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DevLog Watch: Space Death, Curious Expedition, Firewatch

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Patch notes

DevLog Watch v0.0.09
– Fixed recurring bank holiday Monday freeze bug.
– Added games from places other than the TIGSource forum.
– Added game from the TIGSource forum.
– Double-checked games for juvenile hate speech.
– Temporarily cut ‘archive’ section.
– BUG: Intro text gimmicks still need work.

Spaceships! Procedural butterflies! And have you heard about the Firewatch sasquatch?

Space Death

“We’re running a 4th order Runge Kutta simulation for our orbital mechanics.”

*gasp* You monsters!

Space Death is, according to its little blurb, a “game of starship design and the many ways to accidentally kill your crew.” It’s your job to manage both the people and systems aboard your spaceship.

I like the texture of certain sentences, and development logs provide frequent opportunities for rolling words around your mouth like salted toffees. Runge Kutta simulations aren’t designed to discern whether or not you’re a robot, but “are an important family of implicit and explicit iterative methods, which are used in temporal discretization for the approximation of solutions of ordinary differential equations.” Thanks, Wikipedia.

Basically, while other space games worry about aliens or trade, Space Death is more concerned with the innate dangers of space travel: re-entry sequences, rapid decompression, Sandra Bullock’s butterfingers. It’s a little bit Kerbal, a little bit FTL, but it looks more likely to dynamically create Apollo 13 than any other space game I know of.

Which doesn’t mean it’s not science-fiction, or that there won’t be other ships out there in the void.

Encounters with other ships and stations in Space Death range from friendly exchanges and crew hiring through to more challenging moral dilemmas. Often this can result in ship to ship combat, and as all ship are assemblies of two metre square blocks, weapons and lasers will smash through the ships leaving a trail of secondary effects such as fuel leaks…

Its devlog is already 12 pages long and already fascinating: whether for concept art; wise explanations; or pre-vis intro cutscenes.

Time to die. (In space).

The Curious Expedition

Curious Expedition is a roguelike about late 19th century expeditions into uncharted territory. It stars famous figures like Tesla, Darwin, Crowley, and dinosaurs. It also, as of a recent devlog update, includes procedurally generated butterflies.

Darwin would approve.

The butterflies exist so that taxonomy can be part of the game in some capacity, which is just a wonderful thing to be able to write about any videogame.

But the same post also provides a tantalising, too-small glimpse at how they’re keeping the game focused:

After participating in the Ludum Dare game jam we decided to take a step back and strip out everything out that was not directly related to what we considered to be part of the core.

After finding a version that worked how we wanted, we started adding back the features of the “full” version, always in context to the core. This helped a lot, the process is ongoing and we feel that we currently have the best version of the game since we started working on it.

Firewatch

Thus far I’ve mainly used this column to highlight games that haven’t been mentioned elsewhere on RPS, but need it be that way? Firewatch is a first-person game being made by Campo Santo, an indie development team formed by errybody from errything. That pedigree meant that we noticed the game when it was announced.

Just because they’re not total rookies, that doesn’t mean the Firewatch devlog is any less interesting. There’s a recent post about code that I don’t fully understand but enjoyed reading anyway, but really I’m in it for this:

There are a bunch more of these first-person animation tests in this post, and golly I hope there’s more to come. In the meantime I’ll settle for the range of other content on the blog, whether concept art from Olly Moss, information (and GIFs) on surface rendering, or a recipe for blueberry pie.

In short

  • Folk Tale is in early Early Access, but the devlog for the Settlers-alike is detailed and fun reading.
  • I won’t post all of these, but the latest Citybound video update has more on road layouts.
  • Ultima Ratio Regum, the 4X roguelike inspired by Borges, continues development. The latest update details city districts and procedurally generated shop signs.

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Graham Smith

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