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Wishing for an Intellivision Game Refresh - Utopia

First Spear

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Some ideas to make an awesome game even more awesomer.


1. Randomize the shapes of the islands. Give each a base shape and randomize 1-3 peninsulas to extend from each.


2. Randomize the source of the weather so it is not always the top-left corner of the screen.


3. Give some of the (non-boat) items varying levels of "strength", with weaker ones costing less. So a regular hospital could cost 75, a strong costs 125 and a fortress like one would be 175. Stronger ones could resist hurricanes more and be less affected by rebels. Same for factories. Crops would not have levels but there could be several different types of crops, some feed people better (soy beans) and some make more money (sugar) and some are more bad-weather resistant and last a higher number of turns (coconuts?).


4. Make everything on the map 2/3 smaller and add a computer-controlled island. It would not have PT or fishing boats but would otherwise grow crops, create factories, build forts, etc. It might be nice to have another potential winner of the game instead of just the two using hand controllers.


5. Add a round for "trade" between players. Maybe a screen that comes up just a few times in the game (eg after 20% of the rounds are done, then 40% then 60% then 80%). A simple screen where each player takes turns offering things from their island to trade to the other player for $ at user-specified cost. So player #1 built a ton of factories at a cost of 40 and needs room for hospitals now, so he can offer them to player #2 at whatever price and then player #2 could accept or reject the offer and when the next turn begins the would have more factories on his property. Or maybe player #2 got hit hard with a storm and has nothing but a lot for crops left on his island, player #1 feels like giving some relief and sells him some housing and hospitals at a discounted rate. I think it would encourage haggling/negotiation between players in the he game and also be kind of unobtrusive to the existing play, unlike the other ideas.


All other ideas appreciated. After all, this is just a wish list . :)



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  • 4 months later...

Great ideas. A couple more...


How about an option to allow the fishing boats to follow the schools of fish on their own? It would free up time for the player to do other things (like attack their opponent) but would also increase the chance that a fishing boat would get destroyed.


It would be interesting if you could choose what you wanted to attack on your opponents island. There could be some type of 'battle' to determine if the attack was successful or not.

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It would be interesting if you could choose what you wanted to attack on your opponents island. There could be some type of 'battle' to determine if the attack was successful or not.


I like this idea ... being able to have some break away from the main screen would be refreshing change.

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#1 and #2 would be very tricky from a game balance point of view. When I did the weather analysis for Utopia, I was stunned at just how balanced it actually was. Yes, there's a slight bias, but really, it was very balanced within the parameters available. Small changes shifted the patterns greatly. (And a minor bug prevented them from being more balanced.) That stuff is extremely tricky to get right. Don Daglow himself admitted he wasn't much of a programmer, but he's an amazing designer.


For #1, you'd have to come up with a few configurations that are "in the ballpark," and understand that each configuration skews that island towards particular strengths/weaknesses.


#2 is much tougher. See my comment above on the weather. Again, I'm still amazed at how balanced the weather is in Utopia, despite its slight biases.

Edited by intvnut
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