An Interview With Iron Helmet Games

By Jim Rossignol on January 18th, 2011 at 12:00 pm.


If one thing gets RPS’ collective heart racing, it’s slowform strategy games with inscrutable diplomatic dimensions. Well, John’s bit of the heart doesn’t race to that, but it’s cold and black, and makes this weird groaning noise… Anyway, one company which has been masterful in the production of these kinds of games is Australian outfit Iron Helmet, who have been responsible for first Neptune’s Pride and now Blight Of The Immortals, both browser-based multiplayer strategies of excellent repute. We spoke to their mastermind, Jay Kyburz, and asked him to explain his activities.

RPS: Hello! Can you tell us a bit about Iron Helmet? Who are you and what is your plan?

Kyburz: Iron Helmet is a small studio dedicated to making cool web based strategy and mobile games. Our Plan? To make fun games and be our own bosses!

RPS: Good plan. Neptune’s Pride seems to have made quite an impact, and was one of our highlights of the year – but how do you feel it went down? Did it deliver what you intended? And was it a commercial success for you guys?

Kyburz: Neptune’s Pride did much better than I was expecting. I thought it was a weird little game with no graphics that would only appeal to me and my nerdy friends. I didn’t expect people to understand the Diplomacy part of the game at all. We were really lucky that a few key media people really “got” the whole diplomacy thing and enjoyed some long games with their friends. It was a financial successful in that we recovered our development costs, but it hasn’t made us rich.


RPS. That’s a shame, because being rich is awesome. Tell us a bit about how you came to be developing Blight of The Immortals, and what process lead up to that… What is the game about?

Kyburz: Blight of the Immortals is a bit of a departure from Neptune’s Pride. We wanted to build a game that had a more interesting world for players to explore. We wanted some mechanics that were a little deeper or more complex. We wanted to give the players more to think about. Most importantly we wanted to make a game that was less intimidating than Neptune’s Pride. A game that is less stressful and more enjoyable to play. We decided that the best way to do this was to allow players to work together rather than against one another.

I had a theory about Neptune’s Pride that I think a lot of the enjoyment of the game comes from the alliances and friendships you make. The nefarious back room dealings and backstabbing create a lot tension and excitement, but it only servers to contrast the good stuff. I wanted to see what would happen if you take away the backstabbing and replace it with a really scary, mindless, zombie AI. Would the game still be exciting? Blight of the Immortals is about players working together to fend off a common enemy.

RPS: So yes: Blight seems focused on the PvE game right now – is that the intention? For PvP to be the less important game? (I say this because PvP seems less balanced, at least from the game I just played.) Would you like to see more co-op strategy games? (I’ve always thought that those FPS games where a bunch of you fight waves of AI bots needs more equivalents in other genres, this seems to be that.)

Kyburz: We’ve been really focused on this idea that Blight is about working with with people, rather than against them and we’re not even happy with this aspect of the game yet. We are still looking for more tools and special powers that will allow players to work together in interesting ways. I’d love to see more co-op strategy games. I’ve spent many an evening playing 4 player vs 4 computers in games like Company of Heroes and Dawn of War. Its heaps of fun to rush over to save your friends from an AI horde, or plan a big attack together.

One thing I like in these games is that with each time you play you can increase the difficulty of the AI to discover how good you are as a group. In Blight of the Immortals we have plans for an achievement system that will encourage players to complete each map at harder and harder difficulty levels.


RPS: Hmm. The starting positions for both your games, particular the PvP in Blight, seems uneven. Position, resources – that can all give you a better or worse start. Is that deliberate?

Kyburz: I really love Starcraft but one thing I don’t like about it is that everybody starts on an even playing field. The sides are carefully balanced and each player starts with the same amount of resources and access points.

Most people would say this is absolutely critical, but I would argue that is actually makes that game more difficult and less enjoyable for new players, limits the number of interesting strategies for experienced players, and reduces the amount of player interaction.

When the player starts are perfectly balanced the game is more difficult and less enjoyable for new players because when you lose, there is nothing else to blame except for your own ineptitude. Whether is your shoddy build queue or your clumsy micro, when the map is balanced it’s perfectly its clear to everybody why you lost. You suck. When the map has a little randomness in it, there are lots more reasons why you had your ass kicked. When the game is over you don’t feel like a loser, you feel like you want to jump back in and try again, this time you’ll get a better starting spot, start a little stronger, and with a little luck this time you’ll win.

It limits the number of interesting strategies because players don’t need to alter their build queues or troop movements based on the strengths and weaknesses of their start. Starcraft is notorious for it, players practice a single strategy over and over. You can read all about the perfect Terran build, or how to rush with Zerg. Admittedly no plan survives contact with the enemy, even in Starcraft, but often by the time your armies are fighting the game is already over. It’s far more interesting to have to think about what you have, scout your enemies to see what they have, and actually develop a strategy based on your relative strength and weaknesses. A strategy game should be about developing strategies, not just practicing and polishing the one or two ideal strategies the game affords.

I love player interaction, the more the better. It’s so much more rewarding to play online with real people than sit at home jumping though the hoops of a game designer. When you start a strategy game weaker than the other players, one of the best things you can do is try and line up some allies. Your first move should be chatting with the other players, trying to line up a mutually beneficial deal. You have to or your dead already. Ideally, even though you are small, you’ll have something they want. A rare resource, a special unit, or even just a border they can trust. Making a deal, with real people, is really fun and rewarding.

Both our games Neptune’s Pride and Blight of the Immortals drop players in random unbalanced player starts. It sux to get a bad start, but in the long run we think its leads to a more fun, more interesting game that encourages players to work with each other as well as against.


RPS: Good answer! It’s almost like you thought about this stuff before I put it to you… Anyway, isn’t the issue with a timer-based game like Blight that people can win by “setting the alarm clock” and being there to spawn armies, or reverse their decisions, when the time is right?

Kyburz: It’s a difficult problem for us because a lot of the excitement and tension in the real-time game comes from the fact that it’s always ticking along in the background. You think about your game all day because at any time you can fire up your browser and see how things are going. Perhaps dispatch an army or spend a few coins. The challenge for us as game designers is to limit the advantage this buys you. One of the things I didn’t like about Neptune’s Pride is that as you researched Speed, it took less time to travel between stars and as a result, as the game progressed, required more and more of your time and attention.

In Blight of the Immortals we are trying to avoid mechanics that speed up the game. We want players to be able to get into a rhythm of logging in at times that are good for them. It might be first thing in the morning, at lunch time or the evening. It might be all three. If it takes 18 hours to march from one city to the next at the start of the game, it should take the same amount of time at the end. To some extent, in the co-op game I think its ok for you to do better than the other players because you worked a little harder. In games like World of Warcraft you level up faster by grinding more hours. In Blight you can kill more zombies by logging in more often.

For players who really object to this and want to play on a level playing field we have the turn based mode. Each player has 24 hours to queue up a set of actions and then when everybody is ready, the game jumps forward 12 hours. These turn based games are great for the office because you can ask everybody to have a turn ready every hour and play 6 or 8 turns a day. You could finish a whole game in a week.


RPS: The ability to be able to stop an army in Blight seems like a major problem for PvP – in NP you had to make the decision and that was it. Surely it should be the same here, to avoid those last minute “oh no actually I will turn back” moments. it seems like this kind of game needs to make you commit, so you aren’t popping in to micromanage every hour?

Kyburz: There is a problem with any action that is instant. Changing the direction of your armies, casting spells, or buying reinforcements. Any action that an opponent might want to be able to respond to. You get into a watching and waiting game with your opponent, and if you don’t log in as often as them you might miss your opportunity to act. Neptune’s Pride had a similar problem where players with large fleets would face off, waiting for the other to show their hand before choosing which target to attack or defend. Players would try and wait for their opponent to be asleep or away from their computer before attacking. It’s more complex in Blight of the Immortals because there is so much more you can do each day. So much more you have to respond to.

There is a real tension here between the PvP game and the PvE game. For single player we deliberately added features that you can see and enjoy the benefits of immediately, while you are logged in and playing. When you buy reinforcement, it’s cool to see the size of your army increase. In Neptune’s Pride it was disappointing that nothing happens while you are sitting playing it, you have log in the next day to see the results of everything.

I don’t think PvP is ever going to work well as a slow real time game. It will always demand to much of a players time and attention in order to win. I was saying before how I like asymmetrical player starts, but disadvantages to overcome in game are different to being on the back foot because you simply can’t play every hour on the hour 24 hours a day. Instead PvP is going to be best played in turn based games. In a turn based game you have to commit to your moves every turn. In a turn based game, everybody effectively logs in the same amount and there is no point getting up in the middle of the night to tweak stuff. I’m really excited bout PvP in turn based mode. It has all the fun of the single player game, but with the extra tension and excitement of having to make and break alliances as in Neptune’s Pride. Co-op is the focus right now but we are putting a lot of effort into turn based and PvP too.

Perhaps our next game will be entirely turn based!

RPS: Why browser-based games and not a standalone client?

Kyburz: Because browsers are everywhere and there is nothing to install! It makes it much easier to get into a game and start playing. We have players on Windows, Mac and even sometimes Linux. We have plans to see the game on mobiles and tablets one day too. There is no way we would be able to support all these platforms without being browser based.

Another great thing is that nobody owns the platform. We don’t have to seek the approval of Microsoft or Apple before making a new release. And we can fix bugs and make a release every single day. And we have direct access to our customers. And we own and manage our own advertising on the site. There are heaps of advantages.


RPS: What games do you look at and feel envious of?

Kyburz: Love Armageddon Empires, Solium Infernum and I’m looking forward to Cryptic Comets next game Six Gun Saga. I think these games have a great flavor, depth and complexity that I would like to see in our games too. I think Revenge of the Titans was amazing. Great style, simple concept, heaps of polish. Gratuitous Space Battles is also a really cool game. I haven’t played it as much as I would have liked. It looks great and I love the concept. Played heaps of Desktop Dungeons, do you think I could make a rogue-like strategy game?

Also been playing a little game called Bronze from Deamspike Studios. It really captures that board game on the computer feel. I like the historical flavor of this one. I heard that the developers did quite a bit of research about the Bronze age while developing it. I’d like to make a historical game one day.

RPS: Hmm. I would not complain about more great browser-based roguelikes. So you turned Blight around pretty quickly after NP – is that going to be characteristic, are we going to see a game a year from you? Or do you expect to slow down and evolve things further?

Kyburz: Right now we are really focused on Blight of the Immortals and Neptune’s Pride. We want these games as good as they can be before we think about taking on a new project! But we have so many cool ideas for new games…

RPS: Oh, me too! But, er, thanks for your time.

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31 Comments »

  1. kikito says:

    What is adult Link doing there? And Zombie Link?

  2. MartinNr5 says:

    I need to keep an eye on this!

    Oh, and I would kill for a developers blog – there’s just so much to consider when making this type of game.

  3. ShaunCG says:

    Great interview. I didn’t get into NP as much as I’d hoped, partly because in a game with random players it’s harder to get invested in the diplomacy aspect, and players often dropped out and got gobbled up by neighbours. So far I’m really liking BOTI… the only bad thing is that due to the sedate pace, I wish there was more for me to do. Any game that has you that eager to play more has something special going for it!

  4. pkt-zer0 says:

    I wouldn’t call the answer to the question about imbalanced starting conditions a “good one”, because what he says is basically the complete opposite of good game design. Getting your ass kicked by a RNG isn’t fun. Randomized starting conditions do not add strategic depth, but reduce the game to a tactical level. Though I suppose on the time scale the game is running, that might not make much of a difference. Random starting positions do not necessitate an imbalance, either. Saying that having to compensate for a weaker start with diplomacy is added player interaction is backwards as well. That shouldn’t be a crutch, but a baseline feature.

    • MartinNr5 says:

      I disagree.

      In Civilization you start out with different start techs and different start areas and you need to make the most of what you got dealt.

      And Civ is still a *really good game*.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Thier implementation is also fairly good. The map is layed out semi-randomly (towns are fixed but starting units in the towns vary) but players choose their own starting position and can preview the map before choosing. There is them some randomness to how the zombies move but since the whole point of the game is getting points for killing zombies being attacked by them early isn’t necessarily a disaster.

    • Plankton says:

      @ pkt-zer0
      I think it is a good answer. An unbalanced strategy game can also be good game design. Perfect balance and a level playing field is necessary for a highly competetive game, like something that is used for e-sports.
      However, with something like this the variety in starting positions really adds to the strategic depth and diplomacy of it. Diplomatic negotiations are rarely of tactical nature. I think the fact that these games have such a large diplomatic dimension to them is exactly why the imbalance works so well for them. Weaker players tend to be natural allies against stronger ones, for instance. There is a certain dynamic to it all. The good game design comes from exploiting that dynamic.
      Also, what do you mean by baseline feature? There are plenty of good strategy games that have no diplomacy at all. There are also plenty of examples of strategy games that try and fail at
      diplomacy mechanics. Good diplomatic systems are not an easy thing to achieve.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Getting your ass kicked by a RNG isn’t fun. ”

      Yet roulette is still one of the most popular games in a casino.

    • jalf says:

      @pkt-zer0: I disagree.

      Getting your ass kicked by a RNG isn’t fun, no, but that’s taking it to extremes. Having the RNG sometimes give you a leg up, and sometimes take you down a notch *is* fun, and is why nearly every game has some strong random elements.

      Unpredictability is fun. And rather than these eternal, and utterly pointless, discussions about “strategy vs tactics”, the distinction that really matters is “decisions you make while playing” versus “decisions you made before playing”. And emphasis should *always* be on the first kind. That’s what Starcraft doesn’t really have, as the interview points out, because in its quest to be “fair”, it also becomes so homogenous that the key decisions are taken before you even know who you’re playing against. The next time you make a decision, the outcome has often been determined.

      You get much more interesting gameplay by having everything depend on your unknown starting position, on your unknown neighbors, on your unknown enemies. That way, players have to actually think on their feet, and come up with strategies to fit *this game*, rather than just following the build order they saw on a forum.

      I’m not really sure what you mean in the last part, about using diplomacy to compensate for a weaker start. It *is* a baseline feature. But diplomacy only works when people have something to trade. Protection, a secure border, resources or whatever. If every player is identical, I have no reason to ally with player A over player B.

      But if they have different starting positions and different strengths, then it actually *matters* who I ally with. And if I start in a weak position, it gives me a *reason* to seek out allies.

      That is actually pretty good game design, I’d say. It encourages players to play the game, and to use all aspects of it, and it encourages different players to play differently, which leads to new and unforeseen interactions.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      It does increase depth in a *diplomatic* game, however. Not all games are the same.

      KG

    • Dave says:

      Kyburz’s explanation of randomized starting situations reminded my time playing multiplayer Dominions. In my opinion, he’s spot-on in explaining the beneficial aspects of introducing an element of chance.

      I think perhaps you (pkt-zer0) might not have played a game where randomized starting situations were used effectively. Randomized starting situations in SC2, for example, wouldn’t work at all: “Oh, I have fewer minerals than the other guy. What fun.” Randomized starting situations in Dominions: “Hmm, there is an ancient grove two provinces north of my capital that I can recruit druids at, giving me access to low-level nature magic…”

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “Yet roulette is still one of the most popular games in a casino.”

      “Compulsive” or “addictive” isn’t the same thing as “fun”.

      “Unpredictability is fun.”

      Randomness isn’t the same thing as imbalance, though, and it’s the latter I have a problem with.

      “That’s what Starcraft doesn’t really have, as the interview points out, because in its quest to be “fair”, it also becomes so homogenous that the key decisions are taken before you even know who you’re playing against.”

      Even if you haven’t played Starcraft, it should be rather obvious that hidden information (fog of war) would mean that’s not actually true.

      “I’m not really sure what you mean in the last part, about using diplomacy to compensate for a weaker start. It *is* a baseline feature.”

      So then it’s adding nothing. That was my point.

    • Zwebbie says:

      pkt-zer0: Some games are about a perfectly honest test of skill. Some games are about shaping a rough narrative. Blight, I imagine, isn’t in the former category.
      Have a look at the Solium Infernum Gameboys from Hell series here on RPS. Quinns’s ridiculously good starting position drove a good portion of the narrative of that game, and made sure that he was playing a different game than the other players. Every player had to adapt to his situation and relation to the others, which was what made it interesting. It was unbalanced, and more interesting for it.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Here’s Rab Florence’s video on Cosmic Encounters, which is a really good example of how imbalance can absolutely make a game.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWJPGBmD0OI

      KG

  5. Plankton says:

    Good to hear from these guys, because I finally started a 6 player game of Neptune’s Pride with a few of my internet buddies recently. It’s absolutely insane. Backstabbing galore, though I have one very very loyal ally and because of that we are now taking out the 4 others step by step, against all odds. What I love about this is how our superior strategy is winning the game for us, not the economy and industry (though that’s now starting to factor in as well).

    • devlocke says:

      Just curious, what happens when it’s down to just you and your extremely loyal ally? I didn’t have any interest in NP because it didn’t seem like there was any way to play without fucking over everyone you were playing with. Sure, you can form an alliance with the other guy(s), but at some point, it’d be you and your allies… so you’d just have to fuck over your buddy, or lose.

      If that’s not a valid way of looking at the game, I’d like to know… is there a way around that quandary?

    • Plankton says:

      The goal of the game is to hold more than half of all planets. So, if I get there by invading other people without needing his planets then I wont have to betray him. However, he might obviously decide to betray me and switch sides before I get there. Sooooo … no, you can’t completely avoid that. Having said that, there is a mode with locked alliances, I think. Though, that kind of negates the whole diplomacy aspect that makes the game great.
      I also have to add that I have a sort of sacred alliance with him. We declared it a “bro alliance” right from the start … bros don’t betray each other … right? He might very well let me have that victory :)
      Either way, most people tend to be opportunists in this game and switch sides whenever they feel it benefits them. Deterministic appraoches like our sacred bro alliance are probably less common.

  6. Baboonanza says:

    I played this game a lot at the end of last year but I ‘ve gone off it for various reasons. Primarily I feel that thwe PvE game is far too easy, people don’t need to co-operate just to win anymore so everyone is out for themselves pretty early. The best game I played was on Impossible over at QT3 and there was still no danger of us losing.

    Perhaps I’ll try the new Beta3, which does sound interesting. The devs are very responsive to feedback and I have faith they can make Blight an amazing game.

  7. Jake says:

    I loved Neptune’s Pride and have been enjoying Blight. In my opinion there are a few problems with Blight – that are possibly just because it is still in beta – that make it less exciting than NP. The start of the games I’ve played have been very tense, but after a certain point victory becomes inevitable and it’s just a case of mopping up the zombies. I love the idea of rushing to help someone that is being overrun, but this was often not really an option because it takes so long to send people reinforcements if they are far away, and you tend to need all the coins yourself.

    In my last game on Very Hard, the yellows got wiped out almost instantly as their starting place sucks – there was nothing anyone could do to help them before they were gone. The game was very tense for most players, but eventually it got to the point where it would just be clearing up, and everyone lost interest. We had it on PVP as well but all this seemed to mean was that after the blight was cleared, the most powerful empire would just have to clear the other players as well. But then this was before the hobgoblin fix when Orange were way overpowered.

    I think the main problem really has been it’s hard to get a perfect game. My first game was on easy and was far too easy, my second was nice and difficult until victory was inevitable. In NP the game didn’t depend on having good settings, it was always made tense by player interaction.

    I will definitely play Blight again though, probably when it comes out of beta. Features I would like to see would be a more dynamic ‘surge of zombie activity’ where some provinces, maybe even ones that you control, get overrun by loads of zombies, meaning you have to react. I would also like to see more ways to be able to help other players – like how you can gift merchants to each other to mutually boost economies. It would be great if it was possible to ride to an allies rescue. I would also like it if there were strategically important provinces that had an extra incentive to capture them – like maybe goldmines or harbours.

    Oh and the benefit of the Immortal Key – being able to build armies of any type – just gives one person an unfair advantage, so we didn’t allow them to use it. I don’t think it is a good incentive to pay.

    Overall though Neptune’s Pride is one of my favourite games – even though I don’t know if I could face playing it again – and Blight is still excellent even in beta, it just misses the constant excitement at the moment. I wonder if they could add a quick play mode to NP that accelerated games to last about an hour or three, I could handle playing that even if it would spoil the diplomacy side a bit.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Jake: Oddly, I’d disagree. Blight is the first free-to-play game that I’ve ever paid money for. Jim too. I’d love to see his stats.

      I think basically the Co-op game needs an end-game of some kind – basically, something akin to a Mordor which you have to knock out. Something that’s always a challenge, and you have to work towards taking. In effect, a strategic “boss”.

      i.e. Something to give a proper final exciting conclusion.

      KG

    • F4T C4T says:

      I paid for Blight too while not really getting into Neptune’s Pride enough to get round to forking up. Partly it’s the setting for me and I think the interface is a bit more user friendly and easier to grasp but mostly it’s the co-op aspect.

      I’d agree with the need for an end-game of sorts though. It might be worth bearing in mind however that the other unavailable maps may provide more challenges as there’s the suggestion of some kind of dragon zombie image under one. Maybe these later challenges will provide what we’re looking for?

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Yeah – that’s the important thing. It really is in Beta.

      KG

    • Jake says:

      I paid for this (and NP) for the option to host private games, but I didn’t like the unfair advantage it gave me in that I could build new units of any type while other people couldn’t. Then the only option was to either get everyone to pay or to just have an agreement that even if you pay you couldn’t use this ability. I preferred the latter (so did all the cheapskates) because it makes the factions have more character – I really liked having goblin hordes while other players had treemen, etc. Plus, with no limitations everyone would just buy Orc Shaman – or whatever the current most powerful unit was.

      I think there should be an incentive to pay, but this one doesn’t work for me, it’s too much like buying an advantage and it made the game slightly worse. But then, the option to host private games is enough of a reason to pay, and it’s more reasonable than Neptune’s pricing scheme – who could play four games of NP?

      I love the idea of an endgame, and I had noticed the dragon references (the undead centaurs spread blight fast, ‘second only to the zombie dragons’ it says). Perhaps also some objectives – maybe time limited? – like capture a specific place for a reward. Just something to give you something to aim towards and a reason to take risks, rather than just slowly expanding in a very conservative manner. It would also give you a reason to clash with other kings.

  8. Namos says:

    I’m currently watching the GSL and have to say I disagree with his comments about SC2. Yes, you’ve got a level of player where you latch onto a single strategy and refine it, and it does pretty well. But a truly skilled player is adaptive; there is no point in scouting the enemy base if you aren’t going to adapt to what they are doing. The thing about SC2 is that you only see that kind of play at the highest level of play, but that doesn’t mean the game does not have that depth.

    I also disagree with his statement about people blaming themselves for their failure. I think people are more concerned with fairness than Mr. Kyburz thinks. If you lose a fair match, you kick yourself afterwards; if you start out in a sucky position, you start to kick yourself during the match. How many people have restarted a game of Civ because they didn’t like their starting conditions? I know I have.

    Finally, I tend to believe that if people have other things to blame for their loss it actually leads to a worse community. I can honestly say that the League of Legends community is the biggest turnoff for the game, and I believe part of that is due to the matchmaking system – it wasn’t you who lost, it was the matchmaking algorithm that stuck you with those losers. When people don’t have to own up to their own failures, their pride is protected and inflated – a good recipe for creating online jerks.

    • Jake says:

      I’d really recommend playing with friends rather than internet people, for one thing you are more inclined to help out the weak players – it’s nominally co-op after all. But more importantly, it lets you bring friendships into the game, and exploit your friend’s weaknesses. As long as your friends have a thick skin and can cope with some rampant treachery, emotional blackmail, bribery and bullying, it’s great, you can get a real Machievellian / Game of Thrones atmosphere. I wouldn’t play with strangers, you’d miss out on too much.

      I really like how the game isn’t fair. You get dilemmas like whether you should help the hard pressed guy now and hope he pays you back, or let him get wiped out to further your goals. The fairness issues at the moment are due to beta balancing I think – like the Dwarfs don’t really stand a chance no matter how ruthlessly they plot.

      Lots of unfair things happen in the games I have played – two large empires both pick a small empire apart, or one king gets destroyed by 650 undead ents while no-one really wants to help – it would suck if it happens to you, but sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes, well, he eats you.

  9. zergrush says:

    I thought about buying the game to make it faster and be able to host private games, but found the subscription price a bit too high.

    And his comment about starcraft is just plain wrong.

  10. Dave says:

    [Deleted by user]

  11. chouzar says:

    I agree with his opinion on StarCraft, with the right tools any game with some randomness in it can be really fun, still StarCraft was designed to have “balance” in every regard so that could limit the viable options. Total Anihilation would be a better suited game for random spawn because it had lots of crazy units to toy around, and also offered lots strategies early in the game.

    Could not find that Bronze game from “Deamspike Studios”. : (

  12. princec says:

    Random games can be completely brilliant. Just play Digital Eel’s Strange Adventures in Infinite Space to see how fun random can be.

    Cas :)

  13. bill says:

    As someone who doesn’t like sports, I much prefer the random element idea and can see how it would contribute to different tactics and choices. (like poker, boardgames, p&p rpgs and life)

    But I can see how people who love sports might hate it, as it wouldn’t work for chess, tennis, baseball, starcraft, etc.
    (though in some ways you could say that it does apply to some team sports. Swindon FC vs Manchester United isn’t starting on an equal or fair footing. And the tactics of each team, their goals and the game would change accordingly. I guess starcraft is similar, but an imbalance probably isn’t fun).

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