Falling In Love Again

By Craig Pearson on March 7th, 2012 at 2:24 pm.


Delicately enigmatic online shootery buildery co-opery thing Love is just a slightly bit less enigmatic now, waving in new users to its impressionistic world via a demo. The one-man MMO show has just welcomed an expansion, Dark Matter Spreads Over Fair Land, where the world you’re on is a slowly corrupting via a powerful artifact. As Eskil Steenberg puts it: “Bad things happen”. The demo is actually the full client, so all you need to do is download it and select ‘demo’. You don’t even need to sign up. If this is your first time playing, you might want to watch the tutorial video below.

The lovely Stephen Totilo of Kotaku caught up with Eskil at this year’s GDC and was demonstrated the changes. There’s a lot to learn in Love, but gathering some friends and hopping in is the best way to get on. After watching the tutorial, of course.

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36 Comments »

  1. Mattressi says:

    I keep meaning to play this. It looks amazing! Anyone know if there are any Australian servers?

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      There are no Australian servers as of right now, but there might be some soon as a good portion of the regulars are from Australia

      For now, most of the Australian and New Zealand players have said they get a good connection to the Atlanta servers.

  2. djbriandamage says:

    I checked out a free trial last year and found the game impenetrably vague but intriguing and very beautiful. I’m very glad to have the opportunity to try it again after some more loving development. I have great respect for Steenberg’s motivation and one-man execution and am very interested to see what he’s come up with.

    If any RPSers have experience with the game I’d love to hear your take.

    • wccrawford says:

      My experience matches yours, despite the helpful people in the game. They were willing to answer my questions, but I just couldn’t get into it.

  3. StickyNavels says:

    Is it possible to disable the noise filter? I love the impressionistic style, but the flickering is a bit headache-inducing.

    Such an interesting game. I remember watching a conference with Eskil and sort of getting worried for the poor man – he truly looked like a man possessed. Still, he’s produced a lovely thing, so good on him.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      “Low end mode” reduces the flicker effect.

      As for Eskil’s appearance, he has a tendency to go on mad coding sprees and end up looking half-zombie raccoon by the end.

      It’s been a subject of some humor around the wiki:
      http://www.loveinvers.es/sites/default/files/Eskil-RAC.jpg

      • MadMatty says:

        Yeah Eskild is an insomniac- he always looks like a raccoon- had a little chat or two with him, while i was testing beta- nice chap, and a bit of a tech genius at that.
        He used to be an ATI engineer, as far as i recall.

        Love kindof got overshadowed by Minecraft, even tho its got its own stuff going for it.
        People are usually very helpful on the teamspeak, and the game is complex/fiddly for sure- but nowwhere near as bad as, say, dwarf fortress.

        Only real complaint I had, was the fuzziness, so i was running in low-end mode aswell.
        People want to win dammit, thats why its no good with an overly artistic post-noise filter, if you cant make out the guys youre supposed to be shooting.

  4. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    When I fall, it’s always the same and I’m so tired.

  5. Cryptoshrimp says:

    I absolutely love the art style this game has, but I’ve never really got into it. Time to check it out for serious this time.

  6. Professor Paul1290 says:

    Unfortunately, large portions of the wiki are now no longer valid and we haven’t had time to fix things up yet.

    However, we did manage to get a few of the more important general stuff up to date that got the most changes. Mainly:
    http://www.loveinvers.es/wiki/ai-behavior-and-tactics
    http://www.loveinvers.es/wiki/ai-interaction-and-relationships

    I managed to improvise a new page for beginners that should help for now:
    http://www.loveinvers.es/wiki/priorities-aka-what-should-i-be-doing

    A lot of pages for specific tokens, pods, structures, and such are probably going to need to be gutted and replaced, so disregard those pages for now.

    Fortunately, the in-game help is up to date and does work now, so hopefully you won’t need too much of this.

  7. Memphis-Ahn says:

    Shame the game won’t be free to play, I really can’t justify €10 per month for an indie MMO that I most likely won’t play much of.
    Also it crashes horrible on my Win8 machine.

  8. matnym says:

    I remember playing this some time ago. It’s very beautiful but I find some of the mechanics to be a bit too ‘alien’. Like the thingamajig that powers the gizmo that does something spacey and so on. It’s a bit difficult to relate to when stuff don’t make much sense.

    So guess who doesn’t like magic? I guess I’m too rational for my own good :(

    I might give it another try though. Always support creative developers.

  9. hosndosn says:

    The interface of this game is like the opposite extreme of Dwarf Fortress’ approach… and equally unusable. I tried getting into the game during one of the free weekends or something. It’s mesmerizingly beautiful and even the gameplay looks promising in principle (although it’s disappointingly much of an FPS). But the interface? Horror. Pure horror. It’s totally style over everything. You can barely read anything since its white-on-white, mostly and there are abstract icons for everything with no explanation. Plus the art style, as beautiful as it looks, brutally paints over your entire field of view making it hard to even make out key visuals. You can even see all that in the tutorial video, which shows that Eskil is apparently completely oblivious of those flaws in it. Go to 5:18 in the video and look at what the in-game numbers for the teleporter coordinates look like. It’s like a parody of unreadable typography.

    Let’s hope the re-working of the game fixes some of those issues. I’d like to play this game, but there’s only so much random visual noise I can bare before I give up trying to decipher it.

  10. mario says:

    Can you turn of the “foggyness”? I really like the concept and the graphics look beautiful in a very interesting way, but I just can t look at it in movement for longer than a couple of minutes…

  11. johnnyr says:

    This game has a fantastic idea, and I played quite a bit during the beta, but the graphics hurt both your eyes and your head. Shame =(

  12. Wilson says:

    I remember trying it a while ago (I think it was still in beta or alpha or something) and it was an interesting concept, but as many above have said I just found the graphics too confusing. The screenshot at the top looks much clearer than I remember the game being, so maybe things have changed since then?

  13. Brosepholis says:

    Ah, Eskil, Eskil…

    While I do applaud his intent, trying to launch this game without any sound was the kiss of death to me.

    Also trying to do all the animation with IK was a little silly. It didn’t work for Trespasser, why would it work for Eskil?

  14. Author X says:

    OOooh yeah, this game. I remember I was absolutely wild about it back before the release – then I played the paid beta and realized it didn’t actually have any elements I like to play. Looked beautiful, whole concept was fascinating, loved reading the developer’s blog and design philosophies. But once I got in the game, there wasn’t much for me to do (not one for base-building really).

    May have to check this out again just so see how far it’s come.

    • noom says:

      This pretty much hits the nail on the head for me. Launched myself eagerly into the beta but floundered upon the rocks of “meh”.

      I think I’d always envisaged the building of a settlement to be this huge slow process, and that every new token would feel like a minor victory. Instead the settlements went from nothing to fully formed in no time and would then be flattened just as quickly. The pacing of the whole thing just felt completely wrong and pointless. Of course that was my experience of the beta, so who knows how much has changed by now.

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      The biggest thing the new expansion added was a much more clear enemy. Love always had an enemy to fight but previously it was often unclear as to who the enemy was as relationships with various tribes can change very quickly. Now the behavior of the hostile tribe is different more from those that are neutral. Also, there can only be one truly hostile dominating AI tribe at a time.

      On the other hand, while there can only be one hostile AI tribe at a time, they have a much heavier impact on the world than they did previously. The hostile tribe will attempt to expand their area of influence by constructing outposts to make safe movement for players and neutral AI tribes increasingly difficult. They also take over neutral AI tribes and take on their abilities and weaponry. They will also attempt to destroy player infrastructure and interfere with resource and energy collection.

      AI have also gotten much better at using a greater variety of weapons. They can now use shotguns to give them an advantage at close range or pick people off from afar with accurate low rate of fire weapons similar to sniper rifles. They can also now use some more exotic weapons like teleport guns, shield guns, smoke pods, and so on.

      To balance things out, players have been given a much wider array of tools and weapons to deal with this.
      Weapons-wise, player eventually get more weapons than the AI do, but they get them much more slowly and over time.
      Players can now build certain structures outside settlement range, which allows for the construction of outposts and structures needed to automate resource collection. Building the more useful structures and more powerful weapons requires a greater amount of resources, with more powerful weapons requiring automation of resource collection to practically build.
      This means that more built up and mature player settlements eventually take on an economy of sorts somewhat like that in some RTSs, with the need to construct infrastructure to gather necessary materials and the need to protect that infrastructure from the enemy.
      There are also more structures that can be built offensively. Hard to navigate areas can be made easier to navigate by building bridges or constructing relays. It’s much harder than building things in the settlement, but it is useful for example when trying reach AI structures on top of floating islands.

      Also in favor of the players is that allied AI tribes are much more useful than they were previously. AI tribes that the players rescue from control of the hostile tribe will become allied with the players and help them in various ways.
      They help with defense come to the player settlement to help assist with defense.
      Offensively, they will follow and escort players when they can. Allied AI will often come out of nearby teleporters to assist players in combat.
      The players also now have some control over friendly AI that are following them. The game now has a pointer of sorts which is used to point out objects to other players, but it also acts as a simple “go here” command for AI allies when pointed at a spot on the ground. When pointed at a hostile AI structure in the presence of allied AI that are equipped with bomb pods, it also acts as an “attack” or “destroy this” command.

      There quite a bit more detail to it than that, but that’s somewhat of a summary of what this expansion adds.

  15. Moonracer says:

    I love the environment but didn’t have the energy to wrap my head around the actual game mechanics. If the demo lets me explore the world space again for a couple minutes I will be happy.

  16. Professor Paul1290 says:

    The demo lets you play for as long as you want and allows access to most of the basic tools and weapons.

    Demo players appear in-game as “kids” which are essentially “small people”.

    This makes demo players what some would consider “cute” or “adorable”, which has the effect of making them much more difficult to get mad at.

  17. Vandalbarg says:

    I tried this a while back, because the concept is great.

    The execution, less so.

  18. UnknownAX says:

    It’s truly too bad that Eskil has his head so far up his ass. He won’t accept any constructive criticism or mere suggestions — he’s so hell-bent on making this HIS game that he refuses to listen to any of his community that doesn’t agree with his plan, and, as a result, the game is really quite lacking. Albeit, I haven’t played it recently, but I find it difficult to imagine that Eskil has changed at all, and if he hasn’t, then his game hasn’t.

    I’d be willing to bet that it STILL is painful to look at and near unplayable during night time.

  19. MadMatty says:

    Yeah played this in Beta- Its phat enough- just a shame your settlements get destroyed so quickly after many hours of play- its kinda in direct competition to minecraft in some areas, somewhat to the worse, but its phat enough to throw 10 euros at a 3 mont subcsription- theres definetly fun to be had

    • Professor Paul1290 says:

      Settlements don’t die quite as quickly as they used to, but players have much more to lose now than before.

      Love is a game with sandbox elements, not a sandbox with game elements. By that I mean Love is a game that the players can lose. That’s even more true now than it was previously.

  20. Bassem says:

    Good concept, bad execution. Half of the time I can’t tell what the heck I’m looking at, especially if I’m close to an object. And the interface is ridiculously contrived.

    It looks much nicer in videos. Actually playing it is less enjoyable.

  21. Scandalon says:

    I could have a used a Love Tutorial, once when I was 17, when I was 23…

  22. Catweasel says:

    I’d want to play it if it had single player stuff. Not a fan of MMOs or monthly payments.

  23. Reddin says:

    I really love the way this game looks, but I have no interest in playing it.
    I’ve been tempted to just pay for it and spend a day just making screenshots ever since I first heard about it.

  24. rustybroomhandle says:

    I had a hard time reconciling the artsy style with being mercilessly ganked all the time while trying to learn the gameplay.

  25. Professor Paul1290 says:

    I put together a page to help new players with a bit of an overview of how the game tends to flow. It’s not very detailed, but it should give some general idea of how things work.

    http://www.loveinvers.es/wiki/priorities-aka-what-should-i-be-doing

    We still haven’t brought everything up to date yet and a lot of the wiki still needs to be re-done, but that should help somewhat.

  26. remram says:

    No, still can’t find the demo. The menu only offers to login or create an account…

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