How about no roads?

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PantherX
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How about no roads?

Postby PantherX » Tue Dec 18, 2012 6:14 am

The Hexagonal city grid thread got me thinking that MM may be the perfect time to eliminate residential roads. I suppose a road could be made to facilitate horse and cart movements, kind of like a major thoroughfare through the city. I like the idea of not needing to place paths.

That way you create the pathways depending on where you place the buildings.

If your buildings are too close you would block carts and such from passing through. If they were very close people could not pass.

Add the ability to define a buildings shape and rotation and the possibilities are endless. As for choosing the shapes I guess there would need to be some basic shapes (more than 5 less than 10) to choose from then the overall size would be determined on a mass setting per building.

I find it very interesting how villages grow into cities and the odd shapes you end up with as everything is hodge-podged together. It seems like most old cities are built circular which i guess is left over from stuffing your population behind walls.

:cool:
:cool:

EmperorJay
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Postby EmperorJay » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:10 am

I agree with the basics of your suggestion. I liked how roads were optional in CotN, but I disliked how using roads did not have any additional value. Another example of no roads is an old Settlers game, I think it's Settlers 2 or 3, were dirt paths were carved out when walkers would take a certain path often. In addition I do think that in medieval times much of the city would not have paved roads unless it was a major street or square (and even then probably not).

However, looking at gameplay, I think there're so many challenges to be found in a well thought out roads system. Like you suggest, if paved roads allow carts to go faster, if paved roads have a slightly higher hygiene rating, if road width determines who can use it, then I really think this can add depth to your city planning.

Czech Centurian
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Postby Czech Centurian » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:27 am

I really didn't like that there were no roads in CotN.

tobing
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Postby tobing » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:49 am

I have been experimenting with no roads, but found that walker behavior gets really hard to control or understand. So for the gameplay, it seems much more interesting (and more gamey) to have walkers stick to roads, as a means of control where walkers go and where not.

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Chris Beatrice
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Postby Chris Beatrice » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:43 pm

"tobing" wrote:I... found that walker behavior gets really hard to control or understand. So for the gameplay, it seems much more interesting (and more gamey) to have walkers stick to roads, as a means of control where walkers go and where not.


That's our thinking too, tobing. With simulation games we are always walking a fine line between simulating reality and making a fun, simple game.


"Czech Centurian" wrote:I really didn't like that there were no roads in CotN.
Part of the impetus for this was the setting.


"EmperorJay" wrote:I liked how roads were optional in CotN, but I disliked how using roads did not have any additional value.


So what's your solution? This was exactly the discussion we had when designing CotN. This question comes up in game design a lot, especially in trying to make a well-balanced strategy game - for a feature to be good and fun, it needs to be meaningful, and to be meaningful it basically needs to be necessary... We have been discussing the idea of giving players some more direct actions to do, say, putting out fires or harvesting "manually" (with mouse click, or tapping on tablets). The question immediately comes up - does the player HAVE to do this? Of course for classic city-building the idea is that you design and build a city that is self-running, so the answer to that question is NO. That is not the core gameplay here. I won't tell you what we've come up with... yet...

EmperorJay
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Postby EmperorJay » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:06 am

Chris Beatrice wrote:So what's your solution? This was exactly the discussion we had when designing CotN. This question comes up in game design a lot, especially in trying to make a well-balanced strategy game - for a feature to be good and fun, it needs to be meaningful, and to be meaningful it basically needs to be necessary... We have been discussing the idea of giving players some more direct actions to do, say, putting out fires or harvesting "manually" (with mouse click, or tapping on tablets). The question immediately comes up - does the player HAVE to do this? Of course for classic city-building the idea is that you design and build a city that is self-running, so the answer to that question is NO. That is not the core gameplay here. I won't tell you what we've come up with... yet...


Two points in here: meaningfulness of roads and self-running cities vs. manual interaction.

I'm going to assume MM will simply have roads and that's good. I've always seen city builders as a puzzle: once you understand game mechanics, you can tackle specific challenges like mountainous terrain, lack of water etc. By making roads more diverse, you can add a layer of depth to this puzzle which gives players choices and more to think about.
If I imagine a MM map where I start my city near the lush forests where I can harvest wood for my houses and furniture, I also imagine a river quite some distance away. I can build hunters, to hunt in the forest, or I can build a fishery along the river to provide my citizens with fish. However, because I built a dirt road to the fishery, it takes the fishermen some time to deliver their goods to the market. I can build additional fisheries to increase supply, but I could also pave the road so that the fishermen spend less time travelling and more time fishing. It's easier to pull a cart over a paved road than through muddy dirt.
But then I decide I'll simply add more fisheries as that's more profitable in the short term. A foreign bishops visits my city some years later and tells me our church is not grand enough for his diocese. I can haul stone from near the fisheries, but due to their heavy weight, the carts cannot be transported over dirt roads during the rainy fall and winter. Now I have a good reason to create paved roads and as a bonus, my fisheries will be more efficient.

Then, self-running versus manual. What I don't like on most tablet games is waiting. Nile Online had the same issue. I can build or order something and then I must go offline. So I wonder what you've come up with. Perhaps fun animations when one does a manual harvest? Perhaps a higher yield when one does a manual harvest? Perhaps some other bonus? Can't wait!

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Postby JaAchan daVariso » Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:48 am

"EmperorJay" wrote:Nile Online had the same issue. I can build or order something and then I must go offline.

That's the nature of online persistent games. Since players have to interact with other players, you don't want people who play 24/7 a huge advantage over others, since the other players will then quit. I presume MM is single player (with optional multiplayer campaigns maybe?), so whatever applies to games like Nile Online doesn't apply here.

EmperorJay
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Postby EmperorJay » Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:40 am

[quote="JaAchan daVariso]That's the nature of online persistent games. Since players have to interact with other players, you don't want people who play 24/7 a huge advantage over others, since the other players will then quit. I presume MM is single player (with optional multiplayer campaigns maybe?), so whatever applies to games like Nile Online doesn't apply here.[/quote]

I understand that probably much of Nile Online will not apply here, but many tablet games (and TM intends to release it to tablet eventually) in which no competition is involved actually follow the same principle. And if you want to play faster, microtransactions get involved.

I'm not worried, but I'm also definitely not 100% sure MM will be without microtransactions and without waiting (all CB games feature some sort of building time, but that is not what I mean here).

Czech Centurian
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Postby Czech Centurian » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:05 am

I kind of like the way that building time is handled in Tropico 3 & 4. You have a construction crew and they come out and build the building.

Alrope
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Postby Alrope » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:49 pm

Maybe, an idea to make the city looks like more tight medieval cities could be two types of streets. One walkpath, narrow and made only to walkers, it will be used mostly in residential areas. The normal street, broad and alowing the transit of carts and other bigger wagons, it will be used to move raw materials to warehouses, grain to granary and so on.

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Chris Beatrice
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Postby Chris Beatrice » Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:47 pm

"EmperorJay" wrote:What I don't like on most tablet games is waiting. Nile Online had the same issue.


Yep, it is a challenge to balance the self-running with the desire to have stuff to do... but at a pace that doesn't see you frantically struggling to keep up.

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Chris Beatrice
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Postby Chris Beatrice » Thu Dec 20, 2012 1:53 pm

"JaAchan daVariso" wrote:That's the nature of online persistent games.


Yeah, and personally I don't consider games like CityVille "city-builders" - but I don't mean that to be inflammatory, actually, it's a compliment... er, um, not that it's good to not be a city-builder, what I mean is I think these games arguably represent a new genre, the "appointment mechanic" genre so to speak, and coming up with a whole new way of playing games, one that appeals to hundreds of millions of players, and brings in new players, that is a big accomplishment. Even though "appointment mechanic" may seem like just a mechanic, really it represents a whole different type of game, one that feels like you're constantly playing it, even though you are only checking in intermittently. The result may be a city, sure, but really there is little meaning in the city's design. What you're more focused on is something more like time management than city-building (or I should say city-designing). Maybe our games are more accurately called "city-design" games...

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Postby JaAchan daVariso » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:54 am

"Chris Beatrice" wrote:What you're more focused on is something more like time management than city-building (or I should say city-designing). Maybe our games are more accurately called "city-design" games...

Please don't refer to a Zynga game, they employ every trick in the book to get people hooked. They're not interested in building a good game, they just want to get as many views and likes as they can.

That said, I watched a short beginners guide about it. The thing that stands out the most, and I think you refer to, is that the player has to do stuff like harvest crops and such. Command & Conquer: Tiberium Alliances has that as well, but to a much, MUCH lesser degree. And it's not an essential part of on-line games, you don't get a bonus for logging in at Astro Empires at all. Extra Credits did an episode about energy systems, which is related I think.

Point is, you don't have to be like CityVille to make an on-line persistent city builder (or city designer). It's just a matter of balancing things differently. Instead of planting housings instantly, you'd simply say "I want these zones to have houses", and in a few hours there'd be houses there. You don't need to make it like Zynga does and demand the user click on it every minutes. In fact, I much prefer not to, since it always leads to systems where you can do without, but you have to if you want to play at any competitive, or even sensible, level[1].

You can do interesting stuff with such an on-line persistent game that you can't do otherwise. In Eve Online, you can research blueprints to optimize them. There's a supercarrier blueprint floating around that has TWO YEARS of research on it. Players in an on-line citybuilder could decided to build a monument that takes anywhere between a week and 5 years to complete. That means something, that's impressive.

But I think we're drifting of topic.

[1] Morrowind had no auto travel system, if you wanted to go to a city, you either had to walk there yourself, or had to walk to a strider who'd take you there. The strider would only go to a few places too, so if you wanted to go anywhere else, there'd be no alternative than to walk. It's followup, Oblivion, gave people the option to instantly go to any city IIRC. Suddenly, there's no point in walking there. Sure, you could, if you really wanted to, but it no longer made any sense. So in that way it become "mandatory".


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