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Choosing A Path

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There was no news yesterday. I think I'm going to stick with the approach of "talk, but only when there's something worth talking about." Yesterday, there was nothing to talk about. Today, there kind of is.

Two things. First, I'm dropping hexagons. Honestly, they're just a far bigger pain in the ass than I feel is actually worth my time. I don't feel that having funky six-sided tiles really helps with anything aside from a couple of minor technological benefits (which are far outweighed by the general pain in the ass of dealing with them, in my personal opinion.) I'm going to stick with squares, probably with diagonals thrown in at no extra cost. It'll be simpler that way, and I think it might feel more natural, too. So that's decision number one.

Decision number two, is that I'm not going to bother with multiplayer. Why?

Several reasons. For starters, I have very little experience with networking, and online communication in general. I feel it'd be beyond my abilities to attempt to construct a multiplayer system over a network or the Internet. But that's just the technical reasoning.

The design reasoning on the other hand.. I looked at the realistic consequences of trying to make a game playable online. If I wanted the game to be good online, what would I have to do? Well, first, I'd more or less have to dumb down the game to the level at which it wasn't really an advanced strategy game anymore. Secondly, and this is part of what sold me; It'd have to be a war game. I'd have to make it a war game, because any and all subtle features in the game would (for the most part) be ignored by players trying as hard as possible to win. In the face of competition, I think most people forget about doing anything other than trying to achieve victory. I believe the old saying "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how much fun you have," is pretty much a load of crap. I think it's a lie told to children, in an attempt to blunt their natural competitive urges that tell them to achieve victory at all costs. If a person wins or or not has a heavy effect on how much fun a person has. Argue with me on that one if you want, but it's honestly what I believe. If I want to make Kingstone a multiplayer game, it'll have to be war-centric.

Now don't get me wrong, nobody likes leading massive armies and crushing my opponents more than me. I'm down with all that sword-flailing, siege-lobbing, horse-riding shiz. But it hit me that there are too many war games out there. Anybody can make another brainless war game about killing everything around you, world domination, ruling over the population, blah, blah, blah. The truth is (and maybe this is a bad thing, I don't know,) I tend to be the kind of person who looks for more in games. I don't believe in simple, shallow games. They're good for a laugh, but they rarely last long. And there are just too many good things that I think I could include in Kingstone if I chose to make it a purely single player game that I couldn't include if I just wanted to make it a multiplayer war game.

But I also had a flash of inspiration earlier today. Namely, I wondered if it'd be possible to combine a turn based strategy with a sort of construction-and-management simulation. A turn-based strategy with more than just war strategy to it. Tactical diplomacy, trade agreements, territory control, the bickering between two leaders. A game not about war, but rather, a game about ruling a Kingdom. Maybe I'm just a peaceful man at heart, but I think it might prove to be a highly playable game. I'm hoping to appeal to the people who like strategy games and management games, but are often thrown off by the element of time. Perhaps, most of all, I'd like to create a game without a real end. Without a score. Without a hard and fast victory condition to force people to play. But I still think it has some potential. Throw in a few campaigns for good measure, and some nice random content generators for replay value, and you might have quite an enjoyable game.

And if not, I'll learn. But I'd rather learn making something a little different, than I would by remaking a game that we've already got dozens of. Even if it doesn't pay as well in the long run.
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