By Nathan Grayson on April 25th, 2014 at 8:00 am.
I remember when game developers were ecstatic that they could simulate the barest spine of a ping-pong match. Actually I don’t because I wasn’t alive yet, but you get the idea. But I also remember when giant triple-A studios trumpeted recreations of evolution, societies evolving through the ages, and space colonization from on high, and now even that notion seems sort of antiquated. The Universim is looking to not only match the likes of Spore and Civilization, but also – in places – exceed them. In short, it’s a god game in which you start with a single stone age planet and branch out to explore and colonize the entire universe. The wildest part? Despite being more than a year out, it already looks rather stunning in places.
Quite a looker, huh? I suppose it was only a matter of time until someone applied a Planetary Annihilation-style perspective to a god game. Glad to see such impressive results hatch from said inevitable brain egg.
The Universim operates more or less like a typical god game – you make overarching decisions (research, disasters, settlement placements, etc) while AIs and systems react, expand, and hopefully thrive – but you won’t always be in direct control. You’ll have profound influence, certainly, but the world is less your sandbox and more an anthill. Poke and prod as you will, but be prepared for unexpected consequences.
Scope and sheer possibility are definitely the big selling points here. For instance:
“Every planet you encounter in the game will be as unique and vibrant as the last. You will come across planets with varying temperatures and environmental conditions as well as a wide range of characteristics that make them incredibly special. Planets will also undergo the changing of seasons which can affect the many environmental biomes on the planet. It can cause rapid changes in temperature and conditions. This can have a major effect on the gathering of food and resources as well as the development of buildings. The game will keep track of the time and date, and will change the seasons according to the in-game timeline. Summer offers the best food yield and growth period due to its favourable weather, while winter can bring many negative effects. Some winters may go by quickly, while others will drag on.”
“The Universim is driven by dynamic events. Natural disasters, alien visitors, diseases, war, famine, riots, and so much more can be thrown at your civilization at any time. All of these factors and how you play the game, contribute to population growth and development.”
So it’s nothing particularly revolutionary as far as these things go, but developer Crytivo seems ambitious to a fault – except for the part where it might just have the chops to pull this off. Unfortunately, there’s no way of knowing for sure yet, and The Universim is currently on Kickstarter. It’s seeking a whopping (for a relative unknown) $320,000, but it’s off to a respectable – if not exactly surging – start.
I’m crossing my fingers. I like this one’s look, personality, and utterly mad hope to do basically everything ever from now until the end of time, so it’s got my support. What about yours?