viernes, enero 04, 2013


Quinta actualización del Kickstarter de Beyond the Gates of Antares en al que se dedican a hablar sobre el equilibrio del juego y de como trataran los informes enviados por los jugadores para hacer la historia avanzar y evitar trampas por parte de los mismos.

El Kickstarter lleva pocos días en marcha ya ha recaudado 50,367 £ con 440 participantes y 56 días por delante queda mucho de que hablar y contar.

Además hemos creado el club de Somos Fans de Rorkror!!! en Facebook apuntaos os esperamos.

Recordad mientras dure el Kickstarter podréis participar de forma gratuita en el desarrollo y diseño del juego desde los foros de Dark Space Corp, una vez que finalice el Kickstarter solo podrán acceder a los mismos los que hayan participado en el Kickstarter.

A heartfelt thank you to you all for backing us and believing in what we're trying to do. We have much still to do, but with you behind us, we'll work even harder!
Today's update is all about Balance, as there have been a fair few of you wondering about how we'll manage this within our Real-Time Dynamic Gaming Universe. So from the man himself: 
When it comes to realising our dream of a real-time games universe there are many things to consider– and naturally keeping a balance within the different factions is one of them. What happens if one faction becomes overwhelmingly powerful? Won’t the winner just grab all the best kit and quickly become unassailable? Questions along these lines have popped up on several forums as well as on our own DSC forum where I have posted on the subject of course. Well – I’m a little surprised that ‘game balance’ should excite folks quite so much – what about dynamic game play? What about player interaction? What about the internal tension of the game with those soaring highs and crashing lows? Then there’s narrative content, adventure, stories of battles and daring do! Sure game balance is important because a game has to be a game and not a foregone conclusion – but as a designer I know that making a fair and balanced game is achievable – at least within reasonable limits. Making a great game – making an exciting game – a game that compels – which invites innumerable strategies and is worth the hours and thought that players put into it – that is the challenge!
But balance it is :) Balance between the factions is the matter at hand – how to make sure that the universe evolves in a fashion that enables all the factions to continue to take part in a way that is rewarding and ultimately fair. Well, the chief tool that lies to hand (stop sniggering at the back) is the humble points value – or credit limit – call it what you will. Any material upgrades that become available will have a game value – and needless to say the more potent an upgrade is the more it is worth, and in games fought to a standard points total this will obviously change the make-up of a force without necessarily making it better. It gives a different option – opens up a dependent tactic in some cases – or it improves one aspect of the force but only at the cost of surrendering something else. So, regardless of what new kit we decide to introduce, there’s no reason for it to unbalance the game.
There is another good reason why new kit won’t unbalance actual play – and I blush to confess it – because I won’t let it. If by some terrible mischance (perhaps prompted by a sudden fever or sense of despair resulting from some new revelation of governmental incompetence) we should make an error in a points value or game value, then it is easily changed. Easily – because the upgrades will be managed as online downloads – and I’m imagining a downloadable card format here – so there is no need to endure the tedious tyranny of a printed supplement that won’t be updated for four, six or ten years depending upon some incalculable whim. In other words – yes I know it’s practically impossible to introduce new stuff and get everything exactly right all of the time – so, safety net the feature! Make sure you can change it quickly. Better still get it right and save yourself the embarrassment – but at least you know it can be sorted if necessary.

Again – I have said this before on the DSC forum – balance within the game is best achieved by designing within the parameters of the original design. It helps if you know what those are of course – and I fear that many games do suffer from power creep out of nothing but ignorance. If you understand the basic design parameters: the spread of stats and modifiers, the rigid linking structures that cannot be broken, and soft structures that can; then all you have to do is stick to those guidelines. Break them occasionally and knowingly. Introduce counter-balances to offset factors that take stats out of the ordinary range for a type. Don’t put balancing mechanics into soft mechanics that are mutable by special rules. These lessons and many more beside are there to learn from – so learn from them. Nail down the design parameters at the start – make sure than new additions sit within those parameters.
Okay that’s three basics for balance of kit and upgrades – then there’s the balance between the factions. Hardly fair if one faction leaps out in front and picks up all the joy, leaving the other guys playing a supporting role to the star performer. So what do we do about it? Well, again there are ways and means, some of which come down to the episode design – and by episode I mean the campaign or game – and some of which come down to how the data is collected and applied. I know that this latter subject has roused some curiosity, and I shall come to that in a moment, for now let’s look at episode design.
The real-time universe will run as a series of episodes and the intention is that there will be a number of episodes running concurrently. Some will be designed to last for a good while (whole wars for planets) others will be a single event lasting only a day (raids or assaults) and many others will be somewhere in between. Some of these episodes will bridge to other episodes and some will be stand-alone affairs. Within the major episodes there will be zones or areas that have to be fought over and won by one faction before the next tier is opened up, and that tier might itself lead to a further tier, and so on. It’s a basic tree structure starting with many zones, crunching down to fewer, and eventually crunching down to one and a result. Upgrades and bonuses are available within each tier and within many of the zones – and mostly these will be upgrades that are specific to that episode – so information, tech, allies, or whatever we care to include - which remain as options to players for the duration of that tier or episode. These bonuses are internal to the campaign, and in this case balance becomes a question of campaign design. This is why we aim to start off with short episodes by way of proofing the system. I’m not going to go into detail about the episode structures, except to say that the idea is to sort the factions by priority with the campaign, giving the leading factions preference of choice, but spreading the bonuses around. Upgrades and bonuses that endure beyond the episode – and these will be less common– will be handled online as already described. In addition, in most cases any upgrades won by one faction will, in time, spread to other factions, and this could be activated by results in further episodes, for example.
All right, nearly done here, only one more topic to go and the weary reader can wend his way to bed and a well-earned bout of shut-eye. This one is about the data handling – how do you set this up to make sure that results can’t be manipulated by the players? Well, the short answer is you can’t stop individuals fabricating results if they are determined enough to try. Results will need to be validated by both parties, but no system we could come up with could possibly stop players inventing games and putting in results 100% of the time. No. Now this is something I once found myself discussing with the chap who is in charge of Electron Arts Online RPG development, who is a good friend of mine and whom I have worked with on various projects over the years. So, I says to Paul… for his name is Paul… ‘how do you make sure people don’t try to skew the results’. And Paul looks pityingly upon me and says… ‘you don’t you fool… it’s all in how you sift the data’. And the secret is: one, don’t sift the data the same way all the time but vary the system, and two, don’t tell anyone how you sift the data! So – yes – we won’t necessarily treat all data equally all the time – so trying to manipulate the overall result will be quite difficult. There is also common sense at the end of the day – and there is no substitute for a suspicious mind and a cold eye.

Help us spread the word
We need to make sure everybody knows about us, so we've made some helpful artwork to help spread the word. GoA is all about involving you guys right at the start and our first job is to get us funded! So get creative on it, anything you can think of to spread the word from wandering around your home town with a robot WarDrone suit on (ok, so we haven’t actually made any but a simple cardboard box with the words “I’m a WarDrone – Pledge NOW or my IMTel nano-drones will infect you” will probably work!) to downloading this PDF (, emailing it to your friends and relatives, printing it out and handing it out to literally everyone you come across, you can even get some blue-tak and stick it on the foreheads of shop owners if you like! (apologies if you are actually a shop owner… stick it to a customer’s forehead perhaps? )
Anyway, the point is: If you tell as many people as possible there’s a much better chance of us first: hitting our funding target, and second: hitting some of our stretch goals and ultimately giving you even more cool stuff to play with. 
Here’s the arty stuff: we've got banners, forum avatars and even facebook photos!
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