Monday, March 19, 2007

We Can Rebuild Him...

Progress must invariably be made, and in Video Games, nothing is better than seeing your old units get upgraded and become better and better. Let's face it, we like it when our stuff gets bigger and better.

We looked at the research system in Evil Genius already, but the research system in Star Wars: Rebellion is much different. In Rebellion, you don't so much select individual projects as assign research teams to start work in one of three areas: facility deisgn, ship design, and troop design. To progress, you must assign a hero to work on design, and wait...and wait...and wait. Your hero will provide you with regular progress reports, and ask if you want to continue research. Eventually, you'll unlock more and more ships and facitlities and troops. At the end of everything, your hero will tell you that there's no more research potential, and you can stop researching.

The benefit of this type of research is that it feels real, and it doesn't tie up too many of your resources. Yes, you can assign multiple heroes to research, but you really only need one. You can research everything and only tie up three of your heroes. The minimal resources for research is very nice in a strategy game where every hero counts.

What is also nice is that you are told if you still have any research potential, or if everything is researched. More often than not, you aren't told that you're done with research, and still send funding to it, wasting those resources. Knowing when your research is done is almost vital to accurate resources management.

So, to recap Rebellion's research style is very user friendly. You can set a hero to research, and forget about him until he mentions that progress has or hasn't been made. You'll be made very aware that your research is done, as well. This system works well, and was remarkable for it's time. For newer games, however, there's a need for further interactivity in research. The simplicity is both boon and bane of Rebellion.

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