Post news RSS State of the Game: Autumnal Equinox Edition

In this update, the team discusses the status, scope, and approach to the game including some changes moving forward with Imagine Nations.

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As Summer comes to a close (and we get some folks back from a few weeks of vacation), we wanted to get an update out to everyone about the current status of Imagine Nations. There’s been a bit of activity over the last few weeks and we’ve made two big decisions recently that have expanded the scope of what we need as a base build. As such, this post will explain the reasoning behind the decisions and what that means for a first release. First, we have shifted over to the Unity game engine (Unity3d.com). We’ve been wrestling with a lot of the fine points of our own engine, and while we’re confident we can get them done, it comes down to time. Building a stable engine can take years, and Unity allows us to have that stable foundation to focus exclusively on our game itself. Our engine is very similar to Unity in many areas, so the transition was relatively painless. Moving forward, this has cut down many of the tasks related to the engine, and allowed everyone to shift to the remaining game features necessary for launch.

Second, we have been discussing the features we were aiming for in the first release and found that it did not accomplish the core vision of Imagine Nations. Our vision with Imagine Nations is to provide fully autonomous cultures that are simulating at all times and a fusion of features from all genres to allow the player to interact (or not) with those cultures. While the former was mostly covered, the latter was lacking. Most of the functionality was aimed around RPG and Creative, while all other genres were non-existent. Now we’re not expecting to build the entire game all at once, but we would at least need a foundation that allows any person coming into Imagine Nations to find features they enjoy from other games (and allow someone to experiment with features they may have never tried before). They’re going to be very basic and rough at the start, but we will continue to refine them as we expand the game over the years.

What does this all mean? It means that we will take our time in ensuring that the core vision of Imagine Nations is met with the first release. While this shouldn’t greatly increase the time necessary for the build, it does mean that we will need more time in development before we’re comfortable with a launch. Unity has reduced the foundation portion of development to nearly zero, so we are all fully working on the game logic at this point. It should move pretty smoothly (within reason, as speed bumps can occur at any time within game development) and as soon as we are confident we have built something that we love to play, we will release it for everyone else to try out.

To clarify what we expect from the first release, this is the revised (and pretty verbose) feature list:

  • Two competing cultures in two separate towns that are working autonomously to accomplish their defined goals
  • Basic research trees utilized by both cultures to expand their technology based on the culture’s personality (militaristic, economics, magic/religion)
  • Research driven by a basic trial and error approach based on the current research topic
  • Trade route established between the two cultures
  • Town leader directs the town’s expansion via the central building
  • All NPCs following proper behaviours, with their actions directly affecting the town (i.e. goods being manufactured require finite materials, and the goods are used by the town)
  • NPCs have needs (such as food, socializing, etc.) that must be met via various locations in the town. They will work at their defined profession, buy food/water at the market, socialize with others at inns, etc.
  • NPCs can have children which grow up and eventually move out, expanding the town along its roads defined by procedural “floor plans”
  • Player beginning in one of the two cultures’ towns and defining that culture’s race
  • Player able to interact with NPCs to start general dialogue, start/end missions, buy/sell goods, and hear rumors that could lead to possible treasure
  • Missions driven by the town and/or NPC’s needs (such as a desert town needing a supply of wood to accomplish a new town project)
  • Procedural missions that can generate locations in non-visited areas to accomplish some pre-defined goals
  • Missions accomplished by NPC adventurers/parties
  • Basic supply/demand driven economy
  • Creatures found in the wild, with defined “lairs” supporting their population
  • Player able to interact with the game through various genre-driven features:

RPG/FPS:

  • Player can die when health reaches zero
  • Player can sprint when stamina bar is not zero
  • Player can utilize movement in various ways as a tactical advantage (such as rolling, dodging, climbing, sneaking, etc.)
  • Player can increase various skills by use
  • Player can increase various stats through the skills associated with the stats
  • Player can start combat utilizing various weaponry (driven by skills) to defeat NPCs (both melee and ranged)
  • Player can utilize magic in various ways
  • Player gains “experience” when accomplishing tasks, exploring, killing enemies, etc.
  • Player can start missions of various types which result in experience and rewards
  • Player can start or join a party when adventuring

RTS:

  • Player can run for basic politics to become the mayor
  • Player can directly control the town via the central building to dictate:
    • The assignment of “social” citizens to various tasks
    • The location of buildings to be built by workers when they are available
    • The economic structure of the town
    • Town defences and patrols (for now, the “mayor” would also take on the role of the “general”)
    • The research topics being focused on by the assigned researchers (leaders do not get direct access to the overarching research tree, but merely define a high level topic to focus on which could potentially spit out a wide range of technologies as researchers work through their trial and error approach)
  • Player can control the town’s soldiers in the case of battles with the competing culture (both on the front lines, and in a top-down view)

Creative:

  • Player can craft various handheld items like armor, clothing, food, tools, and weapons on the fly (such as when making a simple torch) or utilizing specialized core blocks (such as a work bench for a simple tool)
  • Player can dig out soft blocks with their hands
  • Players can dig out hard blocks with various tools
  • Players can place blocks in the world
  • Players can interact with various core blocks to build meaningful objects (such as placing a “home” core block on an owned town lot)
  • When interacting with a core block, player has the option to start/end “build mode” which recognizes all blocks placed within the radius provided for that core block
  • Finalizing build mode produces a blueprint which can allow creation of the same construct via machinery (in future eras) and work crews
  • Blueprints would also allow the player to rebuild the same object manually while detailing the amount of resources necessary and guiding the player through placement of the various parts
  • Finalized constructs can be interacted with through their core block to gain access to specialized functionality (such as a home allowing the placement of a mailbox for incoming mail, a tax box for collection of taxes, traps, etc.)

Simulation

  • Player is able to purchase a lot within the town, and then build a home using a home core block
  • Player is able to move into the home
  • Player is able to marry someone and start a family
  • Player is able to work with family to ensure all needs are met (such as socializing, food/water, clothing, shelter, etc.)
  • Player can take a job within the town to generate funds
  • Player can start a business and hire employees to work for them
  • Player can utilize trade carts and simple passenger vehicles
  • Player can utilize fishing and simple passenger boats

Action-Adventure / Platformer

  • Player can climb up and down walls that support this movement
  • Player can slide down slopes
  • Player can jump and grab an edge to pull themselves up

As a reminder, the first build (pre-Unity transition) is available for all backers. We will be expecting an update using the new Unity changes hopefully in the next few weeks (vacations slowed things down a bit). The Unity update shouldn’t have too much changed content, but will be much more stable. We will then continue to add the above content as its finished and backers can continue following our development via the developer feed.

- The Imagine Nations Team

Get Imagine Nations for $15.00 and gain access to early builds and Backer’s Access to private forums for Backer’s Only.

Comments
jackawaka
jackawaka

Not going to purchase early access until some good builds are shown, sorry.

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