaign - replayablity
That's kind of what we did with some of the maps as you go from one Age to another. I think Lower Tigris is one with the most notice-able changes.

legowarrior January 12th, 2011 10:27 PM

Re: The Campaign - replayablity
I hadn't realized that the maps differed between eras a bit. I'm right now on the campaign, I've gone through all the sides, and now I am at the Late era, with only the Hittites completed. It's a fun challenge.

Bluevoss January 13th, 2011 10:12 AM

Re: The Campaign - replayablity
I just started the middle age but hadn't seen it. That's neat that you actually added that.

Alexander311 January 13th, 2011 04:39 PM

Re: The Campaign - replayablity
It's interesting that Bluevoss mentioned the rivers changing their course. That was a major, life-changing factor in those times, which we tried to model by changing the course of the rivers as you go from one age to another.

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