What Frasgird is not

I’ve covered some of this here, but I think it’s important to set boundries — at least for now — around the game design, and so let me state what Frasgird is not, at least at present and in my own opinion. I’ll likely come back and edit/add to this post from time to time.

Frasgird is not Sundog (the game)

Sundog was a role-playing game in which you created your character, flew your ship around, wandered into bars and stores, got mugged, ate, slept, fixed (and fixed up) your ship, and so on. Frasgird is one level up from that in abstraction and focuses on the colony. Sundog’s goal was to deliver several rounds of goods to Banville, a religious colony somewhere in the backlands of Jondd; Frasgird’s goal is to prevent the extinction of humanity through establishing an anchored colony with sufficient genetic diversity.

There are other major changes to the backstory as well. In Frasgird, Earth has vanished, humanity is dying out and is mostly limited to constrained settlements on worlds inhabited by alien species, the cryogens are humans from a earlier (~12000 BC) diaspora, and hyperdrive is actually travel to slightly variant universes.

Frasgird is not a (classic) role-playing game

As mentioned here, Frasgird is not a game in which you give your character standard attributes, selected weapons and armor, eat and sleep, and so on. While there are individual characters in the game — some controlled by you, most not — they act on a higher level of abstraction than a regular RPG, and the modeling taking a different approach.

It goes without saying that Frasgird is not a first-person shooter (FPS) game, either.

Frasgird is not really a 4X game

‘4X’ famously stands for ‘eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate’. In Frasgird, you actually start out with what is, in effect, a full map and database covering the systems involved. However, said information can change as time goes on due to multiverse issues. Your minions (those you send out) are not so much exploring as updating.

Frasgird is (for now, at least) the only colony that you actually establish and run. It will grow in size and complexity, but (again, for now) you won’t be establishing new colonies. On the other hand, in later game stages, you may start sending excess diverse population back to existing human settlements to make them more viable. There’s a chance that this may trigger an unpleasant reaction from the alien species already inhabiting those worlds.

Yeah, you are doing exploiting, both at Frasgird (the colony itself) and in mining/harvest operations that you set up elsewhere (asteroids, moons, planets).

You are not a military power — and, indeed, several of the alien species, individually or combined, could snuff out humanity without much effort; if anyone does the exterminating, it won’t be you. Instead, you need to use politics and economics to gain allies or forestall attacks.

So, you might say Frasgird is more like a 2.5X game than a 4X game.

Frasgird (unlike Sundog) could end up supporting a limited multiplayer mode

Multiplayer per se is not a big design goal for me. But I do want to design the user interactions with the game so that (as stated elsewhere) a player can ‘take over’ a trader, miner, ambassador, etc., in order to more directly control that character rather than rely upon orders and AI to have it carry out its task. If that design goal is achieved, it should be done in such a way that two or more humans can be controlling characters in the same game universe. That implies sufficiently interesting game play in those various roles.

More as I think of it.


Filed Under: BackstoryGame DesignMain

About the Author

Webster has been doing game design since 1980, but only has one actual published game to his credit -- Sundog: Frozen Legacy (Apple II, 1984; Atari ST, 1985). This is his second.

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  1. […] spending time in the last post talking a bit about what Frasgird isn’t, I think it’s important to talk about what makes Frasgird fun, or at least fascinating, and […]

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