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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsCrest - Indirect God Game
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #40 on: July 20, 2014, 07:40:58 AM »

I'll definitely give it another go - it feels like there's more in there than I can currently perceive, and like I said before I really like the premise.
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Greipur
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« Reply #41 on: July 29, 2014, 05:39:08 AM »

Our game is live on Greenlight and Indiegogo!





I won't make any more updates here for awhile, since I want to focus on the campaign. But we're doing another patch sometime in August so if you still have feedback for the prototype you're more than welcome to leave it here. I will still discuss the prototype if any questions or comments arise.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2014, 05:55:02 AM by Greipur » Logged

JobLeonard
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« Reply #42 on: July 29, 2014, 10:35:52 PM »

Good luck! Hand Thumbs Up Right
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« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2014, 01:32:25 AM »

We released a new patch yesterday for the prototype, give it a look and leave feedback if you wish. Here's the patch notes:


Balancing
  • The food gathering system has been given an overhaul - farms are now more dependant on the environment, and gathering food will be more important for the followers' continued survival
  • Average starting age for the clans has been lowered
  • Progressive and Conservative characteristics have been balanced to make it slightly harder for followers to reinterpret commandments
  • Tutorial has been retooled to give players a better starting point

Technical/Miscellaneous
  • Code has been optimized to decrease lag spikes
  • Now 32-bit compatible in Windows
  • Updated the text on happiness tooltip
  • "Should" when writing commandments was replaced with "shall"
  • Added visual feedback when a clan dies


---


Thanks, JobLeonard.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2014, 03:01:21 AM »

Will the next version also include "spake" instead of "spoke" Wink
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Greipur
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« Reply #45 on: August 12, 2014, 04:58:08 AM »

Will the next version also include "spake" instead of "spoke" Wink

We have it planned for day one DLC. For a reasonable sum, of course. Tongue
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« Reply #46 on: September 05, 2014, 12:49:05 AM »

Long time no post. Things are looking up, we're 91% funded on Indiegogo and with another 7 days it seems achievable to succeed. We're also in the talks with an incubator to aquire a loan, and have also been talking with some venture capitalists. So, Crest is getting made. The question is for how long we can keep up development. Our ambition is to work on it for a year, but we'll see how that goes. We'll be planning our budget and time minutely after the campaign has ended.

But what I really wanted to tell you is that the lead designer Oskar Thysell and I will be on Reddit later today. So if anyone want to ask us questions there you're more than welcome. Of course, it might seem silly since you can just throw me a message here. But I'd gladly see part of the TIG community taking part in the questioning.

I'm currently working on a concept video for the campaign which shows some new gameplay and feedback ideas which I will post in a day or so here as well.
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Greipur
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« Reply #47 on: September 08, 2014, 02:11:22 AM »

Back again. Let's start with a gif. What is it? Read below. Wink






I here present you some of the future features we have planned for Crest. This is just a small portion of what we have in store. It all depends on how much more money we can acquire from other sources than Indiegogo, as I've said before. In the later part of September we'll know more of our budget and how long we can spend in the concept stage planning new features. But now I'll elaborate on the terrain system.

The problems with the current system are numerous. It's uninspiring to look at, there are few gameplay opportunities and the feedback is rough. We could use a more natural system which coincides with the way water transports (vapour in the sea goes up into clouds, falls on mountains and highlands and trickle down again). This would be easier for players to understand. I think most can understand that a river usually starts from highlands and gets collected into a bigger water mass such as the ocean. The player can see where life can be supported, and where humankind might over or underexploit resources.





And with using this system I've also proposed that we use a sort of grid system where every triangle is it's own agent, so a triangle can be desert, forest, water and the like. We wanted to go away from a digital boardgame, that every tile is a single resource (or few anyways), such as the Civilization series. In a digital game a part of a map can hypothetically contain as much information as we could cram into it. Not so in physical board game, so it was a paradigm we didn't want to follow. However, the current system which uses Unity's own generation have two ways of representing a "tile". The numerical, and the graphical. They have partly an overlap, but the texture is diffused. It stretches outside of the designated area.





However, this was intentional from the start. But it wasn't working very well. We need a system that can show that a tile can contain many agents such as: 25% Forest, 25% City and 50% Desert. And a solution that is closer to our lowpoly look, the Unity terrain system have normal smoothing which we can't turn off. One solution would be using rough triangles, such as the mockup. Unapologetic pointy triangles. With color values, so a triangle could hold the information of different agents, for example forest can be green. If the forest tile is beginning to gain City influence it can turn grey. But alone it wouldn't suffice. One could use many triangles and sort of create a pointilistic system, such as a painting like George Seurat. So some triangles could be half-city and half-forest and som fully. Zoomed out it would create the illusion of smooth transitions.





So in a sense we're getting back to the digital board game, the WYSIWYG aspect. But this is merely brainstorming at this point, we need to discuss this further. I just wanted to throw the idea out here and hear what you think from a technical and artistical point of view. Please come with suggestions on how to make it a reality. I was thinking of weight painting in 3D suites, something like that maybe?

Anyway, we have more features planned and you can see them presented below in this video we made for our campaign.





Looking forward to hear your opinions!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2014, 01:35:45 AM by Greipur » Logged

JobLeonard
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« Reply #48 on: September 08, 2014, 02:56:30 AM »

 Hand Thumbs Up Right

I think it sounds great - embrace the power of a digital medium instead of trying to replicate board games!

Watch out for Dwarf Fortress-style feature creep though...

Funny you mention Civ games, because this actually remind me of Alpha Centauri - famous for having a terraforming simulation going on in the background where changing the landscape affected rainpatterns - it was a simplified one, but inspired by real life models.
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Greipur
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« Reply #49 on: September 08, 2014, 04:02:59 AM »

Hand Thumbs Up Right

I think it sounds great - embrace the power of a digital medium instead of trying to replicate board games!

Watch out for Dwarf Fortress-style feature creep though...

Thank you! I'm glad we share that ambition, acknowledging the past should not come to the price of replicating it in my opinion. Board games are an obvious source for inspiration, but we can be so much more than being analogue.

Feature creep on the scale of DF won't be a problem. We're planning a much simpler system. How simple or complex would need to be decided. But we're not out to create a complex simulation, just some interesting possibilities for the player. And clearer feedback than the current rainfall allover.


Funny you mention Civ games, because this actually remind me of Alpha Centauri - famous for having a terraforming simulation going on in the background where changing the landscape affected rainpatterns - it was a simplified one, but inspired by real life models.


Interesting, I didn't know that. I've never been invested in SMAC. I played it when it came out but was too young to get a handle on the clunky interface. Tried to play it last year without success, might have to get back to it now!

To me most of the Civ series is pretty tone deaf and ignorant when it comes to ecology. For example in Civ 5, seems like there's no consequence whatsoever to turn all the land into a big coal mine. I get a big disconnection with Civ and reality when there's no value in being careful with the natural world. I remember some features in Civ 2 and 4 though about pollution and what not. Though, I'm not saying it's the most important thing, but civilisations wrecking the natural world (and subsequently disappearing themselves) is a common theme in history. It's an obvious thing to incorporate if you want to try to tell the history of mankind.

But I digress. I think our game would be more about being careful with water sources. Not to deplete them and be mindful of when to take and when not to. So not that much changing the world on the same scope as terraforming.
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Greipur
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« Reply #50 on: September 10, 2014, 03:28:19 AM »

Aaaaand we're fully funded! Expect more updates in the future about actual work again. Looking forward to working on Crest instead of just talking about it.  Smiley
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Greipur
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« Reply #51 on: September 19, 2014, 04:32:23 AM »

Hello again.

We've spent our first week after Indiegogo with planning the future. I'd like to explain our work process shortly so you can understand our coming updates. Here's an outline of our 7 month production plan, and this is if we secure funding from ALMI (swedish incubator). Otherwise we'd compress the different periods somewhat. If we secure even more funding we'd work for up to a year. This planning is a golden mean between the extremes.




Concept Stage (2 months) - We focus on discussing features that fits our aesthetic, and prototype the game mechanics in order to evaluate if they correspond with our ambition. We usually divide things into smaller sections, and use rapid prototyping with analogue means, mostly board games.
Pre-production Stage (1 month) - Concept art, audio tests, programming research and prototypes.
Production (4 months) - Alpha and Beta. For us Beta means feature freeze, so we only spend it on polishing existing content.
Gold - Deadline for when the game is finished.


We've just entered the Concept stage, which I hope we can stay in for two months more. I'm a strong proponent of extensive planning and testing. I can't prove anything of course but I think that one week spent in the concept stage pays double in the production stage.


Also, we have decided that most of the team will make updates here in this devlog from now on. I have a hunch that the lead designer, Oskar will post here shortly. Wink
« Last Edit: September 19, 2014, 04:54:32 AM by Greipur » Logged

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« Reply #52 on: October 01, 2014, 04:28:16 AM »

Hey everyone. Martin's hunch was correct (eventually)! I'm Oskar, the lead designer (and one of the programmers) for Crest. I'm here to give you guys a look into our design process.

This week we went back into the concept phase and started with evaluating our prototype from both feedback we have gotten from our fans but also what we ourselves feel are the shortcomings so far. After that we discussed how to offset these shortcomings and what systems needed revamping; and what new features we would like to add and how they may interact with eachother. Being that we are currently unsure about how much more time we can spend on development we are going to have to use our prototype as our basis in some way - and we are happy that there are some systems that work well enough to be carried over into the final product.

The first system we decided to talk about is the one most central to the player experience, the commandments. The problem we percieved is that the commandments was too limited in what you could do with them and too modular. Commandments do not build upon each other in the sense of what consequences follow and the change that come from them changes the game state instantly. So we set upon thinking about a new way to issue commandments, and started by building a language.

The criteria for the commandment system was as follows:
* It needs to provide varied outcomes
* It needs to affect the game state indirectly
* It needs to be able to evolve and take on new meanings, but still follow a logical reasoning why

Our prototype for this was made up of nouns and verbs, where a commandment would be constructed in a Condition-Action-Target order, just as before but with the rules that they be positions such as noun-verb-noun. We just went ahead and brainstormed actions we wanted to be able to do and things we would like to effect, and settled on words which can be interpreted in more than one way, but not so much it becomes unclear what outcome it would have.

The words "Goat", "Consume", "Hungry people" could for example lead to:

Hungry people-Consume-Goat
meaning that people who fulfill the criteria of being hungry will focus on eating goats

or, for that matter:
Goat-Consume-Hungry people
meaning that people who live by goats are ordered to consume the people who are hungry (you can't give commandments to goats Tongue)

I feel my post is running a little long now, so I'm not gonna keep going forever. There's more things we've discussed but I might expand more on them once we start developing it further. You're very welcome to ask if there's something unclear/something I could interpolate on.

Thanks for reading!
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Greipur
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« Reply #53 on: October 02, 2014, 06:43:34 AM »

Here's some images from the language prototype which Oskar talked about. It should be noted that we will use a pictorial symbol language later on. But words are handy now in the prototype stage. The version that you will see in-game will probably work in a similar fashion to Chinese, but the style will of course look more like hieroglyphs. And there's a serious case of the Engrish here which obviously isn't relevant for the final feature. Wink




« Last Edit: October 02, 2014, 07:12:50 AM by Greipur » Logged

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« Reply #54 on: October 02, 2014, 07:37:18 AM »

Really interesting concept.
I am most interested in seeing how you execute vs what you set out to do philosophically with the game. :D
I'll be watching this project!
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« Reply #55 on: October 03, 2014, 07:08:19 AM »

Thank you, dez. I think that as long as we provide the people with a will of their own and meaningful reinterpretations there can be a chance for the player to reflect.


-----

I will fill in for Oskar this week. So, we're currently working to create drama and procedurality from the game world. This is the big random factor in our game, or rather one of them which you can't really control. Our ambition with the game world is to provide factors that can escalate and create new developments. We think the story blocks for an interesting journey lies in being forced to change and come up with clever solutions for survival.

The game world system can be divided into three parts: animals, resources (metals etc.) and water distribution and vegetation. Below you can see a board game where we tried the water distribution. We have clouds that go into the map and depending on height the will drop their cargo. So a mountain for example will rupture a cloud faster than lowlands. So mountains are a natural starting point for rivers just as in real life.




When there's water nearby vegetation might grow. And vegetation also makes it more probable for the water to stay. So if your people cut down all the forests the rivers will have a hard time to sustain themselves.



We have also started prototyping the behaviours of the animals. We have two kinds of animals: aggressive and non-agressive. The aggressive can attack the people if they get to near or if they're starving, and most of them are also predators hunting the non-agressive animals. The people will compete with the predators about the prey, so it's possible that conflicts will occur further down the line. It should be noted that there's no such thing as a perfect state, it all depends on how you adapt to your current surroundings. So if you kill all the lions it won't create a better effect for your people. The antelopes might spread too quickly and eat up all the forests.

« Last Edit: October 03, 2014, 07:15:15 AM by Greipur » Logged

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« Reply #56 on: October 10, 2014, 06:54:17 AM »

Thanks dez!

So what have we been up to this week? One grip with our prototype is that the lategame is very stale. Increasing your civilization from one city with a handful of followers to many cities with high populations doesn't mean they behave in different ways or that the player need to take more things into consideration (except forcing the player to be aware of every single population segment in each city). So we talked about giving the cities behaviours of their own and shifting the attention span required from followers towards cities once your civilization has reached that level.

The general gist is that, while having a small population the player is more concerned with the well-being of the individuals. Once they expand and start building cities throughout the land the cities themselves will take on a personality that the player may be more concerned with than individual followers. A player can then choose to focus on the relationships among the cities and deal with their followers in a more 'broad strokes'-approach or maybe pick favorites, like ensuring the followers of one city is happy. The problem with having a huge population where you needed to be conscious of every segment was that it was too much information to handle, with this solution we both elevate the gameplay to a higher level and also allow players to have a similar number of game objects in consideration even when the population grows.

So how do cities behave?

Each city will have a disposition towards other cities they are in contact with. There are three feelings they can harbor at each other with varying degrees, they can love another city, hate it or be indifferent towards it. The idea here is to create more interesting changes in disposition, both  hate and love can lead to indifference but they can also go from love to hate and vice versa. We envision it to be something like this, where their emotions travel along the lines of the triangle:



So what does it mean if a city hates another? Well, they can for example embargo that city and refuse to trade with them. They might close their borders and not accept followers from that city to move to their city. Worst case scenario they may even go to war on the other city. All these things have an opposite for love. Indifference means just that, if a city is indifferent towards another they may not be pressed to start trade deals and such, and may prioritize deals with other cities over them. One pitfall here is that two cities who are indifferent towards each other may never be able to reach another disposition towards each other. This is something we are gonna need to take in consideration and make sure they never become _that_ indifferent.

How do cities' change their opinions of each other? A city may be jealous of another city with more resources, happiness and such and start building up a dislike for them. Or followers may move in and increase the cities fondness of their previous city. A lack of interaction would lead to indifference. Relationships must be nurtured (even hateful ones)!

Here's another picture of when we later tried out the trade system between cities:



Johannes had a city with a farm, Martin had a city with a farm and a high population, Christoffer had a city with two metal mines whereas I had a city with one metal mine and very few resources in the beginning. In the beginning me and Johannes traded, I bought food from him and Johannes bought metal from me. Christoffer produced huge amounts of metals, Martin bought it and used the metals to produce huge amounts of food (partly so he could feed his big population but also of his aspirations to become a food distribution baron).

So Martin was buying all the metals he could get and selling most of his food to Christoffer. He got greedy eventually though and wanted to raise the prices because he was the one who had the most food. Christoffer and I then decided to trade exclusively with Johannes, who had been stockpiling metals and food the whole time, spending as little as possible. We then entered a period of drought where metals proved more valuable, since you still could use metals to make your food gathering-process more effective. This resulted in food going down in price, and eventually me and Christoffer decided we should increase our prices for metals. This hit hard on Martin and his high population, since he didn't want to buy metals at our increased prices his population could barely get by, whereas Johannes who still had his stockpile thrived.

Eventually the metalworker union had no choice but to barter with the greedy food barons (nothing subjective here at all :D). It's gonna be interesting to program the AI for the trading system, maybe Martin could be a good model for the greedy cities Tongue

That's it for now. More updates coming later!
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« Reply #57 on: October 17, 2014, 06:57:32 AM »

This week we talked about ancestors. Ancestors are dead followers who have reached the afterlife, and exist as spiritual guides for their living relatives. Ancestors who have no living relatives are relics of times past, and will be present for the player to look back into time and see their humble beginnings.

We began with discussing the aesthetics of the ancestors, what purpose they would they serve to the player. We managed to slim it down to a few core features that makes them a bit akin to advisors in strategy games but with a twist, and also a flavorful look back on how your people have progressed:

  • Ancestors will provide a sort of wayback machine for the player, illustrating to the player how the times of their lives looked like ("People respected their elders! These young whippersnappers don't know anything about having just one commandment to follow!")
  • Ancestors will provide the player with a suggestion for a possible action; stimulating the player by providing ideas for what different things you can do (This is so players who may be unsure of what to do next can talk to the ancestors and maybe get inspired. Players may even want to go against whatever the ancestors say just to spite them  Grin)
  • Ancestors will provide feedback on how they percieved the god of their times acted (pretty much quality assurance for god Tongue)
  • The ancestors will however have a bias, based on their characteristics. If the people was very Progressive during their lifetime their ancestors will be Progressive and will have their own interpretation of the information they have, they might focus only on changes within the people and gloss over more commonplace happenings. The bias will be apparent to the player. Initially we discussed whether their bias should be hidden and for the player to figure out, but it didn't really work. It would create a mini-game of trying to figure out what your ancestors was plotting, but also if you are god maybe you shouldn't have to do detective work on the people who have reached your afterlife.

We're presenting this to the player as a group of ancestors representing the whole generation. It would also be nice if each individual spirit represented different characteristics and would interrupt each other if they wanted to shift attention towards something more important to them. We're thinking this could be done in a manner similiar to the weirdos from Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus:



This was the first half of the week. Next we started working on a board game prototype of the game, which we will use to test on people at the end of October. This will obviously be a slimmed down version of the game, but the main focus will be to test out the new commandment mechanics, see if people can understand how they work and if it creates interesting play.

Here's a picture of Martin and Christoffer, in higher spirits after glueing together pieces of the game map. No further comments on that Wink

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« Reply #58 on: May 20, 2015, 03:58:23 AM »

Hello all! We're back! And I regret that we haven't been updating since October, 2014. It's been a few hectic months. Smiley

We're on Early Access on Steam since the end of April this year and we're pushing new updates each week. I'm trying to figure out how to keep you up to date in this thread so I'll try to involve you all more again, since we value your feedback.

Please take a look at the original post and this trailer.




To compress more than half a year of development into a single post is hard, but we've been busy with iterating the procedural island generation, implementing the new commandment system and expanding on all previous mechanics.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2015, 05:53:02 AM by Greipur » Logged

JobLeonard
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« Reply #59 on: May 20, 2015, 08:40:31 AM »

Looks gorgeous!
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