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Tactical Terraforming: Imagine Earth

Imagine Earth’s demo reminded me of Project Godus, which is a bit like having a face that reminds me of the kid who used to bully me at school and showed up a decade and a half later in the toilets of a dingy nightclub, horribly drunk and tearfully apologetic. In both situations, the unintended reminder inspires a mixture of anger and pity that I’m choosing to call ‘angety’. Initially, Imagine Earth was a catalyst for ‘angety’. I played on though, clicking and collecting resources through the tutorial, and soon enough I was enjoying myself. The playfields are smaller than those in Godus and rather than expanding simply for the sake of it, Imagine Earth’s colonies must be balanced and controlled. Take a look, or try the demo now.

The common feature between this and Godus is the clicking (not yet dragging). Resources can only be spent or exploited when a timer has counted down to zero, which means that during the initial establishment of a colony, a lot of time is spent sweeping around the planet and checking them, one by one. As the planets are quite small, scouring the surface isn’t overly time-consuming and once the resources are in the bank, there are actual decisions to make. You’re not collecting resources to fill a meter that’ll push you farther down a conveyor belt – instead, to colonise the planets you’ll be balancing the need for expansion and the need to avoid over-exploitation and pollution.

The demo is quite charming and an update allows for tutorial skipping, which is a good thing. The crowdfunding is taking place over at Indiegogo and is flexible, which means any pledges will go to the developers even if they don’t reach their total. Flexible funding requires flexible plans:

We are perfectionists and have been improving the game concept, interface and design since 2008. Now we are satisfied with the gameplay system and basic simulation. It’s time to focus on the content and we are crowdfunding for two reasons:

First, the crowdfunding money is an important part of our development budget and will allow is to finish the development until the end of this year. We need it so we can hire specialists to do music, sound and translations and to pay for publishing and legal costs.

There’s already evidence of a decent game but even if they reach the $10,000 target, there’s a good chunk of 2014 left and, in my (non-development) experience, money never lasts as long as expected.

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Adam Smith

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