Pros and cons of creating an Alpha Centauri add-on game
Alpha Centauri add-on game would, even if customised, still be a
science fiction game, and thus not realistic.
Original games are always taken more seriously than add-on packs.
Add-on packs cost less, thus less profit
Realistic games sell well, e.g., Civilization, Caesar, Sim(x)
An amateur game created by the Mars Society could do well
An Alpha Centauri add-on pack would require funding to license the game engine
Why don't we pay a professional company, like Maxis, Firaxis, Sierra to make a Mars game?
Why don't you use the game engine from SimCity 3000, or Caesar III?
Very little financial backing required.
Only a small team of dedicated volunteers needed - no sophisticated computers or expensive equipment.
An Alpha Centauri add-on game could work on the success of the game, and based on Firaxis' previous games (Civ and Civ2) their success seems inevitable.
An add-on pack for Alpha Centauri could be created relatively quickly, within 12 months, and would not require a brand new game engine or AI routines, which can often be extremely difficult to implement. Firaxis have demonstrated that they are experts in the field of game AI, which is an integral part of modern computer gaming.
Answer: This is not true. As the game is fully customisable, it means we can remove any Star Trek technologies like 'warp drives' or teleporters. Instead, we can replace them with realistic and viable technologies such as NTR rockets, solar sails, ion drives, magsails, moholes and fusion power. An Alpha Centauri add-on game need not be a science fiction game.
There would be no 'little gray men' in an Alpha Centauri add-on game, in fact, they aren't even in the main game. Alpha Centauri is set in the near future, mid 21st century, and is based solely on one planet. All this does not actually matter, however, since every single aspect of the game is customisable.
While an Alpha Centauri game need not be science-fiction, it doesn't have to be factual game. As many people have remarked, mixing fiction with fact can prove to be a winning mixture. We will have to create a realistic scenario for the game, an idea of which is on the proposal. This idea is not far-fetched, and it is actually similar to the Red Mars scenario. A game using factual technologies in a plausible yet fictional environment will work well.
Answer: This is completely true. An original game will attract more attention and sales than an add-on pack. But as I have remarked, Alpha Centauri will undoubtedly sell extremely well and as the Mars Edition's genre is very similar to that of Alpha Centauri, it is entirely likely that many of the buyers of Alpha Centauri will go on to buy the add-on pack. When the Mars Society has the resources to create an original, high quality game, they should certainly produce one. But that isn't the case now.
Answer: This doesn't make sense. An Alpha Centauri add-on pack would obviously be sold for less than an original game, but it would also be created for far less, in proportion, to an original game. As the add-on pack costs less, it means more people will have the money to buy it. This means that an add-on pack could indeed generate more profit than an original game.
Answer: They do sell well. But Civilization and Caesar are not, in the strictest sense, realistic games. In Civilization, for example, I have launched a spacecraft in the 1600's and also conquered the world. This is far from realistic. The parameters of the game are realistic - the rest is left up to the player. In the same way, Alpha Centauri: Mars Edition would present the player with a plausible scenario and the player would not be able to build warp drives or photon torpedoes or anti-matter bombs. They would be limited to realistic technology. So Alpha Centauri: Mars Edition would be a realistic game.
Answer: It probably could. But it would still be an amateur game, and as such, would not be able to compete with the latest, best, cutting edge simulation games with full 3D terrain, sophisticated AI, multitudinous features, multiplayer capability and excellent graphics. The Mars Society has to be presented as an up to date organisation, and so all its affliated products would have to be up to date.
Answer: Not necessarily. Taking the example of games based on Quake - the developers simply take royalties from the sales. And Firaxis might be amenable to letting us use the game engine if we inform them that the Mars Society is a charitable, non-profit organisation.
Answer: Because it would cost more. At the end of the day, it would mean we get less profit, less control over the features and content of the game, and we would have to pay them to make it. And at the moment, the Mars Society does not possess the funds, or have the reason, to spend large amounts of money paying professionals to create a Mars game.
Answer: Why? How are they any better than the game engine of Alpha Centauri? Alpha Centauri will be, like Firaxis' previous games, created by the programmers with the express intention of it being completely customisable. All graphics, sounds, video, text and rules files are contained in easily readable, easily editable files with clear instruction on what to do and what not to do. This goes some way to recommending Alpha Centauri.
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