Changing the Seasons

I remember working on a game a long time ago, it was a small game which based itself on roleplaying.  It was little more than basic pixels and walking around in 4 directions – still is today if I think.  While new zones were created, they sometimes had snow or sand or whatever other climate based look at feel.  For roleplayers that’s all one really needs, just give them a hint that it’s a cold area and they run with it – I certainly did.  But as the game grew in players, so did the “heretics” and those that were there to be the top of their class and couldn’t care less about spelling out words and what have you.  After the invasion began there was no way to stop it but that’s another story…

The one thing the new players demanded was the need for change of season.  No, we aren’t talking about just the pixelated snow or rain, although that was a request – it was more of having the seasons actually change, for a certain amount of days, going from summer to winter and in between.  Now, I never really figured out why that was such a huge request.  I secretly suspected that it more had to do with something new to see/do than any graphics (because the graphics were not stellar to begin with).  This was a small game, so there was no chance at all for this request to be fulfilled, unless you took the whole team of 6 people and dedicated themselves to the change of the seasons, which would of probably been a bad idea.

While there are many games out there that have “weather changes.”  You know, the occasional rain, fog or sometimes snow.  Most of the time they are predictable, although I will say that I love going to lets say a wintery area and see the wind blowing the snow even if it’s all the time.  It gives you an atmospheric enhancement that makes it feel a bit more real.  Heck, I’ve known people to put on a sweater when they go into those areas.  It’s quite funny to see.  But how many of those games have different seasons?  Like having the heat of the desert in the summer burn your feet or inflict some sort of tiring damage.  How about different items available during a different season?  You are looking for a whatcha-ma-thingie for a quest but you can only find them under falling leaves in the autumn months or something similar.

I’ve had many discussions with developers about actual changing seasons and while anything is possible, in this case while it is doable, the time, energy and cost applies.  Not only that, but more graphics = more download time = more bandwidth cost = less doughnuts on Tuesday morning at the office.  Hey – doughnuts are very highly regarded in the gaming industry.

So it’s a wish even for the developers in most cases, in the end they are just players like the rest of us and they have their dreams too.

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