Posts Tagged ‘alpha’

The Lighthouse Customer: Space Engineers (Survival Mode)

By Christopher Livingston on April 14th, 2014.

This thing better have at least one cup holder.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, space-based gathering, crafting, and dying in Space Engineers’ new survival mode.

There’s a large red and white spaceship, its front end crumpled after what must have been a spectacular nosedive. There’s a tiny yellow space engineer inspecting the wreck, armed with only a handful of tools. There’s the inky blackness of outer space, the comforting glow of a distant sun, and an asteroid field of stationary rocks, chock-full of ore and minerals to mine. As the astronaut floats there, enchanted by the view, he notices a few of the asteroids — quite a few, in fact — have given up waiting for him to visit them and taken a more proactive stance. They’re delivering themselves to him. Well, at him, anyway. In an awful hurry.

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Spike The Earth: KeeperRL Alpha

By Adam Smith on April 14th, 2014.

Every morning, my inbox contains at least one email pointing in the direction of a less complicated and/or complex Dwarf Fortress. There was a time when I believed in the dream of an approachable Dwarf Fortress with a friendly interface but I’m starting to think that even the slightest simplification invalidates the comparison. Dwarf Fortress is complexity, of simulation and control, and the games that do have something in common with it often have far more in common with more traditional management sims or roguelike adventures. KeeperRL, sensibly and pleasingly, plays more like top-down Dungeon Keeper than Dwarf Fortress with the edges smoothed and the corners cut. The alpha is available and crowdfunding has begun.

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The Lighthouse Customer: DayZ (Experimental Branch)

By Christopher Livingston on April 7th, 2014.

Give me that old-time zombie religion.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, survival horror in DayZ’s experimental branch.

While nearly two million players have paid to act as DayZ’s beta testers, there’s a much smaller subset of lighthouse customers acting as beta testers to those beta testers. On a handful of DayZ experimental branch servers, changes are rolled out and played with weeks before being introduced to the early access game at large. This week I opted into the experimental branch, keen to inhale the future of DayZ before most players even get a whiff.

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The Lighthouse Customer: 1849

By Christopher Livingston on March 31st, 2014.

No spaghetti in this western, but there is a bakery.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, wild west management in 1849.

How-do, pardner! I know you’re accustomed to a ton of shootin’, lootin’, rootin’ and/or tootin’ in your wild west games, but rarely do they address the real complexities of frontier life. For instance, where did the fabric needed to sew all those enormous calico dresses come from? Who provided the lumber and fashioned the boards to build the O.K. Corral? How did gunslingers acquire olive oil to daintily dip their sourdough bread into? Finally, those head-scratchin’, long-lingerin’ questions have been answered in the early access wild-west management game 1849 from Somasim. Reach for it, cowboy! Not your gun, your sales ledger!

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One For You, Alpha 19 For Me: Prison Architect Adds Taxes

By Graham Smith on March 31st, 2014.

Sexy.

After recent updates added bulletproof vests and shotguns, it was probably inevitable that Prison Architect would continue it’s escalation towards more and more exciting additions with each alpha. The trend continues in alpha 19 with a broad revision to the game’s finance systems, which introduces new rules for borrowing, the need to pay corporation tax, and the ability to sell shares in your prison to investors.

Video update below while I try to explain why I’m not being sarcastic.

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The Lighthouse Customer: Planet Explorers

By Christopher Livingston on March 24th, 2014.

Could you dinosaurs move? I'm TRYING to EXPLORE.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, exploring a planet in the appropriately named Planet Explorers.

The title of the game is direct, to be sure. In Planet Explorers, a planet exploration game by Pathea Games, there is a planet, and you explore it. If that doesn’t sound like enough, there’s also resource gathering, crafting, building, and tons of alien creatures to discover, by which I mean “slaughter and turn into money.” Get ready, innocent alien planet! Humans have arrived, and we’ve brought hunting, real estate development, and capitalism.

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The Lighthouse Customer: Arcadecraft

By Christopher Livingston on March 17th, 2014.

Behold, the birth of the microtransaction.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, virtual arcade management in Arcadecraft.

As kid in the 1980′s, I gazed with envy at a few adults who seemed to have the best jobs ever. The ice-cream man: he could eat all the ice cream he wanted! The ambulance driver: he could drive really fast whenever he wanted! Most of all, the guy who ran the arcade. I mean, we had a filthy belly-sack full of quarters. Probably a hundred dollars in quarters. He probably lived in a mansion. The 80′s may be long gone, but that dream job is finally mine.
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The Lighthouse Customer: Spacebase DF-9

By Christopher Livingston on March 10th, 2014.

In space, everyone can hear you scream. They're just used to it.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, space station simulation in Spacebase DF-9.

It’s been a rough week for my little space station. We were boarded by a squad of Kill Bots who, as you might expect, tried to kill all non-bots. A massive fire in the life support chamber nearly knocked out the oxygen supply. Now, an alien parasite has appeared, and even though my security chief easily killed it, I’m left to wonder how the bug even got aboard. Perhaps it burrowed in through that hole in the hull? The one my security chief was just sucked out of to his death? That’s probably how.
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The Lighthouse Customer: Under the Ocean

By Christopher Livingston on March 3rd, 2014.

Let this be a warning to all you OTHER trees.

Each Monday, Chris Livingston visits an early access game and reports back with stories about whatever he finds inside. This week, island survival in Under the Ocean.

Where tropical trees once stood, only stumps remain. Beaches are covered with the corpses of crabs, caves littered with the shattered remnants of boulders. An accidental fire burns, warming no one, near a crate stuffed with forgotten items. This island was once beautiful, serene, a paradise. Then I arrived, bringing the apocalypse with me. The apocalypse called crafting. And it all began because I wanted to eat a chicken.
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Organism Grinder: Nowhere Is Evolving

By Adam Smith on February 28th, 2014.

Nowhere, as Jim noted, is conceptually staggering. It’s a life sim with a cast of procedurally generated abstract organisms, which grown to 800 metres in diameter. They can contain other creatures within their cavities and hollows. Indeed, they can contain entire societies. The latest alpha release contains the first iteration of the creature generation software, allowing players to explore three entities, which represent the same lifeform at different stages of its existence.

If all that sounds distractingly odd, let it also be known that you explore the gargantuan creatures by means of a grappling hook. Video below.

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Impressions – Elite: Dangerous Alpha

By Adam Smith on February 21st, 2014.

The current alpha for Elite: Dangerous offers a linear series of combat missions, with a narrative through-line about illegal toxic waste dumping, megacorp mercenaries and accidental collisions with asteroids. That may well be how the final game plays out for some people but I’m more likely to spend my time exploring the farthest reaches of the galaxy, looking for unusual sights and making a few spacebucks by trading with whatever life exists at those penultimate frontiers. As such, the alpha only represents a very small portion of the Elite that I hope to play when all is said and done. With that in mind, here are my impressions of several hours in space.

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Zomb-B-Gone: The Undead Removed From Rust

By Craig Pearson on February 11th, 2014.

An artist's impression.

Early Access is one of the more interesting tropes of game modern development. So many games are being field assembled right in front of us that future generations will never know the joy of buying game with a beginning, a middle, and an end. They can expect to own games where major features are as changeable as the colour of their jetpack flames. Everything will be in flux. Rust, Facepunch’s really rather popular game of community base-building and flapping willies, has just had the NPC zombies removed from every server. Update your glossaries.
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Artificial Adventurers: Guild Of Dungeoneering

By Adam Smith on February 5th, 2014.

The freely available alpha for Guild of Dungeoneering feels a little like a concept in search of some content, which isn’t necessarily a bad place to be at this stage in development. Each dungeon dive plays out like the kind of boardgame that would have me laying out tiles on my bedroom floor, forced to alter the rules of play whenever furniture or a wall blocked a path. The player constructs the dungeon, placing corridors, rooms and monsters, and attempting to guide an adventurer through safely. Whenever the adventurer defeats a monster, points are earned and these can be spent to place treasure. It’s a neat idea and the alpha is worth a look but the adventurers themselves are empty vessels, in need of character and development.

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