Wot I Think: Fate Of The World

By Quintin Smith on March 11th, 2011 at 6:03 pm.

Indie climate change strategy game Fate of the World was finally released last week, following two years in development from Oxford-based studio Red Redemption. I’ve been looking forward to this ever since the beta, and I’m thrilled to finally present Wot I Think.

In the year 2085, Europe is rotting.

The last of my funding has been spent on famine aid, which I discover is being diverted to the frontlines of Europe’s war zones to feed the soldiers, who fight against a backdrop of inactive nuclear reactors. My agent who was in charge of implementing a continent-wide adoption of state of the art genetically-engineered crops has vanished, almost certainly abducted by any one of my antagonists. It is with emotionless eyes that I read that in the city of Barcelona, “corpses are stacked on street corners like firewood”.

Let me walk you through what went wrong in this game of mine. I think that should tell you everything you need to know about Fate of the World.

So, this was my attempt at the Fuel Crisis scenario, which sets you the simple task of reaching the year 2120 without the global temperature increasing by 3 degrees or the human development index (or “HDI”) falling below 0.5 (HDI being calculated using life expectancy, education and income, and 0.5 being just above the HDI of India or Mongolia today).

As with all Fate of the World scenarios, the way you go about bending the world to your will is through a single elegant mechanic- by playing policy cards in each region. You assume control of the GEO, a (fictional) global organisation with supreme authority that receives funding from every country in the world, and then you spend that money buying “agents” (card slots) and implementing policies (cards). Finally, you end your turn and let five years tick by. Got that? Good. Here’s your blank slate:

Now, rather than telling you precisely what challenges you’ll face and why this game is as engaging as a fire in your own living room, I’m just going to tell you exactly how I managed to turn Europe from a prosperous region into a tattered warzone in just 60 short years.

First stop: Africa! One nuance of Fate of the World that everybody learns the hard way is that if you ever stop improving a region’s quality of life directly, they’ll get angry, pull your funding and rip away your jurisdiction for a decade or two. Since Africa isn’t exactly the terrifying climate-change hotspot as, say, China, the USA or Latin America (with its horrific deforestation), people tend to ignore it. The result? Africa drops you like a hot stone and you lose a chunk of your funding.

That wasn’t going to happen to me this time! No sir. I kicked off my game by funding education throughout Africa, setting the continent on the long treadmill towards (I thought) clean industry and technological advancement.

Picture this decision as me unwittingly cutting the brake lines on my car. Meanwhile, I began implementing a very different policy elsewhere, that could be likened to removing the steering wheel- I encouraged rapid adoption of nuclear power in America, Europe and China.

Because, why not? Nuclear power is comparatively clean, no? As I learned while fiddling with the beta, biofuels bring risks that nuclear power doesn’t. This could only be the correct path.

Over the next 40 years I made an incredible number of decisions, pinching pennies to fund research into various fields, anticipating some consequences of a global temperature increase and countering only some of them (short version: Russia gets particularly fucked! Who knew?), but these two early decisions are the ones I want to highlight.

Circa 2055 the end-of-turn event ticker came up with something interesting.

Resource shortage: Oil: 35%, Coal: 12%, Uranium: 5%.

My brain began bucking inside my skull like a mechanical bull. Uranium? The fuel nuclear power stations run on? There’s a limited amount of that?! Why was I not informed? Over the next 15 years my hungry-hungry network of nuclear power stations continued to gobble up remaining reserves until the global shortage reached as high as 50%, causing energy shortages across the world’s developed nations.

Worse, while I’d dropped carbon emissions significantly in these nations, I was stunned to find that Africa’s emissions had doubled since the game began, way back in sweet, innocent 2020. Why? Because my policies of education, drought protection and so on had improved the continent’s HDI so much that the population was not only spiralling upwards. But people were earning more money than ever before, had greater demands, and the entire region was undergoing schemes of modernisation and urbanisation at an aching carbon cost. I could drill environmental awareness into the African population while pushing renewable energy as hard as possible, but it’d still take decades to pull these emissions down. The damage was done.

Within another 10 years, a shortage of both oil and uranium brought about a total economic meltdown, and a famine struck the regions which imported most of their food- America, Europe and Japan. While this reduced emissions, with the four horsemen of the apocalypse- famine, war, pestilence and death- essentially doing my job for me, it also meant I had absolutely no funding to turn Africa (and the Middle East, actually) around. Those two big decisions I made at the very start had turned into terrible poltergeists, haunting my every move and tipping over my delicate models.

Fate of the World is, as an educational videogame, a masterpiece. I feel confident saying that now. The game’s structure of simply playing cards and seeing what happens next is a brilliant idea, executed wonderfully, and it’s brilliant because it’s so galling. The game sets out such a clear, crisp objective- stopping climate change- gives you a selection of wonderful policies to play with, and asks you if you know how to save the world. You do, of course. It’s obvious. It’s this policy, and that policy, and maybe this one too.

You click the lovely, chunky button that ends your turn, and the game’s mighty simulation ticks on another five years. And then guess what you find out? You find out you’re an idiot. Not because your plan doesn’t work, but because there are side effects that never occurred to you.

There are actually a load of parallels with Spacechem, the other great indie puzzler we’ve been gifted with this year. While that’s a game about designing circuits, both of these games share a design where the objective is immediately apparent, the journey towards that objective is massively engaging because it sees you building your way towards the solution constantly, and the “difficulty”, the actual puzzles, emerge only from solving unexpected problems with your own plan. The effect this has on the human brain is fearsome. These are puzzles that, once started, you just cannot put down.

But where Spacechem was simply beautiful, challenging entertainment, Fate of the World is something more important and striking, because your own plan only ever goes wrong because of your own ignorance. The first thing you do when something goes wrong is desperately tear open a region’s telemetry and start picking your way through all those graphs and numbers like a boffin riding the caffeine high of a lifetime.

The addition of reams of statistics for each country is the biggest addition to Fate of the World since the beta, and it’s an absolutely vital one because it lets you try and determine where you went wrong. If emissions are creeping up in a country despite you banning coal power stations, you can pull open the telemetry and see a bar chart showing the region’s emissions since 2010, with each bar broken into many different colours, each showing a different emissions source.

This way you can see that it’s mass deforestation that’s the problem, for example, or you might notice that nothing in particular is increasing, tentatively pop open the population chart and blanche as you discover that the number of humans here has doubled in the last 40 years. In which case, it’s time to pop out the One Child Policy card- or not, as you’re already close to this region losing patience and throwing you out. Better to do it on the sly by sterilising the ol’ water supply.

This greater transparency of information doesn’t just make the game fairer, or create the minigame of poring through data, hunting for clues- it makes the game that much more educational. As well as learning, say, when we can expect sea levels to have risen by a metre, how we could theoretically halt climate change by scattering clouds of reflective material into orbit, why this would be a bad idea, or what the effect of Europe banning the petrol car might be, you also end up absorbing more specific information on what percentage of our emissions are due to agriculture or transport, how you calculate HDI, what causes deforestation and everything in between.

All this said, the final release of Fate of the World does disappoint in several regards. Another big addition since the beta is the game’s built-in encyclopedia, providing friendly explanations for some of the game’s more technical terms, like fast-breeder reactors or smart grids. Wonderful.

Except not only have they not provided a hotkey to this encyclopedia on relevant cards and events, when you do memorise the term you don’t understand, quit what you’re looking at and open the encyclopedia, you have to click down through an alphabetical listing of hundreds of terms to find what you need. Who knew saving the world could be such a chore?

Second, the game isn’t bug-free. I had one policy card in my game which could only have been a placeholder and while that was the only glaring error and Red Redemption have already released one patch, this Steam thread warns of still more under the hood.

(On the other hand, this one talks of some upcoming DLC which will introduce migration, and how excited I got when I heard that speaks volumes.)

But this is comparatively small stuff next to the towering achievement of this game as education. Five hours spent playing Fate of the World is not only a good time, it leaves you with astonishing amounts of information about combating climate change, and if you went all-out and read all of the encyclopedia entries as you went along I cannot imagine learning any faster with a flesh-and-blood teacher lecturing you on the subject and setting homework.

Hidden in this game, beneath the glossy art and comedy warning about adorable species becoming extinct because you are no good:

…is, I think the future of education. I believe that. Not because it’s fun or moreish, but because when you genuinely want to succeed at something and not only have to fix your own mistakes, but want to, I feel like you retain immeasurably more information.

If we can get really good at this- if we could consistently marry entertainment and education as flawlessly as Fate of the World does- it would transform the planet. Which perhaps isn’t the message Fate of the World had in mind, but it’s still one worth thinking about.

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146 Comments »

  1. juv3nal says:

    So it sounds like climate challenge on super mega steroids?

    • Kizor says:

      It IS Climate Challenge on super mega steroids. It’s by the same team.

      It looks happy to see you.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      “Second, the game isn’t bug-free.” – well, it’s lightly said. Game is full of bugs actually, only many of them aren’t obvious unless you look for them. Check the forums of the game – it’s en-massed by bug reports and various issues with the game. I bought it and sadly: regret it. Maybe after 2-3 patches it will be acceptable but for now? Not worth time really, not with all these problems.

    • battles_atlas says:

      That’s not been my experience. In ten hours or so playing I’ve come across a couple of fairly minor bugs, nothing serious though.

  2. Synoptase says:

    Japan just got roflstomped by an earthquake/tsunami. What a sad coincidence.

    /why-so-serious

    • Powl says:

      awkward.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      yeah, was thinking exactly that…

    • godkingemperor says:

      what a prick comment

    • notjasonlee says:

      i am highly offended and veiled in various emotional hues

    • Beardface says:

      Earthquakes have nothing to do with climate change. You make no sense.

    • wootles says:

      Your post reminds me of Fox News.

    • Blackberries says:

      What Beardface said. How is this relevant?

    • godgoo says:

      The lightness of your tone saddens and angers me; how did a generation become so utterly desensitized an woefully self centered?

    • Synoptase says:

      Climate change, earthquakes, tsunamis are what i call disasters. Posting about a game simulating this kind of events on a day where a disaster occured feels… awkward.
      The tone was probably too light regarding the dramatic events.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Turns out trying to be cool on the internet is worth a few ten thousand deaths IRL.

  3. The Pink Ninja says:

    Um…

    That first screen-shot given today incidents made me assume this was a charity drive for Japan.

    • JFS says:

      First thing that came to my mind when I switched on my TV today was “Fate of the World”. It works both ways. In an eerie kind.

  4. Premium User Badge

    stahlwerk says:

    Hurricane < Hypercane < Novacane?

  5. Inigo says:

    So, this was my attempt at the Fuel Crisis scenario, which sets you the simple task of reaching the year 2020

    I was stunned to find that Africa’s emissions had doubled since the game began, way back in sweet, innocent 2020.

    Erm.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    Yeah, I always learned a lot from games, even tangentially, like reading stuff on Wikipedia about the 1700s after playing Empire, or reading Colonizopedia or whatever the glossary in Colonization is called. No reason a game has to be overtly educational in order to teach something.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Yeah, as a non-American I owe all I know about the American civil war to Empire’s tutorial campaign.

    • Blackberries says:

      Oh dear. I think you’re very confused.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      Yeah…George Washington did die on the battlefield at 33 years old didn’t he? In a mad dash for Montreal right? Or was that just my bad strategising?

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    Faldrath says:

    Lovely game, yes. I found the tutorial a bit lacking, but once you get a hang of it, it’s great.

  8. Resin says:

    Maybe not the best screen considering hundreds dead and reactors closing and all that…..yeah real life does make the game seem all the more relevant….but use good taste….or add a charity drive to the story, like Synoptase thought, and I’m good with it.

    And all that aside nice article on what looks like a game I want to play now despite not even being a huge fan of the genre.

  9. mrtypo says:

    Apologies for sounding a little on the gushing side but that was a wonderful review, I almost feel as if I played the (non-existent) demo.

    It’s even actually cheaper in the Eurozone than in the UK (£9.99 vs €9,99)!

  10. TillEulenspiegel says:

    if we could consistently marry entertainment and education

    This is a notion I’ve been toying with for years. I feel like there’s so much potential for really good educational games, particularly for high school / university students.

    How about an RPG where you experience a slice of medieval history as best we know it, from daily life to the important events occurring around you? Or a game like Spacechem where there are real principles of chemistry involved? Think of all those reactions you learned in the first couple semesters of organic chemistry.

    It’s a massive challenge as a game designer to seamlessly integrate fun with education. But I think it’s both doable and, as you say, potentially world-changing.

    • Xercies says:

      I’ve also been toying how to do that, i think Games could be a very wonderful source to educate people on lots and lots of things. And even on touchy subjects like Animal testing and the like.

    • Pie21 says:

      Funny you should mention that – I’m taking a subject at university called Software Modelling and Design, and the group assignment we just got given yesterday is exactly that – to choose a science topic (from high school to early university), and then design and build a medium-scale game to teach that topic in an engaging way. The platform will be custom-built and provided, and we build a game module per group to be included at the end (if it’s good enough). Then the platform is open sourced, and hopefully we can make even a little difference.

      It’s certainly something worth putting in some extra effort for.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Though I think this is a great educational tool, the assumptions that you have to hide in the background do worry me. For example, as the review suggests, there is basically no way to complete the Fuel Crisis scenario without abadoning Africa to the wolves. The real world doesn’t have such hardcoded limits, certainly not in a manner that we can know, except perhaps in hindsight. I would hate to have a generation of kids growing up who thought that the solution to climate change began with letting Africa descend into anarchy.

      The danger is I guess common to any source of knowledge – people mistaking it for gospel. And don’t get me wrong, FOTW is terrific, but games are such an immersive media that for them to be used in this way requires real committment to openness about the assumptions being made being the scenes.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      @ battles_atlas

      I understand what your saying, but I think that scenario is actually teaching kids that change needs to be made by everybody, ourselves included (‘ourselves’ being the western, wealthy, pc games playing, incredibly lucky people RPS readers no doubt are, even if you might not always feel like it sometimes!)

      It shows one alternative where the only way to maintain our own comfortable living is to stop anyone else having a slice of the pie, whether that be developing continents, or our own expanding population, which is an absolutely true possibility: it’s already happening without extrapolating to 10 years down the line. Although some kids might see this as a reason to screw everyone else, I think most would realise it means sacrifices need to be made at home to allow the whole world’s inevitable progession to continue.

    • b1n9o79 says:

      How about an RPG where you experience a slice of medieval history as best we know it, from daily life to the important events occurring around you?

      This would either be tedious or Darklands

  11. bluebogle says:

    I’ve been playing this with my girlfriend (who doesn’t play videogames) and we’ve both been enjoying it. High recommendations!

  12. mkultra says:

    Read Reality is Broken by Jane McGonigal.

    Relevant.

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      tomeoftom says:

      No, don’t, it’s absolutely awful and I can’t read more than fifty pages at a time before coming dangerously close to erupting into flames. Shut up. No. Shut up!

  13. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    This made me want to play in a game more powerfully that I have wanted in a long time.
    However, Im going to assume any options I think of, that I cant do in game will annoy me,

    For instance, I see the future of education is Salman Khans TED ’11 talk. He does the Khan Academy videos
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gM95HHI4gLk

    If I cant implement something like that, I think I would grow frustrated at the “limited” chocies, no matter who many there really are.

    • Towercap says:

      Totally agree. Salman’s YouTube channel got me through the last couple of years of uni. (:

  14. Lyrandon says:

    I had preordered the game the day it was available and i really like the idea. It has this one-more-turn feeling.

    But currently there are some game-breaking bugs in it – one bug for example killing 3/4 of world economy in 2150s… and because the game’s stats and feedback is so lacking, the player doesn’t even recognize it as a bug, but thinks it is his fault.

    In fact the game feedback is horrible, without reading .lua files the community wouldn’t even know why a financial crisis in 2070-2080 is crushing almost every game.

    And there is essentially only one scenario, “Rise of Africa” is just a 5 minute tutorial, while “Fuel crisis” and “Three degree” are the same, just with slighty modified victory and loss conditions and different end dates.

    It is a good game for 10€, but it could have been great with some more work before release.

    • Nikolaj says:

      The game definitely has some serious bugs, as it is. Some of them – including the one destroying the world economy around 2150 – have been fixed already by a community patch, though.

    • Lyrandon says:

      In fact, i’m the only who found the bug and fixed it… but when i could find this bug, the devs should have been able, too. I’m wondering if they ever played the game to the end in 2200.

    • bagga says:

      Aargh this whole time I thought I was doing something wrong. Every game ends because of a massive universal economic crash, just when the end is in sight.

      I agree about the scenarios, there should have been one or two more 3-6 area scenarios before you got hold of the whole package. There could easily have been an OPEC scenario or a G8 scenario where you only get to control the relevant countries, it makes sense in real-world terms and it makes sense in pacing terms too.

  15. McDan says:

    I am really quite interested in this game, but there’s no demo to try out. £10 seems like a big risk if I don’t like it.

  16. CMaster says:

    In before people raving that they’ll never play a game which suggests humans might have an effect on global climate.

    Curious that they have it set up so you can run out of uranium. Is there a reprocessing option? A quick look at sources suggests there is enough uranium around that running out of it shouldn’t be a problem, and anyway only 3% or so it actually used by the time a rod is spent, so the above reprocessing lets you get some back. There’s also breeder reactors which make their own fuel. Neither of these two options are currently used as it’s cheaper just to dig more out the ground.

    Of course, they perhaps did it just for game balance, but still, feels a bit odd.

    • Lyrandon says:

      There is a bug with “fast breeder” technology, using too much uranium, leading to uranium shortages in the second half of 21. century without ever increasing uranium demand.

    • CMaster says:

      Huh, so they did put in some of the other options for uranium then (wonder if they also included seawater recovery, although that sounds fairly pipe-dream to me). Breeder reactors are crazy dangerous in reality though, as the Monju Leak warns.

    • Lyrandon says:

      Its not really an option, its the energy research path, replacing third gen fission with fast breeders if you want it or not. This leads to nuclear weapon proliferation – when one of these regions having fast breeders falls into anarchy, the world soon turns into a colder place.

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      There’s also thorium, of which we’d have vast quantities to use. Should we switch to all nuclear energy, we probably wouldn’t have distribution issues for at least a century, probably more. Should we diversify and invest in reprocessing, we could extend that to millennia.

      I always feel a bit iffy about such games because they cannot possibly model every single thing that could be done and/or happen. The uranium thing (on top of apparently being bugged) is just one example, but I’m sure there are more. You simply cannot go through one game without going: “Hey! We should be able to fix that already, but there’s no option for it!”

    • Premium User Badge

      FriendlyFire says:

      There’s also thorium, of which we’d have vast quantities to use. Should we switch to all nuclear energy, we probably wouldn’t have distribution issues for at least a century, probably more. Should we diversify and invest in reprocessing, we could extend that to millennia.

      I always feel a bit iffy about such games because they cannot possibly model every single thing that could be done and/or happen. The uranium thing (on top of apparently being bugged) is just one example, but I’m sure there are more. You simply cannot go through one game without going: “Hey! We should be able to fix that already, but there’s no option for it!”

      I guess mods could always improve that, but it’s nigh impossible to cover *everything*.

    • wedge99 says:

      Good point. I was thinking the same thing when I read the article but knew someone would get to it before me in my Mountain West time zone. That and I’m a few days late since I was away from civilization for a few days, that of course being the internet and RPS :).

  17. Shagittarius says:

    Education or Propaganda?

    • dadioflex says:

      Good call.

      Really good call.

      Haven’t played it, not that interested but as you point out, it’ll never be regarded as an educational tool unless it agrees with the policies of the people who pay for the content that goes into text books. When evolution, global warming and dozens of other policies that might affect US growth or self-image are political footballs, this doesn’t stand a chance of being embraced by the establishment.

    • omicron1 says:

      And that’s a good thing, too. The moment you begin enforcing your beliefs, ideals, or desires on others against their will, you have descended into the realm of tyranny – no matter how well-intentioned you are.

      And some of the things mentioned in the WIT above are simply scary – “One Child act”? Like China has? Mandatory abortions? This game is reminding me of an “How to Build an Evil Earth Empire” simulator.

      More to the point, it’s built on a viewpoint that (to me) represents a combination of Malthusian economics, population control, eugenics, and totalitarianism. Not to mention the whole assumption about climate change that lies at the very heart of this game’s paradigm. So yes, using “Fate of the World” as educational material is just as much propaganda as using “Left Behind: Eternal Forces” would be.

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      Sunjumper says:

      You do realise that you can choose what ever you like in the game?
      You do not need to sterilize anyone. Depending on your decisions you will not even ever see that option.

      And you are completely right the results of science are exatly the same thing as the rantings of uneducated extremists…

      sigh…

    • Xercies says:

      Yes but its kind of saying sterilisation is a good thing because its under peoples noses and it lets you gain money from people and having your whim of the one child policy. In fact i read that line and was a little disturbed by it…

      Though anything is good as long as it gets our emissions down!

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      Sunjumper says:

      If you get caught doing that you will get thrown out of office…

    • Sivart13 says:

      @omicron1

      In the game, you can also choose to kill off half a region’s population with a genetic virus.

      The game is not telling you this is “right” or “wrong”, unless you consider anything that makes it easier to win a tacit endorsement of that policy. In which case, the developers are clearly genocidal maniacs and this game is a trojan horse to increase global acceptance of mass-murder as a climate change policy. Or not.

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      RQH says:

      @Xercies, Omicron: Except, from reading what Quinns has written, it seems that it’s not all well and good as long as it keeps emissions down? It’s a game that’s all about unintended consequences and catch-22 choices. That the game includes those things as possible tools doesn’t mean it recommends them. And furthermore, even to say that what leads to success in the game is indicative of what the game recommends is over-simplifying. Couldn’t one just as easily argue it as “propaganda” for the opposing viewpoint, by pointing out that the unintended costs of trying to reduce human impact on global climate change are so high as to be no longer worth it? It strikes me that the moral framework in which the majority of its audience operates is part of the game’s commentary, but also that taking dictatorial (or sneaky, insidious) measures ultimately backfire in their own ways.

      TL;DR: read the post above mine. :)

    • omicron1 says:

      @Sunjumper:

      There is nothing so dangerous as a person in a place of power, convinced of the rightness of his cause and his own superiority.

      Anyway… I might be interested in a similar game if built around different concepts. Say, try to avert World War II by policy alone, or attempt to maintain (or squash) the Roman Empire through the year 1500. It’s definitely an interesting concept, but at present it’s a concept that has been painted a particularly vibrant shade of Liberal Blue.

    • skinlo says:

      I wish people would stop getting so worried about other people enforcing their belief on you. If you an intelligent person, you use all available sources to make decisions on big issues like this. Playing a game called Fate of the World is of course going to have a potential bias leaning one way, but that doesn’t really matter does it, unless you are so gullible you think believe everything you read without questioning anything at all.

    • Bob Lewis says:

      @omicron1 Watch this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-QA2rkpBSY – , all 8 parts. A “One Child act” might not be so evil, all things considered…

      On another note, Quintin just convinced me to buy this game.

    • nimnio says:

      Behold in awe the strong opinions of people who have never played the game.

    • Kizor says:

      Getting caught will get you both thrown out of office and hanged. Good times.

      But yes, there are options in this game that are not moral, sensible or sane. I believe the reason is that if you give people the keys to an Earth simulator, you have to expect them to go crazy with it. So! One-child policies, covert sterilization, bio-weapons. And in a week’s time, we expect a patch that’ll add the long-desired Dr. Apocalypse scenario.

      Having played the game, I don’t feel like it endorses these nightmare options at all. I’m not sure why not. Perhaps because they’re not actually necessary – the player often has to go out of the way to use them, and the planet can be saved just fine without them. Probably because of what RQH wrote about the way they ultimately backfire. Possibly because they’re not very good choices. The player’s funding depends on the prosperity of the taxpayers, so the best option is to develop peaceful, wealthy, clean regions.

      In fact, the biggest challenge in the game right now is not saving the environment, but saving us from economic collapse as fossil fuel supplies show their limits. Not very inhumane.

    • Jad says:

      Well, we all know that Defcon is a paean to the glories of thermonuclear war.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      On a more personal, realistic level, there are plenty of games where you can play as a thief and benefit greatly from stealing stuff. Is this pro-theft propaganda? And GTA, my goodness…

      As far as I can tell (I bought the game but haven’t played it yet), FOTW attempts to be a realistic simulation and provide the player with as many options as possible. Seeing plausible consequences of committing atrocities is quite interesting. Seeing as it is, y’know, a game. Not reality.

      You’re going to have to bring your own morality, and not rely on a game to teach right and wrong.

    • Pantsman says:

      @omicron: “The moment you begin enforcing your beliefs, ideals, or desires on others against their will, you have descended into the realm of tyranny – no matter how well-intentioned you are.”

      That describes any and all possible governments, and is indeed the very definition of the rule of law. If that’s the realm of tyranny, I say bring on the tyranny.

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      phuzz says:

      Look, if there’s one thing this game has ‘propaganda’ about (propangandises?) it’s that every action has unintended consequences
      Every action has unintended consequences. That’s the reality ignored by both sides in which ever example you want to take sides on*. Whenever you have a (political) discussion, the arguments from both sides will only concentrate on a few consequences of their or their opponents plans. I particularly like this game for ‘punishing’ you for not realising that whatever you choose, however much you’ve thought about just the right policy to push people the way you want whilst still making them happier, you’ll still fail for not realising that inadvertently you’ve completely screwed over some other group/territory/stat.
      It gives you the option to try and sterilise an entire region of the globe, which might help you get a bit further towards reducing global carbon emissions, but it will also point out to you, once you’ve made your move, that aside from the monstrous barbarity of your actions**, you’ll also be, say, decreasing the overall use of oil, so the price goes down, so every other nation uses more (for a made up example).
      tl:dr while you could argue that the win conditions of this game are subscribing to a certain view. The actual gameplay is nothing if not even handed.
      So far I’ve played quite a few games of the demo.
      And lost every one.
      If “Fate of the World is, as an educational videogame, a masterpiece” then what it has taught me is that; if a pretty well educated and intelligent*** person can’t stop global warming acting as world dictator, then with the world as argumentative (and with nature continuing to fuck with us, see: Japan), as it is then basically
      We’re fucked.
      * insert republican vs democrat, labour vs conservative, liberal vs conservative, ‘man made climate change’ vs whatever, religion vs atheism, consoles vs PC, or whatever you feel like arguing about.
      **although compulsory sterilisation is my ‘gotta work’ solution for climate change. I’m a grumpy cunt, what can I say.
      ***as i style myself

    • Starky says:

      @ Bob lewis

      That was a bloody fantastic video, thanks for the link.

    • psyk says:

      Population control of some kind is needed if we want to keep sustaining ourselves.

    • bill says:

      Liberals are yellow not blue.

      Just because you don’t agree with something doesn’t make it propaganda. And avoiding a viewpoint because you suspect it might not match your own is a sure path to extremism.

      Rather you should take what you can from it, even if you don’t agree with most of it it can still be useful.

      Liberals are yellow not blue.

    • Starky says:

      Why is it Americans have to split everyone between liberal and conservative, then start insulting the other side? It’s fucking moronic – maybe because I’m British and view myself as a moderate (conservative on some issues, liberal on others) I just don’t get it at all.

      It is the height of idiocy to base your entire political opinion on all subjects on whatever party you happen to be supporting (or worse people who support a party their whole lives unthinkingly), party based politics should really be wiped out – in the UK I’m sick to high hell of it and how it utterly screws our system – makes it a choice between left vs right (and our left and right are both firmly in the middle compared to American left and right), rather than a vote on issues.

      In the US it seems to much worse, how can you guys stand for it?

  18. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    Playing this game as the Libya situation unfolds makes me think that a game about mediating a civil war could be interesting.

    • Premium User Badge

      lorddon says:

      Try Peacemaker to find out how frustrating finding an acceptable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can be. Fate of the World immediately made me think of that game and both are excellent teaching tools.

  19. Out Reach says:

    I beat rise of Africa blind by doing just what the tutorial said (in fact on a 2nd play through with a more targeted approach I beat the scenario before it was even possible to complete 1 of the secondary objectives) , But I’ve played Fuel Crisis 20 times and I always lose. Game is impossible :|

    Also I can’t play 3 degrees till I beat Fuel Crisis, and let’s just say If I can’t play Dr. Apocalypse on release without beating 3 degrees, I am gonna rage hard.

    • Lyrandon says:

      It definitely is not impossible. I have beaten it multiple times. You just have to be careful, and best approach is to use a controlled collapse. Read the steam-forums for good advices.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      Game is laking in so many things right now that unless you read forums or spent weeks trying to approach different strategies blind – you have no chance to pass it.

      It’s like DEVs would tell you: WE ALL GONNA DIE unless we’ll be able to re-spawn earth 125 times to find a right solution.
      Seriously…. it’s idiotic. Part of problem are bugs, dozens of them, part of problem is lack of explanation, part of problem are some weird, illogical design decisions (eg. market going towards most expensive resources instead of cheapest one, just to make game more difficult). In general – they better release patch soon, cause right now it’s a nightmare of mad ecologist, not an educational game.

      (LET’S KILL HALF OF THE WORLD – WE’LL BE SAVED == that’s what I learn from the game in current version)

    • mwoody says:

      @Cinek: But there’s a huge flaw in your argument: the world DOESN’T end in the game. It doesn’t even really come that close. Your fail conditions are personal goals, not the apocalypse. “Surviving” until 2120 doesn’t mean Earth and/or mankind still being there, it means your organization still exists and you personally don’t have your head on a spike somewhere. Keeping the world from rising 3 degrees in temp would be bad, but survivable.

    • Kollega says:

      I have to agree with Cinek here. From the current description, it seems like the message of the game is “THE EARTH IS FUCKED, AND THE BEST WAY TO UNFUCK IT IS MASS MURDER!”. It may not be the actual message, but that is certainly the impression i’m getting. And if it’s almost damn impossible to “win” the battle against climate change, then why even bother? This review didn’t convince me to buy this game or to go out and do something about global warming, it just made me depressed and scared of the future… as if i didn’t have enough of that already.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      @mwoody – “the world DOESN’T end in the game. It doesn’t even really come that close.” – it depends how you define end of the world. No, the earth can’t explode in FotW, sure. BUT: If after over a hundred of years combined effort of entire earth ends up with:
      1) Massive natural fauna extinction (with what you can’t do a thing – nothing seem to influence extinctions)
      2) lack of polar regions and ocean level raised by few meters
      3) temperature STILL increasing in astonishing speed
      than well… for me it is end of the world – perhaps not show in the game scenario, but 100 or 200 years later surface of planet would turn into something close to Venus.

      So no – this game isn’t educational it’s a nightmare of ecologist without knowledge of physics, biology, economics, nor society.

      Even though with current level of simplification – it has a potential to become at least partially educational – yet it’d require A LOT of patching, fixing various issues (or as some prefer to call it: design decisions). It’s doable, and I hope it gonna come sooner or later, cause I hate to throw money away, though sadly right now I feel like if I did.

    • Archonsod says:

      “1) Massive natural fauna extinction (with what you can’t do a thing – nothing seem to influence extinctions)
      2) lack of polar regions and ocean level raised by few meters
      3) temperature STILL increasing in astonishing speed
      than well… for me it is end of the world – perhaps not show in the game scenario, but 100 or 200 years later surface of planet would turn into something close to Venus.”

      So do better. It’s quite possible to finish both scenarios with a temperature on it’s way to pre-industrial levels, polar regions intact and flooding restricted to seasonal and regional patterns.

  20. Saiko Kila says:

    I feel an urge to ask: is it possible in this game to curb a population growth, by engineering a virus or something similar (like in Deus Ex)? I wish there were… mechanisms, let’s say, which are available in Pandemic. Maybe they are here?

    • Lyrandon says:

      It is possible – gene plague alpha kills 1/4, beta 1/2 and gamma the whole population of a region.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      Ah thanks. So I’m interested. On the side: educational elements of such games are somewhat diminished by the fact that their science is always biased, overly simplified, or both. Climate science involves so much money that there’s no chance it is unbiased, besides we don’t know enough to model climate changes for very short time frames, so long term prognoses are even less feasible. I believe the game may teach gamers something (after reading about it) but I’m also afraid it will be a propaganda of sorts. Which may be either good or bad.

    • Eightball says:

      Well encouraging gene plagues would certainly be educational, though maybe not in the way the devs and educators intend…

    • Archonsod says:

      “Climate science involves so much money that there’s no chance it is unbiased”

      Good to see they still fail at explaining the basic concepts of the scientific method in schools.

    • cliffski says:

      I hear there is some money involved in th global oil industry too, but I’m sure that in no way ever influences the climate-change-isn’t really happening lobby. Nosiree. Nothing to see here etc…

    • JackShandy says:

      Of course it’s bloody biased. Everything is biased. But you take that single source and compare it to others to find collaborating evidence, and from there build up a reasonable picture of the subject matter. That’s how everything works, you can’t expect any single source to be reliable by itself.

      They taught us that in grade ten ancient history. I don’t know why everyone seems to expect the game to provide a complete holy vision of exactly what climate change will be like all by itself.

    • rivalin says:

      “I hear there is some money involved in th global oil industry too, but I’m sure that in no way ever influences the climate-change-isn’t really happening lobby. Nosiree. Nothing to see here etc…”

      I’m sorry, who are you arguing with again?

      When someone says one side of the debate is biased, saying the other side is biased doesn’t count as a refutation. It’s interesting that people aren’t equipped with the basic skills of logic and rhetoric in state education and media, rather they are given the “acceptable” interpretation of everything and then taught what to do to anyone who disagrees, which is denounce them vociferously, normally with a nice epithet like “denier”. Seems to be broadly the way Christianity and other Abrahamic religions used to operate, funny that.

      @Muzman

      yes, we know that there is more C02, and that it has that effect, that is all we know. Imagine you had a bucket, you knew that water fills up buckets, and you knew water was being poured into that bucket. What you don’t know is how big the bucket is, how may holes it has, how big they are, how many holes will be added to it in the future, how high up in the bucket those holes are, and if the water being poured in the general direction of the bucket is even going into it. With this knowledge tell me when the bucket is going to be full.

    • Premium User Badge

      shafte says:

      @rivalin

      Odd, because you seem to do the exact same thing — attack your opponents on the epistemological level without defending yourself. Regardless, there IS an acceptable interpretation: given the current data and accuracy of our climate modeling, it seems likely that global warming does in fact exist and is anthropogenic. The question of magnitude (how bad it will be) is largely moot, because we know it’ll be at least PRETTY bad, and the precautionary principle is hard at work here.

      I would, in fact, be happy to denounce global warming deniers as, just that, deniers, given that there is little in the way of scientific evidence to support their claims. You want to link me a research paper published in a peer-reviewed journal that disagrees, go for it. The core difference between acknowledging global warming and believing in a religion is that the former is based in the scientific method. You can actually be wrong (or at least very likely wrong) when it comes to that.

      And, as an aside, the bucket analogy is silly. We may not know a lot of things about the bucket, but we have two crucial things you leave out. First, we can measure the level of water in the bucket, which on its own probably solves a lot of the predictions problems you introduce. Second, climatological models have the benefit of operation over a massive scale with absurd amounts of data and a huge timeframe, which makes small “holes in the bucket” irrelevant.

    • Muzman says:

      ooh wait, something was directed at me (presumably in the wrong bit, but anyway)
      This bucket thing makes no sense. What are you saying? We know the water is rising but since we can’t predict exactly when we’re gonna drown I refuse to swim?
      And that riff doesn’t make much more sense for all that.
      Anyway, we don’t know where the water is coming in? Yes we do. We have good data on solar outputs and the orgins of fossil Carbon in the air (namely us). How many holes? We know rapidly increasing CO2 will probably reduce many of the CO2 sinks. How high up the holes are? Meaning maybe we could let temperature rise to a point where some natural release vale kicks in (not knowing how high this is and hope none of the other problems mess things up along the way)? Yeah, pragmatic planning there.
      There’s probably no point in disecting a broken metaphor to begin with. The thing is the basic argument is proven and would be plenty to anyone with a brain if it weren’t for the addition of FUD by interested parties, usually involving a suspicion that changing our ways is actually impossible and/or the desire to do so somehow malicious. If it weren’t for these memes the pragmatic argument would be a no brainer. Here I think assuming anyone who is suspicious of AGW of being a denier or having denier sympathies is actually valid. Tacitly or otherwise, you have to have bought the bullshit to think nothing should be done at this point.

  21. Hematite says:

    This game has by far the meatiest simulation I’ve ever encountered.

    The beta/demo was unimpressive because most of the graphs weren’t accessible, so when you got a message that North Africa was descending into anarchy you couldn’t really tell why – funding security forces and medical programs to increase happiness was about all you could sensibly do. Fun, but only in a lightweight edutainment way.

    Now that the graphs and numbers are more visible you can tell that Africa is screwed because their agriculture based economy is suffering from oil shortages because you banned tar oil extraction in an effort to reduce the atmospheric CO_2 which is pushing up global temperatures, which in turn is melting the arctic permafrost releasing huge amounts of methane which will push global temperatures even higher until the amazon rainforest collapses releasing further gigatons of CO_2 as it decomposes. That’s a shame because you’d already predicted the oil shortage and had poured funding into increasing biofuel production in China, South East Asia and Southern Africa to compensate. China’s now producing more biofuel at the expense of their food production, South East Asia has started chopping down the forests you spent so much effort protecting to increase their cropland and in Southern Africa they’re producing less biofuel than ever because there’s no oil to run the machines which do the farming which produces the biofuel because you don’t produce enough biofuel yet. Of course the agricultural sectors of the other countries are collapsing too, you just haven’t noticed yet because they’re being propped up by their industrial and commercial sectors. Pretty soon though the world economy will collapse as agricultural workers become unemployed and the global labour market is overwhelmingly dominated by commercial interests which no longer have a base in actual production. And the panda is extinct.

    This and more is all modeled with sensible and visible relationships between the elements*. It’s awesome.

    *Except the extinctions. They don’t relate to anything except making you feel bad. The pandas you bastard!

    • Commisar says:

      it is quite fun, even though I am stuck on Fuel crisis(I had a thermonuclear war in the 2070s) My question is this, will the patches only be through Steam or will they be released through their own website?

    • JFS says:

      While the simulation itself is great, this game definitely needs more content, especially a real tutorial. It may all be in the game, but not explaining how everything works is not good design. Sure, there are fan tutorials on the web, but I strongly dislike games where you have to resort to such measures. FotW would be much better if stuff was explained in a detailed way, the whole telemetry/graph stuff in particular, as the solution to playing the game in a proper, controlled, planned and non-trial-and-error way seems to lie in there.

      Oh, and more scenarios. I’d love smaller-scale scenarios, where the cards aren’t as global and generic and you are only in control of perhaps a continent or so.

    • malkav11 says:

      It’s nice that you can tell this. I can’t tell this because there’s no documentation and the game doesn’t highlight causal relationships between the cards you play and statistical changes at all, nor does it point out the relationship of any of the stats to the news events, and the “encyclopedia” also isn’t hotlinked nor do its descriptions of climate change related terminology and concepts do much to explain the game, per se.

      The game needs much better documentation, a much better tutorial, and a lot more cross-indexing of information.

  22. Yargh says:

    I wonder how good the science behind the simulation is?
    This whole area is teeming with contrary views, many influenced by various agendas, that it has become very hard to see when something is a reasonable conjecture or just plain manipulation.

    I’d be happy to view this as the future of education but I’d like to know the users were being taught something true first.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      As far as I’m aware, global warming is only controversial the same way evolution is. Which is to say, not really, as far as the actual science is concerned.

    • silentStatic says:

      The games website mentions that the game is “Based on the research of Prof. Myles Allen of Oxford University”.

    • Starky says:

      Not quite Zero.

      Granted it is pretty much consensus that the earth is warming, and that mankind is without a doubt having an impact – it’s still a bit dubious exactly how much of an impact though (most conservative estimates I’ve read place it at about 1/3rd to 1/2 mans influence, and the rest natural causes.

      What the long term effects of that impact will be, if they’ll even be bad long term effects… global warming may result in increased global farmable land for example, warmer planet ironically means less desert, more rainfall and more plantlife (for example in the past the earth has been much warmer than it is now, with no polar ice at all, and covered mainly in rain forest, swamps, grassland and such).

      Then again the warmer planet may choke the oceans with algae, resulting in a knock on effect which wipes out most species on earth.

      We just don’t know, and at this point any meaningful scientific advancement on the issue is almost impossible, because everyone is throwing money around to produce reports that fit their agenda – and studies that go against the political will tend to be cast out as outliers, or just plain liers.

      Basically politics has set the scientific paradigm in this cause, and there is no way science can claw it back.
      Most people are just not educated enough to even begin to grasp the subjects involved – and just know what they see on the news or in documentaries.
      Hell, I’d wager even most people who ARE educated enough (and I include myself in this) don’t really understand much more. Even reading the papers, reading the journals and scientific publications it’s almost impossible to get a real grasp on the issue.

      There is just way too much information, too much unknown and far too many conflicting studies.

      In many ways the weather system of our planet is more complicated than everything we know and have learned about the larger universe (gravity, planets, black holes so on).

    • Archonsod says:

      “global warming may result in increased global farmable land for example”

      Not unless we figure out how to make plants grow when watered with acid, no.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      @ Archonsod – not really. We can make usable water, it’s just really expensive in energy terms.

      Almost any problem can be overcome if you have enough energy.

    • Scarmath says:

      @Starky I take great exception to your claim that no good science is being done here. I think the scientific community takes their work very seriously, and I think there is an overwhelming consensus among climatologists on the basic premise of global warming (i.e. the Earth is getting hotter and it is our fault).

    • Starky says:

      I never said that – I’m aware there is LOADS of good scientific work been done, by honest, intelligent and thorough scientists applying proper method, unbiased research, publishing solid (unfudged) numbers and properly and thoroughly peer reviewed.
      I can’t read it all I’m an Engineer not a climate scientists so much of it I approach as a layman (if a layman with a solid background in physics and mathematics), but some of my work does require I cross into it, especially when the main buzz words from any client these days is sustainable, emission, efficient etc.

      The problem is for every good report, for every decent well written and referenced article in a professional publication there are half a dozen conflicting studies that seem quite legitimate and reliable to an outsider of the field. There are literally dozens of bullshit studies (posing as legitimate, and often commissioned from official sounding sources), politically motivated obfuscations, and a thousand scaremongering leftwing, or ignorant dismissive rightwing publications, articles or blogs.

      There is so much data, mountains of data – but very little consensus.

      As I said, the only consensus seems to be that 1: the earth is warming and 2: mankind is partially responsible.
      Or if there is consensus beyond that, the climatologist community are doing a piss poor job of communicating it.

    • Muzman says:

      That’s what the IPCC is for, to lay it all out and discern what the general consensus is and what range the consensus falls into. As a literature review they are generally pretty darn clear. It wasn’t until they were dogged by BS mongers that there was any problem with this (and would making the odd mistake really be that big a deal for any other institution if FUD merchants weren’t waiting to pounce on everything?).
      And I would put the consensus differently: CO2 in the atmosphere has risen dramatically in recent times. Human activity put it there. Of that there is no doubt.
      CO2 traps infrared radiation and a rise there will increase global atmospheric temperatures. This has been shown to be occuring. This will alter the climate and polute in ways likely to damage ecosystems humans and other animals depend upon.

    • Consumatopia says:

      There’s a lot of truth in what Starky says, but I’d quibble with a couple of points. It’s worth distinguishing between consensus and certainty. The difference is not one of degree, but of meaning. Say we’re about to flip a coin. We could have complete consensus that this will be a fair coin toss with 50% chance of heads, but complete uncertainty as to what the outcome will be.

      In that light, I think Starky should reconsider this “As I said, the only consensus seems to be that 1: the earth is warming and 2: mankind is partially responsible.”

      I think we could add:

      3. climate change is more likely to be overall bad than overall good.
      4. there is a reasonable chance that anthropogenic climate change could be a truly catastrophic thing.

      Point 3 isn’t really a climatological point, it’s an ecological point. Perhaps, in some abstract sense, life is capable of flourishing in a somewhat warmer climate, perhaps even better than it does in the current one. But we don’t care about life in the abstract, we care about the particular human societies and animal species that are with us now (we don’t have the option of waiting a hundred million years for a new set of species better suited to new climates). A rapid change, even for the “better”, will leave many societies and species unable to adapt. That means human lives and biodiversity will be lost forever. If my field gets more rain than I was expecting, in the long run maybe I could get higher yields, but in the short run my crops could be ruined and my house flooded. It’s why we’re starting to talk about “climate change” rather than “global warming”–because rapid change itself tends to be ecologically bad, no matter the direction.

      Point 4 is sort of a consensus on the lack of certainty–even if we can’t say that something as terrifying as Fate of the World is probable, it’s still reasonably possible. Continuing the present course in the face of such a possibility is something like playing Russian roulette–yeah, we’ll probably survive, but we have a whole lot more to lose to than we have to gain.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Lacero says:

    I always wanted to be in the entropy patrol.

  24. Moth Bones says:

    I’ve dipped my toe in and it looks well worth a tenner, though I agree that the main scenarios look pretty similar.

    The theme is highly pleasing. My dream game would basically be a mix of this, Civ and EU, going from the end of the last ice age into the future, as detailed as you like. Endless ramifying consequences.

    Given that the very idea of a powerful GEO is pretty science-fiction in itself, to call it a simulation is a stretch. Approach it as a strategy game.

  25. TV-PressPass says:

    How is it that I missed the release of this? **PURCHASED**

  26. CdrJameson says:

    Wow! Your CEO has the same name as mine.

    That was a freaky coincidence that made me look hard at those screenshots.

  27. Vinraith says:

    I recall hearing that there were differences between the direct-purchase and Steam versions of the game, does anyone know if that’s still true and, if so, what those differences are? For that matter, where does, say, the Gamersgate version fall in that spectrum?

    • iLag says:

      oh look, good news (taken from the Steam forums):

      “We also failed badly at synching up our pricing and offers. Everyone who purchased the Steam special edition, or pre-ordered, will receive the Denial mission. Denial is a special set of policy cards, impacts, and achievements relating to the simple question ‘Why can’t reality be how I want?’ When that mission goes up – probably on the day of the Apocalypse – you will get also get Steam cloud support and everyone who got the game via BMT will be issued a Steam key into the bargain. We feel like this gives you access to a really great service. We have a check list of additional content that our early supporters are receiving, and that will be up then too.”

      Hooray. That’s what I wanted all along. And the differences between the versions should be zero, then.

    • Vinraith says:

      Thanks iLag!

  28. GunsAkimbo says:

    Sounds Great; pity about the “fuck-you-UK” pricing from a UK studio.
    Without VAT it works out at £8.00… Yet the USD price converts to ~ £6.20 (or £6.66 at the highest rate of US sales tax).

    I’ll wait until it goes on sale on Steam then sleep sound in the knowledge they got dicked out of 30% plus the sale discount.

    • Premium User Badge

      Flimgoblin says:

      I was deciding to take it as priced by carbon emissions levels – so the US is probably a bigger emitter than the EU (sans UK) and then the UK itself – though mostly down to population size to be fair.

      *ducks*

  29. Commisar says:

    hey, does anybody know where I can get the patch for the non Steam version??? Because if I can’t get it if I didn’t buy the game off steam I will be really disappointed.

    • nullspace says:

      You get the patch by downloading the game again, using the link in the email you got when you purchased/preordered, then uninstall the game and install the new version. I don’t know why they did it like this, but at least you can continue your saves and keep your high scores.

  30. JackShandy says:

    Purchased in a heartbeat. I’ve been wanting to find out more about global warming.

    Now to see if I can get the damn thing through the tubes of my crappy internet.

  31. Premium User Badge

    tikey says:

    Now I want to buy it.
    How can you make me want to spend money so easily?

  32. psyk says:

    Did anyone notice the little icons in the top right(?) corner of the cards in the beta? they looked like they would link to a encyclopedia, not sure why they took them out.

    Or not, memory sucks.

  33. Premium User Badge

    tikey says:

    Now, for something partially different.
    Does anybody know if it could run in a old PC with just 1gb of RAM?
    All the other minimum reqs are covered, the RAM is the only issue. And as there is no demo I can’t try it for myself.

  34. Pijama says:

    If this game had the budget to be and the plans to become a grand strategy one, it would be definitely one of the greatest games EVAH.

    I’ve always wanted something like the paradox games in a near future scenario. ;_;

  35. Nimic says:

    Does anyone know where to actually get the patches, official or unofficial? I can’t see anything on the site, I can’t see that I’ve gotten an email about it, and I can’t see any update service ingame.
    Do I actually have to download the entire game again every time there’s a patch? That’s… bad. How did they think that was an acceptable solution?

    Edit: Awesome. The installer won’t even uninstall/repair/update the game for me. So every time I want to patch the game, I have to uninstall the game, redownload the entire thing and then reinstall? I can feel my will to even try the game out slipping.

    • Archonsod says:

      Yep. They’re working on sorting it out. As per the big sticky in their forum.

  36. castorp says:

    Has anyone played this game on a netbook – is it playable? It seems like a nice fit for the big calculator, but the specs say the game needs something better.

    Thanks.

    • Lyrandon says:

      Sometimes it is laggy on my i5 quadcore desktop pc, so i wouldn’t recommend it to a machine below minimum specs.

    • LionsPhil says:

      How on Earth do you write a turn-based strategy game whose interface is mostly 2D so badly that it doesn’t run on netbooks?

    • JFS says:

      It seems it is calculating THE WHOLE WORLD in REALTIME in the background. At minimum. Plus perhaps trying to contact extraterrestrial species, and solving the Pentagon encryptions.

  37. Daffs says:

    I would kill for a demo of this. Really need to know at least whether it’ll actually run on my frankly rubbish laptop, if not whether it’s compatible with my equally lacklustre brain.

    Yeah. Wake me up when there’s a free option.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      Almost certainly not, for some reason it needs 512mb gpu, which is baffling for what is essentially a card game. Its really interesting but its chugging like a bastard because of the unnecessary rotating globe.

    • Consumatopia says:

      Ugh, that sucks–why do all these strategy game companies keep bloating their system requirements for what should, in principle, be 2D games?

    • Daffs says:

      Yeah, that is ludicrous. I didn’t look at the specs, just presumed ‘hey it’s a card game should be safe’. Boo Fate of the World! Boo!

  38. zal says:

    I gotta say, one thing that I really liked about the climate game this studio made (that made me buy this game immediately), was the simplicity and clarity with which the game told you stuff. while the cards didn’t precisely tell you all your effects every time, they at least gave you some ideas of what was going on, and made it feel like you had a general idea of the costs and benefits of a program as predicted by your experts, the game was pretty good about keeping you up to speed with current and future woes without having to click all over everywhere.

    With this game I feel its lost all of the appeal and simplicity of the 1st one but KEPT the simple selection interface. and the cards have become little more than very VERY big buttons. even some basic 1-3 sentance summaries like what you’d get in an rts would be welcome.. and a lot of stuffs just .. happening. Apparently the global corp I’m a part of doesn’t believe in researching future problems or notifying me even of potential issues until they already happened. and can’t be assed to make any projections about the programs its implementing.. not even overhyped contract numbers. Its like my adviser is just the janitor wandering past saying “well you could tell africa to go nuclear…”

    So instead of having fun trying to react to a complex system, I’m playing hearts without numbers and then having to consult a multipage spreadsheet to see why the computer just told me I lost another trick.

    I’m just really disappointed, as I bought this literally the moment it came out and regret it immensely now, as it just feels needlessly convoluted and arbitrary with the sole purpose of getting to throw splash screens about this or that disaster at me. but lesson (re)learned, no more impulse purchases for another year. plus the visual design itself is terrible, with pictures taking up more space than any of the information, and “noisy” changing visuals around the areas where you’re trying to read stuff, and hearts that even when moused over still give a tool tip “regional support for geo” all just make my brain hurt.

  39. endintears says:

    FYI, this game runs pretty much flawlessly on Ubuntu under wine

  40. Nimic says:

    Okay, this game is hard.

    I played the Energy scenario (the one to 2120), and for a long while everything was going splendidly. Then, for no reason I could see, the economy collapsed and almost every single region went straight to hell. Northern and Southern Africa were already going to hell, and Russia was struggling, but I thought the other regions were making up for it. I was also using the community patch (I think), so I’m not sure it was a bug, I just don’t understand how it happened.
    Ironically, the only two regions that didn’t go to hell – nay, even thrived – at the end, were the Middle East and South Asia.

    And really, I was only doing that scenario because for some reason I cannot fathom they wont let me play the Apocalypse scenario without finishing that one. Who thought that was a good idea?

  41. Truck_Rockpec says:

    You click the lovely, chunky button that ends your turn, and the game’s mighty simulation ticks on another five years. And then guess what you find out? You find out you’re an idiot. Not because your plan doesn’t work, but because there are side effects that never occurred to you.

    I got really excited when you said this. What you’re describing throughout your article is a process called path dependency, a mechanism which people who study politics use to explain how past policy choices influence present policy options.

    I picked FOTW up last night and can easily see how it is trying to explain this and other concepts in a very student-driven way; the game isn’t teaching you anything so much as it is bringing you to certain realizations on your own.

    If you’re interested in path dependency, there is a clear and brief article written by Paul Pierson you should check out. The citation is below.

    Pierson, Paul. “Increasing Returns, Path Dependence, and the Study of Politics.” American Political Science Review (vol. 94, no. 2). June 2000: pp. 251-267.

  42. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    This game sounds ludicrously depressing to play.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      The depressing bit is when you realize this could all actually happen, and much much worse due to the fact that there will never be a GEO, but rather instead a 20+ new power plants planning China that has about as much ecological awareness as an oil baron.

  43. RegisteredUser says:

    “The addition of reams of statistics for each country is the biggest addition to Fate of the World since the beta, and it’s an absolutely vital one because it lets you try and determine where you went wrong.”

    This is actually, and sadly, quite untrue. Trying to figure out why your vastly existant renewable energies aren’t being used is like trying to find a nonexistant needle in a haystack of buttons and linkages that seem to contain everything, yet explain nothing.
    How to create jobs and what creates jobs? Nobody knows. Just how much agriculture a land has, and to what % it feeds on that, exports it, and makes biofuels of it? Obscured by odd figures like per capita stuff, but nothing clean, clear and to the point.

    It’s all a major botchfest when it comes to the under the hood figures, and it blatantly fails at being a naviateable, transparent help to gameplay. And without that, you are really just guessing and hoping that what you decide on a card level will do something, anything.

    There is still a lot of fail within this one, and I don’t just mean the forum-bemoaned renew. energies/coal bugs, which are game-breaking enough on their own.

  44. RegisteredUser says:

    “my policies of education, drought protection and so on had improved the continent’s HDI so much that the population was not only spiralling upwards. But people were earning more money than ever before, had greater demands, and the entire region was undergoing schemes of modernisation and urbanisation at an aching carbon cost.”

    So really, what the game says we need to do is to donate so that children in Africa will CONTINUE to starve(perhaps to gun manufacturers), so we don’t risk another China and lose what little first world may be left during the climate change, rather than allowing the rest of the world to catch up, as that will kill us all?

    But maybe a touch less cynical(especially since, as pointed out, there are theoretical pathways where we can all not live in mudhuts, yet also not superpollute the earth) criticism about the game: it really does create an environment where you actually end up HAPPY if half the world population starves/dies, because it just is such a relief in terms of achieving your game goal.

    I am not sure about what message THAT sends to the playing kid/guy/whatever, but I’ve noticed this in playthrough reports/strategies and even my own games.

  45. Menthol says:

    This article convinced me to give the game a try. Sadly, I found no fun of any kind to be had; in theory it sounded interesting, but something about the execution failed to engage me in any way. I dunno, it just didn’t feel like there was any GAME in the game, if you get my meaning.