Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The player is the star

Another part of Soren's article on Sid's Tips focused on leaving the fun to the player:
Creating story-based games can be an intoxicating experience for designers, many of whom go overboard with turgid back stories full of proper nouns, rarely-used consonants, and apostrophes. Furthermore, games based on complex, detailed simulations can be especially opaque if the mysterious inner workings of the algorithmic model remain hidden from view. As Sid liked to say, with these games, either the designer or the computer was the one having the fun, not the player.
To me this is why Masters of orion 3 failed; the fun was taken out of the hands of the player. Somewhere in the process of reducing the micromanagement of an empire into an emperor's influence, the game lost the fun as well. Once the point limit was removed to allow micromanagement again it still didn't bring the fun back. The golden egg was broken.

In my quest to build totally dynamic virtual worlds that could exist quite happily on their own, I hope I'm not taking the fun out and giving it to the developers of the worlds. The project should lead to living, breathing worlds as a shell for the real game, but the real games are still only imaginary. This point of Sid's raises doubts that I may not be able to validate until a game uses the procedural world that is generated.