Monday, July 30, 2007


Soul Kitchen

I'm uploading version 0.91, this will be the last release for some time because I'm beginning a three-weeks vacation.
The latest addition to the game is a sort of task given to the player at the start of each game, this in my opinion is useful to guide the player giving him a scope, otherwise the game would be too much open-ended, I wanted to avoid the people that will play the game to think "I'm in front of the map, what should I do now?". So when a new game starts the player can see phrases as "During the elections you promised to wipe out Lebanon". Perfect, the player now has something real to do. To fulfill the electoral promise will result in a final bonus on the approval rating between 0 to 15%, otherwise there will be a penalty of the same amount (these figures are likely to change during testing).
There's a lot of things that must be documented, but having concentrated so much upon finishing the last details of the architecture I had no time for the rest. At this point, apart from a couple of minor things, the game is there, only balance has to be adjusted, I remember I wrote this thing before but now it's true.
Another thing I've been thinking: how the game has been programmed. I had more time to study the engine recently and my skills improved a bit: I see everything I've been coding so far with so much horror... but if I rewrote the most terrible parts it would take other months, and the whole project would be defined vaporware. For sure, to keep working with really bad parts is not easy.
However the controls for this version are: spacebar to start a new game (a new game can be started in every moment), z for the next turn, left-click to pass from the "next turn" screen to the map. Sometimes, especially when battles are involved, you have to wait for a while after pressing z. Press esc to exit the game.

Here's the link to download the new version.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Sons of the Silent Age

I have completed everything that constitutes version 0.9, there's a lot of feeback now, plus there are the splash screens when starting a new game and when a game is over. In practice the game is done, only game balance has to be adjusted.

I'll describe briefly the structure of the game that has emerged with this version, this is not gonna change, as the jump from 0.9 to 1.0 will address stabiliy issues, game balance and possibly code optimization (believe me, now the code really sucks, part of this is due to the fact that until a couple of months ago I had a limited version of the engine that didn't let me use arrays, or finite state machine. I didn't use these features of the full engine because this would have meant to rewrite the game from scratch, I'll use them in future games, the only practical advantage for now is the chance to play an executable).
The player impersonates the head of the Israeli government, the player's final goal is to be re-elected as this is the first and final goal of every politician. One term lasts 25 turns (this length might be adjusted), at the last turn, if Israel hasn't been destroyed or a global thermonuclear war hasn't been triggered in the meantime, there's the general elections. To win the elections the player has to gain 50%+1 of the votes, he can hope to do this by convincing the public opinion: in order to do so the player must have Israel survive and possibly win a war. Declaring war will have a negative effect on the public opinion, if Israel is attacked the public opinion will rise, and in case of victory it will skyrocket. Other factors affectig the public opinion can be added during the testing phase.
The player doesn't have free-hands, because Israel is a democracy constatly kept under observation, not only during the elections, but every single day. A government (especially the Israeli one, which is the product a very divided society) must always weight the pros and cons of every action, and it can happen that, after some scandal or some other thing happening in the internal or international arena, the government simply cannot to some of the things it could theoretically do if one only watched at the majorities in the parliament or at the mere powers assigned by the constitution or other laws. These difficulties are modeled in the game as a higher or lower number of policy tokens, the decisions that can be taken by the player each turn.

I'll do some tests and then I'll release the official version 0.9

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I Call Your Name

Version 0.87 is the one I submitted to the competition. It has much of the feedback elements needed to play the game, but again there's still no balance between the various variables.
The good news is that the painful operations needed to play the previous versions are over! this version is an executable.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Bron-Y-Aur Stomp

One thing has emerged during this first testing period: the original game guided the player much more than my version, where there's no more the division between the first diplomatic phase and the second strategic phase. I have to counterbalance this lacking feature with more feedback, otherwise the player will be a bit lost.
I fixed a lot of major bugs, which rendered the game unplayable, so there has been no fine tuning of the game variables so far. I have to admit I'm still discovering important things I left unfinished... shame on me.

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