Monday, January 5, 2015

I Missed One and Concerns

So I told you last Friday was my last Groups of Interest post, but it seems I made a tiny little error.

I completely forgot an entire GoI.

The Horizon Initiative. Which is a shame because this one is pretty cool.

The Horizon Initiative is an organization formed by various sects from the top three Abrahamic faiths in order to respond to the growing anomalous threat.

They are directly connected to one of the 001 proposals and several SCPs. Although incredibly hostile towards other religious groups They have often shown a desire to work together with the Foundation.

They have an interest in religious SCPs as well as Keter class SCPs.

Their base setup will be cell style, although their cells would be called Chapterhouses. Destroying or infiltrating Chapterhouses can expose a member of the tribunal leadership who will appear as a person of interest. Taking down a member of the tribunal will greatly weaken the Initiative, but unless you can nail all three in rapid succession they will replace the loss and regain their strength.

However working with the Initiative can have its own bonuses particularly against certain SCPs and 001 proposals.

Since I have your attention I thought I'd go over some other thoughts that have come up recently.

There is some concern about the number of GoIs both in how difficult they will be to implement and in how overwhelming it will feel to players.

I think these concerns are legitimate so I thought I would address them.

First of all Groups of Interest will share most of the same code. Configurable logic tables will give them personality and are easy to add and change. Also for the Geoscape portion of the game the art overhead of additional groups is minimal. The combat portion is another story.

As far as how overwhelming the number of Groups will feel there are several ways to address this.

First, many of these Groups will be very weak at the start of the game and can be mostly ignored while learning the ropes.

Second, there will be difficulty settings to change how frequently the Groups take their actions which will also reduce pressure.

Finally, I can make a menu like unto Civilization which will allow the player to select which Groups of Interest will be active in their game.

Those are the coding approaches to the problem. However one could take another look at each group and decide whether they actually improve the game or would serve better as flavor rather than a fully implemented opponent.

Not saying I plan on removing groups, but I'll propose some alternatives for some Groups. Comment on whether you think these suggestions would be good ideas. Remember that any group can be added to the game later via modding. I am implementing these groups in the same JSON style I demoed previously so it should be easy to create new groups or add missing ones.

Alexylva University could be removed entirely from a code perspective. It will already feature in the game as its various SCPs make an appearance. Events specific to this group could also still be added, they would just not proactively interact with the player and other groups.

The Church of the Broken God could be recombined into the classic view of the sect. This removes two groups, but loses some of the CotBG flavor.

Doctor Wondertainment could be removed as a group. The flavor would remain in its associated SCPs and the events created for the group.

The Fifth Church could be removed as a group. Might seem crazy at first, but this group doesn't have a defined goal and doesn't really interact with other groups much. Removing it would probably keep the same level of flavor it currently has on the wiki.

GRU Division "P" Could be removed. I would hate to see it go, but it currently is a shattered remnant of its former self. It is unlikely to dramatically affect gameplay either way.

Herman Fuller's Circus could also be removed. Although awesome, its flavor would be preserved through events and its related SCP articles. I'd rather keep it in, but if necessary it could be cut to simplify the game.

The Manna Charitable Foundation could be cut, but it would be so easy to implement I would hate to see it go. It's also non-confrontational so it won't need many assets in the combat portion of the game.

ORIA could be removed as regional Groups do not have as much impact as Global groups have. However they are a big player in the paranormal game, and I would hate to lose those interactions.

Prometheus Labs could be downgraded to randomly appearing research facilities instead of the current plan of implementing it as a full group.

The Unusual Incidents Unit could be removed from the game. It will only exist as flavor in events if this occurs.

So there is my list. Again I'm not planning on making these changes, but I'm proposing them for feedback in case I need to simplify the game. It also may turn out the community would rather have some of these proposed changes than my original plans.

Keep the feedback coming. I'll catch you on the next post.

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