(Edit: I used the save @clip feature of pico-8 0.1.9b, but I noticed that I couldn't play it on the pocketchip. Now I saved a .p8.png old school style. Hope that works better. I also changed the cartridge label to a hopefully more selling one. )
This is my first pico-8 project, and also my first venture into LUA land. It is a game heavily inspired by Dice Wars by Taro Ito.
The characters are inspired by the main character in Kingdom of Nerea by Davit Mazia.
The game is not yet done, but perfectly playable. Please try it, and give me all the feedback you have. What's good, what's bad, what's missing, what's confusing?
Any feedback is greatly appreciated!
This is great! I've always liked Dice Wars and it wouldn't have occurred to me to throw it at PICO-8 but you've pretty much nailed it down here. Just played through and scrapped my way to a win and it felt just about right.
Needs some sound, obviously! Some interface selection doinkery will really fill out the experience: maybe a different sonic cue when moving to the "next turn" prompt vs. moving from war-ready province to war-ready province; maybe escalating victory fanfare for each successive win in a row, just stepping up a half-step each time or something goofy like that.
Not necessary since the game's pretty visual and small, but it'd be nice to have some sort of indicator/count of owned provinces for all the players; maybe wee bar graphs near the portraits, something like that, so it has a small enough footprint to not crowd up the interface much?
- Multi-province corners where 3 or 4 meet were a little hard to read in a couple cases on the map I played. Tricky at such low resolution and with nice fractally borders like this. No specific suggest for dealing with it, just a thing I ran into.
not being able to shift your armies is the main thing that jumped out at me.
That's a core design element of Dice Wars, though. Part of the strategy of the game is learning to path your front-line troop movement through attacks and manage your bulwark by allowing build-up at key areas. You get a lot of mileage out of choosing to stop your advance when you've reached a relatively safe arrangement of your strong advancing front line vs. the enemies border of weak troops, because while you could steamroll through those you know that the enemies huge defensive backline can't reach you through their own weak borderline of troops.
Troop movement totally makes sense as a thing to want in a war game but this is a very specific and constrained design that would be complicated and undercut by that change.
Here's some more detailed feedback:
Overall the presentation is lovely and an improvement over dice wars. Gameplay is p much same, with the same problems, namely you end up with a lot of troops behind the lines and the endgame can drag on. Perhaps it can be built upon without sacrificing the simplicity that is the main charm of the original?
If you're looking for ideas on what to add, here's a couple:
-Difficulty option = playing order. Easiest is of course to play first, hardest to play last.
-Option to generate new map before starting the game (if you don't like the current one). Press O to play, press X to make new map. Not sure but I think DW had something like this.
-Mousing over a land highlights bordering territories (this would counter the visibility problem josh mentioned)
-Some way to even out the troops. Maybe new troops are added to enemy-bordering lands first.
-A more imaginative name :)
All in all it's a great little game, definitely one of my pico favourites
I uploaded it just in time, I haven't really had time the last few days.
Everyone who tried it and gave feedback: Thank you very much! I appreciate it. For anyone that did try it and didn't give any feedback, please do, especially if it wasn't clear what you were supposed to do.
@bastetfurry, @axodys, @ilkke: About the lack of troop movement when not attacking. As joshmillard mentioned it is one of the central mechanics of the original game where you have to consider this when attacking. It also creates a special kind of dynamics when an attacker reaches the regions with many troops and opening up for a counter-attack. It would be interesting to try to add troop movement though, although I have been thinking about going the other way and limiting the options even more.
@joshmillard: About showing the current income. This is the only element on screen that I dropped compared to the original, because of screen estate as you guessed. I will try something like you suggested, where single pixels will be the income, it's probably enough to quickly see the relative income of different empires. Thank you for the suggestion!
@joshmillard: Sound, absolutely! I just haven't played with it yet in pico-8. If anyone has any suggestions for sounds that would be great! And if someone musical has a title and/or background tune that would be great!
@ilkke Option to generate another map before starting.. Great idea! I'll try to add it next time.
@ilkke The name was supposed to be a joke. The game is really an abstract game that does not try to be a war simulator, for instance where troops cannot move unless they attack. So "War of the" is a good start for a thematic name, and then ending that in the completely dry "Map" is funny to me. Perhaps a start sequence building the name could emphasize the joke.
I don't think anyone will notice but all seven characters have different AIs.
For those who did try it: Did you play with mouse or keys? Please try the other mode and let me know how it works for you. I want both modes to be as good as possible, and that you don't feel that one of them is the "bad alternative" controls.
Another piece of trivia is that the whole thing is made exclusively on my PocketChip with the super-clicky keyboard.
Does anyone understand why the game won't play through splore on the PocketCHIP with version 0.1.7. I saved it as a .p8.png on the PocketCHIP and uploaded that file. I can load the .p8.png file, but I can't play it through splore. I get an error message: "Future version. Please update. " It plays well on the PocketCHIP touch screen so I want to fix this problem.
@ilkke I have developed in on the PocketCHIP using 0.1.7, so I can't use any of the newer functions. It works on 0.1.7 on the PocketCHIP, but after uploading it to the BBS the same game cannot be played in splore! So there seems to be some trick to it that I don't know of.
I've probably played 20+ hours of this game on my pocketchip (probably an under estimate) and have gotten a half dozen other people hooked on it on their phones. I love the simplicity and part of me loves the mystery of never knowing what your reinforcements will be. I've been tempted to search the code to find the logic behind it (i.e. does it depend on surroundings, empire size, etc.) but haven't yet. Before reading this forum, I had a hunch/superstition that the different AIs had different characteristics.
- Win / Loss counter
- Make default character or color not brown
Thanks for making this game!
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