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History and design of GaI
Posted 29 days ago
Some of you have asked, so here's a brief history of Gods and Idols development.
And my design philosophy as to why some things make it into the game, and some don't.

Prototype 1.x of Gods and Idols went live in 2008, and ran until 2011. It was very limited, didn't really have a concept of creating planets, or asteroid belts for that matter. Buildings were just 6 ''stats'' that you clicked a button to increase. There were no resources.

Prototype 2.x went up in early 2012. It consisted of the asteroid belts and accretion minigame/planet creation. Several resources/tech trees/building systems were tested, rewritten, scrapped, re-imagined, and implemented during this period. Prototyping 2.x went on until 2014.

The current 3.x version began development in 2014.

Design philosophy
There are a lot of things to consider when developing games, what to implement, how to implement it, and what effect it will have.

Early in 2.x I had a spell that spawned an asteroid which would hit your planet, causing some damage to buildings and killing population, but increase its base stats.
At first glance, this seemed like a good trade-off: You get higher planet stats, at the cost of some destroyed buildings and lost population.
In reality, you could just do Accretion, Seed, then immediately start spamming these spell asteroids. Since your capital planet can't die, it would always have at least 2 population.
You just had to wait for Power to slowly trickle in, and cast the spell over and over.

This is really bad gameplay. Punishing people who ''actually play'' (Those that actually started building buildings), and rewarding people who just ''idle''.

Part of development is being able to stop yourself and say: ''No, this is bad. Remove it.''
Sometimes that's a feature you've spent months on.

Another example is the full planet zoom. In both 2.x and very early in 3.x development I experimented with being able to fly all the way right down to the planet surface, just a few meters off the ground.
It looked amazing, and it felt really cool to fly around the terrain.

But, there was nothing there... To make it work I'd have to add foliage, details, buildings, roads, cities, people.

And if I do that, why can't you interact with them?
So now we have a huge system where you can go super in-depth and look at individual buildings, micro-managing individual population on the planet surface!

That's really cool!

But... is it feasible? Does it work long-term? And most importantly, is it actually fun?
As it turns out, no, it's not feasible, doesn't work long-term, and it wasn't really fun once the novelty faded.
Flying around an entire planet sounds cool in theory, in practice it's just tedious ''Ugh, now I have to fly back to the mine and change production...'' so you'd just end up using the building list to control things.
During testing it very quickly became just an unused feature, there's no reason for the player to fly around at ground level, it doesn't give you the control you need.

This is the way development is. Some things might be super cool at first glance, but in the end they are nothing more than useless fluff that add nothing to gameplay.
Things like these usually make for great bullsht ads, and buzzword filled interviews, but in the end doesn't give the player anything.

After all, what is the point of 18'446'744'073'709'551'616 No Mans Planets if there are only 6 different types? What is the point of being able to fly to the surface of a planet if you can't interact with it. What is the point of interacting at such low-micro-level if it just makes gameplay more tedious? And what is the point of placing buildings if the spell asteroid is just going to destroy them?

To take a very recent example: The haulers were substantially changed in patch 3.23.132 which came out just a day ago.
Instead of goods being directly transported by the haulers, all buildings now automatically transfer, and collect, goods from the planet stockpile at a rate directly related to the number of haulers you have.
Seeing resources tick, even at a slow rate, feels much better than not seeing them change at all. Especially when the dumb haulers just refuse to deliver that last damned bit of concrete to the construction site!!!11one *flips table*
There are still tweaks to make here, for example the current system takes the number of haulers and divides it by the number of buildings to get a transfer speed.
This should obviously be changed to number of haulers divided by the number of active productions/construction sites.

In the end, it's many little things like these that add to development time, and the reason why we have prototypes.
Development of Gods and Idols has always been slow and steady, and that's what it will remain.
I'm not making a game for you, I am making the game I want to make, a game I'd love to play. The moment you start making games for ''someone else'', is the moment the game dies.

And hey, if you happen to love the game I'm making, that is great and you're awesome! <3
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