A while ago I listened to a podcast interview with one of the developers of Don't Starve. They were discussing the design of the Science Machine, the building that lets you discover new crafting recipes.
Recently, when ideas for major new features for Airships have cropped up, I've taken to saying "that's a good idea for an expansion". Understandably, this has got some people concerned that the game's going to down the route of endless DLC.
I want to address those concerns here and describe what I mean by expansions as opposed to DLC.
I used to devour "Making Magic", the game design column written by Mark Rosewater, then lead designer of Magic: The Gathering. I never got into playing Magic itself, but I found the inside view of game design and balancing interesting nevertheless. Probably the most famous column is Timmy, Johnny and Spike, where he introduces three archetypal player profiles that the game caters to.
Airships isn't much like M:tG in its details, but there are certain similarities: it's a 1v1 game that is played in two distinct stages of preparation and combat. In Magic, the preparation is the deck building, whereas in Airships it's the ship design. Victory is secured by some combination of good preparation and being able to use your assets effectively. With that in mind, I think that Timmy, Johnny and Spike are applicable to my game. I'm going to first explain what each of these player types is about, and then how I'm working to accommodate the interests of each of them.
If you're a game developer, you've likely encountered these: emails from people claiming to be a Let's Player or representing a game news site, asking you for a review copy of your game. A lot of these are fake, but of course there are real ones too, which you really need to get the word out about your game.
Unsurprisingly, games don't come from a vacuum. There's all kinds of influences in terms of gameplay, visuals, and overall feel, some conscious, others not. These are the major ones for Airships:
I always thought it'd be cool to be able to create your own coat of arms in a game. With Airships, this makes a fair amount of sense, as you play as one potential empire in a late-19th-century-esque setting.