Scavenging Angels: NEO Scavenger

By Adam Smith on March 13th, 2012 at 12:48 pm.

Wasteland Hobo

This could be the most important thing you read today, unless you’re planning to operate dangerous machinery and haven’t peeked at the instructions yet. Actually, forget that, this is still more important. That is providing you’re the sort of handsome individual who enjoys survival sims, hex-based RPGs, post-apocalyptic scavenging and turn-based everything. If you like any of those delicacies, I have just the thing for you. It’s called NEO Scavenger, you can try the demo in your browser here or read on to discover more.

Not much more though because I want you to go and play it for yourself. It’s a game where you have to nourish your body to survive and to find food you’ll have to travel across an overland map, discovering sights and encounters. You’ll dig through the remnants of society to find a pair of shoes and beat mutants to death with your bare hands until you can find a better means of defense. There are recipes to put together and skills that are simple to use but change the experience massively.

Currently, the game’s in beta and access to that is available to any who preorder, which also allows voting for new features. There are three preorder tiers, the cheapest of which is $10 and all of which will provide access to the finished game.

When I’m not gazing into the past and admiring the beauty of such times, I often shout at people who aren’t making survival sims. I still remember the first time I saw a magazine article about Robinson’s Requiem, I grew faint thinking of the possibilities of a world in which wounds weren’t healed by touching a medikit. Then I played it and grew even fainter when I had to amputate bits of myself that I’d injected with poison.

The Unreal World gives me my survival fix and it’s a wonderful game, but who among us hasn’t wished that Fallout forced us to live like dogs, fighting over bones in the sand of a ruined civilisation? There’s something appealing about the need to fulfill basic functions, perhaps simply because it’s so far removed from the roleplaying fascination with constantly saving the world.

Blue Bottle Games are led by Daniel Fedor, a former Bioware dev who has set out into the indie wilds. Judging by this early evidence, they’ve got a very bright future indeed.

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79 Comments »

  1. larsiusprime says:

    Beautiful and brilliant. Games like these always make me want to stock up on bullets, beans, and books about water purification and knots until I’m either prepared for the apocalypse or on every FBI watch list.

  2. Anthile says:

    Hexes & Hobos.

  3. Alexander Norris says:

    Robinson’s Requiem was fucking awesome (especially if you used the cheat to give yourself all items, which would give you internal haemmorhaging of every organ).

  4. Echo Black says:

    “Blue Bottle Games are led by Daniel Fedor, a former Bioware dev who has set out into the indie wilds.”

    *salute*

  5. Catand says:

    I hate it when I drink the lighter fluid. And I always do.

    • NathanH says:

      The heavier fluid is not much better.

    • Gasmask Hero says:

      Not even the wankers off the site drink that.

    • Bhazor says:

      I’m not sure but I think I may have eaten the backpack. I picked it up and it appeared on my then I clicked consume on it thinking it would close the menu but it just vanished.

      The interface needs a lota work.

      • Torgen says:

        I just ate a shopping cart. Then died of hunger, thirst and organ failure from heat stroke.

      • Phantoon says:

        Bizarrely enough, if you use the eat function you can end up putting a container in another container.

        If you use that function while it’s in a container, you’ll automatically eat things in it.

        Stacking is broken, though.

    • Inigo says:

      So this is Withnail & I: The Game?

  6. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    This is a game to you but THIS IS MY LIFE.

  7. RogB says:

    you had me at handsome*

    *this is a lie

  8. Stuart Walton says:

    I died from heat stroke, while shivering and crippled after putting on some clothes, drinking some soda pop and eating Geli-Bears and then getting caught in the rain.

    I think some of the modelling needs tweaking and the communicating of information to the player needs improving. I’m guessing the demo build may be an old build.

    • Inigo says:

      I died from heat stroke, while shivering and crippled after putting on some clothes, drinking some soda pop and eating Geli-Bears and then getting caught in the rain.

      And in the game.
      Ahaha.
      Ha.
      Ha.

      Ha.

    • Phantoon says:

      This is clearly the sort of game where just doing the first part of the adventure and finding pants is an achievement.

      Also, I don’t quite understand the combat. If someone runs up to me on their turn and beats the hell out of me, would my turn come back faster if I had moves to spare, or what? Everything in the world is getting the jump on me since I don’t look for fights and I can’t fight back even when I was lucky enough to find a weapon.

      • Bhazor says:

        Pick athletics and just run like hell.

      • Torgen says:

        I found out that you have to see them coming, and click to attack when they are a hex away.

      • Phantoon says:

        The problem is I don’t see them coming because they’re attracted by scavenging, then they beat me down upon appearing.

        Okay, managed to beat it. The trick is to avoid scavenging unless the thing looks really enticing, like a shack in the woods, or a locked storage place.

  9. PredOborG says:

    So this is where Stalker, Fallout, Sims, Heroes and Baldur’s Gate meet ?

  10. Dana says:

    Is the whole game in flash, or only the demo ?

    • DodgyG33za says:

      Dunno, but it’s a deal breaker fro me if it is.

      Quite liked it otherwise.

  11. Drake Sigar says:

    Damnit! Killed by a looter while sleeping.

  12. Torgen says:

    mortally wounded by a looter with a monkey wrench, whom I never saw.

  13. JB says:

    Awesome, a lot of fun. Last play-through I found a survivalist’s shack in some woods. I had a rifle, sling and scope, but no ammo =

    I did also get binoculars, water purification tablets, a lighter and food and water. Still ended up dying of dehydration while trying to head out east. The Dogman mortally wounding me probably didn’t help.

    It’s a great apocalyptic hobo simulator.

    EDIT: Yay for the UrW love in the article!

    • Torgen says:

      I was carrying the binoculars in my hand, in some vain hope that they would help. I found the multitool once as well, no idea how to use it.

      It seems you have to choose medic in order to see the healing kit in the starting room. Boo.

  14. Stuart Walton says:

    Played again. This time I found a rifle along with scope, a rifle sling, and some water purification pills. Tried every intuitive way I could think of to attach the scope, attach the sling and use the pills but to no avail.

    Ended up dying from cholera.

    • JB says:

      I struggled with that too. I had a Leatherman-style multi-tool thing as well, but no joy even with that.

    • Stuart Walton says:

      Turns out you need to start a fire and have a container to boil the water in. I had a saucepan but didn’t know I needed fire (Not all irl water purification tablets require boiling). Maybe the label for the purification pills should mention it, I might have managed it.

      I like how my hobo can eat soup by just consuming it entirely, can and all.

    • Schelome says:

      I finally maneaged to attach the sling by putting: rifle, sling, multitool and “various bits”, and it worked. I imagine scope is the same.

      However I had spread things out in such a way that the rifle could not fit on the “ground inventory” and it was all permanently lost.

      Then I died of thirst.

  15. Drake Sigar says:

    I was doing really well until the roof of a storage shed fell on me. So close to that light on the horizon. :(

  16. Ezhar says:

    I gave him $25 but the postcard+lipstick thing is creeping me out a bit.

  17. aircool says:

    At first glance I thought it was a Tramp sim due to the shopping trolley and carrier bags.

  18. Lobotomist says:

    I approve this game :)

  19. Lucky Main Street says:

    COOL.

    I also spend a surprising amount of time trying to figure out where I would eat and sleep if (when) I find myself homeless. Is there a game for that yet?

  20. dcfedor says:

    Whoa, thanks for the story RPS! That was a great way to start my Tuesday!

    @larsiusprime – I know what you mean! But then I remember that I’m a game developer and in the apocalypse, that’s just another word for cannibal food.

    @Echo Black – *return salute*

    @Bhazor – Yeah, that inventory screen probably took longer than anything else, and still needs some work. Sometimes clicked items get transferred *into* another container if there are big enough ones available. So it could be there.

    @sneech – Priceless!

    @Stuart Walton – I think you found my mystery bug. Something is causing lots of people to die of everything simultaneously, including heat stroke. It’s all over the logs, but I can never make it happen to capture the bug.

    @Stuart and JB – You’re close! The tool is the right idea. The crafting is a bit literal, so try 1-2 small screws/parts in that recipe! Water purification pills *should* combine directly with water in the crafting area.

    @Ezhar – Thanks! And, well, yeah, I guess it is a bit creepy. But I promise not to stalk you!

    • Phantoon says:

      Former Bioware dev?

      So you were one of the ones with talent, I take it?

    • Torgen says:

      @dcfedor: I got that bug when resting after mortally wounded, but was (I think) dying of thirst before that. I hit “rest and heal” and got a rush of scrolling notices ending in that “you die of everything” ending.

    • JB says:

      Oh man, I had a stack of 20 screws n junk! It’s frustrating that I never thought of that. I’m loving the game, good work Blue Bottle!

    • BenLeng says:

      Kudos BlueBottle, already a great game. I managed to fulfill the first quest from Hatter but when I came back I couldn’t talk with him anymore – no reward. Then I got killed by a Bandit.

      • Phantoon says:

        That’s because you’ve beaten the demo. I actually managed to bypass doing the quest with my Tracking skill, which I thought was neat. Is a bit of Fallout/Deus Ex design with the “build how you want” going on. I’d like to see more of that.

  21. Lionmaruu says:

    I hope there are better fonts or at least a way to make it bigger, I’m playing in a 32″ fullHD screen and barely could read the text and the menus. and if you put a bigger zoom the game don’t fit the screen :(

  22. reverseclipse says:

    This is exactly what I want from a game! I love turn based games because I can be more thoughtful with my moves (and to get up from the computer and do what my wife tells me to do). The fact that the game is post apocalyptic is a huge plus since it’s my favorite genre.

    Also brutally hard games where just living one more day makes the little things feel like major accomplishments.

    @dcfedor thank you for working on this.

    I’m not sure what to do with my jar of screaming eyes, but then again I don’t know how to feed myself either. Time for another go!

  23. squareking says:

    There’s a handful of games in the pipeline this year that I believe are being made just for me.

  24. equatorian says:

    I liked Robinson’s Requiem a lot, despite the clunky EVERYTHING that was in it. Damn, this year is just full of people making niche games that I know I’m going to adore. Where did the ‘damn, there’s nearly nothing on PC, guess I’ll while my time with consoles’ years go?

    /rubs hands greedily.

  25. TailSwallower says:

    I’m not sure in what way (as I haven’t made that much progress yet), but apparently the game is inspired by Philip K. Dick – the name on the medical bracelet is Philip Kindred… And guess what the aforementioned K stands for.

    Very interesting game. Somewhat clunky UI, but if they can fix that then they’ll really be on to something.

    • Thants says:

      Philip K. Dick is the best thing to be inspired by!

      • TailSwallower says:

        Indeed! I’m just waiting for the methamphetamine abuse to start, followed closely by the pink laser beams of information helping you survive the harsh environments…

  26. Berious says:

    Man this game is punishingly hard. They really need to tone down thirst. It’s fine when you’re uninjured but soon as you’re wounded or worse you might as well quit because you’ll never find enough water to rest yourself better.

  27. Casimir's Blake says:

    Interesting concept! Between this and Project Zomboid, Microprose are practically reborn!

  28. xaphoo says:

    I can’t seem to get anywhere near enough water to survive. Thirst is how I die every time.

  29. buzzmong says:

    It’s a bit hard. The game too.

    I quite like it though, so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on it.

    Edit: In the nicest of ways: Fuck this. It’s massively too hard to start off. I keep getting crippled or mortally wounded after I inevitably attract a looter or dogman during my first few scavenges, which pretty much means you’re dead a couple of turns later.

    • B1A4 says:

      Try medic and hiding skills. Thanks to medic, you get some powerful nano medkits and using hiding while scavenging is great way to not attract bad attention.

  30. malkav11 says:

    I checked the preorder link to see about pricing and what you get for what monies and…that page did not seem to contain anything of the sort. Or any way to order. Would I have to register for the site first? I’m not going to do that just to see if I’d be willing to spend money at this point in time, although it definitely sounds like my sort of game.

  31. dartanus says:

    This game seems to be a simulation on how long it takes dogmen to eat me. Im more okay with this than I thought I would ever be.

  32. Arglebargle says:

    Interesting concept, broken interface. Needs loads of work. Pretty unintuitive at this point. If they can clean it up a bunch, it could be very cool…

  33. Swanny says:

    Bah. Unplayable. UI locks up every time i get an item in IE and Opera. Maybe i’m doing it wrong?

    • TailSwallower says:

      Yep, you’re doing it wrong: you’re using IE and Opera.

      (Seriously though, no issues in Firefox that aren’t related to the game/UI itself.)

      • yourgrandma says:

        No issues with opera for me… try reinstalling flash?

        • Swanny says:

          I kind of got it to work. Iif i click the wrong thing after getting an item, the inventory tab disappears.

  34. dcfedor says:

    Quick drive-by posting today, as the BBG forums are growing quite large/active.

    First off, awesome. The posts here had me alternately grinning and laughing to tears. Funny stuff.

    @Swanny, is the lockup concurrent with a red-shaded item stuck to your cursor? That may just be an encounter reward/quest item. It’s not intuitive (sorry), but it was my kludgy way to make sure you took the item. Try dropping the red-shaded item in the “Items” screen. Some have reported the “Items” button not showing up at those times, which I’m looking into. You can also try the “Q” key to switch to “Items.”

    @malkav11, yeah, the tiers are: $10 = the beta access, final game, and 1 feature vote. $13 = all of above, but 5 votes instead of 1. $25 = all of above, plus a jar of screaming eyes artifact, and a signed NEO Scavenger “thank you” card from me. Unfortunately, I mistakenly hid the pricing behind login. One needs to be logged in for the order form to link beta access to your account, but I didn’t think to include pricing info for non-registered users who were curious. I’ll have to add that in my next website bug fixing pass. Thanks!

    Oh, and the newest builds now have a link right above them allowing a stretchy window for larger screens. The scaling is ugly, but at least the text isn’t tiny anymore!

    Thanks again for all the wild and wonderful comments!

    • Wilson_B says:

      May I suggest people use SwiffOut when playing this awsome game. SwiffOut is a browser plugin which enables Flash games to be played full screen. Big thumbs up dcfedor:)

  35. eightohnine says:

    Love the setting, love the turn-based, love the hardcore appeal. The interface is a disaster though.

    I understand that an indie game will never have the production values of a AAA title, and it really doesn’t have to. The core gameplay is what matters, and that’s definitely there. But trying to navigate the game (grab a lighter, anyone?) or getting meaningful information and feedback from the game-world is tedious and a horrible fun-sink.

    I’ll definitely keep this watchlisted, but the UI is far too broken to warrant a cash-down.