Okay, Planitia. Here’s the basic design I am visualizing.
You’re a god. Your people worship you. You gain mana from their worship, and how quickly you gain mana is dependent on how many of them there are. There are three things you can do with your mana:
- Raise and lower the land. This will give your villagers more space to expand.
- Spend it to teach your villagers new things, like how to build new buildings or how to do certain tasks better.
- Cast spells that either help your villagers or impede your enemy’s villagers.
I was not planning on including direct control of your villagers (though this could change). This would result in a very Populous-style game.
The only problem is that if the base game is growing your civilization with no direct control over your villagers, that’s not really a game. it’s a software toy. To make it a game, there are two options.
The first is to give the player external, computer-enforced goals, like “create 50 villagers” or “generate 1000 mana” or “expand your village to this size”. Since the actual game play will be pretty simple, this may not make for a very fun game.
So we get to the second option. The one where you build up your village so that you can destroy all who oppose you, burn the bodies, salt the earth, collect their souls to offer to your dark god, etc, etc. Option two would probably be more fun. Option two requires either multiplayer or a half-decent AI. Both would be hard to do in 40 hours. So we’d end up with a game with very simple gameplay, but you can play skirmish against the computer and/or multiplayer with someone else over the net.
This may seem weird, but I don’t care if it’s a “game” or not. As long as it’s fun, that’s fine by me.
Will Wright outwardly tells people that the Sims is not a game, because there are no definitive goals to achieve. It’s more of the player making their own personal goals with no direction from the game. Yet, the Sims sells millions of copies with each release. Clearly, people still like “playing” with this “non-game” software, right?
People will tend to make their own goals, so their not explicitly necessary. However, the game itself should have goals that people can discover and shoot for. For instance, maybe if your village grows large enough, your temple may grow to become a hub-temple which will allow the creation of pilgrims to spread the word. Or if your village migrates, you can create a pilgramage location and the more people you have that journey from your start point to your end point will help you. Kind of like Civilization. People want to collect the wonders or play using diplomacy.
Two things I’d like to see. One: In a Dungeon Keeper-esque manner, I’d like to see an ability to possess an avatar and control him. He can be a battle avatar, or he can just wander around performing healing miracles or whatever. Two: I’d like to see a roleplaying element by choosing the style of god you start out as. You can be a volcano god and gain certain benefits, or a Sun god or a moon god or a sea god. Perhaps you can unlock new god-types as you play and that’d be part of a goal. You can transition from being a sun-god to being a god of agricutlure to being a god of civilization. You can send pilgrims out and “enslave” other gods into your pantheon. You become Zeus and the other gods become ruled by you.
Count the hours, Dave. Forty. For-ty.
I’ll be lucky to have the guys running around at all in that amount of time, which is why I need to keep the design super-simple.
The ideas are good, I just doubt I would have time to implement them.
Yeah. I noticed the 40 hour thing a bit late. Sorry. I forgot this was a return to the 40 hour project.
No worries. And you just might get your wish…if this project inspires me and turns out to be fun to work on, I’ll almost certainly dump the restriction 🙂