So far in our series we have discussed the how and why of Lord of Rigel's creation. This week we are going to discuss the driving design philosophy behind Lord of Rigel. We hope that this article will answer some of the questions surrounding why certain features may appear or not appear in the game as well as explain why certain systems in Lord of Rigel were designed the way they were.
Three fundamental thoughts drove much of the development of Lord of Rigel. First, that the game formula for Master of Orion 2 was the right one. Second, that players should be rewarded and systems should be built to do that. And finally, that game flow is critical to creating a seamless experience.
As we have said many times before it is our firm belief that Master of Orion 2 did a lot right and struck a balance between sci-fi storytelling and enjoyable game play. Ultimately we believe that Lord of Rigel follows those footsteps by creating a game that is space themed, rather than trying to make a game out of space. The difference in phrasing here is significant - we are acknowledging that at the core of it all of this is a game and we are not trying to condense all the realism of space into a game. We have chosen to go the simple route with numerous systems in the game because we believed that sometimes providing the ultimate realism can be convoluted and can make game play cumbersome and clunky.
Players play games to be entertained and rewarded for their efforts. We evaluated and designed every system with this thought in mind. Many of the systems that and we will get into those in later weeks as we discuss those features and how they work.
The way a game flows is another important factor to consider when designing a game. Especially in 4x games, game flow can make or break a game. Certain core features of the game were heavily influenced by the concept of maintaining game flow or pace - in particular game play style and the complexity of certain systems. For instance, in tactical combat we felt that turn based combat would blend easier with the galaxy scene and its turn based system. It felt out of place to have a fast paced combat system for a game that was about managing a vast interstellar empire. Additionally, we decided not to create a ground version of tactical combat with infantry, tanks, soldiers, etc. Had we chosen to have ground combat, a player would need to go through two combat systems for each planet they attacked or defended, plus all of the intricate planning involved in designing units and ships. The question of whether the player was rewarded by having these two combat systems was a clear no based on the fatigue of doing this through hundreds of systems.
Next week we will be discussing why Lord of Rigel is a turned based strategy game rather than an RTS or hybrid system.