Why Not Games




Syphilisation Update - 2020-09-20

You can read about what Syphilisation is here and the manifesto for the game here. You can subscribe to the mailing list here.

Work Done

I finished a complete playtest for the first time today. This is the first time that I've actually gotten to the end of the game. I would estimate that a full game takes around 20 hours right now, but this run took over double that because of the bugfixing and tweaking that it needed along the way. Nevertheless, this is a big milestone for the game and means that I should be able to put up a very raw version for sale by the end of the month.

Below are my notes for major things that need to be worked on. There are plenty of smaller bugs as well, but they're not as interesting to consider.

  • Combat
    • How do kind units work
    • How do you push players into engaging more with it.
    • How do you keep your units busy?
    • How do you develop a road system?
  • Designed biomes
    • What is the metaphor?
    • What are the animals
    • Make sure that there are enough of the eXploitation currencies
    • Also, make their management more of a thing. It's exciting to get them in Civ
    • How do you push Pahal into the study districts?
  • I need to be able to see what a city is doing
    • I also need reports for the full empire.
  • I want the district adjacency stuff.
    • If you can pair work districts with self-improve districts, you might have something very interesting here.
    • The currency district multiplier stuff is out of control
  • Currency still needs to be solved.
    • What do you want to do with the group?
    • Units hitting their turn limit happens without players knowing. This has to be surfaced better. Maybe put a currency cost on it?
  • How do facts work?
    • How do you get players to engage with them?
    • How do you help players contextualize them?
    • Let players identify keywords and then sort the facts accordingly so that they can get an idea of what is what.
    • How do you deal with the fact that there are so many of them?
    • Do you want to push more for aggregates of them?
  • Tooltips
  • The storyline isn't coming through at all.
    • It doesn't feel important enough to get the insecurity wonder and I'm not able to get started with it either.
    • People really react well to the visual novel stuff in CK3.
  • Need to sort out the game flow.
    • The game feels a little too cognitively demanding right now
    • How do you want templates to work?
      • Maybe instead of using templates, automatically build the building in every district. Maybe just do that for the work and not the self-improve?
    • Some currency values are out of control
    • It doesn't feel like I'm doing much of anything in the eXploitation phase.
      • It does feel like there are some cities that just aren't doing anything. How do I focus the cities?
      • This is especially the case when there are some cities that have questions up and other cities where I don't feel like spending a district slot on a question that another city has built.
      • Need to get the player to have more questions too. Maybe this just comes with getting used to the game.
      • I want specialized cities and meaningful rewards for getting down to the end of the tech trees.
    • Really need to reduce the number of research options that are available at any time.
    • I want to be able to upgrade my citizens
  • Quest system
    • It's doing a lot of heavy lifting in directing players right now. I like this, but it does show that the game's complexity is too high right now.
    • The quests need to feel less random. I want biomes to do more to push you into a consistent direction
    • The AI needs to chase quests more aggressively.
    • It needs to be much more common for a city to join the environment.
    • The AI needs to be better about getting cities.
  • A fundamental colonial belief is that you can run things better than other people. How do you combat this in Syph?
    • Something about only being able to keep track of so much at once? You can't focus on all of the questions and take on all of the roles IRL. How do you backport this to the game?
    • An important colonization dynamic that should translate well is the idea that the British could manage other regions better than the natives could
  • Prayer and culture need to be more fully fleshed out.
    • What are preserves after all?
    • I like the dynamic of camps being very focused and so making it such that you don't get any of the other resources in the tile
      • This feels nicely industrial and as though you've lost something by choosing industrialism.
      • I would like to put in trade units delivering goods from camps and preserves though. They probably also need a menu.
  • Questions
    • The AI needs to work harder to answer questions.
    • There needs to be a celebration point when a question is first answered.

Interesting Fact

I started reading Chuchill's Empire by Richard Toye last week. It's been quite interesting so far and it's giving me a lot of material to add to the Churchill side of the game, which is currently a little light. This book surprised me with the information that Kipling often disdained Churchill, saying of him that 'it is impossible to cure a political prostitute from whoring' when Churchill was a Liberal and even remarking in 1935, when they were both opposed to Indian self-government, 'The only point at which, I personally, would draw the line in present politics, would be in following Mr W. Churchill.'

- @murthynikhil

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Written for Why Not Games.