Qt3 Games Podcast: making strategy games even better

Title Qt3 Games Podcast: making strategy games even better
Author Tom Chick
Posted in Games podcasts
When February 20, 2013

This week we welcome Stardock's Derek Paxton to talk about add-ons that make strategy games even better. For instance, the upcoming Legendary Heroes add-on for Fallen Enchantress..

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The Fallen Enchantress expansion sounds great! FE is the first empire management-type game that's really grabbed me. It's just packed with great stuff.

How are you playing the beta before ALL the buyers who paid for the original disaster? I'd like to have earlier access, considering I paid for Elemental's Collector's Edition.

Tom, regarding the repetitive pattern of the Crysis games, didn't the first Far Cry (and Crytek's first game) follow much the same formula, substituting mutants for aliens?

Yep, absolutely. The Crysis template predates Crysis!

It was an early press build they provided so that I didn't have to interview Derek based only on reading the press release. I'm sure Stardock is eager to get the beta into everyone else's hands as soon as they've been able to put together a stable and reasonably feature complete build.

Great interview, Derek and Tom. It made me think of some questions for you guys:
Derek, you said the decision was made during the development of Fallen Enchantress to make the civ-esque strategy layer have the most influence on the game's outcome. Assuming that, what influence did you intend for the tactical layer to have on the game? Will that balance shift with the changes to tactical combat in Legendary Heroes?
Is anything being done to evolve the mid and end game to make the decisions as weighty and impactful as the ones made during the first part of the game?

Tom, Influence points in GalCiv were votes in the next United Planets (or whatever the space UN was called) debate - not purely abstract trading tokens.

I don't get it - is the ad a spoof or something? There seems to be no such thing as Age of Knighthood (at least pertaining to a browser game). www.ageofknighthood.com seems to be the only domain not atually being used for anything.

Maybe their servers are down.

Ah, thanks for the reminder. However, wasn't there some resource in GalCiv used only for diplomatic deals? Something analogous to the way influence works in Fallen Enchantress?

Man, I helped write the manual for one of the GalCivs, so you'd think I'd remember that sort of thing... :)

I suppose they must be. But the page was not found yesterday, too, when I first tried it, and even Google searching comes up with nothing at all, like that game doesn't exist. Puzzling.

TR has seemed utterly horrid from what they've shown, an amalgam of all the worst modern video game tropes topped with ample ludonarrative dissonance in a game they keep pushing the importance of Lara's tale or whatever. Maybe it's just bad PR, but they've shown quite a lot. Even if it turns out good, it'll be one more series getting homogenized for big bucks, which is sad.

"Ludonarrative dissonance"? Is that even a thing? And if it is, who even talks that way?

But I'd be curious to hear in plain English why you think it looks horrid. I haven't seen any of the press for it since last year's E3 presentation.

Clint Hocking does, and we must all worship at the altar of FC2!


There seems to be an immense disconnect between their purported gripping story of how Lara goes from an inexperienced, scared girl agonizing over hurting anyone to experienced Tomb Raider and the gameplay constraints of a modern AAA shooter in which she's apparently a psychopath shotgunning of every living thing in sight. They put heavy emphasis on the narrative in their marketing, and it's their chief justification for streamlining every part of the game, taking away real control and consequences for your actions.

Cinematic sequences like Lara balancing above an abyss played up as hugely dramatic, when in reality you cannot fail. Simply hold forward, yay! Platforming completely removed or safetypadded to death. Detective vision babysitting. Obligatory XP system seemingly pointless beyond hooking some players, crafting, collectible doodads to sate OCD needs, seemingly non-existent AI, QTEs for gritty executions(so visceral, just like your screen desaturing\getting covered in blood when you're hurt!), optional tombs for god's sake. It just seems like a mishmash of everything popular at the moment instead of being its own thing. It's not that I think you can't do anything new with a series, it's just that this doesn't seem to be anything new, just going down a checklist of tropes from games that sold well this generation. That's how it appears, could be that their PR is the worst in the world apart from securing review scores though.

Jason, how did you read, "Put points into such skills as strength, wisdom, and dexterity!" without yawning? Professional, sir.