Posts tagged ‘gaming’


Entirely Satisfactory

So I’ve been playing Satisfactory a bit.

I fact I’ve been doing little else other than play Satisfactory, and do the work required to pay for the electricity and food required to play more Satisfactory.

In fact why am I writing this weblog entry when I could be playing Satisfactory? I need to make 1,000 more motors as just one small part of what the Space Elevator demands to reach Tier 7!!

It’s okay, though; through the miracles of automation, the Assembler that’s making the motors is automatically fed Rotors and Stators from two other Assemblers (all via Mk.3 and 4 Conveyor Belts), and those Assemblers are in turn provided with their parts by other Assemblers, which are in turn provided with Iron Rods, Screws, Steel Pipes, and Wire from my various Constructors, all powered by my seven power plants (two running off petroleum fuel and five off coal, all supplies entirely automated, including the cute little tractor that continuously ferries the coal from the automated mine), and those Constructors are supplied by the Iron Mine (Mk.2) and various appropriate smelters and things.

Except for the Wire, come to think of it, which is copper, and the copper mine being sort of far away I just keep a bunch of Wire in a Storage Container… omg what if it runs out???

brb going to run a long conveyor belt from the copper processing area to the Stator Constructor. Or maybe I should program another little tractor.

Sure, there is enough wire (bottom left) FOR NOW, but…

Anyway, it’s great fun. The graphics are amazing, all of the machinery moves in lovely and hyper-realistic ways (watch a portable miner come to life!), and the alien world it’s all happening in is gorgeous and exotic. Also lovingly hand-crafted, as I understand it; none of this haphazard procedural-generation stuff!

The oil processing area, in a cavern in a mysterious quasi-subaquatic area.

That second picture there is the oil processing area, in a cavern in a relatively distant area of strange aquatic-looking plants and rock formations. Before I ran a train line out to it, getting out there was an adventure involving significant getting lost and attacked by monsters.

With the train in place and automated, not only is there a constant flow of plastic and rubber and polymer resin into my main area, but it’s a safe and scenic ride out through the more and less Earthlike areas, along the edge of the infinite misty abysses for awhile (it’s a notable planet that way; what’s down there?), to the train station by the ol cavern.

It’s an extremely open-world game, in that you can build essentially anything anywhere. If you give the Pod and the Space Elevator the things they want, you’ll get cool new technologies that not only let you build new stuff for FICSIT, but also let you get around better and faster and safer. Which means that you’re both better at sending more and fancier resources offworld, and also better at surviving longer and more distant exploring junkets, which are great fun.

(The game is usually in a first-person view, although there are mods to enable more third-person. The character model of the player, the FICSIT Engineer, is probably female, and either quite pear-shaped or with lots of internal suit equipment located in that area. Or both. Which is kind of nice, there not being lots of pear-shaped representation in video games.)

Some people glory in making huge efficient factories; I’m sort of the opposite.

The fact that the game equally-well supports both (and all) styles, is one of the many excellent things about it. For a game in “early release”, it’s amazingly well-polished, playable, and visually amazing.

The oil-field end of the current train line, when the blue moon (sun?) is up.

There are about a zillion more things I could say about it (and I haven’t even joined the reddit sub yet), but there is production to oversee, and a train to ride! :)


Passive Gaming

In retrospect this should have been obvious, but I didn’t notice for awhile…

There’s a sort of continuum in gaming between completely open-world games (with Second Life for instance so far out on that end that it’s hardly a game anymore, and I gather things like the Fallout games also at that end somewhere), and “admire the pretty atmosphere and story while going through the set steps” things (like I dunno Myst and other puzzle games) down toward the other end.

But that’s not the extreme of that end of the continuum. When you’re so worn down by the Meaninglessness of Existence, and Humanity’s Inhumanity to Humanity, and stubbing your toe and all, that all you want to do is lie there and Experience Someone Else’s Stuff without moving your viewpoint around or fighting trivial monsters or solving any puzzles or even clicking Next, it turns out that there’s a whole genre of what I’ll call completely passive games out there, just waiting for you to collapse and fix your eyes on them and not move.

Leverage(Wow, that was a long sentence.)

Just now I spent a pleasant (or at least restful) 45 minutes to an hour playing one of these, an Android game called “Leverage: The Nigerian Job”. It’s a typical modern-day “steal from the thieves” game with a nice sort of twist in the middle.

I was about to say that there are five playable characters, but in a game this passive that doesn’t really mean anything! There are five characters whose viewpoints you play from at one time or another during the game, anyway. The viewpoint can cut very suddenly from one to another, but I didn’t find that especially confusing; it works well.

The story is very linear, and of course since it’s completely passive it plays exactly the same every time (or at least I assume it does; I guess there could be a random element so that it might go differently in different instances of playing it? Not sure.). The graphics are good, if mundane, and in fact, since they know exactly where your viewpoint will be at all times, I think most of the scenes are done live-action, filming real actors doing what the characters do, and then splicing that together to make the game-play.

Assuming there’s no random element (and none of the material about the game that I saw suggests there is), it probably doesn’t have much replay value. They make up for this (at least partially) by packaging the game as a series of “eipsodes”; after “The Nigerian Job” there is a sequel called “Leverage: The Homecoming Job”, and I gather a bunch more after that, with the same characters and in the same basic world, but with different quests or missions.

Also, although I said that it’s an Android game, that’s really not true; because of the completely passive nature of the game, it lends itself really well to server-side rendering. Like what OnLive does for less passive games, but the technical challenges are much simpler; they can basically just record one run through the game, and then stream that down to your client when you want to play. So it’s easy to make these games platform-independent; I played “The Nigerian Job” on my Android phone through a game-streaming app called “NetFlix“, that I gather specializes in these completely passive games, and has versions of its app for various platforms.

And there are alot of them! Some of them seem to be completely passive versions of popular normal games; I see some Star Wars and Star Trek spinoffs, for instance, presumably based on the normal video games in those same worlds. A clever idea!

It felt very frustrating at first, playing this, not being able to even move the viewpoint, much less control the actions of the protagonist (you can’t even customize appearance or clothing; that would make the server-side rendering much harder of course). But I will admit with some shame that the totally passive interaction mode got comfortable very quickly, just sort of sitting there not moving, eyes on the screen, mind sort of half-asleep.

So it was very relaxing and all. I do worry what might happen if this sort of completely passive activity takes off, though; might hundreds or thousands of kids grown up without the mental exercise of interactive games, just sort of sitting on the couch eating Cheetos and “watching”?

That could be bad…