Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

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Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby Sonomakid » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:41 pm

Currently I see a lot of brilliant ideas with pen and paper. I've read through a lot of the rules and I think that this is the community with some real talent. I personally have nothing but a vision and the ability to write. Which means that in the end I need an entire group of dedicated individuals who want to make this a reality. Obviously we will need a few key things, they are as follows:

1) Permission from the creators of this fantastic comic!
2) A dedicated programmer or team of programmers who know their way around Ipad game creation
3) A writing staff willing to see it through to the end
4) A cohesive plan on what kind of game we want to build

Things that would be nice:

1) Support and creative input from the Erfworld crew
2) A programmer with experience who knows how to build in complex combat mechanics

I personally can offer no compensation or anything other than my time for this project. I can be a part of that dedicated writing staff, or I can just coordinate if someone with a clearer vision takes the helm. Please indicate your desire to participate here. Once we have a functional team and idea we can go to the creators of Erfworld and pitch it to them. At that point the project could continue. I also put in my vote to have the proceeds from this game go to the erfworld comic and its continued awesomeness.
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby Sonomakid » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:23 pm

Now that the baseline of my idea is out there I figured I would share my opinion on what type of game we should make. I envision a strategy game. A large map with multiple provinces making up a continent of Erfworld. Each province is held by a different faction of Erfworld and each Faction will have unique properties. You make money based on how good the province is and how many you have. You can then spend your shmuckers on units, upkeep, city upgrades, and scrolls from the magic kingdom. However, this is only the beginning.

Each map would be randomly generated based on various settings chosen by the user, number of factions, number of provinces, map size, resource scarcity, and so on. This would make the game almost infinitely replayable. And for in app purchases we simply add special characters and special units to the list. Want Wanda as your chief caster? Go right ahead and purchase her for 99 cents. Things like this will keep the game fresh and inviting as time goes on. Each faction vies for power in Erfworld constantly trying to conquer their little corner. The game can end at a pre determined turn limit or by total domination. The choice once again being up to the player. The rules and units are of course based around the mechanics seen in the erfworld comic and casters pop randomly.

As the game grows we add natural alliances with random erf factions (i.e. hobgobwins) and various social abilites such as paying for an alliance or forming a coalition to attack a particularly nasty side. And as the turns pass we can add more depth to the game such as Fate popped units and quests. One may not be trying to take all of Erfworld but there may be an Arken Tool in one of the provinces, at which point you may wish to claim it and take a turn trying to find its true owner. Fate popped units may not always be loyal to the king or overlord. They may be loyal to other agendas such as acquiring a certain Arken Tool, in which case your orders may not be followed.

How combat is handled has yet to be seen but I imagine something like advance wars with its great art and easy to use interface. Please if you wish to be a part of this let me know, and if you have ideas of your own I am more than willing to consider them. And if the future team decides to go a different direction so be it. I look forward to hearing from our awesome community.
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby 0beron » Fri Feb 03, 2012 9:14 am

I don't particularly have the time to offer participating in something like this, but I wanna point out a few possible issues/suggestions
  • I doubt you'll get permission for it in the first place, given that eventually it will generate profit if successful.
  • Your map would need to be infinite and randomly generated like a typical facebook strategy game, in order to accommodate enough players, and to simulate Erfworld.
  • Dealing with battles will be tricky...possibly TOO complex for a iPad game. To be true to the story, you'd have to show the combat in "live time" which I think is too complex. (and if battles aren't in real-time, you lose the whole point of warlords)
  • The turn system of Erfworld poses another potential complication. If one player just stops paying attention, everyone in the battlespace would be stuck because that player's turn would never end. Or, put a time limit so that after a period of time not logging in, the player's turn is skipped....but then what happens to their cities/units?
  • How will you handle units? Most pen/paper games generated from Erfworld include custom unit/side creation...which is also too complex for iPad.
  • Warlords/Casters would also be tricky. When a combat includes led stacks, you would either need to wait until a player is logged on, or have a smarter AI control the stacks.

From my (albeit uneducated) perspective, it doesn't seem like you can do what you're suggesting on an iPad. Perhaps a game could be available download for computers, and there could be an accompanying iPad app from which you would be able to issue orders but not fully PLAY.
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby HerbieRai » Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:09 pm

I was actually trying to do this for windows computers, but ran into the problem that I'm a mediocre programmer with next to 0 experience. I think it would be better if the world was finite, and instead of having everyone playing be on the same map, the players set up games with a few other players and go from there. This allows for players to be in multiple games, and if someone drops out everyone else isn't left holding the bag.

Since units have defined stats, I don't think having different units for each faction would be a problem since each unit can be broken down into 4 stats and a special or 2, but having enough sprites for everyone to have unique looking units would be next to impossible.

I don't think battles should be real time, but should go in turns like the comic. If the game itself is going to be turn based with more than 2 sides, then I don't see having both attacker and defender on at the same time for combat. I think giving someone a lot of ability to set up defenses (ex. which stacks are attacked first) will be all that's needed. This will give more power to attackers, and push players to be pro-active instead of turtle.

Magic will have to be severely downgraded. In the comic, casters have broken the game multiple times. Putting that into a competitive game would be cruel to new players.
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby Sonomakid » Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:05 pm

I love the discussion so far! Only a few folks chiming in but it has been enlightening. We need all kinds on this project both positive and critical thinkers. Without both we cannot find a balance. In regards to the possible problems:

1) Permission will most likely not be an issue as I personally plan not to make any money off of this. I think it would be best to hand it over to the creators anyway considering it is all based on their intellectual property. Its just a game I would like to see made so profit is not my governing factor. Only two business reasons would restrict permission, dilution of the brand or intellectual property or it is already in production in which case it will get made anyway without my help.

2) The map issue is only a problem with massive multiplayer games, something I never intended this to be. Although I really like where your head is at on this one. Grand ideas are never a problem. We just may not be able to meet the expectations. My thought was more of a single player adventure RPG/Strategy game. Though multiplayer (if we can figure it out) would be awesome! Maybe we just have to localize it or do it like civilizations; sending the actions done each turn to the other player. The only time we would get hung up is if one or the other player isn't interested and with a words with friends style matchmaking system in place you would only be playing mostly with people you know.

3) Combat in this system is turn based. Live time only comes from orders given by warlords and led stacks. This is only a problem if we have no defense system set up. Having warlords with basic orders like "Attack high value targets", "Don't defend against led stacks" or even "Only target led stacks" would suffice because that is all one can do in that system anyway. Solo units can have unique orders like "Strike high value targets of opportunity".

4) I think we vastly underestimate the power of the Ipad. It can handle some older more complex games with ease (take a look at Bard's Tale) so it would be up to someone with programming experience to tell us what is and isn't possible. But that being said, if it doesn't work on the Ipad it is the Titan's will. Perhaps we switch gears at that point to PC.

5) Custom units would be awesome, though only if it is possible that is a good question. But that isn’t really something that pops up in the world to be honest. Erfworld doesn’t have custom unit creation; though every unit does tend to have a certain uniqueness to it we may have to sacrifice that for the sake of feasibility. Stabbers, infantry, archers, heavies, siege, warlord, caster. We can break it down based on that and the random pops will help to keep the game special and true to form. Each faction (as illustrated in the comic) can have certain unique unit pictures but they will still stick to the major categories already mentioned. And great point on the having too many unique sprites being impossible. Totally agree. Only a few uniques per side is a better plan.

6) Creating a custom side would be way easier than we think, I imagine. Simply pick a style (aggressive, defensive, magic heavy) pick a background (Overlord, Royal, etc…) then if you want more choices pick a trait or two (infantry specialist, siege specialist, heavy specialist, etc…) and it will help to figure that out. Pick from a few styles of livery and you are good to go! Yeah we sacrifice the customization of the pen and paper, but that is something one just has to do to create something like this. Custom color options and maybe even upload a picture of your face or an emblem you draw and it inserts that picture into the game to be your emblem.

7) The only tricky piece is the magic system. You guys are correct that it has the most potential to be a game breaker. However, it is the big game breaking moment that defines Erfworld lately. But we can make it complex to be set up those game breakers. Charlie had to have a thinkamancer link the turnamancer to something else in order to do that big turn change spell. So someone would have to have a Turnamancer, a Master Class Thinkamancer (or Arkendish with someone to work it) and then some other kind of mage I don’t even know about. And all that randomly pops, so not so much game breaking as it is like relying on the royal flush on the flop in a game of Texas Holdem. Igniting the volcano killed everything including their own side (almost). And it took a Thinkamancer, Dirtamancer, and Croakamancer. Then they needed a few Master Class Thinkamancers to unravel the link. Gamebreaking? Yeah, but damn did that take some work to avoid being worse off in the end.

Final thoughts: A great start ya’ll. Will it be multiplayer or just single player with some defined parameters? Will it be Ipad or PC? All of these can be answered if we put our minds to it. Spread the word and get more people involved and we can get a better idea on what will and won’t work. Step one is define the idea and get a design document up and available for folks to take a look at. After some more discussion I will try and write up a one page summary that will better define what we are thinking about. Then we can work off that and dig deeper as time goes by. The point of the one page design doc is just to get people with talent interested, after that we can really get it solidified. Thanks you guys and keep up the good work! If I didn’t address anything please let me know and we can keep going.
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby Balerion » Fri Feb 03, 2012 10:28 pm

I would recommend against the Ipad. I have never worked with objective C myself (the language for iphone and ipad), but have heard it is a nightmare. Unless there is someone willing to volunteer who already has the experience, its a steep learning curve for someone jumping in. Instead, i would aim at making a java based game (unless there is a deep need for it to run on ipad). That way it runs on pretty much any computer without difficult compilation or installation necessary, and the language is simpler.

My own life is pretty busy right now, or I would offer to help with this (assuming Rob wouldn't get pissed about the idea). I have contemplated doing something like this before, but haven't ever found the time. I have a CS degree and a couple of years of experience. Maybe in a month or so life will be more open... but likely not, as a friend wants me working on a different game with him :P
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby Sonomakid » Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:35 pm

Ok it sounds like unless we can get someone who knows their way around Ipad programming the Ipad idea may not be so awesome. Then I will put that on the backburner unless someone comes out of the woodwork ready to go. I appreciate the input. And hey if that thing with your friend falls through and you are looking for something to do, come on back and we can get started. I think I will start writing that one page document I previously mentioned and then incorporate any other ideas that may come our way. Thanks guys! Here's hoping this won't die outright, but in the end we can always try again.
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby KingTyris » Tue May 01, 2012 4:00 pm

A better option might be to make a mod of the game Civilization V. It uses similar mechanics, hex's, cities, etc. Multiple stacks per hex may not be workable, but changing unit names, graphics, altering unit upgrades, and inserting casters and commanders may be viable.
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby eliotn » Tue May 01, 2012 7:39 pm

I am thinking about making an erfworld port, but I don't want to elaborate on it until I can show some code.
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Re: Erfworld Ipad game? Let's make it!

Postby SNfinity » Sun May 20, 2012 6:27 pm

On the subject of unique sprites: it not as hard as you think. As Parson would say, it's all about the multipliers.

Let's say you drew me three goblin noses and three goblin heads. If I felt like it, I could definitely pair them up one to one, but let's be crazy here and connect them in all possible combinations. Now we have nine goblin faces. But let's not stop there, draw me three goblin torsos and three pairs of goblin legs and I'll make you eighty-one unique goblins out of a paltry twelve drawings.

There are downsides, though. If you want to avoid it looking ridiculous, you'll have to have a really good artist. Palette swaps are a big no-no as well.


Now then, if you're doing this for the iPad I can't help you; I don't own an iPad. But if you're doing it for java I may be able to help with the coding. Best of luck either way!
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