#1 25.01.2012 12:27:41

Marduk
Administrator
From: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Posts: 151

Ideas for new "short LT" games (map setting, rulesets, scenarios)

Let's list some ideas for new games here. As soon as our server capacity allows it we can start new "small LT" games (discussion). The ideas should work for short games (at most 2 months) that are fun with a smaller player list (say 15 to 30 players). For individual rule changes or experiments LTeX is more suitable.

Please add your ideas, when it seems doable and fun it will be pasted into this post. Also you can post your list of preferences (e.g. 1: real world map; 2: water world; etc), if most people prefer one idea then we try that out first. The current order is arbitrary. If you're a scenario or modpack builder, please share and maybe soon lots of people will be playing the game you designed!

In regular LT we care a lot about creating a fair game for everyone (e.g. players shouldn't lose simply because they started in a desert or arctic area), but in small LT everything goes as long as it's fun for all players.

List of ideas:

1. Real world map

- easy to implement
- not used much in regular LT because starting positions may be unequal, but for small LT that doesn't matter
- exploration phase is less interesting

2. Water world

- remember? (hm why did that movie get a low score on imdb, I liked it..)
- very low landmass setting, lots of 1-square islands (as a scenario game or using extreme server settings)
- the game will focus on sea battles; trade and science may become crucial, and the game could be quite peaceful until Marines
- global warming can quickly end the game
- terra-forming gives the game a twist (put an engineer in a boat to transfer ocean to land: you can build new land for yourself or attack a city on a 1-tile island without Marines)
- until terra-forming we can control exactly how many cities there will be in the game by the amount of land we create

3. Desert world

- 99% landmass, every tile is desert except a few "oases" of grass or plains. Some rare 1-tile lakes are crucial for irrigation networks, and may be the focus point of pitched battles (I guess we need to build a scenario for this, or is this possible using server settings?)
- will be a short game with lots of warfare: land is undefendable and conquest is the only way to expand. so attack is the only defence
- we can control exactly how many cities there will be in the game by the amount of arable land we create

4. The Ancients modpack link

- additional ancient units and technologies are added, and the game stays in the Classical Era
- many players like ancient warfare, it keeps the game simple but fun
- the modpack already exists, but is it stable and compatible with our server and clients?

5. World War 2 scenario

- everyone starts with cities, units, techs and buildings; total war from turn 1
- probably a short and intense game
- I think I've seen a scenario like this, or do we still have to build it first?
- we can incorporate more players by splitting the great powers (US, Germany, USSR, maybe UK and France) into a team of players (US sector 1, US sector 2 etc)
- we have to be careful not to create server overload with cities and units, so perhaps we'd have to build a new scenario suitable for our server capacity and number of players

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#2 25.01.2012 14:24:36

munk
Player
Posts: 34

Re: Ideas for new "short LT" games (map setting, rulesets, scenarios)

I'm actually used to playing very small games with no alliances allowed and everyone starts on their own small continent (thus a "builder" game until significant naval forces can be built), and with Space Race set to "on" (possibility of peaceful win).

with 10 or fewer players on a much smaller map (see map sizes used in games here: http://munk.org/freeciv/), it's easier to play a faster game that can often traverse the whole tech tree. It's also quite easy to defeat global warming if players are smart enough to burst research quickly through automobile to recycling/mass transit quickly. I've played a couple games in this mode where GW was only a concern for a handful of turns, and never ended up happening.

Thus, if you would like to try a couple small-footprint games that cater to builders, I'd put that model forward for consideration.

(oh, additional bonus: small map games are much easier to generate game history animations for!)

Last edited by munk (25.01.2012 14:26:09)

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#3 25.01.2012 21:40:44

mrsynical
Player
Posts: 171

Re: Ideas for new "short LT" games (map setting, rulesets, scenarios)

We used to have a "newbie" LT game (with similar rules to the main LT game as LTeX was too different) to attract and train up new players. I think we should reinstate that system first...

[Edit:] Ah - I see you started this conversation over here: http://forum.longturn.org/viewtopic.php?id=78. Sorry!

Last edited by mrsynical (25.01.2012 21:44:45)

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#4 26.01.2012 11:05:01

Kryon
Player
Posts: 337

Re: Ideas for new "short LT" games (map setting, rulesets, scenarios)

Here are my suggestions to speed up these small games (which will already be fast due to map being small):

- reduce the sciencebox (bulbs per tech percentage).
- increase the number of initial settlers.
- continental maps would indeed be faster.
- allow players to play their first few turns in the first turn. I am NOT talking about everyone having to be online at the same time and click end turn. Each player would be able to play first few (say 10 turns for continental games, or 30 turns for island games) in the first turn (which will last 24 or 48 hours). They will be able to complete all of their initial turns without having to wait for other players. After that initial turn, game would become a regular LT game with 23 hr turns. This would require considerable changes in freeciv code but we'd be able to leave the boring first few weeks behind in a day or two.

munk wrote:

(oh, additional bonus: small map games are much easier to generate game history animations for!)

Munk, I'd really really like to see those animated maps and statistics after each LT game ends. I am sure most LT players would be very happy if you could modify your script to work with 2.3. One suggestion: it'd be nicer if you could show the territories of the players instead of just cities/units.

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#5 26.01.2012 15:38:23

munk
Player
Posts: 34

Re: Ideas for new "short LT" games (map setting, rulesets, scenarios)

Kryon wrote:

Munk, I'd really really like to see those animated maps and statistics after each LT game ends. I am sure most LT players would be very happy if you could modify your script to work with 2.3. One suggestion: it'd be nicer if you could show the territories of the players instead of just cities/units.

there are a few problems that need to be solved to make that happen:

1) compression method for savegame files. in 2.1, they used .GZ, which can be natively read by PHP. in 2.2 they switched to .BZ (or something, I can't recall off-hand) which can't. This would mean that before you could generate a graph, the savegame files would all need to be decompressed manually - could give rise to a disk space issue.

2) size of the map. Honestly, for LT30, the map is so gigantic that I doubt the resulting graphic would be manageable (imagine the size of a 2000+px square animated gif with almost 200 frames of animation). with something that size, it's probably easier to generate the frames and use Kino or something to render it as an AVI, which would be fuzzy and indistinct due to compression.

3) regarding national borders, it should be noted that my script uses a 6x6px square to represent a game tile, unit or city. it could be tough to add a border representation in that size limit as well. I'm also not entirely sure if the border data is included in the savegame file (haven't looked since 2009, and I don't remember it being so then). color allocation is also an issue - with 70 players, many players have border colors that are pretty much identical.

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#6 27.01.2012 15:34:49

Kryon
Player
Posts: 337

Re: Ideas for new "short LT" games (map setting, rulesets, scenarios)

munk wrote:

1) compression method for savegame files. in 2.1, they used .GZ, which can be natively read by PHP. in 2.2 they switched to .BZ (or something, I can't recall off-hand) which can't. This would mean that before you could generate a graph, the savegame files would all need to be decompressed manually - could give rise to a disk space issue.

It should be no problem to manually unzip all savegame files at once. This will need to be done only once every few months.
How big is a decompressed savegame file? I don't think size would be an issue.

munk wrote:

2) size of the map. Honestly, for LT30, the map is so gigantic that I doubt the resulting graphic would be manageable (imagine the size of a 2000+px square animated gif with almost 200 frames of animation). with something that size, it's probably easier to generate the frames and use Kino or something to render it as an AVI, which would be fuzzy and indistinct due to compression.

The size of avi movie would indeed be much smaller but animated GIF is preferable. LT30 map is 42K tiles. I suggest using only 4 pixels per tile, instead of 36 which is too much. That would mean 168K pixels which would make a ~150 frame movie with frames of ~400x400 pixels. How much would the size of such a GIF file be? I guess not more than a few MBs. I believe this is easily manageable as we'll have only 1 such movie per game (per every few months).

munk wrote:

3) regarding national borders, it should be noted that my script uses a 6x6px square to represent a game tile, unit or city. it could be tough to add a border representation in that size limit as well. I'm also not entirely sure if the border data is included in the savegame file (haven't looked since 2009, and I don't remember it being so then). color allocation is also an issue - with 70 players, many players have border colors that are pretty much identical.

I meant showing territories of each player not the borders (just like the old pubserver animations). Color would not be a problem because cities (and maybe units) would be shown by white pixels and colors would be used only for territories. I think showing units are not really necessary as the units can be overstacked and most units are usually stored in cities. Changes in territory colors would tell most of the story anyways.

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#7 27.01.2012 16:46:02

munk
Player
Posts: 34

Re: Ideas for new "short LT" games (map setting, rulesets, scenarios)

ahh, ok. that gets me to pondering how we might tell both stories (territory changes *and* unit movement/ownership).  using 4px per tile (2X2) would make the size much more manageable, and could allow unit ownership designation by something like making the upper-left pixel the color of the unit owner, while cities could remain all-white with territory colored by owner.

Hmmn, let me ponder on that a bit and I'll start a new thread where we can discuss building a new map generator suited for the map size of these LT games. I think it can be done with those parameters.

Regarding the compression of savegames, i seem to remember it was something like 20:1 or more, as savegames are pretty much just plain textfiles. I remember it being a problem even with my smaller games in '09, but I only had a 40g drive on that server.

As a first step, it might be useful to get a complete set of savegame files from a similar sized game that has been completed. perhaps if LTeX23 ends soon, I could beg the files from that game from akfaew to run some tests on and re-familiarize myself on the newer format.

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