I made a strategy game and its almost ready, how to do it

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Joined: 28 Jun 2022
Age: 40
Gender: Male
Posts: 281
Location: US

15 Nov 2022, 12:38 am

My target was the sub $5 price range on iOS.

This is what it currently looks like though I am doing a user interface upgrade 3.0: (https://imgur.com/M02Nn1O)


I need to fix the sizing of some and replace other buttons, but as I mentioned that takes money. I have a fixed monthly budget for it that is pretty small.

The game is called "People's Conquest" and it is modeled after a 1980s game called "Strategic Conquest."

I figured with my budget for art I could afford to do better than the 1980s game. And I did! But yeah art is expensive so when you see modern games with nice art, remember that costs a lot of money. I spent <$8,000 total.

Strategy games are probably the best target for solo/hobbyist developers because it "levels the playing field" a bit between you and big budget studios. Strategy games always have to have one person designing the core of it - so their advantages in that are lessened. Big studios main advantages are in art budgets which you cannot match or come close - so don't even try. But my limited market research says that strategy game players don't care as much about art as others and value gameplay over all else. It also shows that strategy game players tend to buy any half decent strategy game out there.

Strategy games also tend to be code heavy. So, to give you an idea - this little game is 230,000 lines of code!

However, I need to explain something - I did not make a game I made a "toolset in which to make strategy games based on a graphical theme." The graphical theme is the grid map. I've been adding more to it to have a real time strategy element. Basically, what I made is slowly becoming into a strategy game engine.

I spent 6 years on this! I didn't work on it much for about 1 year so not all those years are equal.

The key component of my game engine is the AI mechanism.

It took me a long time to get AI right, but I realized after a few years that the right mindset is not "how do I get it right," but "how do I get it so I can make lots of changes fast and have different AIs working all at once?"

The answer to that was a complete rethink of how I was approaching game design.

When I started, I started coding with my limited abilities at the time. I knew a little C but not a lot. In hindsight, I was a complete amateur when I started.

My previous mindset was "you program the entire thing in the programming language - so if you want something done in the game you change the code."

But that is the incorrect mindset.

Instead, the code portion is like a core that knows how to draw the scene, load/save, handle user input, and do pathfinding.

But the game portion - you want as much of that in text files as possible.

So what that means in a practical sense is that a large part of your code reads in text files to create the actual game. It started as a preference file, then expanded into the ability to read in 1000s of text files (or more really, the limit is what I can create not what it can read in) to create the game.

The AI is not an AI per se - instead its a mechanism to read in "behavior/decision trees."

This is a behavior tree for an infantry unit that is in "attack mode":

So basically the game code reads in the decision tree nodes, evaluates if they are true, and executes the highest priority node that is true.

A lot of those years working on it could have been saved had I approached it correctly from the start.

The problem with hard coding things is it makes it difficult to change and add more content. It makes you hesitant to change things that don't work and try new things that might work.

My goal with the project is to sell 1,000 copies on iOS, but I have a lot of work to do to get it on iOS. As of now, its playable on Mac only.


Joined: 31 Mar 2022
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,758
Location: Cardiff, Wales

15 Nov 2022, 6:24 pm

I can only play android but if you ported it I would have a go