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Children of the Nile info


Here you can find information on the actual gameplay of Children of the Nile.

Feedback from your citizens

Monday, August 30, 2004

From the PlanetNile interview:

Is your feedback mechanism going to be exclusively at an individual level or will there be advisors who act as go-betweens if needed/requested? Are there specific "leaders", important people such as high priests or powerful merchants or revolutionary slaves that you'll need to track, appease or kill?

Chris Beatrice:

The feedback is at the individual level, the occupational level, the social class level, and the citywide level. There are not individual advisers whom you work through, but the structure of the societal model is that certain workers (priests, scribes, overseers and commanders) organize and lead the larger masses of workers, and operate the city's crucial facilities. So you do in a sense work through them, that is, you keep a much closer eye on what they're doing because they are so important.


Concept behind CotN

Saturday, August 07, 2004

From the HeavenGames interview with Chris Beatrice:

How different is the concept behind CotN compared with the previous city builders?

Chris Beatrice:

Sometimes I put it simply like this: what you do in CotN is very similar to what you do in other city-building games, but what the game does is different. So how you decide what to do is of course very different. And that's by design. We were very committed to the idea that CotN was to be a city-building game. There is something about this genre that is unique, and yet few developers seem to do anything with it. So we set out to make an entirely new game model, but one which still saw you placing buildings and roads, and giving some basic orders. That is essentially what players do in city-building games, and we stuck very closely to that from a UI perspective. But once we took the very obvious first step of giving the people in the game individual needs, and having them try to meet those needs themselves, everything else opened up. In the end we turned over a whole host of "traditional" strategy game mechanisms, and created a game that is unique among strategy games and sims.


Gameplay and your citizen's needs

Thursday, May 13, 2004

From the GameSpy E3 impressions:

While you will still have to place buildings to house your citizens, gameplay is now more about understanding the needs of your individual citizens. "The core of the game needs to be real people with real minds that will go about their daily lives with or without you," Beatrice explains. True to his word, every little person that I saw during my all-too-brief demonstration of the game at E3 had a name, a job, a family relationship and their own hierarchy of needs and desires.

The job of the player as the leader is to manage all of these individual people. Each individual citizen has a series of needs and desires along with responsibilities that they try to fulfill every day. In the demonstration I saw, Chris zoomed in on the house of a potter. The potter's husband was an overseer working on building a pyramid. According to the game's display, this woman needed to pick up food from a market, get some dishes for the house, jewelry for herself, worship at a local temple and only then put together her daily allotment of pottery. Unfortunately, the jeweler and the market was located too far away from the house to allow her to pick up what she wanted and still get any pottery made. As they slowly ran out of resources, she eventually had to get her husband involved in getting the daily groceries - meaning that while he was doing that, he wasn't working on getting the pyramid built.

Now, unlike traditional city building games, this doesn't mean that the entire area instantly falls into disrepair. Rather, each citizen will intelligently try to fulfill their needs - prioritizing them as they see fit.

Once the player learns to manage their citizens' needs, play moves on to larger goals. Cities begin as primitive collections of hunter-gatherers, only to evolve into primitive rude huts with subsistence farmers. As the city gets bigger, houses become more advanced, eventually attracting nobility to require estates, but pay for their upkeep with taxes and educated citizens that help build fantastic tombs and monuments. Eventually, the player will move from managing a city to developing a whole empire.


Gameplay overview

Thursday, May 13, 2004

From the GameSpot E3 impressions:

As Pharaoh, you have a paternalistic relationship with your people. You have to address their wants and needs for your kingdom to become successful and powerful. You'll also need a powerful city to build your monuments and, most importantly, your tomb. You'll actually command a dynasty, and it's important for your prestige for the pharaohs in your family to be buried in style, most preferably in massive pyramids.

You'll be able to expand your power over the entire Nile if you play your cards right, and a strategic portion of the game will allow you to both establish colonies and build forts to expand your domain. But at the heart of the game is city management, which promises to be more full-featured than ever, while, at the same time, also remaining user-friendly.


Too independent citizens = nothing to do?

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

A post by Ammurit on the HG forums:

Hopefully the villagers won't take it upon themselves to build too many buildings, if indeed that is a feature of the game. I'd like there to be some city building left for me to do...:-)

Response by Chris on April 8:

I couldn't resist responding briefly to your comment because, once again, you guys are homing right in on the same issues we are dealing with, and opportunities we are capitalizing on in the game. Yes - with intelligent citizens, there could be little or no need for YOU! But that's no fun, obviously.

There is a very fine line between letting citizens do a lot of things on their own, and making sure your leadership is crucial to direct and maximize their efforts to achieve your goals. Establishing where this line falls in each and every game system has been, without a doubt, the single most challenging and yet most fundamentally important aspect of pulling this design together... let's just say we've had some "intense debates" about precisely how to do this right with each main component of play.



Monday, March 22, 2004

From the Strategy Informer interview in March:

Strategy Informer

How complex are you aiming it to be? Speaking of micro-management.

Chris Beatrice:

It's very difficult to respond to this question using the standard terminology. In the past, for example, we would never want to say a game was "complex", because to a lot of non-hardcore gamers that meant "intimidating" or "boring micromanagement." We also wouldn't want to say a game was "simple", because that meant "not challenging" or maybe "no replay." Well Children of the Nile is complex, because, for one thing, people are complicated! For another, going all the way back to the first question, one of the most challenging areas in developing this game - actually the most challenging area - was in merging strategy game and society sim (or people sim). I guess that is to be expected, since it is what is very unique about this game. I could put it this way: what the game does is very complex, but what you do is very simple.

The idea is that, though human behavior and large cities in general are complex and organic, it all makes sense to you as another human being. And, given that people take care of themselves, you never need to micromanage them, yet you do have access to a lot of detailed information about them and the city if you want it. Some players will. It's sort of like if you were a real mayor or king, sure, you could go knock on everyone's door and see what's in their cupboard, but do you need to? Maybe sometimes, maybe a few of them? maybe that's your play style? maybe it's informative for you to sample a couple of households, etc. Like a real ruler, you will focus in on things that are more important to your needs at the given time, or closer to your interests in general. Because you're dealing with an organic model, it is difficult or even impossible to identify and achieve "perfection", but if you're one of those players who likes to micromanage - go to town! (sorry for the pun).


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