Alpha Preview: RimWorld
The idea of making Dwarf Fortress "with a human face" is far from new, but so far it cannot be said that one of the imitators of the great and terrible Toady One (developer of DF) has achieved at least some significant success. Either it turned out to be "casual", only outwardly reminiscent of the "Fortress of the Dwarves", or the failed competitors buried themselves under the weight of exorbitant ambitions.
Before us is another attempt to surpass one of the most elaborate and complex strategy games in history. And let RimWorld talk not about a magical world with dwarves, elves and other fantasy attributes, but about building a colony on other planets, there is no escape from comparison with Dwarf Fortress - they are too similar. However, the authors from Friv5Online Games Studios never hid the source of inspiration.
It all starts with the fact that an interstellar ship is in distress near an unknown planet. Miraculously, only a few crew members are saved, who managed to leave the board in the escape pods. Now it depends only on them whether they can survive in the extremely inhospitable conditions of a foreign world. Such is Lost in a sci-fi manner, even though there are only three survivors.
Our wards truly have golden hands - they can not only dig ore or cut trees, but also, for example, assemble a solar battery from a piece of iron. You shouldn't expect any complex production chains, at least at this stage of development. So far, everything is simple - any building or equipment requires one or two types of resources and a free worker.
However, even without this, building your own base cannot be called an easy task. It is worth immediately distributing the responsibilities of the colonists, drawing up a development plan and getting down to business. Depending on the terrain, you can cut down rooms in the rock (at the same time extracting valuable minerals), or you can rebuild on the surface - this is faster, but less reliable.
Working hands from the very beginning are sorely lacking - you have to build and get food by hunting or farming, do research to open access to new technologies, fight off enemies ... But, among other things, various events take place in the strategy game world, which account for react quickly, otherwise the colony will not survive.
One of several so-called "storytellers" chosen at the start does not get bored. The Storyteller is a system that decides how the history of our colony will develop, a kind of analogue of the AI Director from Left 4 Dead . It depends on it, with what frequency and what kind of events will occur with a handful of survivors. Cassandra will tell the story in a classic way - from simple to complex. Phoebe allows you to relax and devote enough time to building the base, but Randy does not follow any rules, his actions are completely random.
The Storyteller has a huge impact on what happens to your colony. He can cause a raid of raiders, or he can drop the wreckage of a spaceship, which is a valuable resource, somewhere nearby. Eclipses, thunderstorms and hurricanes, fits of rage among local animals and a whole bunch of different random events - all on his conscience. As a result, each new strategy game turns out to be completely different from the previous one, even if you do not change the narrator.
For hardcore lovers, you can set the difficulty beyond the limit and land somewhere in the desert or icy taiga. The constant struggle against cold (or heat) and hunger, a lack of resources and the raids of enemies will create a story full of drama, most likely with a sad ending for the colonists.
In RimWorldYou can (but not necessarily) directly control your charges only in battle, otherwise there is classic indirect control. The player specifies the placement of structures, assigns jobs, marks out various zones (dump, warehouse, and so on) and controls the priority of tasks for each colonist. For example, for a settler with a high construction skill, it is worth turning off cleaning or mining work so that he does what he knows best, and it is better to leave unskilled labor to those who are not yet engaged in something important.
In addition, it is necessary to monitor the condition of the colonists. It is necessary that they be fed, warmed, rest on time and not suffer from diseases and wounds. Negative environmental conditions affect health and cause bad moods. If you do not take action in time, then everything will end in a nervous breakdown, the consequences of which can be catastrophic. Losing a colony due to the fact that one of the settlers went crazy due to constant lack of sleep and killed everyone else is a completely expected scenario for those who do not care about the comfort of the inhabitants.
And colonists can also get sick, get wounded in battle or during a hunt, freeze... In short, there are enough ways to die here. The methods of struggle for survival are appropriate - how do you like human flesh as food (if no other food is left) or amputation of infected limbs with improvised means, followed by the installation of a makeshift prosthesis?
But all such troubles cannot be compared with the raids of bandits. Each time these attacks become stronger: only a couple of villains go to the first assault, and then not only the number of attackers increases, but also their quality. It is unlikely that it will be possible to engage in peaceful construction (unless you choose Phoebe as the narrator, of course), so it is worth planning your base from the very beginning as a military fortress. Turrets, mortars, sandbags, places prepared for ambushes - without a well-thought-out fortification system, the base will be plundered, and its inhabitants will be killed or taken prisoner.
However, it is possible to capture the attackers themselves - with the subsequent imprisonment. This is done not only for the sake of entertainment. The point is that, unlike DF, new settlers will not get into the colony just like that. They can either be bought from slavers, or you can recruit such hapless bandits who were not lucky enough to be captured. You can also capture civilians who sometimes pass by, only after that you should prepare for a raid of retaliation.
The lack of staff is one of the main problems at the beginning of the strategy game. There are not enough workers, but worries, on the contrary, are above the roof. Oddly enough, one of the first buildings of the colony should be a prison, in which the settlers will conduct intimate conversations with the prisoners, convincing them to join the colonists. For especially bloodthirsty natures, it is possible to torture and kill prisoners to intimidate the rest.
Yes, you can try to overcome only the initial composition of the survivors, but this is an occupation for individual hardcore lovers. The unspoken slogan of Dwarf Fortress "losing is fun" is very useful here.
Of course, the comparison with DF should be pretty flattering for the developers. Of course, RimWorld is still very far from the elaboration of everything and everything inherent in "dwarves", but there are differences in its favor. For example, a completely sane interface where you can freely use the mouse, and not memorize hundreds of hotkey combinations. Instead of primitive ASCII graphics (albeit often replaced in DF"Tilesets") here is a full-fledged 2D engine, very nice even without a discount for the alpha version and inexperienced developers. The balance between schematicity (without which it is unlikely that all the ambitious plans of Friv5Online Studios will be realized ) and beauty is almost perfect. We should also separately praise the authors for the lighting, weather effects and a suitable soundtrack - thanks to all this, it is possible to create an atmosphere of adventure that tells about the difficult life of a colony on a distant planet.
It is impossible not to mention the support of modifications: already now the community has riveted so many mods that their eyes run up. A choice for every taste - from the simple addition of new items and buildings to major gameplay changes.
Over the past couple of years, we have all continued to be stuffed with various "talented indies". They promise "unique, innovative gameplay" or, conversely, "back to basics." As a rule, most of these projects eventually turn into a routine siphoning money from gullible buyers who believed sweet speeches. Early Access is being sold with might and main, and the pace of development gradually drops to zero. As a result, the release can not wait even years later.
Hopefully, RimWorld doesn't have the same story. So far, no prerequisites for this have been observed: the strategy game has excellent prospects, and the release schedule for new versions is quite stable. If this continues, then it is quite possible that Dwarf Fortress will eventually have to make room on the pedestal.
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