The Cyberset Browser Game - Continued

    I continue to talk about my startup to create a browser game. Reading the last three articles, one can see some way from the crude idea, through an attempt to create a prototype, and I hope now to a less complete concept of the game. True, there are still problems in the field of graphics - I can’t find a sensible designer or artist of computer graphics, but unfortunately I can’t do this myself. But who is ready to turn a blind eye to this and try my beta version - please, you can play here , but my experience will be useful to someone.

    Game concept

    I'll start with the description, which can be seen on the main page of the game:

    Cyberset is a free real-time browser strategy game. Getting into this world as a laborer, without property and experience, you have three development paths: an artisan, a merchant or a knight. Each profession gives its unique advantages. A craftsman can set up a daily routine and perform various tasks without your presence. You only need to monitor its characteristics and manage sales from time to time. The merchant can only produce products with your participation, but he can - both sell and buy goods, concluding long-term transactions. A knight can use weapons, which gives him a significant advantage to attack and allows him to take money from others. Each profession has its own organization: Artisans workshop, Merchants Guild, Order of the Knights. Organizations allow you to choose your leader and confront aggressive players together. Being the master of the artisans workshop or Patricia of the merchants guild - you can apply to the Order of the Knights. Then they can provide you with their protection for a fee. And the Master of the Order of the Knights can lead his knights into battle and control the profitable cities.

    Or maybe you want to try playing immediately for two, three, or more characters? And it is possible here. Unlike many other browser games, it is allowed to create clones here (you only need to register another participant under a different nickname). And then you can even build your empire alone with minimal tracking of each of the characters: after all, the artisan works automatically according to the daily routine, the merchant, having concluded long-term transactions, automatically carries goods and earns his profit and it remains only to strengthen his order of the knights.

    But that is not all. Offering new items and methods for their production on the forum, you will see them in the game pretty soon. Thus, you yourself can improve the details of the game world, making it more saturated and interesting.

    Timeline of implementation, which was taken into account from the last time

    And here I will try to explain why this is so, and not otherwise. From the very beginning, the game was conceived as quite simple in logic, without tricks, without graphics, let’s say so that the gameplay appears. I wanted something akin to chess only within the framework of an economic and somewhat social strategy. Hence my first ideas that programmers could even write bots to play a similar game according to formal (read closed mathematical) rules. These first ideas were inspired by the browser game “Virtonomics” and a little good old “Civilization”.

    But over time, I realized that the desire to have bots for the game is my subconscious feeling of insufficient automation in these and similar games themselves. And since I am a programmer, I wanted to be able to write a bot for the game. But having understood this, and having talked with potential players of my game, I revised the concept. It’s secondary for bots - maybe, in the presence of interested people, I’ll highlight some API and provide it out. But the main thing is to give players a little more automation with a fairly simple formal game.

    Speaking a little mathematically, any game is a search for a state by the character of the game, in which a certain criterion will be maximized under the given restrictions. The intellectual component of the game is that the player applies various search strategies for this maximum, for example, maximizing profits. But whether it is intended or not, modern browser games do not give the opportunity to deal only with this intellectual component. And often in the game there is a need for “clicking” - that is, perform enough monotonous, daily actions. Perhaps this is due to the fact that these games are trying to monetize and make a profit, providing the player with the means to save him from monotonous actions. In that case, it’s pretty disastrous,

    Second, I refused a turn-based strategy in favor of real time. It’s just awful that everyone in the same Virtonomics game needs to wait a day for the state of the game to be recounted. This approach is simply unnatural. Some have advanced such an argument for the need for such a long recount of the state of the game. Like, this allows the player to make his move and leave, say to work. But in reality, it's just a good mine in a bad game. The player must intellectually play as much when he wants to. He came to play and it’s not the business of developers to regulate the player with the time frame associated with the synchronization of steps. In addition, there were a number of technical arguments for the step-by-step from users (users who think that they understand something in programming).

    But how then to cope with the desire, turn off and take a break from the game? I also played in the other antipode of “Virtonomics” the game “I, Feudal”. The need for constant online there is caused by the fear of losing completely, and people really do not get enough sleep for days, weeks and then quit the game because of problems in reality. I also did not need such an antipode. And I think I found that middle ground with a fairly simple idea. (other developers may know it, but again, the desire for monitoring and similar ideas are buried).

    In the game "Cyberset" the character has characteristics (Health / Energy / Energy / Intelligence), and so they change only in the process of the character's actions. As soon as the line of no more than 10 tasks is over, the character stops changing. Thus, while the player is playing and filling the task queue, real time occurs. Finished playing, stopped the game and I’m sure that you will quit work, and the character will be the same. But what about putting tasks on time while leaving for work? And here the player’s ability to predict comes into play. The easiest way to study the conditions of the game world and set 10 tasks at once, assuming what will happen to the character. And, what if you learn to plan, not a few hours ahead, but a day, weeks, so that the character lives in the game autonomously? And this is possible - you create a uniform schedule for the artisan for a day and every 24 minutes (playing day) he does the same thing. Trading also occurs automatically and without your presence, if you conclude long-term contracts. Those. here comes the second level of the game for, let's say, advanced players. I’ll say right away that it’s quite difficult, but theoretically possible, to make a stable, self-balancing work of several characters.

    Third, natural market. In a previous article, I described what I mean by the natural market, and that I have not yet seen a single game with this. The main change in the concept now - I abandoned the idea of ​​a barter market - is too complicated for players, and the barter market is possible only with an extremely narrow assortment (for example, as in the game “I, Feudal”, where players change only five types of resources). But then the question arose, and where to get the money supply? If it is issued through fictitious demand, then again we get an artificial market. Then an interesting idea occurred to me. Money must be provided with something. In reality, gold or a state obligation to always receive goods for money. But what is really appreciated by players playing browser games? And then I realized - time is money, and vice versa. There was still such a fantastic movie, where people earned and paid with time. So in the Cyberset game, everything is just that - money is given out at $ 1 per second spent on creating goods (except for the case of automated production by a craftsman). And at the end of production, you receive both the goods in the warehouse and the money. It would seem a little strange. But consider that it is such a new social system where everyone is allowed to print money, depending on the time spent on production. And then begins the most that there is no natural market - you buy, sell, rob the time of the other player who earned more - he is also in the top of the best players. And at the end of production, you receive both the goods in the warehouse and the money. It would seem a little strange. But consider that it is such a new social system where everyone is allowed to print money, depending on the time spent on production. And then begins the most that there is no natural market - you buy, sell, rob the time of the other player who earned more - he is also in the top of the best players. And at the end of production, you receive both the goods in the warehouse and the money. It would seem a little strange. But consider that it is such a new social system where everyone is allowed to print money, depending on the time spent on production. And then begins the most that there is no natural market - you buy, sell, rob the time of the other player who earned more - he is also in the top of the best players.

    Fourth, military component. For a long time I doubted whether to introduce the military component into the game, polls showed that opinions were divided - someone thought that this would improve the game, someone thought that it would worsen. The main news here is to be military operations :) The need for a military / power component is necessary in terms of socializing the team of players. Nothing makes us communicate and play together like a feeling of insecurity. In a pure economic game, it is impossible to achieve a sense of insecurity, all that is possible is to have fear go bankrupt. But economists are, as a rule, individuals, they cannot work together by definition and must follow the slogan “company company is a wolf”. And it’s a completely different matter when a person gives in to the strong and is afraid of the forceful withdrawal of time spent. Here comes a powerful socialization, and the various effects of real society. At the moment, the attacks in the game are quite simple. Knights can use weapons, which gives them an advantage. And artisans or merchants uniting can pay for protection to other knights. Between themselves, knights can fight for control of cities, fighting for their honor and glory, which is expressed in the amount of money that they want to give them either voluntarily or through the use of force merchants and artisans.

    Yes, with the introduction of the military component, there is a slight contradiction with what I said at the beginning. "The player must intellectually play as much when he wants to" contradicts "turn off and take a break from the game." After all, when you play in a team your online is necessary for the possibility of mass battles, and you left at that moment. There is a problem of synchronizing the actions of people in different places and at different times. And here comes the argument that I heard against the introduction of hostilities - "you came and you have already been destroyed."

    The following solution was found in the game “Cyberset”. During an attack, you can only lose money. Health and other characteristics are lost so as to leave a minimum. Therefore, when a player returns online, he has a chance to cure his character. Those. battles take away from him just extra. time to recover the character and he loses money. Which, incidentally, encourages not to store a lot of cash, but to buy goods on them. And also look for the best protection for yourself - the protecting order of the knights, and is located where this protection is.

    But whoever subjugates whom power money or money power - the game will show.

    Fifthsome little things. Added tips to the game explaining to the player where and how best to start. In fact, the previous prototype did not have this, and I came across many questions - "what to do in the game?" I hope with the availability of these minimum tips and explanations in the game, the nature of the questions will change to “How? For what? And what’s better? ”, And already on the forum the players themselves (or at first I) will be able to give answers to this.

    You can also notice that the game has acquired minimal graphics - a map and blanks for sprites in the style of "here could be your drawing." Therefore, on the schedule, please do not criticize, I understand that this is necessary, without this, not so, etc. I just cannot do it myself - there will be an artist, there will be extra funds, there will be donations - we will decide, now there is no question of technology. As they say, any of your whim for your money.

    And the latter , the invention of new objects. I wrote about this in a previous article:

    Ordinary games have closed, pre-calculated logic. In all known strategies, there is a technology tree, and one way or another, the player’s character development course, programmed in advance. The only thing that depends on the player is whether he will play above average or not. Interest in such games often depends on how well balanced the logic of character development is.

    In the game "Cyberset" it seems to me that a revolutionary step has been taken - the player himself develops the technological lines. After that he quickly approves his innovations with a moderator (at the moment with me, but I hope someday there will be separate trusted players with special rights). After that, “the world is changing” - something that was difficult to do before, becomes easier or the appearance of new products increases the demand for others. Thus, everything is in the hands of the player - the internal logic of development is improved by the players.

    And as polls have shown, this is the strongest side of this game. This did not go anywhere, but I removed the player’s interface for introducing new items. Now I propose to describe it on the forum and taking into account all the wishes, I myself will enter your ideas. The mechanism of such inventions has also been revised. Now, to create this or that item, one or another level of a certain building is needed. Items as before have different methods of obtaining and require the creation of raw materials, tools and other components. But now they are also tied to the characteristics of the character: to introduce a conditional subject with the name of the characteristic, for example, "Health" - and then it remains to come up with ways to increase this characteristic. Thus, the production line has become more complete, and allows you to change the characteristics of the character.

    The software side of the issue

    Here I will not go into details, but only a little praise, but I ask you not to do the same in response :)

    Until last summer - I did not look in the direction of the development of technologies related to the web. Yes, in fact, it was quite poorly developed technologically. Now choosing languages ​​and technologies for creating the game, I was completely convinced that my choice was quite correct:

    1. ASP.NET + C # - there simply are no competitors, all other languages ​​and methods of creating web pages are the last century. For a long time I tried to understand why I think so, and found the main argument that other languages ​​do not have two and a half serious tools. Half is an advanced text editor with intellectual substitution, search for definitions of variables, functions, automatic formatting, etc. Here you can argue - but others do not satisfy me. More seriously, it starts with the fact that in other approaches there is no so-called projects, where for editing and compilation you assemble a single project from a bunch of files. And the most serious is the lack of a debugger.

    2. JavaScript - on the client side there was nowhere without it. I had to study a little, although the language has significant problems with the object ideology andActually there is no debugger rather poor means of debugging. But then again, there are simply no alternatives. But it’s good that Visual Studio allows you to include scripts in projects and also provides a text editor.

    3. Graphics assumed using canvas. Again, I came to the conclusion that pure HTML is not enough, and there simply weren’t any other alternatives for simple graphics.

    4. MySQL is the most controversial issue. For me it was an experiment, I program on MS SQL Server. MySQL is clearly inferior to MS SQL. But I found critical moments in only one. MySQL - how SQL Server is still to evolve and evolve. A fairly modest opportunity to monitor the load, build execution plans.But the main thing is there is no way to create timer jobs. That is why I had to write a game server for playing in C #, which periodically launches SQL procedures for execution. (removed because it turned out that there are so-called events in MySQL, it’s not very obvious - but there is).

    And a small poll about whether I went in the right direction on all the points outlined in your opinion.

    Only registered users can participate in the survey. Please come in.

    Do you agree that in the game "Cybernet":

    • 26.6% enough mechanisms automating routine actions for a player 4
    • 46.6% correctly made the transition from a turn-based strategy to real time 7
    • 33.3% properly organized natural market 5
    • 53.3% required military component 8
    • 46.6% can be played without full graphics 7
    • 60% is correct that players themselves should think of ways to create new products 9

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