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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsTile Empires - Multiplayer Turn-Based Strategy
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Author Topic: Tile Empires - Multiplayer Turn-Based Strategy  (Read 8530 times)
Aubrius
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« on: February 13, 2013, 07:20:20 PM »


My current empire used for testing

Basic Idea
Tile Empires is a multiplayer turn-based strategy game played in your web browser. The world is completely void when each game begins, and players build the land from scratch as the game progresses. When the game starts, each player is given a starting tile with a capital on it. Then each turn the player receives more land tiles to expand their territory with.



Turns
Instead of having to wait for every player to finish the turn, a new turn begins every hour. All resource gain, land tile distribution, and other mechanics that rely on turns happen at this time.

Puzzle/Planning Aspect
I'm trying to make land placement and building construction almost like a puzzle game underneath the greater overlying strategy portion of the game. To show you what I'm talking about - players can build farms to gather food from crops. But for the crops to be harvested, they must be adjacent to a farm. Then for the farm to stockpile this food, it must be connected by a road to either a warehouse or the player's capital. The cabins that harvest wood work almost exactly the same except with forest tiles instead of crops.




Strategy
Players will eventually expand their lands to a point where they "bump" into another player. Then military development will become more important. Currently there is only the basic military unit to fight with, but I plan on rolling out new units such as knights that have more hit points, scouts that ride horses and can explore faster, ships that move over water tiles, and siege units that can only attack structures for massive damage. In the first screenshot posted you can see some stone gates and walls that will aid in defense.


Not something you want to find on your border! (borders need work)

Thanks For Reading!
I have been working on this on the weekends for awhile now, and it is finally to a playable state. The previous game that just ended had 25 players in it. I am trying to get around 100 players in the next game that will be starting in the next few weeks. If you would like to help me with playing and testing Tile Empires, please use this handy google form.

In addition to posting updates here, I will also be posting updates I make during development to my Tile Empires Dev Blog.
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Fleury
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2013, 07:28:56 PM »

signed up; looking forward to it  Smiley
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jO
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 12:52:46 AM »

Yeah, this has a sweet premise.
I'm not too fond of games that take real-world time, but I'm intrigued
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Aubrius
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 05:11:18 AM »

I'm not too fond of games that take real-world time, but I'm intrigued

I feel the same way about real-world time games.

Just to let you know, with the new turn every hour there is not any sort of required player interaction to keep things moving along. You don't have to click your crops each turn to harvest them. You don't have to click on the structures being built to keep the construction process going. You just tell stuff what to do, and if it takes multiple turns it will take care of itself.

Back to the real-world time thing though, it is basically a way to keep the game from progressing too much while someone might be at work or asleep. With the current 1 turn per hour you could check your empire before work, at lunch, and after work - and you would probably do fine going towards the end of the game.
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Gregg Williams
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 05:16:12 AM »

Sounds pretty cool.

Do turns queue up to be spent like many php games such as Earth 2025, and kin have done?
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Aubrius
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2013, 05:36:14 AM »

Do turns queue up to be spent like many php games such as Earth 2025, and kin have done?

Not really the same way. You can queue up actions to happen, but turns do not store up to be spent. For instance, you could queue up troop movement to explore an area or queue up some buildings to be constructed when the resources become available. The only action you probably wouldn't be able to queue up is placement of tiles since you won't know what tiles you will have during the next few turns (although it wouldn't be impossible).
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Sanojian
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 06:26:33 AM »

This game looks great.

You can queue up actions to happen

What a great concept.  So much less evil than your typical cow-clicker timesink.

One tiny nitpick: the mountains from your screenshot seem to be of a different style than the rest of the tiles.  I have no artistic eye but they just stand out to me as wrong looking.

Really looking forward to this game!   Beer!
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Gregg Williams
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2013, 06:32:02 AM »

Do turns queue up to be spent like many php games such as Earth 2025, and kin have done?

Not really the same way. You can queue up actions to happen, but turns do not store up to be spent. For instance, you could queue up troop movement to explore an area or queue up some buildings to be constructed when the resources become available. The only action you probably wouldn't be able to queue up is placement of tiles since you won't know what tiles you will have during the next few turns (although it wouldn't be impossible).

Will be interesting to hear how combat works out in that type of model. Seems like you could be at some serious disadvantages if you don't have access to take turns and update orders every hour or two. (Not that you aren't at one with turns that queue up either, though its a bit different.)
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johnki
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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2013, 06:37:56 AM »

If you would like to help me with playing and testing Tile Empires, please use this handy google form.
Signed up.

This looks great. I really like the graphics style.
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Aubrius
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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2013, 06:45:52 AM »

One tiny nitpick: the mountains from your screenshot seem to be of a different style than the rest of the tiles.  I have no artistic eye but they just stand out to me as wrong looking.

You are totally right! I have not been able to create a mountain tile graphic that fits the style like everything else does. The current mountains are better than my massive stone blocks that used to be in there though. Hopefully I'll figure it out eventually.

Here is an older screenshot with some of the older mountains in the upper left corner. Pay no attention to the bookshelf UI  Tongue

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Ant
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2013, 06:49:28 AM »

Being unable to queue new tiles seems like a pretty big advantage to those that check in every hour early on in the game. The process of world creation is a very interesting premise though.
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t-recx
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2013, 01:20:39 PM »

Interesting concept, and those graphics are lovely too, very Transport Tycoon-ish. You made them yourself?
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Blodyavenger
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2013, 03:59:00 AM »

I love the concept and I'm looking forward to this game so much! (yep, I did sign up Wink )
Do you intend having 100 players on one server?
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jO
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2013, 04:33:07 AM »

I have not been able to create a mountain tile graphic that fits the style like everything else does.

Yes, doing mountains properly can be very hard.
The biggest issue about mountains IMHO is that they are made of one single material; stone. This leaves you with a very little toolset to define a shape within the silhouette of the mountain.
What makes the problem even worse in your case is that you have very little lighting in your sprites. Light seems to come evenly from all directions, so you don't have dark and bright sides of you objects (very apparent on your houses).
I would recommend that you try to add a really hard lightsource to your mountains and work yourself through the shape by adding those strong contrasts between lit and unlit areas on the mountain, that should help to define the shape of mountains a lot (rock tends to have very strong, high contrast in shading).

http://revnadinedraytonkeen.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/mountain_2.jpg


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Aubrius
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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2013, 06:49:00 AM »

signed up; looking forward to it  Smiley

Yay! Thanks!

Being unable to queue new tiles seems like a pretty big advantage to those that check in every hour early on in the game. The process of world creation is a very interesting premise though.

I've currently got the game set up to give everyone 15 starting tiles, and initially you gain 2 random tiles per turn. Your tile inventory space starts at 10 tiles. So after you place your initial tiles, you could go 5 turns without missing any placement opportunity. Then there is also the option to build structures that would give you more tile inventory or tiles per turn. So I would say, yes it is still a disadvantage but maybe not as big as you might think.

Interesting concept, and those graphics are lovely too, very Transport Tycoon-ish. You made them yourself?

I licensed a small bit of pixel art from a guy that just had it lying around not being used for anything. So I'm using his pixel/isometric style as a basis for everything. To answer your question though, some of the buildings are directly from his work.

I love the concept and I'm looking forward to this game so much! (yep, I did sign up Wink )
Do you intend having 100 players on one server?

Awesome! Thanks! I'm probably going to keep adding as many players as I can get on one server until the server starts to take a performance hit. I would say the real problem would be the number of concurrent users logged in actively doing stuff and the turn calculations for a large number of players.

Yes, doing mountains properly can be very hard.
The biggest issue about mountains IMHO is that they are made of one single material; stone. This leaves you with a very little toolset to define a shape within the silhouette of the mountain.
What makes the problem even worse in your case is that you have very little lighting in your sprites. Light seems to come evenly from all directions, so you don't have dark and bright sides of you objects (very apparent on your houses).
I would recommend that you try to add a really hard lightsource to your mountains and work yourself through the shape by adding those strong contrasts between lit and unlit areas on the mountain, that should help to define the shape of mountains a lot (rock tends to have very strong, high contrast in shading).

http://revnadinedraytonkeen.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/mountain_2.jpg

At first I tried to make the light source for everything more at an angle, but it never looked right. So I went with an overhead type light source with exaggerated shadows to give it a better feel.

Thanks for the mountain advice! I'll have to give that a try this weekend.
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Blodyavenger
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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2013, 07:33:39 AM »

Sounds great! Do you have any estimated time on the next test phase maybe?
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Aubrius
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« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2013, 11:52:18 AM »

Sounds great! Do you have any estimated time on the next test phase maybe?

Probably in the next couple weeks. There are a few tweaks and bugs to iron out, and then also a new feature to finish up.
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Nasawa
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« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2013, 01:56:12 PM »

This looks pretty exciting. Kind of makes me want to go back and play some older city-building games. Signed up, I'd love to help test it out. I'm especially excited to hear about the queuing, since that's a huge problem with online games these days - you're either at your computer or you lose.

I'm a little curious about the interface though - is it going to be mostly mouse-only? I was just thinking that if it is point-and-click for the most part, you might be able to port this fairly easily to mobile markets once you have a little more time, if the game is mostly web-based.

Either way, good luck, and I hope to get an invite soon Wink
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Aubrius
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« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2013, 12:49:14 PM »


I'm especially excited to hear about the queuing, since that's a huge problem with online games these days - you're either at your computer or you lose.

I'm glad other people are excited about this idea. Just please don't be too disappointed when the next test game starts. I haven't implemented the queuing yet. I'm trying to get more of the core game play working before I finish up the action queue.

I'm a little curious about the interface though - is it going to be mostly mouse-only? I was just thinking that if it is point-and-click for the most part, you might be able to port this fairly easily to mobile markets once you have a little more time, if the game is mostly web-based.

Yeah for the most part it is just point and click, click and drag, and a few keyboard shortcuts to make actions quicker.



Here is another neat little thing I just finished putting together. It is a time lapse of the world map while players are placing their tiles during the past test game. This is over the course of about 2 months.



Crude example map

Right now there are plains, water, arctic,
forest, desert, and mountain tiles.
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quixotic
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« Reply #19 on: February 17, 2013, 09:44:15 AM »

Looks really interesting. I like the puzzle aspect of laying out tiles. You said it runs in the browser: what tech are you using? HTML5? Java? Unity?

Cheers
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