Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What Is He On About?

As I near the end, I find myself thinking about what I'll be able to do once I get done with the big book - namely, running again.

I have some unfinished projects that are in a sorry state.  The idea for sage tables came at an unfortunate time, there are spells to rework, the wiki to update and so on.  But the project I find myself thinking about today is the Hex Groups Chooser.  I'm going to need that in somewhat better shape so that I can generate the area where the online party has landed, on the coast of modern Eastern Ukraine.

I haven't written about this for awhile, so I know that there are some who have no idea what I'm talking about.  If you're interested, I suggest you read some of the following links:  these posts on hex generation and hex generation 2.0; these posts on 'never too much economics'; and this terrifying video; that should keep the reader busy for several days at least.  Meanwhile, I'll get on with my thinking.

My problem with the Chooser above came as I moved from less inhabited 'groups' to those that were more civilized.  While trying to devise a system that would, simultaneously, determine what was in the hex, the food production of the hex and the potential manufacturing power of the hex, at the same time as working out the effects of those things on happiness or health, I think I went a bridge too far.  It got increasingly hard to keep it all in my head, as well as in a workable spreadsheet, as I got into the 5th group, and as a result I stopped working on the system altogether.  Basically, to get some distance on it.

I think what I needed to do was work on it one conception at a time.  First and foremost, I need to figure out what is in the hex, regardless of the effects of that thing upon other things.  It is tempting to suppose that if you have evidence that there's a type of food, it is easy to determine how many people that food will support, and then in what sort of collective those people live, thus determining communications with other collectives, protection, heirarchy and so on, but in fact these things begin to stack up until there's too many what if's to account for.  I believe that by generating the existence of things based only on the infrastructure to begin with, leaving the effects of those creations for later, I should be able to get a macrovision for what's going on once I have generated, say, a full province.

So, I'll be simplifying the Chooser in the first incarnation, so that I can generate all the things that exist, right up to the most sophisticated of civilization - universities, hospitals, palaces and the like.  I doubt if anyone will mind; I doubt that anyone has tried to use that Chooser on the wiki.  Heck, I wonder how many people even understand right now what I'm talking about.

Sometimes, I feel like I am this person in a vast, empty landscape.  I can see the rest of humanity as a tiny little point in the distance, and for reasons I can't explain I find that very encouraging.  Of course, it might mean that I'm nuts.

As I've said before, I have to appreciate the world building systemics that went into Civ IV.  I still haven't seen Civ 5.  I'm not even sure I want to.  For the most part I've stopped playing the game - that aspect holds little interest for me now.  I simply like the health-happiness-food-hammers-coin framework in which to build upon, partly because it manages to work so well into my own reference-product-trade-hex founded world.

These are just a few thoughts.  I'm too scattered now to really get gritty and start working out details - if I did, that would pitch most of the day and I've really got to keep my eye focused on the priority project.  But I felt encouraged to write something, just for my own sake, to keep my head in the game a bit.


Arduin said...

I've used both versions of the hex groups, their larval stage without infrastructural numbers and the spreadsheet itself.

I've enjoyed my time with both, but will not hesitate to admit I often skipped the bookkeeping for minor settlements. It was interesting at first, but the minutiae began to pile up in regions of midling density.

Which is to say: if a hex was type 1-4, it got a thing, and that thing was easy and obvious and I was done. 5+ would mean tracking each 2 mile quadrant with more information than a full hex of the other types. Just not feasible or interesting enough to warrant the time it took, even with computer assistance.

I -did-, however, use the number of "wild" families. That I'd track fully. It sometimes combined weirdly with the Treasure and Arms generator (should I count non-combatants in the HD calculator?, Oh god, these Hobgoblins have mounts and a suite of three weapons each.) but sticking with the "oh gawd" results usually resulted in fun play regardless.

Combine that with the entire western coast of Norway, or even a small island like Gotland, and it would create a very exciting location for exploration.

I'm looking forward to seeing it touched up, no doubts there, but I thought you should know that folks -did- get some use of it.

Alexis Smolensk said...

That is most gratifying, Arduin. As you mention it, I was having trouble with that treasure and arms generator myself at the end of my campaigning in the spring. Meant to rework that thing too.

Maxwell Joslyn said...

I did download the Chooser, although I didn't do much beyond play around with it since gaming was on hold last semester.