Modeling and representing the colony

spectrum-in-concentric-circles

I believe the modeling of Frasgird itself should be slightly abstract but still present some sort of graphic representation. We don’t need or want a SimCity-level model (though it might look cool). I’m not even sure we need/want one on level of the original Sundog, where you can drive/walk around the city, because I’m not sure we want/need that level of ‘physical’ representation for this game. On the other hand, I do think we want some graphical representation reflection decisions made as to what developments have been chosen, and possibly (though I’m not sure of this) how they relate to one another.

One abstraction/model that comes to mind is a series of concentric circles (hence the image above, used as the background for this website). The circle at the center represents the colony at the start of the game, with the basic functions of starport, warehouse, initial living quarters, and administrative offices (four quandrants). The next circle out is divided into a set of slots — say 6 or 8 — which the player can develop initially. Each slot can be developed to carry out a specific function: housing, food production, manufacturing, power, etc. Each slot — that is, each development — requires certain preconditions: one or more technologies; certain goods (cargo brought in); and a certain number of people devoted to it. Once established, it then enables colony growth through its function. Some sort of bonus or reward should occur when the ring is completely filled: a bump in productivity for all the developments in the ring, greater generation of cash, the possibility of a new technology. The user might even have the option to choose.

Each successive ring going outwards has a greater number of slots in it, so that completing each successive level requires more time and resources. A few different (and not necessarily mutually exclusive) approaches come to mind:

  • Each ring must be completely developed before the next ring out can be started.
  • Alternatively, slots in a given ring can be developed if the slot(s) on the next ring inside are already developed.
  • Or, you can simply develop any slot — but there may be productivity consequences if the slot is isolated from other development.
  • There could be certain bonuses (or even negative consequences) of having certain types of developments adjacent to each other, either within the same ring or in the next ring inward or outward.

As technology advances and new types of development or more productive versions of existing ones become available, the user should have an option for replacing existing ones with the newer and better versions. There would be some amount of recycling of the originally used materials — but I think the time to completion should actually be a touch longer, representing the need to clear out the existing development before building the better one. On the other hand, there is a risk that a quantum jitter (small or big) could put ‘more advanced’ developments out of business for a while or even permanently, so there are advantages to keeping some ‘more primitive’ developments around to recover more quickly.

Besides the abstracted layout of the colony, we also need to model the population dynamics — numbers, genetic diversity, and so on. At some point, to increase the probability of humanity’s survival, groups of colonists with sufficient numbers and genetic diversity may emigrate to repopulate small or abandoned human settlements on other worlds (i.e., don’t keep all your eggs in one basket).

Similarly, we’ll need to model stuff on hand: raw materials, harvested goods, manufactured goods, cash. These, in turn, can be used for new construction of developments or they can be sold by traders to raise cash for the colony.

More thoughts as I get to them. ..bruce..

Filed Under: MainModelingThe Colony

About the Author

Webster has been doing game design since 1980, but only has one actual published game to his credit -- Sundog: Frozen Legacy (Apple II, 1984; Atari ST, 1985). This is his second.

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. […] as per my discussion here, I’m using a working model of Frasgird as a series of concentric rings, with each ring […]

Leave a Reply




If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.