Sunday, July 08, 2007

A review of the linux game "Stratagus"

I downloaded the linux game "Stratagus". To review the game with one word, it's an eyesore. The text is hard to read in several places. The look and feel is a bit unpleasant.

Whil playing the "braza" custom scenario, I found that just moving the characters around the battlefield to be quite annoying. The A.I. was too weak to have them negotiate a very simple maze, or even a tight corridor. I was frequently having to click, move, click, move, click, move to get them to go where I wanted, and then they kept interpreting my directions as somehow going in the opposite direction. This seems to be a poor game design, where winning is based on neither tactical analysis nor reflexes but rather on diligence in how many mouse clicks you're willing to make to make up for poor A.I.. If we cannot expect intelligence of the level of Commander Data from a sprite in a free program, then the landscape needs to be designed to account for the cluelessness of the bots.

I appreciate that the team behind this has made great strides in having to rebuild after the legal difficulties that "Freecraft" underwent. I think they have a lot more work to do, especially in game theory.

screen grab below.

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