Sunday, May 14, 2017

My Life as a Gamer: MegaMek Shows Harebrained How It's Done

With Car Wars enjoying a low-key revival, OGRE back in print, and BattleTech rising from the dead such that both its tabletop and videogame incarnations are getting revitalized it's time to take a moment and think about adaptations of tabletop games into videogames.

As my post on Harebrained Schemes' ongoing work to adapt BattleTech straight-up from a tabletop wargame into a videogame counterpart (i.e. do a better MegaMek than MegaMek) shows that they could not resist being clever and mess with things that did not need to be messed with.

Don't believe me? MegaMek is right there; go play it. All Harebrained had to do was a straight tabletop translation, and then make it pretty. They had no need to mess with the rules. They had no need to change the mechanics. The game works as intended as it is. NOTHING IS BROKEN! I'm embedding a video showing you how this works. When a piece of free software better fulfills a game studio's objectives than ostensible competent professionals, that's when you know they fucked up.

See how easy it is? Just translate the tabletop ruleset, then make it pretty, and add functional multiplayer. That's all that Harebrained had to do. They fucked up, but it's not too late to unfuck it; remove all of the needless rule and mechanic changes, first and foremost, and then make the maps and models pretty, and then ensure that users have access to all of the build rules and map-making tools from launch. There's enough for a $20 price point right there- something tabletop users enjoyed for years.

Fix your shit, Harebrained, and stop thinking you're smarter than the original designers. You're not, and your inability to comprehend game design is showing here.

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