Sunday, January 12, 2014

About Brunelleschi, vol 2

The overall gameplay dynamic of Brunelleschi is intended to be very political for most players, and in order to understand that the game's concepts of Importance and Rank should be clearly understood.

Rising in Rank

Characters in Brunelleschi inevitably begin at Rank 1, and can only advance this by gaining Importance. Not all Actions give importance, and in fact a great many (Beg from Travellers and Pickpocket Peasants for example) will lower a character's importance. For Heroes this can result in some very interesting effects, which I'll leave the adventurous players to discover, but for now we'll focus on Gaining Ranks, which is really much more straightforward.... at first.

All a new character needs to do is gain 1,000 importance, roughly 250 'Harvest' actions at the beginning of the game, and a whopping (and conveniently round) total of 1,000 Action Points. The ratios won't always be so straightforward, but in the beginning I tried to make sure things could be easily understood, that way the first principles being applied would be clearly visible. AP, XP, and IMP are locked in a constant three-way struggle, and there's no guaranteed 'best' way to approach that balance. Collecting rocks will gain you about 60 experience for 4 AP, while Harvest only offers 50 for 4, but the difference in the amount of actual resources gained is pretty significant. The game asks players at every step to determine what is most important to them, and ultimately strong leadership will be needed to ensure that less informed players don't 'waste' their daily AP.

Ultimately, only those who can obtain a Billion IMP will achieve the highest ranks, which is functionally impossible without understanding and using Fealty.

Chains of Fealty

As Characters advance in Rank and Importance, the Fealty Mechanics will begin to encourage the pledging of fealty to powerful characters in return for their support and protection, as well as the offering of support and protection to weaker characters. This is accomplished by having Importance pass 'Up the Chain' to each Liege in sequence. Simply put:

If Character A has 100 IMP while Character B has 200 IMP, and character A pledges fealty to Character B, Character B will have 300 IMP, with 100 being passed 'up' as long as the fealty remains unbroken. Breaking fealty has a stout enough IMP penalty to discourage casual and exploitative usage.  This can get pretty complicated, as I'm sure you can imagine, as in the reverse example the pledging of Character B to Character A would result in Character A having 300 IMP, with 200 of that dependent on the loyalty of Character B. These mechanics have been tested and we've created a logical framework that should allow this to nest without looping, and avoids any of the obvious issues (Characters cannot be pledged to those who are lower rank, characters cannot be pledged 'In a circle', those sorts of things). Still, we're looking forward to seeing how our players will attempt to break the 'rules'.

In Brunelleschi, You Create the Rules

This is fundamentally a game about player-driven politics and as such we have left all the critical decisions up to the players. Control over immigration, employment, taxation, warfare, diplomacy, private property, and all other settlement decisions are made by the Sovereign and their Ministers. Since we couldn't possibly predict everything players would want, we came at the problem from a different angle. 

Every action a player takes, from harvesting to arson and sabotage, is recorded in their 'Personal Forum'. Some actions are reported in the 'Settlement' forum, which players can even write directly to once they learn to 'Report the News' and other useful civic information services. Anything that occurs in a public forum can be voted on by players, and these votes have a powerful effect on the importance and relationship ratings of the poster and the voter. This becomes especially important when dealing with world and settlement spanning 'Scenarios', as you could suffer badly at the hands of fellow players for triggering an unwanted event such as a swarm of locusts.

Since it's ultimately the opinions of other players that will decide your character's Importance, and as such their Rank, Lords will have to learn to wield public opinion carefully, and as such we hope that the game approaches a realistic simulation of the sociological forces inherent in civil administration. 

But enough about all that carebear stuff! Next post: Vol 3, Dueling, Enemies, and War!


Since the first day of Brunelleschi: Age of Architects 'Bootstrap' beta is going well, I thought I might create a list of useful links for individuals that might want to explore our game world.

First of, resource links:
Account Creation Tutorial
Settlement Creation Tutorial
Facebook Page
Facebook Application <--- Not fully functional as of 1/12
Beta version of the Android App <---- Very slow, in-game purchases unreliable and not advised.

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