Strategic Primer: Alternative Design Directions

I wrote last week about my long-term plans for the computer version of my strategy game, Strategic Primer. Today I’d like to talk about some directions I considered taking the game, but that I now don’t plan to follow, though I may adapt some of the ideas into the final game.

One direction in particular leaps to mind. At one point I intended Strategic Primer to be basically a series of scenarios, kind of like most other strategy games. I never developed that entirely coherently, but between levels I had the idea of making “mini-levels.” Those would be stages with a fully-known map in which the player and a team (selected from his veterans of the last level) would try to accomplish an objective. This would be the first-person, more tactical counterpoint to the pure-strategy, top-view main game.

Nearly from the beginning, I’ve thought about how technologies–various conceptions of interstellar travel, Piper’s Paratime conveyors, and so on–would impact the game. I eventually decided that for the purposes of the game, “interplanetary” travel means “interstellar,” and that interstellar travel, lateral time travel, and any other means of travelling from one world to another are all equivalent and use the same set of worlds. But then I thought of an alternate idea, to perhaps implement after Strategic Primer, if I ever finish it. In this alternative version, even more heavily influenced by Starships Unlimited than Strategic Primer itself, space travel is the only travel, and spaceships are the only truly important units.

A similar, later, idea was to abstract the big map away nearly entirely. The map would consist of a set of fortresses and routes between them. Players would send their units from their own fortress to another to attack it; gameplay would consist almost entirely of these battles within the grounds of a fortress. The primary difference between this and a standard level-based strategy game is that this would allow the player to choose which battles to fight, with which units, where and when.

Thoughts?

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