Saturday, November 8, 2008

Regarding Blakes proposal; let's all post our opinions; and read each others fully. Here is mine

Nice ideas. The laser frequency information and the other details are handy, quite timely. I've learned something new this week. :) I’d like to see what everyone says about it as well, not just me. So members; please post your opinions of Blake’s ideas below; a lot of it pretty much questions the current direction for the game.

Nice symbols as well, but you seem more suited to science advisor & possibly the game designer really.
I agree with your most of comments, but we can only make them come alive if you document how things would work based on the questions I will ask latter. Of course you might not want to answer those questions, I understand that; but I can’t answer them for you either; since your ideas are not from me with my limited scientific knowledge and I am not yet sure how interpret such knowledge for our inexperienced co-workers and common players to understand.

Your ideas seem promising. I'm sure your ideas will prove realistic and appreciated by certain ones; I'm not certain about common youngsters understanding the details yet; but clarifications would be developed later I guess; granted, it will excite those matured and interested in science, I'd say you are very intelligent and intelligent players will like your games. I hope you stay around to see the development through in order to enjoy the results. Your judgment will be the guide for your suggestions.

Only minor error; I’m not sure if you read the game document fully; I would understand, as it is not finished, I don’t get a single chance to focus on it. But it doesn't actually say that the four human-player factions fight “each other”, not quite sure where that came from. But apart from that your points are interesting; here are my opinions of yours;

I will try my best to back my statements here with successful game examples; as it is a game we are creating. If that is not possible, then I will illustrate through similar mediums.

I like your concept of having different attack types; this is the case in World of Warcraft and Command and Conquer; I originally left this detail out because those games don't have crew specialists under complex management. Attack types would certainly be more realistic.

All your statements about the ore I acknowledge; things like diamonds will not be worth much in such a scenario with expanded access, technology and resources. I saw that a Star Wars film used a spacecraft made of gold to depict the wealth of certain characters (I think it was in episode 3, before Vader is KO’d by Obi-Wan Kenobi); because ordinary people of today understand gold to be valuable. You agreed dense metals would be somewhat valuable.

I think the ‘more intelligent’ players will agree that diamonds will not be worth much for the reasons you imply; but as for the rest, what will they say about diamonds not being worth much? Will they believe you? I believe you, and know that you are right, but not all the players will; and they will post up some strong comments about what they do believe, on our future website.

Example: I imagine a poor character begging with the aim of exchanging a pile of diamonds for a bite to eat, and a rich guy replies ‘No, sorry, not worth much; not enough for even a bite’ Anyway, you said certain “things can be converted into human food”; so that story scenario probably wouldn’t exist in your concept; and should not.

Diamonds are beautiful stones, guys love them, women love them, and the amount years they took to crystallize from unimpressive materials, amazing. Thinking about an example; I don’ t think the cars in iRobot are worth much in that story as crate full of diamonds with your point; but the audience loves seeing them how they look, they look ‘cool’.

It is down to the audience, and what they see as ‘valuable’. And they will see diamonds as in-valuable in the future if they know about them. We must be sure that there are many who will play and will understand what we present to them.
I’d understand if diamonds are left out. And I agree with the point about things you can’t synthesize being valuable (I used the concept of records and guitars from being valuable in another of my futuristic game ideas). I acknowledge the point about water being recycled.

I’m not a fan of detailed realism in games of any genre; my top 10 games of all time are not much realistic with game-play details. (None of my top 10 sci-fi movies, cartoons or comics features much realism with weapons and objects either)
I think realism has a negative impact on game-play if not implemented well. Particularly for casual gamers who are a large group. We are dealing with long periods of time and focus in development and testing; but I can only say that, I can’t show you that; you have to experience such development and results for yourself. I feel the articles below highlight what to expect from realism, and what kind of audience to expect. (This comment is not about realistic graphics). Baring in mind we are making a 2D engine based game now (with 3D rendered images), are a small team (at present) and are limited with time and I acknowledge that many of my ideas are not realistic, and needed brushing up and much more focus.

Also; I agree that a game that is in no-way realistic is just immature.
These articles pretty much discuss further issues of going for the realistic & logical game. The second one concludes with a comment such details as being unnecessary.
gamasutra . gamedev

About Clifford Macintosh; Apple, they probably would get upset, which is pretty sad and pathetic considering the size of their company and our small group; anything for money.

The Clones, yes this is definitely cliché and definitely a placeholder name.
Regarding the comment; “Another problem with this is that is makes the player very small in comparison to the faction. If you've ever read Dune, the great houses are a good example of conflicting factions in which a player would seem to matter more. I think gameplay as a privateer with the option to join some sort of house or company would be most appealing. With missions one can take from various places”
I think the area of player role is simply not developed yet, pretty much because different ideas for the role keep getting proposed by different people into the game document. It does not yet go into details regarding the player’s specific role in the factions or their missions. The players certainly do start of small in comparison to the faction; and were going to develop into generals or leaders. Valid point.

I always disagreed with time setting which was earlier than 2104 before you came. You say we should add another 100; say maybe 2200 (2204).
I think to myself, what was life like 100 years ago? No spaceships, computers; no electric toothbrushes, not even an electric calculator invented 40 years or more ago. What will life be like around in 2104? I wanted to pick a time for when people on earth, are likely start to inhabit space, do we think that it will take more than 70 years from now? (at the approximate start of the back-history)
I heard of personal private space flight trips FOUR YEARS AGO lol; will we still be thinking about whether to go out into space over 70 years from now? .

Technology does advance quickly, 15 years ago I was amazed at playing a 32bit game; now they don’t even bother to talk about bits. Other technology has advanced pretty rapidly.
As the one who is studying science, your judgment would be more accurate than mine on judging when living in space will be possible. 2200 it is then.

There are some game play and story related parts I'm not sure about; but my opinion doesn't matter if the majority disagree with me; It is interesting that there is so much that seems wrong about the game-play aspect of the current plan (for which me and two previous members are responsible for); but it is also a benefit for me to understand someone else’s point of view:

Is a simple attack and defense attribute really over-simplified to cause “Most scifi fans” to “drool”? I ask because those attributes are a sum of the effect the crew members have on a playing unit (Spacecraft / foot army); Similar to ‘level’ being the sum of experience points. An example: Strength skill in Civilization 4; a summary of more detailed skill attributes which includes unit circumstance (that's right, the best, one of the largest, one of the most successful commercial budget turn based strategy game over the past few years has ONE combat skill, which is a sum of further attributes and circumstance) and let me tell you; that's the one of the most challenging games I have ever played; check out the numerous comments on

On that basis, I severely doubt; if anyone who feels that simplified attack and defense attributes that summarize numerous underlining attributes for clarity is not good considering the list of other attributes (within the crew’s personal attributes in our case), will never enjoy the games I enjoy, or like any game idea I come up with.

A good illustration is RPG character level; imagine the case of forming a strategy; ‘Level 14’ is easier to read, express and estimate in the mind than Experience Points 1,203,211; which Level 14 represents. (Only the game developers would know the logarithm formular between levels, the players are interested in the single or two digit figure). Imagine performing a math sum in your head whilst manually shooting AI and saying to your RPG game team mate; ‘Oh, I have 1,203,211 experience points, only 296,789 experience points to go’, no way; a smaller sum is far easier to express; and use for expressions. Attack and defense is there for a similar purpose, and the game document talks about the crew member’s affect on those two sums. Some details are yet to be added for obvious reasons.
We had in mind that many GREAT games are not so realistic with the action and interaction; like:

WoW: Magic?, smelt ore with your hands?

Civillization: One scientist can research anything, bullets can destroy a tank, a warrior with a sword can destroy a tank, the game has one class of laser; no frequency differences

Counter Strike: Players can shoot straight at long distances even though their arm was partially exploded by a grenade. A character can climb a ladder, shoot straight and reload in less than a few seconds, with their heart busted open with a bullet

Command and Conqueror: One class of laser again; the weapons are just prefixed with the word ‘Laser’, with no frequency ranges even considered. They have a laser that beems down from a satellite dish and zaps tanks and buildings via remote control. One faction can dig a tunnel from one island to another in matter of seconds.

Star Wars: Need I say more; who cares how the light sabers work

So if our game is to be geared towards being like them, successful? It would not contain much realism would it? (Is it to be a fantasy? Science; fiction?). As for emotion and other areas affected by realism and the time spent on it; will the result under these working conditions be good? We (the previous writers, game designer and myself) just assumed most players will not care how the lasers work; it won’t affect their purchasing decision, they would predominantly only care that it takes damage, and how much damage the weapon takes; we just felt that many players are just interested in the fun and enchanting story in our case, not realism in the Sci-Fi Role Playing game's game-play. A judgment based on the top rated games listed, how far do we take realism in game-play based on following the examples of industry trained game developers? Or do we ignore this?:



But that is not to say, that realism in game-play is entirely wrong, or possible! Flight Sim is realistic; but that is no Science Fiction RPG. I’m just trying to imagine how realism in a space flight crew management role playing system will be received by the majority. Regarding majority of the gaming community we expect to play, based on their influence on the top games mentioned; do they care how the 40 pixel squared laser cannons work? I’m not too sure about that. That might make a nice poll.

We are not competing against the likes of those games considering we are a small group; but do we expect people to enjoy our game for long if it has more emphasis on logic and reason than any of those aforementioned games, and the chart games in those lists? I’m not too sure about that either.

Probably, I’m getting the wrong impression from the emphasis on laser frequencies; granted it will be cool to have laser frequencies, just not sure if the complexity of making an online RPG is being considered before focusing on such details.
Either you aim for the hard core sci-fi fans or the casual; or try to cater to both with different modes, incentives and levels of detail. I don’t get the impression your advice considers common gamers, the majority of games players and youngsters who buy indie games. Only the smart, which is fine; just not what I and the previous guys where aiming for.

But people will disagree with what I say here; we all have different perspectives, it is just the way it is; some people care for logical explanations for science-fiction weapons, some just care for the action. Some people buy a game because it looks nice, or because it has many weapons in it, perhaps because it has different laser frequencies featured in it; I’m certain I wouldn’t buy a Sci-Fi RPG because it has logical weapons; and shouldn’t try to make something I wouldn’t play.
Thinking about games like Worms, Star Wars, City of Heroes, Starcraft, Command And Conquer, WoW, Quake, Guild Wars, Dune, Unreal and Doom; However different, they share similar instances of unrealistic weapons and items.

Funny experience; I’ve played a game based in the near future with Rail Guns that shoot through a brick walls, without scratching a single brick or the wall paper on it, no smoke or nothing and yet the human target gets the beam shot through them, burns them I think and then bleeds them as they die. Imagine working on a project like that for months and months, ‘hmmm; shooting through walls, not very realistic; we need to find a more logical solution’; that Red Faction game was a decent hit, it got released on PS2 because of its reasonable PC success, eventually. I can’t stand the game, but not because it is un-realistic.

That’s all I will say from now. It will be great seeing it all work out.

If the majority agrees with your direction and if you are up for the challenge of helping us make your advice take place; please explains how it works in the game, what the player sees (taking your time). The answers to these questions will sum up how the ideas will work and will be a good start towards making them happen.
Explain the attack types and how it all works within a 2d engine between players playing online and with the AI, what kind graphical content is needed to illustrate the ideas presented, how the different attacks and maneuvers work & what buttons are used. How modelers can get an understanding of how realistic planets, substances, effects, weapons, robots look like and animate so things match up with the scientific guidelines. Or does it matter there? Try to provide details on who the player represents and what factions exist if the current seem undesirable, who the main characters are, the minor character types, antagonists and protagonists; when we should include the main characters, how linear the missions are, and how many should exist, and how they challenge the player etc, how devices affect targets with different attacks and defenses as you outlined, how many different devices and weapons would exist (eventually). Let us know how damage is calculated based on different attacks, how damage is calculated based on items and crew members (if they would make an affect), how buffs and de-buffs work (if they exist); this determines how the XML specifications will be set up. Let us how the GUI controls the different attack types; and if manual and automatic fire input is still going to fit in, how missions are played, what missions consist of, how players interact, how information is presented to the players regarding things like laser frequencies, governmental stocks, energy sources, waste-to-food conversion and other issues you present Also; how logical details affect how all the special effects look as currently, imagination is being used.

All this will be of great assistance when producing the content and designing the XML entities and classes; we on the creative team would then know how to make it happen. I’d help if necessary, but relate with the proposed level of detail. What ever else the programmers would need to know would be proposed by them.
Meanwhile hopefully others will comment and not just leave me to give an opinion; then will make our minds up on what to include and what not; then commence with the development of the content for the demo. Unwanted elements and ideas can remain in that to simply attract attention to the website and the real game being developed.

Have a nice evening, thanks for the input.

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