Syphilisation is now live on Steam in early access. I would really appreciate it if you took the time to check it out and tell me what you think. I’m trying to get an idea of where exactly it is and any feedback that I can get is very useful.
The game is still nowhere near where I want it to be and I have a lot of feature work planned for the next few months based on what I already know of the game. This is obviously far from set in stone. I will update this based on player feedback and on things that I myself learn about the game, but I wanted to put down an idea of what is planned for the game.
The first issue of pacing is that the mid- and long-term goals are not compelling enough. In particular, during the early game, it can be very hard to see what things are leading to. I feel that putting down a spine for players to follow will do a lot to bring some flow into the game. It should do a lot to support the one-more-turn dynamic typical of these games. Additionally, my hope is that it makes the game much more approachable as it helps players figure out what they should be doing.
This breaks down like so: <li>The report:
- Put in writing (and racing to) the introductions.
- Show players the whole report whenever something is added to it and so show the pieces missing. This way players can see where the report is going.
- Remove the note system as it is an unnecessary complication. </li>
- Personal stories:
- Keep track of how close you are to other people and trigger events through closeness.
- Learn about people’s flaws through closeness and help them overcome them through wonders and campaigns.
- Be able to do the same for yourself. </li>
- Put the eXploitation deck unlocks in the spine.
- Put the eXploitation currencies at the end of the eXpnasion decks.
- Add eXploitation currency-based projects once you reach the final favor threshold for a region. </li>
The quests do a lot for the game right now. They provide some direction in a game where the complexity can be overwhelming. I have the following thoughts on them though:
- They don’t feel fully integrated with the systems around them though.
- I want to figure out how they work with the anomaly system and how they work with the biome.
- I would like this system to also better communicate the idea of the biome as a role.
- They need to roll together into better medium- and long-term goals.
I really feel that this feature is close and with some minor fixes, I can get the whole thing to click.</li>
Merge Districts and Preserves
I want to make districts, camps and preserves into the same entity and make them more interesting. There are a lot of pieces to this and the result will be a complete overhaul of all three that make them more interactive. I’m also going to use this to restructure the favor generation system. I’ve really liked the addition of camps into the game and allowing them to take over another existing system and then fleshing them out a bit is very exciting for me.
The campaign system has gone through a lot of interation so far and so what’s in the game right now is a little messy. The way that camps now interact with this feature is excellent, but seems to be a bit buggy. I feel like the best thing to do here is rewrite the feature now that I understand what it is to do.
Before I do that though, I want to take some time to figure out what campaigns I actually want to put into the game. This is a critical piece of the game and it has never been sufficiently fleshed out.
Emphasizing Other Players
When playing through the game, it really feels like the other players don’t exist. Some of the features I detailed should do something to help this, especially the pacing change and the campaign changes, but I want to leave some time to just work on this for awhile. I need to implement the dynamic of arguing over the direction of the report and I just need to implement more interaction in general. This feature needs some top-down work to try to give the game something of the feel of a group report.
Additionally, I want to flesh out the storylines a bit and change the events to something less mechanical. They are too dry right now.
Finally, I want to figure out satyagraha better. The real strength of the non-violent campaign is how it changed the axis from that of military might to that of morality and I would love to figure out something that mirrors that better.
More Clear Anti-Colonialism
There are a lot of anti-colonial pieces in the game right now, but it still doesn’t come together enough. The colonial mentality is rooted deep in the 4X genre and needs to be fought holistically, not front-by-front. I need a credible alternative to growth for the sake of growth.
I also want to put in the colonial economy. I think that actually being able to see the dynamic in play will help a lot of players understand what it involved.
Finally, I want more mechanics that are explicitly cooperative. The most fundamental change of the game is that it is cooperative and I should emphasize that some more.
This breaks down into six categories and so my goal is to get them all done by the end of October. Three features a month is a schedule that I think is aggressive but feasible and this will let me get to the next cycle of iteration a little faster. In the meantime, please send me any feedback that you might have. I’d love to see what you think.