Flash of Steel header image 2

Three Moves Ahead Episode 36 – Time to Catch Up

October 27th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 4 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


We try to make up some ground this week with a little chat about Panzer General: Allied Assault (via Julian), Eufloria (via Tom) and, our main topic, Tropico 3 (via me). When is a remake enough? Am I trust too critical of a game that I actually like parts of? Can you cautiously recommend a game with major gameplay problems?

Listen here.
RSS here.
Subscribe on iTunes.

Julian on Panzer General: Allied Assault
Tom’s Dragon Age diaries
Troy’s Tropico 3 review


4 Comments so far ↓

  • Jon Shafer

    I’d agree with you Troy that it’s alright to keep a sequel pretty similar to an earlier iteration as long as it’s been a while since the last game came out. It’s great to see old strategy franchises come back, even if the gameplay is pretty much the same. I’d much rather see that (with the possibility of more innovative follow-ups) than nothing at all. And if the original game(s) were pretty cool anyways, why not see how they do with a fresh coat of paint? You can’t keep everything the same, but sound design should remain sound even a decade or two later.

    On the subject of campaign vs skirmish/challenge, I’ll go out on a limb and say a large percentage of people lean in the direction of campaign-first. I just think that’s how players are conditioned to think now. You start up the game and begin the campaign/story mode (which usually includes some kind of built-in tutorial that people also now expect). I’m guilty of this myself. RPGs pretty much ONLY offer this style of gameplay, and I could see that genre having an influence on how quite a number of players approach games. I can count on one hand the number of people I know that play the “side” modes before any available campaigns, and they’re tend to be MP-first guys anyways.


  • Ian Bowes (spelk)

    Enjoyed the podcast folks, although I’ve not really had much interest in Tropico at all, obviously my ears pricked up when there was mention of Mass Effect. I am in love with the Mass Effect Universe, and I’ve really bought into it hook, line and sinker. The reason why I hold it in such high esteem, is because it melds together three gaming aspects I enjoy, namely; An engrossing and involving story that can be enjoyed outside of the game (in the form of supporting books, graphic novels etc), a credible Science Fiction roleplaying game that doesn’t borrow from other IP’s, and finally a tactical squad combat game that requires knowledge and thought on how best to overcome the odds. Mass Effect has some quirks that could annoy folks, such as the cumbersome inventory system on the consoles, or the unfulfillment of the initial promise from the Unexplored Worlds mechanism, but it does so much that I enjoy so well, I can work around these failings. Reading the prequel book beforehand made the experience even more interesting because you knew the background, and you could explore and pursue lines of questioning to open up even more tidbits about the story that you were actively taking a part in! Most wordy textual RPG’s struggle from being able to hold the audience in between action set pieces. Mass Effect was one instance where I would crave my next dialogue section so I could reveal more about the Universe, and explore the motives behind the characters on offer. Anyway, explore Mass Effect on the PC for the better UI, better decryption/hacking mini-game and obviously better “elevator” loading performance, dive into Drew Karpyshan’s storied world before and after the game with the books Revelations and Ascension, and then hang on to your biotic omni-tools because it looks like Mass Effect 2 is going to be a wild ride, and I’m salivating at the very thought of it now.

    When Tom was mentioning Eufloria, and the game dynamic, I couldn’t stop thinking about an indie game I’d seen many moons ago, called Dyson. I didn’t remember the birds, but I did click with the trees and seeds idea. Looked it up, it turns out Eufloria is a game formerly known as Dyson[1]. I tried the game early on, but found it was based on the what I call ‘real-time risk’ concept that games like Galcon, Mushroom Wars, Kingmania, and theres only so much strategy you can employ in those games, that more about shuffling supply about a map built around fixed points. Generally amass what you can at your front, and use your growing colonies at the back to keep feeding the front line, that’s about it. I may go back and see if the name change has brought anything more to the gameplay.

    I’m so stoked at the prospect of Chris Parks participation next week! I’ve followed AI War: Fleet Command since I first discovered it tucked away on Impulse, and I’ve simply marvelled at the unique and ground breaking design concepts and Chris’s dedication and involvement with his games’ community and his transparency about his design and his plans for the future. I managed an early interview with Chris for UKGamer.co.uk[2] that’s worth a look. And now with his game hitting Steam and reaching a whole new audience, I wish him all the best for the future. Looks like this week should be an AI War gaming Week. I know Tom’s played it, but its time to get Troy and Julian to sample its delights, especially since its had a bit of make-over in its current Version 2.0 incarnation. I think Bruce would enjoy AI War, but sadly, I doubt he’s got the time to spend on it.

    [1] http://www.dyson-game.com/
    [2] http://www.ukgamer.co.uk/2009/07/interview-with-chris-park-about-ai-war.html

  • Ian Bowes (spelk)

    Troy, I think the link to Episode 36 on the TMA index page is wrong.

  • Punning Pundit

    I have a friend who works for a major games publisher. No matter how often I tell her that I _would_ pay full price for a remake of certain classic games, she insists that their market research says I wouldn’t. I hope the success of tropico and magesty tells publishers that they’re wrong…