I can't enthrall nobles. Is there a reason for that or is my game just bugged?
Shadows Behind The Throne 2
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Amazing game responsive dev what more could you want.
Oh. My. God. I had no idea there was a number 2. Whenever this is out fully released, I am buying it IMMEDIATELY. I loved the first one, it was so fun!
Hey, thanks, great to hear you enjoyed it. Hopefully number 2 will be even better, once we get the agents sorted out and properly fleshed out.
Man, I loved the original even in its unfinished form, hoping to see this sequel be expanded and the bugs ironed out.
Speaking of bugs, there seems to be some sort of null exception that randomly crops up. Not sure what causes it, but it prevents popups (including game options menu) from appearing and generally breaks the game. When I made the mistake of trying to load old save to fix it without closing the game first it also ruined my current quicksave: even after closing and reloading afterwards I wouldn't get any popups at all anymore, making the game much harder to play. Thankfully it went away when starting a new game at least.
Hmm. I apologise, it obviously shouldn't do that, both throwing a null pointer and then ruining it the quicksave.
I'll confess saving and loading has been an utter pain. We spent a month wrestling with different libraries, but for some reason our code breaks the Unity engine itself when trying to save. There's no error message or online documentation, so it's currently the best we can manage to get somewhat working.
I'll see about expanding the number of save slots, and making it create backups of save files before loading, which should hopefully reduce the pain this causes.
Regarding the game itself, I've got less time to work on it than I did before, and am implementing features people ask for (currently agents) when I find time. Hopefully in time this version will be better in every way than the previous one, but I guess that may be subjective.
We'll do more playtesting to try to track down the nullpointer, and put a fix to that too.
Thanks for your feedback, though.
Just checked my feed, found V3, IMMEDIATELY downloaded it and started playing. It was awesome how the V1 mechanics got added in (at least the power system), had a lot of fun with them.
So anyway, got some feedback and questions for you:
1. The weather power should become permanent, at least the 'death of the sun' one, since it doesn't just lower temp, it literally KILLS THE SUN!
2. I still miss the hierarchy system, because to me it made a lot of sense. Hope you'll add it sometime soon. Any ETA on that?
3.I think you should change the Lord/Lady generation system as well as the darkness one. By that i mean, that the darkness % of the location should slowly try to match that of it's ruler, and have it influence the lords/ladies that spawn there. Ex: a single-town duchy removes a lord, the location's darkness is 56%, thus the new lord has a 56% chance of being darkened upon spawning. And in a multi-town empire, you do the same but add a step before that where you decide which town the lord spawns in.
Hope this helps you! Keep it up! Really love the game! I don't know how to stop! Help! Oh wait, nvm. BYE!!
Edit: Is it possible to make some sore of age system as well? A lot of times i get caught in a stalemate, where the ruler and few of his friends aren't darkened but everyone else is, but everyone loves the ruler, so it's impossible to depose him and any attempt to gain power is blocked by him because he hates all the darkened. So either an age system to make him die of old age, which could maybe evolve later into a whole dynasty system *wink* *wink* *nudge* *nudge* or have the darkened gain a slowly rising dislike for all who have lesser or none shadow level. It's even role friendly, because if they are corrupted , then maybe they get an instictual dislike for the non-corrupted out of envy,jealousy etc. kinda like how zombies are sometimes described, they hate those who have what they don't, even if they don't know it intellectually.
Holy shit did i rant a lot.
Glad you enjoyed it.
1) Yes, it probably should. The idea was that it would keep the world alive, so if you stopped taking action it would return back to normal. For the bugfixed version of V3 the world-wide changes will be made permanent, I think.
2) Maybe in version 4. I think the best approach would be to use the province system. Each province could have a duke assigned, promoted from one of the nobles in the province. Each provincial ruler would report to the king/queen, and you'd have to first be promoted to leader of your province before you'd be allowed to become leader of your nation. It ties into the current setup, where people in provinces are naturally allied to each other, because of shared industrial concerns, and how civil wars occur by splitting off provinces into their own nations.
We've not touched it yet because it would make the game more complicated, and we wanted to get quality of life and understandable gameplay at least somewhat handled before adding complexity to the system.
3)That's a very good suggestion, which makes a lot of sense. The nobles are supposed to be enshadowing their entire cities, so it wouldn't make sense to have new nobles arriving which are somehow unaffected. We'll try to get that added in as soon as possible.
Age) We were discussing this, actually. "How long do you think a turn is?" I figured it was maybe a season, but my co-author reckoned it was about a week. If we decide to implement some actual time system, we'd need to work out population growth speeds and suchlike. The main reason characters don't die of old age is because I wanted the system to be easier to understand and follow, and having characters randomly die would possibly confuse players, or force them to read huge numbers of messages about character deaths. We'll look into it.
Dark Unity) This makes sense, having enshadowed characters prefer each other as rulers. We wanted the dark empire to still have politics, but it would make sense that you could influence the enshadowed to hate those who are still light. Maybe just a power, which you could use to make all enshadowed dislike all light people a little bit?
Thanks for the feedback, we'll get to work on a bugfix version for V3, then on V4.
Just to note,
I have left the weather/climate change as temporary, because I realised that if it was permanent you could win the game just by clicking "end turn" repeatedly, waiting for wars to occur by themselves, and exploiting them. It would take thousands of turns, but would be a guaranteed win, and I don't want that to be a valid strategy.
If we implement some way for the humans to fight the effects, and return life to the sun, we'll make it permanent, probably.
Alright, thx for notifying me. Tbh i can't really think of a system for that except maybe as a joke. Have the same system for awareness of the darkness and copy it over for the environment and global temperature drop. Ex: i drop the global temp by a bit, this causes the southern cities to be more habitable, hence their lords there have no motive to do anything, but the northern lords have their cities damaged, which causes them to think about how to reverse it. Now, HOW they reverse can be magic BS, just burning a bunch of things, or something else i can't think of. This way the system encourages using the weather system only when the war is so big that the lords dont have a chance to really fight it.
Other ideas i can think of are:
Have the sun death power be permanent but also a really complicated ritual that needs a dark empire and the other power be temporary one-off spell.
The provincial hierarchy you mentioned is really good and can be tied into casus belli. Ex: The duke wants to war on the nearby empire because they control one of his duchy's towns.
And that's about it, thanks again for the info. Can't wait to see how you develop it further *girly squeal*!
I nether played now added it yet. But I have heard that ther is nether a structure in the files, nor is it possible to convert it to the newest unity version. Will that change in version 3 and will ther be notes and comments for people who want to modify version 3 ?
The game's code can't be updated to the latest Unity version purely because of the save/load system. We are using a library which hasn't been updated for a few years, and so doesn't work with modern Unity. The other library option we tried, which has been updated, doesn't work for our project, and doesn't give sufficient error messages to allow us to understand why. We simply don't have the time to write our own fully recursive serialiser to replace the libraries, so were forced to use the old version.
If you were to remove the save/load feature, the game should be able to be updated to the latest Unity version. Certainly all the code would still be valid.
I assure you, I wish we could use a more up-to-date Unity version, but this was the only way we could get a save/load system working, and we considered that to be critical.
Fantastic effort this and the only true attempt at a TWS inspired game.
Keep at it, get the mechanics sorted then add some nice art and UI and it could be a right winner.
I've watched your play through and read the tutorial but to be honest I struggle to play the game. I have no idea if I'm doing well or not and I'm not really sure how to enact a coherent strategy.
If you're after feedback here's some from me;
1. I find it very difficult to tell the different nobles apart. Different art here would be welcome (although I appreciate it's nowhere near as important as gameplay).
2. I'd like more agents to make use of. One enthralled does not feel enough and it feels that I have little agency as a player. Ideally multiple agents that do different things (Peddler, Rake or Witch to start?) would be awesome. I find the idea of creating a new agent in an existing settlement easier to understand in game terms than enthralling an existing noble too, but that is a preference I guess.
3. I'd like more varied races in game. In fact ideally - to make things simple at this concept stage I'd prefer it if all the different 'nations' were different races so I can quickly identify the nations at a glance.
4. The leader of a nation is not clear to me, at a glance.
5. I don't understand/it isn't clear how I should go about achieving my objectives. It seems that I simply vote on various things while spawning fishmen camps. If I influence a vote a certain way it is overruled a few turns later, it seems like. For me I think less actions at the start of the game would be better so as to allow me to get to grips with the mechanics. Also the addition of mechanics that are 'free' (they cost only time) would be welcome so I'm not just skipping turns waiting for the next vote. For example give the enthralled an ability that allows them to slowly change the characteristic of another noble (pacifist to war-like, increased madness/shadow, acceptance of status quo etc).
6. Linked to the above I wonder how the game state develops over time. If I do nothing will the game cycle on an indefinite loop of the same decisions made time and time again? I think mechanically time should be a factor and should be the biggest threat to me as a player. It encourages agency and forces decision making. In other words the 'no play' state should lead always to a loss. Through playing a player should be able to delay or avoid the loss state, but it should be a pressing concern throughout a play through I think. It is simple, intuitive and forces engagement.
Apologies - seems like I've just wishlisted a ton of things I'd like to see changed/added here!
You're doing great work, truly and I'm really interested to see where this goes. If you ever want more feedback or ideas on different mechanics I'd be more than happy to help.
Thanks for the kind words and support.
Obviously the game is very complex, and also fairly different from any other game I've played, since it really focuses on political NPCs and their interactions, so in many cases I'm just trying stuff to see how it works. There was a previous version of this game which I released a few years ago, which varied massively over its year-long development cycle, and tried out a number of the things you've mentioned. As a rule, the game is trying to balance complexity and understandability. Too complex a game leads to the player rapidly becoming overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information to follow, but there's always the urge to add more, and always gameplay areas which feel lacking.
1) I've dug up my old graphics tablet, so more art can be drawn up. As a programmer, I can't draw faces (hence the characters having none), but I can put more flowers on heads.
2) Multiple noble enthralled lead to an incredibly complicated UI system at times, and make it very hard to inform people of which votes are available where. Even with only three enthralled, it was a mess of "vote options now available". It makes it harder for the player to follow their society's political structure, including the nobles' interpersonal relationships, which I'd like to see play an important role.
On-the-map agents were tried, with some success, but I didn't particularly like how they played out. The game's main mechanics are political, and the agents were outside of this system for the most part, they couldn't interact with it in a way which I felt 'worked' as a mechanic. Instead, they're replaced by powers and buildable colonies.
In terms of expanding the amount of stuff to do, I would probably expand the amount of actions you can take on colonies, to make them more involved, and city-builder-like, rather than add any new agents and complicate things further.
3) I'm not sure I agree. The nations here are entirely political driven. They all start as independent cities, and can merge and split arbitrarily, entirely based on politics. Having them forced to exist in certain ways would go against the organic growing process which shapes the map. Partly answering 6 already: The game is NPC-driven, and nations grow and split based on their decisions (which are based on circumstance and some random chance). If you leave the game running, it will slowly stabilise into large empires after a few hundred turns, but if the player disrupts these then entirely new political landscapes will form. With very minor changes (such as random character death from old age) the map would remain permanently dynamic, and constantly generating new nations as civil wars tear apart old empires.
4) This is true, and we should fix this. We'll add it to the list of tasks.
5) We intend to release a new version on Thursday, which introduces "names". These are somewhat similar to "gods" in That Which Sleeps, in that they are groups of powers which fit together thematically, except you pick two per game, rather than just one. One of these is designed to be more straightforward, with more obvious strategies for the player. In our own playtesting we found that often there is no obvious way forward, and that you'd have to just cause chaos and hope the situation improves. This is not how we wanted the game to be played, so we introduced this new way to spend power directly to achieve political aims. The more efficiently you can do so, the more power left over you'd have to spend on your second group of abilities.
6) The old version had "world panic" and "lightbringers". World panic was generated by you expending power or spreading shadow, with different levels unlocking different behaviours the nobles could take to oppose you. The lightbringers were the ultimate result of this, as nobles could turn themselves into glowing yellow people, who were immune to shadow. They would then form an alliance to oppose you, and start the "defeat timer". The more lightbringers were created, the faster the timer increased. As a result you could muck around for the first part of the game, but had to race against time to achieve victory, once you'd progressed far enough.
We intend to re-introduce a version of these mechanics, sometime soon (with game options allowing you to turn them off, if the player wants a more calm and relaxing apocalypse).
Overall, this game is hard to make, and I don't claim to be correct all the time. Which is why we're very grateful for the feedback, and why it is open source. There's all manner of different ways the game could be taken, many of them just as valid as one another, so I wouldn't want to stand in someone's way if they took what we've done, cloned it, then took their copy of the project in another direction. Would be great to one day see all kinds of That Which Sleeps games out there, all with different styles and concepts.
Hope this clears some things up, and hope the new changes are to your liking, once we can get them out the door (we've got a lot of work of our own, so game dev is slower than we'd like)
Hi Bobby, no worries on the words, you're a hero as far as I'm concerned!
On point 2 - I think there is a disconnect for me in terms of having whole map actions. It opens up almost too many opportunities because I can do anything (within reason) anywhere. On the map agents are more intuitive in my opinion because they can guide the player to correct play styles. For example the "Fish Man that makes Fish Men colonies" needs to go near the coast. The "Enthralled/Noble/Political agent" needs to go in a city. The "Military Leader agent" goes on the front lines so on and so forth. Personally I find this type of presentation much easier to comprehend, but I appreciate it's a preference thing.
With regards to point 3 - perhaps greater feedback would help here? Show the player how the political landscape is likely to change based on certain actions, show what will happen if no action is taken. I found myself just voting for the most popular choice in my playthroughs, because I was unsure as to the risks of doing otherwise or the benefits. I know there are overlays to show the "nations" but if we had some way to see where the political tensions were I think this would be really useful. Where are the political tensions and what nobles do I need to defame to get the results I want?
I have yet to play the new version, though I have downloaded it. I'll give it a spin when life settles down a little more and provide feedback but it sounds already like a fantastic improvement. Names/Gods/whatever that allow a variety of playstyles (and direct the player to do so) are a great addition, in my opinion.
I recall playing the older versions with "lightbringers" and "world panic", I enjoyed that mechanic immensely, personally.
No worries on dev speed - as I said you're doing the (Dark) Lord's work creating this and making it open source and can only offer my thanks at this stage! Out of interest - are you looking to get your development expertise to a point where you feel you may be able to create the game/kickstart/crowdfund it as more than a hobby?
Yeah, I definitely see the appeal of the agents. Their ability to reduce your range of options would make the game easier to follow and give the player a better ability to plan their future actions. We'll keep it in mind, and see if we can either bring some agents back (possibly with a Name which uses agents) or try to give a geographical side to some of the powers, so you need to focus down on one part of the map.
Maybe it would be useful to see who would like you voting in a given way in some popup you could click to see. "View voting liking outcomes" and then you'd pick an option and it would say "These people would like you more, these people would hate you more if you voted this way". Sounds like it's information the player should have access to, and wouldn't be too hard to implement.
Just released a new bugfixed version, so download that one before you play V3. Fixes a bug allowing 0 cost powers, along with a few other things that were pointed out by the community.
I'm probably never going to develop this full time, sadly. My real job (AI researcher in self-adaptive systems) is what I want to do with my life. Game dev is a fun hobby, but I fear it would be far less fun if I made it my main career. That's part of the reason why the project is open source, so if someone wants to develop it full time they can take it over and make it a full scale project.
Verry fun and interesting game, I am not realy sure how some mechanics work, would you be so kind and answer my questions?
1) Do other nobles then the one you enshadowed also spread shadow? and if they do, do they spread it at any % or only at 100%?
2) Do worms have a randon chance of spaning on baren land? I have notices that there was a new work "nation" where there previously was none
3) I didnt have much succes with the water or flesh attacks, but what happenes to the cities when they get conquered by those forces? Do they disapear forever? Will nations be able to recolonize them? And are nations able to colonize the empty pieaces of land( by empty I mean the ones conected by the network not just whatever hexagon is on the map )?
Thanks for your answer, if you do answer that is, otherwise I thank you for providing me with this new kind of entertainment.
Thanks for playing, glad you enjoy it so far. In response to your questions:
1) Yes, nobles will spread shadow to all others in their society who have a lower prestige than they do. They can't spread more shadow than they have, so if they have 26% shadow they can't infect anyone else with more than 26% shadow.
2) Worms do, in this version, have a random chance to spawn. They're there to give a threat for the nobles to care about, in case that is useful for political stuff. They may be removed or changed in future versions, although we have no plans as of yet.
3) Flesh and Fish need time to grow their forces (and the Fishmen/Deep Ones need to gather forces from the human nations). They'd need to have at least as much military strength as the nation they are attacking in order to stand a good enough chance to invade. Cities they take can be turned into 'Ruins', if they can't hold them (the worms do the same, if a human nation loses a war against the worms).
The humans are able to colonise ruins and some empty locations. For gameplay reasons, the human nations will only colonise certain regions, so the player can still build flesh colonies and so worms can spawn. The game is made so that if a single human city is placed at the start of the game they will colonise surrounding locations, then break apart due to political disagreements and form a continent-wide set of nations. Sadly they can't currently colonise across the sea, so if all humans on an island are killed there won't ever be any more.
Hope this clears things up
All I want for Christmas is a save/load feature.
That's all I want.
And a 'jump to Enthralled' button.
That's all I want.
And Abott/Abess spelt with a double 'B'
That's all I want.
Thank you very much.
P.S. I have been evil all year and I promise to be even more evil next year.
"All I want for Christmas is a save/load feature"
You have no idea how many times I've said this over the last month. I'll do a devlog real quick to update people about progress on this front.
So in my most recent game my strategy was to cause civil wars to weaken all of the human nations, and pick them off with the flesh one by one. I succeeded, and now the world is only inhabited by flesh and fishmen after the flesh ate all humans and worms. The game won't end since now that humanity is extinct I can't enshadow 75% of it. Am I supposed to be able to do that, and if I am then would that be considered a win, loss, or is it some kind of draw?
You're ahead of the game, in fact. It was fully intended to be a second victory condition (so the player could pick which one the wanted), but it's not yet implemented, and was intended to be added in the next major update.
For now, my congratulations, you can consider that a complete and glorious victory.
Actually, I don't quite understand your attachment to wastelands idea with flesh and fishmen. That's stupid. I met the game week ago and after that I found Version 13. It is the best and you should return to it.
I am very fond of idea with enthralled noble making their way to create dark empire or make dark cult, or dark emperor cult and whatever, I think your early versions of the game are very close to that, the only problem was with that nobles actually couldn't do much and player(god) was the only force there.
So now even the vassal system was removed/wasn't added. What the reason? What the main idea of the game?
Sorry, my comment can be demotivating.
You would do well to look at the development log "A new beginning" - several of the issues you raise are addressed there.
I assure you, I'm not easily discouraged.
As mentioned in the devLog, the game still focuses primarly on the "dark empire" side of things, revolving around politics and suchlike. The ideal is for the systems in that approach to be sufficiently complex that you can remove half of them and play exclusively from the "outside", manipulating foreign empires without the enthralled being present in them. As such, any improvements to the Fishmen and Flesh side of the game will mean improvements to the "classic" form of the game, with the enthralled playing politics.
Nobles actually could do a lot more in some unreleased prototype versions of the game, they would have their own plots and objectives. It turns out that this was nearly impossible for a human to follow, due to the sheer combinatorial complexity of having every single noble taking complex actions. The game is designed to be very transparent about why a noble is doing, and what they are doing, to allow the player to be the main actor in the game, rather than needing a week plotting graphs and reading logs to understand how each and every noble is acting and what their motives are. It may return in a later version, possible as an optional additional feature, for people who think the main game is too simple.
You're correct that societies have changed, and are currently simpler. The reason was the most of the heirarchy was invisible most of the time (you never cared about the counts vassalised under a different Duchess), and therefore the player either was unaware of important characters, or that most of the characters would have to be irrelevant. With the new system, every noble is present in every decision and the player gets to know all of them. No-one is 'hidden'. If your enthralled exists in a society then they'll need to learn all that society's nobles, and interact with them throughout the game, or find ways to have them removed.
I really like some of the advantages of the heirarchy system, especially some gameplay which hasn't been explored in any version (such as pulling strings in court to get a useful noble added to your pool of vassals, or trying to get one of your loyal spies into a rival Duke's vassalage). As such, in future versions we intend to re-introduce unlanded titles, such as command over a province, or special roles, giving special actions, such as inquisitor or spymaster. This would give better progression to the game, as you would need to slowly progress your enthralled up the ranks, as you did previously.
great news! Hope you will write devlogs so I can quickly keep up with changes!
Is there any Let's Play video or something similar ? I can't find anything.
Not as of yet, sorry. We were planning on one, but time is hard to come by, and the save/load code is being an utter pain to work with, so progress is slow.
I really loved some versions of the original, so I'm very excited for a sequel. Personally I felt that the later versions were weaker than the ones in the middle, but I can't remember why anymore. Guess I'll have to replay them to test.
Really looking forward to how it'll evolve.
Yeah, I completely agree. The game really lost its way towards the later versions. I think V13 may be the best. I'll write up something about what I think the successes and the failures of the first game were, and how I hope we can get this new one to keep the good and avoid the mistakes
YES! YOU MAGNIFICENT B-TARD YOU ACTUALLY CONTINUED IT!
IF I WASNT A MAN, I WOULD LOVE YOU!
FUCK YEAH! ＼(^-^)／ ヽ(´▽｀)ノ
PRAISE BE TO BobbyTwoHands ヽ(ﾟｰﾟ*ヽ)ヽ(*ﾟｰﾟ*)ﾉ(ﾉ*ﾟｰﾟ)ﾉ
I'm super pumped for this! SBTT1, incomplete as it was, was really fun. I'm going to give this a try as soon as soon as I get home.
Thanks man. Hope to get this version to fix all the issues the first one had, and polish it up into a complete package
Hi ! Could you release a PC Linux version please ?
Linux version up. Seems to work on my Mint laptop, except the tutorial isn't visible, for some absurd reason, presumably relating to Unity encodings. I'll fix it, but in the meantime I've added the tutorial images as just a folder alongside it.
Hell yeah, rock on Bobby!