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The Perfect Strategy Game?

May 21st, 2006 by Troy Goodfellow · No Comments · Uncategorized

GameSetWatch has published a design blurb for the “perfect strategy game” as envisioned by IGDA co-ordinator Michael Lubker. His vision has the usual “more, more, more” approach to game design that would be a beast to implement and probably very difficult to design a clear interface for.

Lubker’s strategy vision has elements from a bunch of other games cobbled together with no real sense of how the game would actually play. You have vehicles with riders like Act of War, custom units like Galactic Civilizations II, units requiring training and equipping like many RPGs, weather like Empire Earth II…there is not any real sense of what the goals would be, let alone the setting. This is a laundry list of features and not really a game idea properly understood. Lubker’s design looks like a standard RTS in many ways (resources, vehicles, tech trees) but it’s clear how the training of workers into soldiers would interrupt the flow. I know that I hate sending peasants into buildings in the Cossacks games just so I can get a guy with a gun.

Lubker is not alone, of course. If you ask people what their perfect game would be, most think of a game that lets them do everything that they want to do. But games are really about limits. You need boundaries. Structure. Rules. And throwing a bunch of different cool things into a game design means that you need a lot of structure to make sure that everything fits together properly.

Even Will Wright’s magnum opus in the making, Spore, is structured in discreet units. You won’t always be evolving a new creature. Once you get to a certain point, you stop evolving (biologically speaking) and the game rules shift. Now you are building a city. Then a civilization. Then you do interplanetary exploration. It looks like a game of everything, but its really not; it’s a series of different games that just happen to take place in the same general setting.

GameSetWatch is looking for more descriptions of “perfect games” and you can send your vision to them at editors@gamesetwatch.com


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