Omerta and beyond....
#1
Sorry folks just made a few edits....

Hi everyone, just been really getting in to Omerta for the first time. Bought it a few weeks ago but was engrossed in something else at the time.

Anyway I like what I see and I take it I already have this free content update as I have the option of choosing to include a rival gang, which I like.

OK before I go any further I do want to stress I've enjoyed the game thus far and hopefully this post can be more of a - I want more - rather than a complaint.

Also whilst in parts I'm going to be comparing this to the old Gangsters game I stress that was also by no means a perfect game and many of my suggestions were never in that game either, so if you like this is also what I would like to of seen in Gangsters if it continued. Also below is not just what I want for the current Omerta, I totally understand some of this is going to be more for an Omerta 2, 3 and more.

This is in no particular order, just things I've been thinking about as I played through a few times, so aplogies if I end up switching between ideas....

Well like most my feeling is if I do have the content update then the maps are still way too small for my liking. They seem more like country towns rather than cities. I want super sized cities that allow for much longer gameplay in sandbox mode and also would be required for the rest of my suggestions to work.

I want to see territory introduced. I'm thinking along the lines of the display of territory we see in Civilization or the Total War games where you see a colour band around the area you control. I don't want this just as a visual thing, some of my suggestions would make use of this area that gets defined as yours.

So as part of the territory I would want the ability to pick and choose which businesses I defend with goons, eg I may establish a sort of front line and only defend those business along that front line. So currently we have goons available but apart from the upfront cost they don't seem to add to the maintenance of a business, I want that changed. These goons should cost an ongoing amount making it important to manage where you should and shouldn't have them. As part of that you would obviously need to change it so goons can be hired and fired, or perhaps transferred around to other businesses as needed. You would NOT be given an unlimited number of goons either, again making it important to decide where you need some defense. This will also kind of tie in with another suggestion later.


I want more than 1 rival gang, in fact I'd like to see this expanded to possibly 9 AI rival gangs competing across a large expansive city. Each of them starting out just like me with one house (maybe this could be a choice at the start to define how established your rivals are at the start with options such as starting with nothing like me, and working up to a setting where they're already fully established). They have to work just like me and gradually build up some business and territory to make profit in dirty and clean money. There would be an option as you setup your game to decide how many of the AI gangs to include, and I would prefer to see them with a house like mine represented on the map. This would be so I can perform missions on their homes. You could have a range of different win/loss around this as well so you can choose to win by destroying all businesses and houses of your rivals, or perhaps just take out the Boss of the gang.

The additional AI would open up some diplomacy for gangs to form and break alliances with you, and each other. Eg perhaps as you become the dominant gang others may form alliances to try and push you back to combine their efforts to seize control back. IF they get to a point (and I mean IF) where they've pushed you back and there is land available they may break their alliance and go back to being separate gangs competing for this land that's now been opened up. As part of this you could do the same thing, and in game you would choose your stance towards each gang, at war, neutral, friendly, in bed. At the start of a game you could also give us an option to setup teams, or set a king of the hill style game.

I don't want the territory to mean you can only ever attack business located on the edges of each others area. I want the ability for you and the AI to really think about how to put pressure on each other, maybe you would attack the edges, maybe you would try to push right in to the heartland of a gang and take some area way beyond their front line (or yours). Doing so might make it very difficult as you'd be surrounded by the rival gang but it could also be a way of scaring them, suddenly seize control of something very close to their home/HQ (this would be especially worrying if the goal of the game, even in sandbox, was set to just taking out the Boss rather than all the businesses). It would also let you do stuff like circling your opponent and trying to cut off a particular business from his main territory which would make it weaker, perhaps defenses would suffer in territories where there is no direct route to the main HQ, so if you need to travel through enemy territory to get to your HQ. To me territory is one of the biggest things you could do with this game because it opens up a whole range of Strategical decisions about what areas to take first and then how do you defend those, what effect will this have on your rivals, expand too quickly and end up stretching your defenses, expand too slowly and you will fall behind in cash $ $$ to keep building. So I would have a whole range of choices about exactly how I take out my opponents, and my strategy may change as the game progresses, and this is also why multiple AI would keep things interesting because while I'm putting pressure on a gang, one (or more) of the others may be targeting me.

Currently (apart from the already stated bugs with stats and how the attacks are being calculated) I love the combat system. When I first heard it was turn based I was skeptical about how well that would work and look but wow I love it. In a world of real time its nice to see a game that allows me to really think about tactics during combat and that can only happen in turn based. So on the whole I loved this but I'd simply like to see more choices and reasons for combat. So for now our attack options are limited to drive-by's which look cool, and all out combat. I'd like to see options like going in to a rival gangs business to seize control of it and continue that same business. Or options like perhaps going in purely to smash the joint up and cause trouble to weaken them. At the end of combat if you did want to continue business there or setup a new one you'd need to pay to fix any damage caused during combat. In addition to that perhaps the ability to setup gang members on patrol around an area of the city, perhaps I've encircled an enemy business, the patrol would attempt to blockade it by triggering combat with any rival gang members that enter their line of sight and try and prevent them from getting to their business keeping it weakened and separated from the owner. The combat would work exactly as it does now but would present us with an outdoor setting, it would still be turn based and it wouldn't be the entire city, just a small section of it for the combat to take place. Imagine hiding behind traffic light poles, light poles, electricity poles, maybe some roof tops and balcony's would be accessible so you can go up and shoot from there, parked cars and trucks. Heck in all combat I'd even like to see the odd innocent by stander getting caught up in the fight and perhaps even allow us to decide if we avoid or kill the innocents but your choice to kill could also bring more heat. I'm sure this would bring some debate on morals of the game but personally I like games that provide realism which includes the ability to kill anyone, not because I enjoy going around killing just for the sake of it, but because its realism. In turn you deter me from doing so by giving me a suitable response. Example I want to kill one gang member, he's in a bar full of 100 people, I can go in and just take out the one guy I want, or I can go a more extreme route and bomb the joint, but the more extreme my choice, the more extreme the police/rival gang response should be, in this example maybe I would immediately get a full heat meter and cost me a truck load of money for the bribe or whatever. You could also include intimidation missions as well that don't directly target the business but target other businesses and residents in the area to stop them using the rival gangs business and cut the profits down (perhaps after an intimidation mission like this the business would only receive half its normal income for a set period of time, then business returns to normal unless you continually run these types of missions to try and weaken your rival). Also the ability to perform hits on rival gang members to take them out or just scare/injure them for a set time. You could have missions that involved bombings and other types of weapons being used, and on the other side missions that are just about following or watching someone to get information about a rival.

Weather. Right now the weather system seems rather static, it rains every night it seems, and not much if at all during the day. I would like a dynamic weather system, and I would like to see that have an affect on how you play because it would affect things like combat. Attack a business at night while its raining and your visibility would be lowered. Even worse if there is fog about, maybe snow, as well as normal rain we could even have a thunderstorm. During the day these would still have an affect but obviously it would be different during daylight hours, so again this would mean we'd need to start making choices about when to attack. Perhaps to help this you would introduce a weather report so we have a way of planning ahead for the right time to strike, say a 7 day report. Weather could also help introduce some special abilities for either our gang members, or the gang as a whole, eg some fight better at night, some better during the day, this would certainly help those with melee combat skills where fog would assist them in getting closer to their opponents before being seen.

Gang members, well I'm actually quite happy with the number of them already so not necessarily wanting more than the current 5 (if the map size expands a lot then perhaps a few more would be needed), but what I wouldn't mind seeing is them also having hoods that they control. Now I don't think its necessary for all these extra peeps to be visually represented on screen, they would be more something that adds a little extra per hood to the stats of the gang member/leader of those hoods, and would perhaps be a requirement for allowing gang members to control parts of the city for you, as I will discuss next). You would want to restrict the number of hoods each gang member can control, I figure 10 would be a nice limit. In turn you could then, as your empire expands, start handing off some limited amount of control to your gang members to manage an area of the city for you. Now I wouldn't even necessarily want any options around what they do to manage that territory it would purely be a your ensuring businesses operate, are defended, and in a way just maintain it as is.

So with the above, and the rival gangs as I said earlier this would give the option of being able to bribe, poach, steal gang members. So stealing them away from your rivals, and them stealing your gang members too. At the moment we pay our gang members but it really doesn't seem to have much of an affect. Allowing gang members to defect would make paying them important. Unable to pay your gang then they're more likely to defect. You could introduce a pay system a little like Tropico so you can adjust the amount you pay them (you could still keep their pay ammounts you already have and perhaps have this as a minimum base pay amount they'll accept), higher pay means they're less likely to defect. Maybe as part of this if a gang member does defect and they were controlling an area of town for you then there would be a percentage chance they take some of your businesses with them. So eg they were controlling an area with 4 businesses in it, roll the dice and decide if they take 0, 1, 2, 3, or all 4 with them across to the rival gang. I can imagine the swearing taking place if you're the one that loses out but it would certainly keep things interesting and it would simply be a matter of ensuring you keep your gang happy much like the factions of Tropico. You could also add the option of unhappy gang members running to the cops and spilling the beans on your operation, thus raising your heat level, which also brings in the reasons for making a hit on your own guys if they fail or go against you in some way.

So as part of your gang members controlling parts of the city for you, and having a defined territory it would help make the Safehouses much more worthwhile. So sure we have a main house/HQ but as your empire expands and if you want a gang member permanently stationed in a particular part of town to manage and defent it then you'd setup safehouses as their base of operations, and would also serve as their home. Perhaps it could even be the building that defines what area of city is yours. Building them could be the thing that expands the area that is considered to be yours although in some ways I'm not sure if you want each area to be defined by just one building. You'd need to decide if that means taking out that one building means you also lose the entire area. Perhaps you could take something from the Heroes of Might and Magic games where (at least in the past) had 7 days to regain control before you lose the area. This could possibly even work for your home. When you lose your home you have 7 days to recapture it before you lose the game.

I'd like to even see dynamic AI gangs. I remember playing the old Transport Tycoon game and how it worked. You could have 7 players and even if you went and bought out all of your opponents, the game would be able to generate new rivals on the fly so there could always be some competition. So maybe I can have 9 AI opponents, if I kill one off during the game, maybe suddenly from nowhere a new gang can be formed that replaces the one I killed. How would I know when the new gang is formed, well to ensure they are competative they arrive by taking several of my businesses (or another AIs). So bang a new gang appears having seized control of say 5 of my businesses from an area of town, I'm taken totally by surprise and they are already somewhat established with businesses to generate income, and a place to setup their home/HQ. Possibly at this early stage they would even seek diplomatic relations with 1 or more of your rivals to help protect them at this stage. So you'd need to have a lot of places across the map that allow for a gangs home to be established as they get formed so they don't always appear in the same location. You'd want them to have a few choices as to where they establish themselves on the map so its not too predictable. Perhaps this could also lead in to things like not only having gang members defect to rival gangs, they could end up establishing their own new/independant rival gang and taking the entire area they controlled with them. Perhaps like I said above you could roll the dice to decide how much they take with them.

More diverse map. Not only do I want it bigger I want it to be more diverse like having a central city, a port and industrial area, residential areas, smaller commercial areas. I can just imagine a port or industrial scene for combat with railway cars all over the place (maybe even the odd one that can be moved when your character steps on the right spot/trigger, can then be pushed a short distance to help get you closer to your opponents, perhaps to keep it balanced while moving it you cant shoot), crates of goods, freight boxes, and other stuff stacked up and scattered around, cranes, and multi level warehouse buildings along the docks, some ships parked along there as well that we can get on and fight around. Industrial combat area inside a factory with machinery all over the place, some working, some not, furnaces blazing away blowing out heat in the middle of combat (maybe includes a random possibility an area would be engulfed in flames much like what some gang members can do). More outdoor scenes like maybe small amounts of country just around the edges of the city m(I'm not wanting huge expanses of countryside). So picture maybe a small hut or something we're using for storage and smuggling operations with an open area around it, a few hills (even a few we can get on top of for a multi level), rocks, trees and other stuff to hide behind. Again not huge, the same sort of size as the current combat areas but just a different setting. These could also help in a way to define areas of the town, eg try and take control of the docks to aid in smuggling. Take control of a commercial area to get bigger profits from intimidation of businesses in the area. I see we already have beach areas but we don't seem to have any buildings or combat taking place here, I know its a beach but there would still be reasons to fight over this space for drug dealings or smuggling and there are still small buildings around beach areas. So the more coastline you control the better your smuggling operations will do. This could also work for other areas around the edge of the map like countryside I mentioned earlier.

Business ideas like perhaps allowing us to not only steal cars but engage in re-selling those cars for profit. Perhaps more options for intercity business deals so rather than the map thing we bring up now for business deals we can have something more like sending a gang member off to another city to do business, he brings back a quantity of booze, guns etc depending on how successful he was which could be a roll of the dice. Perhaps they could even build up some experience points for this type of action, the more experienced they are the more likely they will get a good quantity of goods you need and at a good price, perhaps this could work in a similar to way to Patrician in how you can send convoys off the map to trade, after a given amount of time they return with the goods they managed to buy.

Following on a bit from my comments on combat I'd like to see more missions offered by people outside the map, so random missions designed to give you more opportunities for combat and also to level up your gang members, because in my experience so far there is not enough combat, and as a result all those skills for gangsters never get used apart from the first few.

Well I think thats about it for now. Just again this isn't a complaint or a request for what I want right now, nor do I want it as a free download (I have no problem with paying for a game that can give me a combo of Omerta, Gangsers, and the things I've listed so far). I hope all the negative feedback doesn't deter you from releasing an Omerta 2, and even if the above isn't exactly what you had in mind for Omerta as a series then perhaps at the very least it can show you there is definately a market out there for a well made Omerta/Gangsters/Mafia management type game.

Also I do applaud you for taking the Gangsters idea and refreshing it. Gangsters was good for its time but was a very spreadsheet/forms type game so its nice to see this game get away from that. The game looks great, it just needs more so hope you guys are willing to fill this space and build on what you've done so far.
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#2
i like the idea
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#3
Well it's obvious that you put a LOT of thought and analysis into your lengthy post. And I certainly do NOT mind the references to Gangster 1 & 2 -- those were some damn good games, and all the more impressive for having been pretty much as good as any other Strategic gangster game that has come along in the last decade.

I'd like to focus on one element that you highlighted: criminal competition. Crime is pretty much EVERYWHERE you look, especially in that era. Omerta is pretty much about just ONE level of the _scale_ of crime being committed, i.e., Mob/Syndicate/Mafia/etc.-level operations, but starting from small beginnings and growing. Totally ignored are the "independents", street gangs, and interstate operations throughout that growth period.

Independent operators are those whose "job" that pays the rent and groceries is that of a criminal. They may have day jobs, but just to survive they need augment their income with the occasional larceny. They may be small fry criminals, but they're EVERYWHERE, robbing gas stations and liquor stores, committing burglaries and Breaking & Entering. Occasionally, their actions will interfere with plans and operations of the larger organizations. Like robbing a bank just before the Mob does. Their actions can also "turn up the Heat" for other criminals _without_ those other criminals having done anything to cause that result themselves. When a gang operation claims territory, it needs to "get the word out" to the independent operators that "_Here_, you do not commit crime, because this is _our_ territory now!" This would usually involve the capture and treatment of an offending independent operator to "send a message" to the others. If the gang is unable to enforce such declarations, it reveals just how inept/incompetent/inconsequential it is.

Street gangs are in actuality morphed Neighborhood Watch groups that have become rather lax about just which Laws they will enforce. Most are ethnically aligned: Irish, Hispanic, Italian, etc., and even some Jewish gangs. Their turf is usually just those several blocks where their ethnicity dominates, but where they will usually take action against any perceived threats inside that territory. For example, a Syndicate trying to impose a Protection racket there might discover that some of their thugs keep going missing (until the bodies turn up in the river). The larger organizations trying to move into those neighborhoods really have two choices: defeat the street gang with a LOT of violence, or put the gang on the payroll. (Who do you think those goons were that you had assigned to protecting your businesses?) Still, there is that transition period where a street gang transforms from opponent to employee.

Interstate operations are often the most dangerous opponents, because they can afford to hire a LOT of mercenaries to crush local resistance. If the Mafia wants to establish operations in your town, the usual best action is to "look the other way". Independent operators and street gangs would be wise to just get out of the way. Fighting an interstate organization is sort of like dealing with Feds that have "taken the gloves off". Expect a LOT of blood and mayhem, with little concern for collateral damage.

I think that factoring in these other criminals would make any Gangster-style game much more "richer".
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#4
Hey CaptainPatch I totally agree with you. It would be great to see some small time crims in the game as well. Those who aren't really competing for territory but are nevertheless causing trouble around town to get the money they need to support themselves.

So yeah I'd love to see some random criminals show up from time to time, maybe even sometimes they do a job for us (or our rivals) on a one off basis, and at times also cause us some headaches because they've ended up robbing one of our businesses, or something other action.

I'd also love to see some more independent businesses around. This would be part of just making the city bigger. At the moment by the time you own gang really gets rolling in terms of plenty of businesses and cash coming in it means any shops that did exist at the start are most likely gone, eg the gun shop that sometimes appears.

For me making the cities BIG is important because right now even with the improvements the sandbox mode just doesn't last long enough. Again by the time you really get yourself established the game is as good as over because your rival probably only has a handful of places left, the city needs to be big enough to support you and 9 AI to a level where everyone can make money and have a good number of businesses etc to keep you busy.

So when I think about how I'd like to see a game play out, particularly in sandbox mode I'm thinking we start off with 10 players (that could be any combo of human/AI), we all have plenty of space to expand and grow our gang, there would still be the odd drive by and combat taking place but nothing too serious. Things would get much more serious as the free space starts to run out. Everyone is making plenty of money but of course as a Boss of a group of gangsters enough is never enough and the only way to keep expanding is to start fighting. Between fighting rival gangs for territory, defending against the others that may be attacking you, and dealing with independents and all the other things listed we'd have some nice long sandbox play and it would keep things going for an indefinite amount of time which is after all what sandbox play is meant to provide. So you can go all the way and kill off all competition and win, but there would be enough to keep you busy without needing to win.

I have no problem with games that also offer goals, that's also fun, but I do feel right now sandbox play is way too short. I'm doing a video of a game I've played through and so far I've done just over 2 hours play and my rival has 3 businesses left while I control the rest of the map. I am playing on medium level so I could make the game last a little longer but still it seems too short.



**EDIT
Just another note on one of the things I raised in my original post....the combat in factories with a furnace that can explode and cause a room to burst in to flames......well adding to that perhaps shooting certain terrain objects like the furnace (and other things) would be the trigger to make it explode or do something. So right now terrain does already affect combat and seems to take damage? I do note a stat that gets shown as furniture etc gets hit. So perhaps each round of ammo you to put in to an object such as the furnace may increase the chances it explodes, or does whatever the object should do. This could also be extended to cars and other objects in different combat locations. As your only increasing the possibility of an explosion you would not be able to predict exactly when it happens, which brings the danger that you'll get caught up in the explosion, so again its a choice and you need to weigh up the risks. As I said this could be extended to a whole range of objects and not just explosions but all types of reactions to what you do to them.

I guess with this I'm thinking of games I've played like Call of Juarez where you can shoot the man or the oil lamp next to him. So you've got a choice to make on how you kill someone and its not just about the weapons your carrying but being able to use parts of the environment to kill, not just as your defense.

Also along with territory idea, and the ability to setup patrols, I'd like to see the possibility that where two territories meet, perhaps while in a diplomatic status of 'at war' my patrol would not cross the line but would open fire on a rival gang across the street, eg they control one side, I control the other side. This would of course bring more heat if I set them to do this.

As far as the heat level goes, this could also be expanded upon with a heat level between each gang, which would help determine you relationship towards them. Helping them would lower the heat level with the rival gang and allow you to work together, conversely performing many actions such as killing rival gangsters would raise the heat levels and cause increasingly extreme violence between the them and you. So it may begin with just pistol fire, but at the highest level we'd be trading bombs and not bothering about collateral damage to anyone else in the area. So this would give us different levels of hostility and war on top of our actual diplomatic status. So we can just dislike them enough to kill them when we see them on the streets, or we can hate them enough for balls out street war.

Seems the more I think about this game the more ideas I have Smile...OK so another point is I'd like to see the police have more powers as well. Perhaps rather than just the ability to end the game by throwing the boss in jail or whatever it could be expanded to allow them to perform lesser actions such as just seizing assets of money or businesses, them performing raids on our premises as well to collect evidence. I know we can already have gang members end up in jail and the ability to go on a mission to bust them out but it has so rarely happened in my games so far, so I'd like to see this happen more often where police take actions that don't necessarily result in you losing the entire game but just cause trouble you need to deal with. You can let your gang member sit out there time in prison, or bust them out which again would cause your heat levels to rise and a bigger response from the cops. Perhaps after you bust someone out they could have an action to, lay low, for a period of time where they simply stay in the safehouse (which makes these building more worthwhile) and allow the heat level to drop. So this would give us yet another choice to make, bust them out and use them immediately which meats heat continues up, or lay low. This could also provide a way to expand on lawyers and how they can be used to not only lower heat, but keeping members out of jail, and getting them out early sometimes. So add the ability to hire lawyers with differing skill levels and this could be something added in to the options menu of your lawyer business allowing you some choice over who they hire.

It would also be nice to see more options added to all business types allowing you to customize them to some degree. Maybe for example you have a casino, but you could have different sizes of casinos or perhaps allow them to be extended in a similar way to the homes we currently have.

Continuing on with the idea earlier where controlling different areas of town could enhance your ability to smuggle eg controlling the coast line. This could also be used so eg I control a land route in to town as well (there could be more than one) the more I control the better I can smuggle stuff in but also if I have a man permanently stationed in the area we could also use it to watch and gather info on what else is coming in to town for our rivals and others. Still on smuggling if you only controlled the beaches, and someone else controls the port, well you'd obviously be able to smuggle larger amounts at the port than the small boats you'd be able to get in to a beach area, but then again the beach may provide other opportunities not available at the port.

Perhaps as part of diplomacy we could even setup some form of trade between gangs we're currently friendly towards. So perhaps my gang has a near monopoly on shotguns, and another gang has a monopoly on beer, we could setup a trade between the two.

With the trade I mentioned earlier where you actually send a gang member to another city, they return after a given amount of time and you can use whatever cash, guns, booze etc they managed to get. Added to that perhaps that gang member would remain with the lock symbol over their pic so they can't be used for any other job, probably obvious step but I'm just thinking about how that would again force a choice between sending someone off for trade leaving you a man short, or keeping them around for other important tasks you want to perform soon.

As I said I do love combat system you've come up with and I like the transition from real time strategy for main mode of play, to the turn based combat tactical map. I think you've created a really nice base to build on that could really offer up a lot of depth in strategy and tactics.

One final note I guess you can tell already this is very much a WIP and as I have more ideas I'll be adding them in to this thread.
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#5
Just a note about puncturing steam boilers: What causes steam boilers to explode is NOT allowing the steam to vent. Machinegun a steam boiler and what you get is a bunch of steam jets -- and the more bullet holes there are, the weaker each jet will be. Likewise coal-fired furnaces.

Explosions require combustibles like gasoline, kerosene, etc. And it's not the fluid itself that is explosive, but rather the vapors they give off. That's why a nearly empty gas tank makes for a bigger BOOM than a gas tank that was nearly full.
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