If you’ve been asking what in the world this game is, you are not the only one. I’m going to try and give a clear answer. But first, here are some fast answers to other frequently asked questions.
Can I play this game now?
Yes. The controls are WASD to move. “J” to drop whatever you are holding and “K” to pick up something.
Can I play on my Apple computer?
Can I play on my Windows computer?
Can I play on my phone?
No. This is a desktop computer game. Maybe in some crazy version of the future it will work on a phone, but please don’t hold your breath.
Have you been baking anything?
No. But I have been making ice cream. The best experiment was this weekend. Here is the recipe.
Mix everything together. Use an electric mixer to whip until it’s a thick whipped cream. Put in freezer and wait 4+ hours.
This week I focused on trying to get the idea of items built into the game. I was able to get pretty far in this and in the download for this week you can plant corn, watch in grow and harvest it. This required a bunch of refactoring which is when you rearrange code in your project in such a way where the functionality of the application doesn’t change. You can sort of think about it as moving paragraphs of text around except that in programming the order of your text on the page does not necessarily relate to the order it affects your application.
What is this game anyway?
There are a few things you need to know about me to help keep the “but why” part of this section down.
With all of that said. “Mars Game” is a game set on a corporate Martian base. The Corporation bought the base a few years back off of NASA and the people there can’t seem to prioritize anything correctly. They’ve talked for years about creating a sustainable ecology but still can’t grow enough food to survive on their own. The Corporation couldn’t care less about the sustainable ecology, but if they are going to keep sending rockets with food and supplies, they expect valuable Martian goods in return.
You are the new Base Manager sent by The Corporation to fix this problem. Your first objective is to get The Base producing enough high value Martian goods to pay for the weekly supply runs. If you can’t do this in six weeks, The Corporation will pull the plug. If you can figure out how to turn a profit, you’ll soon find that Corporation isn’t the only one with demands.
On one level this is a resource gathering game. You plant seeds to gather crops and mine Mars to collect resources. These crops and resources are then loaded up on the weekly rocket and launched to Earth where they are sold. After The Corporation takes its share of the sale, you get the profits and can use this money to purchase extra supplies for The Base.
On another level this is a game about people and project management. You can’t harvest or mine enough Martian goods on your own to pay for supply runs so how do you get the other residents of the Base to lend a hand? A detailed and prioritized list of tasks mapped to production targets will help but if you do it wrong, trust will erode and the whole thing will come crashing down.
Well… at least that is what I think the game is right now. It depends on two unanswered questions. First, can I create an AI for the non-player characters which will allow them to both feel like characters with a back story and also react to your management style. Second, will managing a farm/mine via task lists be fun? My hope is that if I pull this off, the non-playing characters will solve the repetitive nature of resource gathering games. Time will only tell.
Thanks for reading.