Here’s an excerpt from the designer’s notes: old world. A historic 4X game set in ancient antiquity, released on July 1, 2021; can be purchased here.
after completion Civilization 3, I spent a lot of time with the community to find out what they liked and didn’t like about the game, with patches and future sequels in mind. A common complaint in the modding community was the lack of “events” in the editor. Civilization 2, what I learned meant a system of linking triggers and effects that could give the game a narrative arc. I didn’t immediately see the potential of such a system until I tried community scenarios. I remember two things that stood out to me because my actions moved the story forward. ring expedition And the other was the story of Odysseus’ wanderings in the Mediterranean. Odyssey. Neither was particularly playable, but both were interesting because they only built a functional story with an event layer above the base game.
For a while, I wasn’t sure what to do with this discovery because I didn’t have a clear vision of how events could make them. Civilization the game is better Civilization 4 There were both triggers (calls from C++ to stub Python functions) and effects (stub functions can change game state). This system has many interesting Civilization 4 Modes and scenarios, as well as teams can create a series of events. beyond the sword, many of which have focused on natural disasters. Although these events are the first in the series, they also represent some evolutionary dead end as they are not carried over to the next. Civilization 5.
Nevertheless, I believed events could play an interesting role in 4X games, and in fact I found many other strategy games, including: galactic civilization series, Crusader Kings series, and Stellaris, was being used more and more often. But my biggest inspiration came from the most text-heavy genre, interactive fiction. The genre is Inkle(80 days, NS Magic series) and Failbetter (ruined london, sea without sun), and I quietly started wandering around the GDC Narrative Summit while interviewing the writer/designer of my podcast to see what I could learn. I also finally found a physical copy. King of Dragons Pass, the cult hits of the 90s have yet to be seen online. It’s probably similar to finding a disk in Velvet Underground. loaded before mp3. The game is a mix of traditional 4X strategy, clan management simulation, and a dynamic narrative built around random events based on hidden elements and unknown effects (but players slowly learn to predict). I did.
I’m starting to understand how important narrative is in video games and that it can get players into the game world much more effectively than simply increasing the numbers, a trick that’s probably starting to get old in 4X games. Obviously I wasn’t interested in writing a story with a fictional character and a beginning, middle, and end (who did you think I was? Writer?!?), and the opaque triggers and effects were also quite inconvenient. It locks the player in the dark, forcing them to play by feeling. transparency This is an important part of my design aesthetic and can sometimes be violated for effectiveness but I didn’t want to build an entire system around it.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the inspiration came from board games, especially arabian nights story, is a gorgeous adventure game based on the ancient folk tales of the Middle East. The game comes with a huge storybook with over 2,000 events (some Civilization 3, actually) are drawn randomly from a pile of cards and then cross-referenced with the character’s position, the player’s decisions, and dice rolls. While other players would read the events, create suspense, and hide the consequences of their selections, the exact mechanism the game selected for each event was transparent as needed, as the player took the task of finding each event directly. Readers will be able to anticipate the range of possibilities in turn by looking at how events are structured and what would have happened if the active character had certain characteristics.
The game has an interesting system of linking events through loose connections, based on skills, traits, or treasures that characters acquire as they progress through the game. A character can be Ensorcelled early in the game, and depending on the Ensorcelled state, later events change and finally have a chance to remove traits with additional events. None of these events will necessarily occur during a single playthrough, and potential narrative arcs often hang unresolved. Still, it feels magical when a randomly selected series of events come together to tell a real story. The appeal of this system was that it was powerful. There was no complex event tree that could fail if one node changed or went down. Also, loosely coupled events can be written by many groups of authors who can work in parallel without tight coordination. One writer can add an event that makes the leader get drunk, the other writer can add an event that requires the reader to get drunk (then force the player to choose a specific option) and these two writers They have now made up a small story without discussing anything. In fact, they worked apart for years and probably didn’t even know each other. I’m very excited about the potential of community event packs to coexist (with each other) with over 3,000 events, allowing them to create new narrative possibilities.
So I had a basic blueprint for the event system. Each potential trigger (eg meeting a new country), a set of requirements (a childless leader), and a possible effect (a foreign spouse). When the trigger fires, the game finds all events on the deck that are valid for the current game state, then randomly picks one based on the weight, probability, and priority values of each event. The backbone of the event system is the subject, which is a randomly selected set of game objects for each potential event. The subject can be anything from a character to a city to a family, even law or technology. Each subject can have multiple tests to find the perfect one. The adult child of a leader who is not an heir, but a bloodthirsty strategist, is a good example of a very specific subject that can mean bad for the current heir. The system can also test relationships between subjects such as two countries at war with each other, the religion of a spouse or a person who takes revenge on another. Event options can affect any topic and can also be unlocked based on the leader’s current rank or trait.
The system has many other folds. For example, themes could be linked together for multi-level events such as duels, but this basic architecture allowed the writing team, led by Leyla Johnson, to create a variety of events. To radically change the flow of the game. Dynamic random events interfere with the steady flow of 4X games, which can often affect decisions about which buckets should be filled at which rate. Perhaps the event can provide a sudden burst of command that allows the player to move enough units to defend a city that is about to fall. Or sending one of your children to explore the world may lead to the establishment of a new world religion. Or a serious combat injury means Alexander must give up the field and become a learned man instead. common theme of old worldIts design avoids predictable and boring games where the same action leads to the same outcome, and the event system is an important tool to ensure that no two games are ever the same.