re: Interesting Video Game Mechanics VIEW POST


Thanks for the article! I've played a lot of the ones you mentioned. I am definitely checking out Outer Wilds. The gameplay (but not the time loop) sounds like it was based on Spore (after you reach space travel stage). I will have to give Crusader Kings II another shot on my wishlist.

A couple of others that might interest you, mechanically.

  • Orcs Must Die! (I tend to replay 1 over 2). Fun tower defense + shooter gameplay, goofy humor. Physics traps can make Rube Goldberg-esque fun.
  • Space Engineers. 3D block-building / survival game with some logistics automation. You can also script things in C# (or download scripts from the workshop). A bit lite on instructions. Similar, better instructions but less flexible: Empyrion.

I hesitate to mention it because it takes a lot of effort to get into and has rough user experience. But X3:Terran Conflict has a brand of space empire building that I have not found anywhere else. The first 15 minutes, I was regretting the purchase. But I decided to press on. Eventually, I could hardly put it down and spent about 6 months solid on my first playthrough, not switching to another game during that time. I still go back sometimes to work on the last 2 hard core achievements.


I was always curious about Spore. I passed on it when it was released and never really looked back but a lot of people seemed to like it. I should keep it in mind.

I hadn't heard of either bullet but you're right, both sound like a lot of fun. Thanks for the suggestions! I actually own X3, but I think it might be too much for me. I think it's very cool for what it is, but it's just...a lot, and doesn't really help you out much. Have you tried X4?


I've been waiting for them to "finish" X4 via DLC. I might even buy the season pass and let it sit until it is all released. And even then I will probably catch it on sale (as I do for most all games). So it will be a while.

As someone who has tried to rewrite an existing app with a long dev history, I completely understand their predicament. They would have had a far easier time making a new/different game. But as it is, I'll just patiently wait until they finish.

Yeah, it is very unfortunate that X3 has such poor UX and new player experience, considering the gems that are hidden within. I ended up watching some youtube videos to get going, and also had to suspend taste in user interfaces. It turns out that the devs had instrumented the UI for power users. So there are shortcuts you can commit to memory to accomplish things quickly. Not unlike Starcraft shortcuts like B-C-C (to build a Terran command center I think). Except usually numbers like 2-1-1 (which tells a ship to undock and idle in space I think). Anyway, I think the crux of what makes X3 interesting is the scale of the journey you take from humble merchant flying a freighter to do manual trades up to dominant force in the galaxy with fleets of ships (including combat, logistics, and trade) and vast production capability (which actually impacts the game economy), setup to run mostly autonomously while you run plots or find Arans or whatever.

Ok, I went on a bit there. Sorry. :) Hopefully they will capture a similarly great formula in X4. fingers crossed

Wow, very interesting.

from humble merchant flying a freighter to do manual trades up to dominant force in the galaxy with fleets of ships (including combat, logistics, and trade) and vast production capability

I mean... I'm sold, in theory. This sounds amazing. And if I learned how to drive Emacs, I'm sure I can learn how to drive X3. I think you've convinced me to give it another whirl.

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