If and when you do become an interstellar species, and a knowledge seeking one, I think that scientific expeditions should be put into more detail.
I believe that you would send out a small starship, or pilot it at least, to another planet with life. You would then land on the world, gather specimens, take notes, observe the wildlife, do some reasearch or get some work done, then take off again. For worlds with sapient creatures, ones that havent left their solar system yet, you would need to operate in silence if you were to study the sapient species. If you werent there to do that, you could just land in an area of the planet with no industrialized cities.
You made it sound like there is only 1 explorer in a ship, and if that is the case then I disagree a bit. I like the idea of being on the planet but it should be a team of AI explorers automatically surveying the planet and you have the option to take control of one of them and do it yourself as well.
Actually, will you be able to take control of one of your species throughout the entire game? Smooth transitions to me means no mechanics being removed as the game progresses, only mechanics being added. This means you can play as one of your creatures through any stage of the game (imagine taking control of a soldier in a battlefield).
Remember though: in the medieval times, armies consisted of thousands upon thousands of soldiers. A single soldier turning the tide all by himself was something that only happens in books/movies. In current times, the soldiers-per-battle ratio is a bit smaller, but still way too much to have individuals make a big difference.
I largely agree that individual soldiers don’t make a huge difference to a battle, there are examples of them being important though, this is from the wikipedia page on the battle of Jaffa
Richard subsequently gathered a small army, including a large contingent of Italian sailors, and hurried south. Upon seeing Muslim banners flying from the walls, he falsely believed the town to be a lost cause, until a defender swam out to his flagship and informed him of the citadel’s dire situation.
Still in his sailor’s deck shoes, Richard leaped into the sea and waded through the waves to reach the beach. The King again showed his personal bravery and martial prowess, leading fifty-four knights, a few hundred infantrymen, and about 2,000 Genoese and Pisan crossbowmen. The Muslim army began to panic at the sudden offensive launched by Richard’s newly arrived force; they feared it was but a spearhead of a much larger army coming to relieve Jaffa. The English king fought in person at the forefront of his attack, and Saladin’s men were routed.
Apparently he waded ashore with a sword in one hand and crossbow in another, sounds like a level from a computer game.
In terms of the society stages I’m personally not so keen on the idea that you can control any individual any time. For example 3D modelling a space ship from the outside and far away to make an icon is one thing but 3D modelling the whole interior so you can walk around it is 1000x more work. Same with a city, making a sprite on a map is 1000x less work than 3D modelling the whole thing with different buildings which change over time etc.
Personally, and this is only a personal opinion, I’d like to take as many shortcuts as possible and focus on gameplay. So things like each army just being a single unit on the map and each city just being a sprite etc like in CK2. I’m totally happy if people want to come along and use their skills to make it all 3D and awesome but I think it’s better to make awesome gameplay with a simple representation than spending years making a walking around mode which wont really be that fun. Remember that the cool alien cities that other games have take tens of professionals years to make. However I understand that may just be my opinion.
Isn’t the shortcut never taking away individual mode, only adding strategic mode? Also instead of each vehicle having an inside to walk around in you just control the spaceship/vehicle/war machine itself or play as an individual of your species. Also the point of taking control of something wouldn’t be to offer an advantage, I feel that the scale of what you have achieved in a game is lost in a god-camera view. If something is huge in relation to your creature in a god-cam view you can just zoom out and that’s good for tactical gameplay but when all the orders are given and you are just watching a battle play out wouldn’t it be better to take control of a soldier and truly see the scale of a battle, the war machines towering over you as they kill enemies, looking every direction and only see the battle. Or select to play as a civilian and walk around your planets streets in the space stage, looking around see massive buildings that breach the clouds. While they serve no purpose for gameplay, they do enhance the experience as a whole. This mean any individual, in any city, on any planet, in any solar system you have in the galaxy.
But how do you mash together allowing the player to meaningfully control individual creatures and the overview of the strategic mode? In my opinion that is an enormous amount of work and not worth doing. That’s why I’ve always been referring to controlling individual creatures from the strategy mode just for looking around and experiencing the atmosphere in a town you have created. Not something that has any impact on whether your army wins or how fast your scientists work. Which is basically related to what you said at the end of your post. Though, I should also say that this isn’t like a high priority so the models etc. used for strategic view might be very basic and look really terrible when looked at up close.
You are assuming that we have resources to animate battles. Instead its probably going to be like two chess pieces with health bars throwing numbers at each other.
At least initially…
Ok, idk how they did this but a mod for StarCraft 2 allowed players to fight each other like the vanilla game BUT you could take control of any unit in your army at any time and seamlessly transition between strategic and first person view with the press of a single button (F4 he used). That wasn’t the best game for someone to do that with but the mechanics are there.
This isn’t what I was talking about but I couldn’t find a video of it so here’s this.
Sadly they can’t control the units in the strategic view.
Slightly tangentially, a couple of things I think about game development:
there’s only ever finite resources to build stuff, however big your team gets. Star Citizen has $200m and they are still struggling with this. So anything you choose to do pushes something else out, of the thousands of cool features you can think of only like 20 can make it into the final game.
So they questions are things like: would you like a cool culture system which lets you manage the cultural evolution of your cities OR a 3d view of the inside of your ships. That kind of question is much harder because both are cool but you can’t have both. Well maybe you can have both but that means pushing something else out.
In a computer game what you want is a set of mechanics and ideas that harmoise well and become more than the sum of their parts. It’s actually the case that you can make a game less good by adding more to it. Like since it came out no one has really found a way of adding things to Tetris that makes it better. There’s quite a lot of variations, like multiplayer where you complete a line and it puts some garbage on your opponents side and stuff like that, however classic tetris kind of stands above them all.
Now that may be just because it is a classic but I also think it’s because it’s very harmonious as a set of features. It sits well together. And I think that’s an interesting general rule, that you can make a game worse by adding more features. Which is surprising but I think is true, taking stuff out feels weird but can make the experience a lot better.
This is now an “individual unit control after entering strategy mode” thread.
I just remembered that Rise and Fall is a game that I played that let’s you control a hero unit. I tried to find some gameplay showing it, but as it is quite old there wasn’t that many good ones. Here’s one that has a bit of strategy mode first and then direct control: