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Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

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GreatBird
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Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by GreatBird » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:08 pm

This thread is for open ended discussion about our stretch goal which we have yet to reveal - EXPANDED SIMULATION.

Based on just the name, what do you hope/expect it will be? Share your thoughts, opinions and ideas below!
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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by Historian » Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:37 pm

The biggest qualm, I think, with Game One was one thing: certain triggers made certain events happen. There was no getting around it - it forced you, as the Bishop, to encounter certain events within the simulation.

We're talking three major ones: The VT scenario to trigger Kiril's arrival, talking to Wade in order to trigger Pawn 7, speaking to the Queen/resolving the Virus situation, and Sleeping/VT/Pawn 64 to resolve the 'traitor' cycle. Without doing those, the game goes on indefinitely without end. Makes the game very replayable (exploring other paths is easy), but ultimately makes it unchanging. You can never preempt Pawn 7's murder - despite a major facet of the game being the groundhog-esque understanding of the events aboard Zenlil.

I'd like to think that with expanded simulation, the game is based less around Bishop Six triggering events, and more about Bishop Six actively shaping events. If you don't act fast enough, London Police squads start to storm the building. If you go rogue, Bishop Ten starts resolving the situation without your interference. Characters live or die based on shifting agitations and scenario randomness.

Within this, you inject us - the Bishop. I'll use Consortium 1 as an example. You awaken. Maybe it's Knight 15 with your CMC. Maybe it's Rook 25 with your BUS fitting. Maybe it's the Traitor in his/her BUS, threatening you before you can prove anything or fight back. Maybe it's Pawn 64, trying to talk about something vital before you get your CMC fitted.

From there, it's off to the races. Kiril might attack quickly. He might attack very late, after the Traitor is handled. He may not attack at all - either be talked down, shot down, or called off by his employer. What am I trying to get at? Events don't need to be in sequence, they just need to flow.

Now is that hard to make? Yes. TES games don't even have this level of simulation - characters follow static schedules and don't really shape the world - but this isn't a TES game. If we're creating the City Block, we need to start with the premise that Bishop Six isn't the only one who lives there. Otherwise, we're just Will Smith in I Am Legend, talking to Mannequins on the same schedule daily.

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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by GreatBird » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:11 pm

Brilliant post, Historian. You assume a lot, though. ;-)

I quite agree, removing the player triggered events is an interesting idea. Another example in those you listed is having to chat with the Queen to trigger either the Wade incident (if it hasn't been triggered yet) and/or Pawn 64 begging to talk with you alone. *Completely* eliminating this sort of thing from the level design is not easy, but it's a very interesting prospect and one we're always looking to implement where possible.

The counter here, of course, is that those triggers allow PLAYERS to control the pacing, which I kind of like...but yes, it can cause storytelling problems if there are live events supposedly happening around the player while the player is spending 10 hours reading articles! ;-)
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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by FordGT90Concept » Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:16 pm

Full VR support? I'm hoping not (would rather have more content) but, you know...

Maybe it is multiplayer VT scenarios?

How about being able to go outside of The Tower on ground floor a ways to deal with the police, the press, and, of course, the fans like Pawn 12. =D Of course need to some window shopping while you're out there...

@Historian is talking about chaos and chaos in TES games usually results in one of two things: failed quest or broken quest. Frankly, I hate how TES games deal with chaos and I think Consortium is miles ahead of it in that regard. Then again, the scope of TES games is massive compared to a single aircraft. The only way TES could better deal with chaos is a better quest engine that accounts for all of the conceivable variables. Then again, that's unreasonable too because the nature of chaos is chaotic in itself. I'm not saying I'm opposed to more chaos but I fear the repercussions of it.
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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by MosquitoSenorito » Wed Apr 13, 2016 11:20 pm

Is it something for VR trainer?

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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by Thriesteve » Mon Apr 18, 2016 6:41 am

Historian wrote:I'd like to think that with expanded simulation, the game is based less around Bishop Six triggering events, and more about Bishop Six actively shaping events. If you don't act fast enough, London Police squads start to storm the building. If you go rogue, Bishop Ten starts resolving the situation without your interference. Characters live or die based on shifting agitations and scenario randomness.

Within this, you inject us - the Bishop. I'll use Consortium 1 as an example. You awaken. Maybe it's Knight 15 with your CMC. Maybe it's Rook 25 with your BUS fitting. Maybe it's the Traitor in his/her BUS, threatening you before you can prove anything or fight back. Maybe it's Pawn 64, trying to talk about something vital before you get your CMC fitted.
I think from a purely gameplay point of view this sort of absolute freedom/chaos is wonderful (especially when looking at multiple playthroughs) - but from a narrative / storytelling point of view it's much more difficult when wanting to ensure all players at least experience the base story and have an understanding of wtf is going on the first time through. We already had this trouble with the first game, with multiple reviews from folks who finished the game not having a clue what was going on (likely because they didn't talk much). The vast majority of players also play the game only once (this is why you don't see a lot of games out there that focus on replayability, and the ones you DO see are largely "faked" to feel like changes/choices are going on when they're really not so much) and we want to "hook" those players the first time. Too much randomization and you can completely lose any sort of narrative and instead end up with a smattering of unconnected events.

What if Angelov attacks right when you first wake up? Well then you won't feel any sort of attachment to the crew - what crew? - and therefore instinctively won't give a shit if he blows you all up. So whatever tension we'd like to build for that moment is removed, leaving one player with a lesser experience than another. You'd also be meeting your core crew at the same time as dealing with Angelov and so the dialogue would be very different than if you'd met them earlier in the game. Not to mention we'd want characters to reference past events in the story, especially specifically referencing how you handled those events, and this would mean that if "randomly generated" events form the core experience it would require an astronomical amount of extra varying dialogue... aaaall so that the replay value is increased, and if that replay value is only enjoyed by 10% of players then it's a HUGE amount of "wasted" content.

I think a balance between the two is where we want to be. A natural flow is had, with a few key moments everyone must experience (though those moments can be thematically different based on previous events), but at the same time you never feel like you're on rails. The Tower will allow a little more freedom in this regard - meaning less of those pesky required events/scenes - due to the larger space and extra factions involved. I believe that thanks to the experience of making Consortium, we're pretty confident we can pull off something nobody has seen before when it comes to these elements most games tend to avoid.

Anywho, little bit of a ramble here and this is absolutely more Greg's field than mine (I'm no game designer!), but that's my two cents for what it's worth. The full on chaos route is absolutely doable, and I'd love to be involved in such a project as that would be one hell of a fun writing challenge... I just think it would be better off in a Sims-like game where there is no particular story wanting to be told.
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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by GreatBird » Mon Apr 18, 2016 12:59 pm

++ What Thriesteve said!

The key takeaway for what we definitely want to achieve with The Tower is: while there may be certain key scenes that everyone will have to experience, the theme and specific story content of many of those key scenes may differ quite a bit due to past player decisions and events.

The Tower will be *at least* as replayable as the first Consortium is, and at least double the overall single playthrough time. As Steve says, it's really important for us that more players have a fulfilling and meaningful experience on the FIRST playthrough, as compared to the first Consortium.
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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by Historian » Mon Apr 18, 2016 1:46 pm

So what're you looking to simulate, exactly? Insofar as Consortium 1 isn't really a simulation - it's more of an experience with some events you can miss, or not miss.

What exactly can you 'expand' from that? I agree that it'd be insane work to make essentially multiple experiences - but I'm not really fathoming what you could call 'simulation' outside of creating an experience divorced (or perhaps, malleable beyond) from your own player's agency? Unless you're looking for more of a Skyrim-Fallout esque simulation, which is really just a series of AI schedules with different spawning sites to create the illusion of a breathing world.

Unless you're looking for more game-y simulation of character opinions and health? Hostiles get arm damage and can't wield weapons - squads drag away their wounded - but that's really just inconsequential IMO, or roundabouts into the question of story and consequence - how much is too much? Can certain character opinions trigger entirely different plotlines, or just sidemissions? And is that really a stretchgoal type of thing - or is that part of the base game?

Basically, I don't know what you plan to include in terms of sim, so I can't tell you what we'd want on top of that.

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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by GreatBird » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:03 pm

Mighty fine points, Historian. By "simulation", we basically mean anything that makes the world and everything in it more believable and alive. We'll go as far as we can in this aspect with the base funding but the larger our budget, the deeper we'll be able to go.

It all comes down to additional features and content to boost immersion....we've been planning a custom V.R mode for awhile, but we wouldn't make it a stretch goal until the core game had everything we could possibly want.
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Re: Expanded Simulation stretch goal...

Post by FordGT90Concept » Tue Apr 19, 2016 6:16 pm

Having fewer of the "interaction not supported" notifications would be nice (meaning you can use it). Even if it is something silly. Example: chess board. If you tried to interact with it, because programming the entire chess game would be too time consuming/costly, just make Bishop 6 interacting with it cause it to fall on the floor with pieces flying everywhere (maybe a subtle hint that Henry did it). Whomever you were playing with would be like WTF? And you can be all "I totally meant to do that," "I'm soooooo sorry," sarcastic "Great game!", or *speechless*.

Another example would be bringing Zenlil's personality to life. If you're interacting with aircraft elements that you have no idea what you're doing, Zenlil could react playfully (puts it back and jokes "you like pushing my buttons, don't you?"), then annoyed ("ha, ha, no."), then hostile (*ZAP* with an option to complain to Rook 9 that "his girl" attacked *me* with Rook 9 retorting that *you* started it).

These things have no role in the plot other than +/- alignment. They are just immersion things giving the illusion of more chaos.

Because of the C.M.C. there's basically unlimited options for contextual dialogs. The only difficulties would stem from being kicked from one faction to the next would require separate dialogs in a lot of cases. Then again, you could change interactions based on your current faction alignment.


There's a mall in The Tower, yeah? Another immersion thing would be having a market where you can buy and maybe sell some things with a virtual kiosk. If you're with the Consortium faction, they could be disabled giving unique dialog/iDGi-1 text. If you're not with the Consortium faction, it would be neat to rely on them to sell weapons and looted from downed hostiles to buy weapon mods, ammo, and grenades. It shouldn't be like The Elder Scrolls where the game encourages you to haul a truck-load of loot around. Selling a few guns should be able to get you what you want so you don't feel obligated to sell everything you find.

Further, playing a non-Consortium faction, you could return repeatedly to the mall section to upgrade equipment. It would be interesting if each time you return, the situation evolves to some extent so you have something new to see each time. I don't know what your general plans are for the mall so I can't give any detailed ideas. Basically make it a living environment (e.g. civilians that barricaded themselves in) and each time you return, they get attacked, further fortify their position, their numbers increases/decreases, side mission givers, etc.

It would be really neat to join the civilian faction and this place become your base of operations. At some point, the civilians would obviously name you (or at bare minimum, accompany the primary individual) to negotiate with the police faction.


You could even take the concept of factions and turn it into DLC where each faction for sure adds another play through and the DLC/faction itself, can bounce off of other factions with interactions (for example, two factions vying for the same part of the tower). This would head into dangerous chaotic territory though where each faction added would require an exponential amount of work in order to get them to fully interact with the existing factions.
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