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westyfield
02-07-2011, 02:56 PM
I'm sure many of you already have it, and have noticed, but SpaceChem is currently 3.05 on Steam, until the end of today's deals. If you haven't bought it, buy it.
I didn't get it when it came out due to it being the winter exam season, and then forgot about it until today.
In the last half an hour I've gone from head-scratching confusion to defeatism, to desperation, to disappointment, to yells of delight, quickly followed by anguished bellowing. Five minutes ago I was back at the yells of delight stage when I finally completed a complex production quota.
It's really, really good - well worth the measly three quid (about five dollars?) they're asking, and you don't need to know anything about chemistry to get along.
Here (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/01/10/wot-i-think-spacechem/)'s Quinns extolling Spacechem's virtues, in case you haven't read it.

Lilliput King
02-07-2011, 03:23 PM
With research net and the DLC there is now more than enough content for a hundred hours of tricksy fun. I too can't recommend it enough.

vinraith
02-07-2011, 04:22 PM
It is solidly brilliant. I'll note, for anyone so inclined, that purchases direct from the developer do register on Steam. When Steam's price is $5 and the dev's is $15 I can't exactly blame you for buying direct from Steam, but when the sales over, if you're feeling conscientious, you don't lose anything by buying direct from Zachtronics, and it does keep them from losing Steam's 30% cut. For such an awesome (and massive) game, even $15 is a complete steal.

Veracity
02-07-2011, 04:38 PM
No, SpaceChem is work somewhat tenuously dressed up as a video game. It must be very good, though, because it's at least compulsive and sometimes quite entertaining, regardless. And yes, researchnet looks enormous and terrifying. Leaving it alone until I've unlocked it legitimately now, though - just used the bypass for a quick look and because I wanted the free stuff token.

z999
02-07-2011, 04:38 PM
I really wanted to buy it but it was pretty expensive for a budget gamer like me, but I'm out of money on my single use credit card which means I can't buy it till sunday :(

Vexing Vision
02-07-2011, 05:40 PM
I also bought it on Steam. This is utterly brilliant.

I will, after the sale, also purchase the DLC although I'm not sure I'll ever manage to finish the regular campaign. Not for lack of trying though!

laneford
02-07-2011, 05:48 PM
Fixed the thread title for you;

Spacechem is cheap, amazing, and bloody difficult.

Vexing Vision
02-07-2011, 11:17 PM
I just finished planet 4, and indeed, my brain is feeling more powerful by the minute.

I think the gorgeousness of SpaceChem puzzles are that I feel like I am solving the puzzles MY way. Way too many puzzle games are just "find the one proper solution", where here I'm given a handful of tools and notes and get to play with them.

Does anyone know similar puzzlers? I can think of Lemmings (and whatever the one with the Caterpillars was called) and Incredible Machine, although the tools there were very limited and often there also was only one "right" way to do this.

Peter Radiator Full Pig
02-07-2011, 11:22 PM
Brilliant game, was going to buy it again for my other Steam account, but didnt know this offer was a one day thing.
Only problem for me was that level with the silos, world 3 i think. Puzzlers should either be action orientated, or cerebral, no mixtures. That level did a horrible ob of explaining the new token you got.
Gonna look up, see what this DLC is.

vinraith
02-07-2011, 11:27 PM
Brilliant game, was going to buy it again for my other Steam account, but didnt know this offer was a one day thing.
Only problem for me was that level with the silos, world 3 i think. Puzzlers should either be action orientated, or cerebral, no mixtures. That level did a horrible ob of explaining the new token you got.
Gonna look up, see what this DLC is.

Non-Steam copies activate on Steam, just go to "activate a game on Steam" and plug in your serial. Poof, free Steam copy.

tomeoftom
03-07-2011, 07:22 AM
It's <i>sooooo</i> good.

dadioflex
03-07-2011, 09:30 AM
Swift counter-point. This is a shoddy elitist game that will keep 90% of players locked away from what they paid for. It's not a hippy-dippy indie game, it's a painful reminder of the 80s. Discuss.

Please note I'm not saying it's a bad game. Just affirming that it's a game most people will bounce off. Am I wrong? Am I?

tomeoftom
03-07-2011, 09:41 AM
Yes, because its difficulty is precisely the point and the fun. It's teaching you "programming hurts your brain" and it's teaching you to love that hurt.

Not sure how serious you are, but I <i>would</i> have some concern for anyone who bought it impusively thinking it was a "regular" puzzle game. Not much, though, because it's really the customer's fault for not reading at least one review.

Anthile
03-07-2011, 09:42 AM
I don't know. I bought it in the Steam sale and while I like the concept, it really feels like work after some time. It's just like my electrical engineering classes all over again!

Schaulustiger
03-07-2011, 10:42 AM
I think the gorgeousness of SpaceChem puzzles are that I feel like I am solving the puzzles MY way. Way too many puzzle games are just "find the one proper solution", where here I'm given a handful of tools and notes and get to play with them.
You know what the worst thing is? With you in my friends list, after each level I get a comparison between you and me and my solution is *always* worse than yours, both in cycle times and used symbols. This truly feels terrible. "Hey, you solved it, but look at that other guy, he's waaaay smarter than you."

:(

Lilliput King
03-07-2011, 11:24 AM
I think most players would get their money's worth from Spacechem even if they don't unlock all the content, because there's such a ludicrous amount of it.

It's also worth keeping in mind that 'most people' bounced off portal. There's no point making games that attempt to satisfy that fictitious construct.

President Weasel
03-07-2011, 11:35 AM
Even if you didn't get Spacechem in the cheap deal, I still suggest you buy it. It's properly good.

MD!
03-07-2011, 11:44 AM
I got it from the developer a while back, and noticed that it went on sale very soon after. Despite being remarkably stingy, I didn't feel even a flicker of annoyance, because it's just that good.

Hydrogene
03-07-2011, 12:00 PM
You know what the worst thing is? With you in my friends list, after each level I get a comparison between you and me and my solution is *always* worse than yours, both in cycle times and used symbols. This truly feels terrible. "Hey, you solved it, but look at that other guy, he's waaaay smarter than you."

:(

If you want a lousy spacechem player to compare yourself to, you just have to add me to your friends ! ;)
I'm [EG] HydrogeneH2 on Steam

Vexing Vision
03-07-2011, 12:42 PM
You know what the worst thing is? With you in my friends list, after each level I get a comparison between you and me and my solution is *always* worse than yours, both in cycle times and used symbols. This truly feels terrible. "Hey, you solved it, but look at that other guy, he's waaaay smarter than you."

:(

Huh, I haven't seen that feature! Either I'm farther in than my friends-list, or for some reason I deactivated this. I'm only compared against the rest of the world, but I understand your pain - I was so proud that I got one of the earlier production lines done in 800 cycles, then I checked the results and saw a blip at 500 which made me a little bit sad.

airtekh
03-07-2011, 01:15 PM
I don't know. I bought it in the Steam sale and while I like the concept, it really feels like work after some time. It's just like my electrical engineering classes all over again!

I felt the same way after a while.

I think SpaceChem is good, but it would be much better if its difficulty curve wasn't as steep.

westyfield
03-07-2011, 01:56 PM
The difficulty is where most of the enjoyment comes from. I agree that it ramps up quite quickly, but there's an incredible amount of satisfaction to be gained by going from "I have to do what?" to "Haha, that wasn't so hard." Then the next level comes along and it's back to "What?" again.

Veracity
03-07-2011, 02:45 PM
Swift counter-point. This is a shoddy elitist game that will keep 90% of players locked away from what they paid for. It's not a hippy-dippy indie game, it's a painful reminder of the 80s. Discuss.I certainly don't know how you'd arrive at "shoddy". It has lo-fi but pleasing enough presentation - it's no placeholder art affair, the interface has pop-ups over anything and everything, there's decent music, and they've even gone to the trouble of wrapping a story round it which, while nothing you'd likely read for its own sake, gives the abstract fiddling a bit of context. I don't like that you can't rebind keys or that there's no one-click "gah" button to scrap a solution entirely, but those are minor gripes.

Also don't agree about the difficulty curve, as opposed to just the difficulty. Every time it introduces a new instruction you do two, maybe three assignments just establishing that you know what it does before you really use it, and after the first I'm tending to think "yeah, I got that, just get back to the stuff I stare dumbfounded at for five minutes thinking it can't be done".

Elitist? Possibly, though I'd level that less at the design and more at anyone who thinks devoting their leisure time to something a lot of people would reasonably expect to be paid for doing makes them a generally more splendid human than someone who plays Torchlight for five hours straight. I mean, the chemistry thing: sure, it's "science", but only really in the Portal sense, if less played for laughs. The periodic table is just something familiar to anyone over sixteen so it doesn't have to explain a bunch of entirely made-up rules and requirements, surely?

Anyhow, this is all a bit academic when there's a substantial demo available. If you're going to bounce off it, you have every opportunity to find that out at no cost besides a couple of hours of your time.


Does anyone know similar puzzlers? There must be some, but not much is springing to mind. Rush isn't a million miles off, but it's less interesting and much more a "find the right solution" affair, at least early on, which is as far as I've been with it, yet. You've been to the Zachtronics site, yes? Some of the older games there look quite a lot like SpaceChem prototypes, so they might be of interest.

vinraith
03-07-2011, 03:41 PM
Swift counter-point. This is a shoddy elitist game that will keep 90% of players locked away from what they paid for. It's not a hippy-dippy indie game, it's a painful reminder of the 80s. Discuss.

Please note I'm not saying it's a bad game. Just affirming that it's a game most people will bounce off. Am I wrong? Am I?

GOOD. This notion that people should always be guaranteed to see all the late game content, and that as a result all games must be braindead simple and completely unchallenging, really needs to die a violent death. Thank goodness there are still a few indie developers out there producing games that provide some genuine intellectual challenge. I may or may not reach the end of SpaceChem, even if I do I doubt I'll ever get through all the bonus content, but not being able to see a few late game puzzles is FINE. The point of playing a game is playing the game, not being guaranteed that you'll see everything it has to offer.

There's a demo, it represents the game very accurately, people that don't enjoy a challenge need not apply.

TL:DR "Elitism is good," not enough games are "elitist" in this sense, people that think you have a "right" to see all content in a game should go back to playing Call of Medal Effect 27 and leave games like this alone.

Vexing Vision
03-07-2011, 04:16 PM
I don't like that you can't rebind keys or that there's no one-click "gah" button to scrap a solution entirely, but those are minor gripes.

Pro-Tip that I learned about planet #4 or so - draw a box around the solution, hit "delete".


Probably everyone figured that out before me, though.

Unaco
03-07-2011, 04:57 PM
Huh, I haven't seen that feature! Either I'm farther in than my friends-list, or for some reason I deactivated this. I'm only compared against the rest of the world, but I understand your pain - I was so proud that I got one of the earlier production lines done in 800 cycles, then I checked the results and saw a blip at 500 which made me a little bit sad.

If you press TAB when mousing over a 'mission' or when looking at the performance page, it switches out the graphs for a list of your Steam Friends (that own the game), and their performance on those 'missions'. It says press TAB to show Leaderboards... which is just a comparison between yourself and your friends.

DarkNoghri
03-07-2011, 06:10 PM
Man, I haven't touched SpaceChem for oh, a month now, and only one person on my friend's list has even caught up to where I am. Another is past me, but he got added yesterday when I gifted him something.

Maybe I'll have another go, now that I'm not quite so alone on my little space station.

BenWah
03-07-2011, 06:52 PM
I really liked the game until it got to the reactor levels.

There is a place for the more complex levels, I just wish there were a lot more that didn't involve interconnecting reactors.

Edawan
04-07-2011, 05:09 PM
I really liked the game until it got to the reactor levels.

There is a place for the more complex levels, I just wish there were a lot more that didn't involve interconnecting reactors.

Connecting multiple reactors to work together, and figuring what you should output from each is interesting.

What's a bit annoying is the pipes. Dealing with the travel time and the overflow forces you to add a lot of safeguards in your designs.
Actually I think it would make a nice "easy mode" to remove the pipes.

Malawi Frontier Guard
04-07-2011, 05:14 PM
Having read nothing about this game and thinking it was only about moving around atoms after the first few minutes, the production missions blew my mind.

Fun.

vinraith
04-07-2011, 05:17 PM
Having read nothing about this game and thinking it was only about moving around atoms after the first few minutes, the production missions blew my mind.

Fun.

Yeah, Quinn's description of the multi-reactor missions are what sold me the game. The individual reaction puzzles are neat, but wouldn't have kept me playing. The multi-reactor missions, on the other hand, are some of the best puzzles I've ever seen in part because they're so open.

Edit: Clarified per MD's post below.

Cooper
04-07-2011, 05:18 PM
Fixed the thread title for you;

Spacechem is cheap, amazing, and bloody difficult.
This.

SpaceChem will own your sorry little arse.

Everyone will have a stopping point where they don't have the patience / mental dexterity to get past.
It is very likely that you may never complete SpaceChem without being a dirty little cheat and looking up solutions on YouTube.

Buy, up to that point, it is an amazing game. Just be prepared for it to beat you, long before you beat it.

lunarplasma
05-07-2011, 09:00 AM
It's a brilliant game. The only problem I have really has nothing and everything to do with the length of time it takes to solve a puzzle. The difficulty (and the sense of achievement completing a puzzle) is what makes it worth playing, though, so I wouldn't change anything about it!

I think part of my problem actually is the fact that I don't go for the easiest, dirtiest solution - I like to try and perfect the solution to be as quick as possible. I think it's genius that the game gives you an estimate of where your solution stands in relation to other people's solutions.

MD!
06-07-2011, 01:09 AM
Yeah, Quinn's description of the reactor missions are what sold me the game. The reactor puzzles are neat, but wouldn't have kept me playing. The reactor missions, on the other hand, are some of the best puzzles I've ever seen in part because they're so open.

"Well, getting the brain out was the easy part. The hard part was getting the brain out!"


I think part of my problem actually is the fact that I don't go for the easiest, dirtiest solution - I like to try and perfect the solution to be as quick as possible.

Heh, I'm the opposite. I've completed the game, but some of my solutions are appallingly inelegant and inefficient. Most of the bad ones fall somewhere within the range of other people's solutions, even if they're significantly worse than the mode. But I reckon my 70,467-cycle solution to 'Challenge: KOHCTPYKTOP' may be the worst on record.

Mistabashi
06-07-2011, 02:39 AM
I think part of my problem actually is the fact that I don't go for the easiest, dirtiest solution - I like to try and perfect the solution to be as quick as possible. I think it's genius that the game gives you an estimate of where your solution stands in relation to other people's solutions.

I think this hits the nail on the head as to why this game is so great. When I start a new puzzle I'm not even thinking "how do I solve this?", I'm thinking "how can I solve this elegantly?". Completing the objective takes a back seat to coming-up with an elegant solution that I can be proud of; it's less about beating the game and more about bettering myself. It's rare for a game to invoke that kind of mindset, and I think it's something that should be celebrated as it marks (in my opinion) a truly intelligent puzzle game.

Heliocentric
06-07-2011, 09:15 AM
I think this hits the nail on the head as to why this game is so great. When I start a new puzzle I'm not even thinking "how do I solve this?", I'm thinking "how can I solve this elegantly?". Completing the objective takes a back seat to coming-up with an elegant solution that I can be proud of; it's less about beating the game and more about bettering myself. It's rare for a game to invoke that kind of mindset, and I think it's something that should be celebrated as it marks (in my opinion) a truly intelligent puzzle game.

This might sound an odd thing to say but I often feel that way about action games, especially stealth ones.
Yes i could sit here and snipe all of the guards or run around shooting them with a silenced sub machine gun but ideally I want to leave that area with a smug sense of self satisfaction.

I like any game that makes me feel I *want* to do better, that's not the same as games punishing me for losing.

lunarplasma
06-07-2011, 11:05 AM
I actually got my step-son to buy this game too, and we enjoy looking at each other's solutions after we've completed a level.

I have to say though, he's gotten much farther in the game now, but I'm going to blame Lack of Time™ for this.

Deimos
11-07-2011, 06:47 PM
For anyone getting into SpaceChem, come register and participate on SolutionNet (http://spacechem.net) - it's a fan-site that I built for the game that enhances the sharing/comparing functions of the game a little further than what's already available in-game. It probably won't be of too much interest to people just getting started, but it enhaces the competitive aspects a little, and makes showing your solutions to others quite a bit easier.

Would love to hear any feedback or suggestions.

(Yes, shameless plug, but SpaceChem is a very niche game, so I need to get the word out however possible. RPS is also the place that I learned about the game in the first place, so it seems appropriate to post here anyway.)

BenWah
11-07-2011, 08:04 PM
Is it bad etiquette to take an existing solution, optimize it and repost?
Cause I found some improvements to the "best" solutions in a few places.
I could add a note giving credit to original designer

Deimos
11-07-2011, 09:53 PM
I don't really think so. All of the solutions are displayed publicly, and part of the purpose of the site is to be able to learn from others' methods of solving the problems. A comment to note that you based it on someone else's solution should be more than acceptable.

Kelron
11-07-2011, 10:46 PM
I thought I'd take a look at that site to try and get my head round some of the puzzles I've struggled with, but it only makes me feel stupider.