"Chris Beatrice" wrote:To help us out with suggestions and ideas that will make this game great. Our fans have always played an integral and invaluable role in our games, so please contribute your thoughts!
Chris - Thanks for soliciting user feedback. IMO, this genre reached its apex in terms of gameplay, usability, and design with Pharaoah (though Caesar III remains my personal favorite because ancient Rome is more fun than ancient Egypt). A few thoughts:
(1) Thrilled to know you'll be returning walker behavior to the older (non-radial) model - this was a great choice. One of Caesar (C) III's weakest points was the lack of control over walkers that Pharaoh (P) provided with roadblocks. If you model Pharaoh's walker engines for Medieval Mayor (MM), you won't go far wrong.
(2) Warehouse/granary control was ideal in Pharaoh - the player could tweak supply behavior to a fine level of precision but could quickly make large-scale decisions too (e.g., "empty all" versus "empty [x]" and "[allow] up to [y level]" versus "get up to [y level]"). Much more precise in P than in C3. The modular market style of Emperor and Zeus was novel but not, in my view, a particular improvement.
(3) The idea - pioneered in Pharaoh, improved in Cleopatra, and extended in Emperor - of building large-scale "monuments" (e.g., pyramids, temple complexes, the Great Wall etc.) was terrific because the player then had micro and macro challenges - city building was still essential (especially in peaceful campaigns), but there was something else to manage too. Watching the monuments develop was fun, though I very much appreciated Cleopatra's introduction of speed-up bonuses (blessings from the gods, etc. that would facilitate pyramid building). I'm not sure what the MM equivalent should be other than cathedrals - perhaps guild halls, increasingly complex castles, a cloister, chateaus (location appropriate?) - but I certainly hope that there IS an equivalent in MM.
(4) I thought the road system used in the Caesar 1-3, Pharaoh, Zeus, and Emperor games (i.e., on a square grid, capable only of right-angle connections) was adequate. Another user requested hexagonal connectivity; I could see that, I suppose, but I don't think the old system was broken, frankly.
(5) The notion of a large map (continent scale) to denote a user's progress from mission to mission was great fun, though I did like the concept in Emperor of returning to previous cities in later missions. I understand TM has committed to returning to cities to further develop them in MM - that's okay, but please make sure there are LOTS of cities/missions - for my taste 12 is a minimum, and 20-25 (including the 3-5 training missions near the beginning) would be ideal.
I think it would be a poor design decision to include just, say, 3-5 cities that the player simply keeps building and building and building over time. Allowing the player to build so few cities would force him/her to live with any mistakes made early on for a very long time. There's some virtue in that game design philosophy, I suppose - "be careful what you build early on because you'll have to live with it for a long time" - but it could also make the game's early levels feel more like a homework assignment. I like the freedom of knowing that as long as I get through a mission - however well or poorly - I can move on and try something quite different without having to replay and fix a level I botched.
(6) Making housing develop was one of the most exciting parts of learning to play the Impressions games of the city building series. It was a thrill to see the first time a palace appeared in C3 or P, for example. I hope that MM will maintain that policy of restricting necessary luxury goods (wine, say, or silk or spices or pheasant or something) until middle and later levels. It gives the user a sense of accomplishment to see wholly new tiers of housing suddenly appear.
(7) A sandbox mode, a level editor, and the ability (perhaps restricted until after the completion of all campaigns?) to play any level at will are highly desirable, though I would be willing to wait for the level editor until a later release. (Other games have taken that course. We all understand that development resources and time are limited.) Again, look to Caesar 3 for the model here.
(8) As an Apple user since 1987 and a Mac guy since 1991, a Mac OS X version - not just tablet/iOS version - is of great importance to me. Macs have a larger installed base now than ever before, and many, many game studios are profitably releasing Mac OS X games. (See the App Store.) I think a Mac version is essential, and I go so far as to hope for simultaneous releases on WinX and Mac OS. Pretty please?
(9) The peace mission/military mission dichotomy was a good one. I always got more thrill from city building in these games than I did from their military aspects, but I enjoyed having the threat to my cities too. Middle age weaponry and siege tactics should offer you a fertile ground to continue this tradition.
(10) Would it be too much to ask for a better title than "Medieval Mayor"? It sounds like "Sim City in the Middle Ages," which is NOT what I would hope for from a city-building game. A return to the one-word titles of the Impressions era gets my vote. How about "Baron" "Nobility" or just "King"? You guys may have better ideas - please consider something other than "MM" for the final title. It's corny.
Again, thanks for soliciting feedback. I hope the game carries on the great tradition that Impressions created, and if it does, I hope it makes buckets of money for TM.