All posts tagged with "management is a real place and you will go there if you misbehave"

The Marathoner’s Wall

It’s that time of the lunar calendar again! We’re going to be putting out a major monthly patch in a few days, more info to come toward the end of the week.

As for game development news, this blog post was really tough to write because I haven’t actually been working directly on the game code in probably a couple of months now, barring my brief work enabling a new biome.

#1 Management Tip? Condition.

#1 Management Tip? Condition.

Most of the work that I’ve been doing has been the rather inglorious work of preparing revenue reports for our financial partner (Canada), preparing for taxes, product management, and other typical things that business owners need to do. Nothing glamorous or interesting as game development blog material.

Between “Early Access” and “Shipped”

One of the things I have been doing for the last few weeks, though, is quantifying the details that separate our game as it exists now from the level of polish people expect from finished games. There’s a gulf between a nearly completed game and a completed game that comes down to all the tiny details that aren’t absolutely necessary for the game to function, but these are the details that remove the necessity for the player to do detective work to play the game. In a truly great game, among a host of other things, the game will gently encourage players to do the things they wanted to do anyway in all the right ways without them having to puzzle out how. This is what we need to do to get from the bare skeleton of a game to that properly fleshed out experience. Getting there is a little weird.

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Tales from the UI Skunkworks: Military Management, Episode One of A Gazillion

User interface design is, honestly, one of the most difficult parts of creating a game.  Every button has a profound impact on how people will be motivated to play (or not play) a game.  I suspect this is why so many games seem to almost consciously decide not to experiment too radically with UI.  It’s so much easier to just build it the way people are used to rather than building it the way that perhaps it should be.  We’re no different; Dredmor’s UI has a lot of flaws that we didn’t see at the time of development. For instance, it turns out that Inventory Management isn’t actually a super fun mini-game. Even then, we completely overhauled the Dredmor gameplay UI some 4 or 5 times before we settled on a system which is still flawed, and to this day leads people to play the game in a way that detracts from the experience. Such is game development.

Not like this. Never like this.

We are doing our best to apply the lessons learned from Dredmor to Clockwork Empires. Not all of these lessons are applicable, of course, as CE isn’t a Roguelike — and there are a lot more moving parts to control. Granted, there are also a lot more strategy/management style games with real-time mouse-based UIs to draw from, and we have played a ton of them; however, by virtue of making a game that crosses the genre-streams a bit, none of these systems perfectly fit the needs of CE. For instance, dropping a Starcraft control scheme on the game would be inappropriate because Starcraft is (arguably) about competitive micro-managing, optimized build orders, and a bit of gambling on the current “meta”. In contrast, CE is ideally about creating stories within its simulation.

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