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Author Topic: National LCS Revisited (4.07.4 Beta Release!)  (Read 59067 times)

Capital Fish

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2013, 09:38:54 am »

One way to differentiate cities would be to reduce the number of outskirts locations available in (outside?) each city. Rather than each city having a prison AND a nuclear plant AND an army base AND a CEO's Mansion AND an intelligence HQ, maybe each city could only have one of each. In fact, it could even be set up so that these locations would be placed at (or near) their real-world equivalents.

This could also allow for a few new outskirts sites to be created. Giant factory farms outside midwestern cities for example, or perhaps an ultra-conservative Disney World parody outside Orlando.

I do have numerous other ideas I'd like to add to this thread, but I'm away from my main computer which contains most of my notes so they'll have to wait until next week.
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tenmillimaster

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2013, 11:17:39 am »

I think it would be neat if cities themselves had global heat and secrecy levels. Not sure how that would be implemented.

Example: LCS packs up their operations and books it out of Quantico after a successful marine corps raid. Heat levels on the area have skyrocked to about 800% and they need to get out of town.

They choose Rushmere, VA to take on CONSERVATIVE NUCLEAR ENERGY at the Surry Nuclear Plant, but the towns incredibly small size means that any safehouse's secrecy will never go above 60 %. They need to get in and get out.



Additionally: proximity and contact degradation, similar to your active LCS being imprisoned or dying. Unless the juice is high enough of the sleeper, they stand a chance of leaving the LCS.

Example:
Unfortunately, all of their contacts in Quantico will do little good, many of them lacking handlers, have departed from the LCS. Hopefully they will spread liberalism, but who knows... Some of the faithful sleepers remain, waiting the return of the founder.


Disclaimer- notions and locations listed above should not be construed a scheme against the US, as they are for a game, the contents of which are purely fictional.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 11:19:30 am by tenmillimaster »
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Capital Fish

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2013, 11:26:24 am »

In response to tenmillimaster's post above, I like the idea of LCS cells potentially losing loyalty the futher the travel from their handlers.

Might be more irritating than fun in reality, though. Still, done right, the idea does feel like it has potential.
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Man of Paper

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2013, 11:55:51 am »

I've stopped playing Liberal Crime Squad as "Liberal Crime Squad", and instead play it as "Bank Heist Simulator 2013", so I love this idea if only because my elite team of bank robbers would be able to hit up many, many banks.
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2013, 01:23:58 am »

I think this is a good idea and opens up a lot of possibilities that were closed before. If I'm focused, this shouldn't take too long. Basic timeline before I can put multi-city play in a release:

1. Further simplify location code so that it's even easier to set up and maintain large location hierarchies.
2. Get everything working in one city.
3. Get everything working in two cities.
4. Handle travel between cities and prevent casual cross-country raids.
5. Generalize the "needs car" thing so that what areas you can reach without a car depends on where your squad is based.
6. Ensure the display tags on cities are useful. I mean the <safe house> tags.
7. Have cities display with a short description on the right, especially for the benefit of players not familiar with US cities.
8. Any left over testing and quality control.

There are a lot of advanced features don't need to be in a first release, but have the potential to really enliven multi-city play, such as various new unique locations, fancy CCS behavior, city-specific heat and police behavior, and local newspapers. For a first pass, I basically just need to get the guts online; other things can be added afterward.
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ggamer

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2013, 06:31:52 pm »

Love it! If you need any help testing, i'm here for you Fox.

Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2013, 04:57:40 am »

1. Further simplify location code so that it's even easier to set up and maintain large location hierarchies.
2. Get everything working in one city.
3. Get everything working in two cities.
4. Handle travel between cities and prevent casual cross-country raids.
5. Generalize the "needs car" thing so that what areas you can reach without a car depends on where your squad is based.
6. Ensure the display tags on cities are useful. I mean the <safe house> tags.
7. Have cities display with a short description on the right, especially for the benefit of players not familiar with US cities.
8. Any left over testing and quality control.

I thought setting up the cities I'd want to test with would be easy, but it's actually been quite a design puzzle to give multiple parallel cities a sense of place and accuracy to the locations, while also mixing in playability.

I'm going to start out with three cities: New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle. New York and LA because they're the two biggest cities in the country, they're geographically on opposite corners, they're very well known, and they're two of the three major US cities that have been modeled in Grand Theft Auto. Seattle is included as the starting city, or at least the default starting city -- it is the city LCS's layout and district names are based on, so it has almost no changes. At first I wanted to make everything follow a similar template to ensure that players wouldn't have to re-learn the city layouts when visiting new cities, but testing quickly showed that this made the cities feel like they weren't different cities, which kind of goes against the point. My best judgment now says that not knowing where a given site is in a new city, at least at first, is a small sacrifice for rule of cool; the districts will have unique names for each city, so it's not like it'll be all that surprising that they have unique contents anyway.

While I've decided to mix things up, I'm still giving each city roughly the same categories of locations: A downtown area, a less dense middle or high end area, a seedier low end area, and an outlying district. The dominant economic activities of these areas can vary based on what the nature of the given city is, however, so their contents can vary significantly. You might find that New York City has its army base in "Brooklyn and Queens" while its prison is on "Manhattan Island". Meanwhile, Los Angeles has its club, CEO House, and most expensive apartments in the "Greater Hollywood" district rather than downtown or in the outskirts, while its "Seaport Area" gets both the research labs and the industry.

I'm taking a relatively light touch with limiting distribution of the current locations: Cable News is only found in New York, CEO House is unique to Los Angeles, and Intelligence HQ is unique to Seattle. All three locations have prisons and army bases; I couldn't realistically give Seattle a nuclear plant, since the nearest one is across the State, but the other two have them. I gave each location one of the three CCS safehouses as a temporary measure; the CCS wasn't designed for multi-city play, but I can only fix one mechanic at a time for it, so they'll be on the backburner for a bit.

Ultimately, all this is a first draft. Like army battle plans, it may not survive first brush with live tests. But it's a suitable groundwork that I can use to start testing mechanics with. I also want to give fair warning that simply having cities won't make the game better -- it's everything we can do with the game after we have cities that makes this line of development exciting. The game won't play very differently until and unless some of the neat things that have been suggested in this thread are implemented: local newspapers, police hunt differently by city, cities with different political biases, CCS cells in different cities, ability to go to DC and visit unique locations there... the game has to capitalize on the ability to visit different cities before it really makes a difference.
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Jboy2000000

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #22 on: April 27, 2013, 07:12:49 am »

Maybe some states can have more busy clubs than other cities clubs, and maybe have cities that sell all guns regardless of the gun laws, like the cities with more lax gun laws, like Georgia and other places down south. I also think it would be cool if you could visit cities on the border of America, like cities in Canada and Mexico.

I also think it would be cool that when you're in the menu for changing cities, instead of the plain black background a faint picture of the United States was shown in the background.
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2013, 03:18:23 pm »

I also think it would be cool that when you're in the menu for changing cities, instead of the plain black background a faint picture of the United States was shown in the background.

This would be prohibitively difficult in Curses, at least using the parts I know how to use. If the game were ported to libtcod, it would be quite possible, however.
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ShoesandHats

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2013, 07:32:19 pm »

I like the idea a lot.

How about when law enforcement laws are at C+, Alcatraz has been un-abandoned and is essentially a super-max-security prison in San Francisco, assuming that you implement that particular city?
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Jboy2000000

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #25 on: April 27, 2013, 07:35:14 pm »

Human rights and death penalty would be cool if there was Alcatraz again, or maybe just have Alcatraz open no matter what, and have it be a spot where doing things there gives a bigger boosts to aforementioned laws.
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KA101

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #26 on: April 28, 2013, 01:25:01 am »

Obvious-check: My 4.6.7 LCS is based in Brooklyn, NY, so "Brooklyn & Queens" trumps that.  It'll probably be worth starting a new thread to sort out city/suburb distinctions once the multi-city groundwork is functioning.

(Detroit, MI would certainly have Auto Plants, but depending on the times most might be Abandoned...)
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #27 on: April 28, 2013, 05:13:25 am »

1. Further simplify location code so that it's even easier to set up and maintain large location hierarchies.
2. Get everything working in one city.
3. Get everything working in two cities.
4. Handle travel between cities and prevent casual cross-country raids.
5. Generalize the "needs car" thing so that what areas you can reach without a car depends on where your squad is based.
6. Ensure the display tags on cities are useful. I mean the <safe house> tags.
7. Have cities display with a short description on the right, especially for the benefit of players not familiar with US cities.
8. Any left over testing and quality control.

Well, the alpha of the system is basically working; I have the barest bones of multiple city play online, with one-day "car needed" travel to re-base to the homeless shelter of another city. Much more needs to be done before it's ready for prime time, but I'm thinking of committing as a branch and releasing a test build to gather feedback.

There are going to be a huge amount of obvious easy things that need to be adjusted before it's really working, so I'll need to make a list of all the areas of the game that need to be updated. And there will be a lot -- everything from the way site names are displayed in places (needing city names attached) to the reorganization menu needing to not teleport vehicles and people between cities.
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Capital Fish

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2013, 07:19:27 am »

Will we be changing versions for this? Seems like a big enough change to the game to bring us to version 5.
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SealyStar

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Re: National LCS Revisited
« Reply #29 on: April 28, 2013, 07:56:35 am »

Will we be changing versions for this? Seems like a big enough change to the game to bring us to version 5.

I've been curious what the sufficiently significant changes were in the last few version number updates...
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