Monday, August 20, 2012

Postmortem: Conspiracrat

A game of secret machinations. One is never ready to pull the strings of the web of secrecy.


I made Conspiracrat as an afterthought for the Game Jolt Official Contest. I really couldn't have spent enough time on it due to me having an exam in the middle of the week. I almost made it to the deadline, but I plan on improving the game, since it shows promise, especially in the Artificial Intelligence and some possible and future multiplayer additions.

The game is a turn-based strategy. You control a secret Society in pursuit of power. To do so, you must take control of Organizations around the space. Organizations can also take control of other Organizations, creating a network. Each Organization may have a total of 5 Members, who can sway the Organization to your purpose.

The gameplay is a bit lacking right now. I blame myself for not giving enough feedback to players. I also haven't implemented the "Specials" system for each Society that the manual boasts. That said, with the right balance, you can play the existing game right now and engage in a conflict of powers. I need to make it so that the mouse can move around the map. A mousewheel, which laptops lack, is needed for zooming in and out, but it is not necessary. There is a glaring lack of options given to the player. Also, the "Member" part of the game is not as well developed as I'd like. For example, the "Advancing Rank" system of the Members work, but not to any advantage for the player, ironically. I'm not entirely happy with the Society goals, either. The game needs much balancing to make it any more fun. The achievements are a bit unlockable right now, but it should be an easy fix. The interface system was not as intuitive as I planned. I will cover the artificial intelligence in another section of the postmortem.

The graphics were on purpose simplistic and minimalistic, a black and white effect, with a few colors thrown in. That was done because of time constraints, but also on a more philosophical point. It suggests that the Societies have dogmas that are really varied, as shown by the color, instead of a black and white approach. Well, something like that.

I used royalty-free music from Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech. I found a piece of music that fits each Society to a tee. I used the Supersound DLL to play them as Ogg Vorbis sounds after converting them from MP3s. The music is largely dark and mystical.

The game only uses beeps for feedback. My old computer speaker's do not run anymore, and I have to have them replaced. I used another computer to test the music and sounds, which is the one I'm writing in right now.

Artificial Intelligence:
The Artificial Intelligence is horrible compared to what was planned. I planned it so that the AI can hold diplomacy with the player and other AI. However, due to time constraints, I can't, but I will, hopefully. Also, the AI right now is largely a simple decision tree, and not even that. Although I am glad to say it doesn't cheat like some other strategy AI.

There is no multplayer in this game (yet). There was supposed to be. There was in the beginning stages of the game there was hotseat multiplayer. But I went in favor for the AI playing against a single player. I'm still looking if I can turn this into an online multiplayer. We will see.

What I Did Wrong:
I did not put multiplayer.
I did not put enough sounds for feedback.
I did not put a well developed AI.
Lots of gameplay features planned that did not appear or appear subtly, yet.
I did not focus much on the Members part, where the Double Agents and backstabbing come to play.

What I Did Right:
I picked fitting and awesome music.
I got every basic thing in the game at least in beta.
It's finished, somewhat. It's definitely playable to a point.
It has a better interface system than some of my older games.

Well, I had fun making this game! I did have Game Jolt's Good Ol' Fashioned Fun Time TM in the process. I promise updates, because I like the premise and theme. I hope I can make it a bit more like a puzzle game and a psychological, mental one at that.

The Elitinati is watching.
Aeterna Veritas is marching on.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mindwrap: Higher Dimensions

"I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."
2 Corinthians 12:2-4

Ever since man had fallen into sin, humans have dreamed of realities higher than our bleak three-dimensional existence.

Is Heaven a higher dimension? Can the spirit world be explained as a dimension removed from our universe?

But before I go on, I will lay down the basics. As the video shows, a point has zero dimensions. A line will have one. A square has two. A cube has three. We live in a world with a visible three dimensions. Our universe also experiences the dimension of Time, but this blog post only concerns itself with spatial dimensions, not temporal.

Why can we not see or interact with other higher dimensions? We can draw an analogy from the book Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. In Flatland, the inhabitants are only limited to 2 dimensions. The inhabitants are circles, squares, triangles, and so are their surroundings. A 3-dimensional entity can look down on the flat land, but the inhabitants cannot look up to the higher dimensional being, so to speak. To the inhabitants, the being is godlike.

This will imply that God is probably residing in the highest dimension conceivable, or outside all dimensions, yet interacting with the lowlier dimensions. This reflects His attributes of immanence and transcendence.

There have been theories that the spirit world is simply another dimension. One theory states that living people have a fourth-dimensional spirit attached to the three-dimensional body until death. An interesting concept. I don't know if it has truth behind it or not.

Now, the idea that Heaven(or even Hell) is another dimension, or a dimension within our universe has more credence. The Russian cosmonauts always bragged on the fact that when they went to space, they did not find God. They haven't looked at other dimensions!

Some say Heaven is in another planet somewhere. The Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses believe God as an alien being of sorts. Songs like this support that theory:

"Somewhere in outer space,
God has prepared a place
For those who Him and obey.
Jesus will come again,
Although we don't know when,
The countdown is getting lower every day!

Ten and Nine,
Eight and Seven,
Six and Five and Four,
Call upon the Saviour while you may.
Three and Two,
Coming through the clouds in bright array,
The countdown is getting lower every day!"

It's a fine Sunday School song, but possibly theologically incorrect. God is not a physical alien being from another planet in space. God is a Spirit. 

So, just some of my ranting, perhaps, but I hope it made you think.