The prospect of making a game was one I found extremely daunting. I realised I was very much in the consumer mindset and hadn’t really considered the possibility. After 11 weeks of honing my project I am very pleased with how Besieged is turning out.
The best thing about this project for me was the opportunity was the realisation that I could tailor the it to be everything I look for in a game. Obviously making it to be enjoyable to a large audience is essential, but the driving force behind the idea was crafting something I was passionate about. Besieged allowed me to incorporate my love for military history and fantasy, two things I spend endless hours reading about in my own time. Thanks to this project I can now refer to that as research should anyone ask.
While I certainly did allow my imagination to run a bit wild in coming up with the game, I did also learn some practical lessons about balancing creativity and mechanics. The original state of Besieged was very complex and open to interpretation. But thanks to external input I discovered that many of the games that inspired my own were not overly intricate. They had easy to learn rules but left it to personal strategies to enrich the experience. Trying to control overly ambitious ideas and settling on straight forward mechanics actually achieved what I was aiming for in the first place. I guess what I’m getting at is, in the case of Besieged, less can sometimes be more.
My favourite aspects of historical battles usually derive from the great strategic minds behind them. An example being the ancient Chinese strategist Zhuge Liang in 3rd century China. He once found himself and his small force trapped inside a castle, surrounded on all sides by a far larger army led by his bitter rival Sima Yi. Liang knew that an attack from Yi would almost certainly spell defeat. So Liang abandoned conventional methods and sent his men in to hiding. When Yi arrived he found a seemingly empty castle, the gates wide open. The only figure in sight was Liang, sitting atop the ramparts, playing the guqin (a Chinese string instrument). Yi was so taken aback by the spectacle, assuming it was too simple and an ambush had to be waiting in the wings, that he retreated and Zhuge Liang held the castle.
Obviously I don’t expect army generals to be picking up my game, but giving the players the freedom to win in their own way is a fundamental element of what I’m trying to achieve with Besieged.