Every since I saw a very well written post about realism in games, I started thinking about how it applies to strategy games in a back corner of my head. What resulted is the extremely boring idea I’m about to describe to you. I laughed a lot as I thought about it, and I hope you will too:
Strategy games put you in a seat of power, whether it be as a great general or another previously established character. These people didn’t just point, click and hotkey their way to victory, nor did they just tell their soldiers to go here and shoot that. Imagine a game engine where all of your units make their own decisions, your messages provide various amounts of impact on their decisions based on your decisions. Units would defect, retreat, or make their own attacks. Also, depending on the time period, you might not be able to communicate with your soldiers instantly. Imagine writing a letter to your soldier while playing as Washington in the revolutionary war. You would have to wait weeks, real time of course, as this is the most realistic strategy game ever made.
You wouldn’t even have resource management to pass the time! Instead politics would probably end up dominating the game time. Request A from player B, convince player L to nuke player Z (every country would be represented, of course.) In this respect, the “ultimate” strategy game begins to resemble Civilization, which isn’t actually a bad thing. Again though, realistic timing would be present, and the game engine would have to be capable of handling the mindless political debates that would occur. I could give more examples, but I think you get the point.
In my opinion, realism is boring, and thinking about boring things entertains me, who knew? There is a small niche for these games, those who want a complete virtual reality experience because they like it and want it, everyone has their own opinion. The majority of games are, and should be, about fun, generally avoiding too much realism. So bring on the railguns and mechs and jetpacks and lasers and…
Thanks for reading,