The State of Warstreaming Efforts

Snap, that’s two months gone since our last update! Latest improvements have revolved around warstreaming and warstreamers, with a very deep internal tidy up resulting in a cleaner separation of concerns for warstreamers, and a refinement of their skills that are getting them closer and closer to their final form. We’ll be discussing those down the road of course, but instead of delving into the many warstreamer skills, let’s talk about the core: what is warstreaming, and what’s the point of it?

As we’ve discussed before, Revolution Will Be Streamed is a strategy game where victory can be achieved through warfare and propagandistic means. In the (current) games’ terms that translates into the existence of two different scores, a Warfare Score and a Propaganda Score, the first mostly affected by military units and the second by warstreamers. In order to win, the player must a) overcome their rival on either of those scores, keeping their ratio above a given threshold and b) keep the score over that threshold for a number of turns. At the moment, we’re playtesting with a ratio of at least (70% to 30%) and 8 turns to victory. That might sound like a lot, but in a game deliberately designed to be short, score changes can be quite abrupt! So yeah, we have two armies, and (in the traditional fashion) we can just destroy enemy units to increase our Warfare score, or even wipe out every enemy unit to achieve victory. That’s quite simple and straightforward. What about warstreamers, then? How do they work?

It turns out that, unlike military units, warstreamers do not have attack actions; instead, their basic action is to start a warstream. A given warstreamer can have one and only one active warstream, that is laid out with an area of effect in the shape of a “cone of vision” from their position to the direction they are looking and streaming. Moving a warstreamer finishes the warstream, and although a new one can be created at any time, that also means saying goodbye to some bonuses, as warstreams are more powerful the longer they stay in place. So let’s say that our warstreamer has started their streaming around them. How do they change their side’s propaganda score?

  • Stream units! No matter whether they are enemies or allies, the more characters you manage to stream, the more your wastreamers will appease the audience, and the better their manipulating power will be.
  • Show your best side! Get your warstreamers to stream images in which your side is smashing your rivals, and your Propaganda Score will increase together with your Warfare Score. Conversely, better not to stream your units getting smashed…
  • Manipulate the audience! As Lionel Hutz nows, there’s the truth and the truth. You can use the many skills of your warstreamers to manipulate what’s happening in the battlefield, funneling viewers and Warfare Points to you.

From the implementation point of view this created many challenges, one of them very visual. A warstreamer will create its warstream, which will be shown in the battlefield, as units can move in and out of it. From a visual point of view, it was very difficult to differentiate between active warstreams when several warstreamers were focused on a single area of the battlefield, as the different warstreams (which were represented with a semitransparent sprite above the tiles they covered) overlapped. This has been solved recently, has now active warstreams are represented as seen below:

Active warstreams tiles have a very simple particle system emitting particles of the color of the warstreamer that created it. If there are many warstreamers overlapping in an area, the density of the particles will be higher, and the relative importance of each warstreamer will be easily measurable by the amount of visible particles. The players will immediately know when a unit is inside the range of one or multiple warstreams, and whether it is the enemies or their side that has the upper propagandistic hand! As the art is implemented (that’s still placeholder…) we can expect this representation to change, but hopefully the core concept will stay in the same line.

Hope you have enjoyed this update, more to come soon.