I Played R:WM With Other People For The First Time And I Can't Wait To Do It Again

We've reached a turning point in the development of R:WM. Until this week, to one degree or another, we've been creating a foundation. As of our most recent play test the foundation and superstructure of the game all exist, and are ready and waiting to be filled in with game play. Not that there isn't plenty of game play already: in addition to the space combat, which we've had for a while, we can build cities and buildings, use those cities to produce resources, both raw resources and ships and research in our tech web, and we can start to strategize based on our available assets and the behavior of enemy corporations. As you can see in our play test we got zerg rushed by the AI, and were not, as a collection of players, familiar enough yet with the game play to react as well as we might have like. However, now the game play is all available throughout the game, in both single and multiplayer mode, and we actually had people playing in the background as Arthur introduced all the new features that have been hooked up since the last test.

This all sounds lovely, but why does it matter? Well, this is the moment that everything we're doing changes from an answer to the question of "what?" to a question of "why?" It is no longer enough to present the available research options and have a mechanism for them to be researchable by the player, for example. We now need to build spcifically in response to game players; if we provide method A of doing research, but all the play testers prefer method B, we will need to go back and implement method B, no matter how cool it is; it may be cool, but if it doesn't fit the play experience, it will have to go. Not every change will be this drastic by far, of course. Most changes will be much smaller, more on the order of tweaks as we refine and refine and refine, looking for the optimal possible game balance. In other words, we've now reached the point where we need to stop being game developers and start being game players who are developing a game.

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