Moebius (game)

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Medieval Clarity is a flash-based massively multiplayer online strategy game inspired by the Mage: the Ascension line of White Wolf tabletop roleplaying games. The player starts out as king of a newly established kingdom dominated by a chosen magical (with science an option) culture. He grows his empire and invests its resources in expansion, war, magical development, economics, and the like. Numerous innovations, including appointing real friends as noblemen of the kingdom exist to keep it a highly social game.

Contents

Features

Main article: MC Design

Territory

As the basis of the game is a deeply interactive map, everything surrounding the concept of "territory" must be highly developed and well thought through.

Pseudo-Infinite Territory Between Nations

From the original game, I like how you could use troops to expand your territory.

Each kingdom is isolated from each other kingdom by an indeterminate amount of land. In practice this land is defined, but when a kingdom claims some territory from it, the territory is created from nothing for the kingdom. This way, travel time and distances between kingdoms remain finite, yet kingdoms are not fixed to a finite size. Kingdoms surrounded on one or more sides by water can claim islands and, given the sufficiently advanced magic, grow these islands.

Potential Procedures:

  • Once per day, king (or officer, see below) portions off army to "claim land." Takes 1 hour (realtime) and results directly, polynomially, or exponentially proportional to number and strength of chosen units.
  • At any time, king selects portion of army to claim land, potentially also selecting amount of time to take. Rewards reduced from first option, but trade-off is greater control.

Possible Other Options:

  • Two kingdoms can make a road-building treaty, where each side agrees to claim half of "all" land between them, followed by building a road that connects the capital to the border location. The end result is a road for vastly improved trading or, if the agreement turns sour, a faster way to the heart of the enemy.

Land Use

Two good options on how to subdivide a kingdom into available land and one cop out. The cop out is not letting the player directly control what part of his kingdom is used for what.

Otherwise, land can be subdivided into plots that are given use upon acquisition or at a later date (if land preparation costs more resources than the kingdom can provide). These plots are then upgraded to a maximum level incrementally using more resources. After all available plots have been maximally upgraded, the only way to further increase resource acquisition is to acquire more land.

A more complicated way to manage land is to divide it up by some measurement, say acres or square miles. The land is then assigned usage. It can not be upgraded, but magical advances could increase its yield.

Territory Features

Upon acquisition, new territory has the chance of containing certain features. This features help or hinder certain activities, such as resource production, troop movement, or magical development.

Features:

  • Rivers
  • Hills
  • Mountains
  • Under-developed tribes
  • Naturally magical area (enchanted forest, ancient burial ground, holy ruins, etc., not necessarily of the culture of the possessing kingdom)

Because new territory may contain magical areas not sacred to the controlling kingdom, access to these may be traded to other kingdoms as any other resource. Likewise, if an alliance goes particularly sour, the magical territory may be destroyed in order to prevent the now-enemies from using it against a kingdom. Once magical terrain is destroyed, the occupying kingdom may reconstruct it according to their own magical culture, however this gives a reduced return. Only when the original state is restored can the magic regrow to its previous potency and be utilized to its full potential.

Real Officer Positions

An idea I came up with is that instead of just alliances between kingdoms being the driving multiplayer feature, kings should be able to appoint real players into officer positions in their kingdom. This would give the new player a limited, controlled environment in which to learn the game, and the king would get a bonus from both having someone else plan an aspect he would otherwise have to control himself, and in some sort of resource/monetary kickback. In the case where a player wishes to run a kingdom with no other players as officers, he could hire Hero characters to automatically manage those resources. The drawback to this would be principally that he would have to manage the settings of the Hero, though further disadvantages could be added. (Hero could have a loyalty rating causing him, when low, to portion off part of the kingdom for himself and incite revolution therein?)

Positions:

  • Governor (controls all activity of a town)
  • Baron (controls all activity of a region)
  • Commander General (leader of all army units)
  • High Financier (leader of economic activity)
  • High Priest/Wizard/Engineer/Druid/Witch/etc. (leader of magical development, see below)

Cultures

Recently there has been an upsurge in games that try to produce a "realistic" scenario of medieval life, resources, technology, and interactions. This means most instances of magic have been dropped entirely or treated in passing as a mistaken interpretation of science. However, I always enjoyed having magic in a game of this kind. Unfortunately, games seem to treat it awkwardly as some kind of perfunctory add-on.

In this game, the magical culture influences more than just some units and additional features. At the creation of a new kingdom, the king chooses a magical culture. This sets a number of attributes about the kingdom.

Magical Cultures:

  • Technological
  • Hermetic
  • Druidic
  • Pagan
  • Shamanic
  • Shinto
  • Righteous
  • Demonic

Economics

The economic basis of the game is a tricky subject. Historically, feudalism was firmly established. The majority of the populace farmed, either as freemen, villeins, or serfs (effectively slaves). The rest of the laymen populace participated in some other craft, such as blacksmithy or tailoring.

Game Structure

Main article: MC Structure
  • Flash-based drawing on MySQL database.

Registration/Log-in

Game checks the user's cookies. If the user isn't logged in, it provides a link to the registration/log in page.

Interface

The entire game revolves around the map. Keyboard keys can be used to move and zoom (by default assigned to arrow and w-a-s-d keys, and +/- and q-e keys, respectively). Terrain can be selected by various selection tools (rectangle, ellipse, and free selection, themselves selected by mouse wheel, keyboard shortcut, or icon, maybe). Clicking on the selected terrain brings up an overlay with options, allowing users to re-select terrain before anything happens in case they made a mistake.

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