The Future of RTS...& the 7 Deadly Sins

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Re: The Future of RTS...& the 7 Deadly Sins

Post by whippersnapper » 22 Oct 2009, 19:40


Guts, Grace & The Other:

Imagination is a wonderful thing but without guts and grace it ain't worth a hill of beans.

- from Rman's "Incisions With Precision: An Excavation for Light" (in the pub pipeline)

I spoke to Buginator's request for a concise wrap-up (in one post) to all the themes of this thread a while back and promised a depiction in pure graphics. I did put together that graphics package but for various practical concerns have thought it best to publish in the WZ Gallery section of my Joomla ! site instead of here.

HOWEVER.... I'll parlay the following as a robust substitute.

Most of this tread is linked inextricably, in one way or another, to WZ's balance and there is no finer single source that explicates that game design topic and tasking than -

Techniques For Achieving Play Balance by Tom Cadwell

And because Tom Cadwell is a compadre who walks his talk he created from scratch a fun strategy game, embodying an elegant complexity that implements all the principles he so eloquently details in the preceding link. Check out the game for the fun of it and, if your ambitiously inclined, take it apart to see how it all works.

Strifeshadow strategy game by Tom Cadwell's game studio "Ethermoon"

ALSO..... Recently published in traditional book form, the following work covers tremendous game design ground with great specificity and linkage to actual well known games you can play if you haven't already. In addition it represents a possible future in publishing in that the entire work has been made available for FREE to read on-line at the same time that you can purchase a hard copy at Amazon.

Here is the entire ground breaking book:

Well Played 1.0: Video Game, Value and Meaning


WS 2112 will change appearances, window-dressing, but in tandem, and inextricably linked, fundamental game play along lines delineated in this thread with vim and out-of-the-box intent. Those changed GPMs will fall mightily within what is called Macro-recalibrations which you will understand much better if you care to dig into the subtlties of game balancing as presented by the 3 above referenced links..

In the context of Zarel's Re-Balance (which is integrated into WS 2112 with some slight shifts in emphasis) I wrote the following:
.......... your re-balance efforts are without a doubt worthy.

yet they fall within the realm of micro calibration presupposing pumpkin's macro calibration balance was with out serious flaws, which is not the case.

your no-no's are in essence band-aids to those serious flaws in pumpkin's macro calibration balance. to my mind that is the equivalent of putting the cart before the horse or gauze on a owunds gangrene. to rigorously address wz's balance problems you really have to go back to macro calibrations. sadly that is unlikely to happen because it would entail coming up against the sacrosanct canticles lumped conveniently into the phrase - "preserving good 'ol wz". thus you are left with these macro calibration bandages in order to proceed with the less controversial micro calibration balance efforts. the conclusion to that procedure is less than auspicious to be honest without any intent on my part to be slighting of your work and the intensive, rigorous, mp play testing this effort surely involves.
And an insight I've oft repeated over the years since 1999 (& a NEWST mantra) is that the Campaign GPMs provide powerful clues to various tributaries for WZ 2100's evolutionary development. A recent posting restates this like so:
the challenge here is that these conditions are readily scripted in campaign mode but in mp mode it's not as straight forward. this insight applies to ANY mechanic that works in campaign mode but was never implemented in mp. the differential falls squarely in work-load to make it happen effectively MP.

i see a game like wz as a series of choices, ending definitively with victory or defeat. to be brief, i see imbalance as any mechanic that leads predictably to only one choice to assure victory or, more broadly, a very narrow set of choices which render the whole corpus of other possibilities irrelevant to victory and thus making the gaming experience boring rather than endlessly re-playable after but a short while of familiarity exposure to the mp experience. one of the consequences of wz's unit customization mechanic is that it obfuscates these shortfalls by introducing a complex of choices that where never fully macro-balanced, let alone micro-balanced. this is the real reason wz never took-off in general popularity and why it has never made any top 10 list of all time great strat games over the last decade. wz is more a diamond in the rough than a lost gem of the rts genre.


Getting on to yet another plate of meat and potatoes which you may wanna skip if you're already feeling replete, distracted, or perhaps, the nausea of too much text to read....

AFTER THOUGHTS: A Personal fin de siècle through the lens of guts, grace and "The Other"....

Not here to whine or wish for anything - doers are decisive and it's a done deal already anyway that is not likely to be undone.

A set of decisions was made within what was stated in "the elephant in the room" thread a year past now and my somewhat fierce "butterfly" has flapped it's wings ever since in memetic fashion. ;) (Don't take that as obfuscation or a conundrum - it is mere intellectual prose elegance readily deciphered where there is a simple will to empathy.)

Taken on the surface as if of no consequence by the Grand Poobahs was actually an asset all along because it was such an obvious & preposterous shortfall that, surprise, surprise, the asymmetric strategy advanced solidly, and now that those goals are entrenched as norms, it's time to draw the curtain on the blind touching the pachyderm, each "seeing" something other than the actual, describing it with unswerving conviction as without a doubt "such & such" and rather let it be solely what it will with the courage to act less the text to yak, yak, yak, doing jack.

If your curious about how that asymmetric strategy works you can follow one instance of it application quite clearly in the "paper trail" that began in the summer of 2008 and led unswerving to the ultimate assimilation of Become Prey in these circles. There are quite a few other examples with "paper trails" in these bbs but the one should suffice as it also illustrates some preposterous shortfalls of management based on self-serving egotism. Once you are hip to the pattern recognition all this will be as obvious as the Sun rising.

As a last butterfly-effect, this closing bit of "house-keeping", part gumption, part end game, part tieing-up loose ends, flowing from that same set of decisions set in motion and, as in the WS 2112 thread (an entirely deliberate tactical consequence of said asymmetric strategy, btw), let it lead to an apt lock-down after this post since the clear choice is to carry forward any future conversations via my Joomla ! site blog, rather than further bb postings anywhere which I see best serving as quicky "help-me" venues than any other purpose with a complex transformation at its core for which there are other mediums and cultures with far more potent efficacy, and less wasted time.

The blog & Joomla ! site are modeled explicitly on a well defined World Cafe modality, a conscious building of bridges through discourse reciprocity that transcends cultural and language diversity barriers and delves into anything under the sun with gracious rigor. The World Cafe conversational modality also represents (by example, sans self-anointed honorific titles) bottom-up leadership that naturally invokes generative continuums that are deeply vital by whole heartedly nullifying lame hegemony and corrosive fawning - goals near impossible in the typical leadership vacuum of a "white box" modus operandi (autocratic edicts do not qualify as leadership but rather are its dearth in juvenile form.)

There is a very old expression which I'll paraphrase thus:
"To truly understand the "other" you must walk in their shoes."
Joining the ranks of a silent majority, them that have chosen to lurk over utterance, I now better understand the whys & wherefores of such a path in these environs - the only path I hadn't walked over the past decade (& thus couldn't truly understand).

PMs since that fated choice have been affirming in both thier positive and negative flavors. No doubt this course will serve best the WS 2112 project reflected in the 300 post Showcase thread which no longer need serve the asymmetric strategy of complex transformation and just serve it's singular inherent game play redesign vision. WHY the lock-downs & departure? Who cares really ? Nada Da-Da... ? Just click-out to somewhere else - piece a cake. O_o

Getting back to tight tracking of a revelatory nature....

A surprising consequence of entering lurker modality is the manifest corpus of vital work being done by "silent" independents outside the strictures of an "official white box" environment with its concomitant preferential sanctions, currying to perceived ultimate authority (purely illusory, truth be told, and easily subverted) and a sanctified set of post-liberation fabricated canticles completely alien to Pumpkin, WZ Creator's original open-ended design goals for the game made totally clear in their retail bb over the course of the entire 1999 (and re-affirmed earlier this year by Alex Lee, A.I. guru on the Pumpkin Team). Be that as it may, I didn't at all expect any of that interesting work outside the public eye. Very cool indeed.

This last paragraph states what it is all about at root; to move, to act, to grow towards a change mastery, with a lasting commitment to the journey of discovery. The one without the other is a lesser proposition and doing both impossible out of a collectivist mind-set which has more in common with mob-rule, weasel currying, and nothing to do with revolution-evolution which changes fundamental perceptions AND actions-experience and is best understood through the modern conceptualization dubbed "paradigm-shifting".

True paradigm shifting is much more than skin-deep, and while unquestionably novel, endures beyond mere novelty - words obviously similar but representing vastly different realities and results. The former constituting new norms of being and the latter the sheer incarnation of soon passe fashion trending. Of WS 2112, some will like the fundamental GPM changes a lot, some will be ok with it, some will dislike 'em but no big deal really and some will utterly, vehemently detest, protest and oppose. Well, welcome to RL in cyberspace. Absolutely nothing in that prognosticated reception is special or surprising, a deterrent or motivator....

Time now to dove tail the above brush strokes with the brass tac refs that are the matrix out of which I operate..

These Arrivederci ! jottings are for those in the silent majority (& the exceptions in the vocal minority, to be genuinely fair) for whom there is value in an open mind by way of guts and grace melded to an authentic humility whose earliest and universal champion was the ultimate embodiment of those character traits and the antithesis of brown-nosing & de facto crudeness. He went by the name Socrates and he is without a doubt one my core values heroes.

(Other heroes would include Martin Buber, Sid Meier, Bertrand Russell, Samuel Johnson, Ayn Rand, Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde, Vasilly Kandinsky, Nikos Kazantzakis, Will Wright, Virgil, Romare Bearden, Lord Dunsany, Da Vinci, Pablo Neruda, Kurt Godel, Miles Davis, Will Shakespeare, Jim STERANKO, Theodore Sturgeon, George Carlin, Titian, Jimmy Hendrix, Frank Miller, U2, Yukio Mishima, Goethe, Robert Heinlein, Black Elk, Hayao Miyazaki, Frank Lloyd Wright, Benjamin Franklin, Buckminster Fuller, Peter Molyneux, Rachmaninoff, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Santana, Philip K. Dick, Led Zeppelin, Claude Monet, Eric Satie, Will Wright, Dante, Albert King, Nikola Tesla, Derek Walcott, Thomas Jefferson, Knut Hamsun, Art Tatum, Cervantes, Chris Taylor, Joss Whedon and, well, there are far too many for a definitive list really but this central, off the top of my head, sampling will more than suffice for a gist of my constitution, character formation, lived philosophy, lead style and breathe of aesthetic as a maker in several distinct art forms - and, of course, my forthcoming Joomla ! site will reflect all that.)

Arrivederci ! and.... lock 'em up. ;) (Not responding to any posts but if you must go ahead - if it ain't cut-off as requested..)


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Re: The Future of RTS...& the 7 Deadly Sins

Post by Zarel » 22 Oct 2009, 20:47

whippersnapper wrote:Arrivederci ! and.... lock 'em up. ;)