A controlled injection of Chaos

Everything Hinterland that doesn't fit elsewhere
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A controlled injection of Chaos

Postby Nenjin » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:07 am

And I do mean controlled.

Game is fun, I think most of us agree on that. But aside from the items you do or don't find, game play is fairly predictable.

Raiders attack on schedule, and they follow the same route every time.

Food and gold production, aside from prayers to the God of chance and the influence of production items, is very stable. You can easily plot your growth and even constant demands from your king won't affect a strong town economy.

Aside from raiders, town is sleepy and peaceful and work goes on uninterrupted.

Inject some more well controlled chaos into the game.

Raiders attack at more random intervals. Yes, you might get hit too frequently, but should raiders really care if you're down on your luck?

Raiders take different paths to town. Right now when the raid warning goes out, I position my group to intercept them at the town border. They never make it in. In fact, I think the raider icon should be taken off the region map altogether. If I have no idea what lies out in the unrevealed hinterland, why should I be able to see where the raiders are coming from, or how close they are to me? Think Fog of War.

Town events. A locust swarm decimates crop production/food stores. Local thieves pilfer gold from the merchant/town treasury. (A reason to build to create a police-type villager role?) The hunter steps into a fox hole and breaks his leg and can't go to work until it mends. Your wizard is conducting a risky experiment and fries his magical synapses, preventing him from working or fighting until he recovers. A recent visitor carries the plague, and without a doctor in town, everyone works less efficiently and some may even catch ill and die. A pass snows over and no one enters or leaves your town for a time. Mange spreads among the herds and herders' production tapers off.

Chaos can be positive too. A record crop gives higher yields all around for one cycle. Your herbalist finds a particularly potent batch of herbs and produces more/more effective potions for a time. A traveling carnival visits the hinterland and brings with it joy, misfortune and plain weirdness. I'm sure you can think of others.

What I mean by controlled is this...script the events so they can never hamstring a player or make them lose the game outright. Events could check against current resource/fame levels. If the result of an event would force the player to lose immediately or almost immediately without recovery, don't let it happen. If two bandit attacks from maximum level raiders were to occur one right after another, or simultaneously, don't allow it.

You get my drift. Chaos of an interesting variety would make town life more challenging and more life-like, and give the player something else to react to besides raider attacks and the deciding to conquer yet another enemy site that they honestly aren't thrilled about destroying. It could even create a scenario where the game never really has to end, because enough interesting stuff happens that just managing town and succeeding becomes the majority of game play.

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Postby hotcod » Fri Oct 03, 2008 12:24 am

I think the problem here is that the game is already far far to random for the range of choices you can make. To add more chaos, even controlled, until this is some what more adressed in one way or another would just seem to be a bad idea. How well i can do with or how hard a game is, is already decided mostly on dice rolls i'm not sure that adding more dice rolls at this point is a good idea.

Once the random elements there already are at the moment are more under control i think adding something along these lines (as an option for a game) would be a fantastic idea. The town life needs more depth and part of that should be town based events that you need to react to.

Bolgo The Madd
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Postby Bolgo The Madd » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:36 pm

"Town Events"

Not a bad idea at all.
I think the "King Requests" are an attempt to accomplish the upset the original poster described.
I don't see why it couldn't get pushed a little further.
There are probably design specs floating around the office for it,
but the production schedule got diverted to more serious concerns... right?


( Consider that Rat Attack idea... )

1. Natural Disaster - Man vs Nature
Explode one square of the players town
The square is cleared, kills the NPC.
(If the NPC was not there they dismiss themselves once they get back to town)

2. Masked Bandit - Man vs Man
One of your workers is stealing gold per round.
Stops if the NPC dies, or is dismissed.
Hiring another guard stops the crime too.
( The treasury theft stops each day the hidden NPC is out adventuring )

3. Dirty Deal. Man vs Himself
A goblin tribe offers you money, or a great magic item.
You have to sacrifice one of your NPCs to them.
( They always want the highest level NPC, with the best stats ).

Events like this don't need to happen all the time,
but one or two during a gameplay session would be nice.
I've got some ideas on how to implement "Town Events"
You know I do think about the mechanical stuff too.

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Postby Kiya » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:45 pm

Exiting thoughts! Would be fun if there is something going on in town, not just raiders coming and going. :D

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Postby Nenjin » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:46 pm

I'm going to ramble a bit so forgive me. I'm also looking at this from the perspective of a normal difficulty, long game.

There are some elements of chaos right at the start of the game. But most of them are player controlled.

1. All resources/no resources. This is arguably the most chaotic element of game play if you choose to use it. Nothing curtails your options more than just never getting access to one of the villager roles.

2. Visitors. It's semi random but not so much so that it truly becomes a problem. You will always have the necessary classes to survive. (I.e. food producers and fighters).

3. Items. Quite random. But items don't really impact game play so much that it can make game play unstable. Production items won't make or break you. Neither will weapons and armor. Sure, things are easier with both, but without them the game is only really slower, not drastically harder.

Thing about food production is, your rates of consumption are small and constant. When you're producing 28 food a day, and you only use 16, you build a surplus really fast. In real life, towns have children and people that don't work, and demands on food supply increase exponentially. In Hinterland they increase at a flat rate, and because town sizes are capped, you can eventually outstrip your food requirements with food production. If you delay your king's requests long enough, not even those will dent your surpluses.

Consider this. There really is no benefit from having additional farmers, herders, crafters, trappers or guards after a certain point. (These guys make up the bulk of your town). Once you're making a surplus, all your doing is making a bigger surplus by adding more production classes. (Which affects your end score, but isn't really meaty as far as game play goes). With guards, all you need is enough of them positioned where you know the raiders are coming from (because they always follow the same path) to intercept them, and usually the raiders will never make it inside your town. So having more than enough guards doesn't really benefit you. Sure it will drive up your food consumption, reducing the growth of your surplus or giving you a reason to build another producer, but it's not something you need to do, or that has any real strategy behind it.

Theory inc.

The same thing applies to gold. I think Guards should require pay, personally. Because there is no real drain on your money supply. (Other than your king, and his increase in demands scales poorly to how much income you're making) Actually, I think quite a few villagers should require pay. I mean, a guard risks his life for 1 food per day and a place to live? In some ways that makes sense but in others it doesn't. Farmers and crafters get paid (theoretically) by their products. Farmers provide their own food. Crafters pay themselves with their wares. But a doctor? A guard? A wizard? Are they really going to work for a just a meal? I don't think everyone needs a gold upkeep, but I think for some villagers it makes a lot of sense. Sure, you build the wizard his tower and the doctor his house, but these guys throw fireballs and save lives. It's reasonable to assume the more specialized a villager role is, the more they can expect for their services.

I don't think some more chaos would hurt game play that much. As long as you take your time expanding and don't leave yourself short on food or money, the game isn't that challenging unless you dial it up to hardcore. Put another way, there is challenge, but defeating that challenge or managing it isn't that difficult and some changes could add a lot more depth to the process. More chaos wouldn't change the challenge so much as it would make the challenge you do have more interesting.
Last edited by Nenjin on Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:56 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Bolgo The Madd
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Postby Bolgo The Madd » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:33 am

Quick note:

I like the guards having gold upkeep.
Something just seems right about that.

Dragons should require upkeep too...
How about they need to eat 1 farmer a week.

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Postby PhilL » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:14 am

"Bolgo The Madd" wrote:Quick note:

How about they need to eat 1 farmer a week.

LOL maybe they do eat :rolleyes:

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Postby Kiya » Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:49 am

Or if you have upgraded a herder to a dragoneer (s)he won't produce meat any more? Because the baby dragon while growing is eating all the cows. Just an idea. :D

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Postby Azeem » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:49 am

I like the idea of random events. One thing that could be a nice addition as well is to do what "Majesty" and "Stronghold" did - player-triggered events. Basically, you just type in a "cheat" code and a particularly chaotic event occurs. I'd like to see how well my Level 8 lord can hold against eight raids all happening at the same time and how many of my peons get "sacrificed" for my pure sadistic pleasure. :D

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