I’m not going to complain about my health problems, because that sort of thing is so hopelessly tedious. I’ll just note that the eye thing popped up again and put me out of commission for a few days.
So I thought it would be a good time for another post asking everyone what they’ve been playing lately.
Aside from making for good conversation, these posts are good for keeping a healthy perspective on the industry as a whole. If you only follow the industry through marketing and major gaming sites, then it will probably feel like the industry is…
…like that. But when I have one of these posts. it becomes clear that the industry is more like…
Actually, this is probably still distorted. Almost nobody talks about adult games in public, but then I regularly see various flavors of anime tiddy games on Steam’s best-seller list. Not bad for a genre with no marketing and minimal word-of-mouth!
Also, mobile games are HUGE in terms of profit, but they don’t get a lot of mindshare within gaming culture. If we measured by gross income, then Mobile Games would be nearly as large as AAA Games in the image above. Like adult games, these titles get played a lot more than they get talked about. I’ve never seen a Reddit thread where hard-core mobile fans slugged it out over whether “Lootbox-Driven Puzzle Game With Chef Theme” or “Pay-to-Win Conquest Game With Viking Theme” was the better experience.
Like in the real world, sex and gambling like to set up shop in a quiet corner or back alley somewhere and make a lot of money without attracting too much attentionThere are exceptions, of course – the Las Vegas Strip is a famous example. Then again, you could argue that this isolated desert oasis is just a particularly well-lit back-alley..
Anyway, onto the topic at hand.
This Week I Played…
Up until I went blind for a couple days, I played Satisfactory. Based on Paul’s suggestions on the podcast last week, I restarted my game in the new desert area. It is, indeed, a much better experience.
I think the big problem with this game is that it’s just too damn spread out, on both a large scale and a local scale. I love building complex bases, optimizing things, keeping it tidy, balancing the power, and managing the layout to leave room for future expansions. It tickles the coding parts of my brain and lets me enjoy the fun of programming without taking on the responsibilities of programming.
On the other hand, laying down kilometer after kilometer of conveyors and power poles to reach distant resources is a mind-numbing chore. It’s a lengthy and tedious obligation that offers almost nothing in the way of creativity.
Likewise, I think the individual machines are way too dang big. The various smelters, constructors, and assemblers all have a huge footprint and they’re generally very tall. This spreads out a base so you have to spend an unreasonable amount of time hiking around and struggling to see around all the machines.
The machine size is fine in the early game when your production chain is small, but as it grows you spend less time time working and more time walking.
I think you could alleviate this by having a mid-game upgrades for the buildings. Maybe have smaller, more compact versions of production buildings that require steel rather than iron. This would be about the point in the game where you unlock the better mining equipment and need to rebuild your original production line anywayAssuming you want to take advantage of the improved mining speed, that is., so this would be the right point in the game to introduce another reason / reward for refactoring your base.
I still haven’t reached a lot of the “new stuff” in Update 3 yet. I still haven’t built a train. I love trains in video games, but I strongly dislike how the Satisfactory trains appear so late in progression. You don’t gain the ability to make trains until you’ve already built those many kilometers of conveyors of power poles. The trains are nice, but using them means tearing down and rebuilding those long delivery systems, and then building track in its place. Why would I go to all that work when the conveyors are working just fine?
The result is that trains are the coolest thing in the game but there’s no clear mechanical advantage to adopting them.
I have more to say on the game, but that’s enough whining for now.
Paul has also been playing. He’s having a lot more fun, and he’s reached the endgame. Here he gives us a tour of his base. Even if you normally ignore the videos I embed, it’s probably worth turning down the volume and skimming through this. It’s pretty amazing.
If you’re into that, then maybe you’ll also like to see the evolution of that base over time.
This Week You Played…?
So what did you play this week? Something old? Something new? Emulated? Mobile? AAA? Indie?
Let’s hear it.
 There are exceptions, of course – the Las Vegas Strip is a famous example. Then again, you could argue that this isolated desert oasis is just a particularly well-lit back-alley.
 Assuming you want to take advantage of the improved mining speed, that is.
A programming project where I set out to make a Minecraft-style world so I can experiment with Octree data.
WAY back in 2005, I wrote about a D&D campaign I was running. The campaign is still there, in the bottom-most strata of the archives.
Batman: Arkham Origins
A breakdown of how this game faltered when the franchise was given to a different studio.
The Best of 2013
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2013.
What is this silly word, why did some people get so irritated by it, and why did it fall out of use?