Saturday, 31 August 2013

Command - Post Mortem

Command has been on the backburner since the first version of Encircled was released about a year ago. It is now officially dead, as I've identified it as an overly-ambitious and excessively simulationist project that wants to be too many things at once. This excess stemmed from its two main aims as a game project:

  1. It wanted to enable the player to answer the question "Would I be able to take a city full of civilians with no military training, march them for several days through their own and a hostile land, curbstomp several trained armies (at a technology level similar to that somewhere in the real world at some point between 1000BC and 1000AD), and finally sack a city, without receiving any reinforcements along the way?".
  2. It wanted to be a strategy game that has a plausible model of the flow of information in a battle of such an era; the generals would have immediate knowledge only of what they can directly see and hear, and all other information would be delayed reports from scouts and lieutenants, and all orders not transmitted by loud instruments would have delayed effect.
Both of these seem like reasonable concepts for an ambitious strategy game, but doing both in the same game is probably beyond my capabilities as a solo developer. They'll go in the ideas file as two separate ideas. Maybe something to look at for the next 7dRTS, provided it happens (and preferably if it isn't hosted on the Ludum Dare site, because I don't like the feedback system it imposes on game jams).

The first of those concepts seems very similar to FTL and would likely have similar balance issues - trivial when ahead of the power curve, impossible when behind it, and challenging (but very likely to result in death) when matching it. For that reason I will probably choose to tackle the second concept first. I haven't heard of any games that do that. Apart from possibly Mount&Blade, but from what I've seen that one looks a bit heavy on the power-fantasy side of things to give much weight to the difficulties that arise from realistic information transmission in battle. I haven't exactly played it :)

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