I guess I just have a whole different approach to games (and other entertainment, by the way). I’d rather react to what a game is rather than what I want it to be, based on expectations or otherwise. Which I understand is mostly what you’re doing when you say House of the Dying Sun “[isn’t] very good”. I understand that. But whether it’s good or not – I think it’s very good for the reasons I’ve explained – is a different question entirely from whether it needs to be an open-world game with randomly generated missions and the ability to fly around between star systems instead of picking missions from a branching tree structure. We have plenty of open-world games and a lot of them are poorly made, without personality, and crammed with filler. Mike Tipul made the right call by scaling House of the Dying Sun to his capabilities and as such, there’s one less ambitious game fallen short asking for your money. There is instead one more shrewdly focused design with personality, unique gameplay, and an unforgettable aesthetic, to boot. Tipul is a better designer and House of the Dying Sun is a better game for focusing on what it can do rather than fixating on something that didn’t work early in the design process.
That’s one of the dangers of the “design in a fishbowl” approach that I don’t like: people don’t understand that one of the hardest parts of game design is knowing what to leave out. They feel like they’re being deprived of something when a feature goes by the wayside, regardless of whether that feature would have made for a better game.
At any rate, House of the Dying Sun still has some development to go. It’s getting a survival mode and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of replayability added to the missions, like scores or random parameters. That might bring around some people who can’t accept hand-crated missions as a viable way to make a game.
I understand what you’re getting at, but I just don’t understand that mindset. Infinite replayability is only as good as the actual playability. That’s like saying “I don’t care how good the food is so long as it’s all-you-can-eat.”
Well, sure, but I totally get it. I fall somewhere in the middle. Infinite replayability is fine if core systems are good. I love Kerbal Space Program, Minecraft, Europa Universalis, and Civilization. All have (near) infinite replayability. I also adore games like Unity of Command, Bastion, Brothers, and TIE Fighter. The dichotomy between EU IV and Unity of Command doesn’t matter, as both are exemplars of their design focus, and are among the (IMO) 5 best games in the last decade.
But if I’m honest I’d gladly take another game to go in the first group over the second. Doesn’t mean anything other than that if given the choice of two games of equal quality, one being hand crafted discreet missions, the other a more freeform sandbox, I’ll take the latter*.
*does not apply to RPGs and action games. 0 interest in Bethesda games, or your GTA type games.
Tom, a part of the issue (I think) is that fans of space sims like Brian and myself have dreamed with good space sims with dynamic campaigns for a long while, and those are exceedingly rare (I can only think of Starshatter, to be honest). Enemy Starfighter was the first game in ages to propose anything similar to that, so you can imagine how excited space fans got…
…only to get a game with handcrafted, static missions, like the dozens we already played in the past, including classics like Freespace 2 (which is hard to beat). So while it’s not a problem for you (since you’re not a rabid fan of a particular genre which has been underrepresented for decades), it is a problem for fans of the genre who have dreamed of a Falcon 4.0 style space sim for ages.
Wow --I just looked at that game from a fresh eye – it looks marvelous! Do I need a joystick? I’m gonna get it as soon as I’m finished with Fallout Survival mode – expectations do tend to diminish our fun levels – btw can I get a digital copy of freelancer anywhere? Its been ages since I played that.
No, absolutely don’t play it with a joystick. Or keyboard and mouse, either. It’s built from the ground up to be played with a gamepad and it feels wonderful.
I guess I’m not really thinking in terms of sims specifically, but in terms of space games in general. Space games are clogged full of procedurally generated open-ended meandering trade/fight/upgrade stuff. For instance, I put Rebel Galaxy in that category, and Rebel Galaxy is great. But it doesn’t let you guys sit in the cockpit of a spaceship, so if that’s your bag, well…I guess that explains why the Star Citizen scam is paying off so well. :)
Actually, I bet there are more examples. Oh, hey, if you guys want an example of in-cockpit space combat fighting chock full of open-ended procedurally-generated upgrade-driven filler, why aren’t you guys going nuts over NeonXSZ? That’s what happens when you don’t have the gameplay to support that degree of openness. I’m glad House of the Dying Sun isn’t more like NeonXSZ, because to listen to the developer talk, that was his concern if he’d gone ahead with the earlier design. Sure, it would have been cool if it worked. But if a guy says he can’t make it work, it doesn’t need to diminish what he can make work.
But, really, I do get it. As an erstwhile flight simmer, I sure did want a dynamic campaign in my flight sims. I just hate to see this thread talking down a really good game based on your expectations rather than the quality of the game.
Which is, understandably, a terrible viewpoint for a connoisseur. It is, however, a reasonable attitude for a hungry family on a budget.
The more games you play the easier it is to take each one as it comes and maintain a high standard for the ones you give significant play time to. The fewer games you play, either because of budget, genre preferences, or just lack of time (which means that when you get a precious hour to play you don’t want to spend it installing and learning mechanics), the more you’d rather get out of each game you bother with.
Welcome back to another week of space gaming my friends! This week’s game of the week is the space game and personal relationship management sim, Sol Trader! I also have previews of Jumpdrive, Space Run Galaxy as well as a quick look at Steamworld Heist coming later this week!
Last week during the Birth of the Federation stream, someone reminded me that there’s one of those FMV game thingies that came out in the 90s focused entirely on Klingons called, cleverly, Star Trek: Klingon. I’d completely forgotten about it, but I’m trying to learn Klingon, actually, so I was told it has a language lab.
AND IT DOES. Narrated by none other that Gowron himself. I needed to use WinXP Mode to make it work, but it’s awesome.
You are stranded on a deserted planet after you space ship was shot down. It’s a survival game where you need to eat, drink, sleep and maintain body temperature while trying to figure out why you were shot down and find a new home for humanity after earth was destroyed. So far I’m enjoying it and it runs pretty good. It doesn’t have combat, at least I haven’t come across any in the first 10 hours. The basic jist of this game is that it’s a explorer, survival with lite crafting set in a SiFi setting.