Posts Tagged ‘Zach Barth’

Opus Magnum whirs out of Early Access

Machiiiines

The age of machines has begun. I’m not talking about world conquering, human enslaving robots from the Matrix or what have you, nor the warped logic of paperclip-producing AIs. I’m talking about clunky factory lines producing wizard-viagra (‘stamina’ potions), and cobbled together contraptions that eventually churn out stain-removers. Now that I think about it, those were two unfortunate examples to use next to each other.

What I’m trying to say is that ace puzzler Opus Magnum left early access on Thursday, so you’ve got no excuse not to jump in and start building machines of your own.

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Podcast: Into The Breach, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds and “running away”

Tactical retreats

Cowardice is a virtue. So says the team on this week’s RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. That’s because our theme is “running away” – games that encourage you to flee from danger, or that give you a choice between fight and flight. Adam will run from the soldiers of Arma or the post-apocalyptic antagonists of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Brendan will scarper from poor odds in For Honor or Overwatch, while Alice only pretends to run away in Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, tricking her foes into giving chase before ambushing them like some kind of velociraptor. Read the rest of this entry »

Opus Magnum’s alchemy machines are gorgeous

Machiiiines

I am raising my head from the alchemy desk to tell you: Opus Magnum is out now and it is good. It’s the new puzzle game from Zachtronics which crept up on us this week. This studio’s puzzlers have a definite flavour to them. They’re about fiddling with machines, hacking together a solution out of strange gadgets and mental duct tape before revealing a loudly-ticking device and feeling impossibly proud of yourself. This is no different, except that your end results are flipping gorgeous.
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Opus Magnum: a new puzzler from Infinifactory creator

Hubble, bubble, toil and puzzle

Is there any joy like the humble Zachlike? Don’t answer that. Zach Barth, creator of head-scratchers like Spacechem and SHENZHEN I/O, continues his slow march towards filling the planet earth with intricately complex puzzle games. His development studio has just announced Opus Magnum [official site] a game of dark machinery and darker alchemy in which you must use a “transmutation engine” to create “vital remedies, precious gemstones, deadly weapons, and more”. You will be pleased to learn that it too has a built-in solitaire game. Read the rest of this entry »

Clickuorice Allsorts: Shenzhen Solitaire on MS-DOS

Shenzhen Solitaire

When I saw that Shenzhen Solitaire – the solitaire minigame spun off from Shenzhen I/O – was out for MS-DOS on floppy disks I’ll admit I nearly consigned it to the novelty promo pile along with emails about cassette mix tapes or my friend whose response to new music is always “Yes, but can I listen to it on my Discman?”. HOWEVER! It gets more interesting because developers Zachtronics have written up the project as a blog post. I didn’t follow all the technicalities, but it was super interesting to know more about the choices the pair made, and the quirks of the systems involved under the hood. I find optimisation techniques fascinating so dirty rectangles discussion was a lovely accompaniment to my cup of tea!

The DOS release is available through a Kickstarter running until September 11th.

Have You Played… Infiniminer?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

No, neither have I. Infiniminer was a team-based game in which players competed to collect more minerals than their opponents in a blocky, randomly-generated cavern. But during development in 2009 the source code was leaked by hackers. In the wake of new modified versions, the small community of players that had formed around the game dissolved. The developer made the game open source and shelved the project. Not long afterwards, a man called Notch started work on a little somethin’ somethin’. And it looked a wee bit like Infiniminer…

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Can Videogames Teach You Programming?

if(desire_to_program > 10)
    continue;
else
    return;

When I tell people I’m a programmer, I get that look. The glazed eyes, the polite smile, the clear desire to change topic. If I’m lucky, I’ll get pitched on an idea for the next killer mobile app that my conversation partner insists will make us rich; if I’m less lucky, I’ll get wrangled into providing free tech support for the rest of my life. The thing is, though, as impossible as it might sound, programming can be more fun than people realise. Fun enough to warrant its own video game genre, even.

Just how educational are these games, though? Is it really possible to become a programmer by playing games? I dug through Steam and came away with three promising candidates. Let’s take a look at them, and see whether they can really teach you skills to pay the bills.

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SpaceChem & TIS-100 Creator Announces SHENZEN I/O

A proposal: puzzles games focused on assembling or programming – or both – should be called Zachlikes. Following the atom-assembling SpaceChem, production line ’em up Infinifactory, and the computer-programming TIS-100, Zach Barth and his Zachtronics have announced a new Zachlike. SHENZHEN I/O [official site] will combine assembling and programming to build circuits from components and then write code for them. It’s due to hit Steam Early Access in October and, for now, you can check it out in this wee announcement trailer:

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New Zachtronics Puzzler TIS-100 Out Of Early Access

What even is a computer?

SpaceChem and Infinifactory creator Zach Barth has released his latest thing-making puzzle game, which sits somewhere between fiddling with chemistry and building automated factories. TIS-100 [official site] is an assembly programming puzzler, having you literally learn and write code to fix up corrupted code in the mysterious eponymous ’80s computer. Yes, you do need to learn and write the TIS-100’s assembly code. Computers are puzzles!

After a seven-week stretch in Steam Early Access, TIS-100 properly launched yesterday.

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Factory-Fresh Smell: Infinifactory Out Of Early Access

Infinifactory [official site] is another thing-making puzzler from SpaceChem chap Zachary Barth, this time going into 3D to set up production lines manufacturing goods for cruel alien overlords. It initially launched incomplete on Steam Early Access in January, though even at the time John was really into it.

Maybe you’d rather wait until it was fully finished before playing yourself. In which case, good news: after five months of updates adding so, so much more, Infinifactory has launched out of Early Access to become a proper released game.

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SpaceChem Dev’s TIS-100: A Programming Puzzler

After having folks design molecules in SpaceChem and automated plants in Infinifactory, Zachtronics are back with another puzzle game of complex systems. What comes after atoms and factories, the whole dang universe? The multiverse? Nah, you write assembly code.

Today Zachtronics both announced and (sort of) released TIS-100 [official site], a game about rewriting corrupted code to fix a fictional ’80s computer. It’s on on Steam Early Access now for £4.49. My prediction: their next game after this will be to literally program SpaceChem.

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“Like SpaceChem… In 3D”: Infinifactory Early Access Out

Yeah, you make those things!

A new game from Zach Barth is probably something to coo and poke and beam and gawp at, even as an Early Access release. His past games including the Minecraft-inspiring Infiniminer and RPS-pleasing SpaceChem, and his latest looks to combine elements of the two. Infinifactory is a sandbox puzzler about building and optimising production lines to create products to please your alien overlords. They always take a hard line on slacking and slop, alien overlords do.

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Infinifactory: By The Maker Of SpaceChem And Infiniminer

Zachtronics has linked the SpaceChem molecule to the Infiniminer molecule to create and announce their new game: Infinifactory. It’s “Like SpaceChem… In 3D!” says the site, which sounds like a very good thing when you consider that SpaceChem broke the brains and captured the hearts of just about everyone at RPS who played it.

There’s only a little information about this new game, but it’s about designing and running factories and optimising them via histograms just as before, but now you’ll be doing it in “exotic alien locales” with a “next-generation block engine”. Alright. It’s due in Early Access later this year.

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