Requested Game Mode Option: "Delayed Cities"

By on March 12, 2010 1:28:50 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums


Join Date 02/2010

I think it would be very interesting to have a game mode option where the spell to create a new city requires not just Essence, but mana was well. This very simple change would have a huge impact on the first twenty (or so) turns of the game, because the mana can start at zero.

It means your Soverign will have an intial "Exploration" phase where he's wandering the wastes, scouting out a good location for his city while his mana bar slowly fills to the point where he can cast the renewal spell. It'll mean he/she does some early fighting, exploration, gets a feel for his or her surroundings before settling in. And not just your Sovereign, but also those of the AI/other players, so this exploration phase is *part* of the game, rather than merely being bad tactics where you fall twenty turns behind for doing a bit of exploration.

I think this would really help develop the game's feel and mood. Your Sovereign would be all alone in the wastes, wandering a ruined world, and the first thing the players would experience is the empty, hostile nature of the world. Thematically, I think this fits better than "Game Start, Loaded, City Built, Produce House and Military and Research" tripple whammy on the first turn. Doing it that way, my Sovereign feels like he was just plunked down in the middle of a green patch, and I would miss out on the feeling of accomplishment of actually restoring part of the world to life.

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March 12, 2010 1:40:45 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The point can be made that players should be doing initial exploration anyway rather than building where they get set down. In Civilization, I would agree.

Unfortunately this game currently doesn't work like that. Your Sovereign is basically set down in the already ideal location for a city, because if the starting location is left to chance, your city will not grow. Food resources are single tiles, and settling for "second best" means settling for "nothing." Exploration consists of moving a few squares to the right, a few to the left, then hunkering down when the tiles are revealed. The idea here is to stretch out that initial phase not by choice but by necessity, where all players must first generate the mana needed to finish the life-granting spell.

(The random map generation will also probably have to be not so random as well in regards to not just shard distribution but also shard type to ensure players have some accesss to spells, or they basically can't cast anything since there's only a 1/5 chance they'll get "their" life/death shard, which is itself problematic, but this already has a thread in the ideas forum)

I realize this is a bit of a habit on forums, but please don't make detailed arguments for why "you" personally wouldn't play this way and why it should not be included in the game because you wouldn't play with it. It's meant to be an optional mode, like in Fall From Heaven2 where you click (or unclick) the "Living World" or "Blessings of Amatheon." The beauty of this mode it is a one-line change that has a dramatic effect on the start game, so low impact on development time, as well. No one is forcing anyone to use it.

Things that would make this thread nice: suggestions for improvement and general feedback. : )

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March 12, 2010 2:36:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well I would never play that way, because...



Just kidding  It's a solid idea; well done.

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March 12, 2010 3:34:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

"Your Sovereign is basically set down in the already ideal location for a city"

We are super early Beta but that statement is not entirely correct. I have, on many occasions, found my SOV standing in the middle of nowhere and had to spend a minimum 5-10 turns to find a spot where a resource (Food) or Shard, is located to begin the City building process. Besides, a few extra Gold peices (from Goodie Huts) to assist with that early city finances is never a bad idea.

If you do take some time to search about, you can even find patches of Fertile ground and save your Essence but that definitely will consume the opening turns.

Your idea is doable, certainly. There is a sad tale of Map sizes being lessened so we will have to wait and see what transpires on that front. Otherwise, your idea may make SOV vs SOV battles a starting gambit that may not be avoidable when given 12-24 players (AI)  all on the map togethor.


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March 12, 2010 4:02:20 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting TCores,
It's meant to be an optional mode,

It gets tiresome to read that so often. Quite a bit of a habit on this forum. Not that I'm against optional modes or that this is a personal attack (because it's not).

With the current mechanics, the idea offer the problem of "random" combat and die before you have the chance to create your first city. Without city, game over. Not that it cannot happen now, but only if you decide not to build a city right away at the start (as long as you control a city and don't die in enemy land type, you are safe).

You have to explore anyways. Maybe not for the first city but it's not like you don't have to uncover as much map as possible to know if there are other interesting places for new cities, resources to grab with the ones you have, discover potential enemies/allies... The mood surely understand that the game starts just when the Sovereign discovered a patch of land useful for colonization.

And as John_Hughes said, sometimes (not so many for me as him, it seems) I cannot get my first city just where I start because it doesn't have the proper conditions for a city that pretends to reach high tier and/or lack resources.

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March 12, 2010 4:15:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Its a good idea. Fits in with the whole "Armageddon World" thing. Except if we can immediately plonk a city down then the world is not all that bad...


Something to think about.

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March 12, 2010 4:44:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hello Wintersong,

I get that people might be frustrated with "it's an optional mode" being used to justify things that are silly or take up huge development time. "Idea: optional vampire-dragon-angel mode" still has the problem of requiring time to make, and time is money. Thankfully, this is perhaps the smallest, quickest change I've ever suggested. : )


I think the concept of a bit of waste wandering might work well in the single player campaign, to give players a feel for the world. Maybe as the first campaign, or perhaps in the middle part of the campaign where the Sovereign has to cross a wide, empty wasteland alone, gathering allies and stragglers and important items along the way. Hmm, that gives me an idea for a Mod... "Elemental: Survivor"

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March 15, 2010 12:09:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I wonder if we'll have a way to create units "on the move" for the player in a mod, i.e, "production without cities."

A lot of games don't have this abillity so I've never really been able to make the "wandering barbarian" mod I've always wanted to do. (I also wanted to mod the Vasari to be a race that never lands on planets, just extracts their resources from a temporary orbital structure. Fitting for a race supposedly on the run.)

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