Continuing where we left off...
Next up is spaceship design...
Friday, April 20, 2018
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Go. Compared to Go, chess has a fairly limited moveset; hence the reason it's good at the latter and not so hot at the former. Lanes also create some interesting strategic options that are lacking in the other two forms of FTL. That said, I don't think Warp and Gates should be excluded entirely. When you get down to it trying to travel from one planet to another, even within the confines of a single star system, can be a real headache both logistically and in terms of resources needed. Therefore, I think having some kind of Warp drive, even if only capable of sub-light speeds, would be an extremely useful component of any interstellar empire wanting to accomplish things on human timescales. As for Lanes and Gates, I think combining the two technologies could create some interesting choices for the player. Assume for a moment that each star system (on top of planets, moons and asteroid belts) has a bunch of nodes that connect to other nodes in neighboring systems. Building a gate at a node opens up that connection...here's the catch though, it's a one-way trip until a gate is set up on the other end. So instead of sending scout ships or a science vessel (depending on the 4X) the player must mount a resource intensive expedition complete with a survey team and construction ship to set up the gate on the other end. In this way it becomes very important for the player to consider where they want to focus their "stellar cartography" efforts. Some nodes with more distant connections require more advanced gates to utilize which can only be accessed through technological advancement. In this way new routes will become available as the game progresses, creating shortcuts and unlocking new areas for exploration or avenues of attack while still keeping things within the star cluster generated at the start of the game. In fact there's a lot this sort of FTL arrangement adds to wartime strategies, but I'll discuss that in more detail in the section on warfare.
Whew! Long post...expect more in about a week where I'll continue this space 4X examination by continuing with the next item on the list - colonization.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Sadly, when it comes to video games, I can't say it has been a recent problem. Many older games have had notoriously awful endings, in no small part due to the assumption that few players would actually ever make it the finish before moving on to something else. Hence, developers rarely felt the need to put real effort into that last bit before the credits roll. A couple of games that I think concluded on a strong note are Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Vandal Hearts, Ghouls and Ghosts, as well as the original Valkyria Chronicles. Contrary to expectation, a large number of highly regarded story-driven games kind of drop the ball at the end. Pretty much all the Silent Hill titles have overly obtuse finales, and the Soulsborne series (for all the attention I give it) unanimously finishes up in a manner far too abrupt for the amount of time and effort it takes to make it there. That's not to say every game needs to conclude with an hour long cutscene, but when you look at the amount of building up the Mass Effect trilogy did you're left wondering what the heck they were thinking by slapping on those half-ass red/blue/green endings.
The problem can be so pronounced within the industry at times I sometimes think that, when coming up with a narrative arc, game designers should figure out the ending first and then work their way back from there. Otherwise this whole player-not-finishing-the-game-because-of-crap-endings becomes a self-perpetuating loop. One way I've seen developers try to circumvent the issue is by playing up the idea of a trilogy, or at the very least a definite sequel. Everything from triple-AAA titles like Halo 2 to indie games such as the Banner Saga 2 try to pull it off. Occasionally, it works out well enough, but more often than not we get Half-life 2. Some games don't even make it that far. The Order 1886 just stops abruptly at what would normally be the second act in a three act story with no sequel forthcoming.