Oh hell no. Drunk on Nectar [official site] will eventually be “an ecological simulation and an ode to the beauty of nature” but in its current form, it’s a nightmarish combat game in which spiders leap onto flowers and liquefy any poor bastard creature that has stopped by for a quick nectar top-up. The Combat Surival game mode is a new addition to the wildly ambitious game, and you can see it in action below. Fair warning – the spiders don’t actually trigger my arachnophobia (perhaps because, as Pip points out, they look like ants) but they’re waiting just down there. And they’re hungry.
The Combat Survival mode will let you play as either predator or prey, trying to survive for as long as possible as the latter, and trying to fill yourself with the blood and bits of the latter as the former.
It allows players to jump straight into the game even while the simulation is still being developed. Different species battle against one another in short timed matches with simple victory conditions (eg: survive the match as prey, catch all prey as predator). This immediately allows two nice things: 1) I can rapidly onboard new species of animals and plants into the game without having to worry about how they’ll fit into the nature simulation puzzle (which will be worked on alongside). 2) Multiplayer now becomes a real possibility. Multiplayer for the core nature simulation would have been a humongous technical feat to accomplish, but with just the combat mode it becomes a lot more viable.
Finally, this allows me to move DoN onto Steam Greenlight and beyond at a much faster pace than I could otherwise manage.
It seems entirely likely that the first version of the game that we get to play will simply contain Combat Survival. That’s a tiny part of the plan though. If Drunk on Nectar ever becomes the game that the full concept maps out, it’ll be a suitable spiritual successor to SimAnt, SimLife and Survival.
Nature simulation truly lies at the heart of this game and the ultimate goal is for DoN is to successfully portray large, varied ecosystems while doing justice to both flora and fauna. Fauna need complete lifecycles (metamorphosis for invertebrates and life-stages for birds/reptiles/mammals), hunting and survival struggles, mating rituals, reproduction, spawning and so on. Flora need lifecycle management (seed to sapling to maturity), nutrient management (soil fertility/sunlight/water), reproduction (pollination for flowers/similar thing for spores) and most importantly robust seed/spore dispersal for maintaining a healthy and active floral population that fauna can co-exist with. Add to this custom ecosystem creator / species creator / level editor tools for users and that’s a lot of stuff to develop.
And this is the work of a solo developer. The Combat Survival portion seems like a sensible approach to take, both to test concepts and to reach some kind of playable endpoint rather than labouring on a terrifyingly complex simulation for years without creating a solid slice of game.
I’d love to play with the full ecological simulation at some point though.