Another fun night! I took a big stack of business cards with me tonight and after 3-1/2 hours of continuous talk, I came home with just one. I talked to a whole lot of really interesting people: a woman from East Side Games who shares my love of Age of Empires, I talked game design with a developer working on MechWarrior Online, and I spent several minutes talking with Justin Smith, the guy behind Desert Golfing who put on a great talk at the Full Indie Summit in October.
I was quite surprised when someone suggested people may perceive Miranda to be a hard-core game like EVE Online. While traditionally RTS games are considered more hard-core than other genres, and technologically Miranda and EVE have similarities (big map, single world simulation, PvP gameplay, both ladies' names) the play experience of the two games is intended to be quite dissimilar. I think the key difference between Miranda and a game like EVE Online is the level of jeopardy. In EVE Online if you make an error you can lose a ship worth thousands of dollars, that you've been working to afford for years, along with weeks or months of character skill advancement. In Miranda if you make an error you may lose a base you spent a few minutes and some in-game resources to build, maybe a few cool unit components you won in combat, and some pride. That's it. The long-term progress you've made in the game is never lost and the setback is intended to be manageable rather than crushing. Even among RTS games, some are more hard-core than others. Miranda takes a lot of its design cues from Command and Conquer which is a more moderate game than for example, Starcraft with its professional league play and APM focus.
Overall the feedback from people was very positive, which for a lone developer is like pure oxygen. Lots of people were taken aback at the scope of the game. Yes, I should have picked something easier. So many people had stories of playing classic RTS games like Age of Empires and Command and Conquer. There is a lot of nostalgia for classic RTS gameplay. Nearly everyone was enthused to try Miranda out themselves. A surprising number of people commented that there aren't any other games like Miranda - I may have found a niche.
When I got home, my little girl who was supposed to be sleeping, talked my ear off for 20 minutes straight about her day. One of the reasons I left AAA was so I would be able to know my daughter - so far that at least has worked out really well.
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