Monday, September 15, 2008
Version 1.0 is here! I never doubted this moment would arrive. Before downloading it, an important note: this is a stable version, with the most giant bugs resolved, but it’s NOT the final version. Not only there’s still many bugs but also the gameplay isn’t balanced yet, you’ll notice for yourself while playing: many options produce exagarrated results, others produce too feeble ones. So why releasing it? Well, this version has all the features I planned, and also it’s playable from the first to the last screen (bugs apart), so it seems to me right to call it 1.0.
I included a manual also, I tried not to leave anything aside, and also sometimes I needed to justify some design decisions I took, so forgive me if it’s too long (but there’s many pictures also!).
Talking about design decisions, I am about to decide a small change in game design: right now the player must take into account relations with other countries as a primary factor. Relations go from 1 to 100, and are approximated to values from 1 to 5 which are the only the player knows (expressed as 5 possible colors on the main map and 5 possible phrases the counsellors tell the player). Two reasons for this:
1) to purposely keep the player uncertain about the precise relations levels only giving him a partial information, in order to increase impredictability following the player’s decisions and thus general “fun” for the player
2) to reflect the fact that in real life it’s impossible to precisely quantify the level of a relationship, either between humans, or between complex organizations as states: the only chance is to simplify the possibilities in broad categories like those in the game (i.e. “excellent”, “good”, “neutral” etc.)
But playing the first games I noticed that the player needs precise informations about the current relations in order to take the best decisions. After all, the game is not (only) about guessing the chances of a possible outcome, but (also) to make the right choice given a certain situation, and it would be unfair to deny the player the knowledge of the situation, that’s why I wanted to include “predictions” about political outcomes of a given decision (e.g. relations will improve, public opinion will be enraged, relations with the U.S. will rise etc.).
At the same time I don’t want to give the player too much information, or the game would lose appeal, so this is how I might resolve the dilemma: the player will know exactly the relation “value” with all countries, but the predictions he’ll have from the counsellors will be imprecise.
I still have to decide about this, however.
I invite everyone to give an opinion about this quasi-final version. Below the download link