Question Input optional games? Pausable bots?

Sep 22, 2020
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I'm "playing" Cookie Clicker and really like the dungeon feature; it's a mini roguelike zero-player RPG, but you can click cursor buttons to halfway take control at any time. It's very small; and the AI reminds me of Fish Plays Pokemon, it's so simple. Imagine if it were on the level of Dwarf Fortress or Rimworld, though, being able to watch complex stories unfold and intervene at any time.

I see a lot of potential for this kind of idle game. Imagine any game with a lot of procedural or emergent stuff; mainly RPG and simulation, I think, but any genre could work if it has AI or environmental elements that interact with each other; and, instead of pausable real-time, make it pausable auto-play. I think it would be awesome to "play" Civilization or The Guild (a kind of bad multi-generational medieval dynasty simulator) as an interactive screensaver that you don't have to click on at all if you don't want to.

With production queues, AI "stances" or orders, different types of delegation systems, graphical programming or nodes, your level of control could get as finetuned or broad as you want. Just playing with a few variables or sliders could keep a lot of players busy for weeks, some years. Playing with zoom level and game speed, just zooming out and watching a city block in GTA V play by itself for a few years would be really fun; imagine more complex simulations where things grow and change unpredictably and the player can influence it on many levels. Self-playing Sim City or Crusader Kings.

Could you use machine learning to make a bot that good? Just make the automation pause a few seconds every time there's mouse or keyboard input. That would be amazing for a lot of games.

Do you know any good games designed from the ground up with this kind of semi-idle gameplay in mind?

Any pausable bots you can download and play with?
 

Frindis

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Jan 14, 2020
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Ultimate Arena on Steam comes in mind. You can make a full team of random or player named bots that fight to the death (think hunger games) on a 2D map. You can pause/slow down the time, select random events to occur, or just watch the bots naturally bump into whatever was generated from the getgo. I used to play this with my nephew some years back and it was quite fun to root for a random player and see how far he/she would come. There is probably more you can do now, as it has been 2 years or so since I last played it.
 
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Sep 22, 2020
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Ultimate Arena on Steam comes in mind. You can make a full team of random or player named bots that fight to the death (think hunger games) on a 2D map. You can pause/slow down the time, select random events to occur, or just watch the bots naturally bump into whatever was generated from the getgo. I used to play this with my nephew some years back and it was quite fun to root for a random player and see how far he/she would come. There is probably more you can do now, as it has been 2 years or so since I last played it.
Cool! That looks like a game my friends would have used to run a play-by-email Battle Royale RPG.
 
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Sep 22, 2020
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I had a moment earlier where I thought, This game was abandoned in 2013, why am I playing this? But I can't stop, because I'm so close to 100/100/100 all buildings. I've got 78% of achievements! How could I stop?

If you haven't, I highly recommend playing Cookie Clicker and sticking with it, because the emotions it evokes are so reminiscent of playing Diablo III it's ridiculous and educational.

Cookie Clicker is a game that goes nowhere and does nothing, too. Imagine if it grew in unexpected ways like the Grow games (a Flash favorite). I seem to have gotten stuck in the dungeon for the past couple of days and don't feel like nudging Chip out to see what happens, but it was a noble attempt at an autoplay roguelike. I really want to find more games with pausable autoplay.
 

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