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The Concept

My concept game cover for the Xbox 360 version

“Kingdom Come,” if it ever came to fruition, would be a massively-multiplayer online, real-time strategy game (MMORTS) with role-playing game (RPG) components. The initial look and feel would remind players of Age of Empires, due to the overhead map view, click-and-drag controls and the way in which resources must be farmed. But upon further inspection, players would notice a far more massive world available to them than the worlds they may be familiar with in the Age of Empires series. They would also realize that they have far more control over their civilization, and far more responsibility for that civilization.

In “Kingdom Come,” players not only construct buildings and train military, they can enter those buildings and gather information from their soldiers. They can also enter into combat with their soldiers and explore the countryside for new land in first- or third-person.

The game may get overwhelming at times, but players need not feel alone. They would be placed within a kingdom of supportive allies with whom the players could trade resources, conduct reconnaissance and wage wars.

What follows is an in-depth look at my game concept “Kingdom Come.” The concept outline will touch upon eight areas of critique and include some mockups that will be pieced together to the best of my ability.

I should mention that because I am not a game developer myself, I have no idea if this game would be feasible in terms of the kind of computing power, Internet speed, development resources or server space required to make it happen. It’s a concept only, but a game that I would love to someday play.

Cinematography and Province Creation

I will begin my outline with cinematography because I feel as though I need to set the scene a bit in terms of the game’s narrative background. As Tanya Krzywinska has said in her article “Blood, Scythes, Festivals, Quests and Backstories,” “world creation has become a core feature of many recent digital games” and that these “worlds” “should have a unifying consistency… the world has to have a history” (1, 4). With Age of Empires, the world and consistency was fairly easy to create. After all, those games were based within historical context and most people are familiar with tales of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. But with World of Warcraft and Utopia, the narrative details have to be laid out for users ahead of time.

Fig. 1

I don’t want to spend too much time laying out a narrative backstory for my game here (maybe another time). But I do feel that I should point out what a gamer could expect when they first enter “Kingdom Come.” First of all, a brilliant opening video is a must-have for me, as I think it adds to the cinematic quality of a game and gives the gamer an idea of the sorts of things they can look forward to as they move onwards and upwards through the game—it eases the gamer into what video game scholars call “the Magic Circle.” Secondly, I want my gamers to start off by creating their personal identity within the game, similar to what gamers of WoW experience when they begin playing. However, “Kingdom Come” is more than just a first/third person RPG—gamers control an entire civilization (from here on referred to as a “province”). The initial creation screen will ask a player to 1) name their province, 2) choose a race and personality, and 3) design a “hero,” which will be based off of the race/personality chosen and will serve as the gamer’s official avatar throughout the game. (The significance of this avatar will be explained later on.) I envision this initial creation screen to look very similar to the creation screen for WoW—I think the races and personalities are organized very nicely, and the explanation of their (dis)advantages should definitely be available right there. I also think having the avatar stand in the center of the screen big enough to see clearly is a great idea, so the gamer can familiarize him/herself completely with their avatar.

I think the mythological/Tolkienesque races and personalities from World of Warcraft and Utopia work very well. Most people are familiar with dwarves, trolls, faeries and elves, and there is a massive canon of resources from which developers could pull “historical” information and build consistent, believable civilizations. One thing that I like about WoW is how the developers took two mythological creatures—the werewolf and minotaur—and made them their own—the Worgen and Tauren. This allows developers some creative freedom while giving gamers enough mythological reference so as not to be too unfamiliar with these creatures.

In terms of the personalities offered in “Kingdom Come,” I think the Utopian personalities work much better for a province-wide identification than WoW‘s classes. For a list of the personalities available in Utopia, check out the guide. I do think that further specialization should be available to players, however, and I like the idea of having a “profession.” Once in the game, players can decide what industry they would like their province to specialize in, and receive special advantages as a result. Although WoW included the availability of professions as an individual identity for a gamer’s avatar, I think this could work well for a province-wide angle as well. In “Kingdom Come” I will call them “industries” and, just as the provinces in Canada may specialize in forestry, mining, fishing, hunting (maybe not so much anymore), metallurgy (well, steel-working in Hamilton, right?) and agriculture, so too will gamers of “Kingdom Come” be able to specialize in the same industries.

But before gamers select their industry of choice, their provinces (complete with hero) must first be randomly assigned to a kingdom somewhere in the world of “Kingdom Come.” As in Utopia, kingdoms work loosely as teams in order to transfer aid, provide reconnaissance and wage war upon other kingdoms. In times of kingdom neutrality, provinces are free to explore, grow and fight battles as they please, but the kingdom dynamic (which includes a kingdom forum and democratic election of a king) is a great way to start gamers off in an interactive, multiplayer setting. As I have already said, “Kingdom Come” will randomly assign gamer provinces to a kingdom somewhere in the world, and this kingdom may include provinces from varying “real-life” locations around the globe. This can be kind of fun, as conversations in the kingdom forums do not always have to be game-related and you can meet people from all over the world. However, one of the best parts of playing an MMO is the ability to play with your friends, so gamers should be able to get together in a kingdom with their friends if they wish. I am thinking that “Kingdom Come” would be a game that gamers have to purchase (unlike Utopia, which is free), so the ability to create a kingdom and reserve provincial seats for your friends should be free. However, if players want the ability to transfer kingdoms mid-game without losing their progress, that would be a premium feature and available for an additional fee.

Every kingdom in Utopia is given a unique location number, which helps friends and enemies find each other throughout the Utopian world. The number is formatted as kingdom:island (ie 3:11) and each province is identified by their province name within that numerical ID. This is a simple convention that works great, and I would like to borrow it for “Kingdom Come,” which will use the convention kingdom:continent. Kingdoms can be named as well, which is labeled by the kingdom’s king, but determined in the kingdom forum (hopefully).

Fig. 2 What a kingdom map may look like, with provinces labelled

To enhance the aesthetic of the “Kingdom Come” world, maps shall be provided for each kingdom, and each continent. The kingdom map functions purely to offer visual representation of the kingdom and does not affect distance times. The continent map, however, is very important because of the way that war is handled in “Kingdom Come,” similar to Utopia. The farther away an enemy is in the world, the longer it takes for one’s military to return from battle, and the longer one has to go without those soldiers’ defense. I envision the maps in “Kingdom Come” to look something like those given in the back of the Lord of the Rings books, though kingdoms and provinces may be labelled on the maps with dots rather than large sections in order to enhance vague consistency.

It would be interesting for forests and mountains to impede military times in the game, but I am not sure how feasible it would be to have the computer calculate such specific distances for thousands (maybe millions, if the game takes off) provinces in the world. To ease the computational strain, provinces would only be able to attack and interact with provinces on their own continent (which may serve as a handy euphemism for server).

Fig. 3

In terms of visuals aesthetics, I see “Kingdom Come” looking like, at first glace at least, Age of Empires, a game whose visuals have always been great. The first view of a gamer’s newly-created province will look something like the illustration I have so shamefully put together on Photoshop (right). Each gamer will be given a random plot of land with a few resources nearby, a few small houses and some money with which to the gamer can begin constructing other buildings, researching sciences and training military (like in Utopia). As buildings go up, animations of people building them should be seen from the main overhead view. Soldiers should be seen training outside. Smoke should come out of the chimneys of the houses, people should walk leisurely around the buildings and people should be seen chopping wood or mining stone as you dictate them to do so. All of these elements are basic animations in AoE  and I am sure that something could be done to enhance these and make them unique for “Kingdom Come.”

(Fig. 4) So... What I put together, but like this

Because “Kingdom Come” will progress much more slowly than AoE, sound could be a real issue. Having the sounds of people hammer stone or saw would for hours on end could be extremely tedious. Instead, I would recommend a lengthy playlist of music come with the game (to be altered and personalized, of course), which plays in the background. There should be subtle sound effects for the menus, however, and intense sound for instances of player vs. player (PvP) battles and exploration (which I will touch upon soon). But for the basic RTS component of the game, music shall be all that’s offered.

“Kingdom Come” will also contain first/third person scenarios, which I hope to resemble the sort of graphic realism seen in Grand Theft Auto IV. Because these situations will be relatively short, I don’t think that would be a huge problem.

Exploration

Because you will want your province to grow bigger and stronger, you will eventually need to expand your territory through exploration. In Utopia, land can be obtained through war and mysticism as well, but I don’t see the ability to grab land from distant provinces working very well with the maps of kingdoms and continents. Plus, having to jump to and from your various sections of stolen land to construct buildings would be confusing. The only way land-grabbing would work would be to limit war to neighbouring provinces, which I think would hamper the game badly.

No, I think “Kingdom Come” should limit expansion to exploration, which isn’t a bad thing because here is where the RPG element comes into play. Before you are permitted to explore, either 90% of your land must be built up or 90% of a specific resource (wood, gold, iron or food) must be exhausted. This prevents you from getting more land than you can defend and ensures that the game is played in a balanced way (RTS/RPG). Once this occurs, the “Explore” button appears in the navigation menu and you may choose how much land you wish to obtain. Land takes time, money and soldiers to find, and you are limited to a gain of 10% of your acre total. So, if you currently have 500 acres, you would be eligible to explore 50 acres, provided you have the capital and the manpower to do so. The soldiers sent would be committed to the exploration task for a period of time, and your province would be without their defensive services while they are away. Once you determine how many acres you wish to explore, your hero and small army of men head out into the wilderness.

When an exploration team is sent out, gamers are given the opportunity to complete quests that simulate scenarios the exploration team ran into as the went out into the wilderness. You may have to battle a small militia (a gang like Robin Hood’s), fight a monster, rescue someone you meet along the way, solve a riddle, forde a river, etc. These missions are done in first- or third-person (depending on your camera position) using the avatar created during the province-creation phase. Combat here could be handled as in WoW depending on the personality you chose (like a mage, for instance), but for a warrior personality I would like to see hand-to-hand combat more akin to what we got with Arkham Asylum—something fast-paced, easy to manipulate and a tonne of fun. The soldiers with you in these quests may not fare as well as you, but casualties are expected with any exploration. If you choose to simulate these quests, the computer will randomly select how well your military fares and if you did not send enough men, you may fail to reveal the desired number of acres you set out to explore. Similarly, if you fail a quest, you may lose all of your soldiers and your hero will have to return home with whatever he was able to secure prior to the loss. It is important to note, however, that your hero will never be killed in battle until your province as a whole is defeated.

Once you have found new land (by completing the exploration quest(s) or through simulation) you must wait for your land to be settled/secured. As a default, it takes one day in “Kingdom Come” to secure five acres of land, meaning for a 50 acre haul you’d have to wait 10 days (or 10 real-time hours) before you can build upon this land or gather resources from it.

Land growth is not shown on continent or kingdom maps, but is viewable in the main gaming window’s overhead view (Fig. 4). The amount of land one province can accumulate in one gaming era is unlimited.

Game Time

Before I go further, I would like to clarify how time works in “Kingdom Come.” I would like to adopt Utopia‘s proportional game:real-time structure because it is easy to follow and makes for an organizable RTS experience.

I touched upon Utopian game time in my Utopia overview Prezi, but here’s a reminder of how it works:

  • 1 Utopian Day = 1 Hour
  • 1 Utopian Month = 1 Day
  • 1 Utopian Year = 1 Week

This means that in Utopia terms there are 24 days in a month and 7 months in a year.

  • Months in Utopia
    • January
    • February
    • March
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July

The Age starts at January, Year 0.

(Utopia Wiki)

What isn’t mentioned here is that the game is broken up into “Ages,” or instances of gameplay after which every province is wiped clean and gamers are forced to start fresh. I think this is a great idea, because it allows people who join one Age late to start on even footing in the next Age, and it also lets people try a different strategy if their first attempt fails miserably. From a development point of view, I would see the end of an Age—or, what I will call in “Kingdom Come” an “Era”—an opportunity to release a new patch for, or an edition of, the game. I am not sure how popular this set up would be with players, but I also don’t know who wants to operate a province 1,000,000 acres in size.

Time in “Kingdom Come,” like in Utopia, continues even after gamers log off. Provinces continue to populate, work and eat; armies wander back from battle; wizards regain mystic power and thieves regain their stealth. But with this development also comes the possibility of being attacked or robbed while you’re away from the game. I realize this may turn some gamers off from the game, as no one appreciates waking up to finding their province had been looted overnight, and the game requires more attention to be played successfully. But for me, this structure allows the game to progress more naturally and forces players to work their strategy out well in advance. It also makes for a more international game, as players from one corner of the world may attack or otherwise interact with players from another corner despite the differing timezones.

Interface and Controls

Most gameplay in Kingdom Come  will center around the development of the province, which is done from a “god’s eye view” like in Age of Empires (see Fig. 4). I would prefer to cut back on the amount of screen used for game interface, however, and allow more of the gamer’s screen (85-90%) to be committed to game actions like battles and buildings, or animations. In order to accomplish this, I would prefer to have a simpler interface with major options along the left hand side. Option sub-items would then drop down from the option selection, and then the 3rd level would appear along the bottom of the screen in a thin, unobtrusive bar similar to that offered in World of Warcraft (some actions may be too large for the bottom bar, in which case a pop up window will display in the center of the gamer’s screen). In the corner would be a navigational map, and along the top would be a basic rundown of your resources and vital stats (Fig. 5).

(Fig. 5) Game interface

In addition to finding actions in the left-hand navigation menu, players may also click on the building that associates with this action in their province. For instance, rather than finding the kingdom forum under “diplomacy,” a player could click on their Town Hall (which they’ll need to construct in order to access the forum anyway) and be sent to the forum screen from there. Really, the game could be designed without a left-hand navigation bar completely, but having to find the proper building for the associated task (especially when provinces get very large) could be tedious.

The drag-and-drop method will be employed in order to place buildings in your province, basically because this method is the most intuitive that I can come up with, and games like AoE, StarCraft, SimCity, Farmville and others have used the same method successfully. For those not familiar with this technique, players will select “Development” > “Construction” from the left-hand navigation column, then click on the image of the building of their choice from the bottom bar and drag it on to the map where they’d like to place the building. The ability to place buildings on the map serves three functions in “Kingdom Come:”

  1. Resources are reaped more quickly when storage buildings are located closer to the resources
  2. Buildings on the perimeter of one’s province are the most susceptible to destruction when attacked
  3. Players are free to create an aesthetically pleasing province, or at least one that appears to be designed rationally from the player’s perspective (games like Farmville have done very well with this concept)

On a PC or Mac platform, players will use a mouse or touch pad to control the pieces of their province. On a console, controllers can be used as well, with a thumb stick and selection button. But the game is far easier to play with mouse or touchpad.

Controls will change for exploration and wartime missions, and players will need to pause the game in order to navigate back to the main screen.

Development

Development of one’s province occurs in a similar manner as one’s province in Utopia occurs. Buildings are constructed in order to aid your province in specific fields of expertise, and scientific research is conducted to the same end. In AoE, research helps a gamer’s civilization progress from the stoneage to the iron age to the bronze age, but I think this mass upgrade makes things progress too quickly and takes away from the strategy element that makes Utopia so interesting.

Here is a quick rundown of the buildings and sciences available in “Kingdom Come,” including vague descriptions of their bonuses. The buildings are a combination of those offered in Utopia and AoE and each building takes up a specific amount of land (1, 2 or 4 acres—labelled in brackets below). The sciences are taken from Utopia, but renamed.

Buildings:

  • Houses (1) – Increase population
  • Farm (4) – Increase food
  • Storage Facility (2) – Increased lumber, food and mining resources per day, according to proximity of facility to resource (the closer the facility to the resource, the more resources your people can reap per hour)
  • Stables (4) – House horses for military operations
  • Wall (1) – Bolsters defense
  • Training Grounds (4) – Increases offensive efficiency; lowers attack times
  • Healing Facility (4) – Decreases military losses
  • Guild (2) – Trains wizards; increases mystic potency of spells
  • Library (2) – Increase effectiveness of scientific research
  • Academy (2) – Decrease scientific research costs and time
  • Watchtower (1) – Increase chance of catching thieves
  • Bank (2) – Increase income
  • Market (4) – Decrease aid tax; provides accessories and weapons for a player’s hero
  • Tower (1) – Produce runes (for magic)
  • Town Hall (4) – Access kingdom forum, chat, elections
  • Dock (4; need access to water) – Build vessels to fish, explore waterways and defend/attack by sea
  • Siege Workshop (4) – Build heavy artillery
  • Temple (4) – Decrease military training costs and training time

Sciences:

  • Accounting – Increased income
  • Engineering – Decreased building costs and time
  • Housing – Increased population limits
  • Agriculture – Increased yields from farming, hunting and fishing
  • Military – Increased offensive gains; decreased defensive losses
  • Thievery – Increased thieving effectiveness
  • Channeling – Increased magic effectiveness
  • Industry – Increased logging and mining effectiveness

I won’t get into specific numbers for each of these upgradable buildings and sciences as each will be influenced by a player’s chosen race and personality, and by other buildings and sciences.

As players gain land and develop their buildings and sciences, their province’s net worth will grow as well. Net worth provides a statistical value with which players can gauge their success against other players. Province size (by acre), # of battles won and what Utopia calls “honor” are other ways players can compare their provinces with others. Honor is achieved by making offensive hits against other provinces that are relatively similar in size to your own. In addition to being a competitive statistic, honor helps to keep provinces from harassing other provinces much smaller than their own. It also ensures that all provinces respect the defensive aspect of the game and keep enough soldiers at home to avoid getting hit hard (surprisingly, the usual effects of defeat are not always enough for people).

Kingdom statistics are also kept for players who enjoy team-oriented gameplay, and kingdoms can pit themselves against others if they are interested.

Combat

The quickest and most exciting way to develop one’s province in “Kingdom Come” is to reap resources and honor points from other provinces through war or thievery operations.

Thievery operations could be handled just as they are in Utopia, where depending on Player 1’s race, personality and building/science upgrades, and those of Player 2 (from whom Player 1 is stealing), the computer breaks down the probability of a successful attack and delivers the players a numerical result in terms of loot stolen and thieves caught/lost. Unlike military combat operations, thieves return from their operations immediately and can be deployed again, although their “stealth” rating decreases after each mission, and regenerates after time.

Another way to handle thievery would be to incorporate a kind of mini game for the player to defeat, where they have to crawl through shadows in order to get from A to B. Like in Arkham Asylum (which I continually reference because I’ve played it) or maybe a sneakier Assassin’s Creed (see video below). It would be really cool to be able to wander through an opponent’s province as a thief with graphics that look like this, or like Aladdin getting chased by soldiers in the legendary Disney movie.

However, this would prove to be a major strain on developers and I’m not sure how variable such thieving missions could be. Ultimately, I think this first-person thieving experience would get old after a few gos and people would prefer the automated system from Utopia. Plus, getting a report on a thievery mission may be more realistic from a king or hero’s perspective, as I do not think either character would take part in such an ignoble task.

I see military combat going in the following way. If Player 1 wants to attack Player 2’s province but Player 2 is offline (which will be made clear to Player 1), Player 1 can only choose how many offensive units to send at Player 2, and the computer will determine how many acres of Player 2’s land is destroyed, and how much loot Player 1 can take back to his/her province. (In order for a player to know how many offensive units they will need to send in order to break another player’s defenses, they can perform a special reconnaissance thievery operation beforehand.) In order to ensure the game’s maps remain consistent and an important strategic factor in the game, Player 1 will only be able to attack Player 2 straight from the direction from which they came. So if the computer determines that Player 1 will destroy 20 acres of Player 2’s province, and Player 1 is located to the SW of Player 2, 20 acres in the SW corner of Player 2’s province will be destroyed. If Player 2 has chosen to place walls or watch towers in this corner, the computer will take that into consideration and make it more difficult for Player 1 to penetrate the defenses of Player 2. This strategic positioning of fortifications once more brings the kingdom element into play, as a province that is surrounded by allies to the North and East can save resources by only fortifying their province in the West and South.

If Player 1 chooses to attack Player 2 when they are online, the computer will once again calculate the probability of a Player 1 victory, but Player 2 will have the chance to fight to win back a few acres. For example, if the computer determines that Player 1 should take 20 acres from Player 2, Player 1 and Player 2 can battle in a real-time tower defense match that could result in Player 1 taking as few as 15 acres or as many as 25 acres, depending on the result of the battle (so a +/- of 5 acres, or 20%, is on the line based on each player’s skill in this area of the game).

I envision the real-time tower defense battle looking something like the gameplay in Toy Soldiers, a game for the Xbox 360. In this game, two players can battle each other by building fortifications in a strategic manner and send troops incrementally at the other player’s base. The player who gets 10 units to the other player’s base first wins the battle. The cool part about Toy Soldiers (as opposed to other tower defense games) is that you are able to jump into a turret in first-person and man the controls while the rest of your units fight automatically. While Toy Soldiers is a game based in WWI, I think changes can be made to the siege equipment and army/cavalry units to make it work for “Kingdom Come.” See the video below for a look at how Toy Soldiers works in two-player split-screen mode:

By leaving most of the attack’s probability to the computer’s calculations, the strategy element in “Kingdom Come” is made the main focus of gameplay and the real-time battle is more of a bonus.

One last point: in order to get each player’s hero involved in the battle, one “wave” of infantry or cavalry or artillery will include the hero’s presence, which will essentially provide a bonus in the wave’s performance (think of it as the “boss” at the end of a level in Mario Bros. or some other like game). Again, if the hero is defeated in a battle, they are not actually killed—the hero isn’t killed until a player’s province is destroyed.

Avatar

I have already mentioned the creation and role of a player’s avatar in “Kingdom Come,” but I would like to reinforce why I think it is important to have such a character involved in the game. Mark Poster, in Hansen’s Bodies in Code, explains that developing a persona online (whether it be in a video game, on a blog, or on a social media site like Facebook) is a huge part of the interactive experience, and one of the ways we understand “being online”:

Participants are authors of themselves as characters, not simply by acts of consciousness, but by the interactions that take place on the screen. In these situations… mediated by the interface of computers and communications network, the body enters a new relation with the subject, a dissociated yet actual relation that opens identity to new degrees of flexible determination. The body no longer constrains the performativity of speech acts to the extent it does in face-to-face relations. These digital authors enact an unprecedented type of performative self-constitution in which the process of interpellation becomes an explicit question in the communication. Instead of the policeman-teacher-parent-boss hailing the individual in a manner that occludes the performative nature of the communication, in online communities one invents oneself and one knows that others also invent themselves, while each interpellates the others through those inventions. Unlike earlier forms of mediated communication, digital authorship is about the performance of self-constitution. (Mark Poster, in Hansen 143-4)

In World of Warcraft, the entire gaming experience revolves around a player’s avatar, and the construction of its persona. The player is able to express him or herself through the avatar’s race, personality, profession, clothing, hairstyle, weaponry and actions, as well as through the chat pod with which the player (through their avatar) communicates with other players. Certainly there are limits to the amount of customization a player can give their avatar (just as there are, realistically, limits to the amount of customization a person can apply to themselves in reality), but it is quite difficult to spot two identical avatars in the world of 11 million or so users.

I would like to have this personalization within “Kingdom Come” as well, and the only way to accomplish this sufficiently is to provide each player with a “hero” that they can occasionally control and use as the face of his/her province. And, because there is really only one King for each kingdom, it only makes sense to have a hero as the leader for each province (this means that if you are elected king by the other provinces in your kingdom, your hero is promoted to the status of King, which provides you with bonus accessories and skill points).

Players are able to control their avatars in three areas of the game: exploration, war and in the kingdom forum. And, while a player’s hero gains experience points and accessories as his/her province’s honor increases, a hero may also gain (or lose) experience points individually through exploration scenarios and battle. Experience points are another way to measure a player’s success within the game, but also provide players with a kind of “hero currency” with which they can purchase new accessories, clothing and weaponry from their province’s market. A player’s total experience point rating may fluctuate as a player succeeds and fails, but the currency that comes along with this rating can only increase through battle and exploration, and is spent at the market without harming the overall rating. For example, you may gain 500 experience points in a battle, then lose 200 in the next battle. That gives the hero 500 points to spend in the market, and 300 experience points overall. If 400 points are spent in the market, the hero will have 100 remaining to spend, but still 300 points as an overall rating.

Players can see other players’ hero avatars by clicking on their hero name in the forums or a kingdom map, and by encountering them in battle. In addition, when players are given a written notification of having been attacked or robbed (which includes who did the attacking/robbing), a link to attacking/robbing player’s province and hero information (including avatar image) will be provided as well.

The importance of the avatar in “Kingdom Come” may not be as pronounced as it is in WoW, but it is certainly a step up from the faceless foes in AoE and other real-time strategy games.

Communication

Because of the team aspect of kingdoms and multiplayer inter-kingdom conflict, communication is an important part of “Kingdom Come.”

Each kingdom is given a forum, in which players of each province may communicate with one another provided they have built a town hall. It would not be uncommon for kingdoms to turn on provinces who refuse to build this town hall, so I do not see the need to do so a burden to communications in the game. Within the forum, links to the each player’s profile and avatar will be included with each message posted, in addition to a photo of the player’s avatar (Fig. 6). When a link or photo is clicked upon, the player will be taken to a screen that shows the stats of the province and hero, and any personal information that player wishes to share with the rest of the gaming community.

(Fig. 6) Forum with avatars

Private messages (which work like email) will also be available to be sent from a province’s town hall. Private messages may be sent to other provinces within and outside of a player’s kingdom. Such messages can come in handy when working out diplomacy with the enemy, or to coerce votes out of fellow provinces (as seen in my Utopia overview). Private messages can also come in handy if you know people playing “Kingdom Come” from outside of your kingdom. There is nothing stopping inter-kingdom provinces from working together if they wish, although aid trade is restricted to provinces within the same kingdom.

Forums and private messages are available in basic gameplay, but during a real-time battle, a chat pod will also appear on screen (similar to in WoW) in order for the two combatants to chat, banter or complain with one another.

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