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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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Hey, folks. I'm looking for help with development and am seeking feedback on an idea in real time. If you have played KoDP and any grand strat and have an interest in the project, please get on IRC and help me decide if an idea I have is good or terrible.

IRC is irc.freenode.net on port 6667.

Channel is #chaptermaster

The topics today include squads, force composition and deployment, turn length and events, and the traits a chapter might acquire.
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Also, some of you may be pleased with the announcement that programming and art leads are ready to announce their commitment to a 2d interface.
In addition to this, we are ready to say that we have some grasp of fundamentals this time around, that new UI designs are quickly moving to the testbed phase, and that a much faster feature design process is being finalized.

Our lead coder is working on a stable engine at this time.
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Anyway, /tg/, the next time I start one of these threads you should be getting a shiny new release in your hands and it won't even be totally without function.
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On the programming side of things, we're sticking to Visual Basic as our main language but retaining a lot of use for .NET and C++ applications. Those interested in what level of ability would be useful should leave questions in this thread, as my knowledge of these areas is limited but I can make sure the programming lead gets a look at them.
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Damn, /tg/, you're faster than I recall in peaktime.

Have a release. It has few features, but at least showcases a few design elements. On my machine it's just a menu, but then I probably screwed up installing the supported software. for the release, which is hardly anything yet.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=20914 is the microsoft component you'll need to make the thing work.
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Bumping with thematic pics.
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>New chapter: Charging Moons
>Begin crusade to purify a string of exodite worlds
>Suddenly, craftworld
>"Stop and we'll give you relics"
>Agree, with the intent of having my cake and ruining Xenos with it too
>Suddenly, my barge is full of Necrons
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I'm considering suggesting that we set the game in m41, starting with the last year of m40 and moving on from there with the option to play into the opening years of m42.

What do you think, /tg/?

I think that reaching M42 uncorrupted and alive should be a nigh-impossible feat of heroism.
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Sounds nice.
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I don't necessarily disagree and will take it under advisement. I think surviving in m42 may also be a near-impossible feat of heroism, especially if you're doing a good job of executing the chapter's duties.

However, there might well be more than one chapter master per game; chapters might be managed somewhat dynastically, with different CMs rising and falling over the course of a single game. In fact, I see little point in designing it differently.
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I would heartily approve of this.

It frees you from being tied to specific events too heavily. Then if your chapter has been around long enough you can watch your influence carry over into the new millennium, shaping or dooming humanity's future yourself.

I can just imagine someone now, playing one campaign of the completed game for several years and slowly clocking the in-game time to the 45th millennium and beyond. What horrors would fill the galaxy then? Would anything be left in the face of the Tyranids? Would your chapter be all that remains of humanity?

Thinking of each campaign as a parallel canon for 40k could lead to all kinds of futures. I say go for it 100% but leave the new canon to be built by the player and the game in the same way.
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Well, since I don't have a lot of elegant gentlemen joining me on IRC to discuss the idea, I'll see about laying it out in the thread.

For those that ARE interested, get on Freenode at irc.freenode.net on port 6667 and join the #chaptermaster channel. Idea outline in next post.
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The idea is essentially this.

Our programming lead is currently very comfortable working with squads. He likes them as a basic unit for the chapter, and as such squads are the smallest possible unit to deploy as a force.

Forces created for larger jobs would be composed of more than one squad and committed to a relevant area to accomplish certain goals there. As such, in a Codex chapter, a Chapter Master could have up to 100 forces to deal with per turn. This is too much as it is unless something's done about it, and the bloat from non-codex sizes might frustrate players.

Continued below.

As such, my idea at the moment is that most squad-sized assignments would be autoresolved by default because tactical input from high command would make very little difference in the outcome of anything a squad goes out to do - your company commanders would provide relevant tactics, and you wouldn't do that much better than they as a chapter master. For the remaining ten percent or so of conflicts that are rather interesting, tactical input might make things significantly different.

As such, the thought was that any squad deployed to do a simple job would have a low, flat percentage chance of spawning a KoDP-like event that could be resolved with the player's input, but larger or more significant or complex battles would warrant more input and perhaps even deployment of the Chapter Master into battle, and as such would get one or more KoDP like combat events interspersed with KoDP or Crusader Kings-like events with consequences.

There would also be an ability on the part of the player to determine which of the bulk of simple default-autoresolve deployments would see player intervention, sort of like NPC directions in Fallout 2 - in essence, the player would determine how complex or bad things got for a small force on a routine assignment before they called command for help or input or permission to retreat. This might raise the percentage of events.

The idea seeks to streamline the number of combat encounters to resolve per turn and prevents bloat while maintaining a significant amount of player involvement.
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So there it is. Get on IRC at irc.freenode.net on port 6667 and join the #chaptermaster channel if you want to discuss it further.

Thanks for the reply. I agree that survival without corruption until m42 should be difficult to nigh-impossible, though doing so without keeping the same chapter master alive would be less so. As for the point about the potential for emergent storytelling in m42 and beyond, we all like the concept of emergent storytelling quite a bit and that's a great goal to work toward. I'll take it up with the programming lead.
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Logistics won't come into play, will it?
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Just how large is the scale of Chapter Master anyway? If the whole galaxy is already intended as our playground, with political machinations and backstabbing and other goodies of the Imperium being coded in too, then it seems to me (with my Luddite's grasp of coding) that it would be comparatively easy to set up the game to function at more or less any time in the Imperium's history, just by having certain variables influenced by the current millennium (frequency of tyranid encounters being the obvious example).

I don't know how much extra work that would be, but it seems to me that you're halfway there just with the way this game has been set up, so you might as well push it all the way since the system seems designed for it already.

And I can already imagine the greentext stories starting with "so some of my chapter and a few worlds of humans somehow survived into M44 and..."
I love you /tg/
They likely will, but right now we're looking elsewhere. Why do you ask?

We generally think on the sector or subsector level since we're focusing on one chapter and its patrol routes. In just my conception, crusades and so forth happen off-screen/off-map, and sectors are procedurally generated with an option to import a pregenerated sector if you want to play in the Jericho Reach or in the Calixis or Gothic Sector or something, but nothing's set in stone there.

A completely fluff-accurate galaxy portrayed with the kind of mimesis/versimilitude/potential for immersion we want to give a single chapter's patrol territory, however, would take a team a thousand times the size of ours. I'd rather do procedurally generated sectors with good emergent storytelling and do it well than create a galaxy that feels like a huge mansion without enough furniture in it.
Logistics is my weakness of forever.
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i have an idea
when you start the game and create your chapter, you can choose your CM's origins and sorta build up his backstory up to when he becomes Chapter Master, and which actions you choose could affect your playstyle, like ending up pissing off an entire chaos warband to leading your squad to help fend off tyranids
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All game elements and features I have a hand in designing will be as streamlined as possible while maintaining certain degrees of player challenge.

If you're bad at logistics because there's too much to control, that's one thing I'm looking to avoid from the get-go.
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I greatly appreciate ideas posted in threads. Thank you kindly, anon.
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That's awesome and makes total sense. You should keep doing it that way, absolutely.

I guess I'm just wondering if it would be possible to do a mix. It seems to me (again with no real idea what I'm talking about) that you could procedurally generate parts of the map as they become relevant (patrol routes etc) then have the galaxy, as it slowly gets discovered/created by the game, be saved in your campaign file on your computer for reference later. Then you load parts of it and interact on a sector by sector basis or whatever as usual.

Then IF you happen to make a bee-line for certain areas of the generic milky way map one of maybe a half dozen pre-rendered sectors (Terra, Cadia, Ultramar etc) gets brought in to the map and you can interact with them slightly when you're near them, though the sector you personally are in will be procedurally generated still.

It has the upside of allowing for Black-Templar-esque fleet chapters to have a more spread-out grandiose feel to them, scattered across the galaxy.

It wouldn't be perfectly fluff accurate, as someone might notice "hey this randomly created system near X is right over top of where Y obscure bit of Inquisitorial trivia is on this map from an old codex" but that's not the end of the world.

I dunno. Just a thought. But you guys seem to have so much here already that pushing it a little more would probably be great for the game. There could even be later mods for playing Legions during the Horus Heresy or god knows what else. So the way you choose to set up the core game is very interesting.

In any case, keep up the good work folks!

I'm not going to say that anything's off the table, but the kind of design you're talking about poses an obvious challenge. It may be one we're interested in approaching, though if we have sectors that are a couple hundred planets each on average this would give the Imperium a few thousand sectors, and planning on-map inclusion of fluff would get very tiresome very quickly for an entire millenium worth of setting events. I expect we're going to get the core game built and make it as modifiable as possible and release source code, so someone else can come along and take it further.
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I guess I just really like the idea of --once I've explored and patrolled my way through a whole huge area-- being able to slowly expand my territory with more and more bits of procedurally generated universe.

If I'm being honest I don't give a damn about how it interacts with precise moments in canon like the 13th black crusade or any specific event. They can easily not happen in this procedurally generated universe for all I care. I just love thinking about a slowly built Empire spanning many sectors built over the course of millennia in game and years out of game. Like that one guy a few weeks ago who had been playing one game of Civilization for like a decade.

I guess the central point I'm actually trying to make is that I hope the game can get really, really big over extended periods of time, and that the only real limit on the number of procedurally generated things you can interact with is your computer's hard drive.
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If your chapter owns for example a planet, could events like in Crusader Kings II appear where for example the planetary governor asking for help, or somekind of a heresy appears?
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That would be in tune with the kind of game we want to make, but basically, post ideas and we'll consider them. Threads like these is how we figure out what /tg/ wants.

It's an interesting thought but is best saved for something after the 1.0 release, because if we don't get the core game right every turn spent building your huge empire will be terrible.
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>How I feel when Chapter Master update.
Your point is well taken.

Hmm, so then are all chapters going to have a set in stone area with predefined boundaries to patrol and interact with, even fleet based chapters?

I guess you've gotta do what you've gotta do to make the gameplay good. Fleet based chapters can just be in one sector for a long time. No biggie. Easy to handwave.
Even a fleet-based chapter will be likely to have a set of patrol routes in the same area. However, since combat will be handled by a committed force autoresolving some things and then possibly asking for input from commanders, crusades and special campaigns that take place outside of that patrol area may well exist - you just won't get to look at them on the map.

This is also possibly a very good way to handle off-map centers of power and influence. You don't need to click on Armageddon or Nocturne or Terra to have a relationship with them if they're in your diplomacy menu and impact things like politics, recruitment, battle orders/intervention requests, et cetera.
However, if the scope of this was galactic in 1.0 it would be very likely to flounder unless we stuck in every canonical event and then created thousands more. In an empire of a million worlds, a target of one thousand events, even if half of them can recur in some way, just isn't much.

Think about Wing Commander, anon. Wing Commander had a campaign about a military campaign, and you could sit in the ready-room or whatever and read the paper to learn about how your efforts as a player were impacting things in your area. Think about the complexity of programming that would require in a game set in the entire galaxy of 40K for one thousand years, with just a thousand Space Marine chapters alone. Now add in sector lords, powerful Administratum officials, AdMech archmagos, the High Lords, Lord Commanders of the Imperial Guard, naval Admirals commanding sector battlefleets, rogue traders...

Now think about the art and programming to make such content more than a thin veneer of nonsense. Think about the effort it would require to make it as good as it could be, the Planescape: Torment of tiny 4X games, the KoDP of 40K.

I try to know my limits, which is why I think 1.0 will be released someday. Mods are, of course, welcome.
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Okay I like that a LOT.

The diplomacy menu is great, though it still requires some extra effort to write up profiles for certain centers of power. But a lot less effort for a sizeable payoff. You'll make a ton of nerds happy just by giving little shout-outs to their favourite forge/home/craft world in the diplomacy bar. It's a solution with many benefits.

And I believe my urge for a long running campaign of "lets see what happens in 2,000 years of game time" can be mostly sated just by minding my little corner of the galaxy for that long, since I don't think you guys have any intention of programming in like an "end boss" or anything silly. The game could theoretically go on for as long as my chapter survives.
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Finally, if the area around your homeworldis your core empire and the sector we display on the map is five hundred worlds big and it's hard to maintain a multi-world empire (which is why not many chapters other than the Ultras try, possibly) because it's 40K, let me ask you this.

If you can have relationships with figures in the fluff, if you can have political alliances and if five hundred worlds can one day be your charge to protect as a Peer of the Imperium, if you can be a great power to rival or surpass Ultramar one day...is the first world over five hundred anything more than a number? Is the six hundredth? Is a thousand-world galaxy in Master of Orion really interesting to conquer for worlds three hundred through eight hundred? Is the 999th world as exciting as the very last one?

If not, it's little more than padding and we can focus our efforts elsewhere to get the most quality out of what we put into it. Quantity may have a quality all its own, but its quality is the kind that often loses meaning after you reach 'enough to make it work.'
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A few questions because I'm too lazy to go on IRC

1. What is the smallest unit that acquires traits? Could it be the chapter / first company / squad / vehicle / hero character? Are chapter traits distinct from your Chapter Master traits?

2. Given enough traits, could that force a schism/founding and split the chapter? I'm thinking something to the effect that "The imperium has given you a chance to use your geneseed to found another chapter" or "Your first company has turned heretical due to Brother-Captain Bill's wild nights with the soritas"

Off topic questions:
A. Are you planning to simulate having a KODP type "ring" of sorts? (Your techmarine may give you a bonus to repair, but his methods are slightly heretical etc). Seems like you would want some sort of chapter composition of sorts.

B. What sort of resources do you use in this game? I don't know what currency is universal in 40k (We'll trade 1000 bolters for your shiny rhino)

Keep up the good work!
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1. What is the smallest unit that acquires traits? Could it be the chapter / first company / squad / vehicle / hero character? Are chapter traits distinct from your Chapter Master traits?
The smallest unit of marines is a squad, which can acquire 'perks,' which are like traits except that traits are what we call them if they're chapter-wide and near-permanent. Individual characters in my conception can also acquire perks. Relics like vehicles, I hadn't thought about yet.

The Chapter Master is an individual character with a huge degree of influence on the chapter compared to other marines, and his perks/qualities will impact the chapter, though they are distinct from the chapter master traits. Chapters have distinct histories and historical contexts that CMs can change over time, but these do not shift on the CM's whims.

2. Given enough traits, could that force a schism/founding and split the chapter? I'm thinking something to the effect that "The imperium has given you a chance to use your geneseed to found another chapter" or "Your first company has turned heretical due to Brother-Captain Bill's wild nights with the soritas"

The example with heresy is more apt. Foundings are different. Opportunities to found successors in the case of over-numbers chapters are not as likely in fluff as a forced reduction in numbers through other means, though this is by no means guaranteed to happen. The =][= has to find out about it and care enough to work against your political clout. In the case of the Black Templars, it has not successfully done so. However, I don't know of any Black Templars successors, and foundings happen when the Imperium can afford to have one, which so far has amounted to less than three times per millenium.
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>A. Are you planning to simulate having a KODP type "ring" of sorts? (Your techmarine may give you a bonus to repair, but his methods are slightly heretical etc). Seems like you would want some sort of chapter composition of sorts.
Yes, I'm going to suggest we use the Chapter Council but we'll never have more than a certain number of advisors available because, well, they're marines and marines are often deployed. Those that are at home to rearm at the moment can step up and give the CM advice.

>B. What sort of resources do you use in this game? I don't know what currency is universal in 40k (We'll trade 1000 bolters for your shiny rhino)
It's being worked out and models are being privately developed, though we're nowhere near having it on the table for discussion yet. We may have to go with universal resources that are very generic, or we may be able to use more complex models. Obviously the primary resource of a chapter is its marines.

>Keep up the good work!
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Have some sisters for good measure.
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Well, a Sister and an Arbitrator.
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I want to thank everyone that participated on IRC and elsewhere tonight in making the discussion on force composition and logistics fruitful.
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