Learning a hardcore technical skill is challenging, to say the least. So the question is: how can we do it and still have fun at the same time?
The answer that came to me again and again was play. Every human society in recorded history has games. We don’t just solve problems out of necessity. We do it for fun, even as adults!
— the Talos Principle
So we’re making a game! Why? It’s simple – we love games! Roleplaying games, real -time strategies, shooters, MOBAs, even tabletop games – you name it. We’ve been playing games since our childhood and we’ve always learned while doing so. First, we had to learn English: I still remember looking up the words in a dictionary to be able to finish a puzzle in an adventure game Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender (maybe not the best-suited game for a 9-year-old ;] ). We have been developing logical thinking skills and problem-solving approach ever since. Tactical and logical games are still among my favourites (you have to check out the Talos Principle!). Now we’re a bit older, so instead of playing games to learn a language, we want to make a game to learn programming skills. Seems to me like a natural progression; besides what can be better than combining passion with work while having fun in the process?
The game we’re going to make is called Troika (at least at the time of writing this post) and it’s a turn-based tactical roleplaying game. It is based on an original post-apocalyptic fantasy world. Gameplay is easily recognizable from games like Banner Saga or XCOM (or many other tactical RPGs), but these are only our inspiration, not our formula. We want our game to be based on a couple of design fundaments and just to list a few:
Intellectual challenge – we want our game to be intellectually stimulating for the player. We’ll put an emphasis on the tactical element of the game.
Opportunity for creativity – the player will have a set of tools at his or her disposal, that will allow for some creative and original thinking.
Strong customization – following the footsteps of CCGs (Collectible Card Games) and LCGs (Living Card Games), we’ll allow players to have a lot of control over their playstyle and strategy. Characters in the game will use a customizable set of skills.
No random elements – we will avoid relying too much on random elements – we want the player to have control over the course of the game. We dislike situations where a dice roll have a more significant impact on the game than player’s decisions (Hearthstone would be a prime negative example of that). So if you ever lose a game, it’s all on you ;]
Legible mechanics – the combat mechanics of the game should be easily understandable and legible for every player. The complexity should arise from sheer number and variety of choices (see Chess), not incomprehensible rules.
We don’t have much to show and we’re not ready to discuss the details of the game mechanics yet. But every step of the process of making a game is fascinating, and besides: it’s the journey, not destination, that counts! We’ll make sure to post updates and additional information about the game as soon as something come up. We’ll tell you about our designing workflow, problems that we encounter, our way of dealing with themm, and much more! We’ll stary by creating a playable prototype in a browser. Something simple – with placeholder graphics, without animations. Just a couple of necessary features: two players connected in one session, a chatroom, some ability to move and deal damage. That’s our first major goal – when we’re there, we’ll invite you to playtest the prototype with us!