We’ll be writing quite a few posts regarding some coming changes. Lots of fun stuff in store. One of the big items is a balance change. Medium Flak, Field Gun, Explosive vs. Armor, Fire, other weapons. There are a lot of things going on. However, what I’d like to talk about is our stance on design changes and basically how we go about creating the game. Well, this is more of my own approach.
This was all sparked by a forum on our forum. Click after the jump to read on…
A player complained about the God-like changes we made to the flak. What this presumes is that we might not have been listening to players. However, it’s in my interest not to do any more work than I have to (and spend the entire day watching Battlestar Galactica, seriously I just started) and not touch balance. Of course, things will never be perfect and changes will inevitably need to be made. Changes always come from what players are saying.
The second thing this assumes is that we don’t talk about our intentions. This assumption is only partially true. The intention is always to make the game more fun. I will tell you that changes are and why the happened. Nothing more, nothing less. The facts will be given to you. Just the facts. It’s my policy never to discuss any strategies, meta, or higher level design content or intent. Some of you want us to reveal our higher level intentions, all the options on the table, completely transparency. Transparency is good in most cases. However, transparency will ruin the player experience here.
To explain to you exactly what I’m planning to do, why I’m doing it, and all other options I have is simply using too many words. In fact, I prefer not to use the English language or any other common speak to convey what I’m doing. Instead, the mechanics and the subsystems that I’ve designed and tweak is the language that I use to speak. Speaking in tongues… so to speak.
By playing the game the player has entered into what we designers call the magic circle, a contract between the designer and player. This is where the dance begins. It takes two to tango, right? The designer designs the rules—the call. Well, in this case the player explores the rules laid out by the designer—the response. This cycle continues perpetually for us since there are many variables that exist in delicate coexistence with each other. The response, our conversation, may go sour. A missed step. A sudden change in tempo. Now the ball is back in my court to start the dance again.
The exploration part is the most important here, taking the steps, doing the tango. By explaining, with regular words, you lose the exploration. You lose the fun. It’s as if the music stopped. Even if you play the game like your life depended on it and figure everything out, there will still be some parts you won’t fully understand. There’s a certain unpredictability that remains—that’s why it’s so exciting to have a partner, you just never know. They say that to know the face of God is to know madness. Trust me, the game will be very very different if you knew all the technical underpinnings holding everything together.
So this brings me to it, we are gods here (me mostly, puahahah). We can do whatever we want, whatever we see fit. As I said in the forum, I can get rid of the medium flak right now if I really wanted to. Depends on how big of a jerk I want to be. However, I’m no god of the old. No fire and brimstone here. You pray that the Squid is too weak? Well, we’re there listening. We’re watching. Prayers don’t go unanswered. Our scripture, our word, are the mechanics.
And there it is. We’re making Thursday the official Day of Gabriel, our patron saint. On that day you shall take to the Church in the Sky by playing the game and spend one tenth of your income in our store. Angels in the form of Sky Whales shall grace you with their presence.
I hear they’re looking for a new a new pope too. SIGN ME UP.