Saturday, October 15, 2011

Introducing Project Orbit!

Hello, World ... and welcome to the Project Orbit developer's blog!  If you have no idea who we are or why you came here, that's okay.  Please stick around!

Project Orbit is the code name for our first game, which is quickly ripening in the design and pre-alpha stages.  To be clear, Project Orbit will not be the name under which our game will be released.  We will have a title in time for the first beta release.

"Right," you say, "but what the hell is Project Orbit?”

If you want the most concise possible answer, here it is:  Project Orbit is a real-time strategy (RTS) video game that will be released under Windows/Linux.  Its gameplay design is centered around the idea that a good strategy game goes beyond collecting resources and destroying an enemy base; a good strategy game is about relationships, complex interactions between units and players, and mutual support.

To borrow a phrase from Gestalt psychology, the whole should be greater than the sum of its parts.

Consider Blizzard's Starcraft and its expansion, Brood War.  This game came out in 1998 and is still one of the most popular RTS games in circulation.  It should be noted that this game and its brethren (Starcraft II, the entire Warcraft series...) didn't do much in terms of innovation, but still managed to sell millions of copies with a very basic RTS formula.  As such, these criticisms apply to the vast majority of games in the real-time strategy genre.

There are two problems with Starcraft.  The first is that macromanagement of the game is centered around build orders.  The second is that micromanagement is not fundamentally different from macromanagement, and that it often becomes a frustrating physical exercise rather than a cognitive puzzle.

Details to follow in (hopefully) regular updates. At the very least, I'll be clarifying my criticism of traditional RTS games.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll introduce the team, talk game design, and start sharing our progress with the whole wide internet!

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