"Sim City's a bit too loosey-goosey for me"
I mentioned that in the last post I wrote, but I wanted to explore it a bit more, so I will.
See, when you build a system, you build it to do something. In a situation where you're building a giant war robot, it's pretty clear what it does: it kills other giant war robots. Most of the fundamentals of the system are usually precreated for you - your robot can walk around, target things, communicate, produce energy, and so on. Your part of the deal is to create a system on top of that for addressing the particulars of the challenge and how you want to approach it. Equip it with lasers or missiles, make it nimble and lightly armed or a heavy... whatever your approach calls for and your resources can manage.
The fun comes in taking your system and applying it to the challenge. Your skill at making a system combines with your skill at playing the game. If you imagine it topologically, it's like the game world is a bumpy surface, you're building another bumpy surface, and then trying to mesh them together.
Anyhow, my comments on Banjo & Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts. It's the same idea, but more so. You're building the whole structure from the ground up. Where a mech game provides you with the basic giant robot frame, N&B asks you to build the basic frame as well, making the play focus more on basic movement than the weapons output.
To me, the fact that the system faces a challenge is an important part of the game, because it gives me a feedback loop. I build the system to accomplish a goal and, based on how well it works, I build the next system a bit different. That kind of iteration really sells me on the game.
Sim City doesn't really do that. It lets you build a system, but the primary challenge that system faces is to simply get bigger and more complex. Contrast that with Evil Genius or Dungeon Keeper, where the challenge is to resist enemy assault. Once you've done that, you start again on a new base.
So, in many ways, Dungeon Keeper is more like Nuts & Bolts than Sim City, because it involves creating iterative systems that face various challenges, while Sim City does not. To me, this makes them fundamentally different genres.
The other thing to keep in mind is that when the basic movement is not taken for granted, some of the gameplay may be more difficult to plan out to as advanced a level. It's far wider in scope, so the narrow missions and rewards you would normally hand out are easy to upset and do not cover the real scope of the game.
I wonder how best to deal with that?
Does it make sense? What are your impressions?