Re: Olympia Internals: Misc Comments
Sun, 19 Jul 92 14:22:20 EDT

Rich Skrenta <> writes:

>[I didn't think anyone was up at 5am like me. The modem sure quiets
> down in the wee hours of the morning. :-)]

So, do you get up at or stay up until 5am? :-)

>> 1) Unstacking at Sea. If you DO allow for unstacking at sea, you don't
>> need a swimming skill and the units need not AUTOMATICALLY drown.
>> Remember those near-useless (in the New World, anyway) "small boat"s?
>> Simply leave the unit adrift in their small life boats.

>Be careful! So we do allow UNSTACKs, as long as the unstacked unit(s)
>have enough inventory of small boats to sustain them at sea? So you
>can maroon someone if they remembered to bring along lifeboats, but
>you can't make them walk the plank if they didn't. Good thing giving
>objects is a controllable parameter, else the captain would GIVE the
>folks some boats, then UNSTACK them at sea...

No, actually my idea was to allow the UNSTACK but IF the units have small
boats, the appropriate number of men do not drown. In point (5) of my
letter, I proposed the "force" option for STACK and MOVE to allow you to
attack into a structure or region that you are being prohibited from
entering (or simply enter if they can). The idea is that the STACKing or
MOVEing units are moved into a limbo area and the attack occurs. If the
attack succeeds, the attacking unit replaces the defending unit. If the
attack fails, the attacking unit (or what is left of it) retreats back to
the location from where the STACK or MOVE order was issued from. A very
similar mechanic can be used for forced UNSTACKing at sea. Issue an
"unstack [unit] force" command and the unstacking unit will have to fight
the unit being unstacked unless the unit being unstacked can safely unstack.
The assumption is that if you cannot safely unstack, you are going to fight
it ("safely" means NO men will die from the unstack).

>> 2) Skill Revision.
>> I don't really see anything wrong with the current system.

>Others have voiced similar opinions. I guess the complexity of the
>skill system has been bugging me, but your comments about skill systems
>in other games reminded me that Olympia's really isn't that complex
>compared to some of the ones out there. And, since it's already
>implemented... :-) I'll turn the levels on subskills back on, and we'll
>see if I can leave the damn thing alone for a week.

It really isn't complex at all, in my opinion, because you need:

(A) a way to structure skill learning
(B) a way to differentiate the tasks within a skill so they may be used
(C) levels of proficiency in the skill

Your current system pulls all of this together into a pretty simple little
package that gives good effects.

>BTW, sneak peek: STUDY skill [days] [level]

> Study skill for a number of days, or until the specified
> level is reached, whichever comes first. Days defaults to 14.

>My war on silly SET IDLE loops continues.

Can you set this command (and the new recruit) so you can specify, say:

STUDY 101 0 1

Which would mean "study 101 until you reach level 1, irregardless of how
long it takes"? How about "RECRUIT 0 10"?

>> 3) Resource Usage. No matter what you do, I feel that any replenishment
>> of resources should occur THROUGHOUT the month. There should be no
>> penalty for executing your command on day 20 as opposed to day 1.

>Oooh. Good point. I was sort-of vaguely aware that this might be
>a problem. Not really sure how to solve it for resources with small
>(numerically) supply. For instance, a location with five recruits to
>give up next month.

If a region gets 5 recruits per month, divide the month by 5 and dish out
the recruits once every 6 or 7 days (depending on month length). This
would make the "0" time option important for some skills (see above).

>> 4) Recruit dependant on money offered. Isn't this going to be competative
>> enough once the men available is limited?

>Competitive, meaning? With other resource production, increasing your
>skill is like adding men to the task. How do you get more men to join?
>Recruit with a larger force? Maybe. Or offer a bigger hiring bonus.

I DO think that recruit should in part depend on the size of the force doing
it. I just don't like the feel of "I have 300 per man -- 300 -- do I hear

>> 5) Land/Structure Ownership.

>Current plan is that you have to get the location itself to SWEAR to
>you, after which you can stack with it. The location's attitudes decide
>who is turned away at the borders.

Yuch. You already have a pretty good ownership system -- being the
first one stacked with it owns it. If you aren't around to enforce
your ownership, (A) no one is going to follow any taxes, etc. you set
down and (B) anyone who walks in and wants it can have it. Every time
an owner leaves or is killed, the tax and fee rates would drop to 0.
I supose getting a region to SWEAR to you would be accomplished by a
variation on the PERSUADE theme? If so, how would it be possible to
MILITARILY conquer a region if the owner wasn't present? I really
don't think "Dr. Pain persuades Pesbrand for 5,000 gold" is terribly
dramatic. As for turning units away based on attitudes, I really
think that neutral units should be able to stack with building (such
as temples, inns, etc.) and they DEFINITELY should be able to move
into locations. I really don't think you should have to be the
"cooperative welcome wagon" by setting your default attituted to
cooperative, simply to let people pass through. See the attitude
chart in my previous letter for full implications.

>Your tax scheme looks promising.

It is meant to be as simple as possible and get the job done. I think it
does that without unbalancing the game and it rewards lower tax rates by the
fact that more people will buy from cities with lower tax rates.

>What are the stacking fees for? Are you distinguising between stacking
>with a location and being in one? (they are different).

Yes. Stacking fees are a flat rate charge levied when you issue a "stack"
order. If there is an inn (there's that inn idea again... :-) in the
region with a fee set on it of 10 gold and I issue "stack [inn]", each
unit (or man -- we can decide this one...) that stacks with the inn
is charged 10 gold. Perhaps if they are still stacked with it after 1
month, they would be charged again (another decision call). The idea
behind this is that if you are stacked with my structure, you are getting
a benefit from it. For that, you are being charged "rent". The idea is
"paying for a room at the inn, tower, etc.", "buying drinks for the
men at the tavern", "donating at the temple", "paying a user fee on
the mine", etc. This makes it economically feasable to build structures
that make money on other people using them ("Wouldn't you like to stay
in my nice safe tower for only 1 gold per man per month?"). Again, I
bring up my idea that roads do not replace wilderness links but create
a new one. In that case, you can stack with the road and "set fee [amount]"
for the road and charge a toll. If people don't want to pay it, they can
move via the wilderness links. (I have this idea pretty well worked out.
If you want more info or don't understand what I am getting at, let me
know). Remember, the fee amount COULD be 0, as COULD the tax. It is
up to the owner.

(If you do implement inns, you can give, say, level 3+ entertainers a
new skill -- "indoor entertainment" and, perhaps, even "stage performance"
at a higher level...)

>> The ownership system whereby the first unit stacked with the
>> location OR the first structure present on the land owns it.
>> Something similar is already in place for structures.

>I don't want the opening rounds of the game to be a run out and stack
>with as many locations as you can kind of thing. It will be reasonably
>difficult to actually get control of a location. Persuading a big chunk
>of people like that is not easy, especially if they aren't particularly
>upset with their current rulership (or lack thereof).

It is VERY easy to make it reasonably difficult to get ownership by
stacking. Remember the "Castle Guard" in Castle Chardia? Remember
all thos Orcs? Simply have MOST of the starting regions and
structures start out with a "resident owner" and a reasonable 10% tax
rate for all town or city locations. In wilderness locations, those
owners could be monsters or peasant council and in civilized areas, they
could be kings or guards. That way, you could EITHER persuade the
resident owners OR you could conquer them depending on your
tastes/abilities. You could adjust the difficulty of the monsters
depending on the desirability of the of the land. Yes, Dr. Pain did
persuade the Castle Guard in Chardia but what would stop a few newbies
from getting together and using all their starting money to persuade
the staring town? Again, I really think "Dr. Pain persuades Pesbrand
for 5,000 gold" looses something. Do we really want to ask that
warlords not only have to defeat the owners but ALSO persuade the
land? I also don't know if this is very realistic and I certainly
don't think it "feels" right.

John Morrow - Varian [856]

Main Index  |  Olympia  |  Arena  |  PBM FAQ  |  Links