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Based on previous experience with Far Horizons, I would propose the following (simple) changes to the game engine code:

1) Make sure no planet in the home system has LSN lower than 15. Try to achieve that by adjusting the atmospheric requirements (instead of Temperature/ Pressure), so that your planets may remain highly attractive to other species - adds another motivation for interspecies interaction.

REASONING: Having a habitable planet in a home system gives the player an unfair advantage.

2) Increase jump difficulty over longer distances. My proposals include:
- change mishap formula to use distance^3 instead of distance^2
- limit FS (Fail-Safe Jump Unit) usage to one per jump

You may consider offsetting these changes by increasing the number of wormholes in galaxy and/or lowering the minimal wormhole distance requirement.

REASONING: In the midgame, with GV >> 20, whole galaxy becomes reachable without issues, making surprise all-out attack the most effective (but boring) conflict solution. The above changes will not rule that strategy out, but will require more planning and increase logistics difficulty.

We had discussed a few more advanced changes, but in this thread I decided to focus on those which are easily implementable.

Comments / questions are appreciated.
(04-12-2011, 01:35 PM)prozenfeld Wrote: [ -> ]Based on previous experience with Far Horizons, I would propose the following (simple) changes to the game engine code:

I would think that both changes make a great deal of sense. My experience is that game designers (especially the first time out) tend to make their games too easy. Negative feedback (what makes it easy to turn the steering wheel of a car a few degrees, but hard to make it turn 60 degrees) must be present, or players will reach god-status and then, like Alexander the Great, weep because they have no more worlds to conquer. . . . actually, they don't weep, they find another game so they have challenges again.

I have no idea what the code looks like but I do know that sometimes the "simple" changes are the most difficult to implement and have the most unintended consequences.
(04-12-2011, 01:35 PM)prozenfeld Wrote: [ -> ]REASONING: Having a habitable planet in a home system gives the player an unfair advantage.

I am inclined to believe that the stars are full of uncertainty. Do the stars guarantee equality to all those that reside amongst them?

I could have a dozen habitable planets in my home system, but that doesn't mean that I know how to colonize them. I have found many planets, thus far, but have colonized none.

Didn't the Romulans have two homeworlds?


(04-12-2011, 01:35 PM)prozenfeld Wrote: [ -> ]2) Increase jump difficulty over longer distances. My proposals include:
- change mishap formula to use distance^3 instead of distance^2
- limit FS (Fail-Safe Jump Unit) usage to one per jump

You may consider offsetting these changes by increasing the number of wormholes in galaxy and/or lowering the minimal wormhole distance requirement.

REASONING: In the midgame, with GV >> 20, whole galaxy becomes reachable without issues, making surprise all-out attack the most effective (but boring) conflict solution. The above changes will not rule that strategy out, but will require more planning and increase logistics difficulty.

I would think that a greater issue would be addressing the entry level appeal issues. In its present form, I think that player dropouts will be common, particularly in the early phases of the game - thus rendering the mid-game fairly moot, for them.

I encountered another race/species, this turn. It proved to be a very stale experience.

What are the advantages of a non-surprise attack over a surprise attack? Why would a player want to fore go launching a surprise attack?

It seems to me that it would be desirable to increase the likelihood of surprise attacks occurring. Perhaps it might be helpful if the war/battle cannot be concluded quickly and easily, once a surprise attack is committed to.
If it is possible for a player to start with a position that guarantees him a leg up when playing (assuming he knows how to exploit it), once that fact becomes known, players will drop as soon as they see that they did not get that kind of a position. The only ones left would be the ones that got the better positions and the noobs, who would be dead men walking.

I like the idea of making long jumps more difficult. In my old Ultima Online days, I remember many of the seasoned players yearned for the days when almost nobody could teleport. Regions took on special character, journeys were treacherous (and rewarding) adventures unto themselves, and geography took its toll on all players old and new. But as soon as teleporting became ubiquitous, all that geographic richness disappeared. People blinked in and out as they pleased, and the only travelers on the king's highways were my fellow noobs, out to hunt for rabbit pelts and the like.

In FH, I would agree to the suggested rule change, or I would add a second level of danger to long-jumping. Perhaps a higher chance of ship destruction, or perhaps a telepathic blast that would inform all players of the jumping fleet's specs at that instant.
(04-12-2011, 06:42 PM)JonO Wrote: [ -> ]If it is possible for a player to start with a position that guarantees him a leg up when playing (assuming he knows how to exploit it), once that fact becomes known, players will drop as soon as they see that they did not get that kind of a position. The only ones left would be the ones that got the better positions and the noobs, who would be dead men walking.

I don't agree, at all. If players all had to have the same assets, when starting, Hyborian War would have died, long ago.

I would guess that you are equating position equality with all positions being clones of each other. That is certainly not what I meant, I don't think it is what I wrote, nor is it what I believe anyone else has been talking about.

Hyborian War does an excellent job of making sure that a strength in one area is balanced by a weakness in another and that the odds of winning, given any particular set up is equal to the odds of any other given set up - otherwise it would not have lasted this long. I suppose, in theory, it would be possible to balance off having to colonizable worlds in a home sector, but it is such a big advantage - almost as good as getting to play two positions - that the dowside would have to be equally huge.



(04-13-2011, 02:34 AM)JonO Wrote: [ -> ]I would guess that you are equating position equality with all positions being clones of each other. That is certainly not what I meant, I don't think it is what I wrote, nor is it what I believe anyone else has been talking about.

Hyborian War does an excellent job of making sure that a strength in one area is balanced by a weakness in another and that the odds of winning, given any particular set up is equal to the odds of any other given set up - otherwise it would not have lasted this long. I suppose, in theory, it would be possible to balance off having to colonizable worlds in a home sector, but it is such a big advantage - almost as good as getting to play two positions - that the dowside would have to be equally huge.

You must be talking about a different Hyborian War, that the one that I play. The odds of winning with different kingdoms varies widely, and I certainly would not rate the kingdoms as being balanced. It is the differences in the kingdoms that help to elevate the game's player experience, not balance.

Far Horizons has no victory conditions. The game manual states that the game is played solely for enjoyment.

Sifting through the game manual for Far Horizons has been an exercise in tedium writ large. It is very time consuming, and is a chore to be viewed with dread, from my perspective. Whether the game is balanced or not is the least of my concerns, as a player. I would rather that the game simply be more fun, not balanced.
ixnay Wrote:I like the idea of making long jumps more difficult. In my old Ultima Online days, I remember many of the seasoned players yearned for the days when almost nobody could teleport. Regions took on special character, journeys were treacherous (and rewarding) adventures unto themselves, and geography took its toll on all players old and new. But as soon as teleporting became ubiquitous, all that geographic richness disappeared. People blinked in and out as they pleased, and the only travelers on the king's highways were my fellow noobs, out to hunt for rabbit pelts and the like.

In FH, I would agree to the suggested rule change, or I would add a second level of danger to long-jumping. Perhaps a higher chance of ship destruction, or perhaps a telepathic blast that would inform all players of the jumping fleet's specs at that instant.

Completely agree with your UO analogy. Space "travel" should present itself as a challenge, rather than be just instantaneous change of location.

Grimfinger Wrote:I encountered another race/species, this turn. It proved to be a very stale experience.

The encounter itself is bland. The diplomacy / roleplaying that follows should be more interesting Smile

JonO Wrote:If it is possible for a player to start with a position that guarantees him a leg up when playing (assuming he knows how to exploit it), once that fact becomes known, players will drop as soon as they see that they did not get that kind of a position. The only ones left would be the ones that got the better positions and the noobs, who would be dead men walking.

No single race is able to "win" in Far Horizons without allies. The pace of development for a species depend on many factors. Strong home system is a most obvious and easiest to tweak of them.

JonO Wrote:I would guess that you are equating position equality with all positions being clones of each other. That is certainly not what I meant, I don't think it is what I wrote, nor is it what I believe anyone else has been talking about.

Absolutely agree. The intention of my changes is to keep starting position variance within limits.

GrimFinger Wrote:I would think that a greater issue would be addressing the entry level appeal issues. In its present form, I think that player dropouts will be common, particularly in the early phases of the game - thus rendering the mid-game fairly moot, for them.

From my experience playing 4 games, the dropout rate is ~10-20% (manageable). It does not affect the game significantly for those still playing.

GrimFinger Wrote:Sifting through the game manual for Far Horizons has been an exercise in tedium writ large. It is very time consuming, and is a chore to be viewed with dread, from my perspective. Whether the game is balanced or not is the least of my concerns, as a player. I would rather that the game simply be more fun, not balanced.

I understand your point about barrier of entry. But the intent of this thread was to improve the actual gameplay for those who are familiar with the rules.
(04-13-2011, 02:58 AM)GrimFinger Wrote: [ -> ]You must be talking about a different Hyborian War, that the one that I play. The odds of winning with different kingdoms varies widely, and I certainly would not rate the kingdoms as being balanced. It is the differences in the kingdoms that help to elevate the game's player experience, not balance.

OK Grim, have it your way. The only reason Hyborian war has lasted this long is that it appeals to the masochistic impulses of a bunch of borderline morons who enjoy playing positions that they know cannot win. Rolleyes
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