The Reason for the Seasons

If you haven’t done so already, I ask that you check out the At the Gates Kickstarter page. Our goal is to innovate and take strategy gaming to the next level, but this campaign will be our sole source of funding for development. And hint, hint: the more successful ATG is the more articles you’ll have to read in the future!

To those of you who have already contributed and helped us reach our funding goal, I offer my most sincere thanks!

One of the most exciting features we’ve incorporated into At the Gates is seasonal map change. But what actually happens? How random are the effects? What design risks do seasons pose? And where did we get the idea for them to begin with? All of these questions – and more – shall soon be answered!


Why Seasons?

In my last article I talked about how important random maps are in the 4X genre. To summarize: 1) unpredictable environments force players to adapt their strategies, instead of going through the same motions in every game. 2) They add replayability, as there’s a sense of discovery each time you play.

However, most strategy games have steered clear of maps that change as you play. In part, this is the result of theme and scope, as a game which covers 6,000 years doesn’t really lend itself well to a map that changes from turn to turn. But while understandable, this is still a huge missed opportunity.