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.
<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.
Another idea that really plays on Amethyst’s ECS: Have a game that revolves around adding and removing components from something
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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
I have more detailed suggestion about tanks game.
Game development will be break into stages, and from the first step we will have a playable simple demo.
Simple map. Everyone against everyone. On that step we can tests basic mechanisms of the game: shooting, physics, network code and so on.
Create world editor and add new maps with classics Game Modes, such as Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Control Point and so on.
Ability to overlay multiple games on one map: Two teams play Capture the Flag on the map and on the same time, another two teams play Control Point there. (It’s not about competition. It’s about getting fun)
Creating large seamless map. Create AI to make this map alive: Trade caravans, settlements, like game world of
A.I.M.2 Clan Wars.
Combine all this together on single map. Big world with life simulation, random regions for teams events, no game lobby. You get on the map and you can play right away.
Add MCV tank for ability to create base and so on.
It’s great that you have a vision, but… some points:
- This isn’t going to be an AAA game. You’re describing a 3D MMO Ex Mechina Shooter with a living world. That’s a massive set of features, way too large for what we can aim for.
- The only bit there that makes use of the strengths of Amethyst/ECS is the AI that you seem to have added as an afterthought. This isn’t just to make a fun game.
- The development process is something that will be decided on by the team, and after we have a design to plan around. Now isn’t the time.
- I recommend you read the original Showcase Team proposal as well as the OP
I agree. Apologies for not being clear; I was referring to mechanics rather than an MMO genre as a whole. I believe the best multiplayer would be either 1v1 or Team vs. team, as MMOs not only require a large playerbase, but a lot of development even after the game is released.
Because we have so many voices and time zones, I think it’s going to be a little difficult to design by committee. Therefore, I’d like to propose an idea and document why I think it would be a suitable choice.
I propose a game that takes elements from both RTS and MOBA style games.
For the sake of not generic-izing every concept, I’ll pretend that this is space-themed, although the game ideas should be applicable to other themes. Note that this doesn’t plan to heavily use simulations/advanced physics. I also envision top-down 3D graphics similar to Stellaris or MOBA games like LoL.
Core game loop
Each game is either 1v1AI, 1v1, or Team vs. Team. Each team spawns in areas across the map, similar to any other RTS.
Teams start with a home base. If this base is destroyed, the enemy team wins, and vice-versa. In order to defend this home base, players must build defenses like drones, AI helper ships, wards, or something similar. These bases - like player ships - can be upgraded with different items.
In order to build new stations or defenses, players must balance their economy. They can earn points by killing enemies, or by AI ships docking at trading stations and purchasing resources that the team has put for sale.
Unlike most RTS games, each ship is individually controlled, and the player does not have full view of the entire map (think DOTA or LoL without the ability to pan around a minimap). The player’s ship can be upgraded with better engines, weapons, shields, or other systems. Bases can also generate AI controlled minions, which assist human players when attacking or defending. Player movement is thrust based - i.e. players control rotation, thrust, and brakes and cannot just change position instantly.
Player weapons do the most damage, and are unassisted (in other words, attacks depend on skill. Players need to aim and get their shots lined up - not like in games like Runescape where each skirmish is sort of turn-based and reliant on stats).
Why I think this is a good candidate
I’ve been thinking about this concept for a bit, and of course it’s a rough draft. Anything and everything is open to discussion, and this is just an idea I’m throwing out there. I’d like to reason why I think this game plays into Amethyst’s strengths:
@moonheart08 had a very cool idea about a game that revolved around adding and removing components. This is integrated in the player’s ship and inventory. Different engines or weapons can be equipped or removed in order to have advantage. Perhaps even unique items could appear that affect players in unique ways.
Because of the large amount of entities and AI controlled ships in the game, it would largely benefit from using Amethyst’s parallelism.
Creating new items can be as simple as making an icon and then declaratively describing its effects
A 1v1 or team vs team game allows us to experiment with multiplayer
A game like this could be hosted by a single player, and as such would not require any official dedicated servers or maintenance
This is up in the air, but top-down 3D is a good starting point. 3D would help showcase the graphic ability of Amethyst.
The core game loop as described is decently simple. We could work at that goal, and add on as many or as few features as we think are beneficial/attainable with the time given.
This is just a concept, and some modifications could be put in place. For instance, what if it was asymmetrical? Each game could consist of 2 rounds. One team defends, and the other attacks. The defending team has home advantage, while attackers have better weapons (think R6S).
Please let me know your thoughts or concerns!
Demo Game: Evolution Island [MVP]
A couple things seem to be very up in the air still here (1v1 and team-vs-team for example are wildly different games) but I love the general idea.
Also very good idea to lay out the “Amethyst strengths” the way you did. I think all game proposals should incorporate something similar.
This actually sounds incredibly similar to Ashes of the Singularity, with the differences mainly laying with the player/unit relationship vs maintaining an army. In Ashes, you given general orders to one or more units, but their overall behaviour is AI driven, and late game there are thousands of units.
I would suggest we enable the player to give minions general directions, like “patrol this area”, but otherwise, this sounds great! We just need to give everyone else a day or two to respond with any potential criticism or counters, but I think this works!
Since there is a growing consensus on rolling with your idea @doomy, I hope you won’t mind if I go into a deeper review from a design perspective. Here goes.
2D or 3D movement
If we can agree on constraining game movement largely to a single plane, instead of full 3D movement, that’ll save us a lot of heavy design pondering.
As in, along the lines of StarCraft 2, League of Legends etc, rather than, say, Fractured Space:
Movement like that would be pretty hard to re-theme to something like a Medieval Fantasy genre.
agreed. Though keep in mind that as one of many possible stretch goals we could still incorporate pretty interesting physics features that don’t impact gameplay at all. StarCraft 2 incorporates ragdoll physics for more varied unit death animations:
1v1 or Many-vs-Many
I don’t have a strong preference as of yet, however a slight preference for 1v1 because it’s just more constrained. A 1-year game made by volunteers requires a lot of thoughtful constraints to make it. Regardless of my personal preference, I would love to see us agree early on one or the other.
Many RTS games support different game modes and different team sizes. However, there’s practically always a dominant mode & team size that ~95% of the playerbase defaults to. That’s by design, because the game is heavily optimised around a single mode of play for which the designers can guarantee the greatest degree of balance and fun-factor. Multiple team sizes could be supported, but we should decide on a fixed player count that we’ll be optimising for.
Also makes play-testing easier by an order of magnitude.
I like this constraint!
How much control you do you imagine the player having over these AI-controlled units? None at all, like in most MOBA games? I assume we would definitely not want micro-control all the way down to the Star Craft 2 level (APM was never my strong suit!). But some really high level decisions done just occasionally could be fun.
If we were to go with a Many-to-Many game, how would you divide up the player control over these base upgrades? Some possibilities include:
- Every player has their own dedicated set of base buildings they alone control
- One captain player decide all base upgrades
- It’s a free-for-all (but maybe you’d have to spend your own gold to upgrade, so players don’t step on each other’s toes quite as easily).
Nifty. Reminds me of the Wc3 mod Battleships! Though in that game ability-use is pretty much 100% assisted.
Again, I sincerely hope we’re talking about aiming on a top-down single-plane surface rather than open 3D space.
Yes! That’s exactly what I was thinking. Full 3D movement on top of managing all that stuff would be quite difficult, not to mention harder to develop for. I’m taking that idea completely from how Star Sonata works but I didn’t reference it much since it’s not really a well known game. You can skip around in this video that I found randomly to see what I mean but yeah it’s generally just 2D plane with 3D graphics.
I’ll go through the rest of what you posted:
Physics: that’s awesome! I love the idea of working in that stuff as polish. I can imagine maybe ships blowing up and gibs flying everywhere, or even a mini black-hole that can capture debris.
Player Count: you bring up some great points. I think 1v1 is easier to balance, but I also like team games because I love co-op stuff. Realistically 1v1 is a more attainable goal afaik, but team vs team brings up a whole new world of possibilities (and IMO would probably make it a more fun game to play).
How much control you do you imagine the player having over these AI-controlled units?
None to little control. I think drones should be non-upgradable (exept maybe they can level if players get stronger as they level up like MOBA games to keep them useful). However I love the base systems of Star Sonata where once you dock, you can equip different items. Other than that, both are autonomous and I don’t think we should micro-control.
If we were to go with a Many-to-Many game, how would you divide up the player control over these base upgrades?
I like the free-for-all route because it allows for more creativity, while still allowing standard patterns to emerge. For instance, on a 3v3 battle, it’d make sense to have a DPS, Tank, and Support class. The DPS could spend their gold on weapons, the tank on shields, and the support on shield transference. However, if the players wanted to experiment and all go DPS or all go a balanced route, I think that should be something they can do.
Those micro interactions and player choice is what I think makes team games like counter-strike, R6S, and LoL so long-lasting. There’s always new strategies to try out.
I like the idea of a team lead too, or commander (maybe similar to Battlefield’s commanders). That’s something we’d need to flesh out more though - I just have the loose concept.
Also story wise, I was getting really inspired by some Kurzgesagt videos on black hole energy machines/bombs. Though story is less of a priority rn, I just think it’s a neat idea.
I also have one concern gfx wise - what should we be showing? A big, empty space sounds boring, but I don’t know what else a space war game could contain. Nebulas? Asteroids? Some games have planets, but I never really liked the not-to-scale look of a huge ship and a tiny planet.
I love the idea of doing something about that black hole video. I really loved it, and I love the channel in general.
I also could not emphasize more on how much nicer team vs team would be, not only regarding the feeling of teaming up with somebody, but also on a marketing stand point: when you go to a friend to play a game, they might prefer to play with you than against you. And the more people can bring friends over, the more popular the game will grow.
If possible I’d like that we confirmed we’re using doomy’s concept going forward! I’m excited to make little art things for it
We can consider it confirmed. Next step would be deciding a theme, followed by breaking up the concept into parts for more technical planning.
That said, this should take a breather. The Org Members have our new priorities, and we finished this phase much faster than expected. Q1 was going to be “half of tech demos, finalized game premise, and rough feature outline”. Even with our temporary new priorities, we’re set to have our Q1 objectives done.
Today or tomorrow, I’ll be creating a theme-oriented thread, so we can hammer out details such as “what is the setting?”, “what map elements will players need to worry about?”, “who is our target audience”, etc. These aspects are the other end of the design spectrum, and with what we have from this thread, will create the window from which we put the pieces together.
While we have a relatively solid idea of gameplay here, it has holes and will need compromise, in order to ensure everything can be sewn together. Once we have the thematic elements as solid, we’ll be able to break up the game into actionable portions, and start the actual development.
Another note, re multiplayer. It doesn’t need to be P2P. We have the resources to host a game server, for development and release.
We can also probably have the resources to host public post-release game servers, especially if this initiative ends up being profitable.
I would rather this specific game not be worried about turning a profit. It’s a complicating factor and this is the team’s first game.