Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Browser Click Games

It's been about 6 months since I started playing the Sandcastle Builder game. I've been playing it every day since, though many of those days by 'playing' I mean 'left open in one of my browser tabs'. It has a mechanic that can't be accelerated through good play or frequent play. All you can do is have hours pass to advance time forward. There are almost 3100 time frames in the game and for the most part you get one new frame every hour. So you really have to leave things up for almost 4 months straight to get to the end. I suppose you could cheat by manipulating your system clock or something but otherwise if you want to get to the end of the story you need to just have the game running.

The game itself is pretty cool. I really like how your focus ends up changing wildly as you move through different stages of progression. Sometimes you want to be clicking the picture like in Cookie Clicker. Sometimes all that really matters is how many of a given production building you have. Sometimes you just need to be solving rudimentary logic puzzles. And then things shift around and you start caring about old stuff again for a period of time. It feels really well done, though it also doesn't seem to have any actual end. They keep adding more ways to make use of older things again and again!

One thing that has bothered me about the game is the periods of time when the only thing that matters is clicking the picture. Not when clicking the picture accelerates you but you could just spend time... No, there have been times when the only thing that matters, at all, is clicking. I hate this, because I can't stop myself from clicking a lot. And then my wrist starts hurting and my hand goes numb.

But is there a way to make a browser game without a lot of mandatory clicking? Is there a way to make a good racing game? I've watched a few Cookie Clicker races where they play a full reset game to the neverclick achievement. But that just boils down entirely to getting lucky with the golden cookie spawns to get the good abilities. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing if the game itself was set up to let people race within its framework instead of people needing to use SRL to coordinate it. Maybe? I don't know, but it's something I try to devote thinking cycles to every now and then.


Sthenno said...

I should get back to that. I have no idea why I didn't just leave it running all the time, I could be at the last NewPix by now.

I keep working on browser games and thinking about the balance of clicking and waiting, but usually I abandon them because my desire to find the right balance between those things makes me dissatisfied with what I'm making.

Nick Page said...

Whereas I'm too lazy to start at all until I've solved that issue. And I haven't come close!

Sthenno said...

The advantage of my way is that I can now bang out code for tooltips in javascript in 5 minutes.