Anamnesis, of Renascents and Monsters,

A text-based simulation and role playing game of exploration, warfare, intrigue and romance in a low fantasy, early 20th century environment.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Converting Any Captured Unit; Now With More Fun!

After taking into account the advice provided in the comments of the previous post, now converting units involves negotiations that can easily wrong.

Now you get the option to negotiate with any captured, non-converted unit, including renascents. This means you are able to have a cooperative renascent but you still require to befriend him or her at your home base if you want them to accept you. When you choose to negotiate, you are basically sending an envoy like you would to an enemy territory, but your options are limited to converting the at the mentioned cost, or pressing the issue to either lower that cost or cause the negotiations to end in violence.

If the hostage becomes violent, you risk everything you risk when fighting as a defender, including the loss of the hostage, the loss of a territory, or even the destruction of your base. A victory or draw will result in the hostage being pacified once more. Other implications include the chance that high Local Tension and small home bases might more likely originate direct conflict, and the increased or decreased cost of conversion depending on the Terror (when using monster units) or Intelligence (when using non-monster units) of your unit compared to the hostage's.


More can be done here in the future, but it'd probably require writing content so we'll put it aside at least until this release is done.
  

Monday, August 17, 2015

Converting Any Captured Unit

It wasn't that hard to make any captured unit fully convertible now that the framework for converted renascents is in place, so this was a natural step to take.

The only thing holding these conversions back was the how, but I've settled on a cost in Merits to represent both the influence required to convert enemies and the uncertainty they'll cause within your ranks. Thus, if you choose to capture any unit, you'd be given the chance to either get rid of it for half it's Size value in Merits, keep it as forced labour, or fully convert it at the cost of the same half-size price. This makes small units almost trivial to convert, but large units significantly more expensive, up to 10 Merits in case you want to convert a Terror From the Deep or something like that.


So far, an August release is unrealistic, a September one is not impossible, and an October one is an almost-worst case scenario.


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Counterintelligence

It was bothersome to have espionage in the game without counter-espionage. Then it came to me that if enemy aristocrats were to do something against you, their effects would have to be generic so that players couldn't figure out the culprit out of experience. This eliminates the risk of  becoming boggled in writing more time consuming content, so from now on acquainted aristocrats might also spy on you too.

Presently, there is about a 20% chance that any aristocrats you meet might betray you at one point or another in the future. When you first meet them, they'll show a neutral 50% chance of being a threat in the future. Through Investigating/Stalking these aristocrats, not only you'll be given the chance to carry an action, but you'll also collect Intel modifying this value to better adjust to the actual threat posed by the target. You'll want to use units with high Intelligence for this, as low intelligence ones might be fed misinformation or simply misinterpret their findings.

Successive operations will be giving you a better idea of the target's true intentions, as this value won't move more than a 10% in the right direction per action. Therefore, if you do notice something weird you'll have to find the balance between terminating interested friendships blindly or gathering too much information while exposing yourself to further harm in the process.

This harm so far comes in 2 different ways. On the one hand, being spied on obviously makes spying harder for yourself, so you'll fail more easily in these endeavours. Not only it'll increase Local Tension now, but it might also make the target being spied on more wary and thus in turn prompt them to start spying on you.

The most obvious cause of harm however will be in occasionally doubling the loss of Merits and the increases of Local Tension. Depending on how many double agents you have among your aristocrat buddies and their level of treachery, you'll be more or less likely to get these events, in which case you'll be notified that the effects were disproportionate and espionage is suspected to have been involved.

I believe it's more interesting to cause harm depending on the player's actions than creating random events because this leaves us the choice of either smoking out the traitors or carefully behaving properly at least until we get a chance to deal with them.

I've been considering adding other negative effects as well, but we'll leave it at that for now.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Cost of Espionage

Spying on aristocrats was pretty much a free lunch. As soon as you started meeting aristocrats you ended up spying on them all the time just because you could. Furthermore, a significant portion of them were pretty easy targets.

In order to fix this, I made them a little harder to spy on average and put a flat cost on the act of Investigating/Stalking a target, much like the one of visiting territories you don't own but more expensive. In this way, you are to spend 0.2 Merit to spy on a target or, if you have no Merits, you'll get an increase of 10 in the Local Tension. After all you'd be a meritless scoundrel, surely up to no good.

Other than that, testing goes on. All new systems seem to work more or less as expected without bugs so far. I enjoyed baiting Rhodeghass into wrecking an aristocrat's assets in order to buy his land myself and getting aristocrats of enemy lobbies involved in alcohol smuggling operations to destroy their reputations and damage their lobbies.


As for available time for Anamnesis, July is turning out to be a busy month (I'm also a volunteer firefighter during summer, heat waves and whatnot) but August or September might see an Anamnesis release if everything goes well.
  

Friday, June 19, 2015

Convertible Renascents

I think someone requested this in the past, but it was a long time ago and I can't be bothered to check it out. However it might be, I decided to change a few things concerning captive renascents after a more or less lengthy testing playthrough.

First of all, stalwart renascents can be approached when an influenced player captures them, which was impossible until now. I just don't know how this bug slipped under the radar for so long.

Second of all, befriending any renascent you capture and decide to keep will no longer work against the Local Tension. When these renascents are working on a project, they won't have their stats reduced by half either.

And finally, befriended renascents can now fight for your cause and aid you in your questzzs. You'll probably be better off not sending them to fight alone though, because after their rebirth they'll forget all about your friendship and become enemies again.


Converting renascents might or might not be related to that new game mode I've been considering as of late. I haven't really decided yet.
 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Accessibility

I have started testing the game using the new version of Ren'Py. The next version of Anamnesis will finally be accessible to the visually impaired thanks to the new self-voicing feature of the engine. Pressing the "v" key will activate this mode, while pressing the up and down cursors will select and read the different buttons and objects on the screen.

I take no credit for this since I merely conveyed some information. It was a player that looked for an open-source library and the author of Ren'Py that did the coding, but I'm glad it's done.


In other news, the espionage flavouring is done, so hurray for that too. Now it's time to start the long testing and proofreading process. The events of some lobbies are still missing, but the sooner the proofreading starts, the sooner the release will be ready.

As for the dilemma in the previous post, I'm currently strongly leaning towards making an entirely different game mode inside Anamnesis, but not in this release and probably not the following one either. A comment in that post also got me pondering about ways in which players could expand the content of the game without their work becoming outdated over time, but it's a complicated issue, so no promises there.