Democracy, Castles, Sigils, Bugfixing

Before starting anything this week, I came to REALIZE that I should proof-read my blog entries a little better for close-homonyms, especially when there’s an error in the very first sentence of last week’s entry (since corrected). Sigh. Anyway: this week I’ve been continuing my plan of trying to finish Everything Else in the lead-up to finishing NPC scheduling and the like, so there have been four major developments. Firstly, a significant change to how delegates are represented in democratic nations, which is far more interesting and far more distinctive; secondly more progress on generating castles, which I will probably unveil in a fortnight, though conceivably in just a week, depending on how things play out; thirdly I’ve redone the sigils for lesser houses, and they look vastly better; and lastly a range of other general bug fixes, optimizations and general improvements which continue to clear out my list of unresolved problems, hopefully resulting in a stable game in which I can then return to working on NPCs. My goal remains to have Everything Except Conversations done by the end of December – it’s a big target, but I think it can just about be reached. Read on!

Democracy

I decided to return to what I mentioned last week about giving delegates special homes and make this a little bit more detailed and a bit more interesting. I’m always looking for things that make each civilization distinctive, and doing this for democratic nations in a little more detail was something that quite appealed. Therefore, in each possible delegate location, there is a different kind of housing. The diagram below shows this – the top row are for “district” delegates, and the bottom row for “other” kinds of delegates (who might of course be resident within a district, but the game counts them differently). Middle-class districts use standard middle-class district houses (but gives them flags outside) just as upper-class districts use standard upper-class houses (again, with flags outside to denote that they are special), whilst aside from those every other area does something slightly special to denote the housing assigned to democratic delegates (all have flags outside). Here’s the full set:

All delegates

These are, I think, pretty identifiable, and are another way to mark out differences between nations. It will also make it clear where delegates live, which might have use a little further down the line. The most challenging of these was for the “Bank” delegates who might live within the mint, and the “Religion” delegates who live within religious buildings, since those required me to return to buildings whose generation algorithms I thought I had entirely finished with, and add something new. With that said, though, I’m really happy with how all of these turned out, and they continue to add a little more depth to the more democratic of nations, and variation within democratic nations (since each nation distributes its delegates differently – one nation might have religious delegates and bank ones, another might have monastery and farm delegates, and so forth).

Castles

This week I’ve done a fair bit of preparatory work on castles. As I mentioned, I’ve been away this weekend, and will be away next weekend, but I’ve still had (and will have next week) a couple hours at the end of each day spare to get some coding done. As such I’ve tried to give myself something that doesn’t require sitting down and doing a huge amount of technical effort (since I like to focus on that kind of thing for long periods) but rather something creative which is primarily down to creating variations and having them generate correctly. As such, prior to this weekend I set up the system for the exterior generation of castles – they now generate according to national aesthetics, and of a size appropriate to the number of rooms they need to contain, and with various other things outside based on policies (severed heads on pikes, extra defences, homes for delegates, etc). This weekend and next weekend I started to work on their interior generation, which is complex and time-consuming but will look extremely exciting once concluded. I don’t think by next week’s blog entry I’ll have enough to properly show off a castle, but the week after that I suspect will be the big “castle generation” entry I’ve been working on for a while (I’m extremely pleased with how castles are coming together). In the mean time, here’s another little castle teaser:

NewS

Sigils

Given that I wasn’t happy with them before – and everyone who commented seemed, generally, to agree – I’ve changed the “lesser house” sigils for nations that have them to something that looks way better than the previous set. There are now 15 unique ones for each shape aesthetic that are far superior to the previous set. Here are some examples:

Newminors

Fixes, Improvements, Minor Changes

  • Vases now only spawn for religions, not upper-class families; I didn’t want to allow the colour clashing between a nation’s colours and those of the vases (which have their own large set of nice-looking presets). Since I want more and more to be tethered to national flag colour-schemes in the future (armour, books, etc), I thought this potential slight ambiguity should be taken out. (Admittedly incense stands and vases both don’t match with religious colour sets, but that’s because they look terrible if I try to force that upon them, so we just have to accept that and move on, and besides, they are more “decorative” than an integral part of the religion – like altars, vestments, etc)
  • Fixed a few minor problems with certain river generation possibilities in middle-class city districts.
  • Fixed a problem where the orientation of Officers’ Quarters did not transfer correctly from their exterior to their interior
  • Stopped servants/slaves getting stuck in gates…
  • Ensured that all the new aesthetic-based road layouts still keep all relevant NPCs pathfinding correctly
  • Other stuff I failed to note down whilst writing this entry!

Next?

This week I want to continue castle generation, continue working through the list of small things and required fixes, and move closer to having everything except conversations and spawned-NPC scheduling done; then do spawned-NPC scheduling; then move onto conversations. I’ve decided I am definitely going to go for a big release, so I’ll be moving onto the conversation system as soon as January swings around. The majority of people voted in this direction, but I hope this is ok with everyone. I don’t want to release a world full of NPCs you can’t engage with, and although I don’t want people to drift away with the length of the release (hopefully constant blogging prevents this!) I do now quite strongly think it’s the right idea and will be a very impressive, and very comprehensive, release. As above, my target is to finish everything except conversations by the end of the calendar year, for which I have a month left. Yikes. See you next week!

(Next week’s update will also be a late Sunday/early morning, but after that, we’ll be back to the normal Saturday/Sunday updates)

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14 thoughts on “Democracy, Castles, Sigils, Bugfixing

  1. I just hope all these social inventions will have a purpose outside of visits and NPC dialogues (such as local lords and kings changing policies which may actually have the impact on the gameplay’ political or economic aspects). Keep up the good work!

    P.S. You are right about the blogging, waiting is so much better with regular updates.

    • The primary purpose is actually variation, which is obviously integral to any good roguelike; but yes, also in turn then different dialogues, different plots, and so forth. I’m still pondering to what extent politics should actually be able to change as the game goes on, since that raises questions about spawning and unspawning buildings and the like. We’ll see…

      • Hm, I instinctively thought about spawning and unspawning buildings as well when I read the comment. But, I think it might be a really cool thing to implement. Most of the time roguelike worlds (and other game worlds) are generated as a one-off thing. A dynamic world that has some form of national politics and influence as well as construction and de-construction of buildings is a fascinating thought. It would probably make the world feel much more living. Imagine walking past a newly half built church in an old hunter-gatherer civilization (because of the new religions ifluence on the worlds’ civilizations). This would make the world feel less structured and perfect and more nuanced and chaotic like the world we live in.

        Although, I realize this is probably a nightmare to program at first glance, but who knows – maybe there is an easy way to implement an easy feature along these lines. Maybe a quite expansive system for tension between nations?

        I think making the world seem as chaotic as possible is in a sense the most realistic approach – and it goes close along the lines of the mystery/figure-out-what’s-going-on objective of the game.

        Great work man as usual, so hyped for the next release 🙂

        • I agree it would be cool – I guess it would have to a model like AoE where you have no building, then a building “in construction”, and then a finished building. Not perfect, but more complexity might be madness (but then it’s not like I tend to shy away from more complexity, so I guess we’ll see). I do totally get what you mean about half-built buildings and the like, and complexity and chaos… hmm, I’m tempted, but yeah, a total nightmare to program. Suggest this again to me in two years! 🙂

  2. You should pick contrasting colors though, in the sigils. Just roll the first one, and when you roll the second one, check if it’s contrasting enough, if not re-roll.

    • A previously system actually did this, and I quickly disliked the results. I’ll admit a small number of the above sigils are slightly jarring in their colour choices, but honestly, I think only the third on the second row and first on the third row (both being orange/green) fall into that trap. The others I really like! Maybe I should just specifically disable green and orange being combined in one shield…

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