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Games Worth Continuing to Develop (Part 6) (c64games.net)
96 points by ibobev on Oct 27, 2022 | hide | past | favorite | 30 comments

In a similar vein, Age of Empire 2 had a very interesting resource-balance that few other games have managed to replicate. With 5 resources (food, wood, gold, stone, population), and each of those resources being good for very different things (i.e. gold for stronger attack units, and stone for static defenses), and with the population being capped at 200, it presents the player with very interesting choices that have ripple-effects down the line. The sequels didn't quite manage to pull this balance off. And the dynamic is very different from other classics like Civ or Humankind, because those games about geographic control instead of worker-management.

Hoping someone undertakes a formal study of game-balance and economics in various strategy games (to help us make better games).

Definitely. Also there are four ages in AOE, each one increasingly expensive but opens up a lot of technology. It is a big investment and doing so without much control can you leave you very vulnerable and is a key window for your opponent to attack. It’s a unique mechanic that adds a lot of strategy to the game

Yep, which creates a first-strike/second-strike trade-off. If you have enough resources to click-up an age (or to research some tech-upgrade), you have to choose whether to do _that_, or to build up your military. If you choose the latter, you are implicitly trying to cripple/destroy your opponent before they attack you. If you succeed, then well played. But should you _fail_, you have a huge problem.

The interesting thing is that the first-striker's failure implies that the opponent had built himself up enough to survive the first strike. Which implies that their economy was not vulnerable to the first strike, and might also be capable of launching a second-strike soon.

As a kid, I never really _understood_ decisions like Pearl Harbor -- classic first-strike/second-strike tradeoff example -- until I played this game.

I thought I had seen them all but nope so I downloaded the single file .prgs on the first page and zipped them if anyone want to give them a run:


Just had to fire it up for a quick 4v4 Hunters...

The term "demake" is really popular in the fantasy console scene:


Some of these projects like Alone in the Dark and UnduneII are incredible.

The forum post for UnduneII has lots of info on it's creation: https://www.lexaloffle.com/bbs/?tid=47155

Well, the first famous "demake" was fan version of GTA for NES. But the project really dead...very cold dead.

I am not sure but I think that the developer changed the game title and the platform.


> I am not sure but I think that the developer changed the game title and the platform.

Correct, the wiki page you linked actually mentions this:

> It was developed in 2002, and was due to be released in Fall of 2005. It was never released, and instead it was replaced with a brand new game, Retro City Rampage.

Here is the game in question:


When I first saw Retro City Rampage I thought of Grand Theftendo, but I didn't know they were related!

Retro City Rampage did actually get "retro system" releases -- for DOS and Windows 3.1.

There were official GTA 1-2 for Gameboy Color, so I'm not sure there was even much need for that effort.

(There was also ‘Driver’ for GBC.)

Some games could become immortal just like chess or go or poker are today, if only they were open sourced...

This concept of continued developement is incredibly intriguing to me

Chess is immortal, not because its inventor left clear instructions how to make chess boards and pieces, but because the rules are well understood. To extrapolate it to video games it wouldn’t be about preserving the source code, but having a good understanding of what makes a game what it is. It’s more like all the different versions of Doom or Mario, which do not really share code.

Yes. I'd say any 25+-year-old game where 99% of gameplay knowledge is transferrable and they still have a large playerbase fits the bill for "immortal" games.

There are opensource reimplementations of many of such classics anyways. Civ games definitely pass the test. The classic Doom style boomer-shooter, the mario-style platformer, the Arena-style Quake3 shooters also have many opensource reimplementations. Some may not be rule-for-rule bug-compatible reimplementations, but they're definitely "close-enough" variants of the game that scratch the same itches and could be picked up quickly by a player who enjoys the classic.

What's more surprising are the giants of gaming that don't get this kind of treatment. Like, there are reimplementations of classic RTS games like Warcraft 2 and Red Alert, but the but the art in these games are all asset-rips. You don't have something like Xonotic or Unciv that rebuilds the game fully from scratch. The only RTS game to get that treatment AFAIK is Total Annihilation thanks to Zero-K and Beyond All Reason.

There are several issues with open sourcing anything.

Ownership is the first one. Who owns the code. Take something recent done with an unreal engine. Who owns that code? Most opensource licenses are very clear on who owns it as they are using copyright and contract law to back it up. The bits the dev added clearly are the studios code. But what about unreal that is fairly clearly not theirs to decide on. Then plugins they buy, those companies may or may not want to open source their code as that is what they sell to stay in business. You could make a case 'what about that 25 year old game'. Well that is interesting too as you still have to get owner approval. Yet the owner may not even know they own it. As the legal bits were long ago forgotten in some lawyers bottom filling drawer. Or for that matter want to pay someone to fixup that legal mess.

That is assuming they even still have the code. When a company goes into 'sell everything' mode. They are not always very careful to keep that sort of thing around. They care more about 'these 20 chairs can get me 50 bucks a piece, and there are 30 computers worth 200 each' not what is on them. Most of the old code dumps we have access too are from companies that did care or someone who pack ratted it away in their desk drawer at home, or someone was sloppy with their security.

Then on top of that. Many times before 2000 there was no real source control. Some companies did it. But many did not bother. It was a folder on 'jims' computer that was the golden copy. Then there is the idea of heritage. You made a game. But you made 6 games since then, each one building on the previous one. Would giving out that code mess you up somehow today?

There are also those who can do all of those things. They just do not want to. This is the thing they sell. They are not going to give it away, at all.

Sometimes I find myself thinking about the difference between video games and traditional games. For some reason, we assume video games are transient. What you played a few years ago probably isn’t what you’re playing today, and you certainly aren’t playing something that you played 25 years ago. Of course there’s the nostalgia remakes and all that, but that’s a small subset.

On the other hand, you have chess, poker, monopoly, etc. These games persist unchanged for decades, sometimes centuries.

Obviously the transience and rapid development of software is a major factor. But it’s interesting to ponder what a persistent digital game would look like.

I suppose Tetris is probably the closest example I can think of.

Traditional games cannot iterate because they exist as an agreement by the players, they don't have anybody who "owns" the game to improve it. Notice that in tabletop and modern boardgaming, where they do have a coherent owner, we do see revisions and iterations. If I play Dungeons and Dragons today, or Cosmic Encounter, or Magic the Gathering, it's not the same game as 25 years ago. Not as radically as video games have changed, but still they have evolved because the owners of those games have iterated on them.

To my mind, the non-transient part is that these old games have clear successors that hew very close to their original form that still draw new players. If you want to play Quake, you will find a massive number of games that play very very close to Quake and have active playerbases.

Really? This might be true for multiplayer games (though people still play Counter Strike 1.6 I guess) to some extend but for single player games I don't see how they are transient.

Most of the games I play are ten years or older. Admittedly lots of games that I never got around playing as a child. Also, retro gaming is huge.

With gog.com it is pretty easy to play old game⌊. Though many more modern games might get lost forever because they require access to certain servers. We need legislation that forces publishers to open source games including the server-side code once they stop supporting them.

Well some games are eposidic. I play a little fortnite, and the island keeps changing, significant things come and go (some weapons, map locations, bosses, ufos, boats). Its keeps it from getting stale, but you can never go back to the way things were..

There's always The Ur-Quan masters: https://sc2.sourceforge.net/

I’m shocked by how many websites can’t handle a few requests a second

I'm not. Plenty of people expect their traffic to be "a few friends", not "a few hundred thousand strangers", and they still use the first host that showed up in Google sixteen years ago.

Those hosts cater to people who expect a few friends' worth of traffic, and have little incentive to optimize for the Hacker News Hug that is honestly unlikely to happen.

Can you find an affordable host that could scale to big traffic? Sure. But that takes time to research, and they payoff might not be there for most people.

I am pretty sure my site would be ok. It’s just static HTML and pretty streamlined. A $5/month VPS. Maybe some day I will write a cool enough post I feel like sharing.

Well, the only real way to know is by sharing the link and finding out. No plan surviving first contact and all that.

I ran a load tester at it. It is just nginx and a static site generated with tesla, nothing remarkable. 522 Req/Sec and around 4 MB / Sec bandwidth consumed. 16K pages served in 32 seconds with zero errors. 122 MB total. At least, in its current form it would survive a pretty significant hug of death :)

(stealthgoat.com if anyone is curious, I just started blogging again after many years of meaning to, currently just non-tech stuff.. kind of just my personal notes I felt like sharing with the world) :)

<on the slim chance anyone from Eidos or Embracer game devs are in here/>

Please can you continue with the Deus Ex series, the three games with their Cyberpunk storylines and tech futurism/pessimism are a real gaming treasure.

It would be a shame for the franchise to just become another IP asset gathering dust.

I realize everyone hates Invisible War and pretends it doesn't exist, but there are actually four games in the franchise so far (five if you count that mobile game)

How about Half Life, Splinter Cell, Mirror's Edge...?

Many of those games have sequels, doesn’t that mean they have been developed further?

It’s not original games, but their remakes for C64:

"8 Bit Civilizations (working title) by Fabian Hertel is a impressive fan remake of the classic for the Commodore C64."

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