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 Post subject: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Sat 25 Apr, 2015 5:03 pm 
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Hound
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(POSTED AS BLORF)

Hi All,

So it is about time that I posted something interesting again. Richard and I had an all day meeting yesterday and reviewed the early game for playability and both ended up with a couple weeks worth of notes, but it is all great stuff that will make the early game a lot clearer and more fun. It is awesome to finally sit down with him and play the game to analyze what is missing/unclear vs implementing like a mad man. It feels like a turning point in the project.

Bandit Hives:
So bandits got a bit of a facelift and now have their own local empires that they tend to. Bandits are meant to be an early game threat and resource that can be exploited, but in their previous design, the 200 AI captains made them extinct in about five minutes. We needed to give them a permanent presence.

The solution was Bandit hives, and here is how they work:
-When the game starts, you decide how many bandit hives you want and how strong they will be to start (they are able to upgrade themselves)

- A bandit hive will harass everything in its home province (a lot) and the surrounding provinces a little bit, but not outside that range. So some places on the map can become really nasty if there are lots of neighboring hives. Having a hive in a province means there will be trouble, but you can knock them offline for a time if you are strong enough.

-A bandit hive maintains 1-3 bandit fleets (depending on its size) and it is those fleets' job to maintain and grow the hive. The first fleet is the weakest, but as the hive gets bigger the fleets increase in strength. So a level 3 hive will maintain a level 1, 2, 3 fleet, giving the player and other captains lots of things to kill at lower levels.

- At the center of the bandit fleet is a stolen transport. The bandits are unable to upgrade this transport, but it serves the purpose of moving resources back to the hive, which will eventually upgrade if it gets enough resources. Then a second fleet spawns, and things get much worse. By defeating these bandit fleets, you and the other captains can keep the bandits weak in a province, choking the hive. As a means to hurt enemies, I am toying with the idea of donating resources to bandit hives in enemy provinces to hasten their upgrades. Pretty mean :)

- The real meat of the bandit fleet are support ships, and gameplay wise they are a different fight than your typical Captain with mothership battle. With bandits you are facing many small ships vs 1 big one. They are meant to be a threat at low levels, but not so much at high levels. At high levels you take on other captains for fun and profit.

- So the bandit fleets are out there collecting scavenge and killing stuff and bringing it all home, but the cool part is that until those resources are all used for a base upgrade, they are up for grabs. So a bandit hive is like a super resource node, if you are brave enough to raid it! (we show how full the bandit inventory is on the map, so you can pick the optimal time to strike) Once again, there is no magic in SPAZ 2, so the bandit fleets must physically go get resources and bring them home to upgrade their hives, break this chain anywhere and the hive starves.

- When conducting a bandit hive raid there are 2 different paths you can take. First, You can raid the hive. This uses are new pickup system. There are crates littered around the hive that if destroyed will yield a resource and you can try to hold out there raiding as long as you can. The hive will send wave after wave of ships at you, so it isn't easy to last long term. At most you will get one third of the hive's resources this way, but it will set the hive back from upgrading and you will get some good stuff (the Ai captains like to top up their inventories doing this too)

- The second method if destroying the hive. This is very dangerous and large hives are TOUGH. but if you destroy one, you get ALL the resources if has in its inventory ( so only do this when their inventory is full obviously) and it knocks the hive back to level 0 (offline) for a good long while. Any active bandit fleets will stay active, but if destroyed, they will not be replenished.

- So now we have a pretty dynamic bandit system where they are leveling up their own structures and have local space where they operate. You can also use them against your enemies and they are a great early game way to get some resources.

Politics:
I just finished the border skirmish system and the factions have a total hate on for their neighbors now, so it is a good time to discuss politics!

In SPAZ 2 there are 5 factions (and if you read the title, now a sixth). These factions are splinter groups from the main factions form SPAZ 1, they have evolved to survive due to the apocalypse.

Each faction has a leader, and a faction controls a group or provinces. Each province has a governor who controls that province. Below the governor level you have citizens. They are not super important politically, but they enjoy protection and good prices from the rest of the faction.

Factions also tend to have an ethos. So Bounty Hunters tend to attract psychopath types whereas the civilian factions tent to attract pacifists, but anyone is free to try to join any faction. Once a member of a faction, Captain inherit some of that faction's ethos as well and will like or dislike actions based on that ethos as well as their own individual personalities. This is why psychopaths are a better fit for the bounty hunters :)

Captains are free to come and go from factions as they wish, and when a faction is not a good fit or is doing poorly, captains will tend to move on.

Now the interesting part about politics is SPAZ 2 is that there are no set faction relations. We never say the Bounty Hunters hate the scientists, and there is not even a number stored anywhere to indicate faction relationships, because a social construct cannot hate another social construct, BUT members sure can hate other members.

So how are faction relations determined. Well every member of a faction A looks at every member of faction B and that combined rating determines how the factions feel about each other. But it even goes beyond that as a civilian and a governor and a leader are not equal in importance. So we weight the contribution of each faction member's relations by their political weight and the political weight of who they are looking at. SO If Leader A, hates Leader B, then A and B are going to be having a bad relationship. If leader A hates Civilian B, well there may be some tension, but not much, If Civilian A hates Civilian B, well they may hate and attack each other, but the rest of the faction could care less. So the cool thing here is that changing the hierarchy of a faction can entirely change how 2 factions feel about each other. Change a leader or a few governors and you can start or end wars.

Captain to Captain relations are also effected by faction relations. So if Captain A hates Captain B, but those factions are allies, Captain A is much less likely to attack since their opinion has been moderated by their faction. Similarly when meeting someone for the first time, your faction standing will play a key role in how that interaction goes.

So SPAZ 2 has this highly manipulable political system, and every captain is watching what every other captain does locally (not sure if i mentioned this before, but all witnessed events matter and are recorded and have relations effects) These relations effects then trickle down into faction relations and wars start etc. Or do they. Interestingly, they didn't at least not for a long while. A single captain poking other captains never had enough political weight to swing the balance to war, and wars are fun, lets face it.

Someone remind me to talk about taxes sometime, but this section is getting too long. Taxes are cool and the governors and the leader can set their own rates and cripple their own areas with greed. There are also transports and capital transports ferrying these taxes around. All fun stuff to raid. Annnyhow.

This brings us to border skirmishes.
So a province is not just a captain who is acting as a governor. There are literally millions of people and these people may not like their neighbors. They can cause trouble too. To promote conflict in the universe, there is a system that looks at all the provinces over time and calculates how likely the two provinces would get into some kind of friction. For example if you have a real hothead governor A next to peaceful governor B. Hothead governor would tend to promote a lot of skirmishes into B's territory. Over time, B gets really annoyed with this, and skirmishes start being send into A's territory too. This leads to a lot of Friction between A and B, but not enough for their leaders to go to war. A and B only make up about 5% of the political weight of their respective factions, so they are causing some minor tension but not much. BUUUT. Borders tend to be a little longer and more varied than a single province. So large territories butting up against other large territories in a long angry border tend to start wars over time. Instead of 1 border skirmish, there are 7 or 8 along the multiple province borders and this combined creates huge faction tension. The tension builds and builds and you see more and more skirmishes, and then things explode! It is great to watch and feels really organic. Just looking at the map you can tell who is going to hate who.

Player Faction:
You asked for it. You got it :) My hands hurt.

Ok ok a little more: At any time if you have the supplies you can make your own starbase and start your own faction. The other faction leaders wont like this. You can carve your faction out literally from nothing. Before creating a faction, it is good to have joined a faction and made some friends though since you are going to want to bring other captains with you. A player would have a hard time patrolling multiple provinces. Make friends, build a team, and all that. I am really pleased with how it turned out and it is a great addition to the game.

I hope you all enjoyed the read!

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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Sat 25 Apr, 2015 5:22 pm 
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Scout
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Joined: Sat 14 Jan, 2012 12:49 am
Posts: 42
Nice read.... looking forward to seeing some game play one day...soonishly... then myself TAKING OVER THE WORLD !!


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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr, 2015 3:17 pm 
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Dart

Joined: Wed 22 Feb, 2012 1:05 pm
Posts: 14
very nice and interesting read and good to have a update :) and cant wait to play the game its looks great


Last edited by tunderforche on Wed 29 Apr, 2015 7:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Mon 27 Apr, 2015 9:03 am 
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Joined: Sat 22 Nov, 2014 6:01 pm
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I think i cant get more interessted in the game anymore. :lol: I WANT TO PLAY IT! :D ... Sure if its done and bugfree as it can be. ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Tue 28 Apr, 2015 2:54 pm 
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Dart
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Joined: Sun 30 Jun, 2013 2:21 am
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I'm overwhelmed by the epicness I just read.

Excellent job, Richard and Blorf.


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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Wed 29 Apr, 2015 7:33 am 
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Applause! This is looking good. I can hardly wait.

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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 2:14 am 
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Shortbus

Joined: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 2:10 am
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You guys are so amazing. I've been following Minmax since the beginning back when you guys weren't yet on steam. I've read your stories and you inspire younger guys like me to follow in your footsteps. Never afraid to dream too big. This game is AMAZING especially for 2 guys working so hard on it. I can't believe how incredible you've made the sequel thus far. I'll probably continue to watch in silence from the background and await this game anxiously. No pressure from me though, you guys need the time to make it incredible as you have already. I'm wishing you both well on finishing the project and I'll be ready to buy it on day 1. Cheers fellas!


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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Thu 30 Apr, 2015 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri 25 Feb, 2011 3:21 am
Posts: 1998
Thanks for the kind words :)


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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Fri 01 May, 2015 2:51 am 
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Joined: Wed 15 Jun, 2011 2:15 pm
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VERY NICE!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Sun 10 May, 2015 4:04 pm 
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Dart

Joined: Tue 04 Mar, 2014 6:00 pm
Posts: 21
This sounds amazing, thanks for the in-depth update!

In the case of two empires touching, where there are border skirmishes, will the success and failure of those attacks change the size and shape of the empires?

Will a series of successful attacks by one side lead to their empire expanding in that direction? Will the populations in those areas resist, or it's dynamic depending on a variety of factors?

It sounds great, and I can't wait to dive in myself!


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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Wed 03 Jun, 2015 4:45 pm 
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Shortbus

Joined: Wed 03 Jun, 2015 4:43 pm
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When can I throw money at you? ^_^


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 Post subject: Re: Bandit Hives, Politics, and a Player Faction
PostPosted: Thu 04 Jun, 2015 12:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu 15 Jan, 2015 8:36 pm
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