Monday, May 28, 2012

Another new game, but with actual progress!

So after putting my original game on hold, then abandoning my second game idea due to a complete inability to design it properly right now, I decided to build software to control my 3D printer. Then I got distracted by yet another game idea. This is it!

The idea is that you're the leader of a group of medieval-ish folks who've gotten blasted from their old world to this new one as a result of a terrible cataclysm. You're not the only ones to get blasted out to this new world, so you've got to build things up quickly and make sure that you retain your kingdom.

This first image is of the strategic map. Each hexagon represents an area roughly 10 miles across. The middle one is lighter in colour because you've got a presence there; the rest is grey because you know roughly what the terrain looks like but you have no current knowledge of what's happening there. (Basically -- fog of war.) At the start of the game, you'll really only see your own starting hex and terrain within two hexes; there's a lot more showing here because I'm testing out the terrain generation right now so I want to see the whole thing.

This second picture is a detailed view of zooming in to the highlighted hex from the above picture. Each hexagon in this map is roughly one mile across. As you can see, in this map you've got a view of what sorts of resources each hex provides. (The amount shown on each hex is a little goofy -- I just finished coding the resource The display isn't great, but I'm tinkering as I go and it's getting steadily better. The big thing in the middle is an indicator that there's a town called Raventree with a population of 3 blocks of people (each block being roughly 1000 people).

There's a whole lot more coming. Fairly soon I'm going to start adding production in to the game, and then I'll start working on the tech tree.

I'm working on a couple ideas for the tech tree. One idea I'm working on is to have two types of research - incremental and revolutionary. Incremental research is things like your wise men working with your lumberjacks to gradually improve nationwide lumber production, or working with miners to invent better ways to mine ore. Basically, refining and getting better at things you already know how to do. That's research you can guide; you'll be given options to control how many resources go into that kind of work, where it gets spent, etc, and progress will be measurable and reasonably predictable.

Revolutionary tech advances are going to be different. These are more like the Civ concept of technologies - things you don't know how to do yet but would like to learn. So, for example, Arcane Arts will be a Revolutionary Advance available to your people. Until someone in your nation develops it (or you learn it from another nation) you can't do anything with magic. Unfortunately for you, you have very little control over how quickly these advances come up, or which one pops out next. There'll be a certain amount of weighting to make it more likely that you're going to get an earlier tech than a later one, but it's not guaranteed. The idea is that Revolutionary Advances represent huge leaps, things that require someone to achieve a huge leap in understanding in order to open up whole new fields of research. Once someone's discovered the basics, you can settle down to refining the ideas in a predictable fashion, but until you've got the basics, you don't even know where to start.

Anyway. That's a lot of rambling. I'll post an update soon; I've been making fairly steady progress on this game over the past couple weeks and I believe that's going to continue for a while. I may also post up a video on YouTube if I get anything really exciting going!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Apparently I am easily distracted

I gave up on the game I was working on in my last post... After three days of farting around with exactly zero progress to show for it, I realised I just am not the kind of person who can design that kind of game right now.

At which point my brain promptly designed a totally different game.

And now I'm ignoring that in favour of a new project.

I joined in a Kickstarter project for a 3D printer (Printrbot, to be precise) and I'll be getting that sometime in March, most likely. One thing I'm already noticing is that the software available to hobbyists is very functional, but very basic. I'm now looking at building a super-cheap computer to control the printer and provide functionality like job queuing, status monitoring, and whatever else seems interesting.

Since the printer itself doesn't have a powerful-enough onboard computer to do this work, I'm going to have to build one to do that control. I don't want to waste all the space and electricity it would take to run one of my old boxes just for that, so I'm looking into building a little ITX computer to act as a server. I've found the board I want (I think) and I've verified that I can load Linux on it, and I think I know enough of how the normal printer software works to hook in appropriately (or at least shell out to it). There are a few things I need to sort out still but it looks like everything's going to be achievable.

Which means the next thing I need is a case to protect the computer and hopefully mount it directly on to the printer to save space & hassle... which means I need to build a case and some mounting system... which means that my first project when I get my 3D printer will be to build upgrades to my 3D printer. It's amusing me.

In the meantime, I'm keeping my new game idea floating around in the back of my head for consideration. I'll get back to it before long, but for now I've got a shiny new toy distracting the everloving crap out of me.