Player-generated content in a 4X game

I’ve been doing mostly under-the-hood code optimisations today so I don’t have any pretty screenshots to show for it, but I do have an idea to share that I’ve been wanting to run by other people. Master of Orion II is my touch-stone for game design, and it only had sandbox style games. But when I introduced a 3D map I realised that also adding singleplayer missions or challenges might actually be really cool. One example mission might be set up so that you own one planet that’s surrounded and you win if you can hold out until a doomsday technology is researched to let you smash your aggressors to pieces. Another might have a colossal galaxy and the challenge might be to find and secure a wormhole hidden somewhere in the chaos, then launch an attack fleet through it.

There’s a lot that could be done with these scenarios, as I could make them with unique maps, races, technology trees, etc. But why should I have all the fun of developing fun singleplayer challenges? I’ll need to develop a map editor tool at some point, so I could put a little more effort in and develop a full scenario editor that players could use to design their own challenges. They’d be submitted to an online repository and players could vote on them, with the best even making it into the game client.

You could try to make an unwinnable map and dare players to beat it, or just make a normal map with a few twists like new technologies and races. Perhaps most exciting would be that you could remake your favourite battle from sci-fi, or faithfully reproduce the star map of Earth’s local stellar neighbourhood for that oldschool Elite kick. Does that sound like it’d be worth doing?

About Brendan Drain

Director @ Brain and Nerd

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