idea for a browsergame

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Jan 30, 2012 at 18:55

Hello,
I have an idea for a browser-game.
First of all I have to say that I played a browser-game called grepolis (it’s pretty popular in Germany) in the last months, but in my opinion there is much to be improved and changed. (I want to write the client in the browser in java, for example grepollis is written in php, html and it’s and I really don´t like it)

So this is my idea.

You start, like in every other browser game with a small city (let’s call it village), in my idea in the ancient world. Normally you start building things with recourses like wood etc. But after a time it gets boring and way too repeating….I don´t want to level up the woodcutter (is it right?!) in 5 cities. So I thought, why not make it simpler. In my idea I would have only one resource: money.

Resources:

I would be way more interesting in my opinion to have only money.

You get money from:

  • taxes from your population in your city. Your population can grow/stagnate/decrease, the factors are taxes, the “buildings “(like baths or aqueducts), if there is an nearby army (I come to that later), or if it reached its limits -trade, the city (NOT you) trades with some near cities(bigger city = more trading) by water and on land. You can make arrangement with other players for trading rights, but you will get the best trading between your cities (to make it more attractive to conquer cities).

You lose money from:

-the army (land/see), it constantly costs money…this prevents players from not expanding and building constantly huge armies until they crush some nearby (always fighting) players

City:

This is very simple, you can build public buildings for an increasing population and military buildings (like walls or ports) for recruiting military forces. I also think that an “automatic” managing of cities would also be cool, because when you have much cities you can´t take care of all, but the automatic managing would be lower (10%) than the daily average of growth / population (this would be good for something I plan for the future, but it’s a very, very long time until I can do this, if I can actually reach it)

Army:

This is very difficult…

Land:

In my idea the army is moving “freely”, not connected to any city. It has many advantages, for example when a player has many cities (like 20-30) and the army is connected to the city you have many organization problems. You can build forts with these to prevent other armies coming in your “state”, it automatically “defends enemy armies around them. And you can, of course, conquer cities by siege. A siege take 12 hours to build and u have 12 hours to conquer until your army is out of food and has to deny the siege. Nearby city-friendly armies support the city. You can´t conquer all cities, the number is limited, you can increase it by fighting. If an army is on your territory your city´s population is stagnating and the trade is decreasing.

Sea:

It is also moving freely, but it’s defending a huge space around them (to defend landing troops on your land). You can siege ports, so the enemy can´t trade with it.

Map:

To make it simple, I would implement a 2d map containing squares filled with land/sea/mountain (the army can’t move through it. On these squares there would be symbols like for example cities or ports. And a more zoomed out map, where you can see only the “states” (every city has one). Here you can move armies only from city to city.

A little bit about me. I am 16 and I come from the web design (I know html, js etc.), right now I go to school (I think its grammar school in English, but I am not sure, it’s the highest of three forms we have in Germany),so I have only 1 ½ year left biggrin.png. I have 2-3 years’ experience in java and also 1 year in c#. I want to teach me things like communication over the internet or MySQL. I am a fast learner in things like programming.
Other skills:
I am very good at Photoshop…I have a father working as a creative-director and sometimes I work for him to earn some money.

I know this looks rather complex, but look:

  • I first write everything beside the army
  • What I describe are mainly “math”-related things and not things like 3d or animations etc. I don´t have the experience to do a great looking 3 strategy game. But I (think I) can make formula to calculate for example the taxes and the trade.
  • i was thinking about alliances and som,ething like this, but i think his would be real complicated.

So what is your opinion??
I really would like to do it in a team, but I think it’s hard to find nice guys who want to work with me, because I am not the “super-experienced” guy.

To the technical side, I have done some thinking for the server (like formulas for calculating the taxes etc.).

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Jan 30, 2012 at 22:41

is my idea that bad??
or is it simply not the normal ptojects you can see in this forum??
I mean its still a hard job to programm the server (for me as a beginner).

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fireside 141 Jan 31, 2012 at 12:10

It sounds all right. Those things are kind of hard to tell until you get a working prototype built. The general idea sounds pretty good, though.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Jan 31, 2012 at 18:45

Good to hear positive feedback.
My question would be how hard this would be, when i start programming it. I thin the most difficult one would be the army.

It`s really important for me to make a “good” backbone, which you can scale up when (eventually) the players will get more.
My real goal is to make a programm which takes the less cpu-power as possible.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Jan 31, 2012 at 19:44

i have written a response to a guy, who says that there is nothing special about my browsergame im planning:

look, todays strategy browsergames have limited featurs with the army…..usually there is only the one army per city and you attack by selecting one city and klick on the enemys city. Here are two examples from different producers:

http://www.gamesaktu…en_beta_004.jpg
This is, for example a very new game called reborn horizon and its great because the managing of one city is very well made and interesting:

http://reborn-horizo…hot_City_T4.jpg

here is another example: its a very popular game called grepolis. It has some good gameplay-elements and managing of a city looks like this:

http://www.pcgames.d…olis_2.0_01.jpg
(in the background you can see the map)
but its still no “real army”, only troops in the city.

The troops in city has several advantages in the “early” time of the game, but after a time its really annoying.

I would like to make a world in squares (like civilisation), like this:

http://www.linuxfocu…8/gameshot2.jpg
(only map, completly top-down), but the actual gameplay would be another.

Also in nearly 100% of the browsergames there is this typikal building upgrade system…..like woodcutter lvl. 25……with usually 3-4 recourcess. I would have another.

A really really big point would be that you would be getting the money from taxes, not from buildings…and that your army constantly costs. The trading rights, which give you money also by trading taxes, is also a gameplay point no other browsergame has. (I would also like to make a function to make riots in the enemys citsy by paying the population->decrease of the taxes, but this is not planned in a near time).

Remeber, i am talking about a browsergame…..not a normal game…..this has serveral gameplay-related and feature-related cosequences.

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TheNut 179 Jan 31, 2012 at 20:46

RTS gamers generally don’t want simplicity. Take a look at Civilization. Not only do gamers love it, they constantly hound Sid Meier for more choices. I remember reading a funny post of a die-hard fan dressed up in a templar suit threatening to go full crusade on Sid for removing religion in Civ 5. I think if you limit the economy of your game to just money, you’re going to lose a huge player base because such an economy eliminates the challenges of diplomacy and trade. If that’s your aim, you might as well make a Nexus Wars clone or DOTA style RTS where the objective is more focused on combat and less on strategy.

I personally would not start programming if I were you. I would instead put focus on learning to design a game and/or game engine. You need to build yourself a plan that will organize your tasks and layout the groundwork for your game. Your requirements and design docs should include all functional features you want to build, a relational schema for MySQL, class and sequence diagrams for your server and client side code, etc. It’s much easier to solve your problem when you have given it thought and careful planing vs the run and gun approach. I also wouldn’t focus on getting a team at this point. You need to gain more experience developing games before you can take on a leadership role. You should start on your project alone until both you and your project reach a level that would require additional staff. At that point you should be very confident in your skills and your ability to lead the project.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Jan 31, 2012 at 22:43

@TheNut

RTS gamers generally don’t want simplicity. Take a look at Civilization. Not only do gamers love it, they constantly hound Sid Meier for more choices. I remember reading a funny post of a die-hard fan dressed up in a templar suit threatening to go full crusade on Sid for removing religion in Civ 5. I think if you limit the economy of your game to just money, you’re going to lose a huge player base because such an economy eliminates the challenges of diplomacy and trade. If that’s your aim, you might as well make a Nexus Wars clone or DOTA style RTS where the objective is more focused on combat and less on strategy.

I personally would not start programming if I were you. I would instead put focus on learning to design a game and/or game engine. You need to build yourself a plan that will organize your tasks and layout the groundwork for your game. Your requirements and design docs should include all functional features you want to build, a relational schema for MySQL, class and sequence diagrams for your server and client side code, etc. It’s much easier to solve your problem when you have given it thought and careful planing vs the run and gun approach. I also wouldn’t focus on getting a team at this point. You need to gain more experience developing games before you can take on a leadership role. You should start on your project alone until both you and your project reach a level that would require additional staff. At that point you should be very confident in your skills and your ability to lead the project.

Your post is very interesting. I am a typical RTS-gamer…i want the games to be more complex. And i thought I would make the Game more complex by changing the reccources, but i don´t simply change it to one…read my part above.
I think the ways you get money is a complete different type than typical. You simplay can´t compare it. I don´t have like a mine i can level up (i wrote everything above).
I think its more complex and harder because you can make a too big military, but then you don´t get enough money to build sth….
lets make a example scenario:
-you are playing very aggresive and building a strong army compared to the size of your citys->low income because of the costs of the army (troops are constantly costing, but are very cheap to build)
-you have the trade rights eith your sorrounding players
-someone is attacking you->your trade rights get lost with him (lets says you have only a few trading rights and the enemy has a lot) -> lower income compared to rising constant costs of the military -> not the money to give the order of public buildings to keep the populatione rising/higher taxes -> these two options result that you have a lower increasing of your popularity -> if he wins the battle or not is not important anymore-> defeat by economic reasons THIS WOULD NOT BE POSSIBLE WITH THE NORMAL TYPE OF RECCOURCES!!

Also the free moving military is also a HUGE faktor by making the game more complex.

I also have many, many more ideas, but I am alone and I want to programm it for “learning”….(wich also explains why I am doin this)(I always learn things with projects I do)

When i finish this first step I will make a detailed plan….I already have ideas for the “backbone”, expacially for the counting of the reccources.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Jan 31, 2012 at 23:03

I think this project is very good for learning….at first i will “study” how to deal with MySQL, then i will really inprove my knowledge about communication over the internet->then the client: here also have stuff to learn (it won´t be in 3d!!).

Note: I have teached myself most of my current knowledge by doing some specific project, but this would be the biggest, maybe i’ll find someone who could “help” me…he don’t have to write anything if he does not want to, just check my code when i ask him if its the “right” way.

I am planning to do everything in java….I have googled much because i was thinking about c++, but i haven´t seen a big advantage and I am way more experienced with java. I dont know exactly how much, but the performance in c++ is not much more faster than java. :D

I’m still googling for how the server-application for “normal” browsergames is designed.

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fireside 141 Feb 01, 2012 at 14:38

You might be able to do some of your design work with cards. As far as making it complicated, I think you have the right idea. It’s better to start out with a core concept and then expand on it later. It’s the ones that try to do it all that generally fail.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 01, 2012 at 23:13

@fireside

You might be able to do some of your design work with cards. As far as making it complicated, I think you have the right idea. It’s better to start out with a core concept and then expand on it later. It’s the ones that try to do it all that generally fail.

Thanks for your feedback :D, but what do you mean with “cards”??

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fireside 141 Feb 02, 2012 at 13:17

“but what do you mean with “cards”?? “

Just something you make up to represent what you are doing physically. You’re going to use 2d graphics, right? A lot of games can be represented with cards and dice, the original game. I don’t know if yours can or not. I do something like it in an art program, just moving combined objects around. Just my opinion, but I don’t think you can design very well by doing it all theoretically. If that were true, you wouldn’t need a game. RPG’s started with cards, or pen and paper, whatever. It’s a quicker way to test something out rather than programming something and finding out it doesn’t work for whatever reason. It might look fancy, but it’s really just some objects and chance with some positioning or logic attached. Doesn’t work for non-turn based games, but most of those evolved from turn based and I don’t think games will have deep strategy without some type of turn based thinking involved. It’s like anyone that designs a house or structure. Before they build it with all the expense, they build a model. You can do that as a program also if you are a fast programmer and can deal with abstraction, you make a very simplified, abstract version to see how it works. Who needs graphics? They do come in handy for mapping positions. Almost every game designed anymore is derivative because it doesn’t start at a core logic level. You can picture it in your mind so well because you’ve actually played it already, or most of it. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s good to go back to the basics.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 02, 2012 at 18:08

First it is not a turn.based game….not like one of my role models (rome total war).
And second, I really take care of the graphics since im very good at photoshop and have worked on several jobs with it…..i have a very exactly idea how it should look, when im finished (i don´t have the 20 jears experience, im only 16, but my father does\^\^). And i have many role models (or influnces) from “real” games (NO browsergames…..i plan to do the map like an old civilisation(when they were real 2d), combined with sth. like rome: total war (not the look, i am simply not good enough and im alone to do the super-fancy-awesome 3d graphics and animations….but i will emulate(have i choosen the right word?!) the buttons and where to place the funktions)

I can make a pic with photoshop…..but only sketch, if i finish it till evening.

I have a good(-very good) talent for most of the things you need, math, computer science and art. (Other are economics and law, english and physiks….im on a german “grammar school” (i think thats the british word for the highest school, not college) in my last years).

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fireside 141 Feb 02, 2012 at 22:43

I’m just saying I like to make an abstract working model first.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 02, 2012 at 23:22

I have played around a little bit in photoshop……don’t critisize the look, its only a sketch.
i haven´t played any buttoms or sth.like that.
You can see 1 city, 2 ports, 2 sea armys, 2 land-armys, one of them in a fort. The one in a fort was clicked on and you can see the “auto-attack” range. (the circles should be mountains :D)

I will add buttom to this tomorrow.

what do you think?? Its only a fast sketch….not a finished project
I will change textures etc. Just the first good i found in the internet.

EDIT: Why is it so complicated to upload a picture???

EDIT: http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/94/browsergame1.jpg/

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fireside 141 Feb 03, 2012 at 01:17

Yeah, I do something like that, except in Inkscape where I can group objects and move them around so it works similar to the game.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 03, 2012 at 06:10

kk, but remember this is only the military…..and its way more complex than on a standard browsergame.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 03, 2012 at 17:09

I have adjusted some colores and did a first try on designing the gui. And the the “view” has been added.
This is only some “fast” sketch.

http://img43.imageshack.us/img43/6691/browsergame1mitgui.jpg

Im still not smart enough to upload it right inot the forum…

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 04, 2012 at 10:05

What do you think???? is it turning into the “right way”??

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TheNut 179 Feb 04, 2012 at 13:44

I would say you’re generally moving in the right direction, although I would personally put more focus on developing wireframes rather than a sample screenshot. Wireframes serve as a better blueprint for developers that are interested in getting the specifics of the layout and functionality done. You can then focus on skinning your interface later, which more often than not tends to be an evolving process. You don’t want to get stuck on constantly changing sample screenshots to reflect your new view of the UI.

Also, the tool Fireside mentioned (Inkscape) is a great tool for producing wireframes and mockups. I’ve used it to produce iOS wireframes and mockups with controls that looked exactly like the ones you see in iOS, as well as convey animations and user interactions. Working with vector art is a lot more flexible and productive than working with raster images.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 04, 2012 at 15:02

kk, thanjs for your help.

I have done only small projects in my past, where these screenshots were enough.

I haven`t heard of Fireside yet……Is it hard to learn??
Right now im learning some sql…..and thinking about the funktions, writing it down. (for exmple the increasing of an population when a building was made….right now I have this http://www.wolframal…Dx%3C%3D5&cdf=1 (x=days, y = population in percentage), but I havent finished, im still not happy with it).

I started researching about the “structure” behind the browsergames…haven`t found one, but since im doing it completely on java it should be similiar to a mmorpg( I have only searched for browsergame)…or not??

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TheNut 179 Feb 04, 2012 at 15:12

I don’t know, fireside what do you think? Are you hard to learn? :D Leander, what I meant what that “fireside”, a user here on DevMaster, stated he used Inkscape. Inkscape is a popular free vector graphics software, just as Gimp is a popular free raster graphics editor. I don’t think it’s hard to learn, but the user interface is not as friendly as Photoshop or the like.

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fireside 141 Feb 04, 2012 at 15:33

I don’t know, fireside what do you think? Are you hard to learn?

I’ve never been mistaken for an art program before.

Inkscape: It takes a little while to learn any program, but in this case, I think it’s worth it. You don’t have to know everything about it, you just need to learn the basic shapes, editing handles, adding colors, and grouping objects together. You can do pretty intricate art work with it, but for game design, you just need basic shapes and colors. You can also import raster images and put them on a square, so you can use what you’ve done already.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 04, 2012 at 19:28

hahahaha, thats why i never heard from this programm :D
I should read carfully\^\^

sry for thinking you are an art programm :P

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Reedbeta 168 Feb 04, 2012 at 21:13

Inkscape has some quite nice tutorials that will walk you through all the basics. I found it quite easy to use, and I don’t do much vector art so I don’t have a lot of experience with this kind of tool.

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 06, 2012 at 17:24

I have one question:

I would programm an “Login-server”, which leads the client to the specific “world”-server. Is this a good structure??
Or are there existing models, who are better than mine?? Should I do more servers for the specific actions??

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Leander_Kurscheidt 101 Feb 07, 2012 at 12:50

nobody has an opinion about this??