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Author Topic: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game  (Read 8421 times)

mahks

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StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« on: December 16, 2013, 09:45:01 PM »

Why would I create yet another 4X Space game?
Because all 4X I have played had poor AI and a lack of strategic & diplomatic scope.

I define strategy as the following :

Planning : This is a time element thing. Games usually permit a player to react fairly quickly to an unexpected situation. Fast reaction time eliminates the need for planning.

Logistics : Dealing with the logistics must not be onerous, but its effect has to be there so it affects decisions. This aspect can present many strategic opportunities, like cutting lines of supply, interdicting re-enforcements and the need for intelligence regarding it.

Intelligence : Lack of information can really add a lot of intrigue to a game. For this, fog of war is a must and it has to be persistent (what I mean is, if you have no assets at a location, you have little, none or old info about it).

Manoeuvre : Major & minor battles, feints, diversions, supply & trade disruption, siege, retreat, looting and scouting all add to strategic scope. Many games seem to devolve into placing the majority of assets in one big fleet and going on a rampage. Basically a FPS and about as far from the type of strategy I am talking about as you can get.

All these aspects of strategy are available in other genres, but rarely in a 4X.
As for the AI issue, I think breathing humans are the best opponents.

So here is my answer to that :

Game overview :
  • 4X space game
  • Browser based, only runs in Firefox & Chrome
  • Closed Beta status
  • Basic 2d graphics
  • Strong focus on grand strategy & diplomacy
  • No action, not a RTS & no tactical control
  • Role play possible
  • 100% Free & No advertising


Here are some screen shots & reasons why this 4X may be different :




The manoeuvre element is the fleet. Fleets move between stars by an instantaneous jump, but then must wait while the jump engine re-charges. This slows down the pace of the game, giving you time to plan. It creates the feel of a turn based game, even though it is a persistent universe.



Fleet movement may be automated.
  • Patrol routes may be created to look for enemies.
  • Gathering routes take minerals to stars with a refinery. This works kind of like railway tycoon.
  • Other routes may be configured to move new ships to the front, return the battle weary for R & R, etc.
There is an emphasis on diplomacy.
Much effort has gone into creating organic "situations" that evolve into diplomatic crisis. These come about from conflict between several realms of influence. These being political relationships, trade, military actions, resource access and a feudal hierarchy.



Trade is encouraged by a mechanism whereby the number of types of minerals governs the efficiency of your refineries and thus your limits to production of assets. Since only a few mineral types are found locally you must trade with other areas to gain more mineral types.

The game is not played in "binges" (hours in a session) but in short play sessions. Think of a normal 4X that has its play session sliced into bits. This is by design, so that those with real lives may fit it into a busy schedule (or a fanatic gamer can play a session between all those other games) allowing them to play a deep, involving game even though "they have no time". Several people have interpreted this to mean it is a tick based game, it is not. Once your realm has grown, there is always things that need to be done, it is just not all time sensitive.

Fog of war is constant. If you have no ship or spy at a star you do not know what is there, you only know what was there last time you visited. This permits a "cat & mouse" situation, where cunning can win out.

Building assets takes a long time. This creates pressure to plan, as you cannot react immediately to a new threat by "popping out" fleets of new ships at a moments notice. You can build & assign additional builders to speed up a project, but there is cost there as well.



A large selection of technologies are available that affect all aspects of the game. There is no "tech tree" you just research the areas you want an advantage in. you may choose to be mediocre in all or focus on a few that complement your overall strategic direction.



There is a robust economic model that provides many ways to gain income and many ways to lose it. Taxation, tribute, piracy, export contracts, asset support, salaries are some of the factors.



In the beginning you manage all aspects, but as your empire grows you can do less micro-management and automate repetitive tasks.



There is a whole game within the game in regards to spies. Covert agents may conduct espionage, sabotage, incite labour or student unrest and incite rebellions. They can embezzle, slander and assassinate as well.

The game progresses though stages; exploration, buildup, contact and then the core game play begins with diplomacy, trade & conflict.

There is a play through of a typical 1st session on the website. Note this video has the old graphics and the colonising bit is out of date. The game begins slowly as you are mostly exploring and colonising, so the video may be a bit boring. Any suggestions on how to present a "cerebral" game and not make the presentation boring? This slow start is intentional as the game is complex and is designed so that a new player is not overwhelmed and has time to get his bearings.

http://www.starlords3k.com

We need a few more play testers, pm me if interested.
All feedback is welcome.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2016, 01:52:28 AM by mahks »
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 Diplomacy, Trade & Conquest in the 4th Millenium

PCCL

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2013, 11:07:46 PM »

sounds ambitious, hope you aren't biting off more than you can chew :)

maybe it's just me, but I can't seem to load any of your pictures or your link
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mahks

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2013, 12:40:30 AM »

sounds ambitious, hope you aren't biting off more than you can chew :)

I all ready bit and chewed it. All the above is implemented and running.
Or were you referring to something else?

maybe it's just me, but I can't seem to load any of your pictures or your link

Not sure why that would be they are valid links. Work for me.

Anyone confirm there is / not problem with the images / link?
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sirboomalot

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2013, 04:32:45 AM »

The images work fine for me while the link asks that I use firefox, which is something I don't have. Will the site be chrome friendly at some point?
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mahks

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2013, 05:26:24 AM »

I'm looking into getting Chrome working.

Was just enlightened on the huge market share Chrome now has!

If I can get it to work without a massive rewrite, I will.

pm me if you want to be contacted if/when it is done.

Or just download Firefox for the time being (very quick install)
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mahks

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2013, 10:47:04 PM »

Seems Chrome has issues with iframe & visibility ... a hidden iframe isn't.

Tried to change to using display rather than visibility, got all swapped, then realized why I used visibility in the first place! Arrrgghh.
Display collapses the dimensions of an object, visibility does not. So you can't use display:none and refer to things like clientWidth or scrollTo.

Unless I am missing something? Looks like Chrome is not ready yet.
Will try to get the homepage render in Chrome anyway.

Does anyone actually develop using Chrome? If so what tools do they use? The native dev-tools and firebug-lite seem pretty lame.
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PCCL

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2013, 10:49:01 PM »

works now for some reason... must've missed an update or something...

Now that I see it, yeah, looks impressive  ;D

gonna give it a shot and feedback. Thanks for this, too. Just when I run out of games to play
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mahks

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2013, 03:30:31 PM »

gonna give it a shot

Did you try it? What do you think so far?
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PCCL

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2013, 07:37:50 PM »

heh, a bit complicated for my liking

kinda threw myself at it for a few hours, then gave up :P

probably nothing against your game, I'm just not great with 4x/grand strategy games
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mickbrown

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2014, 02:22:07 AM »

Awesome =)
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mahks

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2015, 02:39:53 AM »

Update :

2 new options now available :

- Design your own ships
- Negotiate treaties with Independent stars (NPCs)


Now 98% working in Chrome, just some issues with canvas.

Graphics marginally improved, I updated the images in post # 1

Tutorial re-done, simplified, got rid of the videos, now text pop-up based. Could use some new blood to test the tutorial...
« Last Edit: October 06, 2015, 10:08:40 PM by mahks »
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mahks

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2015, 06:41:29 PM »

Running under chrome 100% now
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Clockwork Owl

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2015, 09:35:59 PM »

I might be dropping in after 12th November. 4X isn't my thing TBH tho.
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mahks

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2015, 02:24:09 AM »

If you like diplomacy and strategy, you can ignore the 4X bit and enjoy! :D
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mahks

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Re: StarLords3K - An on-line strategic 4X space game
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2015, 09:03:04 PM »

The tutorial has been axed in favour of in-game hint panels.
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