Love Grows Stronger, Deeper, Cheaper

By Quintin Smith on January 21st, 2011 at 8:21 pm.

In the beginning there was a word, and the word was gorgeous.

In stark contrast to the usual internet drum-banging that occurs whenever a developer patches a new feature into their game, Eskil Steenberg has been growing Love- his beautiful, enigmatic, online building game- on the sly, with new features arriving simply as precious treats for the game’s existing community. As of this week, he’s dropped the price of the game to €10 for 180 days and is looking to expand his playerbase. Actually, let me phrase it another way. Eskil wants you. I met up with him for a spellbinding demonstration of what he’s added to Love, where he’s taking it and why you should be playing it.

A hotel bar in London. Eskil and I sit, quiet and illicit, as he unfolds his enormous laptop and positions other technical instruments on the table. For my part, I take out a pad and pen and order coffee and a hot chocolate, and between us the table is transformed into the tiniest of offices. Waitresses and residents drop strange looks in our direction, which I do my best to ignore. Do you folks mind? We’re trying to build something here.

After some difficulties Eskil finishes setting up a private server and loads up Love. Seeing the game again, with its trademark smoky, intangible visuals, I feel a bolt of nostalgia. I was here a year ago, and it didn’t end entirely well.

Rather than having a plan, Eskil simply sets off, hiking across one of Love’s many dreamlike rock formations to see what we can see. “One of the cool new things in the game are these super-tokens, which you’ll find in AI settlements,” he says, deftly dropping off a cliff into a tribal-looking collection of huts and archways. There’s a large, floating token in the middle. “This one makes balloons.”

As I’m still processing that last sentence he walks up and summons a large helium balloon into existence. Snatching at its tail, it carries him up, up and up, out of the AI village and into the air.

“If you build fans,” he explains, “you can blow the balloons around to use them as transport.”

As Eskil continues to cling to this balloon, I realise we can see the curvature of the planet. It’s an incredible view. Mountains, lagoons, ancient ruins and barren tundra all assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, somewhat intangible in the visible buzz of the engine. I knew the worlds of Love were spheres, but I had no idea they were so small. How on Earth could I have gotten so lost down there, back when I played Love? Why did those worlds seem endless?

Seemingly bored of our journey into nothingness, Eskil lets go of the balloon and we go plummeting back into this world of his. He has so much more to show me.

I’ll just quickly outline Love for those who haven’t played it. It’s not entirely dissimilar from MineCraft. It’s a game about exploring, gathering and building in a procedurally generated world. Four of Love’s bigger differences from Minecraft are that

(1) Rather than simply reshaping the world, Love has you constructing and manipulating many different types of buildings

(2) It’s online, and you join (or start) a community of many players rather than going it alone

(3) Building and surviving is more nuanced, for example requiring you to learn how to redirect electricity to your camp and manipulate radio frequencies

(4) The world bites back. In MineCraft, you worry about the odd creeper. In Love, you worry about the AI taking a dislike to you, building an enormous artillery piece and shelling your community.

But when I played Love last, as unique as the world, engine and concept were, I felt that something was missing, an opinion shared by some of my friends. Unlike MineCraft, where finishing a building project simply means you start an even more ambitious one, Love’s limited selection of buildings meant that it was possible to build a nigh-impenetrable fortress and then… and then nothing. Not that I ever experienced that kind of success. I spent most of my time scrambling around the world, looking for tokens that would help to expand my settlement. But the knowledge that I was building my way towards the game losing what I perceived as its purpose was depressing, and I eventually lost interest.

What I thought at the time was that Eskil had built the perfect framework for a competitive multiplayer game. You could have multiple forts of pioneers duking it out, cutting one another’s power, or infiltrating the opposition’s base to redirect their new artillery piece at their allies. Technically you could do all that in Love then, but the game clearly didn’t encourage it, mechanically speaking. Players can’t even shoot other players. It’s a co-op game. Nonetheless, there was something missing.

Back to last week’s demonstration. Eskil’s found a flat bit of scrubland and has used his moderator omnipotence to drop one of the new player buildings on top of it, something called a Melder. It accepts resources you can find throughout the world (flowers, minerals, gas, water, clay and antimatter) and then allows you to mix these in any of 216 combinations, the result then dropping out of the machine as a pod which you can carry with you and use.

This is Eskil’s spin on crafting, and it’s characteristically inventive, impressive and flexible. Through learning the properties of the different resources you can create (or stumble blindly across) just about anything, from pods which grow grass, pods which flood an area with electricity, pods which erode the landscape, “anti-chaff” pods which allow everybody in the area to see what anybody else (including the AI) is broadcasting (like the secret frequency they use to give co-ordinates to an artillery piece), pods which bounce you up into the air, pods which set fire to things.

“What’s much cooler about my fire any other fire,” Eskil explains, “is that it actually cares about the geometry of the world.” To demonstrate he lobs the pod near a stony bit of ground. It climbs upward dutifully, but is more reluctant to travel other bumps or downhill.

It’s around this time that some figures approach Eskil. A handful of players, seemingly women wrapped in a light-coloured cloth, have walked up and are peering at him.

Hang on. This is a private server, I think to myself. Those aren’t players. They’re AI.

As I watch, the women begin throwing small objects on the ground in front of Eskil. “Oh, cool!” he exclaims. “They like me.” And as he walks back to the Melder to show me some more fun combinations, the flickering ladies follow him at a polite distance. They want to be friends. This was the beginning of my understanding as to where Eskil’s taking Love.

Over the next twenty minutes I learned just how much work has gone into Love’s AI. There are now five different AI tribes, all of whom have a different colour, name, personality, architecture and a different super token. More importantly, they’re now not all terrible psychos who see your existence as an error that must be rectified by an endless stream of laser fire. Not only can they be your friends, they’ll actually go to war with one another.

Eskil’s description of how your relationship with the tribes manifests itself leaves me stunned. Friendly tribes who you treat with respect or protect will give you things, trade with you, if they’re at the top of a cliff and see you at the bottom they’ll even throw down a cable for you to climb. Ultimately, the blue tribe might even give you a token that’ll allow you to build using their special architectural patterns and colours.

Tribes that dislike you have received attention too. In addition to raiding you on foot or attacking you with artillery, they can and will build outposts that overlook your settlement, allowing them to take shots at you from afar. If they do particularly well in an attack they’ll even occupy their settlement and power it down. When that happens, you and your friends will need to find weapons somewhere, assault your own home and shoot out the breaker on the occupation token. But whether the AI is friendly or murderous, it’ll more often than not be because of the actions of you, or a member of your community.

“Eventually,” Eskil says, “the AI should be able to do everything that the players can do.” This is, he goes on to explain, a herculean task. Even something as simple as AI pathfinding is nightmarish, because for the AI to appear human, they don’t just need to be able to pick their way across the world from their home to a player settlement and back again. They need to be able to do that successfully, but sometimes fail, just like a human. How do you know when you’ve got pathfinding code right when the AI is meant to fail? How do ensure the pacing of the game is right when the AI is meant to be unpredictable?

Finally, after more than a year, I understand what Eskil’s striving for with Love. A world where players don’t just explore and build a home for themselves, but have perfectly human interaction with the strange folk that live there. The reason I felt Love was missing something back when I played it was because the simulation was incomplete to the point of feeling mechanical. I assumed those mechanics should be placed within the framework of a game, to give Love purpose. That’s not the goal here. The goal is to make those mechanics richer, deeper, more organic and more emotive to the point of being human.

Cautiously, I ask Eskil whether this is the case, and he nods. “This is the game we dreamt about 20 years ago. An open world, where the game’s story follows your actions rather than you following the game’s story. The ability to do whatever you want, and the game just responds.”

Which is about as inspiring a mission statement as a videogame can have, I reckon.

At the time of writing, Eskil’s just given me an activation code for Love, and I’m giddy at the prospect of getting stuck in. If you want to get involved, there’s no time like the present. Eskil’s timed the game’s price drop with the most stable build Love’s seen in a while, plus among the huge list of new features is a new Help system and a built-in tutorial. There’s also the following video, which Eskil put together himself.

Gentlemen? Get stuck in. This is one of those games that confirms the PC to be the most exciting gaming platform around today, and it’s something we need to support.

EDIT: Yeah, I should probably mention that joining the game’s teamspeak server (teamspeak.quelsolaar.com port 9987) is highly recommended, so that any moment you have a question there’ll be a kindly player to help you. If you’re an antisocial type, the guides on the game’s wiki will help too.

, , .

96 Comments »

  1. megazver says:

    Honestly? This still sounds like an ambitious engineering project and not a fun game. I’ve tried it during the free weekend and none of the additions you’ve listed fix the fundamental problems I’ve had with the game.

    • Dominic White says:

      So, are you going to list any of these ‘fundamental problems’? Most of the criticism the game has recieved seems to be along these lines – vaguely negative but not constructive in the slightest.

    • megazver says:

      Well the first deal-breaker was that I just couldn’t see shit. If you want to know what it’s like to play this game, imagine someone taking a very pretty cheese grater to your eyeballs. This game does have players, though. I guess they are better men that I. Or their eyeballs are made out of titanium.

      Then, there was no gamma adjustment slider, so during nights and in dark places (which was most of the area in which I spawned) everyone was pitch black. I spent some time trying to get somewhere where I could see something, died a few times from dropping into random holes, until I finally managed to stumble out of the woods and, like I said above, it wasn’t much of an improvement. I already wrote the game off at that point but in spirit of fairness, I tried to find something recognizably gameplay-ish to do. Long story short, failed.

    • Dominic White says:

      Those aren’t problems with the game. It just means you have spongy, weak eyes and your monitor doesn’t do lower ranges well. On my HDTV-turned-monitor, nights are a lovely dark blue palette, but still perfectly navigable.

      And you know that you have driver-level gamma options too, right?

    • Urthman says:

      A game that requires driver-level adjustments to be playable is broken.

    • megazver says:

      Yes, I do. I also know that instead of doing that, I could be playing something that’s actually a good game.

    • RaytraceRat says:

      So, first the criticism is vague, then when it becomes specific its not a problem of a game, but players with spongy eyes…

    • mwoody says:

      I gotta say, it makes me feel like a pussy or, even worse, a “casual gamer” to complain – but after spending 3+ hours trying to play the game in beta, I quit specifically due to the graphics. They are the very essence of “looks good in screenshots but like shit in motion,” and the rendering pipeline is itself the source of 90% of the game’s challenge: not a good thing. Even once I’d gotten past the burning eyes and slight nausea, I still couldn’t tell what the hell was going on.

      Which is a damn shame, because the rest of it was right up my alley. If there was a way to turn off the filters and just make it have Cybercon III-esque plain old-school visuals, I’d already have credit card in hand.

    • megazver says:

      I’d like to clarify: I couldn’t see at all at night, but that’s between me and my monitor. It’s the blurry filters during day that I had the real problem with.

    • Sarkhan Lol says:

      Okay, I’ve heard just about every stupid kneejerk apologist reaction to a complaint, valid or otherwise, about an online game there is. They’re trolling, they’re just bad at games, they’re too poor to afford a real PC and that’s why APB’s cars feel like driving bathtubs to them, they have a short attention span and thus can’t appreciate the subtle intricacies of final fantasy’s crafting system, and so on well into the realm of lunacy. But this is the first time I’ve ever heard someone attack another person’s biology. Get a GRIP, man.

    • Grot_Punter says:

      I’m going to give a contradictory assessment of my time in love: honestly, I find what love is trying to do incredibly intriguing. After my first step into the world I immediately wanted to learn how to do everything, and after the first attack by the AI on the home that I and a number of players had constructed, I felt thoroughly enraged that those computerized bastards didn’t like the upholstery that we had set up, and felt that that random assortment of squares and other shapes was my home.

      Despite all the positives I felt towards this game, it was first game I’ll readily admit I didn’t want to play due to its graphics and visual style. It literally felt painful to try and look at this game, the cheese grater metaphor was apt; my eyes felt like they were on fire.

    • triple omega says:

      You’re seeing it wrong!

    • Premium User Badge

      Drew says:

      “They [the graphics] are the very essence of “looks good in screenshots but like shit in motion.”

      Based solely on the screenshots in this story, and the tutorial video linked therein, I must agree. To my eye, what makes the visual style so striking is what appear (in stills) to be visible brushstrokes. But in motion, the filter produces nothing at all like brushstrokes; the effect is more like static, or perhaps a constant sandstorm.

    • Longrat says:

      The game’s pretty unclear as to how you’re meant to do stuff. More often than not, I found myself wandering around aimlessly, dying and more importantly, not being able to find a settlement. The graphics are very hard on the eyes, and the complaints about the night time stuff are valid. Overall, it could do with a lot of polishing.

  2. Jacques says:

    Eskil’s serious voice is rather amusing in the video.

    I’ve had the chance to meet Eskil on two separate occasions, and I have to say, he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever had the luck to meet. He clearly knows what he’s about, and seems extremely passionate about it all.

    I hope that the new pricing change makes him some of the money I think he deserves, simply for creating such a beautiful, alien world.

  3. SquareWheel says:

    I would love to give the game a try before purchasing. It looks phenomenal, and also incredibly confusing.

  4. Hoaxfish says:

    This game always makes me think of the NPCs in Outcast

  5. Eclipse says:

    would be an awesome game if you could host your own world like minecraft and play with friends without a montly fee

  6. Durandir says:

    I have been quite interested in this game for a while, but a few things stop me from even trying it. One thing is the whole multiplayer aspect. I am not a huge multiplayer fan. I play the occasional match in Team Fortress 2, or do some building now and then on Minecraft servers. But what I like the most is to be able to play in my own pace, when I want to play.

    If he made a singleplayer version, with the ability for just one more player to join you, then I would buy this right away. It looks great, and seems to be just complex enough to capture my interest for a long time. Plus, I love building stuff from scratch.

    • noodlecake says:

      Same here really. It looks really good but the multiplayer aspect makes it a bit scary!

  7. Urthman says:

    I would pay full price for a single-player offline version of this game.

    • Premium User Badge

      jaheira says:

      That’s exactly what that vid made me think. I just can’t get on with co-op gaming, no matter how awesome it looks.

    • Mattressi says:

      Yeah, I’m the same. Plus I’ll never buy anything that requires a subscription fee: it’s like DRM that you pay for :(

      It’s especially bad because it’s an indie game – the likelihood of him going broke or something else happening to the server(s) is much higher than with a big company.

      In short, if there was an offline SP and offline co-op mode I’d have already bought this. Until this happens though, I won’t be getting it. It’s a shame, because it looks and sounds good.

    • Matt says:

      Do you pay money for internet? For phone service? For cable TV (or a license fee, or whatever)?

      Think of this in a similar fashion.

    • Mattressi says:

      Internet and phone service are much broader in scope and greater in importance. I just can’t justify paying a subscription for a single game (or even several at once). I like games that are forever mine to own and play. Internet and phone connections must be continually paid for because I’m using the internet/phone company’s resources (lines, etc) – I don’t own them. A game, however, I like to be able to own. To me, a game that requires a subscription means I don’t own it. I really hope the “you don’t own it, you’ve just bought the permission to play it” crowd don’t start commenting here; I just don’t want to get into that argument again.

      Anyway, if the developer is working quite a bit on the AI, perhaps he intends to release a singleplayer version? As I said, if it happens (provided there’s a demo of some kind) I’ll almost certainly buy it.

  8. RaytraceRat says:

    It looks awesome and hearing what Eskil wants to make of it it’s even more impressive.
    But when I look at the this video, I feel like I’m watching a tutorial for a 3d modeling program or UDK, not a game. Also my eyes can’t stand constant flickering – I really like how stills looks like, but watching the video for few minutes is bit painfull.

  9. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Love is unique. That should be all you need to know to give it a go.

  10. durns says:

    Are those all in-game shots? They look like beautiful paintings.

  11. Nomaki says:

    The biggest barrier for my friend and I was the steep learning curve: Judging from the video, its become a little better, but still hurts my mind and eyes enough for me to pass up on it.

  12. tomnullpointer says:

    Ahh, Love, how I wish you could find that balance between the beauty of abstraction and the requirements of playability.

    It looks amazing, but then it did when it launched, what i was hoping for was more clarity, not more complexity. As a new player its almost impossible to get to grips with anything more than a hazy psychadelic platforming exploration. Frequently I find myself spawning on a pillar, exposed to the sea (and immediate death) on 3 sides and a super closeup of obscuring textures on the only free side. I try to jump to safety, only to be wierdly popped up out of the terrain . Sometimes ive even spawned ‘inside’ other avatars making orientation even more of a challenge.

    Later i met a stack of enemy AI, about 5 or 6 all in exactly the same place, looking like some monet octopus. They killed me, although im not even sure how. I didnt even seem to begin with any tools or a blaster this time either and the world was like swiss cheese, full of oubliettes and dead ends. If this was the actual point of the gameplay, id probably get into it, but it seems like a pretty unstable base to build a collaborative FPS/RTS.

    Balloons might look cool, but i doubt they are going to make the game more acessible to anybody.

    Oh and demo and singleplayer mode really woudl help this game reach more people and help to frame the experience in a more accesible way.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      He is adding more clarity, dude. Right there in the article I do specifically mention that he’s added a new help system and a new in-game tutorial.

    • tomnullpointer says:

      Hmm, so you say, but my comments are from playing the game tonight, after having bought the 6months offer. The help system in game seems pretty much the same as it ever was, I didnt see any tutorial in game, and there is a brief video tutorial that has been added on the web. Id be interested to hear from anyone else whos playing the current version (downloaded only a few hours ago) who can point me towards this new in-game tutorial, because Id love to see it.

    • Jacques says:

      The in-game tutorial was new quite a few months ago, but basically it’s a massively revamped help system that guides you through the important tokens in the game, AI. etc.

    • tomnullpointer says:

      Ah so its not a tutorial then, I was expecting something that would give me tasks to complete and introduce the mechanics by actually monitoring those tasks, like a normal interactive tutorial would. Im assuming its more in the manner of adding extra detail to the tooltips system then? In which case I think i saw that a few months ago, dont remember it guiiding me to any AI settlements or anything though.

    • Jacques says:

      As far as I know, it doesn’t guide you to anything, but if you’re near AI, it’ll point them out and explain what they are. AS you say, it’s more of an advanced tooltip than anything else.

  13. Torgen says:

    Sounds like this would be the perfect candidate for a subscriber raffle, and the formation of a RPS server. (I assume you can set up private servers, even if it’s in Eskil’s server farm/service?)

  14. Hugehead says:

    The game looks beautiful and unique,but without a demo, and my complete inability to be interested in a MMO for more than a week or two at a time I guess I’ll have to skip this game.

    Would be awesome if he made a single player version or something, subscribe to the game for 180 day cycle, and you and your friend get a server hosted between you, and only for you that you can keep playing after your time is up on the main game.

  15. Jonas.w says:

    I really would like to try this, but I get incredibly motion sick from playing first person games. Does any of you who have played know if there is some sort of third person/other viewing mode?

  16. aerozol says:

    The video already gives me a headache : (

    • Scandalon says:

      Me too. It’s not the impressionistic painting look that’s the problem, it’s the weird, constantly flickering “grain” over the top. Seriously Eskil, are you trying to make it hard to enjoy?

    • Torgen says:

      Yeee-ah, it may just be lack of caffeine making me more susceptible to headaches, but I had eyestrain before I could finish the video. :(

      Please don’t punish the people who want to play your game by making the post-processing mandatory.

    • Torgen says:

      Just downloaded and fired up the client, and it didn’t seem as bad as the Youtube. Of course, you’re only panning across the landscaped from right to left, so may not be a proper indicator.

      Will give this a try tomorrow US time in any case.

    • Spooner says:

      I tried playing during a free offer and the constant flicker just gave me eye-strain, so I couldn’t face trying to work out the game itself. As others have said, the graphics are beautiful in and of themselves, so why is the world in a constant state of sand-storm?

  17. McDan says:

    So much love and a high recommendation for this game? Probably will getting about buying then. An RPS server would be a great idea too.

    Didn’t realise that terrible pun when I wrote it.

  18. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    Definitely going to get back into this now, after putting it off for months. It grabbed my attention much more strongly than Minecraft ever managed to, and it sounds like he’s improved the weak areas that eventually led me to get bored with it, as well as adding interesting new things I’d never have thought of.

  19. Professor Paul1290 says:

    This game does have a trial of sorts. If you want to try out the game you can join our Teamspeak server and ask for a friend account. We can let you play for as long as you want as long as someone else isn’t waiting on a friend account.

    Even if you decide to get a voucher on your own I STRONGLY RECOMMEND you join our Teamspeak server. The details are on the page where you download the client. There you can get help with learning the game, get to meet our community, and even talk with the developer.

    We have a very nice community who are more than willing to help new players.

    The Teamspeak server is at teamspeak.quelsolaar.com port 9987.

    Also check out our wiki at http://www.loveinvers.es

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Eskil did mention Teamspeak to me, actually. I’ll edit that into the article (and join the teamspeak server when I finally get the chance to sit down with Love my own self).

    • Jacques says:

      It’s a little disingenuous to say people can’t learn the game without reading a wiki article, or without getting player guidance. After all, plenty of us got on with the game fine back in the alpha, before there ever was a Vent server, or a TeamSpeak server.

      Love should be as much about discovering the world as anything else, even if it means sometimes putting a token in the wrong place.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      Ok, maybe it’s a bit too strong to say you’re required to join our Teamspeak.

      On the other hand, most players have a really hard time getting into the game on their own.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      It’s a game that is best enjoyed when played cooperatively, therefore it is a very good idea to get on the teamspeak server. Everyone I’ve met there is very helpful, especially to newcomers. Just ignore any slurping noises.

      If you feel you can’t communicate with people who share common interests, then you’re weird. I’m weird too, but I can get over the initial apprehension of talking to strangers, so can you. You’ll also get the chance to tell Eskil that his game makes your eyes bleed, he pops onto the TS server regularly for feedback.

    • Torgen says:

      Also, I’d be afraid of being raged on and/or PKed for being a noob in a game that has such a high learning curve and the inability to go out and screw up on your own (or with a couple friends) while learning the ropes.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      I don’t think you’d have to worry about that about that Torgen. Nobody is going to “rage on” anyone just for being new (there were incidents during the Alpha, but back then everyone was new). You would have to put in a lot of effort to mess things up enough to get a hostile response.

  20. Moonracer says:

    Yeah, I want to love (ehem) this game but my quick time in the free weekend way back convinced me it wasn’t my thing. I’m all for a steep learning curve if the game gives back (heck I play Dwarf Fortress), but trying to figure out complex systems in an online environment makes me impatient.

    I need to be able to take my time, to restart from scratch occasionally, and to not feel like I might be using up resources others may need and actually know how to use. A single player tutorial map would do wonders.

    And as much as the graphics make the landscape look beautiful and make me want to explore, they made precise gameplay and combat a tad difficult for me.

    Still, I hope the game continues to grow and to well. I know if I had a bit more patience I would enjoy it.

  21. Sweep says:

    I have dropped in and out of LOVE throughout the lifespan of the project and every return boasts massive improvements. Mad love to Eskil for being such a hero. It’s hard to grasp the idea of a game that is never actually complete, for both the players and the creator. It’s as much a spectacle to watch being developed as it is to play. If you don’t believe me, go check out Eskils twitter feed. The updates are fucking bananas.

  22. Tei says:

    Quoting a player above

    “Well the first deal-breaker was that I just couldn’t see shit. I”

    Is the elephant on the room beating the 100 t gorilla with a giant penis shaped creeper.

    I think is obvious by now. bloody obvious.

  23. Professor Paul1290 says:

    Oh, something to look out for. If you connect make sure you are connecting to the server “Atlanta 1″. Don’t worry if you are not in the US, the game doesn’t need perfect ping to play and we’ve had people from Europe and Australia who play without problems.

    If you are connecting to “Server number one” you are in the wrong server. We’re not entirely sure what this server is for, but we think it’s test server and is in various states of being intentionally broken (We also believe it to be haunted by one or more malicious entities but that’s besides the point!).
    If this happens to you then restart the client and make sure to connect to the “Atlanta 1″ server.

    Also again, be sure to join our Teamspeak server at teamspeak.quelsolaar.com port 9987. Don’t worry if you don’t have a mic, just being there makes it much easier for us to help you.

  24. Bassism says:

    Man, of all the games that I want to like, Love is number one on the list.
    I tried it when it was first released, felt the same as Quinns about it, and also found that it didn’t get along at all with my graphics card.

    However, it sounds like the changes since then may have made it more to my taste, and I have to assume that he’s patched up whatever problems I was having. I still think it’s an absolutely incredible world he’s created here, and the visual style doesn’t bother me in the least.

    I’m going to have to sub again, if only to give the guy some money. This is something I don’t want to see die.

  25. Hat Galleon says:

    I liked the game, when I tried it after it was released. I may even try it again now that it has new features. However, on top of it seeming limited in long-term scope, while the visual style is a good idea, its execution is less than desirable. I understand what look he’s going for, and it looks fantastic in screenshots, but in motion it’s not nearly as pleasant. The current filters make it look like stop-motion film, constantly in motion but with broken and jagged movement. There’s a reason that 3D films don’t do this, and that’s because it looks awful. If he were to just give an option to remove some of the more abrasive filters, it would look fine. Heck, even if we were given an option to slow down the flickering of the filter, or keep it static, it would look better. I never had a problem with it while playing the game, I don’t get motion sick from it like a lot of other people. I just think that it would be wise of him to sacrifice just a bit of unique visual style in order to increase both visibility and playability, or at least give us the option to sacrifice it if it really bothers us.

  26. Torgen says:

    I think we should start a referral pyramid scheme in the forums, and coordinate an RPS settlement. I bet Quinns can use his pull with Eskil to get us a monolith token. (nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more)

    • Jhoosier says:

      Seconded.

      This game is interesting, but I’m always leery of games where I have to buy an account (either because I’ll get sucked in — bad memories of MMO near-addiciton — or I’ll drop out in a couple weeks and never go back). If someone has a referral thingy, though, I’ll gladly take it. Would be nice to have a proper group of people to play with as well.

  27. dadioflex says:

    If Eskil isn’t sucking your cock by around the three minute mark after blatting the exe then you’ve handed journalism over to whogivesafuckitudeism for nothing.

    Love is, as it always was, dead, interesting and defunct. But not in that order.

    • JFS says:

      Wow. Just take that last sentence, forget about Love being a computer game, and there you go. Existensialism.

  28. Premium User Badge

    toastmodernist says:

    Sometimes idiots post on the interweb.

    Some of them post here.

    I wish they’d try not to.

    I hate myself.

    • Stephen Roberts says:

      I tried to look for iambic pentameter. Regardless, You get a B. And an A star for the name. And nine thousand XP for self loathing.

  29. Premium User Badge

    HermitUK says:

    I quite liked what I saw of the game in beta, but the graphics filters were far too distracting for my liking – I found it difficult to focus on the game itself, especially when trying to do anything fiddly with the land deformation tools.

    An option to tone down or outright turn off the crazy film grain would be a very nice feature (certainly wasn’t an option last time I tried this, don’t know if it’s possible now). It looks great in screenshots, but just gives me a headache when it’s flickering all over the screen.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      There is a “low-end mode” that removes some of the post processing effects, but given how subjective this is it may or may not be what you are looking for. Some people prefer to play in low-end mode.

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      Ooh, good to know. Certainly wasn’t an option when I last played, but I may now have to jump back in.

  30. Torgen says:

    Also, Quinns, you rat bastard, first you introduce me to Wurm, and now this.

    I suppose you have a journo-comped account, else I’d put you in for the referral.

  31. DOLBYdigital says:

    Sweet, good to see this getting more attention since I love different games like this that show the variety possible in PC gaming. Although I usually don’t like subscription fees since I play so many different games at one time. However for that price I think its worth 6 months of gaming since I’ve spent more on games that I’ve only played for a couple months and then dropped. I’ll be glad to help support this even if I only do it for one term, its worth the price in my opinion. Thanks again for the updated impressions!

  32. CoyoteTheClever says:

    Okay, there is some referral thing where someone gets 30 extra days. Who on RPS would like it? Just type in your name and I’ll put you down as my referral.

  33. geldonyetich says:

    Well, I suppose I have another 179 days to try to figure out what the hell I’m doing in this game.

    Even seeing that video tutorial before I started to play, I think what confused me was trying to figure out exactly what I should be doing.

    Alright, so we’re supposed to build a settlement… first thing I do there is find tokens and resources, right? How? I guess I’m supposed to explore and find them. Unfortunately, the area around my settlement seems to be universally hostile, exploring leads to getting stuck in the terrain or ventilated by NPCs. Seems I’ve no tokens or resources to play with, so I spend most of my time sightseeing.

    Theoretically, lets say I found some tokens. Now to help build the settlement. Clearly, there’s right and wrong ways to do that, and I would prefer to do the right thing in order to not undermine the settlement for the other players. What would that be? About the best I can do to find out what those are is to hit up the wiki. Woah – okay, that’s not going to work.

    Resources are easier to find, but utilizing them properly is rather involved.

    As if that wasn’t disorienting enough, apparently somebody was busy amusing themselves by teleporting unwilling players off into the middle of nowhere. Well, that wasn’t too hard to get around, just hit the button to return yourself to your monolith. Still rather disruptive, though.

    Pretty high learning curve here. Not saying it’s a bad game, but I’ve a ways to go.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      The game can be difficult to get used to. Most people take quite a while to get comfortable.

      There is something I want to clear up though.
      The token layout guide you linked is no longer relevant, it’s really out of date and is probably going to be removed as we update the wiki. The introduction of the block mover and other such tools has made token placement much less restrictive than it used to be.

      Above all, if you need help please do not be afraid to ask for it.
      There are several of us who have been playing for a long time and we would be more than happy to assist new players and explain the details of the game.
      We highly recommend joining our Teamspeak server whether or not you have a microphone because the in-game chat range is limited and isn’t ideal for asking for help. Eskil is often on Teamspeak as well so it’s also the best way to get to talk to the developer.

  34. tomnullpointer says:

    Hmm, there are 4 servers, 2 of which never seem to be online. One of the remaining ones we are told by the players themselves to avoid. Theres rarely more than a few players on (unless perhaps I have to play according to atlanta time) and apparently the in-game chat isnt very good. The online info is apparently out of date and you need teamspeak guidance to play.

    Of course being shown a demo by the developer is going to help, anyone who has seen Eskil demo the system can’t help but be impressed by the achievement, but IMO a commercial game should also be judged on its own merits without requiring a fanbase to fill in the knowlege gaps. I dont want to be down on this game, since its exactly the sort of game i want to play, but there has been little done to actually counter the problems of acessibility and readability (demos, actual tutorial,single player etc).

    • Jacques says:

      I do wish Eskil would go ahead and get the UK 1 server back up and running.

      As to the in-game chat, it works just fine, but you have to understand it’s limitation, in that it’s distance based. If someone is far away from you, they won’t see what you’re saying, unless you’re both using a radio and both tuned to the same frequency. An interesting mechanic that is no longer used, because the only chat that seems to happen now is “go on TeamSpeak” whenever a new player connects and tries to say something.

      What that says about the community, I don’t know, but I’m certainly not the only one that has no real desire to use TS when chat works just fine. And, you know, sometimes I don’t want people constantly talking in my ear.
      The new changes to the TS server certainly don’t help, but that’s something I need to email Eskil about rather than discuss here.

  35. RegisteredUser says:

    If only the same could be said for the local prostitutes.

  36. Stephen Roberts says:

    Reading Rock Paper Shotgun is a kind of mashochism when I am not allowing myself to buy new games :(

    The tutorial video actually made me less tempted, because it looks abso-fucking-lutely baffling. I think I’d curl up in a ball and hide. Then leap about the place with no real direction. Those leapy bits were great.

    Also, anyone ever wonder if this game would garner more support and interest if it was called something other than Love? What’s in a name, I wonder? Colourstorm, World of Wonder, Exploratron: Annuls of the Dead King, There are no Lions, Pulp Faction? What?

    • Mattressi says:

      Possibly even more important is that it’s impossible to google it. Unless you’re given a link to the website (or know several additional key words about the game) you’re never going to find it.

    • Premium User Badge

      jaheira says:

      @ Mattressi

      “Love mmo” works fine.

  37. KommanderKlobb says:

    (Disclaimer: I’ve still not played Love, and it doesn’t seem like I’m going to just yet. It is enormously intriguing, but I simply don’t have time or patience for working everything out myself, and I don’t want my introduction to the game to be talking to other players on Teamspeak).

    From both reading these comments and speaking to him, it’s clear that Eskil:

    - has a small but loyal group of players/fans who are really into the game
    - has way more interest in developing tools, technology and new toys than in crafting an accessible experience which introduces the game concepts gradually in a gentle, deterministic, tutorial-like way.

    Here’s a constructive suggestion then:

    Eskil could create some tools which would allow his existing players to create ‘tutorial planets’ themselves – generate a pre-determined terrain, position tokens, AI settlements etc, and script a series of events.. maybe even record audio to guide players through. Then his community could be a lot more helpful than just talking new players through the game..

    Also, a (probably time-limited) demo should be an absolute no-brainer for Love.

  38. Stitched says:

    Without delving beyond this article, are there any hard numbers on “Love” subscriptions? It seems to be that, compared to Minecraft (obvious comparison), there is very little press about this game; sales numbers or otherwise.

    • Jacques says:

      You can check how many people are on the ATL1 server at any time by going to the stats site. http://atlantastats.quelsolaar.com/

      In game, you can also see how many people are registered to each server to see how many accounts are live.

      No sales numbers or anything of that sort to be found though.

    • Stitched says:

      Thanks for the link. Not exactly the thousands of users Minecraft has. As many mentioned, I wonder if it’s because of usability issues – Minecraft is super-accessible (Gabe from Penny Arcade’s young son plays it) while Love sounds complex and wrapped in abstract visuals.

  39. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    So, umm, are all servers down? I’ve been trying to connect to one for a few hours, but no server seems to be working. That’s not a good first impression, but I still have 179 days and 22 hours left.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      Yes, the server just when down, but hopefully it’ll be brought back up soon.

      Don’t worry about your subscription time, you do not lose time while the servers are not up.

  40. DrazharLn says:

    No comments yet on how the character on the far left of the screenshot at the top of the article looks just like Quinns? It’s uncanny.

  41. F33bs says:

    Bought a subscription to Love after hearing about it on RPS, looked right up my alley, but the small time I’ve spent playing it so far has led to nothing but confusion. This is a game designed by one person, and it shows.

    -Visual style
    Seems cool. Is bad. If this is a game based on cooperation, design, and exploration, seems like a game that makes it nigh impossible to see things in front of you, or where terrain meets the ground, is not accomplishing a pivotal gameplay element, which is being able to figure out where you even are at a glance. The screen filters are stupid, and should be removed. Useless graphics-dongles like that don’t serve any purpose other than indie cred and should be tossed out or streamlined.

    -Tokens/Buildings/Objects/What?
    What are these things? Why are they scattered across the landscape with no apparent rhyme or reason? Why is this turret(?) on top of this mountain(?) and why is there a beacon(?) a few blocks(?) away just sitting there?

    If there isn’t going to be an easy way to figure these things out without joining a Teamspeak server or looking up an outdated wiki that doesn’t describe things well anyway, why should this game expect to be anything other than a cult-favorite for a select few players that have been into it from the beginning? This game has enormous potential in my opinion, but bad accessibility makes it next to impossible to understand anything that is going on.

  42. UnknownAX says:

    It really disappoints me that I continue to see articles on RPS giving Love the thumbs up. Shame on the author of this article for supporting a developer that can’t get his head out of his ass.

    Love is NOT A GOOD GAME. The screenshots are pretty, the concept is solid and sounds highly enjoyable, but the actual game is not anything like the screenshots, and the concept seems to have been entirely lost.

    Love’s faults are so simple, yet will not be fixed due to Eskil’s bigheadedness. The entire problem here is that the people that would want to play this game are effectively told to go screw themselves by the developer himself. You have an idea, or an improvement, or something that would make you enjoy the game? Eskil will not listen, and will continue to do what he wants.

    Given, it is his game, but if he’s developing it for himself, he’s certainly not going to find that other people want to play it.

    And on top of the core functionality of the game being so mind bogglingly confusing and simply not fun, the servers go down -all the time-, the client crashes -all the time-, the framerate is terrible -all the time-, basically anything that can go wrong as far as the game’s technical side is concerned, will go wrong.

    Let me end this post with a single, very obvious problem, that will never be altered, solely due to Eskil being too wrapped up in his own world: The in-game chat is distance based. It is suggested to players that they use a voice chat client, which is not distance based. Thus, the in-game chat is almost never used. Why, then, can the in-game chat not be changed to be a global chat? There is no sense behind the decision to make it distance-based, the only reason it is like that is because Eskil likes it the way it is. Doesn’t matter if his players do (which, they clearly do not).

  43. Vandalbarg says:

    I think I could love this game, were it for not for the horrific lag. On low end mode, I get 3.7fps. This sadly enough makes the game totally unplayable. I can’t get into something that’s that jerky, slow and from reading others comments, difficult to get into at the best of times.

    Am I the only one experiencing this, or does no one else care?

  44. Tally Lassiter says:

    Thanks, Quintin. I’ve been interested for quite a while and at this price, I’ve finally tried it, and I agree; this is one of the many reasons to love the PC as a gaming platform.

    Those having trouble, some things to do: get on the Teamspeak channel (they’re very helpful), make sure you’re using the Atlanta server (the other one is glitchy and lags horrible), and realize low and high-end modes are swapped (just check lighting effects in “low-end” mode).

    Keeping in mind that it’s in active development, it’s beautiful, wonderfully promising and very much worth trying.

    I hope to see you explore and build with you soon!

  45. Tom4J says:

    Love is the only MMO i’ve ever played, and that was well over a year ago. It was fun for a while, very pretty and once you got a good group together quite satisfying. But i agree it didn’t have any lasting vaule I think i played a maximum of three sessions before i completely lost interest. It was the aesthetic that drew me in more than anything else so if the game has got that little bit more engaging i might give it another go. I was impressed about how active Eskil was, i remember that the tokens were bugged so that they would appear inside object and be unobtainable, he apeared in game, talked to us via Teamspeak about the problem and then wrote a fix as we played!
    tj

  46. Jacques says:

    One of Eskil’s latest fixes may appeal to a lot of people.
    http://twitter.com/#!/quelsolaar/status/29702659430678529

    “Made post FX softer.”