Wow, thanks for the offer. As of yet, though, I'm not current taking money from any non-kickstarter sources, because I was fiddling around with some legal stuff (maybe setting up a company to process kickstarter funds to avoid income taxes). At some point I'll change the Itch.io game to accept donations.
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Popup bug: Fixed
I was thinking maybe allowing the kingdom of light, and only the kingdom of light itself, to activate a "Doom Clock". For every city they had it would tick up by one, and you'd lose on reaching full. That would mean that you could have a direct enemy, and anything you could do to remove even a single city from the kingdom of light is helpful. Would definitely cement them as the primary enemy. Should work in both game modes.
One solution could be to allow investigators to discover they were wrong, and that a given target isn't enthralled after all. Should be easy enough to implement the mechanics, but getting the UI to work could be trickier. Lots of different information can be carried by messengers, and it all needs to be easily spotted from the map view without selecting individual units.
That makes sense. Might change it so it's not a necropolis, if it's automatic, make it more natural-like, such as having the corpseweeds grow over the entire city. Would prefer to avoid it connecting to the corpseweed network, though, to make it a more distinct type of resource.
Deconverting corpsehearts can be added, no problem there.
I prefer keeping units separate, to make it more "undead hoard"-like, and less organised. I'll just add in a small random factor.
Dislike allies gains 25 dislike to everyone in their social circle. It might just be underpowered. All you need for a civil war is more military to be controlled by lords who dislike the societal leader than by those still loyal + the leader themselves.
As to your other message:
There actually IS an entourage ability which causes peasant uprisings. It works by making the peasant politics oppose the lord's, thus increasing unhappiness. Peasant politics is something I really want to get working, because it's neat and spreads from city to caravan to city and adds a global dynamic to the political landscape, but for now it's very invisible and few things work with it.
I like the idea of entourage acting as defenses for particular lords, preventing certain actions or increasing their costs. I'll have to see what works and what doesn't, and add in the inverse, some lords being particularly weak due to have ineffective entourages. Some of these bonuses would probably then pass over to the player, for example if a captain of the guard were effective they would slow the rate of population uprisings, provided they were still loyal to the lord.
Adding buildings which increase power regen at the cost of world evidence would probably also be a good idea. Those certainly shouldn't be too hard to implement. Might make one which is ritual based, so you can choose when you're okay with gaining some suspicion/evidence/world-evidence and when you feel the heat's on and you gotta lie low for a while.
In regards to some of the other stuff:
Back in the day, in the very first concepts I did in late January over the course of a week or so, the game was very different. All lords could plot at all times, not just the player. Every action available to the player was available to everyone else. To add to this you could only interact with people you had a direct connection to, but could persuade others to become loyal to you, so use them as gateways to others. For example you could try to gain access to the king by first convincing the queen's chambermaid to support you, then use the chambermaid to convince the queen, then the queen to convince the king. The reason the game is so radically different from this idea is due to the insane amount of chaos it produced. It was almost impossible to keep track of anything, with many plots ending every single turn, which would mean that your own plot was now completely useless or impossible, and the giant network of people was a nightmare to get on the screen.
As a result, I'm unsure I want to try making all other NPCs have their own plots, or have a "discovery" mechanic for information. I've no doubt it would make for a good game if it were implemented, but I'm personally not sure I know how to do so successfully. I've actually got a document for "ideas for a sequel" which are ideas which I don't think I can risk spending the time on, in case they completely don't work and just harm the project as a whole. I'll add the infiltration and discovery mechanics to the list, and maybe someday they'll see the light.
Making some kind of core to the undead empire could be a useful addition. Currently the issue is that the undead are incredibly unbalanced, due to their nature. At first they're incredibly weak, because there aren't enough bodies, then they reach a point where they can make headway and suddenly there are unlimited dead bodies to form new armies, and you win almost instantly in an exponential zombie cascade.
Having a core would give something for the lightbringers to attack, like you said, and give a reason to slow down the undead spawning, perhaps tying the max undead to the size of your empire's construction. I'll have to play around with it to see.
Oh, okay, that's different then.
It's done in three steps, from the voting screen. You could just start up a tiny map and grab a country with a single city, so you control the full vote, just to quickly get to grips with it, all steps are "propose vote" to change the desired thing, then when the vote pops up, voting for the desired option.
Step 1: Get your nation's military posture to "offensive", this is required for declaring war.
Step 2: Set an offensive target. You can pick any of your neighbouring kingdoms. The popup should give you some rough idea of military strengths. I'll admit that bit needs a bit more UI work.
Step 3: You can now propose "declare war". Do so, and if it succeeds you'll start a war to conquer the target kingdom.
Hmm, you may be right.
The current situation is due to a different set of desires and aims. I wanted you to repeatedly have to try to stop messages from getting out, so you have to pay attention and invest in messenger-assassination techniques. For some situations it works great. The fog I think is roughly balanced how I wanted it, but this means that the fishmen now have no solution to messengers on land.
Dark enthralled can transmit shadow at improved rates, so they're the best way to cheaply get rid of entourage, since they'll become broken within a certain number of turns.
I'll have to look into it a bit more, see if I can't balance things a bit better, maybe introduce a few new options. At the very least, I could make assassinations cheaper for entourage members, although that's not an ideal solution.
Okay, I'll try to answer as much of this as I can, but you'll have to forgive me if I miss something.
1) Characters, actions and politics
It used to be, back before the first released version, that enthralled could only take one action per day. I removed it because I personally found it very irritating to play. I had to constantly click "next turn" which was annoying, and if there were two enthralled you'd have to keep switching between the two. This meant that if you were doing a lot of political work you had to keep two plans in mind, and switch between them constantly, rather than just accumulate a bunch of power then do all your political actions in one go. I guess it's personal taste, but that was my experience.
Having ordinary characters do stuff would be interesting. I like the idea, especially about interfering with individual plans. My feature roadmap includes something at least somewhat like this, with "political subcomittees", which handle various things. They'd be tiny political battlegrounds, where you trade reputation, favours and liking and in return the society gets bonuses or disadvantages. It would let you sabotage societies from within a bit more easily, and have a bit more stuff to muck around with. Was planning on making it a game option, in case some people don't want to deal with it, or don't feel it's important for the gameplan they wanted to try out.
You're right. You make a good point about needing more traits, and I've added it to my roadmap. Bunch of different traits could be added, and would make the game much better, and definitely add some flavour to the characters.
As an aside, they actually have five values, actually, but two of them are hidden. There's "suspiciousness" which affects how quickly they gain suspicion, and "dark vulnerability" which affects how quickly the shadow spreads to them. They were introduced in v10, because I disliked how easily shadow would spread down an entire society if you because king. Now at least some will resist. I'll make those values visible to the player, probably.
3) UI work
There's a bunch of UI stuff which needs fixing. I'll add "make the voting a bit more transparent" to the list. My plan was to have alerts have a "Dismiss and don't show messages like this again for the duration of this game" button. So if one of your enthralled doesn't care about votes about Open Gates it'll never display those as alerts for that character, or if you're bored of "world evidence spotted" messages you can tell those to shut up. Should help message spam a bit, making important messages easier to spot.
Hope this clears things up, thanks for taking the time to comment. It's nice to know what needs a bit of fixing, so I can plan for that before starting the next phase of design work.
I think forcing you to share evidence with your entourage is a good idea, because it means you have to first find someone you like in your entourage then betray them. Its problem is just that it's a bit weak. It might be good if it removed all evidence, or even forced everyone world-wide to stop suspecting you and start suspecting them. Similar for the other action, blame peer. Renaming it to "blame ally" sounds good, though, it makes it more obvious what it does.
There are a couple of other populace actions, which are a tiny bit stronger. I like them, in that they have major cost and requirements associated with them, but they might be a bit weak. I've also noticed that spending power is often the best choice, rather than use those other actions. I'll need to look into balancing it.
Early in development is best for suggestions, since it's easier to adapt a plan than it is to adapt an already-implemented code base.
There are some good ideas here, and one of the next stages was adding a load of new buildings and rituals, so I'll throw all these ideas in the main "ideas.txt" file, so I can sort and group them together and see what can be implemented when the time comes.
These are good suggestions.
Version 10.1 is now downloadable. Has "dark empire" where you have to build the dark beacon, cast the ritual, then all enthralled can join their societies together. Dark one enthralled are now the default, their darkness doesn't increase naturally but they do spread it down to their entourage, so those become broken faster, to make them better able to manage their city.
I'll look into the whole "make your society gain military power through ritual rather than the normal way" in a bit, but I'll need to think about that.
Not a dumb question at all, just an inbalanced feature. I did notice that lords of the broken were a good choice, but hoped that the advantages of the others would at least somewhat compensate. The dark ones generate shadow passively, so save you a very small amount of power. Vampires are more likable and the cheap one is cheaper. I'll look into making the others a bit more competitive in the next version.
Okay. So. Many points to answer, I'll do my best. I'm assuming from you mentioning the mist you're on V10. It's unfinished but none of those issue are related to its unfinished-ness so they're all still valid.
Repeated clicking in politics: This is an issue, although it's possible it's an issue with me communicating the mechanics. It can often be faster to impassion a dude, making him a better spokesperson for his views, then use him to spread them, than to repeatedly have him spread them at low levels. That's why impassion is so cheap, at only 3 power, to make it realistic to use instead of just spread views repeatedly.
Enthralling in a single action: I'm not opposed to the idea of a system to replace "just spend power" but I can't think of anything which wouldn't just be an artificial tacked on bit, with no connection to the rest. Plus, you don't have much to do with your turns without an enthralled or two, so it would just be dead time.
Character creation/Pre-game planning: Definitely something I want. A variety of things are possible. My basic idea is you'd see the board to begin with, then get to pick which tools you want to deploy. It may be a kickstarter stretch goal, though, if I run out of time, since I'd want to do it properly and test it for balance a whole bunch.
Buildings: They're not perfect, but I'm okay with buildings as they stand. Having just a single building slot and upgrading would be pretty similar to how they are now, but would prevent you from mixing and matching. For instance you could decide to have a fog+fish person build, if you only want a couple of powers out of each. I think it'll make more sense with more buildings being introduced, but we'll have to see how it works out.
Military: You're explicitly not supposed to be able to command any unit. This is a design feature, not an oversight or a feature coming later. I simply don't have the time to design and build a tactical AI system able to respond to what the player could do with full unit control. The player would have an unbeatable advantage as a result. It's not that I don't want tactical combat, it's that I don't think I can implement tactical combat. Firaxis have been trying to get hex-tile turn-based combat working since Civ 5, and it's like eight years later and they still don't have it. I've no reason to believe I can do better, so I simply avoid the issue, despite the loss of gameplay that causes.
Hope this clears things up a bit. Thanks for the feedback, though, definitely useful to know what needs another look at.
From what I can tell, this is an issue with Unity itself. An input device (RI stands for "Raw Input"), such as a gamepad or joystick, isn't being processed by Unity properly. I'm afraid I don't know of any way to fix it, it seems to be a common problem to Unity which occasionally turns up. If you had something new plugged in that might be causing it. Alternatively, it might be present all the time, but only development mode throws an error. If so, just wait for the next version and I'll release it as non-development, and that might fix things.
I 100% recognise the game isn't the easiest to understand and that the documentation is old and/or missing. That's one of the major reasons this is marked as an unfinished release. I didn't want to do documentation before the suspicion/investigation thing was in because it would have rendered all previous "how-to-play" obsolete.
Now that the core mechanics of investigation are in I will be working on giving the players a proper introduction to the whole thing.
Hey, thanks for sharing it around. Certainly makes my marketing job easier.
Lore-wise my only issue, and it wasn't much of an issue, was that I wasn't thinking of "the darkness" as a living thinking being, but as an essential part of nature, far beyond even the Gods of the world. It's not set in stone or anything, and I'll change it if I think it's necessary.
As to your ideas those do sound like the sorts of things I was going for. I actually already had a card-based God I wanted to try, based on how the game was originally set up, way back in January in its first week. You don't have set powers, but are given cards at semi-random (you can choose what deck to draw from) and so have to adapt your strategy to fit the cards you have available. I didn't like it as it was, but it would work well if combined with the existing mechanics, I think.
Q1: I wanted to include that as a stretch goal, and since there's demand I will. The technical side should be easy enough, and the existing code has been written in a way to make that feature easy to implement in the future. Not entirely sure how I'll describe it lore-wise, but that's a minor concern at this point. I'll get some stuff added to the google doc in time for the kickstarter, and put it in the kickstarter's list of stretch goals.
Q2: Honestly I'm terrible at marketing. My main avenues for telling people about it are the Something Awful forums, the That Which Sleeps subreddit, itch.io itself, and hoping someone posts about it on the That Which Sleeps kickstarter (I didn't actually back because I didn't hear about it until only about a year ago).
Hmm. Lightbringer cities being beautiful pools of light and perfection DOES sound like a good idea, and would mean that climate change would wipe out normal cities and leave just your dark empire vs the kingdom of light, for the final battle. Current plan is for lightbringer-only buildings to exist, so lightbringers get to expand their power over time to counter yours. Maybe they could have giant glowing trees, embracing the natural power of light, which radiate out a region of improve climate? I'll put it in the plan for phase 2.
Thanks for the response, again, flattered that I'm considered reason enough for account creation. UI actions are sometimes problematic. I thought I'd found the cause, but apparently not. Unity's interface stuff is still new to me, so there'll be a few issues till I really get to grips with it.
I've got plans for a kickstarter. Didn't initially, but it's gotten a much better response than expected, and I've found myself with more free time than expected, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Short term plan is to release approximately weekly updates here, till it looks "Kickstarter ready" then try to raise money for art/music/polish the UI/final features.
I'll post updates on twitter https://twitter.com/bobby2hands if you want to be notified when I release something.
Thanks again for your time
Thanks. Honored you'd take time out to register just for a comment.
I'm definitely taking it further, maybe quite a bit much further, if things go well. We'll have to see.
Wars are indeed a bit of an issue right now. I was planning on putting a Paradox-style war score (I'm a Crusader kings man, rather than an EU4 man, personall), which would handle wars a bit better, with an auto-time-out feature if the war drags on for too long. Current wars only end when someone takes the other's capital, which was quick to code but needs to be replaced soon-ish.
Dark power does need to be reigned in a bit. I'm planning on making the forces of light (the lords which have realised that the darkness is coming) a bit more agressive. They'd actually try to stop you, so you'd have to spend power to stop them. This said, I like the idea of you being weak at the start and slowly grow more powerful, giving you a sense of your reign of darkness being an unstoppable force of nature towards the end.
As an aside, dark towers and all that might be replaced soonish. Code I'm working on right now allows for non-human populations, and human populations to be slowly replaced with non-humans (fishmen, souless husks, insect-infested wretches...), so you won't need to replace the city with a dark tower, just transform it into a city of non-humans.
Thanks for the feedback. Appreciate it.
1) You can now. Added into the version 2. Mouse wheel and/or "z" and "x" key. You're definitely right, though, it was sorely lacking.
2) I've currently got it as "left shift" in version 2, but that may change to a different key. One day, I may even implement user key-bindings, it's on the very long todo list.
3) Charts are also planned. I was planning a cities chart, I'll also add an armies chart based on your feedback.