Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

The Influence Game

Want a free ‘big picture’ game idea?


One day (no idea when) I’ll do a game based around influence. I’m not sure the exact form it will take, the mechanics by which it will be played, or the setting. Bu the ‘theme’ will be influence. As games get more complex and established, we need to move on from variation on the theme of ‘use gun on enemy’. The only two real ‘influence’ games I am aware of are ‘The Sims’ (you tend to influence rather than direct your sim) and Black and White.

I know a lot of people get frustrated by not being able to directly control their cyber minions. Surely games are an escape from reality, where we seem to have no control over anything. Do we really want to play games where people ignore us and don’t do what they are told.

I do. I think influence is far more interesting than power and control. Influence is subtler, more complex and way cooler. Would you buy a game about influence?

4 thoughts on The Influence Game

  1. +rant+
    I feel offended that you list all that crap, but not Majesty! Sims? Gimme a break! In Majesty you don’t GET TO give orders to your troops, and it’s a RTS! Check it out. I even made one in Pascal when I 1st played it!

  2. Damn, I never heard of Majesty, but everything I can read about it on the Internet is praise. I have to check this one out, thanks LN.

  3. Majesty is indeed awesome! But it doesn’t run that well under XP for me. :(

  4. I’d buy a game based on influence if I could be convinced it decently approximated what influence is. B&W, yes, and also its predecessors Populous and Pop II involved influence. But as you say influence is subtler and modelling it is not as straightforward as ‘do X and person Y does Z’. It’s more ‘person Y has a range of actions including Z, the odds of which you can modify, and by doing X you make Z a more likely outcome’. Given that there’s a good possibility of person Y not doing Z even though you’ve done X, you need to give the player enough feedback to believe that their actions are having an impact.

    Doing X repeatedly to no obvious effect isn’t a game of skill, it’s a game of chance, and you might as well roll a dice trying to get a hundred sixes in a row. So any game based on influence needs to make it clear what effect the changes in influence are having.

Comments are currently closed.