Re: Ultimate Goals in Olympia

John Morrow (
5 Jan 1995 19:58:29 -0500 (Scott Turner) writes:
>I'm not going to run through any detailed suggestions here, but my
>basic thought is that the game universe in which the players interact
>needs to have more depth and mystery to it.


>Depth can be added in a number of ways, but in playing Olympia I've
>come to realize that one problem with it is that players aren't
>restricted enough. As a faction in Oly, I can do magic,
>castle-building, exploration, trading, beastmastery, etc. all at the
>same time. One faction can explore every possible facet of the game,
>and that makes things boring and eliminates interaction with other
>factions. I think that may need to be changed, so that it isn't
>feasible (except in the long, long run) to have a faction that is
>skilled at everything.

The only problem is that you get two months worth of "You learn a
little more about sailing ships" in your turn report or spend months
finding a single cave with an orc in it. This can be quite
frustrating. Especially if you are spending $2.50 to get that line
or if you just want to get out there and do things.

Perhaps if such things as exploration and study were *automatic*
things that you do while doing other things. For instance, every time
you move into a province, you might have a chance of finding something
new instead of issuing an explicit EXPLORE command. You might also
simply set a default STUDY order that is assumed to take place while
the character rests while travelling or performing other activities.
This way you could have slow development with EXPLOREs and STUDY while
still letting the player do other interesting things with their turn.
The point here is that you don't want to force players to lock all
their units into seemingly uninteresting activities.

>Mystery is more difficult. In my opinion, a problem with Oly is that
>information is too freely exchanged. There's no real benefits to
>keeping information secret. In the design for Arena II, I built in
>reasons for keeping certain information secret. And while that didn't
>work perfectly, it did create some of the sense of mystery that I was
>after. As a side-effect, it also increased player interaction,
>because people were much more motivated to obtain information that was
>hard to get and useful.

There is no way to restrict the information so I think you are right
that there needs to be benefits to keeping information secret. Perhaps
secrets should include things that "wear out" or get depleted. For
instance, a yew grove might be secret and also might get used up by
cutting yew.

John Morrow