Fixing bugs you don't care about

April 27, 2005

This an old status update on my web-based game Engineering Faith.

I spent some good time this week fixing bugs nobody but me has ever seen. Whoopee. There’s quite a few things with basic implementations now, so introduction of major new features is starting to slow down a bit, and I’m starting to watch for massively wrong behaviour (the bugs I was fixing this week primarily wrong) and start to think about what this is going to feel like when people are actually playing it one day. How fast should the games run? What will the most powerful strategies be? How dreadfully awful are my initial balances and settings?

Game speed is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. So far I’ve settled on 1 game year per real-life hour, and have been happy with that simplicity. Ticks are probably going to stay at 15-minute intervals (as opposed to Asylum’s 1-hour intervals), making for a season every 15 minutes.

From early on I planned for Faith games to last about twice as long as Asylum games, making for a 10 to 15 week game. While I’d sort of rather the game go more than 2500 years, I figured it would vary depending on if you were in a Blitz game or a slow game or whatever, which would be fine.

The question is, do people want to play 3 month games? My plan was always for Faith to be twice as good, and assumed that would mean it could keep people interested for twice as long. If despite the richer gameplay, 2 months ends up being the ideal game length, then that sucks a bit because that’s only 1500 years - some religions have been around for 4000 years in real life. I could just double things so that there’s a year every half hour, and only have Winter and Summer seasons, but it’s not as easy to figure out what’s going on then… I just don’t like it as much.

I’m not the only one thinking about game tick speeds at 1:30am, am I?

© Allen Pike. See also Twitter and Steamclock.