How Should Research Work? (Part II)

Today Paul and I spoke at length about OpenTH and the direction it was going. Paul, who is active again, is currently working on refractoring the UI code (again) to make it (even) nicer. I will carry on working on what I am doing (staff drop + drop, research and staff rooms) and then I should look into the interaction between objects and people, which will make it feel much more like a game.

However, one of the things we spoke about was how research should work. Although we both really liked the user interface mockups by Silva, and wish to base the interface on that style, it was suggested if perhaps better than a bar would be a queue with a technology tree, Age Of Empires style.

Technology tree from AoE2. Ours would be similar but with a queue of what has been selected on the left hand side.

Technology tree from AoE2. Ours would be similar but with a queue of what has been selected on the left hand side.

This would mean we could have a very well defined tree of knowledge and we would get rid of things like improvements and specialisation. Drugs, etc., would also be listed under a development for the pharmacy. Computer would be listed as a development for the research department, and so forth.

Personally I think this is a really exciting idea. I’d be interested to hear what you guys think!

Explore posts in the same categories: OpenTH

18 Comments on “How Should Research Work? (Part II)”

  1. Noah Says:

    To be honest, i never really liked how improvements and specialisation worked in general, but i like the direction you guys are taking for the research however im not 100% convinced on the idea of “tech tree”, but it might work…

    P.S Was playing TH today… I HATE EPIDEMICS… that is all

  2. pinchies Says:

    The research screen with the % allocations was always a little confusing for me, but a more discrete research system like the age of empires might be changing the game too much. Perhaps simply adding a progress bar and displaying what is currently being researched within each research would make this step clearer. I don’t think a tech tree would be necessary unless some research goals had dependancies.

  3. vommie Says:

    Well, i have no opinion related to research :O

  4. Silva Says:

    I’m not following this bit… the whole idea behind a tech tree is that from a very limited initial pool, technologies fork while others merge, but doesn’t Theme Hospital have a completely sequential research order?

  5. Alex Says:

    I don’t like the tech-tree thing as this makes the game to complex.

  6. neuralshock Says:

    This added complexity won’t bring anything of value to the game IMO. Just further headaches:

    – on development
    – on gameplay

  7. openth Says:

    Well diagnosis is the only thing which actually has to be linear. You are right there isn’t much forking apart from at the top (each treatment rooms provides a fork). Perhaps we will keep it in the old style then.

    You have spoken!

  8. Noah Says:

    WOOT! Feel our commental power

  9. openth Says:

    p.s. does anybody know what “specialisation” actually does on the TH research screen?

  10. Noah Says:

    The answer: Specialization is the only way of directing research to look at one specific cure and improve it. Useful when you have a particular machine that has a low initial strength, or a cure you want to obtain in a hurry.

    Basically when you press “concentrate research” in the casebook, this is how much % of the research that will go towards it.

  11. Pinchies Says:

    Thanks noah, that cleared it up for me too!

  12. openth Says:

    Thanks! There must be a better way of doing that though for OpenTH though…

  13. Mortiga Says:

    I just put this here, cause this is the newest topic.

    Just watched the trailer of TH @ Youtube.
    2 things caught my eye.
    First, exploding helicopter, WTF? πŸ˜€

    Second thing is some kind of different cola machine. Food machine maybe? I remember i saw that same machine in the demo/intro in actual game too.

    Is it something that Bullfrog just decide to drop off or just different (beta?) skin on the machine.

    Here is the link.

  14. Well, I love the AoE-style research tree. This could also work for machines that would work faster at a higher level (and thus have the ability to cure more patients in one day)… etc… etc…

  15. Silva Says:

    Aaah, thanks noah πŸ˜€

    Well, now that we know that, if go on the direction of my mockup, we could keep it as a separate icon – by dragging to the timeline, a message box with all items checked for “concentrate research” appear, and the player could select one.
    With “improvements”, all available stuff would appear with their current efficiency, and the player can choose which one to improve. Or beter yet, particularly when improvement is the only thing remaining… instead of a checkbox, a button that once clicked either sets their queue order (a number from 1 to 10, each click sets the first available number) or removes it.

    Another thing that could work out is a “overtime” check box – the researchers crank up the speed of the current project, only leave for the staff room when they have 0% rest, but at a significant pay bonus during that project.

  16. Noah Says:

    I was also thinking the speaking fellow on the bottom right-hand side accually tells you what the strength of a machine is when it is enchanced…so you can compare it to its current strength.

  17. openth Says:

    Mortiga, it was different for the UK and US versions I think. The UK got the Kic-Kat (or whatever it is called) machines and the US version got the weird looking one, apparently (Wikipedia). Although screenshots don’t seem to confirm this…

    Not sure about exploding helicopters.

    Looks like we’ll go for the something like Silva’s, though I will talk about it with Paul and post again in the future.

  18. Silva Says:

    Now it struck me that unlike other games, the research time in Theme Hospital floats a lot more than in other games, so perhaps the timeline idea needs some tweaks. I already have something thought up, will work on that (plus the other stuff) tomorrow with a fresh head.

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