Tropico 3 RTS/sim for Xbox 360 (demo out)

Discussion in 'Console Gaming' started by Neb, Nov 18, 2009.

  1. Neb

    Neb Iron "BEAST" Man
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    They say everybody has an "El Presidente" in them. Well this game will sure show if you do so time to fold out that cigar, put on your military cap and plan your strategies . Show em who's the 'El Presidente'!
    Tropico 3 homepage with info.
    http://www.tropico3.com/en/

    Teaser trailer.
    [gt]49781[/gt]
     
    #1 Neb, Nov 18, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 18, 2009
  2. RancidLunchmeat

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    Anybody play this game? How does it compare to say, Civilization games?
     
  3. rekator

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    Demo is out on xboxlive, I have to test it.
     
  4. assen

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    Thanks for the thread, Nebula!

    This is the game I've been working on recently.

    I must note that the feature list is taken from the PC version; two things were cut on the Xbox, the Challenge editor (aka Timeline Editor, aka mission editor), and the "visiting islands belonging to other players". The Challenge editor is essentially the same tool we used for the campaigns, where you set up a sequence of events that modify the game, e.g. raise export prices in 1952, than turn 20% of the population against you in 1954 etc; it was deemed too unwieldy with a gamepad. You can create such "challenges" on the PC version, and share them online - and we'll regularly make the best challenges created by PC players available to the Xbox version (downloadable in-game, for free).

    This was our first console game. While the entire schedule we had for the game was quite short, the Xbox 360 version was done in a crazy short time; even if I told you how long we took to make it, you wouldn't believe me :)

    The renderer is a bit short on buzzwords - it's a fairly traditional forward renderer with a single light source, a (non-cascaded) perspective shadowmap, instanced + billboarded trees, a splatted terrain, and a postprocessing pass featuring SSAO and the ubiquitous blur+bloom+sunrays combination. It's VERY heavy on geometry due to lack of sufficient LOD for the models; the few outside people who had a look at it were scratching their heads in disbelief, never having seen before a geometry-limited game.

    I am not aware of other games on current consoles with such a combination of free camera and long view distance; the islands are 1.5 x 1.5 km in size, and you can move your camera from "follow camera" mode (essentially, a third person camera following one of your citizens) to a full overview of the island, without any fog to hide the distant parts of the scene, and the zoom back in to another part of the island. I think I understand now why there are no such games on consoles :)

    What's also interesting about the game is the extent to which it is written in a very high-level language, Lua. I won't say "scripting", because this is far from "scripting" in our case, it's full blown "programming". The entire game simulation runs in Lua, and we devote an entire Xenon core to it. It _is_ CPU-intensive, and the Xenon cores aren't particularly well suited to running such code, but it wouldn't have been possible to implement the fairly complex Tropico simulation in a lower-level language like C++ in such a short time.

    The control scheme is the already established from other dualstick strategies - the cursor is fixed at the center of the screen. People seem to like it so far; if you've played at least a little Halo Wars or C&C, you'll have no problem with Tropico 3, which is a much slower-paced game.

    The game runs at 1280x720 without antialiasing, and the framerate isn't very good - you'll typically be at or above 30 fps with the camera position which is most convenient for playing, but you can get it to dip well below that if you find just the right (wrong?) spot on top of a mountain overlooking the entire island, staring at the sunset (to make the shadow frustum catch more objects). If the camera was limited to what other RTS games usually do - 60-70 degrees down, limited zoom - I think we wouldn't have a problem to maintain 30 fps, but the vistas with the entire island, looking at the horizon, are a worthy tradeoff IMHO.

    The demo includes two missions, and a significant portion of the game mechanics (except for the entire tourism branch of the economics); you can't really cut this game to 10% of its gameplay features and have something meaningful. Consequently, it's very far from the recommended 15 minutes of gameplay.

    Enjoy the demo, and (hopefully) the full game!
     
  5. Silent_Buddha

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    Do Tell! :) Would love to get additional insight into something like that.

    And thanks for sharing, it's always interesting to hear about stuff from people working on games.

    Even more so when you mention strengths, weaknesses, and the tradeoffs necessary to get a game to work/ship.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  6. (((interference)))

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    Is the demo long? I might download if has open ended sandbox scenarios rather than just some tutorial mission

    Was a fan of the original
     
  7. assen

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    It has the tutorial, and the first two missions - which are also introductory in nature. If you carefully avoid fulfilling the mission objectives, you can explore a good chunk of the game economy, although many advanced buildings are disabled. Judging by comments by users, some people have spent hours with it.
     
  8. Shompola

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    Thanks I will download the demo. Looks very good.

    retail version seems to be cheaper than other games. Thats nice!
     
  9. Mobius1aic

    Mobius1aic Quo vadis?
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    That's cool to hear. I downloaded the PC demo, but only played 30 minutes or so since I had something else I wanted to do, only wanting to catch a small snippet of the game at the time.
     
  10. rekator

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    The small run I'm go on the 360 demo is good, made the tuto and too little campaign.
    I really need more time to test it more in deep, but for now I'm really please with Simulation elements. And the humor is fun!
    But damned I'm really need more than 24h/day if I go in Tropico! :)
    Yes graphic are not in the "Eye-Candy" style, but for this type of game is fine.
    Good work, hope you reach the sells you need! ;)
     
  11. Mobius1aic

    Mobius1aic Quo vadis?
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    Had a very "Black & White 2" feel to it, except of course with better geometry and texturing :smile:
     
  12. assen

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    The demo is now available to all Xbox Live subscribers, the gold exclusivity period has passed.
     
  13. NavNucST3

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    FINALLY on Games on Demand. I'm buying later tonight.
     

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