Prototyping a game about social/political power

Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby Brendan_ » 20 Oct 2011, 13:00

I'm working on a prototype to prove whether my game idea, boiled down to its most basic essentials, is as fun and fascinating as I'm thinking it is and worth making into a full game.
If it's not, I'm back to the drawing board without having poured time and effort into it.
If it is, then it's a solid cornerstone to build off of and show others this will be fun to work on.

To make this prototype, I'm learning Python. And either I'm going to succeed in making it myself or in asking for help I'm going to gain the interest of a real programmer who can do it better and faster than me. ;)
But eventually I'm going to need a real programmer, and so I need to explain why you should care about this game Scone. For your convenience, I will quote the document I linked above:

Everyone lives in a world full of other people.
Most of what’s most crucial in your life-- jobs, love, respect, help in trying times-- depend on how you’re able to interact with people in it. Doors open and close; friends, lovers, enemies, and allies enter and leave your life; and being able to get what’s needed for you, your friends, or the people you work with makes a huge difference in what kind of life you end up leading.

This game is about letting you take on any of many different roles in a stratified society full of differences in power, notions of acceptable behavior, and status-- basically, one like the world you live in-- and giving you freedom to play “what if” with how you could pursue what matters to you while conflicts arise from others pursuing what matters to them. You can try out approaches you’ve thought of or approaches you’ve heard of using personal influence and your network of relationships, then see what happens short-term and long-term in a way that’s not possible (or ethical) in real life.

The hope is that besides being fun, it will give a frame to make sense of the unlimited behavior of real people, to understand where they may be coming from and why.

The ambition is to make this world “no holds barred” and support meaningful responses by characters in-game to as wide an array of social behaviors as possible, both for you and the characters you meet.
You could be a diplomat. You could be a mobster. You could be a celebrity, or someone happy to stick with your own select circle of friends.
Whether the situations reflect ones you’ve been through, ones you anticipate, or you just assume a role and roll with where it takes you will be up to you, the player.

It’s just a game, but the issues it explores are fascinating, and potentially hilarious.
And that is why I want to make Scone.


I've written an outline for the Scone prototype 1, what its requirements are and the basis for judging whether it has successfully done what it needed to or not.

Also, for the curious, I've outlined the Scone development plan as I'm able to foresee it now. I just need to succeed one step at a time. :cool:


Thanks for reading. All feedback is appreciated.
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby charlie » 20 Oct 2011, 13:43

Any particular reason for choosing Python?

With the context of Godhead and LoS, I'd suggest Lua. I don't think it makes much practical difference (Python vs Lua for Scone) but learning Lua has more obvious for your situation.

Lua's pygame equivalent is LOVE: www.love2d.org
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby DangerOnTheRanger » 20 Oct 2011, 21:25

charlie {l Wrote}:Any particular reason for choosing Python?

With the context of Godhead and LoS, I'd suggest Lua. I don't think it makes much practical difference (Python vs Lua for Scone) but learning Lua has more obvious for your situation.

Lua's pygame equivalent is LOVE: http://www.love2d.org


The reason I, like the OP, would go with Python is that it has (IMHO) slightly better and more understandable OO support, not to mention a far more comprehensive standard library. Both of those are indispensable for game development. Still, if you want to use Lua as a scripting language, there are Lua bindings to Python - see http://pypi.python.org/pypi/lupa/0.20 - but I think Python is better as an primary language; you can still use Lua for scripting.
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby mdwh » 20 Oct 2011, 22:47

Another programmer might be able to do it more quickly - but only if someone is willing to do this. In practice, I suspect that writing it yourself may still be quicker. Unless you're offering money - programmers who enjoy writing for fun tend to have more than enough ideas of their own that they want to implement :)

You say you'll eventually need a real programmer, I'm not clear why this is - are you expecting someone else to write the full game for you, or do you mean just to help out in various aspects?
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby charlie » 20 Oct 2011, 23:59

DangerOnTheRanger {l Wrote}:The reason I, like the OP, would go with Python is that it has (IMHO) slightly better and more understandable OO support, not to mention a far more comprehensive standard library. Both of those are indispensable for game development. Still, if you want to use Lua as a scripting language, there are Lua bindings to Python - see http://pypi.python.org/pypi/lupa/0.20 - but I think Python is better as an primary language; you can still use Lua for scripting.


I wasn't asking for a "why is Python better than Lua" - subjective as it is - it was more about Brendan and his capabilities for contributing to his primary project, Godhead, which uses Lua, thus him learning Python seems to make less sense in this instance.
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby andrewj » 21 Oct 2011, 10:47

DungeonHack is using Python, not Lua.
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby charlie » 21 Oct 2011, 13:18

You're out of the loop Andrew.

DungeonHack, since renamed to Godhead, has abandoned that version of the engine and prototyped a Lips of Suna mod. Although that may now be abandoned too. It's all a bit up-in-the-air.
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby TheAncientGoat » 21 Oct 2011, 19:06

Since renamed to not-godhead, because the lore writer doesn't want his work to be associated with the crappy work we did.
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby andrewj » 22 Oct 2011, 03:44

I see, the System Architecture page is out of date.

Also I thought "Godhead" was just the name of the setting for the game, hehe.

I'm not a fan of Python, so the switch to Lua gets me interested again. Will check out the forums and think about getting into the loop.....
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby Brendan_ » 23 Oct 2011, 19:08

My primary project is prototyping Scone. As for Godhead/DungeonHack, it's important to know when to shoot your baby in the crib. For years we'd been fighting an uphill battle, and I think some things were fundamentally unsound. And once the lore author of Godhead put together his own studio, there ceased to be any better way for Godhead to be made than in-house by him.

I let go and moved on to something fresh that could be built from a sound foundation. Identifying the so-called "core gameplay loop" and prototyping it in its simplest form to be sure it is truly fun is something we could never afford to do before. With Scone, there will be no building features on top of what is just assumed to work.

Will this prototyping lead to a project worth watching or joining? Don't know yet. Just taking it one step at a time while sharing my dreams with a few interested people.
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby charlie » 24 Oct 2011, 13:12

Brendan, didn't you make any lore contributors [agree to] license their work using an appropriate open source license before contributing it to the project? Did you let somebody populate the wiki with copyrighted content?

This is why it is critical to always get contributors to agree to license terms before contributing, so that they can't pull the rug from under the project when they decide they're not totally happy with its direction (people feel that way more often than you might think).

If the author has agreed to CC-by-SA or something similar prior to creating the Godhead lore, then he/she has no control over what was contributed and no right to demand you do not use the lore or the name.
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby Brendan_ » 24 Oct 2011, 17:17

Charlie, I'd like your help with something. I'm trying to mark my calendar for "Charlie Stops Derailing Threads About Scone to Interrogate Me About Past Misadventures Day" but I'm not sure when that is... Think you could tell me? ;)
I've been looking forward to your responses about the game idea, the approach of prototyping to be sure the core is fun before investing time and effort into features, or really any of what I've been trying to talk about. Well, I guess I still am at this point... :think:

I've recently outlined a development plan for what happens after we find a winning prototype based on this theme, which I and my loyal band of merry men are really intrigued about!

But seriously, if you're this reluctant to let me seize the opportunity for a fresh and fascinating new start after toughing it out for several years of my life, then I invite you to air your mortally aggrieved distress privately rather than boring everyone who looked at this thread expecting "game about social/political power". All I have is your G+, but you don't seem to respond there...
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Re: Prototyping a game about social/political power

Postby charlie » 25 Oct 2011, 02:59

Hi Brendan, I haven't had time to wrap my head around it fully yet, hence no constructive posts on the topic in hand. I did have a quick look and, in that regard, no response is a good response (i.e. no red flags).

The license issue is a very important point to make. Never, ever accept contributions that are not suitably licensed. Always insist on it. Autonomy is critical to project survival.
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