v1.4 Diplomacy Design Plan

Hey all,

I’ve decided to post my design plan for the diplomacy changes coming in v1.4 to give you an idea of what’s on the horizon.

Diplomacy is a tricky feature which requires a lot of playtesting to evaluate and so this is a fairly long-term project. When launching a new project I like to outline my goal in a single sentence and then break that down with some additional details plus a series of “design pillars” which together serve as instructions for what to pay attention to over the course of that project. This also helps keep scope from spiraling out of control, which is a common problem in game development.

The v1.4 design plan also includes a “Game Mechanics Summary” section which outlines the most important gameplay changes that will be made. This summary will usually be broken down further before coding or art work begins, though sometimes it’s sufficient to start working on the game directly and from that point simply use playtesting as a guide for what needs further attention.

Over time I often go back and tweak the plan but any deviations from it must be carefully considered and documented. It’s really easy to lose track of important details if you’re not diligent about keeping everything in one place! This is a really big deal with strategy games especially as they usually contain many overlapping systems.

In total the design plan is a bit over 4 pages long and will give you a clear idea of what comes before coding and playtesting starts. I’ve included a link both here and below to the design plan in Google Docs. I’m linking to it rather than copying into this post because it looks a lot better in its native formatting.

After v1.4 I have rough plans for a v1.5 which focuses on enhancing diplomacy further, with particular attention to the AI. v1.4 is a pretty big design shift and I want to make sure this foundation is working well before I start refining things too much. An unstable branch v1.3.2 update to fix some crash bugs will be going up in a couple weeks so stay tuned for that as well.

Thanks again for playing AtG. It’s been a really rewarding project to work on, and there’s still more to come!

– Jon


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