We’ve just started work on the single player campaign mode for Frozen Synapse
. Although the core of the gameplay is about two players trying to outwit each other, we’ve known from the outset just how important single player is for a strategy game.
A lot of strategy fans have an aversion to multiplayer; they like the sedate pace of singleplayer and the ability to immerse themselves in strategic decisions without the pressure of competition. Indeed, in this interview with RPS
, the Gollop brothers talk about how a lack of single player hampered their turn-based strategic epic Laser Squad Nemesis
Despite the fact that we tend to focus on multiplayer, we’re big single player fans at Mode 7. Personally, I’ve always loved the immersive narratives in classic PC games like Wing Commander
and Terra Nova
The question is: how can we marry that sort of epic scale with a generative approach to level design? It may well not be possible!
Click to enlarge
Our first port of call is to focus on the gameplay. At the moment, our basic single player AI doesn’t make for a particularly compelling experience, but before we invest time in refining it, we need to establish what the core game mode will be. We’ll decide how player will fight before we polish who they will be fighting.
Ian has been experimenting with Extermination, our core multiplayer game mode, and working on what changes or additions might need to be made to it in order to translate it effectively to singleplayer. We’re also thinking about how to throw in some surprises; we want to stick to our maxim of throwing the player immediately into an interesting situation.
Once we get the heart of the game right, we’re sure the rest will follow. Our fans have requested a huge amount of aesthetic additions - from bomb disposal to...ponies - so we’re going to work on those things which match up to the gameplay most effectively!
Personally, I really want that feeling of commanding a squad with my actions having consequences for an overarching campaign, so hopefully we’ll be able to create something suitably immersive. I’ll keep you posted, but if you’ve got any requests or thoughts of your own then be sure to sling them in comments below and we’ll do our best to respond!
Paul Taylor is the Joint Managing Director of Mode 7 Games, makers of Frozen Synapse, an upcoming PC strategy game.