Why a world-encompassing turn-based game?
A turn based, world-wide strategy game that encompasses hundreds of years will allow gamers to appreciate the full nature of the meaning of settling Mars. While simulations of setting up Martian bases using so-called 'real' technology in real time games may appeal to some, how will they make the case for going to Mars? There's not much, in reality, you can do with building a base on Mars in a game. It's like a vastly-cut down version of SimCity.
On the other hand, turn based, long-term games such as Alpha Centauri: Mars Edition will show gamers what settling Mars means - terraforming Mars, how it would be of benefit to Earth, and how different people would react to the colonisation of Mars. Moral and ethical considerations will be strong throughout the game, and players will be 'personally' involved with the game - should they condone the use of nuclear power? How far should Mars be terraformed? To a jungle planet, or to arctic conditions? Should Mars be independent from Earth, or have close links? How would a Martian civilisation evolve - would it be free trade, free information, free education? How would the Martians pay Earth back for the initial investment in a colony? The breathtaking scope of this game would be, admittedly, counterbalanced by the more science-fiction slant it takes, but it would remain as plausible as possible. People like fiction, they like good stories that involve the player, stories that make the player care about the ending. We want to make people care about Mars.
Alpha Centauri: Mars Edition will make gamers think about the settlement of Mars. And after they've played the game, they'll be convinced that the colonisation of Mars is a road Earth must take. Alpha Centauri: Mars Edition will deal with the human, personal, side of events. A 'sim' game would be concerned with scientific issues such as 'which powerplant to build' and 'how many hydroponics bays to make.' We are not in the business of informing gamers of how a settlement on Mars will be built, we are in the businness of why one should be built. Which is the more important?
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