My Ideal Computer Game
I have always been a fan of games like Simcity 3000, where you had to micromanage every function of the game in order to really do well. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but during those times you can always set some portions to cruise control, and the game handles them for you (although not always in the best manner).
My ideal game is based on a similar style and detail of play as Simcity 3000. Basically you start off with a whole continent which is dynamically generated. This continent may or may not contain native settlements which may or may not be already partially developed through the land.
You start at one spot on the shore, and you build a town the same way you would in Simcity 3000. Within that town you can erect a town hall, which will force a local government to spring up, and you will see borders around your town.
As the town grows it will require various resources, which you will have to develop into the wilderness to find. Eventually you will have to set up other towns and trading posts out in the wilderness or near resources to provide population to work them. Local governments can pop up automatically if a town gets large enough without a town hall (but they may be more radical), or you can place new ones by placing a town hall. Regional and National governments may also come into play as the game expands.
The years go by, and horse trails are upgraded to superhighways. Eventually forming a nation, or many nations which relies on the resources at hand, to provide for its citizens all over.
No need to worry about taxes, or politics. If part of the continent divides and becomes its own country, you still build and develop their land. Its just that now you have to cater to their wishes, and take into account the fact that the resources on the other side of the border are not available anymore.
Political issues are resolved dynamically. i.e. lets say there is a war going on. Well you will be designing the transportation and infrastructure for both sides based on their available resources. So really you can determine the outcome of the war by designing the means to fight the war. But you can't actually fight it. You can also influence changes and co-operation. i.e. lets say one country needs a lumber mill, and the neighboring country has one built close to the border. Well you can hold off on building the second lumber mill and see if the country that needs it, will work out a trade agreement. Or they may decide to attack the country with the lumber mill to take it for themselves.
However, perhaps if you do not fulfill enough high priority tasks in a time period, a region may choose to fire you as their planner, and it will become AI controlled - and thus you loose points - and potentially loose special buildings that were developed in that region.
Taxes and other items like that will also be dynamically calculated. You will have income available to you based on which ever territory you are building in. And those political areas determine their own tax rate, and thus each one calculates how much they wish to spend on development independent of each other. Of course it might be interesting to allow players to control these functions as well, perhaps in a game of greater difficulty. It is also conceivable that some enemy regions will take care of their own infrastructure for specific scenarios.
The options of what to build will be fairly similar to Simcity 4. You will have Residential, Commercial and Industrial. Then you will have special industrial buildings, like mines, lumber mills, refineries, tanning mill, grain processing center, defense contractors, airports, etc... You will also have the ability to zone large areas for various natural resource development. Like Mining, Oil Drilling, Timber, Hunting (Furs), Farming, and even Park / Public Use land. Logging, Hunting and Farming happen naturally and dynamically on zoned land. Parks but be approved, but public use is also dynamic. Mines and large facilities on this type of zoning must be approved. i.e. you would get a notice while playing, saying "Zora Mining Corp wants to build a mine at this location... Do you accept?" If you do, then the area around the mine in a specific distance is dezoned as being available to mine, and zoned specifically for that mine. Mines will have a life cycle based on the current prices of the items their mining. The older the mine gets, the greater the price of the raw material must be to justify continuing the mining operation. If it is too costly to mine it and make a profit, then the mine shuts down. However if the demand soars and the price of the raw material shoots thru the roof, it can again be reopened and produce if the workforce and resources are still nearby to reopen it.
A big part of this game will be controlling transportation. Horse trail, canal, wagon trail, truck, train, airplane... each method will play important parts, and as the game progresses you will have to plan ahead as you build to ensure that adequate transportation is provided. You must also deal with regional power and gas supplies, however you connect those to local distribution centers which take care of the local grids.
Again, this game will be so detailed that you can literally zoom in and place specific lots for houses in a game world as big as a continent.
Games like Simcity and Transportation Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon, and such were all super popular in the 90's. Why? Because they were detailed and involved heavy micro management. Sure they were not the flashy graphically realistic games, but they involved you in decisions which felt like they impacted several people. Lately some companies have tried to release newer updated games, like SimCity Societies. But they failed. Why? Because they decided to put a lot of effort into graphics, and less effort into large scale micro managing. Cities XL is a fun newer city building game, which has vast stretches of land upon which you can build cities. But the downfall is that that game has only pre determined maps which are always the same 20 or so maps.
Ideally this game will have completely dynamic maps, perhaps based on terrain layers which are invisible, but use a color code to determine how densely populated various resources are. You set up a mine here, and it will check to see what the color is in the area and that determines your output. Perhaps even have 2 or 3 codes for each resource. 1 being amount, 2 being depth, and 3 being purity.
The game shows promise. I would even think that it has potential to have a military expansion pack which will let you use it like an RTS. But I think originally the goal should be for city and nation building. That is what we need. Not fancy city building games where you build a neighbourhood. But larger scale games in which gameplay and keeping busy are primary values over graphics.
If anyone does consider making this game, I would like to be involved in the alpha and beta process... and I would like to have a small amount of profit sharing for the sales.