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Author Topic: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy  (Read 32378 times)

Thundercraft

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Looks interesting. I love the art, too.

Question: Are there any plans to add the equivalent of z-levels to maps, so we could dig downward or build upward? Looking at your roadmap, I could not find a mention of this.

One aspect of RimWorld that I was greatly disappointed in was how we're limited to a single z-level. And the developer has made it clear that there are no plans to ever implement z-levels.

...we already have DF and numerous DF-lite clones some better than others, do we need another one? Sure, yours may end up as one of the better ones, it certainly looks good, but why don't you do some out-of-the-box thinking and explore a wholly new concept?

Judging by what I see and what I've read so far, I think that it may be more accurate to call it a fantasy-themed RimWorld or Prison Architect clone rather than a DF clone. IMO, there are quite a few differences from DF.

Anyway, I don't believe that there is such a thing as too many DF or DF-lite clones. I'm sure it won't strike everyone's fancy. But then, who cares? If it's not their thing, people can look elsewhere. Also, a number of DF clones have either become abandoned or development has stagnated. For example, the highly popular Gnomeria game was more-or-less abandoned not long ago. (Development is completely and forever stopped, at least.)
« Last Edit: October 22, 2017, 10:14:37 pm by Thundercraft »
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Zsinj

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Are there any plans to add the equivalent of z-levels to maps, so we could dig downward or build upward?

It's a much-requested feature but I don't plan to implement z-levels either - there's plenty of reasons both for and against them, but the important ones driving the decision for me is that fortress layout and efficiency is a lot more important when you're constrained to a single level and it's very hard to convey information from multiple levels with a top-down 2D view. That said there may be some limited version of it via portals and entrances to other maps from your main map.

Good point that it's shaping up to be more of a fantasy-styled Rimworld! I think it'll start off that way, then bring in a bit more of what you find in DF, then grow into its own thing.
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Retropunch

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #302 on: October 23, 2017, 04:20:51 pm »

Yeah, I think z-levels work in DF because you can count on the dwarves to just go about their business without much direct input. More than that, DF makes absolutely no claim to being user friendly in terms of display/whatever. That's why we have third party utils like Dwarf Therapist.

Whilst you miss out on the scale of the mountain without z-levels, I think it's easily outweighed by the ease of use factor.

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TheImmortalRyukan

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #303 on: October 23, 2017, 05:03:03 pm »

good to see this not dead. I'm a fan of Rimworld, play it often still.

The fact that there will be no z-levels is disappointing, but understandable.

As long as I can pay to insert that artifact I want in, then you still have my money. Keep up the good work
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Thundercraft

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #304 on: October 23, 2017, 05:24:12 pm »

It's a much-requested feature...

Clearly, there's a certain amount of interest in such a feature. A number of DF-lite clones and similar games like RimWorld and Prison Architect do not do z-levels. So, this niche that certain players long for largely goes unfulfilled.

...there's plenty of reasons both for and against them, but the important ones driving the decision for me is that fortress layout and efficiency is a lot more important when you're constrained to a single level and it's very hard to convey information from multiple levels with a top-down 2D view.

Actually, if you think about it, fortress efficiency is only truly maximized if z-levels are involved. If you can have your military barracks, workshops, etc. near your sleeping quarters, booze stockpile and dining area (i.e., vertically), then the amount of distance that your dwarves have to walk to eat, drink and sleep is greatly reduced, resulting in significantly less wasted time and more work done.

Similarly, consider having your resource stockpiles immediately under or on top of your workshop and forge levels, or having your food stockpiles and/or butcher and cook on the level above or below the dining area.

To sprawl horizontally means vastly longer walking distances. Often, this also means having a much larger wall to defend from hostiles, too.

That said there may be some limited version of it via portals and entrances to other maps from your main map.

Well, at least that's something.

Yeah, I think z-levels work in DF because you can count on the dwarves to just go about their business without much direct input.

But, don't our units in King under the Mountain also go about their business without much direct input... or not?

Do they require a lot of micromanagement? If so, then that would be a good reason not to add z-levels.

More than that, DF makes absolutely no claim to being user friendly in terms of display/whatever. That's why we have third party utils like Dwarf Therapist.

More than that, DF has mods and other add-ons to make keeping track of multiple z-levels easier. TwbT-based graphics sets like DungeonSet and Meph Tileset will display multiple z-levels at once by default, with lower z-levels appearing shaded or darker to make it clear that they are lower. And visualizers like Stonesense make it easy.

I'm not sure what would be required to add visualization of z-levels to King under the Mountain. However, it is already a visually-oriented game with what sounds like a user-friendly interface, so I doubt it would be too difficult.

Whilst you miss out on the scale of the mountain without z-levels, I think it's easily outweighed by the ease of use factor.

I disagree. But then, I guess it's a matter of preference.

The lack of z-levels limits certain aspects of gameplay, such as how we may design our fortress and how far away from our fortress we have to expand in order to find more minerals to mine or to gather resources. (DF allows players to even grow crops and mushroom trees underground.) Z-levels greatly expands possibilities in terms of strategy and base design. Though, yes, it does add complexity. But, without them, players are forced to sprawl out horizontally in a major way in order to expand, which has it's own problems.

Not being able to dig down for minerals might be my biggest gripe, though. RimWorld, at least, has the Deep drill, which allows players the benefits of digging down for resources without actually having z-levels. It's just a structure that must be built, supplied with power, and operated by one of our units in order to gain resources over time. The type of resource and the amount available is random.

Myself, I'm particularly fond of CuproPanda's Quarry mod for RimWorld, which allows the player to designate a large area for strip mining, resulting in random resources. It requires a lot of work or a lot of units, though, which keeps them busy.

Even very old strategy games had something similar. For example, remember Warcraft 2? You could have your humans or orcs claim a mine, which was a source of gold or whatever. (I also seem to recall spots for petroleum to be gathered for ship building.)

I'm also reminded of Stronghold, an old (1993) D&D strategy game. Again, the player can claim certain spots for mines, hinted at by odd-looking rocks on the surface.
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Mephansteras

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #305 on: October 23, 2017, 05:32:24 pm »

...there's plenty of reasons both for and against them, but the important ones driving the decision for me is that fortress layout and efficiency is a lot more important when you're constrained to a single level and it's very hard to convey information from multiple levels with a top-down 2D view.

Actually, if you think about it, fortress efficiency is only truly maximized if z-levels are involved. If you can have your military barracks, workshops, etc. near your sleeping quarters, booze stockpile and dining area (i.e., vertically), then the amount of distance that your dwarves have to walk to eat, drink and sleep is greatly reduced, resulting in significantly less wasted time and more work done.

Similarly, consider having your resource stockpiles immediately under or on top of your workshop and forge levels, or having your food stockpiles and/or butcher and cook on the level above or below the dining area.

To sprawl horizontally means vastly longer walking distances. Often, this also means having a much larger wall to defend from hostiles, too.


I think that's exactly his point. It is much easier to be efficient and compact with z-levels, where he'd like the player to have to focus more on dealing with the challenges of getting an efficient, and well protected, fortress without that luxury.

Whether or not you appreciate the added level of difficulty as a player is up to you, of course.
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Zsinj

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #306 on: October 24, 2017, 05:14:23 am »

^ Yep that was exactly what I meant - aiming for it to be more of a gameplay/design challenge for the player to have to deal with everything being located on the same plane so you can't just stack everything on top of each other in a hyper-efficient cube.

The dwarves (and other races) shouldn't require any micro-management, I'm going for what you'd expect from DF but with a friendlier interface.

I believe the game supports absolutely massive maps without any real slowdown. I just tried out an 2 million tile map (about 26 times bigger than the default and most playtesters have remarked at how large the default feels), and it took quite a while to generate (about 30 seconds) but once in the game it ran without any framerate issues on my machine at least. Similarly I've stress-tested games with 40,000 dwarves in-game, and while the AI isn't as complex as it will be yet, there's very little processing done per frame to make it work. While rendering them all on screen in one go causes problems, actually having a massive population moving around the map off-screen doesn't really have a performance impact. So I'm confident people won't feel constrained by the size of the map they choose to play on, unless they want to play on a small map.

So for the reasons people have given for wanting Z-levels (or ones I'd want myself) there are:
  • More access to resources: While as the designer I think it unlikely players will mine out all the resources in a map, I'm sure someone will do it eventually, so there'll be access to off-map resources (a bit like the mines mentioned from Warcraft though with some more detail) either through entrances on your own map into lower levels, or sending raiding parties off-map to loot other sites. There'll also be trading with caravans of course, which I'd also like to make as effortless as possible, something along the lines of Anno where you specify what you want to import and export (perhaps with maximum amounts specified) and your settlers take care of the rest.
  • Growing trees and mushrooms underground: This'll be in one of first alphas, with "underground" being inside the mountain areas
  • Megastructures and vanity projects: This is the main one I won't be able to cover, though you'll be able to do massive and interesting 2D layouts like these.
  • Complex mechanisms like layers of water pumps: I can't wait to get mechanisms working in the game, and while you won't be able to split them over several levels, I'm thinking there'll be an "underfloor" layer a bit like where the pipes and electricity lines live in Prison Architect, for you to wire up cogs and gears for mechanisms. Similarly there'll be water-moving mechanisms of some kind, starting with simple irrigation going up to water pumps for dwarf-made rivers and lakes.
Finally the massive map was an interesting test so I posted a video of it running at https://youtu.be/xsgn9Re6J_I
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 06:46:05 am by Zsinj »
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TheImmortalRyukan

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #307 on: October 24, 2017, 06:37:47 am »

Finally the massive map was an interesting test so I posted a video of it running at https://youtu.be/xsgn9Re6J_I

Maybe that map was a bit too big  :o
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dennislp3

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #308 on: October 30, 2017, 10:19:48 am »

So for the reasons people have given for wanting Z-levels (or ones I'd want myself) there are:
  • More access to resources: While as the designer I think it unlikely players will mine out all the resources in a map, I'm sure someone will do it eventually, so there'll be access to off-map resources (a bit like the mines mentioned from Warcraft though with some more detail) either through entrances on your own map into lower levels, or sending raiding parties off-map to loot other sites. There'll also be trading with caravans of course, which I'd also like to make as effortless as possible, something along the lines of Anno where you specify what you want to import and export (perhaps with maximum amounts specified) and your settlers take care of the rest.
  • Growing trees and mushrooms underground: This'll be in one of first alphas, with "underground" being inside the mountain areas
  • Megastructures and vanity projects: This is the main one I won't be able to cover, though you'll be able to do massive and interesting 2D layouts like these.
  • Complex mechanisms like layers of water pumps: I can't wait to get mechanisms working in the game, and while you won't be able to split them over several levels, I'm thinking there'll be an "underfloor" layer a bit like where the pipes and electricity lines live in Prison Architect, for you to wire up cogs and gears for mechanisms. Similarly there'll be water-moving mechanisms of some kind, starting with simple irrigation going up to water pumps for dwarf-made rivers and lakes.
  • The game is called "King UNDER the Mountain"

FTFY

While I know adding Z levels adds a level of complexity you may not wish to be tackling at the moment I think even having limited Z levels (1 "underlayer" maybe at least?) would do this game a great service.

We had prison architect where no Z levels were annoying but that was ok....then we got Rimworld which has no Z levels and that is irksome and has everyone saying "So its like PA...but not really...its original at least".

Even if your game is unique and well done (which I am sure you are striving for) do you really want all your hard work and reputation to end up as a bunch of steam reviews that say "Rimworld Clone without guns!"

This reality may not seem like something happening now but once you hit a more finished state and present it to a larger audience you will find a TON of people that have NO idea how much actual work you may be putting in the game and instead simply assume you ripped off another game.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 10:34:11 am by dennislp3 »
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Zsinj

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #309 on: October 30, 2017, 10:48:08 am »

As I said there's reasons for and against, and I've ended up on the side of not going the z-levels route primarily as a design and accessibility decision. By the time of steam reviews I have faith there will be plenty enough features to distinguish the game from Rimworld and DF which won't be that clear this early on.

I don't think Z-levels work in a 2D game, but for those that need them, there are some up and coming 3D games in the same genre, such as Embark and Dwarf Corp. I realise you're coming from a place of wanting me to make the game "better" than it otherwise would be, so thanks for the input. Embark in particular is shaping up to be a visual 3D Dwarf Fortress which is exciting, and if someone would prefer that over what I'm making that's great and I'll lose out on those sales, which is fine by me. The indie scene is amazing right now, something for everyone!
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Zsinj

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #310 on: November 04, 2017, 09:36:08 am »

Happy to say I'm officially back on the development road after the break!

Which means there's now a dev update out, covering what happened, my thoughts and what's next

http://kingunderthemounta.in/november-2017-update-back-in-action/
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Zsinj

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #311 on: December 15, 2017, 03:33:15 am »

The monthly dev update covering river and water animation is now live at http://www.indiedb.com/games/king-under-the-mountain/news/december-2017-update-go-with-the-flow
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Mephansteras

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #312 on: December 15, 2017, 10:16:03 am »

Shaping up quite nicely!
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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #313 on: December 15, 2017, 10:55:44 am »

I do like this project, but i'm not sure why i should play King under the Mountain over Rimworld, yet.

Anyway, i'm super curious to see what you will do with this ambitious and potantially great game.
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Zsinj

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Re: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« Reply #314 on: December 15, 2017, 11:03:11 am »

Shaping up quite nicely!

Thanks as always :)

I do like this project, but i'm not sure why i should play King under the Mountain over Rimworld, yet.

Anyway, i'm super curious to see what you will do with this ambitious and potantially great game.

That's an excellent point! Of course at this very early stage the interesting, differentiating-from-Rimworld mechanics aren't in there yet, but they're coming down the line. Last thing I want to do is spend years working on this project only for it to be a clone of another game rather than its own creation. I suppose early on you'll see a difference in scale with a much larger settlement population rather than a small group of survivors (which does have its drawbacks) as well as some fun things lifted from DF (mechanisms come to mind) but I expect it's only late in development that the real key features will start to stand out (exploring other players' creations and meaningfully different playstyles between races).
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