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Commodore Shawn

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The functionality, or the display?

Display wise, I'm not that happy either. I tried to make the sprite look not-horrible when units move underneath it, but I'm not really happy with the results.

I suppose it really threw a wrench into your plans, huh?

Sorry about that, hopefully 2.0 will be worth it.

(Edited 1 time)

My tentative schedule:

  • By 10/14
    • Warband Fighting
    • Settlement Defenses
    • Music and Sound
  • By 10/21
    • Structure Upgrading
    • Worldgen Tweaks
    • Misc Tweaks and Fixes
  • By 10/28
    • Something important that I've probably forgotten

Edit: I must have been low on sleep when I wrote this, I dropped a week somewhere. Dates fixed.

Posted in My settlement

Hi, thanks for trying Bronze Age and sharing your settlements.

Trade and managing multiple settlements will definitely be a major part of Bronze Age in the future. I'm not certain how trade and diplomacy will interact yet, as the AI currently has no concept of diplomacy, but it's an interesting area to explore. Along with that comes a certain amount of fragility as well, if you trade a lot with neighbors you will start to become dependent on it. What happens when those trade links are disrupted? (spoiler: nothing good).

Some of the changes in 2.0 will support more geographically scattered resources, which will help encourage trade as well.

Wow, that's really generous of you. I appreciate the offer of help, but right now I just need time (so if you have a time machine, hit me up).

Also a good idea. I think offering both options would be ideal, that would give the player the ability to shape their society. Do they want a more Athenian democracy or a Egyptian style caste of scribes.

Granted Athens is a bit anachronistic, but I like the idea of allowing the player to mould their society.

If you're asking if the current version (1.4) will still be available after 2.0 releases, yes it will. It will be renamed to  Bronze Age Classic, or something like that and be listed as a second download.

I'm trying to keep the same feel from 1.42, you'll have to be the judge of that however. The emphasis is still on city building, if anything the growth is more organic than before. The new way population works requires it. You can only build structures if you have a free pop, and you can only get free pops from having enough food, and enough spare housing for your settlement to grow, so it's a balance of securing enough food and housing to support everything else.

The change from individual people to abstract "pops" means that you'll be placing a lot fewer houses. The trade settings are very similar to 1.4, but I'd like to revisit them in the future.

Thanks for playing!

It's what I have for now, so I guess you can call it official. It may get changed before release, it may not. In either case you'll be easily able to swap out the art with a mod.

Population tracking is a little more abstract in 2.0. Individual people aren't tracked, instead there are abstract "pops" that each represent several people (families, maybe). So there won't be children, per se, but I do like the idea of schools. I've noted it down for future thinking on.

Off the top of my head, I could see schools as a double edged sword. On the one hand the population is more educated, more productive, and can probably do more advanced things (better ships, more advanced architeture), but on the other hand they might get restless and demand more freedoms or luxuries. That would be an interesting choice to present to the player.

Thanks!

The font is easily changeable. Is that one hard to read? I think it fits the "ancient world" mood.

Bronze Age has been rather quiet lately. I've been busy working on 2.0 and there hasn't been a release in over a month.

I want to make the Masklings distinct, not just "generic savage humanoid you don't feel bad about exterminating". Worm farms is an easy way to visually show that.

I'm really anxious to get 2.0 out the door, it makes me a little nervous doing all of this work without any feedback.

Replied to Tom121 in Bug Reports

As in parts of the screen are cut off? Would you mind posting a screenshot?

(Edited 1 time)

The items in the UI are (by row): mudbrick, wheat, pigs, lumber, copper, limestone.

I added roads a few hours after I posted this, actually, and they each fill a hex. That's a necessity so that units can use them to move around. However, I would like to add some "life" back to settlements by having the inhabitants wander around. Those citizens would walk along smaller paths on the borders of hexes. Walls will probably fill hexes entirely, like roads.

Even with infinite resources there will still be a need for expansion. The economy has changed a bit to put more emphasis on the rate of resource production, rather than the raw amount. Bakeries for example, consume 1 wheat every 100 seconds, the stockpile of wheat isn't as important as the ability to produce it  at that rate. Warbands will follow a similar model.

I'm planning on making them the focus of the next devlog, but in essence each warband will be a constant drain on resources. A single copper patch will only support a limited number of warbands (probably only 1).

For the most part, it should. Some of the mechanics, especially around warbands and fighting will be different, but the core emphasis around obtaining resources is the same.

 The world gen looks unaturally random but I'll chalk this off to a work in progress.

If you're referring to the scattered mountains, that's due to me not knowing how to properly draw a "rocky outcrop" . The town is situated in highlands terrain, which has scattered rocks, ore, and trees. Worlds overall should look similar to the previous preview devlog.

Thanks for the suggestions, toggling the hex highlighting is a good idea, and I'm planning on some sort of production/consumption rate display.

Settlement production in 1.4 uses a buffer system, each structure tries to keep a buffer of input resources, and of output resources. Settlements will queue production as needed to keep those buffers. If that over 300 turns (if memory serves) of production has been queued, but it isn't enough, then an "insufficient resources" warning will be given.

So even if you have a lot of food in the settlement, there might not be a high enough rate of production to avoid that warning. Do you have a lot of barracks? They can be food hogs when a lot of soldiers are housed inside.

Hope I've been constructive.

You have been, and I appreciate the input.

I'm leaning more and more towards the single structure per hex system, combine with the regions planned for 1.5.

Roads preferably placed on the hex borders,

I think some more "cosmetic" roads will be on hex borders, but major roads are going to have to occupy whole hexes. That way units can march through hexes without appearing to clip through structures. I think that could lend itself to some interesting tactical combat in cities as well. In 1.4 formations didn't handle streets very well, but since units fill a single hex in 2.0 they should be able to fight their way though streets in a similar way to a total war game. That could lead to interesting tactical possibilities in designing cities to withstand attack.

Substitute people walking around with sprites in buildings idling or pacing back and forth to give the impression of activity?

Some structures  in 1.4 (like the Farm and the Brickworks) had a visual effect of a worker tending the fields, something like that could work well, I think, and be expanded to people wandering around the "cosmetic" streets around structures. As just visual effects they would have a very low computational cost.

No, the 1.5 update was abandoned in favor of 2.0. A similar world generator will appear in 2.0.

Weird, that's the first I've heard of a bug like that.

If you deconstruct the tradehouse the wagons came from (through "Inspect" mode) the wagons should disband, and you'll get the people and pigs back. Saving and loading may also clear out any confusion in the AI.

Another possibility is that the wagons can't reach wherever they're going. Is the Trade Depo blocked off from them?

Are they going back and forth between two settlements? Try adjusting your trade settings, if you lower the target resource amount they should stop.

There's a short list on the wiki: http://twinning-software.com/bronzewiki/index.php?title=Graphics_Mods

Per my first bullet point, cities can expand to multiple hexes. While a small settlement will occupy a sing hex, larger settlements could occupy several, with dozens of buildings. I'll hopefully have something more concrete to show next week.

It's not going full civilization. I left a lot of settlement simulation out of this update because I'm still working on it, and have nothing to show so far. But in essence:

  • Settlements will occupy one or more hexes. Each hex has 14 "subhexes"
  • The player can place a structure on each subhex, mostly the same structures that are in 1.4.
    • I'm uncertain how walls are going to work right now, I'm thinking they may be special, and placed along the 6 borders of the hex.
  • Structures will still produce and consume items, like they do in 1.4, but they won't need to be hauled from structure to structure.
    • This is the most important change, as it cuts out the overhead from having citizens moving around the city.
  • Trade between settlements will function as it does  in 1.4.

I agree that this is a substantial change to Bronze Age (hence calling it 2.0). But I think it's a necessary one.

In 2.0 structure's won't be rotatable at all, but structure facing will no longer have gameplay effect.

Impassible mountains were planed for 1.5, I'm not sure how it will work out in 2.0.

Settlements are named based on their surroundings. I probably won't add automatically changing names. Player renaming will likely be added at some point, though.

In 1.4 the world is endless, it generates as you explore it.

The major issue is how granular the simulation is. There's only so much optimizing that can be done with hundreds of people pathing around cities. If you look at Dwarf Fortress the same problem eventually kills fortress performance.

Multithreading is... problematic. The simulation already occurs on a separate thread from the UI, which is why the frame-rate stays high even when turns take upwards of 100 ms. It causes crashes from time to time, multithreading the simulation would only make things more difficult.

I'm toying with a plan to radically change the simulation, making Bronze Age more like Sim City meets Civilization than Dwarf Fortress. I'm still unsure on it. It would mean about a month or more of rework, most art assets redone, and possible alienation of players who like the more Dwarf Fortress style. On the other hand, losing the baggage of the granular simulation would streamline a lot of neat future features.

> I feel like research and technology fits under interesting world in that it provides depth to the world and a progression in terms of production.

By "Interesting World" I mean the terrain and inhabitants of the world, thinks like Maskling tribes that the player can interact with. Research doesn't really fit that role. Research in games is typically used to control the increase of complexity of the game and to provide a sense of progression. Consider Civilization, the early game has a lot fewer options than the late game. As research progresses it unlocks more tools for the player, spacing them out to prevent overloading.

> my biggest near term desire for this game is more economic depth

That should come with the Happiness and Morale, with the addition of luxury goods to keep large cities happy. Tin wouldn't be that hard to add, actually, most of the groundwork for it was added with Copper Ore.

> I think your current focus should be on breadth instead of depth

This talk on indie game development has an interesting point on features, think of them as an inverted pyramid. A narrow foundation supporting a broad top. Work from the bottom up with a tight set of core features supporting larger and larger features on top of it. It's a risk mitigation strategy, so even if a project ends prematurely there's still a workable core to it.

There is also this interesting examination of complexity and depth. I think a key part of Bronze Age's appeal is that it's kind of like Dwarf Fortress, but not nearly as complex. That lack of complexity allows the player to manage multiple settlements without getting overwhelmed, and I'd like to build upon that. My plans for morale build upon the core mechanics of placing buildings and managing resource creation, while also reinforcing the need for multiple settlements (to acquire luxuries).

 

There's also a deeper technical problem. Some of the really interesting possibilities of  game set in this era aren't well served by Bronze Age as it is now. I like the culture mechanics that Stellaris has, where the player can shape and evolve their empire throughout the game. I think something like that would fit really well with a game set at the dawn of civilization. Bronze Age as it is, however, is held back by the core simulation of the entire population as individuals. Some really neat possibilities could be opened up by changing the scale rather dramatically, but such a drastic change might seem more like a sequel than an evolution. I don't want to alienate all of the existing players, especially those who have donated to the project.

I'm not planning on making Bronze Age my life's work like Toady is with Dwarf Fortress. It's actually the longest I've stuck with a game so far, and I've made it through a couple burnouts. Focusing on the core gameplay is a guard against future burnouts, so that there will be a playable game no matter what.

My hope is that after the next few releases it will still be flexible enough to add new features, but won't feel incomplete without them.

Architecturally that would be difficult to do. Multiplayer is a difficult thing to add on to a project, especially when there is the ability to pause or fast forward time, as in Bronze Age.

I've toyed with the idea of adding irrigation, but I don't have any hard plans.

Looks a lot better than the stock graphics, nice work!

Thanks. Got a fix for it.

It doesn't appear in the list under Graphics Mods? As long as the xml file is there it should be recognized. Are the files inside a folder in the zip file? If so, try zipping the files directly instead.

Well the world is still procedurally generated, it just isn't infinitely generated any more. There will be several options for world size, this is the medium world which is 100 chunks on a side. The current options go all the way up to 400 chunks on a side (16 times larger than shown above).

Unfortunately I don't think an infinite world will work well with the new features being added in 1.5. So it's a tradeoff between an endless world or a finite world that's more interesting to play in.

Could you send me the world file so I can investigate further?

The crash happens when the image export is running?

Is Bronze Age "installed" in a directory that needs special permissions (such as Program Files)?

Those are some nice looking towns.