#3 Idle game: Linking theme with design [May 21, 2020]
I wanted to create idle game for few years there was always something stoping me. Lack of skill (I knew that I had to learn a lot after i tried creating idle game during LD48, it was a mess), not enough mana to cast excel spell, lack of time, sleep... you get the point. I had some legitimate reasons to wait with doing project like that and a lot of excuses for sake of excuses.
This days I feel a lot more confident, for sure I have invested enough points into programming skill tree and got few design perks as well.
Chapter 1: Finding Theme
Finding theme is one of the most important things for me when it comes to idle game. It's much easier to create growing number simulator with some kind of UI. It's much harder to find interesting theme that will work with the idle mechanics. Don't get me wrong I like clicker heroes, penguin isle and many others from the "simple" category, but I want to create smth closer to shark game, a dark room or even candy box.
I am not sure about adding extra mechanics like in candy box or dark room. I am thinking about smth more like civ clicker, strategy game meets idle game not multilayered cake of game experiences.
Anyway going back to the theme problem. First idea that came to my mind was
Idle game where thru resets you progress your civilization from stone age, bronze age, iron age etc.
now I am not sure about this... I still like the idea but don't like the scope. It's to big. To complex. I want smth simpler... I like history, one could even say that I love history and this is the problem with this theme. I am aware how big of a task it is to research all of the topics related to the period this big. That is why I am thinking more and more about light fantasy setting. This way I can do my own spin on history without worrying about history so much.
So what is the problem? Linking design with the theme. I want to create nice system of generators creating resources for the next level generators (expedition outpost allows creation of workers, workers can be turned into gatherers, gatherers can be turned into farmers etc.)
Chapter 2: Linking design with a theme
Let's go with the low fantasy theme for now.
In typical rts/fantasy base builder player is given three basic resources wood, stone, meat/food. This system is easy to understand stone and wood are used to construct building, food is used to recruit workers and soldiers. Nice concept but what about games like Caesar 3?
In Caesar 3 main resources is gold (dinars?). Gold is used for everything, placing buildings, performing festivals etc. Other resources (wine, fish, weapons) are created via industry chains. This might be good approach. Similar to shark game where main resource is fish and from there we go into rabbit hole of production chains.
With this in mind, maybe I will be able to construct some kind of production chain.
I was thinking for last couple of days and I am thinking about some kind of Norse/Viking inspired game. I am semi-competent in this matters and building Viking colony has extra appeal for me. What kind of goal/plot this game could have?
Setting up colonies on Iceland might be interesting idea. Resets could show stages of colonisation.
Stage 1: Naddodd/Floki phase
First norse "settlers" set up outposts for just a year or so. This is perfect for the first reset. Small settlement with locked technology tree, just enough to teach player how things work.
Technology tree could contain things like woodcutters, gatherers etc. Gatherers could convert into fisherman to show player how progression works. What other system it would be good to show/explain...
Workers system! Let's take penguin system from Penguin Isle. Player can add vikings to his village/outpost, vikings will walk around and interact with environment. To make gold production automatic player has to convert vikings into woodcutters, farmers etc. Extra workers give bonuses to the gold production of their workplace.
Ok, so what building should be available to the player in this phase? First of all some king of outpost/camp. From the start player can on click on it to earn first money. After fist upgrade (turning camp into a hut/longhouse) first generators and creation of workers is unlocked. Generators have capacity for maximum number of workers.
Player can send expedition into mainland to find treasure chests.
Woodcutter - generates small amount of wealth and wood.
Gatherers - generates wealth and seeds
Hunters - generates wealth and has low percentage chance to generate skins
- Viking - has small percentage chance to generate small amounts of hacksilver
- Woodcutter - works in woodcutters camp. Increases output of woodcutters camp and has slightly bigger chance to generate hacksilver.
- Hunter - works in hunters hut. Increases output of the hut and has small chance to find treasure chest.
- Hacksilver, wood and skins can be used to upgrade generators. Upgrading adds extra assets to generator visualisation and increases output and capacity of a generator. Wood and skin can be also used to upgrade workers.
- Wealth - primary resource. Used to build generators and hire workers.
- Hacksilver - used to upgrade generators
- Runes - used to buy upgrades during reset
Tresure chest can contain wealth and hacksilver or parts for decorations and animals/extra civilians for additional bonuses.
Player should be able to do first reset in first 6-12h of play and unlock second pahse of the game.
Phase 2: Arnarson phase
This time player starts near shore around runestone/stone pillar. Again first technologies available to the player are woodcutters, gatherers and hunters... but this time player can upgrade pillars by adding long house which will allow to build farms, carpenters, crafter and port.
- Farms - needs wealth and seeds to be build. generates wealth and crops.
- Carpenters workshop - turns wood into furniture and generates wealth.
- Creafter - turns skin and wood into nice thingstm.
- Port - allows watching adds to earn extra founds and sell extra tertiary resources (cafts, furniture, crops).
- Merchant - Increases bonus from watching adds
Animals and civilians
- Shipbuilder - increases significantly reward for watching add in the port
- Gothi - adds few percent to rune reward
- Tracker - increases reward from sending expedition
- Increases chance to earn extra hacksilver from the workers
- Cows - Increase production of gold from all generators
- Dogs - Increases rewards from expedition
- Ravens - Increases chance of getting extra hacksilver from workers
- ??? - Increases base amount of hacksilver gined from workers