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In Search of the Sufficiently Sophisticated Strategy Game
Last week I made a post in which I stated that any sufficiently sophisticated strategy game would have to be asymmetrical. Now I want to explain what I mean by “sufficiently sophisticated”.
I’ve dreamt of a game. Let’s call it the “sufficiently sophisticated” game. It is, to me, the holy grail of game design. It’s an idea that’s been growing in my brain since about the time I started in the computer biz. It’s a massive multiplayer space-based game built around an extremely large galaxy map. Here are the primary attributes of the SSSG:

  • Open-ended enough that being an explorer, conqueror, trader, businessman, builder, pirate, socialite, empror or spy are all viable strategies
  • Flexible enough that I can choose my own goals
  • Enough space that going out, exploring and finding something that nobody has every found before is possible
  • Enough worlds that if someone wants to conquer a huge section of the universe, that doesn’t mean I can’t do the same thing if I happen to start on the other side of it.
  • Highly developed places with lots to see and do. Backwater places that are hard to reach and undeveloped.
  • Elements of politics, economics, exploration, science and industry that I am free to participate in or not.

Over the next while, I’m going to post bits and pieces of the SSSF as I envision it, including those parts of it I’ve figured out. It’s already clear to me that the SSSF has to be primarily online (though not entirely). I can imagine it as a gigantic online universe is the style of Mankind, or a more distributed game something like Neverwinter Nights, though probably more centralized.