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[GDS] NOVEMBER 2014 "Empires in autumn" comments and questions

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richdurham
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Use this thread to ask questions or comment on the November Game Design Showdown about empires in decline.

BubbleChucks
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As Rich pointed out the game

As Rich pointed out the game play of 4X games commonly deals with developmental building. So it makes sense that the 4X's are focussed on outward progression.

Expand advances the boundaries of a player through building, exterminate reduces the building opportunities for others, explore opens up new areas that can be built in/on and exploit provides the building blocks needed to fuel construction.

It might just be, but this months challenge appears to be a little self contradictory - in a mechanical sense. Use 2 mechanical systems focussed on building up things in a game with a central theme of decline.

Unless its a "paddle furiously until you inevitably sink" type of game. Like maintaining a sand castle as the waves wash in and destroy it at regular intervals.

A 4D structure might make more logical sense for a game that deals with decline.

Diminish, Defend, Defer and Develop.

Diminish would decrease territory allowing a player to solidify and strengthen their overall position by concentrating resources into a smaller area - from a thinly spread starting point.

Defend would allow a player to direct resources towards preventing, or defelcting potential damage.

Defer would allow a player to work with what they have and redistribute existing resources. Or it could be seen as a deliberate refrain from action that allows a player to bank a resource for future use.

Develop would allow a player to address existing resources in order to improve them, ensure their continuance or change their form.

4 structures geared towards inward progression or "battening down the hatches".

richdurham
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Sounds nice

Hey Bubblechucks, I really like the interpretations you've laid out with the 4Ds. I will say that while the X's were originally used to describe games like Masters of Orion where players grow and build exclusively, the mechanics can be interpreted, as you've done, a bit more liberally for the challenge

Building on what you've already suggested, here are a couple ideas that just keep the X:

Expand - into other's territories, since resources or space is decreasing. This implies an external "shrinking" of some kind forcing empires together.

Explore - for new resources. However, like the idea of passing 'peak oil,' it becomes exponentially harder to find more resources as the game goes on and they get used up. There's still the finding of new ones, just MUCH harder for each found. One could argue that Explore can be exploring a complicated technology tree rather than a physical 'sending scouts out to find new map areas'.

Exploit - Using resources gathered is probably the easiest to incorporate. One good option you already mentioned is changing the name to Defer to imply there may be no new resources at all. Regardless, exploiting resources as efficiently as possible.

Exterminate - Attacking other players, regardless of the motivation, is what's key here.

I appreciate the commentary - It's good to get these juices flowing now, early in the competition! Hopefully they will inspire a design. In the very least, the discussion is good to help study the mechanics in question.

ruy343
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Oh... OH!

Man! I'm excited for this one: every once in a while a game design showdown really catches my interest such that it is always present on the back burner of my mind. I sense that this I may have no choice but to enter an submission for this contest.

Good job coming up with a great idea, Rich/whoever else collaborates with you to come up with these!

richdurham
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Great!

Glad to hear it! I think the toughest part of this GDS will not be the seemingly-paradoxical mechanics, but the word limit. How do you explain an epic game in 500 words or less?

Guess we'll see!

BubbleChucks
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Develop a game with a grand

Develop a game with a grand space opera at its heart, featuring 4x related mechanics. CHECK

Co-operative game designed, EPIC is the word. Sit back and feel proud. CHECK

Count the words. EPIC FAIL (1500+)

Try to reduce the word count. NOT A HOPE

Take the core of the game and distill it down into a TINY EPIC UNIVERSE format with altered mechanics. CHECK

Count the words. FAIL (900+)

Try to reduce the word count. NOT A HOPE

Shelve the game design and scratch head. CHECK

Start again from scratch and try to design a completely new game with a much smaller universe. CHECK.

I think a tip of the hat is due to the prophetic Rich. The word count is the true horror of this months challenge :)

Is the time frame correct Sunday the 2nd to Wednesday the 9th?

Garage Gamer
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Feeling your pain

I feel your pain as I went for a similar approach.

I had to take the chainsaw to the word count to get it down from 900. After removing an epic piece of flavor text I managed to get it down to 800. After editing and shaving off unneeded words I pushed 750.

I had to do it! I had to remove content :(

My word count when I submitted the game was exactly 500. Now here is hoping that my vision is still communicated properly.

BubbleChucks
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Nods, the word count is

Nods, the word count is always a pain. It's like the sugar frosting on a cake. You know its going to make your teeth ache, but it makes satisfaction of completing the challenge taste so much sweeter.

This months was a toughy though - shakes his fist at the fiendish Rich (in the manner of friendly banter).

anthiasgames
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I love this contest idea!One

I love this contest idea!

One look, and I had to get involved. I just hope I have formatted my response appropriately :)

I look forward to seeing some amazing ideas out of this month. It has the potential to create a fantastic bunch of games, and I am sure many better than mine. I can't wait.

EDIT ignore edit lol. I need sleep haha

richdurham
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Concept pitch not rules

It's going to be super hard, since big epic games seem to have big epic rules. So don't write them; chances are you won't be able to do your grand design justice in 500 words. Instead, write the elevator pitch. Explain the game to us in 3 minutes of speech (about 450-500 words), describing how it fits the criteria and why it's so cool.

richdurham
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Voting and entry submissions

Hey everyone,

I want to put this in two places - I missed an entry on the GDS, and some people had submitted votes already. I've deleted the current votes, and just ask that those people revote, with the consideration of the missing entry.

Also, I'm finding that the google sheet is pretty sloppy in regards to viewing the entries for copy and paste purposes. Does anyone out there have any alternative services to submit entries, and easily view them so I can copy into the comments thread? (It'd be helpful if, like the google forms, I can run voting through whatever service alternative there is).

Thanks for your input!

ruy343
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An idea:

Have you considered Qualtrics? I have used it for a few surveys for my classes, and it has some rather powerful tools available for free even. Worth a look, no?

Telci
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One question for

One question for clarification about the critique. Does the date indicate when the developer should write his critique or when everybody else should write his critique about the specific title?

richdurham
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Critiques date

Telci - good question - the Critiques date is the date that all the voters offer their critique of the title assigned to that day. It goes in order by number of votes, so the "winner" gets their game commented on first.

Remember this showdown is about personal bests, succinct rule writing, and rising to the challenge of the entry requirements. It's not about making an amazing game right out of the gate.

richdurham
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Qualtrics

Ruy343 - on your tip I signed up for Qualtrics and looked around their options. I can see why I'd use it for a class. I'm waiting to hear back from their support team to see if it'll work well for my needs here. Thanks for the suggestion.

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