Stripping back the game to a simple start August 26, 2011 cliffski I’ve been having a few days of angst (ok a few weeks) regarding game design and ‘fun’ in Gratuitous Tank Battles. I guess I was panicking at the intangibility of ‘fun’ and thinking I might be constructing a huge and very elaborate ‘system’ and ‘simulation’ rather than a game. Essentially, it became clear to me that the game was a bit too much like company of heroes and not enough like chess. Now COH is a great game, but I think it suffers a bit from unit-balance hell. This is something GSB really struggles with, especially for new players. Chess, on the other hand, is awesome in this regard. Chess only has a handful of unit types, and their capabilities are simply explained. Chess is all about the complex interactions between simple units. This is a good game. COH and GSB are about the super-complex interactions between complex units, and a huge number of them. This is a deep, but also hard to learn, and possibly frustrating game. I’m pretty sure I’ve sorted it all now :D. Essentially, GTB needed the starting game stripping back to very few unit types. Maybe 9 units to attack with, 9 to defend. That already makes it a fairly complex tower-defense style game. The joy of GTB is that there are so many more layers for the player to explore beyond that basic game. For example: After the player has got the hang of the basic UI and mechanics, we can flip things and make them the attacker instead of the defender. yay! After that, the player can unlock extra units on top of the starting nine. Yay! After that, the player can start to customise his units, choose different modules for them, and also edit their colors to look distinctive. Mega yay! After that, the player can try different game modes (Rush, or possibly waves rather than continous attack). And also try online challenges (eventually). After that, the player can fiddle with the built-in level editor and design their own maps either to upload and share, or to play against the AI. Woohoo! So, if I can get that basic 9 types vs 9 types defence game working just great, then I am pretty convinced everything else will fall into place quite nicely. It just needs a ton of work, but that doesnt bother me at all. I’m just keen to get the initial mechanics of the early game to be perfect, and I made decent progress on that today :D.