An Update At Last!

It’s been almost three months since the last blog post, so that throws my plan of one post a month straight out the window. Hopefully nobody started to think this project was dead, because that certainly isn’t the case. There have been some time-consuming events in my personal life, so I ended up spending all of the time I managed to find for the project on its development, rather than blogging. I’ve worked a lot on several smaller things, so while there has been significant progress, it’s not something I can write up in one thematic post like I have in the past. In this post I’ll give an overview of some of the features that have been added.

User Interface

Some of you have seen the occasional screenshot in our #development channel on our Discord chat, but for some of you this will be the first time I’m actually showing screenshots of the full user interface. It’s far from finished, since there are dozens of different pages with all sorts of information to display and manage (not to mention the administration panel), but I think it’s time to show it.

Since elections are the cornerstone of the power dynamics in the game, the first screenshot shows an election results page.

Election page screenshot

Election page screenshot

Politician Facets

One of the aspects of the game that adds a lot of depth to your party is the ability to recruit and manage your politicians. This has been covered already in a previous article[1] but I’ve made a significant change in the design. Rather than opting for a fixed set of numeric attributes, like in a role-playing game, I implemented a system of named personality traits I call facets. Each facet has an effect on how that politician performs in elections, drive turnout, govern or perform other roles for your party. The facets all have a distinct name and background description, so they also add some flavour to your politician characters.

The facet system is designed to be flexible so that new facets and variations can easily be added in the future. For instance, the bonus effect of your politician being a Charismatic Speaker or a Populist Demagogue might be the same, but from a flavour and role-playing perspective it won’t.

Politician page screenshot

Politician page screenshot

Portrait Aging

In a previous post I showed the portraits the game generates. A key missing feature was displaying the age of the person. Creating aged versions of all assets is impractical, so I developed a procedural system for displaying the effects of aging. The one imperfection in my view is the sudden transition in the middle age hair style, but that’s unavoidable with the aforementioned constraints.

Procedural aging of character portraits

Procedural aging of character portraits

Party Actions

One system I’m quite excited about is that of the party actions. You’ll be able to choose from a set of at least a dozen actions that your party can undertake in order to influence the political landscape. The actions can accomplish various effects, such as raising additional political capital, have your politicians gain a certain facet, encourage allied activists to organize a protest, or even dig up dirt on an opponent. The actions will have a certain cost (that’s what the political capital is for), there will be a cool-down timer limiting their use, and they can have negative side-effects if the action backfires.

Party actions screenshot

Party actions screenshot (only four shown)

Elections

The election algorithm has grown significantly in complexity. Not just the ideology of the electorate and the parties or candidates matter, it also considers how well the coalition in power has governed, your politician’s individual facets, the focus your party puts on different aspects of campaigning, and several other factors. I may do a bigger write-up on elections in the future … but I want to be careful as well and not give away too much information about the secret sauce of this project.

Project Size

The total code base (Java + Typescript) is now well past 100,000 lines of code!

Project LOC as of 2018-05-23

Project LOC as of 2018-05-23

Footnotes   [ + ]

 

Wouter Lievens

I'm the designer and developer of Particracy, an online political strategy game. I came up with the first incarnation of the game, now called Particracy Classic, in 2005. After several attempted sequel or remake projects over the years, I've finally committed to building the ultimate version of Particracy, and I'm going at it full time to make it happen.

 

30 thoughts on “An Update At Last!

  1. This is exciting – can’t wait to see the finished game. I have a feeling I’ll lose many hours to this game just the way I used to with the old Particracy. Thanks for all your hard work!

  2. Whow! I played it 7 and 4 years ago. Always seemed to miss something to really stay.
    This evolution seems really interesting, congrats! I’ll surely try to be back when it will be online 🙂

    1. I left 2 years ago for the same reason but it might be nice to come back under a re-invented game. Looking forward to the release!

  3. Hi, I’m so excited that you’re working to update Particracy. I really loved this game!

    Is there a chance that you could relax the activity regulations. I can’t remember what they are on Particracy classic however that was ultimately the reason I had to stop playing. I could play it most days, however, sometimes I had to leave it for a good week.

    It would be better, I think, if there were simply natural consequences for inactivity (e.g. decreased support in elections etc.).

    Thanks!

    1. That’s definitely something that can be investigated. The multi-world gameplay concept can also accomodate this, in the sense that there could be separate worlds for more casual and for more active players.

  4. I want opinion polls, like the ones that Wikipedia show. I would like to know when that feature will be out.

      1. Best Wouter, it seems the invite link has expired again.
        Could you send it again?
        (btw fellow Belgian here.)

      2. All the way at the bottom of the blog, there’s now a Discord Chat section, which has an active working link automatically generated.

  5. I know these screenshots are of the unfinished product but maybe you could change the seating diagram a little bit? It’s sort of difficult to distinguish the colors.

    1. The colors will be selected by players, so the ones picked here are just samples. I am considering confining selection to a (large) predefined palette, so as to avoid colors that contrast badly.

      Are there other changes to it you would suggest?

      1. You may want to consider adding some form of Colour Blind option as even contrasting colours can be easy to mix up for people with that particular issue. Something more directly separating the various parties in the diagram could help, like a dividing line or patterned symbols.

      2. Good point, though there are limits to how far you can control that when in principle the colors are picked by players.

        In some contexts, like table overviews, parties will also pick an emblem which will be shown in the chosen color. That can help discriminate.

  6. It looks insane!
    Is there any chance that big events, such as World Cups, Eurovision Song contests, World leaders conferences etc. are futured in Particracy II?
    And is there a pointed date to release the first version of Particracy II?

    Good luck!

    1. Hi!

      Firstly, I’m not calling it Particracy II. It’s such a big do-over that it deserves the name on its own.

      World events are planned, but will probably be implemented after the first initial release because that is a very comprehensive feature that will take a lot of work (and art assets etc).

      No release date yet, hopefully this year still.

  7. When will this version be out? Is there an updated version of classic currently available?

  8. Hello. Will elections still be Proportional rep, or will other systems will be possible. I.e Australia or UK style?

    1. Legislative elections will use proportional representation, simply because it is not feasible to have an entire world with districts small enough to model first-past-the-post (FPTP) individual districts. In addition, FPTP drives strong strategic voting, which is significantly more difficult to simulate than simply calculating voter preference independent of strategic concerns.

      For presidential elections, there are creative options, most notable there is an Electoral College option modeled on the US presidential election.

      1. will there be 1 or 2 legislatives in each nation or would there be both depending on the country

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