Strategic Primer: Features of assistive programs

On Wednesdays I write about my strategy game, Strategic Primer. The current campaign still needs more players.

I wrote earlier this year about the programs I wrote and used to help me run the first campaign of Strategic Primer. Most of its functionality would be useless now, as for instance the combat and movement rules are utterly different. In running the current campaign I have used, and written, far less. I wrote a viewer for game-world maps, and I use Tiled to create fortress plans, PCGen to generate and manage players’ workers, and a program called rolldice to generate random numbers. (That last program is in Ubuntu, but there are any number of similar programs available.)

But, like I did in the first campaign, I’m getting to the point where the amount of work I have to do unassisted each turn is somewhat wearying, and I’m sure the players could use some technological assistance too. So in the next few weeks I hope to begin writing a suite of programs to help the players and me create and run each turn’s strategy.

Among my planned features:

  • A more streamlined “character management” module. Most players have enough workers to bring PCGen to a crawl, and it’s a bit overkill for our purposes.
  • Something to let players see what they’re allowed to know about their workers without revealing too much
  • Something to predict the effects of certain worker assignments, so that for instance players will have an idea of how much food they’ll likely get in the next turn, and how much their population might grow.
  • Something to predict where an explorer or military unit might be. This will likely become irrelevant to players, but critical to me, once players start using messengers.
  • A list of tasks the player’s workers know how to do or can be trained in and things they know how to build.
  • Something to help me run exploration and keep track of what explorers have discovered without revealing it until they (or a messenger who’s met them) returns to the fortress.

Any ideas for other features?

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