*Please note - currency conversions are just a guide. Converted 11 August 2017.
Neolithic: First City-States is a Deep Historical Strategy Game heavily influenced by games such as Age of Empires I, Civilization & Caesar III, and to a lesser extent games like Haven and Hearth, UnReal World and games like RimWorld. The game includes aspects of city building, military strategy and deep character development.
The game is about making this micro and macro scale gameplay meet in a meaningful way.
Set in the Neolithic or Chalcolithic to Late Bronze Age, the game features characters that have needs, gain skills, carry, equip and craft items, build structures and each have unique strengths and weaknesses.
Initial release will be on Steam (Windows, expecting but not promising Mac & Linux at initial release).
Like Minecraft, Banished and Stardew Valley, this is essentially a 1 person project. I have 15 years of experience developing games professionally as an artist, designer, director and programmer. Despite obvious drawbacks, going solo gives the flexibility and creative freedom I need. Obviously my time is pretty limited so I will be forever grateful for any and all support (including non-monetary such as sharing or constructive criticism).
- Deep characters that have needs, carry items, inherit traits and can craft and build.
- Strategic combat with cover, direction/flanking, fortifications, formations and injuries.
- Procedural world with towns that can be traded with and conquered, with various vassal options.
- Detailed City Planning including road, canal and fortification layout and civic buildings.
- Lots of customization including character hair, items, skin, tribal tattoos/body paint & building styles.
- Customize the look of your town with lamps, roads, canals, bridges, statues, monoliths, shrines and gardens.
- Day with a short night cycle, seasons & rain.
- Support for Windows (Steam and DRM-free), Mac & Linux, though Mac & Linux may come after initial release.
Gameplay is a mix of people & resource management, city building and military strategy.
- While characters manage their needs (such as eating and sleeping), control is similar to other RTS games.
- Keeping your people happy will increase birth rate, while a prosperous town will attract migrants.
- Interact with the outside world through trade and diplomacy. You will sometimes be attacked by other towns and raiders. You can also be the aggressor and conquer nearby towns, setting various vassal conditions based on history.
- The end game is to build a giant Temple (Pyramid or Ziggurat) and defend it against the Bronze Age Collapse. Though, this will take many hours and much of the game is intended to be open ended with many challenges inbuilt.
*Note - stretch goals will give additional funding to allow the additional content to come to life, all of which I really want to implement. Unfortunately it won't give me more hours in the day! So this content will mostly come after initial release.
- Unique balances such as increased food production or soldier starting experience.
- Unique items available. For example - Seed Drill, Full Bronze Plate Mail, Bronze Shield, Khopesh, Penetrating Axe, Composite Bow ect.
- Unique buildings. Buildings are more than idle pixels - they act as work stations for people and often unlock item and resource production. Cultures will have access to buildings such as work stations, libraries & civic buildings, military buildings, infrastructure and fortifications.
The biggest design challenge is how to transition from managing in detail a few characters to city management without things getting totally overwhelming or meaningless.
- As you progress, you will slowly allocate people to specialist trades - potter, soldier, administrate ect. The character will then only do one task, however they will do it more efficiently and help automate tasks. In various ways it will mean you no longer need to select individuals to micromanage resources and production. For example, specialist farmers will automatically manage crops within range of the farmhouse. Potters will streamline production of certain resources needed for trade and buildings, automatically balancing stockpiles. In general, specialists streamline and increase production, as they did in the real world. The process of making soldiers can be automated through the barracks where you can design a unit type with items, then simply hit recruit to automatically find the most suited character, queuing item production with specialist tradesmen.
- The other challenge will be to make the early gameplay not become meaningless as you progress. While the city may grow, most of your focus will stay on a few key characters who develop into elite characters with new characters working under them.
Characters can become:
- Masters of their trade or legendary warriors.
- Leaders, administrators or teachers to increase effectiveness of the masses.
- Character management & needs control.
- Characters can be injured and will drink, eat, sleep, seek warmth and even go to the toilet automatically.
- Item system, including equipping items.
- Item crafting system.
- Work stations, buildings, walls, defensive bonuses.
- Plant/Crop growth and fruiting, including seasonal harvesting ect.
- Animal control, fleeing, death, corpse harvesting ect.
- Damage/health, ranged attacks (using physics so arrows will stick into walls ect), avoid, block, crit, injuries, attack modifiers and buffs.
- Formations - change shape, formation tightness, attack move along paths (arrows shown in video)
- Characters can run, walk, swim and currently sneak and dive, though sneaking and diving will possibly be cut.
- The basic map generation functionality.
- Day/Night cycle, rain, temperature & lighting.
- Basic season functionality.
- AI Town management.
- AI formation control.
- Women, Children (though growth functionality is working).
- Global pathing.
- Trade system, routes and trader AI.
- Much Content (item & building art ect).
- Most Balancing.
- Many other small things not really worth mentioning here such as some buff icons, help text ect.
Risks and challenges
There is always the risk that life could get in the way and many games never see release for all kinds of reasons. But at this stage it will take a lot to stop me!
All the technical choices and gameplay choices have been made with what I can accomplish as a solo developer in mind. Optimizing time and development is one of my strengths, and I've had a lot of practice at it!
With so many of the most challenging aspects already implemented and with experience in everything remaining I’m confident the game will see release and be updated to a balanced & polished level.
- (28 days)