I really enjoy games in which the player’s actions somehow evoke the in-fiction actions they’re associated with. For flight simulators and driving games, that’s easy to accomplish: just get a flight stick or a wheel, and the challenge is well on the way to being met. Genres that don’t have dedicated controllers on the market are trickier.
Missives from the Front is a quick stab at a fiction-compliant controller for the strategy genre. It simulates something of the experience of a general from the Napoleonic era: great billowing clouds of smoke obscure your vision of the battlefield, and so you are reliant on messages you receive from your subordinates to figure out what is going on. Similarly, you communicate your orders only indirectly by telling those same subordinates what to do.
The underlying simulation in Missives from the Front is a painfully simple rock-paper-scissors relationship; the opponent plays randomly, so there isn’t much in the way of strategy to be employed. Furthermore, typing into a text file doesn’t give quite the feeling of writing a letter. A better version of the game might employ some kind of OCR to read hand-drafted orders–and would be quite out of scope. 😉
For all its limits, though, I’m pleased with how Missives from the Front turned out. I feel that it did exactly what a one-week prototype ought to do: help me learn some new technical skills while also allowing me to explore a wacky concept.
Note: Since Missives from the Front requires going into the game’s file structure, I’ve uploaded it here as a ZIP file. You’ll need Unity to run it.