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Author Topic: Designing a new LCS-style game  (Read 3583 times)

SlatersQuest

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Designing a new LCS-style game
« on: December 12, 2018, 01:39:34 pm »

Hi everyone,

It's time to start talking about the new game that I've been planning to make. The game will be set in what I have been tentatively calling the Mother Tree universe, although I think I need a new name for it (suggestions are welcome). To date, there is one game, made in RPGMaker, that takes place in this universe. You can download that game here (Windows only, but works with PlayOnMac without issues).

In this game, the player will take on the role of Phoenix, an organization dedicated to redeeming the human species with the intention that humanity can live as part of nature's beauty rather than being at odds with it (Terra Vitae in the mod of the same name is a tongue-in-cheek expy of Phoenix). To complicate matters and to make the story go, the universe in which the game takes place features an exotic physical phenomenon by which the creation and destruction of information creates timelines - alternate versions of reality - that both the player and the villains will be able to use to affect the universe and, ultimately, win or lose the game.

Features
  • Tactical, squad-based movement and adventure in the style and mechanics of Liberal Crime Squad
  • Base and squad management wherein the player can choose xer overall strategy
  • Permadeath (within any timeline that is)
  • Randomly-selected NPC villains and other adversaries sporting unique game mechanics, to ensure that each game has its own story and challenges
  • Research system that allows the player to learn about villains, discover the villains' secrets and develop the player's capabilities
  • Villain factions dynamically increase in strength and activity level over time, putting the player into an X-COM-like arms race against ever-strengthening enemies
  • Complex social, political, and economic system to flesh the world out. There are many other factions apart from the player and the primary villain(s), each with their own agenda, and that affect the player's goals in subtle and not-so-subtle ways!
  • Ability of the player to change xer social and political focus to adapt to changing circumstances and different villains (e.g. some villains are conservative, others liberal, and the political climate will determine which are easier to fight)

Open questions (yes, please provide input!)
I plan to develop this game as a total conversion mod for Liberal Crime Squad, but with the player playing as Phoenix instead of the LCS. I do not yet know whether it would be best to adapt my Terra Vitae mod, adapt the latest version of vanila LCS (4.12.21 as of this writing), or use Cheshire Cat's graphical mod.

Starting with the Terra Vitae mod
Pros
  • I am already familiar with the code and could develop it quickly
  • Many of the features are already partially implemented (e.g. timelines will be created from the code that handles movies). Development will be shorter
Cons
  • ASCII text art is not visually attractive and may limit game's audience
  • Many newer LCS features would not be included
  • Many Terra Vitae features would need to be dropped to make room for them

Starting with LCS 4.12.21
Pros
  • I am somewhat familiar with the code and certainly familiar with C++
  • A fresh start will clarify many features (including the behavior of factions)
Cons
  • ASCII text art is not visually attractive and may limit game's audience
  • Development will be slower than if I start with TV, albeit probably more streamlined

Starting with Cheshire Cat's LCS remake
Pros
  • Cheshire Cat's remake is graphically more appealing than ASCII art
Cons
  • I am unfamiliar with C#, and utterly unfamiliar with Unity. I will need a lot of help.
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Taberone

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2018, 01:32:23 am »

LCS 4.12.21 is probably the best bet if you can't get help with Unity. It has more features and is more up to date.
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a1s

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2018, 05:06:47 am »

I noticed that you are not even considering using RPGM as the base, why is that? While it would take longer to implement some of the features, you are well familiar with the engine, as will be any players of your first game.
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Putnam

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2018, 08:40:44 am »

RPG maker is a fine engine for JRPGs. It's like trying to use a hammer as a screwdriver for something like this, though.

SlatersQuest

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2018, 12:34:50 am »

LCS 4.12.21 is probably the best bet if you can't get help with Unity. It has more features and is more up to date.

A point - I may also be able to use other C++ libraries that allow the use of GUIs. Maybe I could even use the layout for Cheshire Cat's remake by using a different library.


I noticed that you are not even considering using RPGM as the base, why is that? While it would take longer to implement some of the features, you are well familiar with the engine, as will be any players of your first game.

RPGMaker basically cannot handle anything that has to be procedurally-generated, which means that it's next-to-useless for roguelikes. Putnam uses a good analogy.
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SlatersQuest

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2018, 03:58:50 pm »

Just fixed a bug in the First Trial of the Phoenix game linked up above.

I'm leaning toward starting with LCS 4.12.21 as suggested by Taberone - I think the best way to do graphics might be to print output to a file and then have a second program read that output and turn it into a screen display.
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Jgray

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2019, 06:57:19 pm »

Can't wait to play it. I always thought that LCS had the potential to be used for other universes and settings.
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EuchreJack

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2019, 03:06:11 pm »

My advice: If you're familiar with a programing language that support graphics, go with that.  It might be easier to build something "inspire by" LCS rather than a mod of LCS.  Plus you won't be limited by the LCS framework and code.

Alternatively, I imagine Cheshire Cat's LCS remake is probably going to eclipse the original LCS if development continues for more than a year.  The interface not only has graphics, but is easier for anyone not already familiar with the LCS curses interface to understand.  So it would make sense to spend effort on that.
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SlatersQuest

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2019, 01:36:05 pm »

Yeah I've been thinking about that. The trouble is that I have been having some difficulty getting Unity to work in the first place, and I just do not understand how it is put together. I get that there are screens that do things, but a lot of the mechanics that I want are going to be behind the scenes (for example, unless the player has someone involved in either the New York Police Force or the Tyrone Mafia, then engagements between these two factions will and should take place without the player knowing that they are happening).
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SlatersQuest

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2019, 02:53:51 pm »

Edit:

I have determined that I do not like Unity/C#. It's too object-oriented.

You'll notice from the Terra Vitae code that almost everything that I wrote was ansi-C where I could write it, and only used C++ objects when there wasn't a good alternative.

My difficulty in understanding Unity is basically that, in Unity, everything is an object. I can't tell what the data type of each object is just by looking at the declaration.

Consequence: Unless something changes, I don't believe that working from Cheshire Cat's remake is an option.

I am looking into C++ graphics libraries to see what I can make.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2019, 06:57:02 pm by SlatersQuest »
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ShinQuickMan

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Re: Designing a new LCS-style game
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2019, 07:41:14 pm »

Looking forward to it. I've really enjoyed Terra Vitae, so I've no doubt your new game will be great as well.
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