12 September 2010


“A good game is a series of interesting decisions. The decisions must be frequent and meaningful.”  -Sid Meier
That quote was the first topic in my King of Dragon Pass design notes (an Acta outline). We tried to follow this advice. Interactive scenes usually have five options, and we tried to make them all reasonable. “Do Nothing” is sometimes possible, but it's always a conscious choice, and probably has some meaningful impact.

On the other hand, I’m trying to simplify King of Dragon Pass for the smaller iPhone and iPod touch screens. So far, radical simplification has eluded me. But I’ve managed to slim things down a bit. In a few places, I’ve removed the choice altogether (there’s no more Wheat/Barley/Rye choice on the Food screen). Most of the time, I’ve removed options that don’t add much. For example, you can no longer have the Water element as your clan’s ancient enemy (this had almost no impact). And raids can no longer target enemy fortifications.

Most recently, I took out two of the choices for Sacred Time magic. Children and Hunting seemed the least useful. The screen is now less crowded, and you still have 8 areas (16 checkboxes) to spend 7 points of magic.

In one case, I discovered that there was a totally meaningless choice! Somehow there had never been any impact of choosing the Healing of Orlanth as the clan’s first important event. I fixed this bug, since I didn’t want to remove the choice, which serves the narrative purpose of introducing the goddess Chalana Arroy. (two other early events are gone, however).

I’m still looking for uninteresting (or unnecessary) choices, to either remove or make meaningful. Thanks to everyone who has commented so far.

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