RimWorld, that's what I'm going to talk about today. Lost, on the edge of space, on the outer planets, building a new life for folk not unlike each other lost or born to a world lacking in the essentials of food, shelter and security. A harsh life to live when only several light years away are the central planets and all it would take to get home is a starship.
Now RimWorld is still in development, it's an early alpha game but it offers so much in replayability, character development and even story. It's a roguelike so there's a lot of procedural generation but that's mixed with detailed character back stories, character relationships existing or created through gameplay and world generation creating a large variety of landscapes that could be a paradise or death sentence.
Imagine this scenario, you start a new colony fresh out of the central system and crash landed on a rim world far on the edge of the solar system. The natives are primitive, choosing to fight with bows and spears, you were lucky enough to crash land with a rifle and a pistol. The area around you is reasonably defensible, there are plenty of trees and rocky outcrops. You set about creating some shelter, a basic hut with three beds and somewhere to cook.
By the end of the third day you've managed to settle in despite the anxiety and fear of this new world. Some of your colonists find strength in their low expectations and are looking forward to what they can now create. Their bedrooms are now separate and there's a designated area for cooking. Hunting has gone well shooting small birds and rodents and moods are generally okay. That's when you get the distress call. A native has been chased out of her tribe and is being hunted, she seeks refuge but granting it would bring the raiders to your base. There's only three of you, you know you could use the extra pair of hands but you know nothing about this newcomer but their name, you grant refuge. As soon as you do arrows are flying towards your base, the two colonists with guns find cover and return fire. The refugee is bleeding and hasn't got a bed to rest in, one of your colonists has taken an arrow to the lung and has collapsed but finally a rifle shot lands true and kills the attacker. Moods have dropped significantly. Even in defense witnessing a corpse is no good sign, another colonist has given up their bed for the refugee and is haphazardly attending to their wounds, the colonist with the pistol and punctured lung is carried back to the safety of their bed and is waiting on treatment.
Then the only colonist with any medical skill falls into a daze. Overwhelmed with all the blood and violence, with the dead body not ten paces south of where they sleep, unsure of their own survival and so aware of their own mortality they wander aimlessly in shock. Meanwhile the lung wound becomes infected, the remaining colonist does everything in their power to comfort their dying friend but it is all for naught. You've been here a week, and you've already lost a friend.
This isn't speculation, this isn't some abstract story concept derived from content in the game. This was a scenario that occurred for me. One of many that keeps me coming back to the game. Every new colony is a new story waiting to be written, and even with the lack of content at an early point in it's development it's provided an incredible platform for emotive story telling. I eagerly anticipate major updates such as the recent addition of caravans, of which I have yet to try, as well as any future story I can be a part of writing as I continue to play the game over and over.
I would be happy to give my #GotY vote for the best independently developed game of 2016 to Ludeon studios for their creation of RimWorld and am excited to be a continued part of their development through pre-ordering their game with early access and taking to their forums for bug reports, feedback and suggestions. Even now there's a growing modding community following the game and introducing new mechanics and objects. So the game is as much an open canvas as the stories it can tell.
You can find more information about RimWorld here or get the game on steam early-access and try it out for yourself.
Thanks for reading.