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Friday, May 23, 2014

Plan for Beyond Beyaan

It've been a while, but it has been a productive month in terms of design tweaks.  Arpad and I has been discussing Master of Orion 1 and its good and bad aspects.  Arpad helped illustrate the flaws in AI, and after he explained them, I tried a new game on Impossible difficulty.  If you recall, my last attempt failed disastrously.  This time, I'm effortlessly crushing the AI.  I now feel dirty knowing AI's exploits, Impossible is no longer "Impossible".  Our plan for AI is to have AI be actually smart, and reduce AI cheating as much as possible.

So our goal is to not exactly replicate MoO 1, but take the best and improve on the bad.  With mostly input from Arpad, the following are list of changes that Beyond Beyaan will have:

Space Combat - The map will be a hexagonal grid.  This is to improve logistics for missiles/torpedoes, minimize distance discrepancies, and generally balance things out.  This is mostly to help the AI.  It will still be vertical columns of tiles, so it shouldn't differ too greatly from original.

Diplomacy - All races start with neutral relation toward each other.  This will help boost the weaker races (Mrrshans, Alkari, and Darloks especially) while not weakening other races (Humans will have different bonuses as explained below)

Personality - AI won't have "Leader Personality" like in MoO 1, they hurt more than help the AI.  So each AI will factor in their race's strengths and act on them, instead of trying to do something counter-intuitive.

New Races - Since Kickstarter has resulted in success for the three extra races, Arpad and I discussed back and forth on how those will fit in a MoO 1 universe.  We have tentatively set forth their attributes as explained below.

Leaders - Likewise, I promised leaders in Kickstarter, but how to retain the simplicity from MoO 1?  Arpad suggested that they be a random event, with a randomized duration.  I liked this idea, and we fleshed it out.  There will be 22 different leaders, revolving around 11 different attributes that can help or hinder your empire.  For example, there are two financial leaders, one good, one bad.  Good will add a certain amount of income, while bad will reduce amount of income.  You cannot hire or dismiss them.  Each leader only have one attribute that they improve/degrade.  It's possible to have multiple leaders at the same time, based on random event roll.

Both New Races and Leaders will be checkbox options that you can disable when starting a new game, if you do not like those features.

We discussed extensively on how to balance the races in MoO 1.  Psilons, Meklars, and Klackons were the strongest, while Mrrshans, Darloks, and Alkari were the weakest.  We wanted to balance them, but still have each be unique from other races.  We've settled on the below (Left is the original bonuses/attributes, if it don't list a technology field, it is "Average", on right are the Beyond Beyaan's version of the race).  This is subject to balancing and testing, but we feel that this will even things out and still retain an interesting gameplay.  Also the new races were problematic, but hopefully they are unique enough with the listed attributes.

If you have concerns or suggestions for any of the discussed features, please let us know in the comments!