Archive for December, 2011

Distant Star 2nd Take

December 30, 2011 Comments off

Despite lambasting Distant Star for the lack of documentation (and other issues) I’ve been playing it a bit on the iPad.  I just like space 4X games and honestly, with a little bit more stuff Distant Star will be a pretty good one.

So I’ve been fooling around with it and thinking of ways I’d change the game aside from the obvious improvements (larger tech tree, more races, planetary governors, etc).  I’ll assume that Trevor (who sent me a nice note I hadn’t respond to…so I’ll say something nice in this blog post instead…like I’m enjoying the game 🙂 ) is busily working on.

More on the lines of actual game design changes that affect game play.  There are two aspects of classic 4X space games that annoy me.  First is the usual management of a huge empire and many many fleets.  This can be somewhat minimized with better game features to help the player out.  Build lists, planetary governors, fleet rally points, etc. but it’s still a massive pain.

The second is somewhat related…the lack of terrain.  Pretty much by the late game you have the technology to fly directly anywhere.  Which also means that if you’re winning and trying to stomp out the last few colonies you need to picket or colonize every system so new colonies don’t popup on systems that you’ve already stomped.  On huge boards this is a pain in the rear.

The other aspect of lack of terrain is the lack of choke points and the nebulous nature of where your empire’s borders really are.  The enemy can always fly past your “frontier” systems and hit your “core” systems.  There are no critical systems, they’re pretty much all equally critical in the end game since most will have all the planetary improvements and generate the same general amount of ships and money.

So what would I do different?  I think I would play with the concept of ship maintenance to limit fleet sizes.  Then I’d move to a “warp lines” based game map.  I might also consider using the concept of critical materials (warp crystals or whatever) so that some systems have great value either from geography (choke point) or material wealth that conveys significant strategic advantage.   I’d probably make every homeworld have this material by default.

Then I’d playtest the hell out of it to see if these were positive or negative changes to gameplay.

Dang, I wonder if he’d license me the engine.

Categories: games, iOS Apps

Oh, Charlie, you should have been here for Christmas — Scobleizer

December 30, 2011 Comments off

Oh, Charlie, you should have been here for Christmas — Scobleizer.

Meh, I disagree with Scoble that it’s too late for Microsoft…they still have a few cards in their hands they can play even though there’s no real indication that they will do so.

There are still a lot of enterprise users of BB and I believe that MS can claw it’s way into double digit market share if it can show a better enterprise migration path to WP than to the iPhone or Android on this basis alone.

Personally I would buy Good and tailor their products for the WP platform (preferably exclusively).  Given that MS also controls the other end of the connection they should be able to create the best enterprise user experience available…not just from the end user perspective but also from the IT perspective.

Then I’d look at implementing an AirPlay like mirror protocol in a little $50 device you can hook to a business projector geared toward flawless wireless powerpoint presentations from your WP device.  Especially if it also works with the TV in the hotel room and I can pair my WP to a bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

Looks like sharepoint integration and office integration is already pretty decent so these are already advantages for the enterprise user.

I’d support enterprise app development with deeply discounted or free dev phones for MSDN premium (or whatever tier) subscriptions.

Scoble is right that with such a huge advantage in the consumer market that going head to head against Android and iOS is probably a lost cause without a truly game changing advantage.  One that WP7 doesn’t provide.  However, the enterprise market served by BB is a far softer target and would get enough WP devices into people’s hands to see that it’s not a bad platform at all.  And if you have FB, Netflix and the usual apps it’s also good enough for home use.

Frankly, even as an Apple fan, I’m sorely tempted to make a Nokia my next phone purchase.  I probably won’t because I’d likely lose my unlimited data plan if I did.

Categories: Smartphones

parislemon • “Horseshit”

December 16, 2011 Comments off

parislemon • “Horseshit”.

Woof, pass the popcorn.  I guess when you call someone out for class warfare the gloves comes off and the return fire can be brutal.

Josh was wrong anyway and his outrage misplaced…or perhaps more accurately, placed to appeal to android fans…

Categories: Smartphones