Suggestion: Permeable game area borders

Talk about Sarah's upcoming game in the Rebuild series.

Re: Suggestion: Permeable game area borders

Postby Shining Hector » Thu Dec 12, 2013 12:13 pm

It might be harder to implement, but if you could manage to blockade the borders, might that reduce or eliminate the spawning of zombies? Making the permeable areas roads makes the most sense. One of your goals would then be to push for the roads, set up defenses there to plink off incoming zombies, and thereby eventually cut off zombie reinforcements for your town once all incoming roads are secure.

It seems like there should be some kind of endpoint, where your town is reasonably secure and it's time to move on. If you need a few guard stations at points of entry, that's cool. If after completely retaking your town you find yourself surrounded by ominous forests which you can't do much to protect yourself against and where infinite masses of zombies routinely invade, not so much. Give me some sense of accomplishment for my efforts. Beating an impossible game should feel like an accomplishment, not a cause for despair when you see the town is eventually doomed no matter what happens.
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Re: Suggestion: Permeable game area borders

Postby Llapgochmaster » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:51 am

Ophryon wrote:I understood the reasons for your suggestion and agreed with all of it. What I mis-understood is that you only intended to scatter a small proportion of the new border tiles here and there. I thought you were proposing that entire stretches of border be permeable. The idea makes far more sense to me now and I support it heartily.


Whoops! Should have picked up on that. High-fives! I do think it could be fun, though, to have a huge map with a corner or two of just sprawling city. Plenty of cities just sprawl on out forever...

Shining Hector wrote:It might be harder to implement, but if you could manage to blockade the borders, might that reduce or eliminate the spawning of zombies? Making the permeable areas roads makes the most sense. One of your goals would then be to push for the roads, set up defenses there to plink off incoming zombies, and thereby eventually cut off zombie reinforcements for your town once all incoming roads are secure.


Well, I figured building one of the existing defensive structures (tower, bunker, etc.) adjacent to the border tile would get the job done. And, as I pointed out earlier, those structures actually make most sense at locations where there is a constant, unavoidable threat. In order of efficiency you'd build them:

1. Adjacent to "border gates"
2. Adjacent to natural choke points (bridges so far)
3. Along your expanding border

Scenario three is least efficient because after you've expanded a certain distance you'll naturally want to tear down your tower and build something else.

Roads do make sense. But so do fields and city, I think! It doesn't bother me that the game map should be taken as an arbitrary "chunk" of a realistic landscape, as opposed to each map being a tidy self-contained city with a few roads in or out. Maybe the total border tiles inventory could be something like:

1. Impassable Forest (secure border)
2. Road through forest (insecure)
3. Field (insecure)
4. Road through field (insecure, just an alternate visual)
5. Urban sprawl (insecure)

If we're getting crazy we might add some other visual types for variety, e.g.:

6. Mountains (secure)

And all insecure borders would essentially behave the same. A big highway would be cool, except I'm having trouble seeing how it would blend with the existing tiles. Maybe if the big highway actually continued right through the map... But that would be a whole other kettle of fish.
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Re: Suggestion: Permeable game area borders

Postby Ophryon » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:38 pm

Yeah, scrap my highway-border idea; that was for when I thought you wanted long stretches of permeable border.

I'm still iffy about Fields: why wouldn't they build a farm there?

Urban sprawl is interesting ("We don't go downtown. It's too dangerous.") but I would really want my good scavengers to be able to go there. And I'm not sure what you're picturing, but the scale is weird. If I can take over a four-square shopping mall or an Office Tower, what is it about this urban space that makes it impossible?

Regarding bunkers: I don't think Shining Hector was disagreeing about what form the defense/blockade should take. I think his main point was there should also be a gameplay benefit to securing those spaces, to give a reason to push for them and restore a sense of accomplishment.

This fits perfectly with the thematic justification you gave in your first post. Where are all these zombies coming from anyway? Your idea answers with, "From beyond the borders." To carry that thought further: once we know where they're coming from, the natural strategy is to secure those access points. "Securing" could mean waiting until you can build a Turret there, but eventually there should be some sense of victory for locking it down and maybe some positive effects for lesser defenses along the way. Currently, though, there is no reason to push for them. Reducing zombie threat in nearby spaces would be a good positive effect. Once we know more about the Trade system, there might be a benefit to securing roads. Just wanting something to turn these border spaces from a negative-feeling difficulty punishment to a positive goal.

By the way, one wrinkle to work out is when a rare building, such as a Power Plant, is adjacent to a permeable border. You would never be able to secure it, since it would have to be destroyed to build a bunker.

I don't mean to sound negative. It's a good idea, I'm just brainstorming to try and smooth the rough edges.
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Re: Suggestion: Permeable game area borders

Postby Llapgochmaster » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:12 pm

Ophryon wrote:I don't mean to sound negative. It's a good idea, I'm just brainstorming to try and smooth the rough edges.


It's all good! We're all just thinking out loud anyways.

Ophryon wrote:Currently, though, there is no reason to push for them.


Re: special advantages for blocking up border gates, I kinda thought that having a mostly secure border was gameplay benefit enough. The player is *really* just looking to get their back up against something secure. The game borders serve that purpose if you can plug up the holes. That's how I see it, anyways.

Here's a thought, maybe to make dealing with border gates more satisfying, it could be possible to construct defensive buildings right on the border tile square. That would visually look more like an entrenched checkpoint, and also solve the "why not build a farm there?" question. On the other hand, now there's nowhere for zombies to build up and attack from. Those attacks would need to be event driven instead. Not sure that's a good trade.

Good point about big/rare buildings bordering border gates. I think I'd try to avoid that in the map generation phase.
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Re: Suggestion: Permeable game area borders

Postby Will It Work » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:43 pm

There's a whole bunch of fence techs. Ideally, we'd be able to declare an arbitrary wall and reinforce the heck out of it.

It does bring up a good point though. A lot of this discussion is sort of post-game or late game stuff, and involves hard vs. soft maps, that there'd be more map than is accessible to the player. The border areas like ocean and forest make for actual map edges, because the Adobe Flash app needs to conserve memory.

How big is this going to get if you can start walking around on those edges? Now you need bigger edges where people can't go.
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