Simulation gaming as part our lives
As we grow older we start to become nostalgic of the times we would spend hours every day playing our favorite games. Responsibilities grow and gaming becomes an hour daily activity at best. Cases vary but if you grew up playing SimCity 2000 then you get my point.
Today I’d like to share with you a vision of a lifestyle that involves traditional, desktop-class gaming that we can do anytime during the day, without booting up a device, setting up a table or going to a dedicated room for it.
A mobile game for simulation enthusiasts
We decided that mobile platforms are more fitting to Particle Nation’s gameplay. Simulation is real time – which means it cannot be sped up at will – and results can take a long time to materialize. To put things in perspective, we are looking at a single in-game week to take about 2-5 seconds in real life.
However, we are not building a tapping simulator. Nations is a desktop-class simulator & management game made by and for simulation enthusiasts, that also happens to fit in your pocket.
In essence, we are building a game for people that would love to play a nations simulator online but are too busy with life, and would like to make gaming part of their daily activity without compromising the gameplay.
In the future we would like to have more active gameplay for those moments we actually get an hour to play our favorite games.
What’s happened in the past months
I am absolutely still working on Particle Nations, although mainly on the weekends, since my workweek is taken by a very interesting project which also happens to pay the bills, so priorities first. That said weekends alone is not enough at this stage of development.
That’s why Nihey Takizawa, a Brazilian developer, has joined to help develop the game client. I will still be working on the game client and simulation server, but the former is the most time consuming and it’s been critical to have someone take over the bigger tasks.
Concrete progress on the development
I’m glad to report that the simulation is becoming very coherent, and it’s mostly playable on mobile.
These are some of the stuff we’ve done in the past few months:
- Switched to a mobile layout
- Greatly improved information visualization for Capacities (supply/demand like Power, Water, Jobs, Food, Education, Healthcare, …) and Attributes (Safety score, Health score, Lawful, Air quality, Fresh water, …)
- Finances view with breakdown
- Internal tools required for balance and testing
- New facilities and policies
- Proper calculation of population tax income and pension cost
- Moved most national and population attributes from a speed-based a target-based calculation which is easier to balance and to understand as a player
- National Capacities (supply/demand) can affect national Attributes (scores). I.e: not meeting the Trash Collection demand affects the Environment attribute)
- Facilities can now affect national attributes only based on their real usage (i.e: if we have trash incinerators but we are barely using them, they should barely contribute to Air pollution)
- Overhaul of the population Lawful attribute, criminal count, how criminals affect demand, tax income (surprise: they don’t pay it) and most importantly, how it grows or shrinks thorough generations.
- Better Health calculation thorough generations with proper aging decay.
- Uncountable bug fixes, bug smashing, bug crushing, etc… In essence, not an insect friendly environment.
We can’t wait to finish up some more aspects of the game to finally show it to you all. That includes:
Not only critical for testing more efficiently, but historical data can show us what has happened in this nation for the past 10 decades, which is useful when walking into a new nation, coming back after a few days, or even to remind us if crime was really that bad before or it’s always been this bad.
It’s the last view that’s lacking critical visualization components to better understand better how the future generations will turn out when joining the workforce or retire, and what each of their attributes are (Health, Education, Wealth).
Simulation tweaks and balance
While this is always ongoing, we need to make an overall rebalance since plenty mechanics where updated or added since the last time we did this.
More tools to solve problems
This is the last step before we are able to have a playable game. We can solve things by either building facilities, or activate/modify/deactivate policies. We need to have a wealth of options within this scope in order to have more than one way to solve problems, embracing multiple approaches to a stable nation.
From now on, we hope to keep you more closely updated, leaving lengthy updates for the blog posts and brief updates to Twitter.