Picking up from Monday, the practical fact for game designers is that there is a vast history of ideas and designs to draw upon. With Wargames, every era of warfare is amply covered and span easy to play games to games with over 600 pages of rules. These are all ideas and components that you can use when creating your games.
Panzer General, produced by SSI in 1994, can be regarded as one of, possible THE most successful computer wargame to date. It went on to spawn Allied General, Fantasy General, Star General, Panzer General II, and more. It was easy to play, intuitive, had a decent “computer opponent” – suited perfectly for the mass market. Twenty years later, it still has a loyal fan base along with a number of Open Source projects of a similar nature. Slitherine’s Panzer Corps has been touted as the spiritual successor of Panzer General, adding enhancements from later versions, better graphics, and has been made available for the iPad.
Dozens of other games deserve mention like Campaign Series with East Front, Decisive Battles, Gary Grigsby’s War in the East, etc. There are the various Real Time Simulators such as Dune II, Command and Conquer, Age of Empires with Hearts of Iron 1-3 and Europa Universalis (among others) as hybrids of a sort. Add to this the First Person Shooters like Castle Wolfenstein, Doom, Medal of Honor, World of Tanks, etc. Add tactical operations games like X-Com, Jagged Alliance, the Tom Clancy series, and others. There are games for every scale – from the individual soldier up to all of the units in an entire war.
This is a quick fast forward of almost two decades of computer wargames leading us into the era of mobile wargames. Not all of the PC-based wargames created are made to fit mobile. Screen size is a major obstacle to overcome. One day screen-size will be solved – and our definitions of Mobile vs. PC will change dramatically as a consequence.
Realism is increasing – from near real-life graphics to modeling physics, better modeling of weapons, better handling of command and control, line of sight, supply and logistical components. The difference between “war games” and “real war” is decreasing steadily in every regard except lethality.
The United States Army created its own game, America’s Army, as a recruiting and training tool. From discussions I’ve had with others in both civilian and military education programs on LinkedIn, there is an interest for apps/games/utilities that can be useful for military training, instruction, decision-making tools, etc. Military, military academies, potentially even paintball and laser tag parks represent another market beyond regular gamers.
Wargame Design Tips for Mobile:
These are all relative to your game concept. People stopped playing Space Invaders a few years ago because of the monotony. Other games offered less monotony.
If you can achieve these five things, I’d really like to see it and I imagine many other players would, too. This is not all specific to wargames, functionally the same extends equally to Monopoly or Mario Brothers, Angry Birds and many, many other games. The aim is to look at what makes all of the games that we really like, “FUN”.
On Friday, I’ll present the mammoth World War II Project that I’ve been working on for the past seven years that is now in its final stages of playtesting.