All posts tagged with "Marxist Game Development"

How We Made Them Pay

A game of Clockwork Empires can be looked at as a game of increasing resource accumulation. This is extremely reductive but provides a useful perspective on certain design issues. So give every commodity a value, watch the sum of value in the player’s control increase as resources are extracted from labour and processed into higher-value goods. Population increases over time, increasing available labour. Food requirements impose a cost against population growth, though rate of added productivity is higher than food-labour cost.  Capital infrastructure (modules, buildings) imposes costs, but vastly increases productivity. Character skill gain over time increases speed of production. Altogether an idealized chart of total resources accumulated over time could look something like this:

resources_over_timeWhen a player advances to a point where their pile of accumulated resources are effectively limitless, then they’ve basically won the economic game, which makes it easy to explore the rest of the game without serious challenges (aka “fun”). This blog post is not about dealing with that end-game state however, it’s about delaying that end-game post-scarcity utopia in a way that is interesting. Building a colony in Clockwork Empires is very much about the challenges faced – and overcome – in the journey from a handful of colonists alone in the wilderness to bustling industrial powerhouse. If we let that journey finish too quickly, then the game experience is poorer for it. If we mess with the player’s journey by throwing random tornadoes at them to blow up all their stuff, that feels unfair and frustrating.

The question is, how do we slow accumulation rate or subtract from a player’s resources outside of food requirements and construction costs? … And have players enjoy it.

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March Technical Status Update: HRRRRRRRNGH Edition

We will be at GDC next week, showing Clockwork Empires to people. How does this impact your life, you ask? First, there will be a Flurry of Exciting Things for you to read. Second, next week’s blog post will probably be more pictures of Sean drinking beet juice or something. Third, we are hard at work adding polish and spit to various parts of the game in order to get it ready to the press. This spit will eventually be transferred to you, the customers. Fourth, this is a terrible metaphor.

This is the paradoxical nature of game development: trying to finish a game, while making your PR department happy. One of the reasons why we have been writing about fungus, querns, and whatever the heck else people are writing about is because we have promised that the Rites of Revelation can be performed by various Reporter-Type Entities from Beyond the Stars. Once things are Revealed, according to the Cosmic Prophecies, we will let you know where you may find these revelations! In the mean time, we shall repeat the ancient chant of our people: “Man, PR is weird.”

There are, however, some exciting Things that have shown up on the programming side of the world. We can tell you about these things! We are now at Revision 12 of pre-alpha testing, for instance, and the game has improved substantially. Some milestones on this front include having in-office testers playing the game, seeing where they get stuck, and fixing these things; and, as of today, expanding our tester pool from our main six testers to a supporting cast consisting of other developers and friends. Next stop: random people from the Internet.

We haven’t actually done a technical status update since December, I guess? So it’s been awhile. Let’s look at some stuff.

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