I wrote a new article for bit-tech, you can see it here (courtesy of digg)
It’s about how sandbox games are getting less sandboxy, with a lot more in the way of aggressive hinting and quests to tell you what to do. I consider this to be a slight dumbing down of otherwise good freeform games. I don’t play games to be told what to do, I could get that in a day-job :D
I got thinking today about spore, my slight disappointment with it, and thinking about whether it’s a genre I could tackle in the future. I certainly think the game is too simple and dumbed down, no doubt to appeal to the mass market. The section of the game I enjoy most is the creature stage, but it’s far too predictable, and simplistic. There really isn’t enough in the way of simulation complexity to give me enough of a freeform game there.
So I was wondering about whether I could do a different take on the ‘cell stage’, which is more of a ‘sim fish creature’ game that anything really cellular. I love the ‘look’ of that part of the game, but I thought the gameplay was too simple. There are basically two food types (meat and plants) and you avoid big things and eat little things. Also there are some bits of meteor you need to hoover up. I’m pretty sure there is huge scope to expand on all this and make a better game. It’s certainly the sort of game I enjoy coding, and it would fit nicely in with my general portfolio of stuff whilst being a new game (non sequel).
Just a thought.