Glitch: R2

More news in the land of Ur.  It’s coming so frequently — I’m not sure I can take it.  The beta lull we hit for awhile made me an even lazier blogger than I was before: if there’s more than two stories in a week, it takes me nearly a month to discuss them all.  Fie on thee, Tiny Speck, making me work at not working.

We have a new blog post from the wonderful people at Tiny Speck, outlining upcoming releases and hinting at others to be released over the next six weeks.  Next will be the R2 of my title, the second round of housing releases, which will include options to “expand & add floors to your house, enlarge and change the style of your yard and exterior street, cultivate your land to add resources and customize & change the style of your house exterior.”  What it will not include, however, will be the transition from XP to imagination.

I did not anticipate that the next release would not include imagination, as I have come to specifically associate enlarging our yards and streets with imagination upgrades.  I figured the release of one would necessitate the release of the other.  However, this release will not reset housing: it is more testing.  Perhaps we will have access to some version of the imagination menu or one of its sub-menus for playing with features that will later be linked to imagination.  Or perhaps I’m not remembering correctly and none of these features will be linked to imagination.

Although it’s clear that these releases—and take the time to read the blog, I’m not covering many of the juicy but vague bullet points at the bottom—will occur over the next six weeks, it’s not entirely clear from the blog or the related forum post when to expect R2.  As it stands, we were expecting something around the end of the month and the beginning of April.  This post doesn’t contradict that.  But it doesn’t reassert it either.  I feel that promising both R2 and Imagination within the next six weeks while explaining there will be time between the two releases to test out the kinks sort of requires releasing R2 very soon, at least within the next two weeks.  They wouldn’t actually be contradicting anything they’ve said in this blog, however, if they were to release R2 in a month and imagination at six weeks.  I’m leaning toward optimistic, and expecting R2 and its new skills and items around the beginning of April.

A lot of changes on the horizon.  I’m particularly impressed with the last of the bullet points, the crafting servant.  This item seems designed to address what people do with their time in game.  Crafting is a grind for sure, and when I’m crafting large quantities (such as when racing to max level or preparing for a party), I’m really not even playing the game.  I’m multitasking: crafting with the sound effects on to hear when a run ends while simultaneously watching hockey or reading a book or anything along those lines.  Really, mass crafting in Glitch is only for the hardcore — it’s just plain not fun and a huge time sink.

I’ve said in the forums a few times that challenging is not the same thing as time consuming.  This position does not mean that I think everything should be instantly accomplished or that they should replace all the game mechanics with an “I win” button (both accusations from the forums in response to this position).  However, I do think that if a mechanic is not fun,  if there is no challenge other than coming up with enough free time while being determined and patient, then the mechanic is broken.  It doesn’t need to be made faster, or easier, or instant — it just needs to be made fun or out of sight.  I don’t know if there is a way to make it fun—my first thought would be to associate crafting with a mini-game, but while that might make crafting more interesting, it would make mass-crafting even more unbearable—but the option to set crafting and walk away will put it out of sight.

And then we can get on with the fun stuff and socializing more often.  Tiny Speck: game designers with brains.  How refreshing.

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