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Hello world - Tasarran - 02-06-2021

Hello; I'm a PBM/PBeM gamer from way back (are they even making new ones?)  Big Grin

I've been rolling around an idea in the back of my head for years that I am actually thinking of moving forward on in a real way; thought I'd see what some other grogs thought about it...

I have an idea for a computer-moderated PBeM game that is tied into a quality front-end client; the overall game concept is something like Atlantis/Olympia, but my true inspiration was a game run by Play by Electron games called 'Eldritch.' Very crunchy game with many types of races, units, magic, research galore...
LTS, the scope of the game I have in mind is large.

I've been a professional software developer for ten years, and a 3D artist for fifteen before that; I've been working for several years on a system for making hex tile maps in Unity.  Version 4 is getting close to ready for the public. You can see my dev history on this project going back ten years to the pre-alpha version on my YouTube.
HexTech 3.9 video

The idea is nothing groundbreaking, really; I just want to make a more computer-aided game than is usual for PBM games. Sort of taking the front-end programs people have made to handle turns in bigger games to the next level, if you will...

Is the whole idea counter to the 'spirit' of PB(e)M gaming? Am I a heretic for even bringing it up? Is this a way to open the hobby up to more people, or is it poison?
Really interested in some opinions here.


Tasarran


RE: Hello world - GrimFinger - 02-06-2021

Tell us more about it. Also, are are of your video clips narrated?

What do you envision? Is it just a map maker? One of your videos featured borders. Is there a list of features it will offer?

Will it allow people to create PBM games (or something similar), and tie them to a front end?


RE: Hello world - Tasarran - 02-06-2021

(02-06-2021, 06:54 PM)GrimFinger Wrote: Tell us more about it. Also, are are of your video clips narrated?

What do you envision? Is it just a map maker? One of your videos featured borders. Is there a list of features it will offer?

Will it allow people to create PBM games (or something similar), and tie them to a front end?

Some of the videos are narrated; mainly this one that was essentially the tutorial for V3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkouwY8LLfg

So far, it hasn't been anything but a map creator/editor, for other people to build on top of; but it has always been in the intent of creating this game (working title 'Glyph').

Currently, there's the map editor of course, it has functions for creating units, pathfinding, borders (up to 16 sides ATM, but that's not a hard limit).

Creating a generic front end that people could use to drive their own games or a PBM SDK are also options, but I think making Glyph first would help iron out what is needed in that regard.

If people are interested, I'll share more...


RE: Hello world - GrimFinger - 02-06-2021

Yes, by all means, please do share more.


RE: Hello world - Tasarran - 02-06-2021

My thinking was that there would be a server that ran turns daily, but players could queue up orders for a week or two.

As far as the game itself, it is a turn-based strategy game, set in a fantasy world.

Glyph will have a skill-based training system for regular army units; as part of the unit creation process, entities will be trained with certain skills, the combination of which will enable them to become a certain type of military (or civilian) unit.
For example, you can train a group of recruits with the Spear skill, assign them some spears to use, and they are Spearmen.
Train them in Shield skill, and some sort of Formations skill, and they can become a Phalanx, a special unit that gets defensive bonuses when they are in formation.
This will allow you to upgrade your troops as time goes by, and alter the particular use of a given unit as circumstances change.
Races will have bonuses and penalties for various skills, making them either cost more to train, having a higher/lower max level of training, or both. Some races will have a low level of a skill naturally.

Your Heroes will also have skills, including several that only Heroes can learn, not the least of which are the skills in the magical arts.
Magic will come in several schools that will be familiar to any who have played this type of game before:
Light, Void, Air, Fire, Earth, and Water; there will also be a school of Life, which is distinct from the 'white magic' of the Light school, and has a more nature, or druidic nature.
There will also be the school of Artifice, which deals with the creation of magical items, devices, and constructs.
There will be several sub-schools that Heroes can gain access to when they have trained in certain combinations of magic skills.
The plan is to let the player discover these for themselves, but as an example...
Legends tell of wizards with advanced skill in Air and Water that were able to control the weather using spells of vast power.

I have also been toying around with the idea of having the four Elemental magic schools (The Corporeal College), and having four other schools that make up the Celestial College.
Those would be Sun (light and healing), Moon (illusion and emotion), Stars (metamagic and enchantments), and Void (darkness and entropy).

The player will not necessarily start the game in control of a city; rather, you will start with a few Heroes, and a group of basic soldiers of your chosen race. You can hire more troops directly from the indigenous population of the area.
(This is an idea I got from Eldritch)
Heroes can also perform one more very important function, they are (with the right skills) able to claim Titles, such as Parish Priest, Sheriff, Mayor, etc. These titles will occur in areas when the civilization and population rise to certain levels, and also in response to certain structures being built. Titles allow a hero that holds them to tax money from the local populace, but also requires that hero to stay in the vicinity, and may require certain activities. (ie. a Sheriff might lose the Title if he repeatedly failed to deal with bandit or monster raids).
Titles allow a political avenue to take over a city, rather than forcing the player to lay siege to an asset that might need to be preserved.


RE: Hello world - Tasarran - 02-06-2021

And a little bit about the back story...

For many millenia after the creation of the world by Adar, the All-Father, Glyph was watched over by the All-Father and his children, the lesser Gods. For the most part, Glyph was a peaceful world, and life was good...
Until one day, the Gods found the All-Father gone... No trace of him was to be found in the Celestial Palace, and a search of the world as only Gods can perform turned up no trace of the All-Father. What had happened is a mystery; the theories among the Gods were many... The All-Father tired of his existence, and decided to start over as a mortal, or he has gone on to create another world, or he has ascended into realms that the lesser Gods know nothing of...
In any event, after he had been missing for over one hundred years (an eyeblink to a God), it was decided that one of the Gods should take the Father's place at the head of the Celestial Court. But which one? Each of them thought that they were the obvious choice, the favorite of the Father, and the most suited to rule. It was decided that the Gods would play a game, with mortals as their pawns, and the victor in this Game of Gods would take the throne.
This 'game' quickly degenerated into all-out war between the Gods and their followers. Bloody war raged across the land for years, great magical disasters were unleashed, continents sank into the ocean depths, and new ones rose... Eventually, Jandor, Lord of Balance achieved the victory, and he assumed the Celestial Throne.

The world began to heal.

You take the role of the leader of a group of mortals, trying to rebuild your people to the former glory of the days before the Godwars.
Will you build an empire to crush your neighbors, or build a thriving multi-cultural nation? Will you strive to become the most powerful wizard in the world, or build a giant trade empire?

The future of your people is in your hands...

This is the backstory as it stands now. I originally thought this game would be set in the Godwars, but I decided it was better to do the game this way, sort of a Civilization-style game where war wasn't necessarily the prime focus.
I'm already thinking of a Glyph 2 'prequel' set in the Godwars era, where truly epic war and magic will be commonplace.


RE: Hello world - Tasarran - 02-06-2021

And a bit about races...

I'm not going to make any illusions that many of these races have not been used in fantasy games many, many times before.
I've never been a fan of the games where they try to make every race an original; I do tend to like me some tropes... Big Grin
So, call me derivative, I won't deny it. :p

So, having said that, here's a list of races I plan on having. They fall into three groups, based on sureness of that race being in the final game: Pretty Sure, Maybe, and Who Knows

Pretty Sure:
Dwarves - Warriors Crafters, live in mountains and hills
Elves - Archers and Wizards, live in forests
Halflings - Farmers, tradesmen, sneaky, live in plains and hills
Humans - more than one kind; Wildmen[Barbarians/Vikings], Horse Lords [think Rohan] (more under Maybe)
Just Plain Humans (lol) - of course need a better history, but these are the humans with no advantage or disadvantage, the baseline
Orcs - Live in any environment, live by raiding other races and hunting (see note under Maybe)
Unnamed as yet race of Lizardmen who trace ancestry back to Dragons, at home in swamps
Felar - Cat-people who are at home in the Jungle and are adept at Fire magic
Unnamed Rat-people who live in almost any environment except plains and mountains, skilled at subterfuge and Void magic
Unnamed Insect-People - There are many examples of insect-people in fantasy games, my take on them is that they are a hive-mind, and as such, have no individual fear of death. This will exempt them from any rules affecting Morale and almost all mind-magic. However, it will also make them uncreative, and researching new spells, skills, and techs will be harder for them.

Maybe:
High Men[Human] (never really liked the idea, but these are the preist-y, paladin-y people that seem to recur in fantasy lore. Maybe give them a better history of being a remnant of a powerful church, before the Godwar; maybe these were the church of the (now absent) All-Father)
Goblins - not sure if they need to be a race of their own... Idea - the Orc/Goblin race is really one race, sometimes you have an Orc, sometimes you have a Goblin. Perhaps the diet of an Orc/Goblin as they are raised determines what they grow up to be... Perhaps an Orc/Goblin baby, raised on mostly vegetables/fungi/bugs/etc grows up to be a Goblin. However that same baby raised on meat grows up to be an Orc... And perhaps if you raise an Orc child on something more exotic, you get an Ogre... (Maybe Dragon meat?)
Undead - I want to have undead in the game, of various types, but I'm not sure if I want a race of Undead. If you want your hero to become a necromantic master, and raise an army of undead, you should be able to do that without having a race of Undead.
Bird-people - maybe just flying humanoids, what would be the disadvantage that would make up for flight?

Who Knows:
Unnamed Octopus-people - Amphibious thick-skinned octopus like beings, capable of walking on land or swimming. good at Water magic
Gnomes - 'Tinker Gnomes' Skilled at making amazing devices, needless to say masters of Artifice magic
Other notes - I need some sort of ice race, AoW used 'Frostlings,' which I suppose were intended as a fantasy analogue of Inuit people... Maybe Ice Dwarves? Some sort of more directly 'elemental' creatures?

I've also had plenty of really bizarre ideas for races, but the problem becomes integrating/balancing them.
For example, lets say I have a purely aquatic race, that builds cities on the bottom of the sea.
They can never win a conquest game because they can't take over more than a coastal city.
Nobody else can really touch them, without the aid of powerful magic; it just doesn't fit well...

I do plan to have a number of 'minor races' that you will be able to enslave/encourage to join/hire... This would be the place for things that are intelligent enough to be troops in an army, but are not one of the 'major' playable races. Things like Trolls, for example.
Would be good to implement races whose way of life might make it hard to model mechanics for their obviously very different way of living/building, like some sort of living plant creatures. You just have some of them living over there doing what they do, and you can go get some of them to join your army, if you are able.
They'd basically be groups of indigenous people, 'barbarians' until you come along and teach them 'civilization'.


RE: Hello world - Lugh - 02-09-2021

(02-06-2021, 03:25 PM)Tasarran Wrote: Hello; I'm a PBM/PBeM gamer from way back (are they even making new ones?)  Big Grin

Welcome! What games did you play in the past?

(02-06-2021, 03:25 PM)Tasarran Wrote: Is the whole idea counter to the 'spirit' of PB(e)M gaming?

That depends on your definition of the 'spirit of PB(e)M gaming'.  Technological enhancements that facilitate asynchronous games with deep depth, in my opinion, are NOT in conflict with the 'spirit of PB(e)M gaming'!

(02-06-2021, 03:25 PM)Tasarran Wrote: Am I a heretic for even bringing it up?

Nope!  Think of PB(e)M gaming as a cafeteria.  Those who prefer the old ways (ugly graphics, numbers instead of descriptive text, physical mail, longer turnarounds, etc.) can play low-tech, less user-friendly games.  Those who want a more attractive, more customized interface, faster turnarounds, choices in the delivery of results can choose those games that fills those needs.  Everyone can pick games which fit with their preferences.

(02-06-2021, 03:25 PM)Tasarran Wrote: Is this a way to open the hobby up to more people, or is it poison?

This is NOT poisonous to our hobby.  It may indeed be an antidote to the poison known as "stagnation".


RE: Hello world - Tasarran - 02-09-2021

(02-09-2021, 11:06 AM)Lugh Wrote: Welcome! What games did you play in the past?

Oh, so many...  I think the very first one I ever played was Beyond the Quadra Zone, back in the mid 80's. Monster Island, Swords of the Gods, DungeonWorld, Olympia, many games of Atlantis, a few others that I can't remember now.

Like I may have already mentioned, my main inspirations for my own game idea are the 4X computer game Master of Magic, and a PBeM game called Eldritch, formerly run by Play By Electron Games.


(02-09-2021, 11:06 AM)Lugh Wrote: Nope!  Think of PB(e)M gaming as a cafeteria.  Those who prefer the old ways (ugly graphics, numbers instead of descriptive text, physical mail, longer turnarounds, etc.) can play low-tech, less user-friendly games.  Those who want a more attractive, more customized interface, faster turnarounds, choices in the delivery of results can choose those games that fills those needs.  Everyone can pick games which fit with their preferences.

This is NOT poisonous to our hobby.  It may indeed be an antidote to the poison known as "stagnation".

My thinking was that this type of game could allow the world to be so much more robust and filled with data and systems than a turn-return type system.

Building in a robust automation/unit order queue system would allow people who didn't want to micromanage everything options to set up operations that they didn't want to fiddle with, giving them more time to dig deeper into the parts of the game they are interested in...


It could allow players to have a turn-based battle mode, though I only think this would be fair against NPC armies. PvP would probably have to be done only via the server, unless there could be a system that allowed two players to schedule the battle and play each other.
This whole idea is of course prone to cheating, so there would have to be a lot of consideration around how the details would go, security, and anti-cheating...

It could allow for a certain level of not-really hidden information; you might know something that turned up in your turn results, but not have to be informed specifically.
In a regular PBM, you know there's a thing in that hex because the turn result told you. In a game like this, there could be information that you didn't know you had access to until you looked for it.
In other words; in a regular PBM, you have info that players have, and info that the server has. In this scenario, there could be server info, player info, and info that the player's computer has that they may or may not know... This is very interesting to me.



RE: Hello world - Davin - 02-09-2021

(02-09-2021, 12:15 PM)Tasarran Wrote: Building in a robust automation/unit order queue system would allow people who didn't want to micromanage everything options to set up operations that they didn't want to fiddle with, giving them more time to dig deeper into the parts of the game they are interested in...

That's an interesting idea that I hadn't specifically considered -- being able to give general orders to automate some details while working out detailed plans only in certain areas (or for specific operations). Galac-Tac already does this in some areas (such as shuttling raw resources), but I think I could do more with that idea in a different game that I've been wanting to bring up since the 80s.