News From The Grid
14th July 2014
Playing with the Game Mechanic
Recently we’ve been deploying a series of experiments to trial elements of the game mechanic. One thing in particular that we’ve been bearing down on is a detail in the way territory is captured.
Though it is easy enough to log player GPS locations, a more difficult task is to make this data applicable to the game.
For example, if you imagine two players run along the same route, their paths will look similar, but they won’t actually be identical. If we intersect the shapes they create, then lots of unwanted tiny gaps and spaces will be created as their routes criss-cross over each other. These little unreconciled shards of territory would soon make the game confusing to play as well as slow it down.
Before starting the Kickstarter campaign we had planned to ‘sanitise’ this GPS information by snapping to third-party road data. However there were a couple of technical and gameplay compromises with this approach – not least the fact that players would be tied to only running on documented roads and paths.
We’ve since decided to go for a new tack – breaking the world down into small units of space (we’ve shown hexagons here but they could end up square or triangle, depending on other factors which we’re currently testing).
Now players will be able to run around – or through – tiles to capture them. This should make the game more fun to play for several reasons:
- Players will be able to go *off-road* when out capturing territory – adding parks, forests, mountains and fields to their empire.
- Players won’t need to run in a loop any more. It’ll still be the most efficient way to grab a lot of territory at once, but if they prefer to run from A-to-B (e.g. on their way to work) then that’s a way of playing too.
- (This one ties into a couple of suggestions people have sent us) It’s not something we’re planning to build in immediately, but further down the line we could start giving some tiles properties. E.g. a “fort” tile that’s more difficult to take over, or a “mill” tile, which is more valuable to own. This could open up new variations in the way the game is played.
So this is the basic idea:
- We’re working on the new Run An Empire website, which should be live in the coming weeks.
- We have a dedicated systems for responding to queries specifically about Run An Empire. If you have any questions or feedback about the game then you can now send them to firstname.lastname@example.org for the quickest possible reply.
Finally… here’s our screen print for the shirts:
…And here’s a test print on a tee:
Here are some pics of Luma Studio printing out our posters:
… And here’s the finished result: