Friday, January 28, 2005

As well as fixing some small bugs I had a few test runthroughs of democracy tonight, and hit a design snag.
There isn't enough character, enough change. As a back-end simulation, this game does what it says on the tin, but it lacks the sense of *reality* or *grounding* that's needed if gamers will connect with their role as president/PM.
What I really DON'T want to do is the really lame obvious thing and throw in "a bunch of govt advisors with quirky personalities" which is what standard tedious design practice would be.
But it does need something... something I can't quite get my finger on.
Because this is a low budget mini game, I have the option of finishing it, releasing it and updating it over time, with the feedback from early customers, but I'd rather avoid that.
My first thought is to do something cunning involving text parsing and the quarterly reports, but I think a more fundamental improvement might be required. I think after the first few turns the interface needs to be expanded upon. My number one concern is that the player will start to find the game repetitive after a short period, I can't let that happen.
I could restrict events and dilemmas, letting them only appear after a few months, and have similar features that appear over time. What I REALLY wan't to do is have a triggerable change where the whole game alters, maybe the chance to declare a state of emergency and put off the elections? maybe a chance to negotiate with foreign leaders? the risk of a leadership challenge from within your own party?
None of this sounds trivial to code :(

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