S.C.R.A.P. takes place in a post-apocalyptic science-fiction setting: the players take the role of industrial and commercial support machines who were abandoned on a planet after its populace was evacuated during a nameless war. Much like in a mechanized version of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road‘, resources in the world of S.C.R.A.P. are few and far between, and sometimes taking from others is the only way to ensure one’s own survival.
I’m coming down to the wire on S.C.R.A.P. – after about 2 years of on-and-off work and tons of learning, the mod is finally feature-complete. In all honesty, I have additional content I’m planning to add down the line, but I’m desperate for feedback and both factions now have a solid place from which to grow and I feel comfortable releasing the game with its current feature-set (pending balance).
My current plan is to release S.C.R.A.P. into the wild on Saturday July 1, 2017, and I currently see nothing that would stop me from reaching that goal. I’m currently undergoing a 3rd iteration of the game’s map, which is needed now that I’ve decided that S.C.R.A.P. is going to be a 1vs1 game instead of 2vs2 for its initial launch. Additionally, I’ve made some changes to the game’s victory condition that requires some changes in how the map is laid out.
I have been fortunate enough to have convinced some people I know online (some strategy game enthusiasts, some game designers focused on other genres) to give the current build of S.C.R.A.P. a try, and it has served to clarify some of what I see as the major stumbling blocks of the game’s design. As the designer of S.C.R.A.P., my goal is to try and maximize the game’s depth and array of interesting strategic options, while remaining as intuitive as possible. The testing that has been conducted so far has successfully shown me areas in which I can increase the game’s depth, improve affordances that illuminate the basics of how the game is to be played, and to streamline the design to get to the ‘fun bits’ more quickly.
For a real-time strategy game, the design of the game’s maps is perhaps as important as the design of the units and factions themselves. This is nowhere more evident than in the Company of Heroes and StarCraft games, where map design conventions alone have been responsible for power shifts between factions in the respective franchise’s competitive scenes.
Back in July, I wrote a post covering the progress I’ve made on my StarCraft 2 mod, whose working title was “Remnants.” In one short month, I’ve come a surprising way (given how slowly I’d been working, any progress feels like a lot) and I wanted to share it with anyone who might be interested.
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I’ve been a fan of RTS for as long as I can remember, having played WarCraft: Orcs and Humans shortly after its release up to and including modern, just-released RTS like Act of Aggression and in-progress games like Servo. It’s no surprise to readers of this site, but real-time strategy games are my passion, and over the years of playing and writing about the genre, I’ve developed some fairly strong opinions and preferences about RTS design. This has led me to want to put my money where my mouth is, and actually flesh out some of my ideas and theories and actually make games that exemplify some of them.
Earlier this year, I wrote about a hypothetical low-economy RTS which I eventually fleshed out into a project I have been calling Remnants, and is being built in the StarCraft 2 Galaxy Editor (perhaps the most robust modding tools that exist in the RTS…
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As a hobbyist modder, I think it’s more than a bit presumptuous to have a “developer diary.” I’m not a developer, I’m using existing art assets and existing game systems, and simply tweaking them in the hopes of creating a game-within-a-game that has some merit as a competitive real-time strategy experience. But still, I am interested in organizing my thoughts on this process and sharing them with the few who might be interested in reading them. Also, on the off chance that any reader felt inclined to offer, constructive feedback would help me immensely on this journey. So, let’s call this a ‘modder’s diary.’ That seems more appropriate in many ways.
In this second installment of my ‘modder’s diary’ I’d like to discuss the lore behind each faction and how I’m using that to guide their overall design.
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