The proliferation of RTS games has led us to the point where the term “strategy game” is usually used to mean a tenth-generation variant of the classic Warcraft recipe of unit management and resource gathering. If you’re like me and you’ve had your fill of that type of game since – oh, I don’t know – 1999-ish, then the world of strategy gaming is pretty small. What few titles you can find, very few of them are turn-based. It follows that turn-based space strategy games are even more rare. We’re talking about a part of a subgroup of a segment of a sub-genre here. A type of game that has probably seen less than a dozen titles in the last decade. Strike that. Less than a dozen titles ever.
The last game of this type that I tried was Master of Orion 3, (sadly nicknamed “MOO 3”, which is an awful nickname for a game of strategy and conquest) which was a miserable failure in every way that can be measured. Critics were cool, but after I played the game myself I concluded that they were being unduly generous. The only other explanation for the fact that the game wasn’t universally panned was that perhaps the critics found the elusive “stop sucking so bad” option buried somewhere in MOO 3’s vast expanse of inscrutable menus. This was a tragic end for a game that people had been anticipating for something like half a decade. MOO 2 is, as far as I’m concerned, the absolute pinnacle of space conquest games. To date, nobody has released anything that comes close.
I’ll be picking up the game in the next week or so, once I get some of these side projects cleared out. I fully expect the game will consume the time I usually spend on stuff like terrain engines and so I need to put things in order before I embark on something like this.
Hopes are high.
Please don’t suck.
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Here is a 13 part series where I talk about programming games, programming languages, and programming problems.