It’s Scary When It’s Darkout

By Ben Barrett on August 29th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

While I think we did pretty well on having given the latest hundred games to be added to Steam our attentions, Darkout was an anomaly. A procedurally generated, biome based survival game with Terraria painted all over it, it hits so many RPS interest points I can’t believe we haven’t talked about it before. Outside of a mention in a four month old Bargain Bucket, however, we just never seem to have taken a look. It’s even actually purchasable, in beta form, over on Desura. Swooping in to fix our omission like a news-based superhero, keyboard and stein in hand, I’ve got the latest trailer for you below.

Jesus, that’s gorgeous. Sci-fi aesthetic and lighting that’s reducing me to tears? Yes, please. Even better, it looks like a lot of these effects are more than just to paint a pretty picture, but light plays in to the way the world develops. Safe havens are that way not because of walls or locked doors but down to the fear beasts have of unfamiliar brightness. The mysterious, abandoned planet’s closest allegory to daytime is a twilight when things are not totally pitch black. Development continues and there’s even a new patch on its way. Full release should be some time this year.

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20 Comments »

  1. trjp says:

    In before people highlight the downsides – which include it being utterly opaque to first-time players (they may have improved that since I last played and – in fairness – it’s a common fault in the genre, generally)

    • Grey Poupon says:

      I think you mean “In during”.

      The game looks quite good though. A nice snack between Terraria and Starbound.

    • Lazaek says:

      A text tutorial was added to help new players with this. It’s not perfect, but It’s a step in the right direction.

      • trjp says:

        I realise it’s part of the raisin’d'currant of these things to make you have to figure stuff out – Minecraft was pretty obscure at first – Terraria brought that to a new height and so on.

        Thing is – as people get the hang of these games, developers will just get worse instead of better at it – which is a shame really.

        I’m waiting for the “you are stranded and must survive using only the tools you find” game which actually rewards using your brain rather than finding a Wiki/YouTube Video – don’t think it’s been made yet?

        • PopeRatzo says:

          I’m waiting for the “you are stranded and must survive using only the tools you find” game which actually rewards using your brain rather than finding a Wiki/YouTube Video – don’t think it’s been made yet?

          Yes, there have been games like that, but those damn kids keep making the YouTube videos/Wikis.

          We just have to get used to ignoring YouTube and Wikis, which turns out to be not so hard after all.

  2. Bluenose says:

    I picked this up in the ‘Build a Greenlight Bundle’ a while back. It’s really got a lot of potential, the light influenced gameplay really works (using glow sticks in defensive positions whilst working to save ammo). It is hard and slightly impenetrable for new players at first, but there is at least one decent guide on youtube which helped me immensely.

    • Lazaek says:

      If you haven’t played in a while you should check it out again, a patch was just released with a lot of new lights/colors, some new game mechanics & a shotgun ^^

  3. ZephaniahGrey says:

    I can’t warn people off from this game enough. I bought it ages ago and have had to watch it descend into development hell. Team members quit or get fired at a lightning pace resulting in a constant turnover of people working on the game. This results in continuous changes in direction, and a lot of work being spent on parts of the game that don’t need it, while other elements, like the bloated, confusing crafting/research UI remaining a tangled, impenetrable mess.

    The game DID have a lot of potential, but poor decisions, and the elimination of any team members that didn’t get on board with them have resulted in gameplay that feels more like a chore than fun. It’s really a shame because it started out doing so much right.

    P.S. They’ve been promising to get multiplayer working “next” for around 2 years. I’ve begun to doubt it will ever happen.

    • hemmingjay says:

      I agree with a lot of what you are saying. It is a great concept but the dev lead is unfortunately incompetent at project management and this game is going nowhere. They have dug a huge hole and they can’t program or design their way out of it. Honestly, things went wrong and instead of scrapping it at that point and restarting from an earlier concept, they just kept trying to drive forward and using their mistakes as features.

      It’s a perfect example on how not to develop a game.

      • Arkanos says:

        But the worst part of Darkout is that they are calling their bud-ladden clusterfuck a “release”, rather than the alpha is really is.

        • Lazaek says:

          Hi, I recently began working as the Lead Tester for Darkout a few months ago, though I’ve been watching the game’s progress and playing since the beginning. It’s true that the game had a lot of issues when it first came out, but to say It’s in development hell is completely untrue. In fact, several months ago the dev team completely overhauled the games research system in response to community feedback, and just released another major patch within the last 36 hours as of my post. Recently development was delayed for a few weeks due to a family emergency one of the team members had to go through, but that could happen to anyone, and since they returned tester updates have been coming out very quickly, with multiplayer in full development right now.

          Bottom line, This is an indie project with team members working on different continents. The game has made tremendous progress already, and is certainly worth people’s time. There are plenty of videos for those who are curious.

          • hemmingjay says:

            New patch in the last 36 hours? I will check it out. Up until about 5 weeks ago it was quite disjointed and full of rather serious bugs. I am hoping that this patch has somehow changed all of that. If it has I promise to come back here and clear the record.

            I will also say Jesus Fabre did an excellent job with PR and community management.

          • ZephaniahGrey says:

            He really did, until the fired him…

    • Prime says:

      P.S. They’ve been promising to get multiplayer working “next” for around 2 years. I’ve begun to doubt it will ever happen

      I think that’s tradition. Every crafting game has to have at least one feature that everyone wants but never materialises. *coughMinecraftmoddingAPIcough*

  4. Prime says:

    Oh this is in Beta? I bought it a few weeks back and really struggled to enjoy it, despite the fabulous aesthetic and clear potential. Hopefully more of the fun will appear between now and release.

  5. lomaxgnome says:

    Bought this in a bundle a while back and while it looks good, that comes at the expense of absolutely horrid performance. I don’t have exactly a beast of a computer, but I get better fps in The Witcher 2 than on Darkout. Too much time into effects and not enough on optimization of any sort. I suppose that could improve with “actual” release, but it just wasn’t interesting enough to make it worth the sluggishness. I’ll probably give it another chance once it finally makes it onto Steam.

  6. frightlever says:

    Oi Ben! If you’re after flawed but potentially great games, take a look at Survivor Squad which was in a bundle a few months back and which I mostly enjoyed but which is far from perfect but still in development.

    http://www.survivor-squad.com/

    Yes, it’s another Zombie Survival game. They have Mac and PC demos on their site, so nothing to lose except your time and possibly a finger to misclicking a link. Probably won’t happen.

    I mean, Darkout is a mess right now so I find your enthusiasm for it somewhat misleading if people are going to take your promotion of it as an endorsement., particularly as it doesn’t seem like you’ve actually played it.

  7. Wisq says:

    Will not go anywhere near this game until there’s multiplayer, because it looks utterly terrifying and I don’t intend to play it alone, ever. ;)

  8. hemmingjay says:

    I just tried it again and anyone who says it’s not a complete mess is truly lying to us and themselves. The UI is broken, tons of bugs everywhere, inconsistent AI, hitbox problems, really everything but the art is just awful.