When I last played top-down sci-fi survival-strategy RimWorld, it was barely playable at all. When Alec last played RimWorld it had grown into an impressive blend of Prison Architect and Dwarf Fortress. When Adam last played RimWorld, which was more recently than Alec, he sang its praises to me privately.
So I’m excited, then. And more so after watching the update video for alpha 14, which is coming July 15th alongside a Steam early access release.
Here’s the video, which goes through what’s new step-by-step. I’ll pick out the significant highlights below.
The major new feature is a “Scenario system”, through which you can set the starting conditions of your game. That’s significant now because you’re no longer limited to playing as the survivors of a crashed spaceship. Now you can also take control of the local tribespeople on the planet, those same folks who you’ve been previously trading with or repelling invasions from.
If you’re not familiar, RimWorld is a management game of sorts where you’re trying to protect and survive as a slowly growing colony of people. The “of people” part is important, because like inspirations such as Prison Architect and Dwarf Fortress, you don’t have total control over the people in your care. They can ignore you, experience mental breakdowns, and all the other things that make these games such great sources of anecdotes. Here’s a snippet from Alec’s above-linked feature:
There’s scope to make it deliberately hilarious too – on my first attempt at Rimworld, one of my three starting colonists was a noble who refused to do any manual labour. She just ambled about the place while the other two worked their bums off to build her a bed, cook her food and fetch rocks from a million miles away. I wasn’t too upset when the pirates took her life.
The scenario system also comes with an editor that lets you create your own starting conditions in great detail by hand, if the randomise button isn’t doing it for you. That includes assigning traits to individual colonists, setting their age, and scattering certain items across the map. The game’s developer uses this in the video above to create a group of elderly nudist clowns, which sounds like something that you might enjoy.