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Grand Strategy Axioms|Making Culture Concrete: What is culture, why is it important, and how can we make it concrete and meaningful in a strategy or simulation game?

Axioms

Arcane
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Jul 11, 2019
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Axioms Of Dominion is a project I got about 40% through and then had to let go for life stuff. Now I have roughly a year where I shouldn't have anything else to do so I'm hoping to release in late 2022 or very early 2023 if I run into serious issues.

I'd advise reading the wiki for a broad overview: https://axioms-of-dominion.fandom.com/wiki/Axioms_Of_Dominion_Wiki
Here is the blog link: https://axiomsofdominion.substack.com/

This is a fantasy geopolitics simulator that is broadly comparable to CK2+Vicky2+Dominions4+more. As a fantasy game it has tons of magic stuff but the focus is on DIP mechanics.

Diplomacy(foreign affairs)
Intrigue(shadowy affairs)
Politics(domestic affairs)

I have a Substack which can be located by searching the game name in Google.

I have a goal of enabling 40000 provinces on very new PCs but the game is perfectly functional around 14000. I have a major goal of playing an almost purely combat free couple millenia taking down a major empire in the world from the inside. I'd expect an average top tier empire to have roughly 7000 provinces on larger maps if you run history for 4000-8000 years. Anywhere from 15% to 40% of a larger map. What constitutes an empire or even a kingdom is much more fluid and dynamic than in existing games. A 7000 province empire would have something like 10 ~100 province substates at the core, 40 ~50 province "major vassals", and then 200 ~20 province periphery/border vassals. Of course you can fiddle those numbers a bit but that is a good illustration of my goal.

Several of the substack posts relate the very detailed political sim I am designing to make this goal plausible. I still have a few major and a few minor things to talk about on the blog. There is a Fandom wiki that has a few dozen pages on various major and minor systems. It hasn't been changed much since mid 2015 when I had to pause working on the game until now.

Most of the backend stuff is done and I'm primarily figuring out the equations for mechanics, doing all the UI stuff, and getting the AI to function. I expect I'll do a UI theme, smooth out map generation, and maybe polish up the art assets at the end.

The game is turn based with attention points. So you have like 1000 attention points per turn, still testing the proper amount and the costs for actions. I wanted to do a time based system but it is hard to code and people will just get mad anyways. It is a province map style like Sovereignty or Paradox games.

There is a very detailed population simulation which interacts with the character mechanics. Ideology covers almost a dozen areas, Propaganda impacts ideology and religion and the military, there's a Quality Of Life system regarding food variety/quality and material goods plus shelter, Religion ties into both magic and diplomacy/politics, population is where your troops come from and there is a logistics system.

https://imgur.com/a/AlPew
Those are some early maps. The top one almost looks like Europe/Africa/Near East. Maps are generated procedurally as will the world be if you don't start on world creation but run history for a few centuries or millenia.

The magic aspect is highly integrated and very expansive. It impacts every game system in various ways. I have a substack post about just magic. My substack is free for anyone to read. Magic can build roads, discover secrets, troop movements, and other knowledge from distant provinces, change the weather and climate, be used in various enchantments, etc. There is even a cool The Runelords(think that is the right series) inspired magical transference/pacts thing where you can empower your soldiers or other people with the powers of captured, or tamed, magical creatures. Or sentient captives. Strength, mana pool, speed, physical features like scales or claws, etc. And you can do evil mad science shit.

Speaking of evil Axioms allows you to play a truly ruthless tyrant rather than just a good boy. Fear, blackmail, military threats, second class citizens, slaves, etc.

The culture system allows a something like a society that reveres dragons, character secretly captures a dragon, transfers dragon traits to himself, become leader of confederation of tribes. Someone finds out, and can blackmail him, reveal him, kill him and become dragon king themselves, etc.

You can destabilize a society by cutting off their access to a prestigious food resource that is a traditional staple of cultural diet, say cinnamon, assuming the leader has depleted his political capital and put himself in a risky position. Much more detailed example on the blog.

The trade off is graphical sugar, no voice acting or 3d models, random world gen vs handcrafted map, although players/modders can make scenarios if they want, I just don't plan to release official ones but there is mod support.

A stretch goal, well not really since there isn't a kickstarter, if I finish the main stuff early before release date is to integrate a "History" system that records important actions and can be loaded/interpreted by a wiki type program to allow you to read "history books" about the game world. The "simulated" history mentioned earlier is just starting a game with no player or observer and letting the AI play a few centuries or millenia and then picking a point jump in. Player could look at data files in theory but the idea is that you only know what your AI guy knew when you swapped in.
 

Axioms

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
1,429
My favorite map generation result from about 7 years ago. Looks kinda like the Med based ancient world.

pJGGiKy.png

pJGGiKy
 

JamesDixon

GM Extraordinaire
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Dumbfuck
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Jul 29, 2015
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11,134
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In the ether
Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut
I wish you the best with this. If you want to make good random maps there is always Azgaar's Fantasy Map Generator. It does a really excellent job.
 

Axioms

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
1,429
I wish you the best with this. If you want to make good random maps there is always Azgaar's Fantasy Map Generator. It does a really excellent job.
That one is actually pretty good although I have some special needs it doesn't support. They look pretty, though.

Also:
https://axiomsofdominion.substack.c...pect?r=i2fsj&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

A post all about Opinion and the modifiers. I'm not sure if I'll have all 4 of Trust/Honor/Fear/Respect but they do currently fulfill somewhat unique roles in character interactions.

This posts decribes one of the largest differences between Axioms and other DIP games.
 
Last edited:

JamesDixon

GM Extraordinaire
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Strap Yourselves In Codex Year of the Donut
I wish you the best with this. If you want to make good random maps there is always Azgaar's Fantasy Map Generator. It does a really excellent job.
That one is actually pretty good although I have some special needs it doesn't support. They look pretty, though.

Also:
https://axiomsofdominion.substack.c...pect?r=i2fsj&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

A post all about Opinion and the modifiers. I'm not sure if I'll have all 4 of Trust/Honor/Fear/Respect but they do currently fulfill somewhat unique roles in character interactions.

This posts decribes one of the largest differences between Axioms and other DIP games.

What are you needing that is missing in the mapping software?
 

Axioms

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
1,429
broadly comparable to CK2+Vicky2

I wonder what he means...

I have a goal of enabling 40000 provinces

...ohh he means autism. You lost me right away. Bigger numbers don't make a game better.

I mean bigger maps are better for me. You could always simply generate your own 400-4000 province world if the maps that come pre-generated are too large. 40000 is merely the top end goal. Also the autism is more in the detail of the simulation that the scale. Not really avoidable though if you want varied gameplay. Here it is not comprable to Paradox where most states are super generic and non-generic play is provided mostly be hard-coded events and even country specific mechanics.

Generally larger maps are better for simulations cause even the best map generator needs space to strike gold on a cool situation/position.
 

Axioms

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
1,429
Starting tomorrow I'll be posting to a new section of my Substack about what I got done that day coding wise. I want to post every day but I may end up doing weekly posts instead. We'll see.
 

Axioms

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
1,429
https://axiomsofdominion.substack.c...-25a?r=i2fsj&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

This is a post about how early era tribal gameplay will work in Axioms. Well technically all tribal gameplay but it is way more common in the first age, the age of exploration, that typically would last 1000 years or 12000 turns. Of course the worlds in the official release will be starting 4000 or 8000 years in to get more complex and developed societies available to casual players.

I'll update this post with the companion piece in the development blog on my substack later. The main section is design stuff and the development sections talks about what I'm doing code wise and where we are on actually implementing all the stuff in the design section.
 

Lady Error

█▓▒░ ░▒▓█
Patron
Vatnik
Joined
Jan 21, 2021
Messages
9,208
Strap Yourselves In
Create a nice looking mockup screenshot of what the end result will approximately look like. Map and UI.

You will have much better marketing results with that.
 

Axioms

Arcane
Developer
Joined
Jul 11, 2019
Messages
1,429
Create a nice looking mockup screenshot of what the end result will approximately look like. Map and UI.

You will have much better marketing results with that.

Mockups are dirty and shameful. TWS had amazing mockups.
 

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