ideas for the next defcon?

Ideas for expansions and improvements to Defcon

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Postby xander » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:03 pm

Montyphy wrote:While you are "nano"-managing that one unit what is happening to the rest of your forces? Will people be physically/mentally capable of macro, micro and nano managing all at once? Does the "nano"-managing happen at the same playback speed as the rest of the game i.e. the speed selected by the players?

Moreover, does the nano-management actually add anything to the game? If you take control of a sole fighter, can you really change the outcome when there are nukes crashing down around you?

The problem with a game at some many scales is that it is nearly impossible to create a game where the nano scale has any effect on the macro scale. You take control of one fighter, but what are the rest of your fighters doing? What about your fleets? Your silos? The reason that no one has made such a scalable game is that it just wouldn't work as a game.

Barbarossa wrote:...But its like the butterfly effect of chaotic systems, you never know if one small victory could turn the tide..

Chaotic dynamical systems are one of the most misunderstood pieces of mathematics in the history of the world. Mention of chaos theory and the butterfly effect by anyone who doesn't have an advanced degree in mathematics should be punishable by hanging. It is almost as bad as woo-woo mentions of quantum mechanics. Fuck you, Michael Crichton.

First off, chaotic dynamical systems, like the one in which a butterfly might be involved, are modeled using completely deterministic systems. You plug your inputs in, and the result you get will always be the same. There is nothing random about it. Second, such systems are very sensitive to initial conditions, so if the numbers that you put into the model are off by a very little bit, the outcome will be very different (but still entirely deterministic). So, for instance, if you did not take a butterfly into account at the beginning, you will get very different results. Third, it is impossible to predict the magnitude or direction of the variation in observed conditions as the system evolves. If you are making the claim that Real Defcon would be a chaotic dynamical system (the only kind of system in which the butterfly effect makes any kind of sense), then your actions at the low level would have apparently random effects on the outcome of the game (key word: apparently; the actual outcome would be deterministic). They might give you an advantage, but they would just as likely cause you to lose.

Does any of that make sense to you? It probably doesn't---I only have a bachelors in mathematics, and have only spent time studying chaotic dynamical systems in two classes (one of which was, admittedly, a graduate level course; but neither class actually focused on such systems). Even with that background, I don't claim to understand chaotic systems. I know enough that I know when to keep my fucking mouth shut.

Fucking "butterfly effect." Stab! Stab! Stabbity stab stab stab! >:(

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Postby Montyphy » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:38 pm

Barbarossa wrote:Well since we are all probably talking hypothetical here (there may not be a NEXT version of Defcon in *any* form whatsoever) when a player is "nano" managing on the concrete detailed localized world levels all the other far-away elements that is outside of his control get rendered probabilistically, just like how right now Defcon battles are computed anyway, which is to say probabilistically. In Defcon when a fleet of ships fight against another fleet individual shots are predetermined and probabilistic.. since it is an abstract-only high-level strategy game there is no need to functionally emulate the inner mechanics of the battle on the lower detail levels..

I think I understand what you are saying. I agree no player can be "everywhere at once".. and that will never be possible. Think real life, politicians on the upper echelons of society do not have the luxury of really "nano-managing" those under their control. The Commander in Chief cannot be everywhere at the same time. Its a different ballgame, he can't form individual interpersonal relationships with the privates way down on the chain of command, he operates mainly on a high level abstract level. Every now and then he will put on a show/image and shake hands or eat a meal with the lowly soldiers and pretend to understand what is happening on the lower levels.. but thats not how he spends the majority of his time..

However inarticulate this may be, I was attempting at alluding to a game mechanic that allows us to seamlessly cross the continuum of high level to low level, from pure abstraction to the nitty gritty of details of the concrete specializations of each individual military unit. So my imagined hypothetical future version of Defcon, when you are playing "high level" the battle is probabilistically calculated and you DON'T worry about the lower levels, when you are playing on the lower levels you worry about your immediate submarine, your immediate fight jet, your immediate airbase or ATC, etc and although you have a "higher level plan" handed down from commands in the chain of command, you world/game is basically your immediate local surroundings, until the time you choose to play some other local surrounding or zoom out to become a high level strategical war commander.

But individual battles that you play (which are determined by YOU and not purely random/probabilistically) get carried over to the higher level.. Something like this was already implemented in F-22 TAW which is a game over 10+ years old. But the game was limited to only fighter jets and not an all out nuke war. Basically calculations will be probabilistic until or unless the player jumps "down" into the lower levels and make a change and then that individual outcome will get pushed to the high level engine .. I understand the total effect will be very limited since the more "nano" the management gets the less average of overall cover/ total influence/ leverage you are able to have on the game.. (in higher levels) But its like the butterfly effect of chaotic systems, you never know if one small victory could turn the tide.. and besides it fun to be able to play the entire chain of command and give and take orders from and to yourownself!


Um, I was kinda hoping you would try to explain or expand upon how your idea is played/implemented rather than repeat the original basic concept(s).

You say while a fighter is being nano managed everything else is probabilistic, so effectively an AI takes over your silos, subs, etc while you're controlling that one unit? If you spend the whole time nano-ing does the AI issue you commands? What happens if you ignore it? You also hinted that while in control of a single unit your shots are no longer probabilistic, is that a correct interpretation? A hit is a hit, thus the target is destroyed? How is that perceived to another player in the game? Does nano-ing give a player an advantage over someone who only micro or macro managed?

As you seem to be aiming for something more realistic, when in control of that single unit how is it controlled? Does it fire more frequently? Do bullets curve? Do fighters duke it out on a 2D plane or a 3D plane? if 3D, how does another player who is macroing perceiving the 3D action on the 2D plane? Also what happens when nano-ing if another player sets the speed to the slowest? Is the nano-ing player forced to play it out during the turtle neck speed? Similarly will that player be shoved into Warp 9 when someone whacks the speed all the way up to 11?

Basically, how does this idea play when you take into consideration that Defcon is a multiplayer game where the probabilistic odds you speak of are not fixed but affected by the actions external players?
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Postby Barbarossa » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:14 pm

Montyphy, you are correct this would not work out at all in traditional multiplayer. I completely forget about that as I was thinking about a vast single player mode.. But I guess for a game of Defcon's design multiplayer would be where the meat of it is at.. I can't think of any way around the problems you mentioned for multiplayer, but I guess I was proposing would be so immersive and complex that single player would be enough -- it would be like piece-wise simulations (figther jet, bombers, subs, nukes/missiles/silos, spy satellites, aircraft carriers, battleships, etc ) all converging and being unified in one holistic workspace with the original abstraction of Defcon being the very highest level node that enables to player to set top down plans, and whilst individual subsets of systems probabilistically (or can be intervened by human or humans) create "emergent properties" from low level complexities that give rise to high level structures.

Or perhaps along the lines of a MMORPG like the recent "Star Trek Online".. Where players can be a captain, or admiral or lowly cadet.. the game state if persistent so when I player exits the server takes its place and places for it, based on player stats, preferences, and ability the cpu will emulate and predict what the player would have done and steps into its shoes until player comes back. So in that sense a single defcon game wouldn't be 15 minutes or 2 real time hours it would /could drag out indefinitely or for weeks/months on end. You can play different stations, go from fighting jets, to launching bombs, to torpedoing other submarines, to directing air traffic at an air base or runway, to repositioning spy satellites or changing/alerting orbital patterns or whatever, etc..

Right now all simulators are only concentrated on their own domains. If I want to be able to play all the elements of a war I have to swap games and play different simulators in a piece-wise discreet fashion. I was thinking about a game that combines all elements horizontally as well as vertically as has synergy involved, be completely integrated as one package, one 'real time' war, and to reflect real life, because NORAD DOES have a big board you know? It s not a perfect representation of "real life" either, but we all have to use "models".. Somehow in real life the micro and macro DO work together, otherwise society and social contract would fall apart and none of this would even exists. I don't see how somewhere in the future computers can't be powerful enough to do a scale invariant top-down AND bottoms-up approach to functionally emulating the physical mechanics and social politics of warfare.
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Postby Barbarossa » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:50 pm

xander, I should probably clarify. I've never watched the "butterfly effect" movies and not one to mindlessly drink the kool-aid. The example commonly used is weather patterns, weather predictions, how sometimes a storm starts with just flap of a butterfly's wings. Another analogy would be quantum mechanics and the individualistic apparent "randomness" of particles on quantum scale.. But when the totality is considered much of the "randomness" gets canceled and averaged out. This is why particles on the very tiny scales can seemingly do very bizarre things that macro objects cannot do in the physical world. So you are correct in the sense that me playing as an F-22 fighter pilot and shooting down a MIG on the Russia border won't change the final outcome and totality of the Defcon Global Thermonuclear War in the grand scheme of things. But the same could be said of our (assuming you are in US) democracy or representative democracy. We are encouraged to vote, to do our part, etc.. but does the actions of one person really matter or will it really alter the course of events in the global scale? Yet we do it anyway.. How is this any different than what I presented as a hypothetical next version of Defcon? Why do real life soldiers even bother? Why not just milk the system?


By incorporating all elements of warfare into one unified holistic system the level of immersiveness would be immense. It would be almost interdisciplinary and an ultimate 'world' warfare simulator. Like I said above to Montyphy, if this could be made into some kind of "real time" MMORPG then players can become members of a team on a certain submarine, two person fighter jets, air traffic controller group, basically work alongside your peers and NPC replacements, or work together to calculate TMA for firing solutions, two team men can choose whether or not to launch the nukes at the silos after verification, submarine captains can go crazy and launch nukes on their own (and this WOULD change the outcome of the score if some of your silos, bombers, subs didn't launch their nukes like they were supposed too!, or imagine a delirious sub captain launched on his own and that would start a new war) There would be one "elected" command in chief that would lay out the "high level" (what all we do in Defcon right now) plan and strategy and respond to contingency that come out.. It would be like real life. It would be real time and there would be no speeding up.. but if certain nations wanted to start a massive strike I assume peace would break down and the game would come to a conclusion much sooner.. (in days rather than weeks or months..)

As an aside, is the ominum multiverse(s) in its absolute totality of all existence an "open" or "closed" system? Do these distinctions even apply or matter at this level? Can we ever know? You say chaotic dynamical systems are modeled using completely deterministic systems.. Correct. But what were you expecting? Something "truly" random? Mathematically there is no way to prove that something is truly "random".. and existentially there may not even be anything "truly random" at all. "True randomness" in the strongest sense may not even exists. The universe itself is probably a completely deterministic systems. That doesn't mean we can calculate or predict the values of each individual particle, and that doesn' t mean "making an conscious observation" doesn't alter a particular state or collapse a certain wavefunction in QM, but these don't go against the very valid possibility that the entire physical system itself is in fact totally deterministic.

What I actual meant, and my apologize for using wrong analogy and mis-communication, is that a game that implements deeper and more details levels of mechanics from a functional emulative standpoint is more fun, more real, more immersive and alive. Have you ever played the very old game of Rainbow Six? In Tom Clancy shooter you can plan out your actions beforehand (in a 2d Defcon style) and then executive them in 3d "virtual real-life".. Well why can't the player just make the 2D high-level plan and let the computer calculate deterministically the final state/score? Why even play the game and fire 3d bullets at all? That is the different. Right now fighter jets in Defcon follow a very simplistic probabilistic patter.. if I could fly the jet myself I could probably shoot down more planes than any of the CPU fighter jets could. That is the difference that makes a difference. Sure you could say that my brain is just a mesh of neural networks and it too follows predetermined and deterministic rules of physical systems and that everything was set in stone since the moment of the big bang anyway, but that's just arguing semantics in a rhetorically irrelevant manner. Fact is, a game that simulates more, is more fun, more challenging, more immersive and more real. Try PMDG 744, NASSP APOLLO, Dangerous Waters, and you will know what I mean. But all these are limited domains, I was dreaming (wishfully dreaming) of a all inclusive all encompassing ultimate game/simulator that ties everything in and meshes it seamlessly in a holistic manner. A real total war game. One were you have the "free will" (lmao) to move laterally, vertically, up and down the chain of command, and have an small but intimate and concrete effect on the lower scales or a large but impersonal leverage on the abstract high level domains.
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Postby Montyphy » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:53 pm

Barbarossa wrote:Right now all simulators are only concentrated on their own domains. If I want to be able to play all the elements of a war I have to swap games and play different simulators in a piece-wise discreet fashion.


There's a reason for that. When something tries to be a Jack of all trades it will be a master of none. In terms of game development this will be mainly because of time and money, and will result in a mediocre game. Look at Spore for example, it had grand ambitions but had to be cut back which resulted in an average game that, while fairly innovative, ended up not being everything it was trying to be. Ultimately a better, smoother and more consistent gaming experience can be attained by seeking the specialist genre.

Barbarossa wrote:I was thinking about a game that combines all elements horizontally as well as vertically as has synergy involved, be completely integrated as one package, one 'real time' war, and to reflect real life, because NORAD DOES have a big board you know? It s not a perfect representation of "real life" either, but we all have to use "models".. Somehow in real life the micro and macro DO work together, otherwise society and social contract would fall apart and none of this would even exists.


Many hands make light work. The reason micro and macro work together in the real world is that there are many people there to do all the work, not just one.

Barbarossa wrote:I don't see how somewhere in the future computers can't be powerful enough to do a scale invariant top-down AND bottoms-up approach to functionally emulating the physical mechanics and social politics of warfare.


The problem is not computer power but time, money and the right idea(s).
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Postby xander » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:59 pm

Barbarossa wrote:Or perhaps along the lines of a MMORPG like the recent "Star Trek Online".. Where players can be a captain, or admiral or lowly cadet.. the game state if persistent so when I player exits the server takes its place and places for it, based on player stats, preferences, and ability the cpu will emulate and predict what the player would have done and steps into its shoes until player comes back. So in that sense a single defcon game wouldn't be 15 minutes or 2 real time hours it would /could drag out indefinitely or for weeks/months on end. You can play different stations, go from fighting jets, to launching bombs, to torpedoing other submarines, to directing air traffic at an air base or runway, to repositioning spy satellites or changing/alerting orbital patterns or whatever, etc..

How does a persistent world make sense if every city on the face of the globe is nuked into oblivion every 4-6 hours? If it is a persistent world, would it always be operating in real time? Wouldn't this ultimately make nano management just a way to kill time while the clock ticks down to the next high level strategic decision? Would this not require a fairly extensive battery of dedicated server, as every single game played would require such a server? When all of the players quit, what happens to the game world? If I decide to nano manage for a while, will the AI launch all of my silo nukes for me? What if I don't want them launched?

Again, I think that the overall problem with a game of that kind of scale is that anything done on the nano scale is not going to have much of an effect on the macro scale, especially if we keep the "global thermonuclear war" scenario (which seems to be the only piece of Defcon that you are even hinting at preserving in your grand idea). One ace fighter is not going to save New York before running out of fuel. The Red October is not going to prevent Moscow from being glassed, no matter how many ships it manages to take out before being destroyed. Defcon takes place at a high-level. The overall strategy is what matters. Individual units are not going to be able to profoundly affect the outcome of the game, thus there is no reason for one to ever take control of a specific unit (except, perhaps, to wait out another player's use of the slowest possible speed). On the other hand, I suppose the AI could be nerfed to a point where it is almost impossible for units to kill each other without player intervention. In that case, the big-board strategy is no longer important, and only the nano matters.

As I said above, I just don't see how you could create a good, fun game with the thematic material of Defcon, which allows both high level macro management and low level nano management. The optimal strategy to play would almost certainly devolve into either pure macro or pure nano.

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Postby Barbarossa » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:10 pm

Xander, I think to sum it all up I'd say it is the journey and not the destination. Everything on a computer is "simulated" anyway.. Heck even computers themselves are "emulators" that rely on the laws of physical systems as there prerequisites. It doesn' t matter if we are talking about an abacus bead, a vacuum tube, IC, or qubits, the physics of the physical world is the only real "computer" that does the actual "computing".. everything else are just high level or second order logical symbolic emulations.

In Flight Simulator for example instead of flying the airplane by hand I can use autopilot to help me steer to a certain heading, maintain a certain altitude and speed, and etc.. or I can get lazier and plot my course, routes and coroutes into the FMC and let the computer handle even all of that. I don't even have to fly the plane at all. I become more of an operations manager than a pilot. It can take off and land by itself, all I have to do is rotate at V1, and taxi to and from the runway. Or, since it is a game/simulator, I could just load my airplane at origin airport, unpause, then load my airport at destination terminal/gate and I'm done! You see what I'm getting at? No nav charts or approach plates necessary at all! Then I could get lazier and not even bother to turn on my computer!

Speed only has meaning in relation to relatives. Just like a unit only has scale when compared to something of another scale/unit.. Existence is relativistic. (and I'm not referring specifically the general relativity) imagine a very accurate flight simulator that had bare bones graphics. You could be screaming at Mach 3 a couple of hundred feet above the ground (hypothetically) but if the graphics engine only rendered a 2D mono-color surface what meaning would that "speed" have?

Abstractions only have value/power because of the underlying implementations that it points too. In real life why would an abstraction popup that said "23 million dead" be so intense and surreal? Because of all the individual lives that were brutally and ruthless slaughtered, the abstraction is a representation that alludes to points to the very real implications.. A game that is both able to be abstract and can substantiate the underlying realities that prop up the psychological value of that abstraction is ultimately more immersive than one that is purealy abstract.
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Postby xander » Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:55 pm

That really doesn't answer any of my questions. How are you going to make a good game that includes the macro and nano levels of management?

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Postby Jordy... » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:05 pm

...But its like the butterfly effect of chaotic systems, you never know if one small victory could turn the tide..[/quote]
Chaotic dynamical systems are one of the most misunderstood pieces of mathematics in the history of the world. Mention of chaos theory and the butterfly effect by anyone who doesn't have an advanced degree in mathematics should be punishable by hanging. It is almost as bad as woo-woo mentions of quantum mechanics. Fuck you, Michael Crichton.

I don't know shit about mathematics, but I do know some about chaotic dynamical systems, and I know that modern science all revolves around mathematical models and all, but what you're saying is just so short-sighted in mu opinion, math is old, and if anything, chaotic dynamic systems should spur the research into new ways of modeling and describing phenomena and theories.

If my little understanding of the butterfly effect is right, then it is that a system in which such a thing can happen, it is impossible to model trough math, and you need to search for larger patterns or whatever to be able to predict outcomes.

But please, continue your discussion on Defcon 2.
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Postby Barbarossa » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:24 pm

Jordy... wrote:...But its like the butterfly effect of chaotic systems, you never know if one small victory could turn the tide..
Chaotic dynamical systems are one of the most misunderstood pieces of mathematics in the history of the world. Mention of chaos theory and the butterfly effect by anyone who doesn't have an advanced degree in mathematics should be punishable by hanging. It is almost as bad as woo-woo mentions of quantum mechanics. Fuck you, Michael Crichton.

I don't know shit about mathematics, but I do know some about chaotic dynamical systems, and I know that modern science all revolves around mathematical models and all, but what you're saying is just so short-sighted in mu opinion, math is old, and if anything, chaotic dynamic systems should spur the research into new ways of modeling and describing phenomena and theories.

If my little understanding of the butterfly effect is right, then it is that a system in which such a thing can happen, it is impossible to model trough math, and you need to search for larger patterns or whatever to be able to predict outcomes.

But please, continue your discussion on Defcon 2.


I'm not sure how the age of mathematics ("math is old") has anything to do with its validity. Physics is the underlying language of all physical systems, (every other discipline like biology, sociology, the many other sciences, etc) can be derived from and reduced to physics. Mathematics is the engine or language that drives physics.

There are some things that are impossible to "model"/describe/explain or convey through the use of language and symbolism of social constructs (however abstract, platonic or existential these may be) like English language, computer languages, and yes even mathematics itself, but chaotic dynamic systems should not be one of these.
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Postby Barbarossa » Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:26 pm

xander wrote:That really doesn't answer any of my questions. How are you going to make a good game that includes the macro and nano levels of management?

xander


Simulate real life?
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Postby xander » Tue Jul 20, 2010 3:57 am

Barbarossa wrote:
xander wrote:That really doesn't answer any of my questions. How are you going to make a good game that includes the macro and nano levels of management?

xander


Simulate real life?

That tells me what you want to do. It does not explain how that creates a good game. I play games as a form of escapism, i.e. to do something other than real life for a while. Moreover, if you are attempting to create a simulation of the world, then Defcon is not the place to start. In fact, I would claim that such a simulation is antithetical to everything that makes Defcon what it is.

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Postby bert_the_turtle » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:42 am

There is another problem on the multiplayer level: multiplayer games are fun if you play directly against your opponent. Shooters are fun because the other guy is controlling the guy you're trying to shoot directly, dogding, taking cover, shooting back. Strategy games are fun because it's your wits and management skills as general/admiral against the wits of your opponents. If you dive down to any level and control individual units, it will be your skill as a fighter pilot against the AI controlled enemies, unless you forcefully pull the enemy player down into the lower level, which he won't like if he's just in the process of carefully planning a coordinated silo launch, or if he just doesn't like the fighter minigame. The best you can hope for, gameplay wise, is roughly the equivalent of having each player play a set of minigames before the strategy game itself starts: the 'figher shooting down other fighters' minigame, the 'AA against nukes' minigame, etc, with your score in each determining the overall prowess of your forces in the later strategy portion. And that is no fun.

And I second xander's scale doubts. If you can activate the nano during the strategy portion, it will either be too important or irrelevant. To make a scale invariant game, you need to have scale invariant game systems. Incidentally, that's my field of study :) And I know that scale invariant systems arise only in two ways: either by complete absence of a natural scale (not an option here as the size and typical distance of units give you a lower scale and the world size gives you an upper scale limit, and you want different game mechanics on the various levels) or by very careful fine tuning of parameters on phase transitions (ferromagnets at the Curie temperature, where they just pass between the ordered and disordered phase). And the player's skill in the various areas are all parameters that influence those things, so that's impossible to fine tune. Action game experts will find themselves nano-managing all of the time, and strategy players will macro all of the time, and nobody will get the full experience you planned for them.

Now, as a single player game, stuff like that can just work. We see that in the Total War series, for example, where you have the switch between the global map strategic view and the more detailed battle mode. It works there because the map mode is turnbased and it's not a problem to interrupt the global strategy to micromanage a local battle. You don't have to choose on which level you want to play, you will always have full control over the macro strategy and can micro as many battles as you want. And you usually want to micro at least all the close battles. There are other examples of older games that more or less successfully manage to blend different scales: All of the ones I can think of are turn based 'strategy' games with different minigames determining the outcome of individual actions. For the sake of brevity:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_(video_game) (Umm, yeah, how do you properly let PHPBB put that link in a post?)
Defender of the Crown
Neither being a very good game, mostly because all the individual pieces are rather shallow and don't add to a deep whole. But they are sort of enjoyable and a game structured like them could find an audience even today. It's just not something I'd see as IV style.
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Postby Montyphy » Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:58 am

bert_the_turtle wrote:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_(video_game) (Umm, yeah, how do you properly let PHPBB put that link in a post?)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_(video_game) is one way

bert_the_turtle wrote:There are other examples of older games that more or less successfully manage to blend different scales: All of the ones I can think of are turn based 'strategy' games with different minigames determining the outcome of individual actions. For the sake of brevity:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_(video_game) (Umm, yeah, how do you properly let PHPBB put that link in a post?)
Defender of the Crown
Neither being a very good game, mostly because all the individual pieces are rather shallow and don't add to a deep whole. But they are sort of enjoyable and a game structured like them could find an audience even today. It's just not something I'd see as IV style.


Dungeon Keeper is an example of a game that allowed real-time macro and micro management. Admittedly the game was more geared to being a RTS so the micro part, which was FPS, was more of a novelty than a serious gaming element. The feature was only really needed for completing the puzzle dungeons, but it was a bit nifty to be able to switch from the role of god to possessed underling and being able to fight the enemies FPS-style even if it served no real advantage.
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Postby Barbarossa » Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:17 pm

xander wrote:
Barbarossa wrote:
xander wrote:That really doesn't answer any of my questions. How are you going to make a good game that includes the macro and nano levels of management?

xander


Simulate real life?

That tells me what you want to do. It does not explain how that creates a good game. I play games as a form of escapism, i.e. to do something other than real life for a while. Moreover, if you are attempting to create a simulation of the world, then Defcon is not the place to start. In fact, I would claim that such a simulation is antithetical to everything that makes Defcon what it is.

xander


I get what you are saying. (I think I do anyway). A game (or even simulator) that tries to be everything could very well end up being nothing at all. Going in too many different directions and losing its essential identity and general theme.

It is a pity the hardware and software (if with the hardware specs to support good AI we still don't have the embodied AI software) isn't to the point to support such a grand all-inclusive game. One that includes varying levels of abstraction and a multitude of gameplay styles, strategies and tactics. Merging together entirely different genres like first person shooters, to flight simulators, to real time strategy games...

Yes such a hypothetical game (which given the state of the economy, the decline of PC computing in general and the rapid death of hardcore PC gaming in favor of consoles and apple i-fanboys, etc) would most likely never materialize.

The basic premise of Defcon is actually in large part modeled to reflect a certain element of real life, and the developers themselves had commented on that in many interviews. You are a war general in some underground bunker dealing with a "big board" interface that helps assists reducing down the complexity of vast information overload, and rendering them as 2d vector abstractions. On any strategic high level things by nature have to become more abstract. This applies to everything in real life, and not just warfare. So a game that was as scaled, vast and detailed, immersive and deeply integrated and simulated as the one I alluded to above would in and of itself also need a high level abstraction to enable the player to see the bigger picture and take high level actions. I see this more or less as being "all inclusive" to Defcon and not antithetical.

Unless of course by antithetical you are referring to the strategies and tactics inherent to the actual gameplay of Defcon game itself (due to the structural constraints) that would be rendered obsolete or lost .. For example: in real life NORAD has a "big board" much like that of Defcon game itself, abstraction at high levels to hand information overload and complexity.. the only DIFFERENCE between them (major difference) is even though in real life fighters, bombers, carriers, battleships, etc are ALSO represented by simple icons, sprites, abstraction symbols etc, their fighting and flight mechanics don't reflect the over-simplistic calculations of Defcon. Fighters in Defcon exists solely on the 2d plane, they live and die in 2d, whilst fighters in real life combat in the 3d plane and their position and states get reduced and rasterized and mapped onto a 2d projection. While both seem abstract, one has embodied complexies that underlie the abstraction (and least anyone forget that was the whole purpose for abstraction in the first place!) while the other simply is abstract and nothing more. I mean in real life battleships do not need to be in front of carriers, and silos no not shoot down nukes.. most of the Defcon mechanics were conjured up to serve the structural constraints of the game itself, with only the abstraction left to reflect "real life", these game play mechanics were necessary to make the game interesting and playable due to the fact that the developers had a limited team on had and is an indie gaming company and did not have the luxury of implementing functional aspects to their high level abstractions, but if a game did have the necessary underlying functional implementations it would be simulated to a more realistic level and still be just as abstract, just like in real life.

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