How to generate rules for a casual strategy game?
A decade ago, I began wondering what other dynamics could a computer game have, than shooting things? I was watching one of the greatest drama series ever, a prison series called OZ that presented a multitude of characters coping with intense social problems, presenting an intricate web of social interaction. So, I started on writing a game that would explore social interactions.
Years of failed design
Most of my ideas did not go far. The social interactions that play out in real life are tremendously difficult to model into a game setting. I wrote page after page of game designs and mechanics, drawing upon rules from roleplaying games like D&D and Rolemaster I used to DM in high school.
Some of the interactions one can model but then, it does not make any sense to turn into a game. Most of interactions are about real humanoids, and are simply impossible to simulate in a game, no matter how great the VR graphics and animation are. And its really not about graphics, when you think about it.
After years of accepting failure, and mostly other projects, I feel I have the detail and ambition cut down to a level that might just be possible to wrap into a game. The game design for Zecurfoez is now in its first version, and open source in case someone wants to help (or implement their own version).
Focus on how followers and alliances generate dynamic
While I have more social-web focused game design concepts, I thought I'd design this game concept around a more familiar genre: RTS, on a planet, where you see terrain and buildings and units. As Starcraft, and Populous before it appear.
So how does one generate sane rules?
Clearly a terrain with units is not a game. Also it seems that game rules need to be flexible. The design even includes a lobby where gamers can vote on some rules.
To ensure that the rules are sane, I thought it might be best to get some helper app together.
From there, I thought maybe the helper could calculate some limits, like the minimum moves required to move through the game world.
And while at it, why not generate the whole ruleset for the game with this helper app!
Ever start a Civilization V game with the largest size map, only to realize you won't ever finish the game, because the area is too large for the number of players? A 12 hour game is not that "casual".
At minimum, this helper app would help to keep the game world size reasonable, and the game time limit at human-life-sized length.
And what else would be convinient? And how "the heck" does one write such a calculator?!