Showcase Product pre-planning

(Khionu Sybiern) #1

In order to plan for our game, we need to start with getting our base idea decided on. We can split this into type and theme. Once we discuss this, vote if we need to, we can start splitting up the design work. We’ll decide Type first, then Theme.

This first game doesn’t need to be the one we maintain forever. As long as there is always at least one game we’re keeping on the latest Amethyst versions, we can say “this game is done, let’s make a different one”. With that, I would like this game to be considered a “test run” of us as a team. Let’s get used to working together, and not fret if the game falls short of what we would like it to be.


An RTS is the ideal fit for Amethyst, but that’s very vague. Resource management? Civilization sim? These are the concepts we came up with in the Discord channel:

  • Civilization RTS
    • Amethyst Mine
    • Total War Clone
    • Dwarf Fortress/Rimworld Clone
  • SuperHot Clone
  • Some strategy game where there are lots of units to manipulate/order

While it doesn’t need to be an RTS, there should be some reasoning for whatever type that is picked as a good Amethyst/ECS candidate.


Amethyst, as a gem, needs to be involved in some way. Other than that, it’s open ended.

A personal suggestion is the theme includes an “Order of the Purple Knights”. Another suggestion is that we include units that look like this but made out of amethyst.

Time table

As noted in the original proposal, I expect this to take a year to be in a playable beta state. Of course a game can easily take longer, but if we can try to keep our scope to something that can be done in this time frame, that would be best.

(Erlend Sogge Heggen) #2

In order to keep ourselves honest along the way, I strongly recommend any showcase project to set some very clear goals for the first 1-2 months of development.

I’ve done several of these types of momentum-dependent community projects and it’s fiendishly easy to get tunnel vision for 6+ months and suddenly find you’ve made no meaningful progress.

I am by no means saying that’s bound to happen here, it’s just important to build in regular reality-checks to avoid sunk cost traps.

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(Khionu Sybiern) #3

I would point you to the Q1 section of the Showcase Team Proposal:

It’s intended that we should have the entire year loosely planned by the end of this quarter. Development from the Showcase Team in this quarter is intended to be more in the ways of the demos, which will be less of a design investment.

(doomy) #4

I think an RTS is ideal; not only does it fit in with Amethyst’s strengths, but I believe it’s more set up for shorter development times.

Take my generalizations with a grain of salt as I’ve never professionally had a game dev gig. However, with an RTS we don’t need to model the detail that would otherwise be expected by something like an FPS. Also, we get to spend more time polishing instead of making a bunch of maps, like we might in a platformer.

I’m sure there are some other good suggestions that aren’t an RTS and I’d love to hear them, though. We need to focus on something that won’t spread our small group out too far.

(Khionu Sybiern) #5

If you’re talking about actual 3D models, that’s not necessarily true. While RTSs typically have a particular style, they can vary a great deal. The models in Stellaris, for example, are very detailed for their size. Or if you look at the latest Divinity game (which, yes, is a TBS, but it’s a similar camera perspective), the models are good enough for any first person game. And even if we went for more simple models, that wouldn’t mean an FPS isn’t an option. “Low quality” graphics can still make for popular and fun games.

Again, depends on the RTS. If we did something Total War like, we would need to give large consideration to the map or map gen.

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(doomy) #6

That’s all fair. I didn’t mean to say there is no exception to the rule. And by less detailed, I don’t mean bad - just that the top down style works with the aesthetic easier.

mean an FPS isn’t an option. “Low quality” graphics can still make for popular and fun games.

If you mean low poly/low detailed but still thought out, I totally agree. If you mean “low quality” as in “subpar”, I disagree, as graphics should be just as important as gameplay, especially when it comes to a showcase game heavily attached to a game engine (wew that’s a lot of "game"s)

(Khionu Sybiern) #7

I did mean low poly. I’m still acclimating to terminology.

I would like to get some more solid ideas and opinions on existing ideas. This is when we should be narrowing it down to a specific base idea.

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(Théo Degioanni) #8

Ideally the showcase product should be a game that is somewhat technologically impressive for its genre. This might show in the form of more complex/detailed/well-crafted graphics, more advanced behavioral logic, or more computations.

So if you start by choosing a genre where the bar on those things is usually lower, you might have a better chance to shine.

(Khionu Sybiern) #9

Not sure where we could find a “low” bar. Plenty of “medium” bars.

(doomy) #10

Sorry, I inadvertently derailed the conversation here!

Getting back on topic - I haven’t played them, but C&C has tiberium crystals. It could be cool to use amethyst as an item in a similar manner.

Maybe thinking up cool ways to integrate Amethyst gems could help us get inspired.

Forgive me if this was already documented, but will we at some point be able to get in on a call as a group and brainstorm?

(Khionu Sybiern) #11

Not at all! This was as important a detail to note as any.

There’s no plans to do things in voice. I do need to review what timezones we’re spread across. I would like to do at least one voice call a quarter, but that’s not something I’m making a requirement for us. If we want to do non-mandatory calls then bring the results of them to the appropriate forum threads, we can do those as much as we want. It’s just that decisions can’t be finalized in that context.

Yeah, that’s sorta what I was thinking, but more for building than consuming as energy. Though maybe we could have a race of what amounts to Purple Gorons :smiley:

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(Moonheart08) #12

Another good game to consider looking at for using as a demo design would be Space Station 13. Not only is it a complex simulation that would undoubtedly benefit from the ECS design, but the so-called “bar” is already set quite low, due to the (Horrid) engine that the game is built on (BYOND), and the game’s poor codebase structure in general.

A proper take on the concept would be an insanely good demo piece in my opinion. However, one thing that would have to be avoided at all costs is using SS13’s codebase directly for reference. The code in there isn’t good code, it’s code designed specifically to work with the limitations of the engine.

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I have an idеa of the game with tanks. On the first step it’s just tanks fighting on the arena with each other. But In future it possible to make some kind of crossbreeding of Hard Truck Apocalypse / A.I.M.2 Clan Wars and Total Annihilation + massive multiplayer and huge map.

(Abovegame) #14

We could do some kind of space ships shooter. A 3d one. I can imagine it being multiplayer only though i don’t really have ideas for a campaign. This in term means showing off the networking side of amethyst. We could also add a bit RPG elements to the game to make it a bit more non linear. Basically you start off with a primary ship and you build upon it ( upgrade it ) either with new technology or with some kind of stats. It would feature lobbies and such as far as multiplayer goes of course.

This is i guess similar to what @Driver mentioned for A.I.M.2 Clan Wars.

Nevertheless i would be more for an rts type of game. Or something similar to Diablo, where you have a top down camera rts-like and a main protagonist, though this would be an offline one, but it would have it’s campaigns and storyline.


How about a more sophisticated Anno 1602/1404 Clone with terrain manipulation and other sideeffects like “when the church is on top of a hill, the range grows”, or “when a side of the house is near a mountain’s wall, the taxes are lower, because the view is not so nice”. It’s a very simple base game – basically just a grid, some pathfinding, units, ability to build houses and that’s it, but you can put many things on top of it as mentioned above. I think it benefits from ECS as well, because all those effects are standalone systems.

(doomy) #16

<3 space shooters

I used to play an mmo a long time ago called Star Sonata that had some great base building and economic ideas.

I really like games that allow for strategy (like rts) while still keeping some movement skills/direct character control. Also just space themes in general.

(Moonheart08) #17

Another idea that really plays on Amethyst’s ECS: Have a game that revolves around adding and removing components from something

(James Kerr) #18

A Grand RTS like Ashes or Supreme Commander should naturally show off the strengths of the engine quite well since they tend to have inordinate amounts of units and particles.

(Khionu Sybiern) #19

Space Sims

If we really want to, we can, but I would discourage it for a couple reasons:

  • Space physics get complicated fast. Building them on top of our WIP physics module will cost us a lot of time and effort.
  • The bar is already pretty high.

Space Shooter

This potentially has the same problems as a Space Sim, plus, as a shooter, we need to outline specifically how we’ll make it play to Amethyst’s strengths. Possible, but extra planning work.

Space Station 13

As I mentioned in the Discord, being beholden to a third-party community for the details of our feature is not ideal (and another strike against my original idea…).


It definitely is a must, but it doesn’t need to be a feature we have on release. Being data-driven, multiplayer will be an easier feature to append than it could be with other engines.

Hard Truck Apocalypse / A.I.M.2 Clan Wars and Total Annihilation

I’m seeing the same problems as with a Space Shooter, as an MMO shooter. These kinds of AIs are cheap, so unless we’re working with a literal army of independent tank AIs, it won’t need to scale that high at all. Alternatively, we could make the tanks incredibly component-sensitive, a la Star Citizen’s objectives for ship components and vulnerabilities, but that’s way too large of a project for this.


I’ll add it to the consideration, though those factors seem to be more on-demand calculations. Good use for data-driven development, though! We would just need to embellish it with more passive on-going systems.

Star Sonata

Looks like Stellaris as an MMO. Thing is, MMOs like this depend on having a larger number of users. Unless we embellish that NPCs, it will likely never get off the ground.

Ashes of the Singularity

This… looks good. I like it. The core difficulties are all in scaling.


We’ve got a lot of nice games we can pull ideas from, but… we still need to make our own. At the base of all of these, we have a few core things we can make, we should start with bringing it down to one thing.

  • True simulation. Create an environment with some rules and let people go wild.
    • Pros: easy to make, open ended possibilities, reusable entertainment
    • Cons: harder to make aesthetically pleasing
  • Ex Machina RPG. Your vehicle is what you play as and upgrade.
    • Pros: low bar in modern releases, room for proving AI scalability, multiplayer friendly concept
    • Cons: save for AIs, few cases for parallelism
  • Full (or larger) scale war sim.
    • Pros: massive amounts of parallel operations, rendering, backend, and networking
    • Cons: high bar

I think a war sim would be ideal, maybe moderated with some resourcing, maybe with world persistence and growth, like a civ sim. So, I guess, Age of Empires, but war-focused?

(Khionu Sybiern) #20

I excluded shooter from my list of choices because, as I stated in the OP, we need solid reasoning for why they would play to the strengths of Amethyst/ECS

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