When is it going to be playable?
A: Currently it is in closed alpha, this is after we had an open alpha to get first impressions, and there is a very old build of the game on our Indie DB page, The release of the game is currently unknown but I would hope Q1 of 2015, will have a playable demo.
How much will it cost?
A: I am not sure yet but I think it will be around $15.
Features/Planned Content and Mechanics
Below is the features and content that will end up in PAPS, I will not say when any of these things will be in, I may chose to let you know what order I am thinking about adding them. There is also some content and features that are on the table for being added, but due to either their difficulty in implementing or the cost associated with adding the feature, also some features just may take to long for me to be able to commit to. I will take these and the good ideals I find in the discussion and ones I come up with myself at the bottom under possible features.
Different Business types
You can run more than just a pawn shop, there are other business types as well. At this time I can only confirm four for now
but I will mention some more ideas in the possible features section, and you guys can make suggestions in the steam discussion too.
Store: you can run a general store that sells everything, or be a specific type of store, like a gun shop or a clothing store.
Pawn Shop/Bank: People will always have bad economic times, especially after an apocalypse. Negotiate loans in exchange for collateral. if business is going well, and you think you know how to invest. Run a bank and give loans for new businesses to start up, store people money or create your own money, by making a new currency.
Hotel/Casino: In the apocalypse, lots of people will be traveling to find better places. They still need a place to sleep though, offer people a bed for the night, keep in mind if you spare expenses on the rooms, you’ll attract those who look for a bargain. If there are not
enough travelers to fill your beds, attract people, with gambling and entertainment. Give them free drinks and they will have so much fun they won't stop, till you throw them out for not having anymore money that is.
Bar/lounge: This is a place townsfolk gather to have a drink and socialize. Customers will order drinks, talk with friends and may expect some entertainment. Keep in mind the less classy your place is, so will be the customers it attracts. If you keep security on the low, more brawls will happen.
Gang Leader/Mob boss:
The AI in PAPS will be the centerpiece of the game. The AI are simulated individuals, with every possible option open to them as the player. The AI will make mistakes based on their intelligence and will make as much money as possible based on their competence. They will negotiate with the player and other NPC’s to get the things they need based on their speechcraft, all with their own random personality and traits. They will need to survive just like the player, they need to eat drink and sleep. They also want to be happy, this can be through their living conditions or by spending some extra cash on gambling, or simply hanging out with his friends at the local pub.
PAPS business management system, allows compelling amount of control and displayed in a intuitive way. In addition to that word salad it will allow the player to adjust prices, and manage employees. Monitor their performance and maybe give them some more freedom in how they do their job. Track your expenditures and income and find ways to increase profit.
NPC’s will have lots to talk about, you can ask questions, like their opinion on certain NPC’s, or ask for feedback about what they think of you or your business. Offer them services or ask about the world and learn more about the world and what happened through the NPC's personal stories and hearsay. The NPC’s personalities will have an impact on how they communicate with you. as well as their opinion of you, to get some information befriend them so that they trust you. or maybe buy them a drink and in a drunken mistake they may tell you something the should not have.
The first person shooter aspect to the game, will be pretty straight forward. You will have an equipment management screen you can change your gear and equipped weapons. You can toggle on or off combat mode,when its activated you draw your weapon and now new actions become possible like murder. less obviously you can enter rob or extort npcs to give you information, their positions or a cut of their business. Keep in mind that most illegitimate actions happen while you are in combat mode, and when you perform hostile actions bystanders or security may get involved. Also people's perception and opinion of you will change. Like wise if you perform legitimate actions people may favor you more if you help them when they are faced with a coercive situations, but might be more mixed if you gun down a lowly pickpocket.
Shop improvements/upgrades system
This is something I think is going to be important to many people, the ability to buy, and place counters/shelves and other store items would make your store, be more unique and personal. It also opens up the possibilities for npcs to have cosmetic preferences, for example rich people would not go into your shop, if you have rusty shelves and the paint on the walls is peeling. This system has some technical challenges, but could be circumvented by limiting the system. However with these types of challenges I like to take them on when I am ready this feature is low priority right now and will be one of the last things done.
Land Ownership and Development.
You can upgrade your businesses look and function, but at some point you may want another establishment. Or you may want to buy some land as an investment in its future value. Owning land is one of the two ways to control things legitimately in PAPS. If you own a plot of land, you can build a new building on it. you can then run this building or hire a manager to run for you. You can get a business going and then sell it outright for a profit. Or you might acquire land by a business you gave a loan to defaulting on the loan and thus forfeiting the land and assets to you. Land is probably the most valuable thing in PAPS so keep that in mind for your long term strategy. Selling land cheap can be an easy way to get more people to come to your town. Also if you do not protect your land there are illegitimate ways of losing your land, but the lawless probably don’t care about who owns the land.
The all the goods and items a created by individuals whether they are mined by at a quarry, harvested at a farm, or produced at a factory all items in PAPS are in the 3d existence. Items must be transported around the town with carts or other modes of transportation. There will be a way to put small items on your person in the traditional way of an inventory, but this will be still be limited by items volume, size, and weight. Some items may come from trade outside the town, and items can leave the town into the world economy as well. Make your town export produced goods, or even have a players currency be picked up by the traders and become a world standard. #not done yet
New Game, New Experience
When you go to start a new game in PAPS, you can chose to have a completely random start, or have preset start conditions or scenarios. Things like the the towns starting size. Is it just you and a run down shack with no one to be seen? or is it a thriving town with businesses already up and running. Or somewhere inbetween? Also who inhabits the land, is it run by gangs and mercenaries, or is it a trade hub where merchants and manufactures hagle and trade. There are other major starting factors like your starting money,
and land. This allows for an endless amount of variation in how the game feels, and how you decide to start your business. You can select your characters personality type. Which will affect how your player says things, and how npcs react. You can also choose a starting alignment, this will give you a boost towards the side you chose to align with. Keep in mind your alignment will change by your actions and interactions still.
The npc’s in PAPS will be able to do all the things the player can, even run a business. If there is an opportunity the AI may try and take advantage of it. This will be one of the major factors in the difficulty of the game, The AI will have an ambition stat that will tell them if they will act on an opportunity or not. This will keep the player from always gaining a monopoly, as if there is any exploitation there is profit in curing it.
Since every item in the game will be in 3d space, they will need to react and feel like real objects thus we need physics, or should I say physX. I am not a physics programmer so this will probably be the most challenging thing for me, however what I will be trying to do is not the most complicated thing ever.
More Business Types
I wanted to say, in the explanation of the AI, that “The player can do anything the AI can”. This statement is not true.
at the moment most things as far as businesses and such the player cannot do, like run a mine, or be a doctor. All these things sound really great, and they would all respectively add a ton of replay value to the game. I would love to just say yes, you can do anything the AI can. but that will not be true, so I hope to say yes you can do this, until there is little to nothing left that they can and you can't do.
Private Military Company
The problem: The main issue that makes this not possible, is that the AI will not do things like the player does, when the AI do things its because conditions and parameters are met, when the player does things, It is not. So I need to completely add this functionality most likely. As of yet I have not actually began this process but I for now am assuming the amount of time for everything to be done, will take a very large amount of time, because I also have to get the AI to effectively compete with a player and not just other AI.
The graphics in PAPS, are going to be a lot of work, as we have an entire town, that needs to have variants for all the different alignments. There is also going to be hundreds of items in the game, as well as clothing for the economic classes as well as for all the different professions. This is a lot of work for one person, that is not even a real 3d artist. I hope to run a kickstarter for the game so that I can contract out this work to trained professionals to model and texture the game. This will greatly increase the quality of the game, and it will also give me a lot more time to spend programming. I will have to come up with an actual list of objects that need to be created, so that I can shop around for 3d artists and get a quote so that I can accurately say how much funds I need and directly where they will go. Regardless of whether the kickstarter fails, I will be able to deliver some amount of quality to the textures and models but it will take time.
Law and Order
After the apocalypse there will have to be rules, if we want to accomplish anything. The way to enforce these rules, with governments gone. will be up to individuals to work with one another to form courts and establish some common law. The easiest way is with contracts, courts, and enforcement.
In PAPS contracts are agreements, typically business related, that are made with a third party court.
Court: Courts are a business type in PAPS, that are basicly third parties to any disputes. You can have a dispute over a contract. If one party does not meet their end of the deal, it is up to the court to decide the punishment. The court does not directly issue the punishments but generally hires a security or private military company to enforce the verdicts.
Enforcement: Enforcement is the last stage in this legal system, enforcers can be a security company or a PMC, They will be the ones who issue the reparations, whether it be ceasing assets or removing people from the town. Also for bad and evil organizations, they do not use courts for dispute resolution but instead skip directly to the enforcement stage, gangs will use gang enforcers and slavers and other criminals may hire mercenaries or assassins to do the job.
The Problem: The big issue here is that this means every action in the game, needs to be integrated with this is a system, that needs to be somewhat present pretty early on because it governs the combat system and your business interactions. This is mainly a time problem, because it is so broad of a system. One thing that would make this system much more likely to be added is if I implement slaves, that may sound weird, but the reason for that is, if I am willing to give content to bad/evil then I really should also give something mainly meant for good/neutral.
Third Person Perspective
Being able to see the world in the third person and first person would add a ton of value to the game, and the experience.
The Problem: Adding in a third person camera and writing some scripts so that the camera does not go through walls and moves dynamically, in addition adding a toggle for the player to manually control the camera would not be difficult, what would be difficult is making the user interface feel good with this mode of control, It will also make your character something much more important, now that you can see it. So I would probably need to add a lot more customization for the player. This will take time so it is not going to be confirmed as of now.
Slavers are in the game, but slaves are not confirmed, at least the playing being able to own and use them. This really looks bad, in the sense that there will be a group of people who perform a job, in which nothing is created. Which fundamentally goes against how jobs and professions work in PAPS.
The Problem: There are many technical issues with a slave, mainly, they would not use the NPC system that governs all NPC actions and behaviour. Also slaves serve to create content for really only one profession which is the slavers, and they only would be possible in a bad/evil society. I feel that is a very specific feature that requires such a massive amount of effort.