Elemental: Advisors

By on April 13, 2010 4:19:26 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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Galactic Civilizations II had advisors for the players. The players could query the advisors and it would give advice on what it thought they should do.

Unfortunately, I wrote the advisors in Galactic Civilizations II and my bias was always pretty anti-human so when I say players, I mean the computer players.  Humans did not have access to the advisors. It was always considered an unfortunate necessity that the computer players had to tolerate having humans in their game since humans were the ones who spending money to play it.

In Elemental, the advisors will be back and this time human players will be able to access them for help and advice.  The idea is that, especially early game and for new players, the advisors will offer a means to walk the player through the game.  I very much want to avoid putting in some sort of “tutorial” but rather have a system where players can learn the game by AI driven advisors.

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April 14, 2010 2:03:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Also consider looking at the way Settlers 7 indicates problems in the production chain.  Icons directly over the buildings which are affected.  Popups on icon to indicate more detail. In a resource intensive game, having these precise "you're having an issue RIGHT HERE" warnings can be helpful.

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April 14, 2010 2:12:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Along with a tutorial and in-game encyclopedia, I think it would bring an added dynamic if NPCs and friendly AIs might comment on your efforts.  It would make the world seem more alive and interesting and for new players, the tips would link to the encyclopedia.

An NPC walking past your struggling city could say suggest a way it might be improved:

Jerk NPC: "Ha!  What a dump!  This place will never amount to anything without a [Farm]."

Friendly NPC: "A [Farm] is just what this city needs!  If I were the settling down type, I'd build one myself on that [Wheat]."

Or a friendly AI might send you a gift with a tip:

"You're going to get yourself killed unless you build up an army right away.  Build a [Barracks] and start training some [Soldiers]. Here's 50 gildars to get you started!"

While your allies can help you, your enemies might also taunt you

"Look at that army of peasants!  Your people are too ignorant to [Research] new military ideas and [Design] a respectable army.  That is why you will soon be crushed beneath my boot."

Essentially, give the NPCs on the map the role of ad-hoc advisors, and give them a personality to boot.

as far as UI goes, I imagine that little popups with the NPC's face and the quote.  you can click on the face to center the screen on the NPC (or city).

 

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April 14, 2010 2:36:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

For some reason I just thought of the charactors in The Princess Bride as advisors.

Prince Humperdinck (Dynasty advisor)

Vizini (Diplomacy advisor)

Count Rugen (Building advisor)

Inigo (military advisor)

Miracle Max (Magic advisor)-

 

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April 14, 2010 2:47:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting sweatyboatman,
Along with a tutorial and in-game encyclopedia, I think it would bring an added dynamic if NPCs and friendly AIs might comment on your efforts.  It would make the world seem more alive and interesting and for new players, the tips would link to the encyclopedia.

An NPC walking past your struggling city could say suggest a way it might be improved:

Jerk NPC: "Ha!  What a dump!  This place will never amount to anything without a [Farm]."

Friendly NPC: "A [Farm] is just what this city needs!  If I were the settling down type, I'd build one myself on that [Wheat]."

Or a friendly AI might send you a gift with a tip:

"You're going to get yourself killed unless you build up an army right away.  Build a [Barracks] and start training some [Soldiers]. Here's 50 gildars to get you started!"

While your allies can help you, your enemies might also taunt you

"Look at that army of peasants!  Your people are too ignorant to [Research] new military ideas and [Design] a respectable army.  That is why you will soon be crushed beneath my boot."

Essentially, give the NPCs on the map the role of ad-hoc advisors, and give them a personality to boot.

as far as UI goes, I imagine that little popups with the NPC's face and the quote.  you can click on the face to center the screen on the NPC (or city).

 

Neat Idea.  I like this.

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April 14, 2010 3:11:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I like the idea of having an advisor/tutorial feature that is capable of being turned off.

A tutorial map might also be useful. Helping one learn research, building, training, making an army, exploring, etc..  But it would leave things/conclude, at a point giving much to be discovered as you enjoy delving into the thick of the game.  essentially covering the basics

 

 

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April 14, 2010 5:17:52 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I'd be interested in knowing more on what an optional event tree would look like in-game.  I'm having a hard time understanding what this means other than pop-up notifications.

One other idea I'll throw out- the "advisors" wouldn't have to be people.  It can just be a section of the UI or text-based.  There's no need to having to create animated representations for the military advisor, economics advisor, magic, etc.  It might help, but not needed.

Another idea here- when you go into a UI section, let's say the Units area where you view, manage, and create military units, you could put the advice/recommendations in there.  It still wouldn't hurt to have a separate "Advisors" section, but putting the advice closer to the action might really help to make it more usable.

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April 14, 2010 5:22:48 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

While we're on the advice front, I felt like Galactic Civilizations 2 did a decent job of doing analysis (you're the 3rd most powerful military in the galaxy), but what it didn't do was anything beyond that.  What do I need to do to achive first place?  Build more units?  Build stronger units?  Research some newer technology?  The same can be said of economics, research, etc.  While you could argue this would be like taking away the challenge of the game, this is a strategy game.  Even if you know what you might need to do to be #1, it doesn't mean you can realistically accomplish it, or that being #1 in money would cause you to win.  It's up to the player to analyze the choices and formulate a strategy that allows you to be successful.

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April 14, 2010 5:26:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy I beg you to please include a tutorial.  Not because I'll use it.  We are in beta.  However, we need a tutorial because game reviews are a bit lazy.  I swear sites like Gamespot have a checklist. 

Pretty Graphics - Check. 

Multiplayer - Check. 

Tutorial - What no tutorial.  Give it a 75% and move on.

/rant on/ I hate that a great game like Demigod was damaged because of a bad review.  An indepth review would have set the port forwarding and discussed what was needed to reveal the beauty within.  Sure *ding* the review a little for the setup requirements but don't dismiss it becuase you have some technical issues from behind Gamespot's multitude of firewalls, routers, and hubs.  /rant off/

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April 14, 2010 7:57:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Ragnar1,



Quoting sweatyboatman,
reply 52
Along with a tutorial and in-game encyclopedia, I think it would bring an added dynamic if NPCs and friendly AIs might comment on your efforts.  It would make the world seem more alive and interesting and for new players, the tips would link to the encyclopedia.

An NPC walking past your struggling city could say suggest a way it might be improved:

Jerk NPC: "Ha!  What a dump!  This place will never amount to anything without a [Farm]."

Friendly NPC: "A [Farm] is just what this city needs!  If I were the settling down type, I'd build one myself on that [Wheat]."

Or a friendly AI might send you a gift with a tip:

"You're going to get yourself killed unless you build up an army right away.  Build a [Barracks] and start training some [Soldiers]. Here's 50 gildars to get you started!"

While your allies can help you, your enemies might also taunt you

"Look at that army of peasants!  Your people are too ignorant to [Research] new military ideas and [Design] a respectable army.  That is why you will soon be crushed beneath my boot."

Essentially, give the NPCs on the map the role of ad-hoc advisors, and give them a personality to boot.

as far as UI goes, I imagine that little popups with the NPC's face and the quote.  you can click on the face to center the screen on the NPC (or city).
 
Neat Idea.  I like this.

I have to concur. It just works on so many levels...

 

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April 15, 2010 12:25:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Merge the advisors with the champions shown in the Dynasty Family tree.  They can be the SOv's sister, father, ancestor, his god etc.  New advice will be shown at the event log at right top corner of the game.  Its display can be disabled as an option.


Their advice can be selfish (for their own good, mostly) Whether you, as the Sov, agree to take these action will affect these advisor's morale/mood/loyalty etc.  They can be angry if you don't take their advice.  Instead of advice, they sometimes dispense requests.  


Their advice can be objective (their honest opinion that will help the Sov, or objective in a way to help new players learning the game).  Maybe, a GameMaster advisor can give out the tutorial like how to build a farm etc.


This will give more purpose to your heir and family members.  I still hope that these members will be actual Champanion roaming the map (mostly, or sometimes for their own interest).  Merging both will make the game more 'human', more RPGish.  Maybe they will wander around the map, discover something new, asking the Sov to take some action that affect the game, give goodies etc.

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April 15, 2010 6:09:38 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Re: Tutorial. A few things.

1) There can be a tutorial AND advisors. One doesn't exclude the other, they haven't the same goal and won't be used at the same time:

- advisors are in-game features (whetever they will be. Cool ideas on this thread   )

- tutorial is a stand alone scenario. Usually, in many games, you find it in the main menu and so should it in Elemental: just place a button "Tutorial" between "New game" and "Load game" and that's it! There's really no 'turning-off' a tutorial.

2) No need to search very far for inspiration: just took the same map we're testing in Beta 1Z1, block the options, explain features with pop-ups and order the player to DO predetermined actions.

- explain features: no strategy here, a quick explaining of 2,3 sentences for each general concept and, THE MOST IMPORTANT, an explaining of what is each icon, each menu and what it means, all that with exemples to do (homework if you like)

- to DO predetermined actions: a video won't do, a tutorial must take the player by the hand ans say "Now, left-click on the Sovereign to select it, then right-click on that goodie 2 tiles north to move it to it!". How to move, how to found a city, make it grow, how to design units, how to regroup them, how to play tactical battles, how to recruit heroes and how to do diplomacy. The very basic stuff, nothing fancy, only which menu to open, which icon to click on.

 

Now I know some would find it simple, even simplistic. It's not.

First, when some say that "for someone accustomed to 4x games, it's pretty intuitive ", I'd say: maybe. But there are things that won't play like other 4x games (global resources i.e., or why minerals grow up each turn and food doesn't). It's not fun to have to click on everything to determine how it works or to read a 100-page manual. And that school of thought totally forgets THE NEW 4X PLAYERS! Yeah, there are people who won't have played games for decades like we did or who didn't play the beta from the beginning and read those forums everyday. We don't want those buying their first 4X game to be disgusted right away by complexity; their friends will already have told them it's complicated, don't add to it the lack of a decent tutorial that even FPS have. If you need one, it's here!

Second, I'd say it's more a philosophy thing. Nowadays, people think they're smart. But there's nothing like the real thing. It's called "Learning by doing" and it's how it's done at work; you don't cut corners by reading a manual. What's better at work: having someone tell you "It's easy, just do this and that" or having someone quickly showing you how to do it and watching you do it? A game is no different. In the Army where I taught, we used to say "You hear and you forget. You see and you understand. You do and you learn". That's why a tutorial is better than  a video: no need to stop it to try then come back... You've done it once yourself, and now you know!

I remember the day I bought Europa Universalis 1. First thing, I played the tutorial. It took me like 1h30, with the manual to browse to better understand. After that, I was ready and launch my first campaign with England: much fun! Mind you, I still  play EU2, today I'm in campaign with Sweden (I know, I should beta-test 1Z1 instead ). But my point is, for those who know EU, would you imagine being given the 100-page manual and be told "Now play!". Now way! At contrario, there was no tutorial for Dominions II and I pulled my hair with the demo, trying to understand how everything worked, why wouldn't those units fit into that slot, WTH!, WTF! and so on...

In short, in the sentence "Easy to play, hard to master", the "easy to play" is determined by the tutorial. It teaches you how to play easily and quickly; it's no replacing the manual but only showing the basic mechanisms. Mastering....well, that'll be left to everyone and a lot of ass kicked by the computer.

 

That was "The Case for a Tutorial" if it still needed one.

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April 15, 2010 7:02:26 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I am definetly with Mandelik on this one.  I am not sure what Frogboy meant by "having it [the tutorial as] part of the event tree" but if it means just the pop ups than it is most definetly not enough.

This game will need a compelling turn by turn tutorial for new players. I would suggest when the tutorial is ready to invite a couple of totally new players who are interested in the game but never played 4x games before and let them play the tutorial, then a sandbox game and let them ask questions afterwards. If they will not ask [too many] questions which should be covered by the tutorial and felt that they were good prepared for the sandbox play by the tutorial, then this version of the tutorial, whatever it looks like is ready for release.

Also i would be glad about the advisors as long as they are part of the world (eldest circle, familiars) but regard them less important than a good tutorial.

And i will  aggravate my earlier post in agreement with Vandenburg that linked modable elementalopedia is a must.

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April 15, 2010 9:02:05 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Best advisor ever seen (by me)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNoVNr4yrI4

pls check 45+ sec

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April 15, 2010 9:18:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Generally I really like a good tutorial.

Only thing, don't make it so that we have to do it, just for those that want to. And if you make one with the basics of moving camera and units, left click to select, right click to interact and such, make that a seperate tutorial. It's probably nice to have if you haven't played a 4x before, but it's almost painful to go through if you have.

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April 15, 2010 9:20:13 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

NICE

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April 15, 2010 10:09:48 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I did like the Tutorial videos from GalCiv2. Though I wish you added more as time went on (for expansions, changes to gameplay, or just adding more in too just cause you can.)

 

Tool tips that showed controls and you could turn it on or off.  But also when you changed key sensitive controls its would show the new key not the normal control. Say I had a stop function for units "s" and now its "k" it would show "k" for the in game tool tips.

 

Tutorials never hurt no body. Now I probably won't use it too but lots of people will. Its a basic defeat the enemy on a easy difficulty and on a small map. The main objective is to win. But there are a ton of secondary objectives given to you on how to build things and do certain things (you have all of them from the start.) You don't have to do the secondary objects but if you want to learn they are there.

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April 15, 2010 11:07:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Options options, they are key

I'd make a tutorial under a separate button like a poster above said, 'load game', 'new game', 'tutorial', or make it the first level or two of a new campaign with the option to start the campaign post-tutorial.  So long as the tutorial is optional....

Same with advisers; they're great when you're in the mood for them or need them, but otherwise they can get annoying, so hiding them behind their own tab ala civ 2 would be good because then you can ignore them if you wish. 

I'd also vote for sweatyboatman's idea, of having roaming npc's of different dispositions giving their versions of advice...

Making advisers actual units in-game could be cool, maybe a different kind of hero unit, shitty at fighting & magic but intelligent and able to help you manage your empire.  They could be assigned to cities, be killed, etc....  Maybe you could gain advisers from marriages (kids, in-laws), hire them from friendly factions, quests, etc....  I liked the idea of assigning city governors that could maybe offer advice or feedback on just that city, or maybe offer bonuses to the city, like the governors of... was it Master of Orion (2)?

So many options.... would be nice to include 'em all     One prob I see with having them as units is that if you don't use advisers at all then having them as units in-game would amount to wasted units, unless they offered some other benefits, but then they could be overpowered or something, but of course their antics would add life to the game, and so maybe that would be enough.

 

 

 

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April 15, 2010 11:14:22 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

On a side note... does anybody else find supplying the ai with ai advisers a bit.... odd?

I mean, couldn't you just stick the coding the advisers use into the ai players, then they would already know whatever it is the advisers would tell them?

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April 15, 2010 11:59:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting sweatyboatman,
Along with a tutorial and in-game encyclopedia, I think it would bring an added dynamic if NPCs and friendly AIs might comment on your efforts.  It would make the world seem more alive and interesting and for new players, the tips would link to the encyclopedia.

An NPC walking past your struggling city could say suggest a way it might be improved:

Jerk NPC: "Ha!  What a dump!  This place will never amount to anything without a [Farm]."

Friendly NPC: "A [Farm] is just what this city needs!  If I were the settling down type, I'd build one myself on that [Wheat]."

Or a friendly AI might send you a gift with a tip:

"You're going to get yourself killed unless you build up an army right away.  Build a [Barracks] and start training some [Soldiers]. Here's 50 gildars to get you started!"

While your allies can help you, your enemies might also taunt you

"Look at that army of peasants!  Your people are too ignorant to [Research] new military ideas and [Design] a respectable army.  That is why you will soon be crushed beneath my boot."

Essentially, give the NPCs on the map the role of ad-hoc advisors, and give them a personality to boot.

as far as UI goes, I imagine that little popups with the NPC's face and the quote.  you can click on the face to center the screen on the NPC (or city).

 

 

This is a great idea.   This would help immersion a lot and give you a reason to interact with the other players.   Plus, I know that I would "love to hate" the guy who keeps telling me what I should do and taunting me about it.  

"Oh, my peasants are too weak are they?"  

"Well, eat this magma that just came from the volcano I raised in your backyardl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

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April 15, 2010 12:31:13 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Which makes me think of the Normal-> Veteran -> Expert -> Elite

could instead be Peasant/Commoner -> Regular -> Specialized -> Elite

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April 15, 2010 3:28:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Krynus,
On a side note... does anybody else find supplying the ai with ai advisers a bit.... odd?

I mean, couldn't you just stick the coding the advisers use into the ai players, then they would already know whatever it is the advisers would tell them?

It's not odd, It's Object-Oriented.

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