Weekly eXchange #71 – The Substitute

Join Nate and Troy as they bring you all the important information on all your favorite 4X and strategy games! This week we discuss Iceberg Interactive publishing Lord of Rigel, Pocket Space Empires hitting Steam Early Access, GoG drama, the continued coverage for Stellaris, Endless Space 2, the Master of Orion reboot and much much more…

Music by MangaDrive for eXplorminate


Show Notes:

5 replies »

  1. Nate is the hipster here with his Apple. I’m not changing my desktop. Never. ;-p

    But it brings me to something interesting for which I hope you guys can write an indepth article one day.

    Changes in PC gaming. I’m scared for them. In my worst nightmare Steam becomes a subscription service where I have to login and pay per minute to play my games. That means for some huge map turnbased games with a lot of AI players that I have to pay a lot for waiting time.

    The same fear I have for Paradox turns public. Blizzard once was making real games but since they have to be around at stockholder meetings monthly the quality of their products is not the same anymore. Yes they have a large audience and make a lot of money, but the games I loved the play they do not make anymore.

    Is Crusader Kings III in the future a tablet game with a streamlined interface and micromanagement reduced to the level of the Clicker Heroes game or Farm Ville just to please the stockholders?

    Those casual tablet games sell. Those enormous 4x games I’m used to play sell less, are more expansive to make and stockholders don’t like coninued support for old games.

    You can see it with Ubisoft and Uplay. They do not support Homm4 and HommV anymore on Uplay. You can still download it and play it but they stopped all online services and support for those game. Thank to the mod community we can still play them. Homm 7 while made by a very ambitious team (Limbic) was rushed out because of the same stockholder problem. They did not get enough time to polish their product with huge negative reviews for an unfinished product as a result.

    I’m getting old. That’s why I can’t handle the changes. Maybe I’m wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Here’s what I think:

      As long as there are people wanting to play a certain type of game there are probably people wanting to design that certain type of game.

      For many game designers and developers, especially I feel those engaged in strategy gaming, designing systems and engaging games is a passion, a hobby, and an obsession. There’s always going to be people wanting to design and make new games, and some subset of those people are going to want to make “traditional” (i.e. non-monetized) strategy games.

      The shift might be that AAA-studios aren’t going to be making these sorts of games in the future, and they barely are today as it is. But frankly I don’t put a lot of stock (no pun intended) in AAA studios to make the sorts of deep and interesting games I want anyway. And AAA games don’t appear to be any less polished or better designed than indie titles – and I’m inclined to think they are worse overall in this regard.

      So, are there going to be some companies that change their business model in ways that many of us won’t like? Sure … but that doesn’t mean new developers/publishers won’t come into the arena and provide a alternative.

      For every worrisome sign I see in the industry, I see 10 more indie game projects that look or are totally amazing (and don’t usually cost $60 to buy in the first place!). Heck, I already have a lifetimes worth of un-played games sitting in my Steam/GOG library. The number of good games isn’t the limiting factor – my time on planet earth is.

      In this regard, the landscape looks better (to me at least) …. 15 years ago there wasn’t nearly the number of smaller publishers or indie game designers we see today. Everything was Activision or EA or a handful of other industry giants. Those giants are still lumbering around doing their thing, but there are a lot more other options now too. For every crap AAA game that gets released, someone’s dream just got kickstarted.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amazing well thought comment. Really nice to read. As I’m very pessimistic and concerned how things are going with triple A gaming (and some new developers as well) but I think you are right that it doesn’t mean the end for those complex 4x titles we need. I’m still concerned that small starting developers maybe do not have access to and money to develop the same quality content as triple A devs can afford. For example I rarely see games developed by one or two person. No Sid Meijer anymore who developed a Civilization game alone, a Chris Saywner building the complete Rollercoaster Tycoon engine from scratch in assembly. You see the new companies want to bring to live their ideas struggling. For 3D content you need teams to produce the content, you need loads of different hardware configurations to test, cannot build an engine anymore from scratch etc. etc. Anyway it should be nice to read some nice artile about this subject on Explorminate.


  2. Those days are gone unfortunately, but not so much necessarily because of a gap between developers then and developers today. The reason, I think, has more to do with the technology itself. The birth of 32 bit computing and the great increase in computer resources (memory, disk and processing power), just opened up more possibilities in terms of gameplay, and the lone wolf programmer just can’t handle alone the added complexity of modern game programming. Too many specializations and too many lines of code to make a game we could look at as following modern standards.

    Lone programmers still exist today, but mostly on the edge of the gaming industry, still innovating through obscure titles. And this I think reflects another problem that — along with the increase in technology capabilities — has contributed to their withdrawal from the front line of game shelfs; Gamming press has become less specialized and mass market oriented, with many gaming journalists being more a gamer than a guru of the gaming industry. Consequently, incapable of identifying seminal mechanics, and even having little knowledge of what these games are and who made them.

    One of the reasons I love eXplorminate is exactly that sense I get that in here staff, and community members alike, don’t just just play strategy games. They study these genres as one studies a scientific field. With the same eagerness to know more, delve deeper, and listening intently to others’ hypothesis.


    • “One of the reasons I love eXplorminate is exactly that sense I get that in here staff, and community members alike, don’t just just play strategy games. They study these genres as one studies a scientific field. With the same eagerness to know more, delve deeper, and listening intently to others’ hypothesis.”

      That’s all very true, or at least, that’s our hope and goal, Mario.

      Liked by 1 person


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