Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

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Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby depricated » Mon Jun 29, 2009 11:18 pm

I'm working on this with a couple friends of mine for the time being. I've decided to construct a solid core of what I view the game as, rather than toss around ideas and taking months to get things rolling. We have a fair bit done, and now we're getting to the sticky rules area.

So, this thread is for discussing rules of the game, for implimentation. Once I have the core finished I'll distribute that to Privatepepper and the others for polishing. If they don't like it, they can expand on it or walk away, but I think everyone will like what we're coming up with.

Anyway, we're going from hard-fast programming rules to game rules. We're trying to figure this out.

First, we're going to use a point system similar to most miniatures games, where you build an X point army.

Our biggest concern is Warlords:
Does each Player get only one Warlord? Should the Warlord represent the Player? It seems most factions are represented with one warlord throughout the Battle for Gobwin Knob. Stanley kept replacing his lost warlord with a new one until he summons Parson. Ansom had Webinar, but was Webinar a Warlord, or was Ansom? Was Ansom the equivelent of Stanley instead of Parson? What do the Warlord rules appear to be? Or do Warlords just cost a lot more points than other units? What about the cost of promoting units to Warlord?

Further, Stacking. IS there a size limit to a stack? Right now we've said no. Though the stack bonus is limited to 8 units, we're allowing unlimited units per stack. Is there anywhere that shows different on limit?
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:10 am

Currently there is no indication of stack limits.

Jetstone had 3 warlords at GK: Ansom, Webinar, and Dora. When they all died there was at least one elsewhere to take over as Chief Warlord. We don't know how many the others had, just that they had at least one. Transylvito (a special case) had at least 11. GK may have only had one at a time (or not) but Stanley is a special case, his personal feelings dictating his decisions. At any rate, he had 6 at one time, including Parson and the Uncroaked Warlords. He now has several, including the decrypted warlords. Technically, you might not need any.

The player must be the Ruler of his side. When the Ruler dies, the side is over, and so is the game (for that player) unless they have an heir, I guess. The player will also need to take the role of the Chief Warlord, unless you want to develop an AI so the player can watch the computer do his fighting for him.

Commanders (Warlords and Casters) provide the ability to fight your battle out (rather than autocalc).
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Rejun » Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:24 am

X point army? I hope this breaks nicely into command-able sub-units, as that seems to be about 50% of the benefit of having commanders in stack.

Each Side gets an arbitrary number of Warlords. The player is probably best represented as the Ruler. Think chess & kings, killing the Ruler ends the Side which dovetails nicely with Losing the game.

Ansom was a Warlord, Webinar might have been a Warlord. Ansom was probably also an Heir, which might affect things. I think the relative costing of promotion work something like: promoting to warlord < increasing city level < designating heir < cost of "Summon Parson" spell. Just a gut feeling from the way characters react to different costs, and my own reading.

Stacks have no limit.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby depricated » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:03 am

Alright. That's pretty much how we're working it now.

And as far as the point system, think Warhammer. I don't have the resources to host player accounts and player saved armies. While it would be easy enough to write in, it would be pointless without a database and server-side authentication. I'm not averse to this, actually I like the idea - I just don't have the equipment/bandwidth to host the SQL Server that it would invariably require.

The nice part, on that note, of doing this in java is that if we choose to go that route it can easily be changed into an Applet to run on the server.

Unit costs need to scale appropriately. I'll be doing a lot of number crunching to make sure it's relatively balanced out the gate, but I imagine it's going to need a lot of tweaking cost-wise once it's released.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:26 am

Really, Warhammer?

Isn't that kind of non-applicable for a game that has cities and production and upkeep?
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby depricated » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:43 am

No, it's still applicable.

The other option is that players are allowed to make any size/level army/city they wish and go to town on each other.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:25 am

Or they start with one city and two units/stacks, Master of Magic/Alpha Centauri style, and grow and then go at it.

Granted there isn't the research aspect of those games,,,

If you're looking to simplify/cut out the city/production schedule aspect, or make a scenario builder, I could see it... maybe on more of a Panzer General level...
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Rejun » Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:17 am

FYI, Applets are not hosted server side; you gain nothing by making an Applet, except for lots of permission headaches.

I'd advise shoving whatever you have onto a Google Code page as soon as you have demo-able product. I'd personally define demo-able as: hard coded units, hard coded map, movement, combat, where both movement and combat are very rough passes (ground & flying implemented for movement; Risk-esque rolls for Combat, for example).

I suggest this for two reasons. First, given the scattered nature of Erfworld rules, the sooner incorrect interpretations/readings are found the better, as less code will be dependent upon such incorrect low level assumptions. Second, the faster the code is available (in terms of the lifespan of the app, not absolute time) the sooner the assumptions inherent in your design become apparent, and the sooner the community can get involved accordingly. I, for example, want to see just how much Java is a liability for this design; others presumably have pet behaviors they'd like to be possible, and would like to see if they are.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby depricated » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:00 am

I'll post what I have on the google code page that Privatepepper created - once I'm comfortable letting other people have a go at the code. Remember, I'm new to this whole programming thing. I'm going to pace myself rather than be dragged around, and actually learn from what I'm doing. That said, I'm more than happy to listen to ideas. Hell, that's very much the reason for this thread. Now, regarding Applets: There are two primary reasons I would do an applet if I were to create the game as I said in that paragraph. The first is that updates happen on the back-end and don't require additional work on the players part. The second is to keep everyone using the same version. However, I don't have the means to support an Erfworld Server and SQL Server if it became popular. I can set up a server easy enough, sure, but if we suddenly had 500 people playing regularly, I'm no sure I have the bandwidth for that. There would be lag issues and all sorts of other complaints. Remember that this is just a project and not a professional production. I'm not Blizzard, or even NCSoft. We'll make it work though.

On to units: I think the Sid Meier model is a little off track for Erfworld. It occurs to me that I could use the C&C style, but even that I'm leery of. I'd prefer to let players agree on an army cost in an independent game, and spend that much on army/fortifications/magic items/etc. Basically the "points" is just an oversimplification of the effect of money. A better comparison might be, oddly enough, 1830 if anyone has ever played it. You start with $600, and then bid/buy companies and railroad stocks at the start of the game. Then, after every round of turns it goes back to a buying phase where you can spend money earned through your last turn. Instead, here you would be buying fortifications/city tiles, units, magic items, or spells.

Another thing we're working on is a program that goes alongside the game client, which allows for player-made maps. Here's a small description of the map system we're planning.

Maps will always be square: 32x32 to 256x256 or whatever upper limit we set.
The upper limit needs to be high since there are units out there with over 50 move.
There will be 2-4 "Garrisons" or City-center tiles on each map.
These will be starting points for Alliances(more on those later).
The leader of each Alliance claims the City as theirs and is allowed to buy expansion tiles.
City expansion tiles must be laid adjacent to existing City tiles controlled by that player.
Each player can deploy their units in their Alliance's city.
Each Hex will have an owner. Hexes are claimed by passing through them and go to the Player who first passes through it.
Allied players cannot take each others hexes but can move through allied hexes.
Barbarians may appear to fight off intrusion into their home hex.
Owners are Player, Barbarian, or Null
Different terrain types will provide various bonuses and penalties such as to concealment or movement

Right now I'm limiting number of players to 6 per game.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Kreistor » Wed Jul 01, 2009 2:50 pm

Warhammer 40K models better than Civ or that style. You're really looking at squad level combat with this, not army level. If you try to implement massive armies to start with, you're going to have Dbase issues. So, I suggest that you trim it down to 100 unit armies, max.

Points for Warlords... that's something you can experiement with. How much are 8 Level 1 Warlords worth vs 1 Level 8 warlord? That's going to come down to your combat engine and how you decide damage is dealt. Random elelemnt? Exponential vs. logarithmic effects in the Combat vs. Defense equations. And so on.

My suggestion: draw the curve you want, then pick an equation that models it, instead of picknig the equation and seeing how well that works. It's a three dimensional curve, unfortunately, so you want a series of graphs of COmbat vs. a selected defense. X=Combat, Y = hitsies, and Defense varies from graph to graph. You may find tha you have the same graph for (Combat-Defense). If COmbat 8 vs. Defense 6 does the same danmage as Combat 4 vs. Defense 2, you only need one graph.


You've got a lot of rules to make up. So much we don't know about the die-level mechanics, and you're going to ave to invent those. Rob probably doesn't even know what equations he'd use. Only the high level is important to his story.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Kallisti » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:24 pm

Does each Player get only one Warlord? Should the Warlord represent the Player? It seems most factions are represented with one warlord throughout the Battle for Gobwin Knob. Stanley kept replacing his lost warlord with a new one until he summons Parson. Ansom had Webinar, but was Webinar a Warlord, or was Ansom? Was Ansom the equivelent of Stanley instead of Parson? What do the Warlord rules appear to be? Or do Warlords just cost a lot more points than other units? What about the cost of promoting units to Warlord?


Jetstone had at least 2 warlords (Ansom and Webinar), and GK had all the uncroaked warlords in addition to Parson. Each side only has one Chief Warlord though.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Kreistor » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:49 pm

Right... you asked about the 8-unit stacking thing. No, there is no sign that more than 8 units in a stack is disallowed.

Here's what I think, with no corroborating evidence...

When two forces engage, one side is the attacker and the other the defender. The on-Turn side chooses to attack or not. If it declines, the defender decides to attack or not. If neither attacks, there is no combat.

So, the attacker selects all of his stacks and assigns them to attack accessible defending stacks. The defender then may assign unengaged stacks to accessible attacker stacks. And then attacker assigns, and back and forth throughout the combat. So, if I have 10 stacks and you have 8, I can pin your 8 with my eight, and then double team two of yours, leaving none for you to assign.

So, let's both have 80 units. I organize into 10 8's, you into 8 10's. I attack, and assign 6 of my 8's to 8 of your 10's, and 2 8's to 2 of your 10's. You'll have a small advantage in 6 combats, but I'll have a big one in 2. Depending on the odds, that might be better for me.

Now, if I'm defending, you put 8 of your 10's on 8 of my 8's, but then I get to assign my unengaged 2 to a couple of yours. You've lost some of the attacker advatage of picking which units attack which defenders. (Ie. There's usually a form of rock/paper/scissors in most unit-unit combat. Archery beats pike beats sword and board beats archery. Getting to choose which of your units attack which of mine is the attacker advantage. Defender advantage is the defensive bonus of prepared defenses like embankments, trapped terrain, etc.)

On its own, the 8 unit stack bonus does not make 8 unit stacks the best. One 16 vs. two 8's will in the first round have a stalemate round with equal losses. Call it 2 killed on weach side. Now it's 14 with an 8 bonus vs. a 6 and 8, or 2 7's. The 14 has a clear numerical advantage at this point. Only if the bonus persists (ie. reains 8 despite losses) does the stalemate remain, and it's still just a draw, preventing the 8 from being superior.

There has to be something more that Parson didn't know about or didn't tell us to explain the 8 unit stack commonality.
http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/TBFGK_1 Here you can find all comic pages written as text for convenient quoting.

http://www.erfworld.com/wiki/index.php/Erfworld_Mechanics The starting page for accessing all known Erfworld "rules".
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Cmdr I. Heartly Noah » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:28 pm

Parson says you see "a lot" of 8-man stacks, due to there being no bonus beyond 8. That doesn't necessarily make it the "right" thing to do, but on the surface it makes sense. We know the Transylvito guys had huge stacks. (Friggin ton of bats/11 warlords = big stacks) They were all warlords and they had Caesar in the stack, so all the bats were getting those bonuses, which for them, at least, are probably way more important than the stack bonus. Or at least, it made more sense to have them in stacks with Warlords than running around on their own. It may only be that they knew they needed a lot of bats and they just divided them among the available Warlords so no bat was unled and each warlord had plenty of fodder.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Kallisti » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:33 pm

Maneuverability is important, as well as force spread, a 16 versus 2 8s is only marginally better. So you can afford to spread your forces out and get things like pincer attacks or to protect warlords and casters. But the 8 stack is going to be a heck of a lot (probably around twice) as strong as 2 stacks of four, so you make a risk in having units that are easy to take out.

The bats and Transilvitos versus Stanley and the dragons is a different story as well, since they only need to hit one single stack and win, so there's no reason not to bring everything they had.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Doktor Jones » Thu Jul 02, 2009 12:54 am

Would it be acceptable to accept donations for running the server? I have a fair amount of storage/bandwidth I can chunk off from my account for this project, and if its needs grow beyond what I can provide gratis, the assistance of donations should permit me to scale up the availability of resources as needed, as they're relatively cheap :)

Of course, I wouldn't need donations at the outset, as I currently have bandwidth and storage to spare... I'm just concerned about eventual scalability beyond what I can offer.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby depricated » Thu Jul 02, 2009 2:53 am

That's the same worry I have Jones.

I have the storage and bandwidth currently, but if it managed to become a problem we'd either experience periods of the game being unavailable at the end of the month(and a downward spiral of everyone getting their fix on the first) or need to collect donations increase bandwidth. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, though.

Also, as I recall Warhammer it's always been squad warfare. I'm talking the miniatures game, of course, not the computer game - I've never played that. I think a -similar- system would be appropriate.

It would be easy enough to cross the system between a one-off game mode and an account-based(saved army) game mode.

Costs can come later though. I'm planning to keep unit types in a database that the game will draw from for army construction. If we decide to change the costs later, it's simply a matter of changing the cost in the DB rather than in the code. This also allows us to add new units as they're discovered/invented. We do know that the second page of the book implies that units are purchased with money, so this should parallel with that.

I'm also thinking that each map will have a per-player unit limit - mostly to keep things manageable. We could easily make a map for the hardcore strategist that allows 800 units, I suppose - but for the most part I pictured 50-150 units(not stacks).
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby Doktor Jones » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:12 am

depricated wrote:That's the same worry I have Jones.

I have the storage and bandwidth currently, but if it managed to become a problem we'd either experience periods of the game being unavailable at the end of the month(and a downward spiral of everyone getting their fix on the first) or need to collect donations increase bandwidth. I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it, though.


One of the nice things about my account is it's a reseller account, so I can actually spin off a completely new account, with up to 20GB storage and 200GB bandwidth. I could probably actually muster maybe 10-15% more before I'd need donations to keep things running, but I'll guarantee the 20/200 up front. The benefit to the reseller thing is that whoever is in charge of the project has full cPanel access, and can in turn create additional e-mail addresses and FTP accounts for other project members, as well as MySQL databases, mailing lists, and subdomains.

One might ask why I'd do this, when I have no other apparent involvement in the project -- well, it's because I'm not particularly adept at much else, and would like to contribute in some way... and this is about the only way I have at my disposal, especially because of how little free time I currently have (at least in usefully contiguous blocks -- I tried running defrag time: but it didn't work :( )

I also do web design stuffs (including PHP and MySQL/SQLite), so when the time comes for the project to have its own site, I can assist with that; I'll say it right up front though that I don't have enough time to create/manage/maintain the site singlehandedly. Someone else will need to step up to the plate for that.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby depricated » Fri Jul 03, 2009 4:17 am

That's certainly more than I could offer from my own server, and I'd be happy to go with it. I doubt anyone else would object either. 200gb of Bandwidth should do well enough for starters, I think. That's my primary concern.
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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby malekith » Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:37 pm

Doktor Jones wrote:I also do web design stuffs (including PHP and MySQL/SQLite), so when the time comes for the project to have its own site, I can assist with that; I'll say it right up front though that I don't have enough time to create/manage/maintain the site singlehandedly. Someone else will need to step up to the plate for that.

I'd be more than willing to step up to the plate there. i too, dont have the time to run a site and serer full time (or to the standards you can give) but if we could work together then I think we could achieve something good :D so count me in when we get there!
Also on the idea of donations, i don't think that under the CC license of Erfworld that you'd be able to ask for donations as this project upon release to the public would become property of Rob and Jamie first and foremost followed by depricated/whoever else he deems a 'creator'. But that said if we need to expand the server to such an extent we may be able to get round that by asking for server donations for the project rather than for your server to host the project on. im not sure you may have to ask someone more knowledgable about that. but all that said if i were to help out with the website/server stuffs then i could see how much server upgrades would cost and i could possibly cover it all myself... :)

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Re: Erfworld VG Rules Discussion

Postby depricated » Sat Jul 04, 2009 2:22 am

I PM'd Rob about the matter of donations for hosting for the project. Haven't heard back, don't know if I will.

I think between those of us discussing hosting, we may be able to come up with the cost ourselves. We'll see. Bandwidth is my biggest concern, and 200gb/mo should be plenty.
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