A few things Mark Wallace

Month: April 2011

What’s in a Tech Tree?

Civilization Tech Tree

Civ I Tech Tree (borrowed w/o permission from Nethog's Games Page, linked)

(Bigger image) I’ve been looking into the matter of tech trees and talent trees lately as I hammer out the details of the system I want to use in my own game, and I was going to write a long post all about their points and purposes (and how there’s not much like this out there on the Internets), but then I found this smart post from Peter Harkins (whom I don’t actually know). It doesn’t quite do what I’m looking for, but it comes close, by taking a stab at explaining “The Purpose of Technology Trees.”

As Peter has it, there are four main functions:

  • linearly organize options over time
  • act as gates on content consumption
  • increase the power scale of players
  • act as a resource sink for high-level players

I’d add to and perhaps slightly modify this. As below: Continue reading

A Game of Limited Resources

dragon scrounge game Hoard

image kindly stolen from

I spent some time with the single-player demo of new dragon-based scrounge-’em-up Hoard a few days ago. It was fairly good fun and an interesting concept: you get ahead not by destroying your opponents, but by collecting more loot than anyone else — which of course entails destroying your opponents as you battle for the best piles of gold. But I like that the mechanic is not directly about roasting your fellow dragoneers — you could imagine a round of Hoard in which no PvP combat took place at all. It would be no less competitive for it, though maybe a bit less fun. Unfortunately, Hoard looks to be a bit thin beyond the basics, which is too bad, as I see a deep vein to be mined here.

I’m interested in systems like these because the game I’m working on is based on a similar mechanic. Winning is not a matter of killing more enemies, conquering more territory, or being the last man standing. Instead, it’s a matter of accumulating a larger portion of the map’s finite resources before the end of the round. Continue reading


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