Admiration For A Malfador Mechanist

When I noticed that Steam had dropped the price of Space Empires V in half, I pounced on the opportunity to snag the game.

I had become ensnared in the demo about a couple years ago, but noticed that the game had a problem in that the AI was easily thrashed using fighter carriers.  Consequently, Space Empire V was really more of a multiplayer game: players would at least offer a challenge.

Having poured a half-dozen or so hours into the Space Empires V, full version 1.77, it seems that the AI still has this problem.  My little empire is sitting in the midst of a dozen other empires in a cramped map, but I could obliterate them all with a few carriers.  Perhaps it’s because I didn’t ratchet up the difficulty at all.

However, a fault such as a less-than-challenging-AI is a very small thing compared to everything Space Empires V achieved.   Looking at the game in motion cannot help but provoke some whistles of appreciation: it has nearly limitless movement queues, completely customizable units capable of diverse orders, with a brilliantly realized GUI that (as of Space Empires V) utilizes 3D graphics.

I purchased Space Empires V to be inspired – the game I’m developing will have queues and diverse units and will require a robust GUI to handle it all – but it’s also bit daunting.  Space Empires V is a game with five entire sequels worth of revision in it, each game in the series undoubtedly having undergone many levels of refinement.  Where I sit now with my BYOND project is somewhere in the middle of all those levels of refinement of the first game of my series.

Yet, seeing where Space Empires V is today is also very encouraging.  Aaron Hall, founder of Malfador Mechanations and creator of the Space Empire series, is very much a story of a one-man game developer team who was able to pull off enough success to grow.   Space Empires II looks far closer to something I’d be capable of putting together in BYOND.  The original Space Empires was never released to the public because the creator felt it needed more work.

Like me, Aaron Hall didn’t start out an expert.  However, because he stuck to his guns and saw through a project time and time again, his business grew to the point where he was able to employ a friend and make better games.  Even more than learning to put together cutting-edge game design, it’s this kind of motivation I hope to instill in myself.

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