“What Is Love, Beta?”

By Jim Rossignol on January 4th, 2010 at 9:16 am.


The “beta” version of build ‘n’ shoot micro-MMO Love has almost arrived. It’s not beta in the usual sense, of course, because like the previous alpha-test version you’ll need to pay a 3€ fee for access. Currently the testing stage is only for previous subscribers, but it’ll be opened up as access for all on the 7th. Eskil has been working hard squashing bugs and introducing new features, and it’s reflected in a new level of polish within the game world.

And Love’s world is not like that of other games, as I’ll explain below.

Love is a co-operative building-based MMO, with parallels to Wurm and Minecraft, but with the combat and movement of a Quake-era FPS. You can jump far and long, and you are equipped with a range of fast-firing weapons. That said, the experience is unlike that of your typical action game, partly because it looks so smoky and painterly, and partly because combat occurs only through your antagonism with AI constructs.

The core of the game is in collaborative construction of settlements, and the AI will build them too, and try to tear yours down. To construct these strange havens you have to install various tokens, which must be uncovered by exploring the world. While exploring you should be careful, because Love’s procedurally-generated world filled with treacherous chasms, as well as the bases of hostile AI, which look like squiggly clouds of smoke. Fall into the water and you can drown, get shot up by the AI and you can die. It’s also worth remembering that the world is a sphere. Head in a straight line for long enough and you will come back to the same place.

Once you have a token you can plant it in a settlement. The chances are you’ll come in and join an existing settlement before you set out to explore, and most of these will already be furnished a bunch of tools. Even smaller settlements will allow you pick up weapons, and perhaps some of the building tools that will help you make the settlement into a better place. The various building tools now allow you to hollow out mountains into labyrinthine fortress, complete with elegant windows, elevators, and various functional monoliths. All this is hooked up to a power-grid system, which needs to be maintained by the settlement’s denizens.


The fast nature of Love means that voice communications are essential. There’s plenty of opportunity to get lost, but also a good chance you’ll get ambushed by the AI. Reacting to that, and co-ordinating defence with other players, really does ask for voice-comms. Eskil is currently running a public Ventrilo for pop in and join, or you can use your own if you’re checking out the game with some friends.

Love, unlike its emotional namesake, isn’t for everyone, and I’m still unconvinced by the endgame. But it is nevertheless one of those games that I want to recommend just because, hell, it’s 3 euros, and because it’s unique. If you’re not using your gaming time to look for some new and weird experiences then you’re kind of missing the point.

On a side note, Eskil’s recent bloggings report that he’s going to be doing a beginner’s programming course around GDC next year, for folks interested in making games. “I thought I would put together a 3 day intensive course in game programming (for total beginners) that would teach you the basics of programming, and let you make a simple game. Each day would be around 3-4 hours long preferably in the evening. My plan is to try to do this in San Francisco the week before or after GDC. It would be free, and everyone would be welcome.” He needs a venue, and interested parties, so email him if you’re interested.

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27 Comments »

  1. robrob says:

    I’m guessing “I will Love you beta I will Love you beta I will Love you beta I will Love you beta” was too long for the headline.

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Oh, that’s good.

  3. apa says:

    what is love, beta don’t hurt me

  4. Rob says:

    Thanks, didn’t realise this was coming up on beta.

  5. Umpaidh says:

    Mass Effect 2
    APB
    Random indie stuff

    hmm igonre me, somehow posted on wrong thread :)

  6. Jacques says:

    If anyone’s interested I should have an interview sorted out with Eskil about the beta and what he plans to do with the game next posted up on http://www.gaminglove.net within the next 10 days.

    If anyone wants to submit some questions that’d be grand too.

  7. Rob says:

    Nice one on the interview but honestly I find the colour scheme of your website makes it pretty difficult to read. Grey on black?

    Maybe just my eyes, they are pretty rubbish.

    • Jacques says:

      It’s white text on dark grey background, but I can make another skin if you find that one hard to read, I need to make a few more skins in any case.

    • qrter says:

      It’s not hard to read at all, I think.

  8. DXN says:

    I played the alpha and had a really fun time with it — even then it was definitely worth having a play around in for 3 euros. It’s beautiful, unique, and it forced you to really co-operate with other people in a way I don’t think I’ve ever really seen before. But I found that there *is* only so much you can do there, and there’d need to be something to really open it up beyond “build a base, watch it be destroyed” if I was going to subscribe, or even pay another 3 euros for the beta. So I’ll definitely be reading that interview with interest, Jacques!

  9. Carra says:

    Some people like to build sandcastles and others like to destroy them.

    This game seems to lack the second option.

    • qrter says:

      Probably because that’s just not what this game is about.

    • eyemessiah says:

      Are you kidding? The ease with which one person can ruin everyone’s castle seems to me be a key flaw in Love (as it was in Alpha anyway).

  10. pirate0r says:

    Will this version have sound?

  11. yutt says:

    Love should integrate with Mumble voice comm.
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/mumble/

    BSD license, open source. No reason not to, other than the time required. It is at least as good as Ventrilo, and offers a lot of possibilities for developers due to its licensing and open source nature.

  12. yhancik says:

    Wurm of Minecraft, then ?

    • Jacques says:

      Minus the grind, minus the waiting for hours for things to build, minus the levelling up of skills, plus beautiful (to some people) stylised graphics. Yeah.

  13. luminosity says:

    Oh great, yet another reason to hate that I can’t get to GDC. :/

  14. Anonymousity says:

    “If you’re not using your gaming time to look for some new and weird experiences then you’re kind of missing the point.”

    I kind of use my gaming time to relax and have fun, I guess I’ve been missing the point for a while.

    • Wulf says:

      @Anonymousity

      I utilise gaming as a form of abstract escapism, and if a game doesn’t provide a degree of escapism for its players, I tend to get bored, and I move on.

      When I find a game I can escape into and become absorbed by an imaginary world, I’ll surely have lots of fun and I seek that elation. I can’t lie though by saying that in seeking out such escapism, I often also seek out the exquisitely surreal, the hauntingly beautiful, the wondrously fantastic, and so on as they give one something to escape into. Escapism is rarely found in the mundane, I say rarely because it’s not impossible, just very difficult.

      So I’m not sure if that’d put me in Jim’s camp, yours, or perhaps both at the same time as they might not be mutually exclusive.

  15. Shadowcat says:

    Will daylight still hurt my eyes?

  16. Jacques says:

    http://www.quelsolaar.com/love/index.html Click and follow instructions to join the beta.
    /e I’ve started a referral chain thread at my site so you can get an extra 5 days playtime for your lowly 3 euro.
    http://www.gaminglove.net/forums/showthread.php?t=749

  17. Masarius says:

    Can’t resist post to ….

  18. Masarius says:

    Gah, lack of preview and edit, welcome to Web 0.5. Meant to be a link to chicken man.

  19. Beta says:

    thats cute,