With this post we start our first blog series - Project HexWorld Explained. In blog posts under this title we will talk about and explain core gameplay mechanics of our game. Something described here might change and evolve over time, something might remain untouched, while something - thrown away in a week. Hence, this series will be more like a self-reflection or attempt to bring an order to our thoughts rather than features presentation (well, we are still very open for any your feedback thought - just make us know when you start asking yourself WTF is going on here).
We’d love to start with one of the most important modules of our game (actually, the one that brought this game to existence) - Resource Module. While the original idea behind it came either from its so dumb and trivial implementation in most of existing mobile games, or from my economical/managerial background (or probably both) - very soon it became obvious that resource system should exist in one form or another in the game. However, this form should differ dramatically from anything that is currently implemented in mobile games - and to become one of “killer features” of the game.
No point in hiding inspiration sources: freedom of buildings placement in Cossacks, plus crafting recipes in Minecraft, all multiplied by some micro- and macro economy stuff in the power of common sense - probably too complex formula for an average midcore player. However, if we just look in the window and think for a bit, how this world is working, we will clearly see some beautiful in its simplicity and boundless in its complexity picture. Or just another view you’ve seen thousand times - for now it’s pretty enough, believe me. Because medieval setting make everything much easier to understand.
Currently, there are 41 resource types, all grouped into 7 clusters: wooden materials, stones, metals and ores, gold (we obviously need more gold), population, agriculture resources, and weapons and tools. Each cluster holds a particular logic: wooden materials are all derivatives of wood, all stones are excavated from the surface, metals and ores are originally mined, gold is gold, population is all about people, agriculture resources should be originally planted/breeded, tools always require other materials for production. For now, this grouping is done mostly to keep things in order: when we come up with new resource type, we make sure it falls into one and only one cluster (since the whole system is self-explanatory - just try to come up with any resource from medieval times that would not belong to any cluster). However, in the future it will also play its own part on the global level (hint: consider international trade).
Two more things worth mentioning that we were trying to achieve throughout the development of Resource Module. First, the whole system is very flexible in terms of scalability. In other words, we can easily add any amount of new resource types at any point of time in just a few clicks. Second, resource values are protected from memory hacks (yes, we love ArtMoney and Game Guardian too). The protection is very simple, but effective; in addition, it lets us to focus less on validation mechanisms in the future. The latter you can check in the demo - just launch “Hacking test” scene and follow instructions.
All 41 resources together make up resource schema - set of production chains. Each resource is produced by particular type of building, which in turn consumes another resource, produced by another type of building. As a result, rather than focusing on production of individual resources, players should think about setting up these chains and make sure there are no bottlenecks. While the picture above may look too complex, in reality it's pretty intuitive.
First, like in real world, the economy is divided into several sectors. Let's not focus on military, logistics and administration - we will discuss them later; instead, let's look at three sectors related to production. If we think how goods and services are produced, then there are three big segments, each responsible for particular type of resource transformation. Primary sector is all about working closely with nature: cutting wood, mining ore, cultivating soil. Hence, we have here lumberjack huts, mines, quarries, pastures, farms. In contrast, secondary sector is about manufacturing - transformation of one resource to another. For example, sawmill takes wood as an input, and produces wood planks as an output. Finally, tertiary sector provides services - goods that are consumed at the moment of their production. Traditionally, in developed countries tertiary sector is the biggest contributor to economy - because of high added value. As a result, we have here gold - the product of any kind of service.
Second, the whole schema is aligned well with common sense. Imagine, we need to build a simple medieval house. We cannot just go to wood and cut some trees, or collect a pile of rocks. What we need are materials - planks, bricks, cement - and some tools to bring it all together. So, to get planks we need wood that can be found in forest; to get bricks we need stones that are extracted at quarries. And to get tools (imagine the hammer), in addition to some wooden stick we need piece of metal that is smelted from ore that is mined in mines. As a result, a drop of realism makes the whole gameplay non-trivial and keeps it clear for player - simplicity in complexity, as was told before.
Let's stop for now. In the next post we will discuss how actually resources are produced - the buildings. Feel free to share your opinion on all that mess above - we will be glad to hear any feedback! Read more »