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Demos and Half-baked Ideas

Karl G

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18 minutes ago, RevEng said:

I think your hunch that the gameplay would be a bit samey is right. Part of that is the regular grid of terrain.


Borrowing a few ideas from another EA title, M.U.L.E ...

  • have different squares of the map have different benefits. One might give your fleet better firepower, another might allow you to rebuild lost ships over time, etc., provided you have a ship parked on that territory.
  • after a certain number of turns, events happen, possibly with an accompanying subspace message displayed. e.g. "asteroid strike destroys the space station", "alien probe with unknown abilities is passing by. intercept it if you can." 
  • If either of the players engages their FTL starport drive, you enter a M.U.L.E land auction type round, where a cursor moves over the screen. Either player can move their ship, but you both can't choose the same square. (first gets to go there) The motivation here might be you need to get to a particular resource first (e.g. get to that alien probe) but you're risking your king-type piece to do it.

Regarding godzilla vs bambi, I think it's a matter of making sure that bambi is much quicker than godzilla, despite being way less powerful. There were plenty of Archon rounds I had with my brother where one person won with what you might think is the weaker piece, just by chipping away at it. The key is giving them different characteristics to make up for any obvious weakness. Speed, timed shields, some kind of weapon that's a slow energy drain on the enemy, etc.

Thank you for the ideas. I've never actually played M.U.L.E., so maybe spending some time doing that will be helpful to me for inspiration, and to see how these kinds of game elements play out.

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Though both games were published by Electronic Arts in the first batch of games they issued, game wise the two are quite different. I see what RevEng means about all those suggestions, but playing M.U.L.E. probably would not benefit you in developing a chessboard-like game more than reading the description.


However M.U.L.E. is one of my favorite games so definitely a reason to play it nevertheless! I understand that Melanie Bunten handles the rights for Ozark. Official remakes come and go, but I don't know on what terms. There is a board game version too, but I haven't checked if it still is manufactured or was a short term thing.


Also I remember Elektronite over at the Intellivision side had contacts with the rights owners of Archon a couple of years ago, and kind of had an opening for licensing if anyone wanted to develop it, but from what I can see no attempt was made. I also know a guy who make his own board game from Archon, and while he got in touch with the right holders, as long as he didn't publish plans how to make it, they let him post pictures of it.

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