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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?

thesheeep

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A screenshot can barely tell you how the UI really works, you'd need a series of them, much less inform you about gameplay. Also the game is using the "dev ui" right now. Fancy UI features and UI theming will come at the end once it is settled.
Of course, I'm not suggesting you do proper marketing with those in-dev screenshots. Please don't :lol:

But for "dev log/blog" style updates, screenshots still provide a lot more clarity and context than text alone could (if there is a screenshot that does apply, of course, sometimes there just isn't, especially for simulation heavy games).
It's hard to imagine the "big picture" for anyone not entirely familiar with a project if all you have is walls of text.

Information-parsing wise, generally people cling to headlines/highlighted "titles" and images first and if those pique interest, the rest of the text is parsed.
I assume the goal with dev blog updates is have something for interested people to keep the interest up (for which some more visuals at least wouldn't do harm) and lure a few more in along the way (for which the lack of visuals most likely does harm).

One thing I have developed a habit of doing while developing is to take screenshots if anything strikes me as "this might be worth mentioning somewhere" - even if it's just a hilarious bug.
That way, when I do write an update (or just present during a meeting) I'll have something more than just me talking.
The context for me isn't game dev, but still development with visuals.
And as a bonus, looking at years-old "screenshots" of stuff can be pretty funny :lol:
 
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I still don't understand what people expect to see in screenshots. It is a turn based map game.

https://imgur.com/X7YKpE7

Like an image can't tell you anything if you don't know what stuff is.
Games are a visual medium.
A screenshot will always tell you more than any description would on its own (except for how stuff works under the hood, of course).

It is also much more pleasant and much quicker to look at than parsing paragraphs of text.

If anything CAN be shown with a screenshot, it is always better to do so.
Especially if it is UI you are talking about...

PS: Code::blocks?! Wow, that's a blast from the past! Mhhh, good memories.

I had to upgrade from C::B 16 to 20 after I started the project again. Also TGUI 0.7 to 0.9.3 and some number of SFML updates as well. What a hassle. Oh and like 2 compiler updates from 5.x to 7.x. 7 whole years blech.

Screenshots are great for games with 3D or even 2D art assets as the core of the game. Probably why Paradox added all that new 3D garbage to their new games. To make marketing easier and impress normies.

A screenshot can barely tell you how the UI really works, you'd need a series of them, much less inform you about gameplay. Also the game is using the "dev ui" right now. Fancy UI features and UI theming will come at the end once it is settled.

A screenshot, even of a very barebones game, is miles better than the idea guy-esque rambling you've been posting.
 

Axioms

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I still don't understand what people expect to see in screenshots. It is a turn based map game.

https://imgur.com/X7YKpE7

Like an image can't tell you anything if you don't know what stuff is.
Games are a visual medium.
A screenshot will always tell you more than any description would on its own (except for how stuff works under the hood, of course).

It is also much more pleasant and much quicker to look at than parsing paragraphs of text.

If anything CAN be shown with a screenshot, it is always better to do so.
Especially if it is UI you are talking about...

PS: Code::blocks?! Wow, that's a blast from the past! Mhhh, good memories.

I had to upgrade from C::B 16 to 20 after I started the project again. Also TGUI 0.7 to 0.9.3 and some number of SFML updates as well. What a hassle. Oh and like 2 compiler updates from 5.x to 7.x. 7 whole years blech.

Screenshots are great for games with 3D or even 2D art assets as the core of the game. Probably why Paradox added all that new 3D garbage to their new games. To make marketing easier and impress normies.

A screenshot can barely tell you how the UI really works, you'd need a series of them, much less inform you about gameplay. Also the game is using the "dev ui" right now. Fancy UI features and UI theming will come at the end once it is settled.

A screenshot, even of a very barebones game, is miles better than the idea guy-esque rambling you've been posting.

Depends on your goal I suppose. None of you reacted to the screenshot in a way useful for me so as far as I'm concerned it is a waste of time. Is there really a difference vs me never posting at all until the month before release? No right? The people who need screenshots aren't the people who will be valuable community members. For Discord or Substack or the Reddit all the people active-ish there aren't motivated by some mediocre screenshots. Screenshot obsessors are the sheep of the gaming world. Better off just ignoring them till release day. Probably fans of the CK3 Royal Court DLC.
 
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None of you reacted to the screenshot in a way useful for me so as far as I'm concerned it is a waste of time.

Doesn't the same go for the idea guy blogposting? The screenshot at least showed that you have a game of some kind.
 

Axioms

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None of you reacted to the screenshot in a way useful for me so as far as I'm concerned it is a waste of time.

Doesn't the same go for the idea guy blogposting? The screenshot at least showed that you have a game of some kind.
People subscribe to the blog and read the posts and people on the discord discuss stuff. Also sometimes blogging is helpful for the thoughtprocess.

When I post a screenshot for all the people demanding screenshots, of an in dev map and menu game, what impact does that have on anything? What do people do that wouldn't happen without the screenshot?
 
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None of you reacted to the screenshot in a way useful for me so as far as I'm concerned it is a waste of time.

Doesn't the same go for the idea guy blogposting? The screenshot at least showed that you have a game of some kind.
People subscribe to the blog and read the posts and people on the discord discuss stuff. Also sometimes blogging is helpful for the thoughtprocess.

When I post a screenshot for all the people demanding screenshots, of an in dev map and menu game, what impact does that have on anything? What do people do that wouldn't happen without the screenshot?

What does you posting idea guy blog articles on this site achieve? Nobody wants to hear lengthy rambling about what you claim the game will do.
 

Axioms

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None of you reacted to the screenshot in a way useful for me so as far as I'm concerned it is a waste of time.

Doesn't the same go for the idea guy blogposting? The screenshot at least showed that you have a game of some kind.
People subscribe to the blog and read the posts and people on the discord discuss stuff. Also sometimes blogging is helpful for the thoughtprocess.

When I post a screenshot for all the people demanding screenshots, of an in dev map and menu game, what impact does that have on anything? What do people do that wouldn't happen without the screenshot?

What does you posting idea guy blog articles on this site achieve? Nobody wants to hear lengthy rambling about what you claim the game will do.

I have 85 unique visitors who came from the codex not counting people who were using private browsers which means Substack just lists them under "direct" regardless of origin. Granted Bay12 and Reddit had a larger share of my total but that probably doesn't shock anyone.
 

Axioms

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https://axiomsofdominion.substack.com/p/insight-into-intrigue-intelligence

This is a post about more low level mechanics and systems in the Intrigue/Intelligence gameplay. Talks about Missions, Detail Level, and so forth. Spying on characters, surveying provinces, and shit like that.

Here is a couple screenshots for you whiners. Technically this shows the Intelligence Network Map Mode and Intelligence Panel but there isn't a ton of stuff displayed here since I'm in the early stages of working on it:
https://imgur.com/a/g6EGR5P

In the first shot the info panels are Provinces, Missions, Characters, Units, and Populations top to bottom. The lowest panel is Extensions, so potential characters and provinces, currently, that you could assign to a new Mission.

On the right is the Display Panel that shows what you've selected, which you'll then assign to a mission with a button at the top. The bottom right is the Mission Panel that shows info on the currently selected Mission.

This is all dev mode stuff, will get Labels, most buttons swapped to images like at the very top of the window, and will be appropriately "themed". Currently is the basic "Black Theme" that comes with TGUI.
 

Axioms

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Did 4 more posts, 1 is a post about child characters and 3 are magic related post. Got ~20 more magic posts to get through before December.
 

Norfleet

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Personally, I subscribe to the Ashley J. Williams school of alignment.
alignment.jpg

And remember: Shop Smart! Shop S-Mart!
 

MichaelB

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Having read some of the blogposts I will say that I've enjoyed the commentary on some of the mechanics from other games, as well as on general philosophy of making sims etc. At the same time I still have only a vague idea of what this game is supposed to be. The presentation is really lacking, and the more content and thoughts you add, the more unspecified and confusing it is. Honestly I think you should probably start a new thread once there's enough content to show; and retire this one, or steer it towards something more like 'general thoughts on historical sim games/pdx games/whatever - heres the link to my blog'.

I think the general problem people might be having with this[current] style of posting is that it is totally unknown how much of those elaborations are backed by actual working in-game systems; the point being that the process of coding is kind of a filter; indicator of what actually works, which mechanics are viable and which need to be reworked or dropped. Another point is orienting the in-game systems around player experience - it seems that various systems you're describing exist for their own sake; and minimal thought is put into how they enhance the fun of ruling your empire.

It is worth of praise that you're still working on your project though, so good luck.
 

Axioms

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Having read some of the blogposts I will say that I've enjoyed the commentary on some of the mechanics from other games, as well as on general philosophy of making sims etc. At the same time I still have only a vague idea of what this game is supposed to be. The presentation is really lacking, and the more content and thoughts you add, the more unspecified and confusing it is. Honestly I think you should probably start a new thread once there's enough content to show; and retire this one, or steer it towards something more like 'general thoughts on historical sim games/pdx games/whatever - heres the link to my blog'.

I think the general problem people might be having with this[current] style of posting is that it is totally unknown how much of those elaborations are backed by actual working in-game systems; the point being that the process of coding is kind of a filter; indicator of what actually works, which mechanics are viable and which need to be reworked or dropped. Another point is orienting the in-game systems around player experience - it seems that various systems you're describing exist for their own sake; and minimal thought is put into how they enhance the fun of ruling your empire.

It is worth of praise that you're still working on your project though, so good luck.


Well there are a couple issues. One, the goal is for you to be able to do stuff existing games don't allow. So you can't really do simple analogy. Two is that you are able to do a lot of different stuff. So I could describe a path that a given player "could" take but that could imply that that was the goal or the only thing to be done.

Each of the game systems exists for a specific purpose. You mentioned ruling an empire.

So if your primary focus is ruling an empire you'd be mostly focusing on certain systems in certain ways. Well depending on what kind of empire.

For the social simulation you would be expending your Attention to foster relationships with other relatively powerful characters. Vassal dukes and kings, merchant guild leaders, arch mages or arch prelates and other heads of state. You could focus on keeping your direct vassals happy and having them support your various efforts. So you'd engage in social interactions so that they liked you, and felt you brought them prestige and power. Attend their Social Occasions, probably do some intermarriage, spend personal time with them focusing on their Interests, occasionally fulfill their top desires.

You'd probably want to spend resources on your intelligence network to help you learn the desires and interests of those characters, check to make sure they weren't up to anything you didn't know about, and so forth.

If as a player you were really invested in feeling like a medieval emperor you'd probably focus on that stuff but you'd have to pay some amount of attention to the military. Whereas a player who wanted to be a warrior king/emperor might focus more on military power and use that to keep powerful vassals and other magnates/potentates in line.

You need to pay some amount of Attention to most parts of gameplay but Axioms is a game that wants to enable freedom and flexibility in gameplay. Any given player might not interact heavily with any given system or think it was fun. Not much to be done there. But a player has a lot more control over the focus of their experience and can engage with the parts they like best the most.

If a player tells me about a specific experience they want to have I can detail how they could achieve that in Axioms but the super simple pitches would be like:
If you wanted CK3 with dragons and wizards and also for characters to not be undifferentiated stat sticks then play Axioms.
If you wanted to play as a behind the scenes shadowy puppet master and feel like existing games let you down, play Axioms. I guess you could play Waiting For The Raven but it is a bit shallow IMO. You do get a more city focused experience with more linear narrative, though.
If you want to topple an empire without engaging in excessive warfare and with long running plots/schemes where you do more than click "Invite [character]" play Axioms.
If you want to raise massive necromantic armies but MoM and Dominions 5 are all sword stabby and no hand shakey then play Axioms.
 

Axioms

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unknown.png


unknown.png


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So I just started on this today. This is just a functional Genealogy menu, when I do the UI fancification before release it won't look like shit anymore. When you click on a character image, yes all the images are the same low pixel rock right now, it centers that character, where you see the Label that says "Selected Character".

You get to the middle image by clicking the picture for the Son in the bottom image, then you click the Son in the middle image to get to the top image. On turn 0 no one has parents or grandparents so I started with the pink and yellow guy, spawn a kid, spawned that kid a wife, then spawned them a kid. Did go all the way to great grandparents.



There will be a couple different "formats", including one more like the traditional family tree you see on genealogy sites. Then there will be some filters like "cousins", "aunts/uncles", "show wife and kids for siblings and parents" and so forth.
 

Axioms

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unknown.png


This isn't what you'll see on release, things will be fancied up quite a bit but this is the Genealogy Menu for Axioms after my work today. Also had to fix some of the character generation functions since on start up no one has kids or parents. Had to spawn them. But this is functionally what it does. Any portrait, currently just those rock images, you click on rebuilds the Panel with that Character as the character under the Main Character label. Siblings are adjacent to the MC, Spouse is below, because you can have more than one, kids are below the relevant spouse that was involved. Currently it just goes to Great Grandparents, greatfather and greatmother, but it will be recursively generated eventually.
 

MichaelB

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"wife: Arthur" - yeah, this will be well received by modern audiences. :lol:
So you'd engage in social interactions so that they liked you, and felt you brought them prestige and power. Attend their Social Occasions, probably do some intermarriage, spend personal time with them focusing on their Interests, occasionally fulfill their top desires.
To what an extent can the player actually have a presence in the in-game world? Lets say I'm attending a Social Occasion. In CK2/3 I'd probably get a text notification - "[Character] has arrived at a feast here and there" and then "+15 relation with the organiser" + maybe some kind of little story events in a CYOA formula. Should I expect the same from Axioms?
 

Axioms

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"wife: Arthur" - yeah, this will be well received by modern audiences. :lol:
So you'd engage in social interactions so that they liked you, and felt you brought them prestige and power. Attend their Social Occasions, probably do some intermarriage, spend personal time with them focusing on their Interests, occasionally fulfill their top desires.
To what an extent can the player actually have a presence in the in-game world? Lets say I'm attending a Social Occasion. In CK2/3 I'd probably get a text notification - "[Character] has arrived at a feast here and there" and then "+15 relation with the organiser" + maybe some kind of little story events in a CYOA formula. Should I expect the same from Axioms?

Well technically her name is Artur :P Also plenty of unisex names in modern times, like Ashley. In any case those are randomly generated names only with some rules about adding extra vowels. On release there will be proper name generating system.

So Social Occasions have a few different aspects. First whether you accept the Invitation and if you didn't why, maybe you had a previous engagement for maybe you want to insult the host or w/e. Once you accept an Invitation and show up there are a few things that will happen. Obviously the Host has more options than a guest but you still have a few things to do depending on the type of event.

So as the Host you send out Invitations that are individually decided regarding the activities the guest is invited to, special directions like sitting at the high table for a feast, and who they can bring with them. Spouse, kids, a friend, etc. At each "Activity" there is a general bonus based on your event preparation modified by the "Interests", Personality, and "Desires" of each guest, and then you have the option to take some number of Social Occasion Actions. Some is just like give a toast to a Character, Population, or Organization. They'll like you more, and there can be other effects as well based on specifics. You can give other people the chance to make a Toast as well. You have some total number of Actions you can take and you can pick what you do with them. You can chat up a guest, give a gift, and some other stuff.

As a Guest you have a number of Actions you can take as well. You can also chat with other guests, in some cases picking a special location or part of the venue, you can choose which events to go to based on what you were invited to, do small group socializing, and like for the Host other guests may try to interact with you themselves. At a dance/ball you'd choose people to dance with, and if you were trying to "court" someone you might mostly dance with them, assuming they enjoy dancing or take them to a romantic part of the venue or w/e.

For the player, there's a full Menu/set of panels that you interact with to do all this stuff, and not just a couple pop ups like in CK2/CK3. There's only random events in so far as other Characters choose to try to interact with you. And every Character is taking at least a few Actions.

The Host has a bunch of decisions to make as far as organizing events, which is not a thing in Paradox games. I guess Royal Court is vaguely similar in a very simplistic way with the decorations and stuff to get Grandeur? Axioms has a resource economy with Resources, Products, Items, and Buildings and stuff, sort of like a city builder with RPG/MMO crafting but not a physical city map. Buildings are stored on the Province level without "positions". So you have to actually have the food, gifts, decorations, buildings, creatures, staff, and charactes involved in holding an event. And after the food is eaten it is taken out of your storage. Entertainment like Music or Dancers, or Carnival stuff exists in the world as well. Well I think Carnivals might be part of the first expansion. There's a lot of work so they can travel around and do stuff. A "Magic Show" or a "Bardic Performance" can be performed by Characters with those skills. Not every Character would have access to that for their events. Tournaments and Duels are somewhat more detailed as well. Bets, seating, picking a favorite so you get bonuses if they do better, and so forth, and again all attendees would do this. Religious Rites would be specific to each religion, and a sacrifice would require your to actually have "super awesome cows" or w/e. It isn't just a gold cost like in Paradox games. And of course if you read my blog you know that Social Occasions are one place where, knowing certain people will be in certain locations, you can perform various intrigue related Actions. Ambushing carriages on the road, poisoning, blackmail, various spell based Intrigue, and so forth.
 

MichaelB

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God, I wish I had that much drive when it comes to writing about my own projects, let alone working on them. I can't say this kind of engagement suits me, since I just wanted a simple answer to a rather simple question. And the answer is kind of hinted at, in between the lines, since in the fourth paragraph on the matter it's stated:
For the player, there's a full Menu/set of panels that you interact with to do all this stuff
so there's some kind of elaborate menu, but I still have no confirmation of how do the events occur for the person that's playing the game. So you say that 'you can chat with other guests', or '[pc] shows up to an activity' - ok, but does that happen through some kind of vn dialogue system, or is described by a text message(I assume it's the latter)? I find it a bit inadequate that I cannot get that simple answer and instead have to go through a detailed description that goes as far as to lay out the plans for the first expansion of the game; since there's a chance that my question was answered somewhere in these paragraphs.
Long story short: I am FUMING(not really, though :D). Good luck on your game.
 

Axioms

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God, I wish I had that much drive when it comes to writing about my own projects, let alone working on them. I can't say this kind of engagement suits me, since I just wanted a simple answer to a rather simple question. And the answer is kind of hinted at, in between the lines, since in the fourth paragraph on the matter it's stated:
For the player, there's a full Menu/set of panels that you interact with to do all this stuff
so there's some kind of elaborate menu, but I still have no confirmation of how do the events occur for the person that's playing the game. So you say that 'you can chat with other guests', or '[pc] shows up to an activity' - ok, but does that happen through some kind of vn dialogue system, or is described by a text message(I assume it's the latter)? I find it a bit inadequate that I cannot get that simple answer and instead have to go through a detailed description that goes as far as to lay out the plans for the first expansion of the game; since there's a chance that my question was answered somewhere in these paragraphs.
Long story short: I am FUMING(not really, though :D). Good luck on your game.

There's no dialogue. It'd just end up tedious and repetitive like A Minuet In Power or Stellaris after the 4th time you got the same dialogue. As the player you'll typically pick a type of action social action like Empathize, Debate, Rant, Gossip, or Chat, a subject which you'd like to be a shared Interest, if you have one, or one of their Interests if you dont, and then based on that plus social skills and charisma you get a result. You might also pick a location if that is relevant. The first expansion may or may not add some interaction to this, basically choices with the Axioms version of a skill check, but again you just get a brief description.

Your original question was a bit ambiguous to me which is why the original answer was the way it was. It is much more in depth mechanically and somewhat UI wise than CK3 but there's no visual novel style fluff like hand written dialogue or characters emoting or w/e.
 

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