While my iPhone is filled with three pages of games for my kids (and me, obviously), my Mac has only two games installed.
Both of these games were created by Bungie which was acquired by Microsoft and recently went independent again. But while Halo remains the darling of the media, Myth languishes in relative obscurity.
The Myth games are categorized as real time tactics, representing a departure from established real time strategy titles such as Warcraft and Command & Conquer; resource retrieval and unit construction were entirely removed to focus on squad- and soldier-level tactics. Some have argued that this has given the game a far greater sense of realism than its contemporaries. Reviewers have cited the series’ (at the time) revolutionary use of 3D environments, its use of weather effects, and its realistic physics engines as reasons for this. To many, Myth set the standard for the type of strategy that the Total War series of games made popular.
Myth provided exactly the level of game that I was seeking. I was dissatisfied with typical Real Time Strategy games which necessitated the collection and hoarding of resources and the building of strategically important buildings and units. This meant that playing WarCraft or StarCraft involved an hour of clicking around a window and then a combat that usually lasted about five minutes. It meant exercising the mantra that if you thought you had enough units to attack, then you likely needed to double your forces and then attack. It meant gambling by taking hidden ground, navigating the environment and sending workers off into the darkness to harvest with the hope that they wouldn’t get slaughtered.
In contrast, Myth offered the possibility of quick games. The playing field could be small or large, the story just as complex but there was no interminable resource collection, just the need to complete missions, fight battles. The multiplayer games could often be finished in ten minutes or less. The sides were evenly matched, it was up to the player to take advantage of the unit strengths and the advantages of terrain to win the game. You developed a keen eye for ‘flammable’ terrain for your archers to send their single flaming arrow into the midst of an enemy. You could hide undead units unseen in the depths of rivers and lakes. Floating units were not blocked by most terrain and could flee across terrain impassable to other ground-based units. You would use fast units to snipe, heavy units to hide behind. It was a tactical dream. The single player game, in addition, was intensely story focussed with excellent narrative, evocative images and a fabulous musical score. This was typical of most of Bungie’s productions. They had some of the best talent in the industry and that talent went on to create groundbreaking games in terms of gameplay and story. I still have the Halo theme on my laptop because it’s so evocative (You can read about it here. You can download it here.)
So, I am decided. The type of game I want to create will bring back my memories of Myth II. It will have an intensely inviting touch-based interface. It will be evocative of Google Maps on iPhone mixed with Google Earth on Mac (pan, zoom, rotate). It will have rich graphics (it will look amazing on a 9.7″ iPad screen), richer sound (audio experiences on devices with small screens are much more important). It will have a great story, great voice actors, great art. It will be the game I want to play on the devices I want to use. It will have a compelling single-player story and it will have local- and internet-based multiplayer games.
So I know what it will be. I need to figure out how to work back from that and find the path forward to it.