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The Universim offers lizard candy and updated demo

The Universim

The Universim [official site]- the planetary management/god game we last wrote about in… *checks* 2014? That can’t be right?! Oh dear! Has a new demo up on Steam and GOG. It came out last month and I’ve just started tinkering with it this morning, spinning its pretty planet and plonking down water wells and pumps.It sounds kind of Black & White-ish but with a more subtle and dynamic way of managing the decisions and shaping the behaviours using improved AI tech and so on:

“The Universim is a God Game with a twist; your citizens have the ability to make some very unexpected decisions. This particular feature goes hand-in-hand with our approach to dynamic gameplay and events. You will still have complete control over your citizen’s assigned tasks, as well as civilization research, progression, and overall management, but citizens will perform tasks in their own way. Although, knowing people, they may require a little divine intervention now and then!”

Instead of plopping in the trailer from a three-year-old Kickstarter campaign I will show you their tornado work-in-progress video:

I’m also a big fan of demos rather than the Steam “suck it and see” refund method because you don’t have to plonk your cash down up front. I’m not far enough in to know how that tension between your decision-making and the AI stuff manifests but so far I really love the aesthetic because the friendliness of that helps balance out the usual anxiety attack over the number of icons and potential actions onscreen at a given time. (I’m not kidding, I get real decision paralysis and information overload in sim games).

In case you’re wondering, The Universim came up on my internet travels this morning because of an update called the Lizard Candy patch. It brings in a happiness dynamic (the naming of the different stages there makes me a bit uncomfy because of some of the simplification involved but there are also complex behaviour responses which are cool like how the inhabitants react if you don’t give people a proper burial and so on) and entertainment buildings to help players try to offset sadness triggers. Lizard Candy is one of those – I assume it sells candy made from lizards???

Full patch details are here.

There are some early purchase options over on their website if you do like the look of the game but obviously I’ll caveat all of those with “IT IS NOT THE FULL RELEASE OF THE GAME AND ONLY BUY IT IF YOU’D BE OKAY WITH IT NOT GETTING ANY FURTHER JUST IN CASE.

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Philippa Warr

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