I defeated Bush today. As Kerry. In the Political Machine that is. The first beta is going out tomorrow and I played the build we have up on Stardock Central (available privately). It'll be available tomorrow to all users of Drengin.net. I'm not fully satisfied with the game play so far. We'll be tweaking the heck out of the game in the coming weeks.
But I must say, even as a beta, I'm having a pretty good time. Which isn't something I could say for Galactic Civilizations which I went around the office saying "This game...Suuuuuuuccckkkkssss..." during the first 2 betas until we got starbases in. I still wasn't really satisfied with how GalCiv turned out, if I had known how MOO 3 was going to turn out we would have put in the ship design feature we had originally wanted to put in. But hindsight is 20/20 and the Altarian Prophecy is something we're pretty happy about.
Here's a screenshot from tonight's game. I played at "Beginner" level.
I managed to win Wyoming as Kerry which was a bit gratuitous. It took quite a bit of effort to do it as you can imagine. I wasn't able to win over Ohio though, Bush had simply gotten there and worked it harder sooner.
So what are the parts I don't like?
- Badly need a status report dialog each turn so that the game flow is nicer
- The issues need a lot of tweaking. Right now, it's just too tempting to say "I support the war on terror!" Need more divisive issues.
- The political consultants aren't powerful enough.
- The activists aren't powerful enough
- Endorsements are too powerful and too expensive
- Lots of annoying UI issues. For instance, too often I don't have enough stamina or money to take out an ad or build a campaign HQ and only when I try to do it does it tell me. Needs to gray out the button when I lack something.
- Need the + and - keys to zoom in the map.
- Need the left mouse button to let you grab the map (middle button does this)
- Clicking on your candidate (or any other unit) should also make it select the state it's in.
- Units get strewn all over the place.
- Not enough feedback. I want to know precisely what an ad is doing in a given state.
- I want to be able to click on a state details and see much more info such as how they feel about me and my opponent and why. I want to visually see the effect my advertisements and stances on the issue are.
- The candidate info screen needs to be done.
- Need to be able to design the candidates
- Need option to be able to randomize the partisanship of the states (i.e. New York be a Republican state, Texas a Democrat state).
- TV news casters are not working right. Always is Nighttime with a goofed up picture. Where's O'Maley?
So that's some of the things we're working through. I've got a lot of work to do on the AI still. I don't have the AI able to do endorsements, deal with political consultants or activists correctly. And I need to crank out a lot more political issues. I also need to make sure that answering crazy answers definitely sinks your campaign.
So in this practice game I did beat Bush by about 30 electoral votes.