Why Not Games




Syphilisation Update - 2019-11-03

You can read about what Syphilisation is here and the manifesto for the game here. You can subscribe to the mailing list here.

Work Done

I'm in the middle of updating the look of the game. I've decided to go deeper into the faux-boardgame look. It's a style that I feel I can do reasonably well and also one that pushes me into keeping the systems clearer. Boardgames require players to maintain state and so can't away with the amount of under-the-hood stuff that the average video game can. I also realized recently that I can just draw from the tons of photos of the era for the art of the game. This feels like the kind of solution that will be both cheaper and better than the alternatives, so I'm excited to see how it feels to play with it.

I also added a few questions to the game. I integrated Churchill's actions in WW1 and Jallianwallah Bagh as direct questions that the player can explore and so added a lot of facts around them. I worry that I may later have to figure out a better way to handle the amount of data in the research trees of the game, but I'll get to that when I need to.

Interesting Fact

I'm about three quarters of the way through A House for Mr. Biswas right now. I picked it up hoping that some of Naipaul's infamous causticness would be directed toward the Empire in a way that I could then abstract from, but I've had little luck with that so far. However, I do really enjoy the book. It's interesting to me how few of the characters in a book set in Trinidad are not of Indian origin. That was how the Indian diaspora worked, but it feels more extreme in this book than I expected. The other thing that I found fascinating about the book so far is how it's framed as an epic quest, but for much lower stakes than what a video game would normally dare. Naipaul writes with the skill and sympathy needed to invest the reader in something as small as a place to live for his own. I, naturally, see no reason why games don't do the same, although I do feel it's non-trivial with existing game structures. I'll write this out in detail if I have some time soon.

- @murthynikhil

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