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Author Topic: Infiltration - ancient evil god game simulator  (Read 3201 times)

Gornova

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Infiltration - ancient evil god game simulator
« on: March 19, 2018, 05:19:31 pm »

(For moderators: let me know if I need to move this discussion on another forum section, thanks!)


TLTR: released version 0.0.6, so please take a look on my blog

Version 0.0.6 video here


Some screenshots



In this screenshot updated city interface, on bottom you can see districts


In this screenshot you can see updated character interface with new resources: money, followers and influence


I'm interested in build a game inspired to TWS, not the same game a mooore smaller game and without money.
This is not a call for kickstarter, just a simple discussion on how organize a game that inspired to TWS, in the following way:


a turn based single player asymmetric game where player take control of an agent and manipulate actors and organizations to obtain victory


I'm intrigued on this topic, so in the following points I'd like to discuss with anyone some points:

turn based: I prefer a game when skill is not how faster you are on click on something, but instead quality of your strategy and tactic's decisions. As example think different between chess and starcraft 2

single player: much simpler, I like single player games, not too much to discuss here

asymmetric: in most of the game there are more than one side and every side can do most of the time same actions to alter game state and obtain victory (poker? hearthstone? risk ?).
I'm intrigued in games that does not have this structure, and in my "vision" this kind of game are asymmetric. Player can do actions that other "ai controlled players" or "entities" in the game cannot do.
This is a crucial point in my idea and the following are just some ideas:
- player can force other actors to do a specific actions
- player can hide from other actors, but leave behind some clues
- other actors can raise armies, command in battle and star wars
- other actors can promote actors in an organization and give them new actions and privileges to do
I hope you get the idea

take control of an agent: in original TWS vision player is a god-like ancient being that can interact in limited way into material world. Very weak at start, get more power unlocking special places or rituals. In order to obtain these powers, player get direct control on an agent (or very few ones) to manipulate other actors. This is also interesting for me, because is a key point in the "asymmetric" vision point. An agent has some style of play: for example an assassin vs a thief. Two separate paths, actions and different kind of manipulations

manipulate actors and organizations: like I've said before, every organization (a merchant guild, a private company, government) has some actors in key points that can be manipulated and forced to act in a specific way.
An example should be find with thief inside notable's house some key documents and use them to introduce thief in a secret guild.

obtain victory: obtain victory in my simplified vision is to unlock the X power of the ancient being or find special places or objects. Is not so important in the end what to do. But in order to obtain victories you need informations and where found informations? In key places in organizations that can point you in the right direction, unlocking new places and so on.


A first experiment

Given these coordinates, my thoughts was directed to create a small paper-based prototype with setting in modern days (again, is not important the setting for now, could be fantasy, horror, modern or futuristic).
My process was the following:

1) create a tree-like structure for 2 unlocked organizations (mafia and freemasonry) +1 hide organization (templars guild). Every organization has at least three levels and last two levels provide bonuses to actors inside
2) create a template for every actor, like a character sheet, with following values:
- name
- role (see below)
- money, 0-10
- attack, 0-10
- health, 0-10
- arcane, 0-10
- madness, 0-10 (see below)
3) decide how to handle combat, following hearthstone rules: attack vs health and both attackers and defenders can be damaged. Basic stuff, I know. Only twist, player can decide to use arcane vs health, to model some king of magic attack, not related to strenght
4) every actor can move inside an organization if there is a free space (move to the top, where there are more higher bonuses) . If space is not empty, an actor can attack an enemy (see below)
5) roles dictate possible actions, like for example spend 3 money and set -3 money to a target enemy. Roles can do more advanced actions gaining madness
6) madness is an unlocking factor to new powerful actions, like killing other actors but when is more than 10, turn actor in an enemy automatically and every actor in the organization can attack it
7) so I've created a set of actors (24) and roles (9 generic and 1 specific for actors for every organization: ganster, freemanson(?) and templar)
8) every X turns every organization recruit a new actor
9) each node of every organization get a chance at start to get a mission, where a mission is a specific challenge, unlocked from base characteristics (like arcane 5) and gives you a reward if you overcome that challenge (with a dice roll) or a "bad stuff". Also on top of every organization there is an hard challenge that unlock one of the three items to obtain victory
10) I've setup the board with two organization with actors and get player first actor selecting it from three random actors

Result of the first game: my actor get to top of the organization with some planning and some luck (two actors get weakened each other) but get killed from a brand new actor. In other organization, a top level actor win a mission and get so much arcane that he can destroy everyone in the organization.

My feedback: Is not what I want in a game. Maybe is because is a game where I can see everything, so I can predict most of the possible actions of every actor, but is not so fun. Fun in my vision is to find a combination of actions of my agent that unlock new agents and give access to new actions, with an increasing butterfly effect in game world and in the end change balance in the world.. maybe in a way that I really don't know yet.


Sorry for the wall of text, I think bay12 forum is the kind of community that could give me:
1) advice on how to proceeed
2) inspiration on sources, books, films (or anime, like Code Geass, it's an awesome mix between mech battles, manipulations, politics and magic powers)
3) sources: board games, videogames
4) ideas on how model properly game elements

thanks!


note: If you know something on TWS, I want to model and find a really simply gameplay, not model and entire world with a lot of overlapping systems and many mechanics, I'm interested to find a way to describe and program the core experience the loop: decide a strategy, do some actions, infiltrate/manipulate, get feedback
« Last Edit: August 31, 2018, 05:47:07 am by Gornova »
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Urist McScoopbeard

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2018, 05:21:58 pm »

Honestly, this is probably an idea you can prototype pretty easily. Assuming you can't program it yourself, you should build a tabletop version.
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Gornova

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 05:24:54 pm »

(quick reply, thanks!)

I'm a dev and I want to develop by myself, but before to start I need to think on main base "loop" and validate if is fun, interesting and has a meaning of someone else other than me :D
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forsaken1111

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2018, 05:29:50 pm »

If you own tabletop simulator you can use that to prototype mechanics like this. I do it a lot when I'm designing boardgame systems. If not you can just use game pieces from other boardgames or whatever else you have handy to simulate the mechanic and see how it feels.
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Gornova

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2018, 05:34:11 pm »

I'm on the point of prototyping and currently I'm stuck on define what is fun in a manipulation/infiltration game, hoping for some feedback on that too
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Urist McScoopbeard

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2018, 05:56:46 pm »

I'm on the point of prototyping and currently I'm stuck on define what is fun in a manipulation/infiltration game, hoping for some feedback on that too

Well of course by the popularity of TWS (even in the face of... absurd economic realities) we can pretty easily see there's a DEMAND for this type of game. What's fun is a different matter.

If we take a look at Shadows Behind the Throne--a spiritual successor to TWS--we can find that some people have described its core mechanics interesting if a little flat, having a lack of atmosphere, and generally not a lot of content.

So there's a good place to start.

IMO, what makes any sort of stealth or infiltration game fun is the risk of failure and lack of an easy way out. What I mean to say is, if we take the lessons from the great stealth games out there, I.E. MGS, Thief, Dishonored, et al., the most important thing is to force the players to "run the gauntlet", to make it so they must improvise and take risks. Though initially satisfying, there's nothing replayable/fun about absolutely dominating the course of a game (I got bored of just tranqing everyone in MGSV, but had a hell of a blast barely sneaking my way into the base in Ground Zeroes.) Balancing what agency the player has vs what agency the AI has is precarious matter.

Given that most stealth games focus on the literal infiltration of a place rather than at a societal level, it might be helpful to study the Film Noir genre. Corruption is a key element and also happens to be the cornerstone of any TWS-like game. Let's take LA Confidential as an example. The corrupter holds all the power and knowledge, even influences other high-ranking officials, but is ultimately at the mercy of public opinion and the legal system which forces him to limit or delay his actions until they can justified (or covered up.) On the other hand the investigator seeking to uncover the corruption has the agency to essentially proceed however he wishes, but lacks the knowledge and most of the clues to proceed meaningfully. The crucial change comes when another officer/agent essential defects from the side of the corrupter to the investigator, which gives him the direction to start dismantling the corrupter. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, this crucial change does not immediately spell defeat for the corrupter as he has presumably built up enough resources to force some kind of confrontation--which he does--and only after both parties exhaust all of their resources is victory gained (by the investigator in the case of LA Confidential.)

Take from that what you will!
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Cruxador

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 06:30:19 pm »

Considering your reason for turn-based, a real-time game with unlimited pausing might also make sense. That allows the gradual flow of time to progress more organically, but still doesn't rush the player.

As to what constitutes the fun, I'm thinking of it as somewhat akin to a grand strategy game, except that rather than having total control of one nation, you need to institute many small changes to various nations, sometimes quite indirectly, as we sometimes see in those old space games - or in Mount and Blade, which now that I think of it is sort of a space game but not in space. I don't think direct comparison to the stealth subgenre of action games makes a lot of practical sense here.

None of this really gets at the core mechanic, though. I think that it can actually just be pretty simple management/simulation stuff (change a few numbers here and there) as the underlying chassis, if the game is heavily event/narrative oriented. Think something like King of Dragon Pass or Sengoku Rance.

2) inspiration on sources, books, films (or anime, like Code Geass, it's an awesome mix between mech battles, manipulations, politics and magic powers)
3) sources: board games, videogames
You might be interested in the "Overlord" novels by Kugane Maruyama. Almost every volume consists of multiple schemes and events that could be broadened into more general game elements. It's also heavily focused on more minor characters which would be the agents that you seem most interested in from the TWS inspiration. The first half of the series is adapted to anime, though I didn't care for it and only watched a little, and people who have watched it without reading the books first don't seem to regard it that highly. There's also a manga adaptation out there, but anyway I can only recommend the books.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2018, 06:33:17 pm by Cruxador »
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bloop_bleep

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 06:33:30 pm »

PTW
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lordcooper

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2018, 07:36:26 pm »

Liberal Crime Squad could easily serve as inspiration for a few mechanics, or even as a base for a total conversion mod.

Inserting sleeper agents into various organisations ✓
Attempting to influence society on a grand scale ✓
Winning people over to your side through debate, seduction or torture ✓
Needing to keep a low profile initially ✓
Delicious brownies ✓
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Gornova

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 05:16:52 pm »

@Urist McScoopbeard: I agree that there is some people other than me and you that like this kind of games. Btw I've tried also SBT too and is of course a foundation but possibilities in this kind of scenario are endless, right?
I see your point, Dishnored and Thief are good examples because portrait to players a world with connections, predictable situations and gives player some powers and actions (not too distant from my view I suppose). In my experiences with Thief and Dishnored, most of the fun was observing the game world and then take action, following my plan. For example kill one guard, create a diversion and so on. The point of this kind of games is that player can see a limited part of the game world and cannot see "all" like a god-like creature (Cthulhu anyone? :D)
Also the noir genre is a good point, but as first point I don't want to simulate or create a system with independent game agent AI that take decisions, but model this kind of situations in simpler systems that player can manipulate.
Thanks for your suggestions, I think that "butterfly effect" and "relations" in a complex world (my vision is like a graph of relations between agents) could provide a lot of possible manipulations in this situation.

@Cruxador: for unlimited pausing it's also a possibility, something like EU4 or CK2 from Paradox. Simple but elegant and don't feel to much "turn based" or "board game" too, for some people could be a problem. I will consider that suggestion, thanks!
Grand strategy game is something I want also to consider, in the end Europa Universalis IV seems to be a really complex game, but in the end you follow always the same loop:

1) take a nation
2) make some alliance
3) fabricate claim on nearby provinces
4) start a war
5) handle rebellion
6) start again

In a simulation like the TWS full vision, player take a lesser role in this loop, but in my opinion more interesting, because you can manipulate from behind how alliances are formed and destroyed, when start a war or rebellion.
Btw, for sure in the end is only a matter to change numbers and create triggers for specific events, like King of Dragon Pass => I think I should play it again with more focus on mechanics, thanks for suggestion!
I watched Overlord anime I agree is entertaining without being too much interesting, but main character (too much OP for my tasted) manipulate characters. I will try to search also for books, thanks!


@lordcooper: I didn't understand this mechanics, I will try to focus more on this, thanks!

------------------------------------------------------------

In these days I've build up some scenarios to focus discussions and thoughts and don't be too much specific, I'd like to get some feedback and critics If anyone has some time :D


Scenario1: indirect manipulation

Player is an ancient being, trapped in another dimensions eons ago from another god like creaturs using some sigils. These sigils now are weak and humanity will see rise for that ancient being. With few power, player can manipulate indirectly mortals so direct commands like move, attack and so on are not available at start. At start player can only suggest a target to kill another subject if there is an hate. Using this kind of indirect manipulations, killing people in key points in organization, player gain indirect access to specific object or knowledge to break sigils and gain power.

In this scenario, the loop is the following:

Setup
1) game create the map, with specific POI (point of interest) that can be citites, ruins etcc.. (like TWS)
2) game create for every POI a list of notable characters (actors that player can interact with), divided in groups (guilds? factions?) that can be in only one POI (like a local government or warrior guild) or on multiple POIs (like national government)
3) for every POI there is little simulation on basic variables: food, economy, rebellion, etc..
4) every faction to exist must fullyfy one goal, for example maximize food on some POIS or take most of the economy on one POI. If a faction has common interest with another faction in one or more POI, a war (economical, for food, for territory) can arise

Game
1) player can see every POI, notable characters and factions stats (not hidden ones, they are unlockable, I mean characters and some POIs) and must absorb a lot of informations to take first steps
2) after decided right target, start manipulation on this target. Change on one notable characters alter equilibrium in the faction and between factions and make changes in some part of the world, because characters are connected in a graph. This power has a limit and cannot be used every seconds, of course, it's a matter of balance. After using this power, some clues are left. Clues can be little, medium, big.

An example: Warrior of Guild of Warrios in Theros, you hate a mage in the Mage Guild in Theros. Warrior has some actions: stay idle, move, attack, train, do a quest. In this case decide to train to get more powerful then attack and kill the mage (with some random in combat, so is not so deterministic). This killing provoke a butterfly effect. Now Mage Guild declare war on Guild of Warriors and Theros is a dangeours place. Economy problems and Merchant guild lose money. Also in some turns, problem with food and more rebellion chance. So local government (another faction) decide to raise an army. People get more angry and a rebellion start.

3) in the middle of this chaos a notable figure in Merchant guild start to investigate about the mess and has chance to discover the clues left from player. If this went well for Merchant character, now chance to manipulate merchant guild people is less and chance to trigger more investigations about player (something in TWS is like connect the dots and found where sigils are and how to make them stronger, make player lose.

4) in this chaos, player what get? Factions in a war are more manipulable and in fact this unlock new notable characters (level 2 chars) that can do more.

I will stop on point 4), because I think unlockable characters or POIs are the main point. How much deep this should be?
With some (little) random here, the way to break the sigil could be:
- unlock a place and for a character to do a specific quest/mission (Go and make a dark sacrifice for me there)
- get forbidden knowledge from a place, make a specific quest/mission
etc..

Critic points:

While I was writing this scenario, I'm sure it's intriguing but require a lot for work on the "AI" part. But, what If an actor actions has different weight? Player only change these weights, for example:

Warrior has following action, with weight (more is better)
- stay idle: 5
- train: 4
- do quest: 3
- train: 2
- attack: 1

Every "turn" each actor has only to choose right action to do (just one for sake of simplicity) sorting them by weight.
Player manipulate here. Player action move attack to a specific target from 1 to 6 and then the madness begin.
Other factos, like POI modifiers, faction modifiers and so on can change weight for each actor, for some time.
Faction level actions, like wars, alliance, embargo or create a quest are just actions that has a weight value.

This approach could be useful to build a set of interactions based on simple rules that can generate a lot of other interactions (keep in mind that there a graph of connections between characters).

What do you think of this approach? To do not overwhelm a player, some stats should be hidden, but general rules, in order to be manipulable, should be transparent


Another wall of text here :D
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Cruxador

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2018, 11:56:54 pm »

Grand strategy game is something I want also to consider, in the end Europa Universalis IV seems to be a really complex game, but in the end you follow always the same loop:

1) take a nation
2) make some alliance
3) fabricate claim on nearby provinces
4) start a war
5) handle rebellion
6) start again
I think some people would see that as a pretty brutal take-down of the game... But I don't disagree.

Quote
I watched Overlord anime I agree is entertaining without being too much interesting, but main character (too much OP for my tasted) manipulate characters. I will try to search also for books, thanks!
If you've watched the second season, it shows a lot about how the side areas are focused on, especially the Men in the Kingdom arc. If you got the feeling that the main character was manipulating things, you may have missed the plot a bit, but parts of it, especially when you get to volumes 9 and 10, are still useful as things that ought to be able to happen even if you are directly and intentionally manipulating.

As far as searching for the books, there's a fan translation indexed here: https://www.novelupdates.com/series/overlord/

Quote
1) player can see every POI, notable characters and factions stats (not hidden ones, they are unlockable, I mean characters and some POIs) and must absorb a lot of informations to take first steps
I think it could be better if instead of seeing everything, you can only see some places - those where you have at least a very small amount of influence - if overwhelming the player is a concern.

Quote
2) after decided right target, start manipulation on this target. Change on one notable characters alter equilibrium in the faction and between factions and make changes in some part of the world, because characters are connected in a graph. This power has a limit and cannot be used every seconds, of course, it's a matter of balance. After using this power, some clues are left. Clues can be little, medium, big.

An example: Warrior of Guild of Warrios in Theros, you hate a mage in the Mage Guild in Theros. Warrior has some actions: stay idle, move, attack, train, do a quest. In this case decide to train to get more powerful then attack and kill the mage (with some random in combat, so is not so deterministic). This killing provoke a butterfly effect. Now Mage Guild declare war on Guild of Warriors and Theros is a dangeours place. Economy problems and Merchant guild lose money. Also in some turns, problem with food and more rebellion chance. So local government (another faction) decide to raise an army. People get more angry and a rebellion start.
I'm not understanding the player's action here. Does the player use a power to incite the warrior's hatred towards the mage? Then, how does the power work? Well, the details aren't quite necessary yet; as a gameplay loop so far it checks out.

Quote
4) in this chaos, player what get? Factions in a war are more manipulable and in fact this unlock new notable characters (level 2 chars) that can do more.
It could also be that the player, if it's a god oriented towards war or chaos, wants to spread it across the world and this is therefore desirable in itself. Or for a victory condition where you destroy all life, these organizations are weakened as they expend resources to fight, and you can roll over them more easily.

Quote
Warrior has following action, with weight (more is better)
- stay idle: 5
- train: 4
- do quest: 3
- train: 2
- attack: 1

Every "turn" each actor has only to choose right action to do (just one for sake of simplicity) sorting them by weight.
Player manipulate here. Player action move attack to a specific target from 1 to 6 and then the madness begin.
Other factos, like POI modifiers, faction modifiers and so on can change weight for each actor, for some time.
Faction level actions, like wars, alliance, embargo or create a quest are just actions that has a weight value.

This approach could be useful to build a set of interactions based on simple rules that can generate a lot of other interactions (keep in mind that there a graph of connections between characters).

What do you think of this approach? To do not overwhelm a player, some stats should be hidden, but general rules, in order to be manipulable, should be transparent
I think this is a good approach. However rather than actions that the character can do, I think it's better if they have not just actions (events that they initiate) but also events that happen to them. Either on the same random roll or not. That way you can extend your influence at the PoI or on an individual to do things like curse them, or create PoI modifiers that can randomly effect the people who live there in one way or another.
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Gornova

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2018, 04:32:47 am »

Hi!
A small update just to say that I'm working on a prototype (really small and limited) with following features:

1) advance turn: for this prototype my feel is this is the right choice
2) world map and poi: world map is static, nothing fancy, but I made some effort to not be ugly, on top of that there are city icons
3) user power: (go from 1 to 5) at start player has power 1, and so can do 1 action in one turn. I feel this is a good solution to model how much powerful player can become when unlocks more power.. in the end will do 5 actions every turn, where other actors (mortals!) can do only 1
4) select a poi to display basic information: name, description, food, production. For now there is only a random-based food system, where there is a little chance (10%) every turn for every city to lose/gain some food. In my mind this kind of systems will lead to specific events like famine that will trigger characters actions or quests. This kind of system could be complicated at will
5) display for a city a list of notable characters: at start player can see not all characters, but some that are potentially manipolable
6) select a characters and display basic information: name and some actions (for now 2, see below)
7) actions:
   
   - focus: in 11 turns (minus you power level) with this power, player can "unlock" a characters. This unlock will stand for the rest of the game and let you know basic characters stats,relationship and character faction. This action left behind small clues that a suspicious character can follow (more below)
   
   - manipulate: required a focused character, in 11 turns (minus your power level) with this power you can force a character to follow his darkest desires and act against a relationship. This action left behind medium clues that a suspicious character can follow (more below)
   
   Outcome for this action is different for every character, for a warrior could be to try to beat (block from future action for 10 turns) one character he/she hates, for a thief steal the money, for a merchant could be to use the influence (and money) to force character out of the city. As you can imagine, outcome will be most of the time standard, so player can plan moves ahead but using specific traits could add possibility that some more powerful outcome occour.
   Recalling an example from last post, should be that the Barbarian (trait Rage) when manipulated, not only beat another character, but kill another character..
   Downsides on manipulate is more you manipulate, more madness character will have. This will open up the randomicity of possible outcome (mostly of the time will be bad for character, best for you). For example with more madness, the barbarian not only will kill the target, but also become a wanted one and generate a possible quest for other characters or negative modifier on a city production and food (to simulate the havoc).
   
   - calling: required a focused character, in 11 turns (minus your power level) with this power player will force a character to explore hidden secrets (or unlocked one if any not explored) in the city for you and try to find lost knowledge that will lead to have more power. This action left behind small clues that a suspicious character can follow (more below).
   
   This action will create a specific quest for target character, that will require some times to be completed. In this time character will not be available target for player actions and other character actions.
   At the end of the time, there is a probability that character will find an hidden secret in the poi (if there are will be some available). For every one of this quests there is a small percentage for character to suffer a damage on characteristics an of course more madness!
   This "secrets" is nothing more than unlockable quests that a character can do and will lead to unlock power for player

8) clues mechanics: more actions in a city will lead to more clues and higher chance that a character notice something is "strange". This will trigger a quest for this character that will require some time (10 turns? more?) and after that a challenge. This challenge will be hard and lead from "suspicious mode" to "action mode". Character will alert all other characters of his faction and focus/manipulate/calling player's actions will be more difficult (+10 turns?). All characters in alerted faction will receive a quest to follow clues (remember a character could be in a city but part of a faction with members in another cities). Player using manipulation can stop other characters, remember!

Some discussions on points.

So far player "core loop" is:

1) gather info on city pois
2) focus a character
3) with a focused character, use calling and make investigation to find a secret
4) investigate on a secret using calling
5) unlock more power to do more every turn
6) defend from other characters using manipulation and turns other characters against them
7) survive until power 5 then win

This loop in my mind is easy to understand after some plays (and some documentation/tutorial) but randomness on point 3-4-6 will provide interesting outcomes. My plan is that adding some food/economic/warfare simulation behind the scenes that can trigger some events for factions, characters or player (decide an outcome?) will spice up the mix.


Any thoughts and ideas are welcome!!


Btw @cruxador: thanks for suggestions, I have added "external events" in the mix as you can read. For victory condition, so far is to get to power 5 and then win. Adding a chaos/madness global variable is interesting, I keep open this door for the future!
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Gornova

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2018, 05:52:46 am »

While I'm developing this prototype, I'm also have fun in playing "somewhat related" games.

In this case is spinnortality an evil corporation world simulation game with a lot of interesting ideas:

1) player take control of an evil corporation and has as resources: money, workers (to assing on research, agendas, etc..), 3 points (cyber, class and military) used for specific actions and some derivated resources player must take a look, like public opiniion (used for generating events?)
2) game ends with some victory conditions (after unlock agenda points, some kind of missions) or when player dies (time passess..) or other corporations take all your shares
3) every nation (not single nation, more like Europe, North America, Oceania and so on..) in the world has a political simulation behind, based on type of government. The cool part here is how this influence gameplay. Every nation ha a set of values to respond on player actions, so for example a lot of tradition (because on power there is a tradition-based party) will give you maluses to actions, etc..
This political party is really important because nations has different views on tecnologies you are trying to sell, so political manipulation is a must for medium/long plans
3) nmoney are important, so every turn is important to launch new products
4) research is crucial to search new products or tecnologies to launch and to be successful (and get more money) but require player to match on "spin" (with an interesting tag mechanism that I'd like to understand more)
5) research unlock new capabilities, like espionages.. that can help you to bring chaos in a region (and more profit?)

I'm in the middle of my second run and game is really intriguing so far, with a lot of things moving.

From what I've understood, main loop is the following:
1) recruit workers
2) research products/technologies
3) launch products (match tags, decide where to launch, manipulate political side, laws, etc..)
4) improve cyber/class/military stats to keep efficience on your corp
5) earn money
6) follow agendas to win

If anyone want to make a play or two (there is a free demo!) I'd like to share some thoughts, follow this "journal/analysis path"
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Loud Whispers

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2018, 04:31:27 pm »

I'm ptwing the thread

Gornova

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Re: Infiltration mechanics
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2018, 03:06:29 am »

A quick update on my prototype, for anyone wants to bother.

Some feature are already implemented and tested:

1) display map and city poi only
2) player can advance turn
3) player click on a city poi and display related properties
4) on city poi panel, there is a list of notable characters to choose
5) for every notable character there is a detail panel, with following actions:
   5.1) focus: unlock other actions
   5.2) calling: send character to a mission to uncover forgotten knowledge
   5.3) manipulate: on list of relations, player can manipulate character relations. For now type of manipulation is related to role only. For example a mage summon a ghast that will take fight with target character or thief steal all money of target.
6) a log panel with some debug/useful information on screen

I'm looking for feedback on following points:

5.1) I have created focus mechanics to hide player details for every characters (with stats, relations, faction and so on), so on start is not overwhelmed by a lot of informations. So far this works good and is easy to understand. When player starts, he can see for every poi a list of notable characters with only name (and role) and nothing else. But what is benefit? In my plan on start there will be a lot of random creation and of course create characters randomly is the must for this kind of game. So when player start, choose the right character to start work with it, with focus I mean, is just luck.
In my mind so first step of every game will be just luck: unlock one character, then another one. Where there is a plus for player ?
No plus here, just a way to move forward for few turns.. I'm little bit frustrated as player and I'd like to get feedback. My feeling is that I will receive feedback when there will be a prototype to play, right ?

5.2) Calling is the "main action" in order to win. As ancient one, you need to uncover forgotten knowledge, to get more power and when you get 5 power, you win. So far these secrets are hidden from players, so when you start, you don't know which poi is the one with a secret (a poi can have from zero to 3 secrets). So start with a poi, unlock a character, use calling on it, will not garantee you for success. This is fun ? In some way, yes for me, because in that way every game is different from last one and new events will rise to attention, with a bit of randomicity. Be aware: send a character to a quest mission to uncover dark secrets could lead to new outcome, like free a beast in a poi (with some havok, a fight with some other characters, etc.. ), advance in madness for that character etc..
So as player, you must be prepared to undesired outcome for every action, is this good for you ?

5.3) Manipulate is fun to design and program. As example, mage can summon a ghast (my idea is a mage can summon different kind of monsters, using more arcane power, and with more powerful mage, this can cause a lot of trouble in a city.. ) or thief steal all the money. Warrior and assassin start a normal combat, but as mentioned before, this will cause more problems if he is a powerful character. About merchant: using money and influence, he can force another character to leave the city and this lead to an interesting point. Target is not dead.. so he can jump out again in the future.. maybe in another poi ? Or maybe he has a quest to get revenge... I have to think about this.
What about player ?
A little bit of control in early stages is a plus, so characters manipulation outcomes is most of the time predictable, but in late stages a character with a lot of madness will cause some indesiderate outcomes ? An example ? My idea is for thief, to steal so much money in the city that people will start to complain with government and a rebellion can rise in the city! This sort of chaos is something you want, because characters will be distracted.
This sounds fun to you ?
   
   
In order to release a proper working prototype, my plan is to do the following:

1) fix some issues on user interface (minor issues, like some things not displayed correctly etc..
2) work on manipulate outcome with more madness and more problems on poi
3) work on clue mechanics: more actions player do in a poi, more clues, more probability that this will trigger a quest for a character.. player will be informed with a event, so you will not miss this. If player let character to connect too many dots, he can be exposed and lose the game (my first idea is to get a "expose value", from 1 to 5, so player can understand how much exposed he is
4) first faction feedback on character actions: if a mage summon a ghast and kill a warrior.. this is not a good thing for relations between mage guild and warrior guild. My idea is that relations will be worse in every poi
5) pack everything together. I made this project with java, so it will require java to run (but can run on windows, linux and mac). Do you think is better to ship is with java included ? O I can create two separate package with java (for windows) and without java (for every system)
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