This is an early prototype I did of a game called Timeline. It's somewhat similar to Civilization Revolution of all things, but incorporates a lot of ideas I feel they missed out in that game, and has a bit more of a roleplaying feel. The prototype is somewhat enjoyable up to the Stone Age, at which point the AI doesn't know what to do anymore, and there's not any implemented gameplay for cities.
The controls are fairly easy. Left-click confirms, right-click cancels. Moving units around is like in Advance Wars. Left-click on the unit, left-click on the destination, then left-click on an action. Everything else builds from there.
You'll need .NET installed on Windows to run it (or Mono on Linux and Mac; you'll probably need to run it from the command line on these platforms). For Windows, you'll also need to have OpenAL installed, even though there's not any actual sound.
I think this protoype is from 2010 or 2011, but I don't remember for sure. (I did tweak this particular version to add back some features that I'd originally removed to speed up testing.) Keep in mind that this is a prototype and not a finished product. Treat it accordingly. Also, if your computer explodes, it's not my fault. Sorry.
If you enjoyed the prototype, feel free to drop me a line and tell me what you thought.
How to Play
- You begin the game with just a nomad. Move the nomad and have them settle in different places for different sorts of tokens. (In the prototype, only food really matters.)
- Once you get enough food, click the "Birth" button to get a new citizen. The more citizens you have, the more food you'll need to get more of them.
- You get one knowledge token per turn (two, once you have at least one city). Save up knowledge tokens to research technologies.
- Once you've discovered a technology that gives you access to units, click on the appropriate tile adjacent to your nomad (or any city) and select "commission". You must have at least one idle citizen to commission a unit.
- Use units to hunt certain animals. When these animals are killed, any units nearby will have their rations resupplied, and you'll get some food tokens added to your stock.
- Units that don't end their turn next to your nomad or a city will consume one of their rations. If a unit runs out of rations, they'll starve to death. You can resupply rations using the "Resupply" action next to your nomad or a city, but it costs food tokens (making it take longer to get your next citizen).
- If a unit looses all their HP and are adjacent to a friendly unit, they will not be eliminated. Instead, they will be "routed". As long as the routed unit can escape to the safety of a city or nomad unit, they can regroup and have HP restored. Routed units cannot attack. Be careful! Starting the turn after being routed, the unit can be destroyed by enemy units!
- You can embark units by moving them next to a transport vessel and selecting the "Embark" action. Embarked units are "In Transit". Any unit in transit can be disembarked from any transport in the game, no matter their location, making beach landings a breeze. Click an empty tile adjacent to a transport, then select the "Disembark" action to do this. Note that units cannot embark and disembark on the same turn. Also note that you can only have a set number of units in transit, depending on the total number of transports you have. If you lose a transport, you will lose a random unit if there's no room for them in transit anymore.
- To build tile improvements, click on the "Build" button, then select a tile to improve. You have to have a specific sort of technology for each kind of improvement. The only one that really matters in this prototype is the farm, which produces food each turn.
Assorted Tips and Comments
- Play the game in fullscreen by pressing F11.
- You can open the debug menu by pressing F12.
- The AI players have some basic logic, but they don't have any real goal beyond a given turn. They also don't know how to found cities.
- Likewise, diplomacy and trade are non-existant. Both were meant to be more important and robust than in Civ.
- This was meant to be a macromanagement-focused game, removing the need (and in some cases, even the ability) to micromanage everything to be the best player.
- Units are meant to gain EXP and level up, allowing the player to select perks and promotions. This was never implemented.
- Each nation is supposed to have unique units, but they were never implemented.
- One idea was that the leaders would have abilities that charged up over time and could then be used whenever the player wanted, just like "CO powers" in Advance Wars. :P
- Cities don't really do anything in this prototype. The idea was that the player could assign citizens to cities, and select jobs for them. Once a citizen was assigned, they could not be removed and their job could not be changed. Each citizen would give a city one Build token each turn. Once enough tokens were saved up, the city would "level up", and the player could choose a new building/district to add to the city, or upgrade an existing one. Each level would require more tokens, and each city could only have so many buildings before you had to settle on just upgrading them, requiring the player to specialize each city.
- The game is actually meant to be a "team" game, where the teams are not decided at the beginning. Over time, friendly nations would form "unions". No single player would generally win the game, instead the winner would be one of the unions, so all the players in that union would "win".
- In that vein, the game was really meant to have more of a "role-playing" vibe than just be a glorified board game.
- In the final version of the game, if a player lost all their cities, they could still play "in exile", inciting rebellions and raising partisan units to fight for them. If they managed to get on of their cities back, on their own or with the help of another player, they could return to normal.
- I actually thought about having the AI leaders remember and comment on you and your actions from game to game, so that it felt sort of like sitting down to play with friends.
More Artwork and Junk
Promotional art for Arthur Penndragon, the leader of the British:
This was the only leader that got any completed art beyond simple sketches. You can view a larger version on DeviantArt.
I also have some sketches for Arthur and Alexander, with assorted notes.
There's concept sketches for a few other leaders, but I'd have to hunt them down in old sketchbooks.
At one point I attempted a GBA Civilization "demake". Had an itty-bitty little tech tree to go with it and everything. No actual code was created for it, though.
Speaking of tech trees, here's an overview of one pass I did at the prototype's tech tree. I got... a little carried away...
And here's a closeup of the beginning of the tree:
Anyway, here's various renders of the nomad from a different attempt of the game. His texture maps could really use some more contrast. There was meant to be a female version of the nomad, too, but I never did any other unit models for the game.
I've got some more art I might add here in the future, if I get around to it. And can find it, for that matter.
This game idea has actually gone through various iterations. At different times I've wanted it to be a simple turn-based strategy game; a vast real-time building game; even a complex classic Koei-style game. I like history in general, and love games where you build things up over time, so it's only natural, I suppose.
This protoype was a direct reation to Civilization Revolution more than anything else. I liked that they simplified the complexity of the main Civilization series, and that it played out quickly, but felt that most of their design choices were abysmal and cumbersome. I also added a bunch of stuff I wanted to see in the main series.
That said, the game isn't meant to just be a Civilization clone. I wanted something unique and different, although I don't think I achieved it. (This is part of the reason why all the characters look and act like teenagers.)
As a bonus in closing, here's a screenshot from an earlier version of the prototype, when it was in XNA and 3D.
(This version was not playable. You could just scroll around the randomly generated map and that was it. None of the units were selectable.)