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

The re-using old content dilemma

Where do you stand on content from game A turning up in Game A: 2 The sequel? I really do not know where I stand myself. Generally,  I don’t care. if it turned out that the tree models in Company of heroes 2 were the same tree models from COH 1, I wouldn’t mind. Ditto some of the sound effects. A tiger tank gun sounds the same as it did when the original game was released, and sound playback technology is the same now as it was then.

But what about the same music? Is that ok? I suspect not. And some of the same text somewhere? hmmmmm

I ask this because I built democracy 3 on top of the data for Democracy 2. With the exception of the new events, dilemmas and voter groups and policies, existing data is currently being carried straight over to the new game. obviously it might be re-balanced, but I’m not sure I need to re-write from scratch the descriptions of all policies or voter groups. That seems silly.

I *have* totally binned all the sound effects, and got brand new ones, because I think that makes things sound newer and fresher. All of the policy icons are the same, but totally re-done in 4X the resolution so it’s all much crisper. That was definitely worth doing.

but I do worry that somewhere, someone will rant on reddit that D3 is a rip-off because the description for income tax is the same as Democracy 2, and thus the game is just a ‘re-skin’. Obviously it isn’t, the underlying sim was dramatically redesigned and works very differently, but you can’t tell that without stepping through all the source code. Am I wrong to panic about a tiny percentage of pedants who might feel that way? or do you expect sequels to games to be done completely from the ground up in terms of data and artwork?

10 thoughts on The re-using old content dilemma

  1. One of the highest praises I always give for Tropico 4 is that it’s the exact same game as Tropico 3 but with a new campaign.

    I suspect that what people want most from D3 is D2 with new scenarios and more events/policies (and improvements to graphics/resolution/UI/graphs/feedback).

  2. I really don’t think it’s a problem in my opinion. It may even have the opposite effect and make your previous players feel more comfortable.

  3. I say go for it. Besides, as long as it is just a tiny percentage of pedants, then you just have the same pedants problem that any game would have :-P

  4. Best case music would consist of same songs from the previous title re-mixed in some manner. Something that makes you remember the good moments of the earlier title, although noting that you are playing a newer version now.

    How much can you add into policy descriptions about something that has changed since Democracy 2 regarding that policy?

    And somewhat related to the point above, will Democracy 3 have a feature related to a common currency like the euro?

  5. As a casual fan of all Positech games, I have to be honest and say that I was thinking of Democracy 3 as a reskin. From what I’d read, it seemed like we’re getting new resolution, new art, and some updated mechanics.

    For me, that’s not a bad things as I loved Democracy 2. I’ll be buying Democracy 3 on day 1. But for people who might rant on reddit, it might be necessary to highlight more of how the underlying sim has been completely revamped.

    Just some thoughts from a fan.

  6. I wouldn’t worry too much about completely rewording every little description to make it look new. However, I definitely would spend time highlighting the mechanics changes and updates to policy and gameplay. From reading the dev work it does sound like there has been a huge re-haul of many aspects of gameplay, and that’s what counts. Not that some of the descriptions are the same.

  7. Different music wouldn’t hurt and perhaps some changes to the voters opinions on certain subjects, but not in the game itself. I think it’s just fine the way it is right now. You’ve done a great job, especially with the private/public sector, making it much more realistic and more of an alternative rather than siding with the socialists.

    So I don’t think you should worry too much about that you should redo all the voter groups, but perhaps if somebody feels the groups are unbalanced or something, make an easy tutorial on how to mod the game so that they can change the voter group’s opinion on something.

    I don’t see what more there is to ask, really. Looking forward to the game :)

  8. Hello! I have to say I love Democracy 2. (Unfortunately for some reason, it crashes on Windows 7 at times?)

    Anyway, I think you’re more concerned over the descriptions for the policies/events taking place right? I definitely have no issue over same/similar descriptions, but please tidy up the spelling and grammar of the descriptions. Some of them would make people think Democracy 2 isn’t a great game (which of course, is far from the truth).

    Good job with D2, all the best for developing D3. Looking forward to it! :]

    Thank you!

  9. Yeah a definite re-checking from a text expert will happen. And I’ll make sure to point out how things have changed under the hood.
    Regarding editing and modding, i have top-secret plans in this direct…

  10. You are right to be concerned that people object to evolution rather than revolution where sequels are concerned, and actually rightly so for the most part. Far too often game developers (and I don’t mean you; I’m thinking more of the big studios) spent a lot of time and effort developing the first game, charge $50 for it, and then change maybe 5% of that, in spite of the fact that a lot more could be improved, and charge another $50 for it, and gamers feel ripped off.

    There is a lot that is right in D2, but there is also a lot that isn’t, in the core mechanics. There are a good few posts detailing some of those issues on the forum (including one from me).

    In terms of superficial changes, personally I don’t really care, and I would far rather you spent your precious time on addressing the core issues of the game rather than the eye candy or making unnecessary changes for the sake of being seen to change things.

    So will I feel ripped off if all of the policy description text remained the same? Not at all. Will I feel ripped off it is still basically impossible to lose any election other than the first one, and if the same policies still work for all countries and scenarios beyond the first election? Yes, because then it will look like only superficial changes have been made and the core problem has been left unaddressed because it’s too difficult to tackle.

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