This week was still all playtesting, bugfixing and UI updates. I changed a lot of the UI to make it less jarring, but I’m not that happy with how things look right now, so I’m going to go over it again. I fixed a bunch of fairly subtle bugs and now the game hums along quite happily for a fair bit. I still haven’t been able to test deep into the game though.
I don’t want to get people over to playtest right now, so I might lift my feature freeze for a bit. The game has a lot of pieces that are interesting and cleaning up the game does make cause and effect clearer, but it still hasn’t come together.
In particular, the game doesn’t really lean into the idea of the players cooperating to finish the group report yet, and I’m betting heavily on that doing a lot to make the game feel different.
I also just want to make the game flow a little smoother. I’ve messed with a quest system before, but I haven’t really gotten it to work yet. I’m very likely going to give that another shot soon so as to help the game flow. Once that system is in cleanly, I expect that it will end up absorbing other systems too and so the game will become more cohesive. The game still struggles with communicating what’s going on and an underlying system like this might help with that.
So, I’ve been reading Guns, Germs and Steel. I was dubious about it to start with, but the book is foundational to the genre and so I thought that it would be best to go through it at least once. Besides, I wanted something that wasn’t quite as anti-colonial as what I normally read as I feel the game is a little light on that side, so I thought that I would pick it up. I’m about halfway through and I’m just not sure if there’s much that I can use.
In his single-minded quest to establish an grand unified theory of history, he quite happily skips over pieces that don’t fit, like the Mongols or really any Indian history at all. He focuses on the two eras which support his theory best, that of the rise of the Fertile Crescent and the era of colonization, but doesn’t really engage with the rest of history, much of which disagrees with him. Most worryingly though, he’s fixated on using military dominance as the only way to compare different peoples.
Also, I’m still reeling from his attempt at literary analysis. He states that by the famous opening line of Anna Karenina, “Tolstoy meant that, in order to be happy, a marriage must succeed in many different respects; sexual attraction, agreement about money, child discipline, religion, in-laws, and other vital issues. Failure in any one of those essential respects can doom a marriage even if it has all the other ingredients needed for happiness.” I had to put the book down for a while after reading that. Thankfully, I should be done soon. I may try Nick Joaquin’s “Culture and History” next for a different look at colonialism, but I might also try J. S. Mill, who was contemporaneous. I might also get to Edward Said, whom I’ve been looking forward to for a while.