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Default Yet another upcoming 4X (no micromanagement, audiences, court politics)

May 4th, 2015, 18:42
Heh, browsing through the forum I see a lot of 4X, well I will add mine too (mine is better of course )

I'm looking for feedback, etc.



Platform: PC (planned release late 2015)
Theme & Genre: Space empire builder, 4X, Grand strategy
Mechanics: turn based, singleplayer

Unique twist: among other things, you being the emperor (cour politics, balance of power between factions, assassination attempts) is probably the one that will interest you the most (it has a slight RPGish feel I suppose)

EDIT: EarlyAccess http://www.silverlemurgames.com/stellarmonarch/
EDIT: The game was released in 2016.


First some screens (prototype, some gfx is temporary programmer's art):






Core design goals:


1) Feel like the Emperor, not like a logistics officer

I find it annoying that, while I have played so many strategies,
I never felt like a real Emperor, sure there are cool decisions to make and everything but…
Where are audiences? As an Emperor I surely should grant audiences!
Where are the assassination attempts (does everyone love me?),
where are the true rebels that want to overthrow me
(not just people who rebel because they are unhappy and starving, I mean real rebels,
usurpers to the throne and other scum I should crush).
Why can't I appoint governors and admirals (and I don't mean
"having mere 4 heroes that can be governors/admirals", I mean selecting
governors for *each* planet and commanders for *each* military formation).
Instead I'm presented with choices like "what building to construct on planet X"…

My first goal is to "fix" these.


2) Fast paced, no micomanagement yet an epic scale

I know many people would disagree, I guess it is a personal feeling, but I HATE micomanagement
And no, I don't find "automated AI governors" a viable solution.
Also I don't want to limit the game to a dozen of planets.

So, I'm making a game where you are the Emperor of hundreds of planets
(during testing I always start with 50 planets to get the feel of the bigger empire)
and yet the game does not drag on. I made some controversial choices to achieve this,
like you can't build any infrastructure on planets directly (with minor exceptions)
also you can't move around individual ships (you operate with formations: fleets and squadrons).


3) Asymmetic gameplay, truly alien aliens and challenging non cheating AI

I don't intend the AI and aliens to simulate the human player. Aliens are aliens.
They have different goals, they do not "play the game" nor try to "prevent the player from winning".
They just live in the galaxy and do their stuff (which frequently is an obstacle to the player, but not always).
They also play by different rules (like some alien races having no ships at all and just use big rocks
launched from their worlds as a transporter carrying insanely strong warriors that take the enemy planet
from the ground - if these are not shot down upon approach).
And so on, so on (think of these aliens more like of
"forces of nature that prevents you to establish the galactic Empire".
Note: you don't need to wipe out the whole galaxy to win the game.

There are also some special scenarios, for example one
where you start with 200-300 planets and try to crush the rebellion.
Last edited by Chris Kozmik; March 7th, 2020 at 14:05. Reason: Outdated link
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May 4th, 2015, 20:03
While it sounds like an interesting twist, I think it will be very hard to make it also play very intersting.
Maybe it might work if it goes further into the RPG direction, telling a story. "Managing" decisions, which then play out in some way or the other.
Similar to "princess maker" or "King of Dragon pass", which I haven't played both though.
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May 6th, 2015, 14:24
Note that primarily it will be a 4X, so everything else is just an addition (important one, but still just an addition).
Save The Queen, Princess Maker, etc would be going too far (plus these have low replayability which is unacceptable for a strategy game).


Overall, for audiences I was thinking for some simple predefined storyline (or maybe 2-3 storylines and/or with random branches so there is some difference between plays) and the rest being mechanics based (visits of governors that can be fired if you desire, people bringing up various projects (and you choosing which project to implement), assassination attempt events, laws proposals).


If you have ideas for the storyline/events, post.
I was thinking of these:
- [main] there is a plot to overthrow you (nothings new, that's the daily routine for every emepror ), they created a your clone/android that looks like you and want to install it as a puppet emperor, they plot and gather forces and finally will make a rebellion (there is a rebellion mechanic in the game)
- [recurring event] assassination attempt (if successful you are injured and the whole empire get a penalty for several turns due to you being unable to fulfill all the diuties), your intelligence has a chance to track it, your imperial gouard/food testers have a chance to block it, also you wmight get an option to "play safe for X turns" which results in a small penalty to empire but you are immune to assassination
- [small one time events] there is a dispute and you are to decide whcih side to support, it results in "imperial traditions" change, like Commerce vs Justice, Militarism vs Freedom, etc. Then somehow these tradition levels would affect other things (not sure what things yet )
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May 7th, 2015, 09:36
There is a mistake in the OP.

Actually, players play the fancied version of an emperor. They do not want to play any other so it is going to be a wild ride.

In these modern days, due to a change in paradigm, an emperor or a king is depicted as a person of absolute power, the chain of commandment is perfect,
the order are executed as they are decided.
This is a fancied version, in reality, an emperor power was limited by the compliance of the chain of commandment.

In video games, players play that absolute power character, what is called micro management simply is the lack of mediation between the decision and the execution.
Orders are executed as they are decided in video games. They do not rely on the compliance of this or that agent.

Games that tried to put a mediation layer in the exercize of the power, between the decision and the execution of an order had it harsh. Players do not like it.
Players want to command and conquer. They want to puppet on a string.

Players play emperors. They want to play the fancied version, the one with absolute power, though.
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May 7th, 2015, 15:40
Not so sure about that. Maybe it just hasn't been done right yet and there are also not a lot of games which actually tried it.

But it's certainly a hard thing to make the position fun. Missing information and uncertain execution of commands are not something which naturally inherit fun.
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May 7th, 2015, 20:19
It is very hard to make something right when people do not like the principles.

Examples of games: Paradox's Victoria 2, The Sims, Children of the Nile etc

Victoria 2 gave walls on the paradox forums, players complaining that they were not given total power.
The Sims make it by giving a full control to the player. Which means that all the work on the Sims'AI is lost etc
Children of the Nile was an experiment with no tomorrow.

Powder keg. No matter the implementation, players do not like it. In one way or another, this design usually includes the subordination of the player to the will of NPCs. Players are limited in the expression of their power. They must do what some NPCs impose them to do.
Players do not like that. Players want to command and conquer.
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May 7th, 2015, 20:30
Or to live through a great story, which is what I was getting at initially.
Let's take Cursader Kings 2 for example. The game might go havok and is not in your total control but in the end it generated a fun scenario and story.
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May 8th, 2015, 13:22
Already written a piece on CK2. If indeed that was the purpose, players would play that game as it is originally designed to be played. In the current situation, players do their utmost to get as much control as they can, while the game was designed to allow the player in a limited level of control.

Another example is the transportation series: cities in motion.

At start, this was a fresh take on that genre as the design of a transportation network was meant to be evaluated by passengers, that would only use it if they are satisfied with it.
When they were not satisfied, they would use their own personal means of transportation.

This sets the stage for a conflict between the player and the game.
A network design had two evaluations: the player's and the passengers'.
When the passengers did not like the network designed by the player, they did not use it and this would mean spoiling the player's network (car traffic, less money etc)

There was a conflict between what the player likes and what the passengers like.
In order to perform in that game, the player had to do what it takes to please the passengers and that was not the same as it takes to please the player.

Players simply hated that. The positions were reversed: NPCs no longer exist to serve the player, they had a will of their own that would oppose the players' whims.

Paradox has a lot of experience in this kind of issues because, in terms of gameplay, a non compliant environment possesses a strong potential. The common issue in their kind of games is how to curb the expansion of a player and this one has tremendous potential in this regard.

Never worked though as players hate the principle. It has nothing to do with the implementation.
Players do not want to feel like an emperor whose power is limited by a court, a chain of commandment.
They want to feel like the now popularized, fancied version of an emperor whose power has no limit, whose commands are executed as they are ordered.
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May 8th, 2015, 17:48
Wow, that must be your first post which I could completely follow
Generally I agree. I mean what you wrote is most probably true for the majority of players. I just think that there is always a niche for almost everything. And a good implementation can sell it to a bigger audience. Now that doesn't mean that the audience wouldn't be even bigger if it implemented "limitless power" instead.
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May 9th, 2015, 10:51
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
Players do not want to feel like an emperor whose power is limited by a court, a chain of commandment.
They want to feel like the now popularized, fancied version of an emperor whose power has no limit, whose commands are executed as they are ordered.
If I were to make what "players" want I would make a match-3 puzzle thingie where you click on things mindlessly

I would rather make games I would like to play and for like minded individuals…
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May 9th, 2015, 12:58
Originally Posted by Kordanor View Post
Wow, that must be your first post which I could completely follow
Generally I agree. I mean what you wrote is most probably true for the majority of players. I just think that there is always a niche for almost everything. And a good implementation can sell it to a bigger audience. Now that doesn't mean that the audience wouldn't be even bigger if it implemented "limitless power" instead.
There is no room for niches. Niches get invaded all the time, with players lobbying, using maffia tactics to bend the product to their likings.

Knowning in advance that the product does not suit their tastes does not prevent players from buying. Once bought, they start their harassment to get the product changed.

Had been the case for the products previously mentioned (when they did not include from the start a feature like in the sims to bypass the virtual will's feature)

Players do not like to be opposed, they want to be obeyed. Knowing that a game might feature agents of independent will wont stop them from buying and once bought, they harass to get the feature removed.

Niches are permanently invaded. Smaller niches, appealing to a lowest number of players are the most vulnerable.

Cities in motion did not appeal to every amateur of the transportation genre, it is appealed to amateurs of the idea of serving a population of virtual passengers.
A niche within the niche of the transportation genre that got invaded by amateurs of milking willess passengers.
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May 26th, 2015, 08:31
I'm not going to pretend to have attempted to follow ChienAboyeur's conversation, but I will say that I like the look of it Archibald. Keep us updated.
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May 29th, 2015, 13:43
Originally Posted by Korplem View Post
I'm not going to pretend to have attempted to follow ChienAboyeur's conversation, but I will say that I like the look of it Archibald. Keep us updated.


There are some videos explaing some concepts and mechanics (for people who prefer visuals to text):
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCps…Nj7vrTMvSfml1A

Also there is a small blog with walls of text describing these (for people who prefer text to visuals )
Tumblr: http://silverlemur.tumblr.com/
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June 1st, 2015, 13:57
Exploration system:

(video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpvMMDqkItY
(text) http://silverlemur.tumblr.com/post/1…36/exploration

* You don't send scout units
* Miliary units can never enter unexplored system (starlane not mapped)
* Exploration is done by abstract "survey teams" each turn (1-3 systems per turn depending on your investment/setup) and it's a mix of automated and priority based system

In short, most of the time the trivial exploration choices the game will make for you (like: explore first all system neighbour to my colonized planets) while allowing you to take over anytime by exploration priority system. So you deal with exploration only if you have some non standard/special needs and don't need to deal with tedious trivial exploration you would do typically.

(the system is already implemented and works, as a player I like it a lot)
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June 24th, 2015, 12:41
Crowdfunding just started (2015-06-24) http://igg.me/at/pocketspaceempire/

(it would be nice if you backed it if you can )
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June 25th, 2015, 11:38
Here you can upload GalaxyViewer (not playable):

http://igg.me/at/pocketspaceempire/ (check "Updates" the download link is there, in the first update)
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June 25th, 2015, 11:47
Gotta say the game looks and sounds promising. I hope you get funded.

As for the concept I like how you will rule as the emperor, and delegate tasks to others according to your will. As I've grown bored of micro-managing empires in 4X games.
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June 25th, 2015, 12:43
Originally Posted by Couchpotato View Post
As for the concept I like how you will rule as the emperor, and delegate tasks to others according to your will. As I've grown bored of micro-managing empires in 4X games.
Glad I'm not the only one There is this weird thing when you design a game, at first you have doubts "is it just me? am I the only one who think this way?" and then to your utter surprise you discover there is not such a small number of people who think exacly same way you do

(or it might be just age, there is a saying that everyone will eventually loathe micro after reaching a certain age - the age where you don't have that much time to play anymore )
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June 25th, 2015, 13:14
I like the concept as well. It would be cool if politics played a party as well - disharmony within your empire. You could potentially have council members with competing objectives and loyalties.
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June 25th, 2015, 15:28
Originally Posted by bjon045 View Post
I like the concept as well. It would be cool if politics played a party as well - disharmony within your empire. You could potentially have council members with competing objectives and loyalties.
It will be there (to an extend, it's not the core of the game) each imperial offical has "loyalty" stat for example and there will be rebelions/coups (not caused by population being unhappy, althrough it might be a factor as well, but by various political groups trying to seize the power). So, you will be frequently faced with a decision like "Should I keep this idiot in an office? He surely is doing poorly but he is loyal…", also there a "Rebellion" scenario where you start with a big empire and need to crush rebelion.


As for different objectives, it won't be that complex, probably there will be "factions" and you will try to maintain the balance (to not let one faction get too many important imperial offices). So (most likely, I prefer to not overpromise about that part ) in addition to "he is stupic but loyal" dilemma it will be a factor "but he is from a faction that's alrady too powerful".
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audience, emperor, space, strategy, turn based
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