I’ve been working on a little military-themed 4X game in Unity, and I’m pretty interested in a Seals-type victory condition. I kinda bounced off the AoW games, and while I enjoyed Planetfall, it doesn’t have Seals, right? So to try it out I should fire up…AoW3? Maybe with 1 seal and a tiny world and easy AI just so i can see how they work?
More generally, I’m interested in thoughts on 4x victory conditions that avoid endgame slog. My prototype was a turn-based AI War, with asymmetry and a focused goal, and maybe just one big powerful opponent instead of traditional AI civs. Anything to make it easier to code AI, which is by far the toughest thing for me! But the player needs early AI opponents to keep things interesting. So…maybe seals and smaller AIs, maybe with my big AI hovering over everyone still.
Victory conditions are an interesting issue.
I think board games have largely solved this, through either fairly arbitrary end conditions, such as ten turns of game time, and through the win conditions usually not linked to your engine building.
4x games tend to link engine and win.
If your win condition is get x% of land, well this is something you will be doing in a 4x game.
Seals flipped that, because to win meant holding the seals.
And that meant a choice of concentrating your troops to defend a seal, which was a strict economic hit, or risking that they would not be captured.
Plus every so often seal guardians would spawn to retake the seal, and losing the seal meant time and effort to recapture it.
And then you had the choice of more seals to win faster, but making yourself more vulnerable.
So, 2 empires of equal strength, one going for seals meant the other became stronger.
However, in a regular victory, if I get more science, land or whatever, that does not hurt me.
The Cosmite idea was way too micromanagey for my tastes. If AoW4 had that I’d probably pass no matter how good rest of package is. I’d rather have a wide variety of units than customization of units.
Throwing micromanagement into techs or treasures you can gain from sites might work better. Something like the Kohan approach?
The Ambitions and VP system in Old World are great, and something I’d like to see ported.
The explore part of AOW is something I’d love to see expanded and improved upon even more.
Planetfall did better there.
Thanks for the replies. I like the idea of decoupling victory conditions from the 4x economic engine. This might reduce snowballing. Seals seem like a neat way to do this: achieving victory requires you to eat into your economic engine.
I think a kind of " spell of making " could work, if that mana were something you would really want to be using in the rest of the game.
Also, events to punctuate, disrupt the equilibrium, could help the end game slog
End game invasions are nothing new, but I think something like realm divide could also work, so there is a tension between getting large (which you usually want) amd avoiding the effects.
An in game plague or invasion of dragons, that would relatively affect everyone equally, would thus affect the larger parties the most overall.
(I.e. if the USA loses 10% population thats alot more than if Belgium loses the same %)
Yeah, Planetfall uses a giant spell as a victory condition. Though it does trigger a big counterattack by other players before you win.
Making even a small 4x is hard! I’m trying to keep my ambitions realistic. Right now mine is more like a war game with procedural terrain, logistics, and a simple player economy. We’ll see how it goes.
The Planetfall Doomsday Weapon victory condition (basically a giant spell) is a fairly good endgame but the one problem I’ve noticed is that the AI has a hard time actually getting its troops to the needed area in time to attack before I win. This is due to the relatively slow travel for many units in Planetfall as well as the AI’s pattern of moving in a “rolling ball of death” configuration.
There are some potential solutions to this issue. I note that Total War Warhammer 2 had a system where as the player got close to victory via rituals (sort of a staged giant spell victory), the AI could spend money to buy an army to teleport in and attack the player. (The player could also do this to rival AIs.) So that’s one option. Another option is that when a player or AI starts the Doomsday clock, everybody else is given some kind of portal ability, to bring their army in to attack the Doomsday, at some cost. There are ways to make this balanced: the portals could take off a chunk of HP or otherwise debuff the units. There could be limits as to how many stacks can go through, etc. But basically I think an enhanced Doomsday/Spell of Mastery type victory condition is a pretty good one.
I still like the AOW3 Seals victory best, but there are some options.
Planetfall even has a second form of “giant spell” victory featuring Unification. I feel like this was not sufficiently distinguished from Doomsday to be worthwhile. I think it was intended to be easier than Doomsday if you had great diplomatic relations but I could never really get it to work. Also, if you DID use diplomacy to weaken the anti-Unification counter attacks that would probably result in a somewhat boring end game - just running out the clock.
I like end games that don’t drag on forever but also feature counterpunching and real efforts to win or at least stop my victory by the AI. Of all the many 4X systems I’ve seen, I would say the Seals of AoW3 is the best, and then other strong candidates would be Realm Divide as in Shogun 2, and a theoretically enhanced Doomsday system like I’ve described. Those are all good options.
Of those, the one that probably requires the least additional programming is Realm Divide.
For the record, didn’t like the doomsday victory as much as seals.
Key difference being you chose when to start the doomsday clock, and all the sites were under your control. And because of the level of investment needed, pretty much always in your best cities.
I would have preferred to have to build the doomsday towers on a piece of land somewhere on the map, like a cosmic tear in the ground.
Build your uber building on top, start the clock.
Even better if this site is in a high risk area.
Actually an interesting victory condition for a fabtasy game could be a “slay the dragon” quest, preferably if said dragon is horrifically powerful and rampages accross the map (so also a late game disrupter)
That’s an interesting idea. You could have a series of steps to summon the dragon, which causes it to be unleashed and rampage across the map but also provides the summoner with some bonuses against the dragon. And b/c AoW is a stack based game, the Dragon wouldn’t be alone - it would be the equivalent of a Tier 5 unit (or higher) with a full stack of at least tier 3 to 4 attendants. So if you pay the cost to be the summoner, you control the timing of the release and also gain some dragon killing bonuses. But here’s the kicker, once you unleash that sucker, it’s fair game and any player or AI who can kill it gets the win.
Or to combine this idea with a bit of the Seals concept, you could have several dragons to kill, as per the above process and victory occurs once you kill a specific number (to give some back and forth).
There are tons of possibilities once you get creative about victory conditions.
I have no interesting ideas, but I have to say I do like the turn this thread has taken. I hope developers are taking note!
This thread has me playing AoW3 compulsively again. I have AoW: Planetfall but it just didn’t grab me for some reason.
Anyway, for (hopefully) AoW4, what I would love to see added is a new “Ancient Horror” late game crisis and/or win condition.
My idea is that, deep in the underground, there is a sealed prison housing an ancient level 20 undead lich hero (nicely equipped) and his army. If the AI or the human player are exploring the underground and should kill his jailors (no way to tell what they are until after they’re dead), he is loosed upon the world. Failing that, anytime after turn 100 (number varies depending on map size) there is a chance that he will break the seals to his prison and escape.
His mechanic as a lich/necromancer is that every single unit that his army kills is raised after the battle as a random tier III undead unit. A random few will be undead heroes. His powerful armies will thus grow and grow if unchecked. They will attack any town or city regardless of race. Any that are taken become undead cities. The threat will spread across the world if left alone for too long.
If the “Ancient Horror” win condition is checked at game creation, the player must kill the lich to win the game. If instead the “Ancient Horror” late game crisis event is checked then the victory condition is something else but the late game crisis will still occur to be dealt with.
I feel this would add a lot of tension and interest to the late game so I hope they consider something like it.
I liked the idea of an ancient dying race that was still very powerful like how Stelleris did. You had to tip toe around them for the longest time. They didn’t expand but if you pissed them off watch out. It made the map more interesting.
What I want for AoW4 is simply AoW1 in a new wrapper. The inimitable youtuber Sseth just today posted an homage to it!
Not so much AoW4, but I’d be very pleased to spend money on an AOW1 Remaster.
Hmm. Maybe it is time to take another run at AOW3/AOW:PF. Has anyone tried either of these on Steam Deck? I know that PF came with controller support; not sure about 3.
Bonus points if the game is designed for players to push their luck going underground.
Perhaps that is where all the cosmite is???
The deeper, the more you get, but the greater the risk of bigBad waking up.
Why? It works well enough on modern systems.
AI updates, modern UI/QOL stuff, that kind of thing.
Oddly enough the original UI works well.
The windows can be resized by the player etc.
And it looks good at high resolutions.
I think SM is a better contender for modernisation lol.