Soren Johnson’s designer notes about the tech tree

By | August 18, 2021

Soren Johnson, the lead designer of Old World, which is probably the biggest contender for Humankind right now, has written another note about the design decisions in Old World. An excerpt:

“Of course, every piece of game design is a set of trade-offs, and one of the trade-offs that the traditional tech tree made in the name of clarity was determinism. As everyone knew the path to Gunpowder, it was very easy to remember the exact order of the ten techs which led to Gunpowder so that the player could get to it as early as possible. If this strategy turned out to be optimal, then a veteran player would find themselves making the same choices, game after game after game. Indeed, many versions of Civ made this even easier for the player by allowing them to target a specific tech and then highlighting the right choice each time it came up.

In fact, Sid anticipated this problem from the beginning as the technologies presented to the player in Civ 1 were a random subset of the ones available. However, because this version had no in-game UI and because the tech tree itself was so new, players didn’t give this randomness much thought, especially when it was dropped quietly in later versions. Giving players a random subset of tech choices did solve the basic problem but was perhaps an inelegant way of addressing it. The ideal solution would force players to make difficult choices while also being transparent about why the player couldn’t choose from all the valid options.”

You can find the original blog post here: https://www.designer-notes.com/?p=1703

You can discuss this blog post here in our forum: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/soren-johnsons-designer-notes-about-the-tech-tree.672513/

Follow this discussion on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SorenJohnson/status/1428057298904043520

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