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PBM workshop - Event Horizon
For as long as I've been playing PBM games I have wanted to create PBM games. I did moderate a little role playing thing back in college for a little while. But I've always wanted to do a space empire game. (I have another thread on this, discussing technical options.)

So I thought we could design one in an open forum. Let's pool our brains and experience and design a PBM game we all want to play. Or even a series of them? Who knows. Let's start with this as see how it goes.

I am thinking close-ended space/sci-fi. It would be something vaguely akin to that Far Horizons game we had so much fun with on this forum. So in tribute to that experience, I suggest the name "Event Horizon" (which is a term used in discussing black holes...)

- close-ended
- computer moderated
- web-based UI, but still a turn-based PBM game
- 4X feel (explore expand exploit exterminate)
- include a role for individuals/characters to impact the game
- allow players to design ships/space stations/death stars

In terms of technology, I am going with the following for familiarity's sake and for ease of hosting. But this could easily be changed if others want to contribute to the project in terms of coding in addition to design:

- visual studio (C#)
- mySQL
- viewable through standard browser interface

That's where I'm at so far. Anyone else interested?
Unfortunately, I can't program.

Design-wise, though, I am curious what you envision will distinguish the game from other space games on the Internet.

I would suggest that you fore go graphics, and embrace output in text format.

PDF format for turn results, to make reading the results easier on the eyes.

Rather than close-ended, I would suggest going with a compact playing area, to ensure that players interact earlier, rather than later.
Quick update:

Last night I spent some time evaluating web app development tools. I keep hearing about Python, Ruby on Rails, PHP, etc, but the top two still seem to be Java/JSP and .NET/C#. I do .NET/C# at work every day, so that's the way I'm going. I found some hosting sites that do .NET/SQL Server hosting, and I have access to visual studio and sql server through work.

I had also thought of deploying something with interactive elements via HTML 5, but that's going to limit my platform options down the road. So it will be basic web forms, charts, and data displays for now -- no interactive 3D maps or the like.

Next step - start up a database with the most basic possible rule set...
No development updates on this yet (I've been busy), but wanted to add to my concept in that I think this game (and most future gaming of the PBM genre) needs to extend to the mobile platform -- smart phones and tablets. It also needs to extend into "casual gaming" to allow players to log in and check their status on an hourly basis.

I am considering having sub-games occur within the regular pulse of "normal" turns, such that people could engage in combat, trading, etc with each other on a near-real-time basis. Maybe ship combat, for example, could have hourly turn-around when both players agree, so you could submit movement and fire orders with much tighter turnaround. (Those who couldn't support that kind of involvement could fall back on "strategic" combat resolution, or perhaps craft up "standing orders".)
Something like this ? Big Grin

Quick update.

I just surveyed the internets, and think I will stick with .NET for the development platform. It's as good as any, and better than most, and I already know how to use it.

I also just looked into free/cheap hosting options. Microsoft Azure looks interesting. It's a cloud computing platform that has a free option for low-traffic use. I am going to try to get a personal copy of Visual Studio and SQL Server, and see if I can throw something up there. If it takes off, I'll have to start paying usage fees, but that will present maybe some ad revenue.

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