Walker suggestions and other ideas

Discuss anticipated or desired features here
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Postby vic_4 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:18 pm

I think the best way is through intelligent behavior, absolutely not random walkers.

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Postby tobing » Thu Nov 01, 2012 5:43 pm

"vic_4" wrote:I think the best way is through intelligent behavior, absolutely not random walkers.

I fully agree. Walkers can be guided by demand and thus always go where they are most needed. Works pretty well.

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Postby alincarpetman » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:47 am

Just wanted to share some random ideas that have crossed my mind if that's ok...

In the original ancient city builder games there was the Palace/Administration building/Family Mansion/etc but we never saw inside it. Other merchant games such as Port Royale 2 have some info and animations when you click on such a building but I was thinking maybe an option could be made to toggle a "cross section" inside view of the Mayor's building or any building for that matter. Since the game won't focus on castles and their interiors, I'm not sure if this would fit in completely but I was thinking of the court where people such as court jesters were present and active. So various events such as sending out a trade request, banquets, consulting advisers, etc could be viewed inside this building.

For walkers/characters in the game, as mentioned above a court jester would be fun to see interacting with the Mayor and the court. There's potential for silliness and maybe we'd even see him around town after a festival. The juggler from Pharaoh is one of my favorite walkers (There's no place I'd rather juggle!!) so I see the court jester or an equivalent as a similar type of character.

Another walker/character could be monks, scholars, etc - the ones who wrote and copied various manuscripts and books, preserving some knowledge throughout the ages in monasteries. Maybe founding and building up a library could be a scenario mission, and the library burning down by whatever means could be a disaster. Also requiring a monk with a certain shelf of books to build more advanced industries or upgrade housing.

Lastly any wandering characters such as troubadours who would travel from town to town performing and composing music. Maybe one would decide to stay inside your town under your patronage and perform songs composed in your town in the Mayor's court and at festivals. I don't know how/if the songs could be randomly generated by what the conditions in the town are or if there would be a limit to how many you could hear otherwise.

This idea led me to think how Zeus/Poseidon and Emperor have visiting Gods and Goddesses - maybe instead of those in Medieval Mayor, your town could request, invite, attract, or otherwise accommodate a traveling troubadour, artists, various craftspeople, a religious monk, fleeing refugees, a scholar seeking to preserve knowledge, other historical or mythical characters from the era such as Robin Hood to fiend off bandits, etc. For example these characters might have similar influences on your economy or otherwise as the deities in Emperor did - increase certain food production, bolster the military, etc. Having a monk/scholar making books in town for a certain amount of time could be a scenario objective to fulfill.

Maybe being able to actually view and read the books in a library would not only be educational but a way to pass the time while those big monuments get built very slowly. :) Remember in Pharaoh how long the pyramids took so maybe having a library in town and being able to read/multitask while the construction is going on could be a good thing. Some works are probably in the public domain so it might be a matter of finding a readable translation and including it in the game.

It's fun imagining the possible walkers, characters and funny voices bustling through a medieval town, just like the colorful chaos of previous games. :)
Last edited by alincarpetman on Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Caesar Clifford » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:28 am

There has to be dancing bears - just has to be.

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Postby PhilL » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:50 pm

monkeys and a snowman too

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Postby Caesar Clifford » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:03 am

Every town in middle ages had dancing bears.

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Postby CatMajik » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:52 pm

"vic_4" wrote:I think the best way is through intelligent behavior, absolutely not random walkers.

YES, that would be awesome

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Postby Keith » Sat Nov 10, 2012 5:49 pm

From the interview artical with Chris it sounds like we'll get both kinds.

"... we are working to optimize the gameplay experience by balancing player control (both direct and indirect) with walker AI (some are smarter than others, by design)."

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Postby PantherX » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:14 am

Man I love all of these ideas and every one leads me on to more great ideas.
I think there should be both types of walkers. Like the later games everyone has to go buy their goods but there may be a need for delivery walkers also.
/flash-to: Monty Python-Bring out your dead!


It's going to be an interesting new economy since people have to pay rent to the mayor. A better city they pay more, you ask for too much rent and they rebel, start fires and cause general mayhem.
The beginning of the modern age - so exciting!

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Jeff Fiske
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Official position on Walkers

Postby Jeff Fiske » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:00 pm

**sound of crickets***

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Postby LadyCrimson » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:13 am

I'm probably one of the few people in the world who actually had fun with those old market ladies. Don't get me wrong, they were also annoying (at least before roadblocks) but at the same time, I found them interesting to gameplay. Yes, it could be layout-limiting, but it was also a challenge, part of particular aspect of micro-managing that I found rather obsessive to overcome at times.

That all said, I'm not championing their return and won't cry if something completely different is used instead. I was fine with the way Caesar4 worked too (citizens getting stuff themselves). As long as such doesn't feel automatic/too simplistic, I'll likely be content. :)

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Postby Nighteyes » Sat Dec 01, 2012 6:53 am

"Jeff Fiske" wrote:**sound of crickets***

Ahh Jeff, you can't help but tease us with tid-bits can ya.
I'm looking forward to seeing some more info or screenies soon though (hint hint ;) )

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Postby Caesar Clifford » Sun Dec 02, 2012 1:34 am

Me i love market ladies in C3. In fact still love everything about C3 even after all these years.

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Postby Azeem » Mon Dec 03, 2012 2:41 pm

"Jeff Fiske" wrote:**sound of crickets***

I hope that doesn't mean that you'll have walkers behave like crickets. :eek:

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Postby Chris Beatrice » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:49 am

Oh if they only knew what was coming...

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Postby Czech Centurian » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:55 am

"Chris Beatrice" wrote:Oh if they only knew what was coming...

Winter? :D

Boot camp style Beta testing?

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Postby Chris Beatrice » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:00 pm

Hey all, I just wrote a very thorough piece entitled "Of Walkers and Men (and Women)" about the role, history pros and cons of "walkers" in city-building games. It's just been put up on Game-Wisdom. Check it out

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Postby Azeem » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:11 pm

Don't know if I agree or disagree with your points on the "push"-system since I strongly prefer the "pull" system used in CotN, Caesar IV, and SCS. In any case, I'm curious as to what "new system" you come up with, whether or not we'll all be singing praises of MM in the end or chucking diseased cows at you. ;)

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Postby MoLAoS » Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:10 pm

Wouldn't it be possible to allow the players to decide on the system they like?

All houses have to be attacked to a road, so you could have the AI check road sections which would hold data on recent service unit activity. A unit would head for the section of houses most in need of its services.

If people are fine with the gate/roadblock system from Emperor or one of the other games with that mechanic, they could use that. You would select your AI method at the mission/map menu.

The road block is mostly some chains of ifs so it wouldnt be too difficult to include that method in the game. Obviously having too many systems could result in code bloat though.

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Postby Chris Beatrice » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:25 am

No diseased cows, please!

My main point was to outline how the two approaches differ in effect, because this is not immediately obvious to many people. They both have pros and cons. Also note that they're not mutually exclusive. For example, Pharaoh had some "pull" walkers (the "get" cartpusher), and CotN had a lot of walkers that were in fact "push", just not random (e.g. priests activating religious buildings), which gave them some of the advantages of push walkers (limited, easily differentiable case of characters, you could tell what they were, but not exactly what they were doing), without the downsides some people find problematic.

It just seemed like some folks assume pull systems are all good and no bad, because they're more natural and realistic, and see no reason to ever do a push system, whereas there is rarely an argument on the other side (even though more people played Pharaoh and Zeus than CotN). Of course whatever you prefer is what you prefer... But there are very valid reasons for employing brute force random push systems. It's not like we just hadn't thought of a pull system, or the technology didn't support it, or whatever, before CotN.

We used a pull system in CotN as part of a much larger and very complex package, where the gameplay we wanted was about family time management and social mobility (and no we didn't clip this from The Sims - we thought of it on our own!). We also wanted the game to be more organic, not that "people will go and get what they need, wherever it is" but that being far away from one thing made it harder to get other things (because the family had less time), and vice versa, and also giving family members multiple possible (and overlapping) tasks to do. We knowingly sacrificed some core cb gameplay like the importance of roads, the ability to see exactly what was happening in the city, large populations, etc., in order to pursue this new idea (and I'm immensely happy we did, but it needs to be pointed out that just as many people found the associated drawbacks of this approach problematic as found the market lady problematic in C3...).

Anyway, I'm really psyched about what we're doing in MM. I don't want to try to win (or lose) anyone over based on some description or debate about the walker system specifically, because as with CotN it is part of a much larger package. I do promise that we think about this stuff quite a lot, and are always trying to benefit from our experience while also trying new things. Hopefully you'll just like it when you play it.

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