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Messages - SLiV

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The kickstarter looks great! I justed backed it, hope it gets there. ;D

Pangolin Games / Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
« on: October 25, 2020, 10:10:56 PM »
Just played through the tutorial. One thing that confused me a little: the text log refers to silver aspers as a currency, but the in-game events had prices in gold: Harionasis has "Hire 5 citizens (50 gold)", and I encountered a farm that offered food for gold. Is that a naming issue or is there an exchange rate? At least I was able to pay for them, it seemed.

Also I found a bug, I think: I had saved in the tutorial, and when I tried to load it, it asked for the hero's name, listing " Othko". I first tried "Othko", assuming that the space was part of the UI, but it said it couldn't find a hero with that name, so then I tried " Othko" and I saw a Python error in the command line that it wouldn't find a file.
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
Didn't really matter of course because the tutorial isn't that long, but thought I'd mention it.

I agree that transitioning when moving to the edge would be nice. For example now you can bump into mountains or gryphons that you can't see because they're just across the fold, so to speak. At least it's good that you can usually back away without penalty.

Found another bug:
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Resilience is an interesting mechanic! Also are there ways to influence which creatures spawn? Maybe it was because I was playing on a small map, but I started with a quest to slay Qualquales which I have only found one of yet, while the map was being overrun with Wiblenibs. I'll be sure to give this another spin later.

Pangolin Games / Re: Exile Princes Closed Beta Testing
« on: October 18, 2020, 04:42:47 PM »
I'd love to try this out if you still need more testers!

We didn't make the kickstarter back in 2018, so it took some doing, but I'm happy to announce:

Epicinium is finally released on Steam and itchio!

We decided to make the game pay-what-you-want on itchio and entirely free on Steam, with a separate soundtrack Steam users can buy if they want to support us. We've also made good on our ambition to open-source the source code and the assets on release day. Moreover, version 1.0.0 -- that still feels weird to say, like writing the date on the first school exam of the year :P -- contains awesome new menu art and improved building sprites by our new employee Masha, a brand new in-game soundtrack and additional sound effects by our intern Can, and a new AI opponent that was trained using evolutionary neural networks.

We had a bit of a rocky first week, with near-hourly server crashes on release day (luckily fixed the next day) and a bug that caused the game to be unplayable on Windows if the user's name contained non-English letters (also fixed as of today). Also the game was supposed to have translation support on release -- we've set up a Localizor page and even managed to get a complete first pass on a Polish translation --, but last minute we couldn't get it to work on Windows, so that's something I'll be trying to fix next week. A bigger black mark on the whole thing is that my co-founder has been on the edge of burnout for the past couple of months, so I'm not sure if he managed to enjoy the release as much. He's taken the rest of the month off to go on a well-deserved holiday, and we'll have to see where it goes from there.

All in all I'm mostly glad it's getting an enthousiastic response from people in our Discord. ;D

General Chatter - The Boozer / Re: Exlilian Forum Pub Quiz
« on: September 13, 2020, 05:29:36 PM »
Congrats Clockwork! :D

Today I learned that the sound track for
Spoiler (click to show/hide)
sounds a bit like that of Only Connect!

Also kicking myself for not being able to get past
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Looking forward to the next edition!

General Chatter - The Boozer / Re: Exlilian Forum Pub Quiz
« on: September 07, 2020, 10:08:57 PM »
Just submitted my final answers. I actually had a eureka moment when a random tweet I saw mentioned a word from one of the questions. ;D

General Chatter - The Boozer / Re: Exlilian Forum Pub Quiz
« on: September 02, 2020, 02:24:39 PM »
Ooh fun! ;D

I did okay with rounds 1 and 2, but round 3 really stumps me. I'm going to hold on sending my answers so I can brood some more on them on the weekend.

Well this one definitely turned out differently than I thought it would. ;D

For those curious, my part started when Vanessa entered the tavern, and I was trying to communicate that
Spoiler (click to show/hide)

I really like where the story went from there, and ending with the Pudding King was a nice touch as well. This was a lot of fun to do!

I would love to try this.


Ooh that might be interesting. The downside of producing riflemen at cities is that it lowers the power of the city and hence its income, thereby making a comeback even more difficult. But if rebels spawned for "free" if cities were captured or destroyed, that might buy the defending player some time to spend their resources on a counterattack.

Yeah the star is not my most inspired work. I'm mostly curious if it would actually work to reduce the confusion about the game objectives. I should watch some replays to see if new players play more focussed now.

Thanks for the shoutout, Jubal. :)

As we have entered the final 72 hours of the campaign, we're sitting at 35%, so it will be a steep climb if we still manage to make it.  :-X

We decided to open up the beta for everyone for this period, so that those interested in the Kickstarter can try out the game for themselves. We released version 0.31.0 to accommodate them by allowing Discord users to play as a guest without registering, and we improved the tutorial by adding icons that match the graphics used in the game, because people were having troubles matching the names of the units with the icons that the UI uses.

We also added stars to the surface texture of City tiles, to make them more uniquely identifiable. The objective of the game is to "occupy or destroy all enemy City tiles", but when people read or hear this, they don't yet know the difference between City tiles, Town tiles etcetera, so they might think they need to capture all enemy tiles. This makes them play very methodically, which can be fun but it can also make games drag on for far longer than they need to.

In general, games taking too long is one of the main concerns I have about the game right now. I have been re-reading some articles by the Wayward Strategist, which I found very helpful. Although they are mostly about RTS games, I think they still apply to Epicinium because we based a lot of economic game design on Age of Empires and StarCraft. What I noticed when looking at positive and negative feedback loops, was that all of our positive feedback loops that exist in the early game seem to disappear in the late game. For example, having map control gives a huge economic advantage early on, because the opponent is neither able to build up their economy safely nor sufficiently able to launch a counterattack. However once a player has amounted a large enough advantage that both players would agree that that player will probably end up winning, it can still take a while for their opponent to be defeated. This is because all of the winning players units have to walk all the way across the map, whereas the defending player can create units inside the tiles that they are trying to defend. This, in combination with the intentional negative feedback loop of having a hard limit on the number of new orders you can give per turn, can cause games to stall out a bit.

So I think the main game design challenge I would want to solve next month, would be to flip this around: if there are some negative feedback loops in the early game that dissolve as the game goes on, and more positive feedback loops or at least game systems that become more volative as the game goes on, then hopefully games will be shorter and stay exciting throughout. The tricky part is not making it feel artificial, of course. I'm thinking about adding a new resource to the game, or making different types of units cost different resources. Because one of the reasons it is currently hard to come back from a defensive position, is that you need money, power and orders to produce defenses, and those same resources are used to build your economy, or to launch a counterattack. You can only win by expanding your economy or doing something something sneaky, but you can only prevent a loss by building defenses. Games would be more interesting if you could do both at the same time, because now it sometimes leads to players just holding on for the sake of holding on, which can be frustrating for either player. I myself am guilty of this, by the way, as evidenced by last weeks dev match. (The matches were still very fun, however.)

Well, this turned out to be a bit more of a ramble than I had planned. But that's good, I needed to come up with a new devlog topic anyway. :P

Looks great! Can't wait to try it out someday.

Exilian Articles / Re: Bosch, Breugel, Beelzebub and Baphomet
« on: November 07, 2018, 01:32:13 PM »
Lovely article! Bosch and Breugel are my two favorite painters. I'd love to make a game at some point featuring these types of crazy demons, or with rumor-based depictions of animals such as the giraffe from Garden of Earthly Delights.

I think Four Last Things comes close; it is still on my wishlist.

Thank you so much Jubal! Also for featuring us in the newsletter on Thursday. I saw them come by earlier just didn't have the time then to thank you. The first 48 hours have been really hectic.

The illustration was a bit of a last minute commission, but we're really happy with it. Really captures the spirit of Epicinium, I think. Also makes me even more determined to do a water-based expansion after, if we ever get there.

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