I’m guessing most of you learned what dysentery was at a young age, and I’d also bet that your teacher wasn’t the reason why. MECC found a way to incorporate real history and fun gameplay into a groundbreaking educational game to teach players not just what happened, but what it was like to be there. What The Oregon Trail did for the Oregon Trail, Sortasoft’s Meriwether aims to do for the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
In 1804, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to travel across the United States to the West Coast. They were to catalog and study the plants, animals, natural resources, and geography along the way. They were also charged with establishing trade and U.S. sovereignty over the Native Americans along the Missouri River. Helping them in these endeavors was a small group of volunteers known as the Corps of Discovery.
Gameplay in Meriwether consists of two types of levels. In Lewis levels, the player will be navigating handcrafted levels focused on storytelling and dealing with situations that faced the actual expedition. In the travel mode, players will control the entirety of Meriwether’s Corps of Discovery through procedural wilderness as you gather resources, discover wildlife and ration whiskey. In both modes, Sortasoft seems committed to delivering a historically plausible account of the expedition. They have even gone so far as to have a Lewis and Clark historian involved in the project. However, Meriwether isn’t meant to be just a fun experience for history buffs, but for anyone looking for an entertaining survival/exploration game.
I actually had a chance to play this game about a year ago and found it extremely involving, even at such an early state. From the looks of their Kickstarter page, the game has improved by leaps and bounds since then. Check it out for tons more information on the project and the expedition itself. Who knows, you might even learn something!
Even with the genre showing that it is still alive and kicking with the recent return of two industry names, Chris Roberts (Star Citizen) and David Braben (Elite: Dangerous), it is especially exciting to see new, indie blood enter the space-sim scene.
Limit Theory is the newest space sim to launch a Kickstarter and, though it launches amid a wave of similar games, it has really caught my eye. Having been in development for only three months so far, the footage and screenshots that sole developer Josh Parnell is showing off on Kickstarter are already gorgeous. I don’t know if Mr. Parnell knew when he began this project just how much of a sucker I am for both open exploration in procedural worlds and spaceflight, but I feel like this game is fueled by my fever dreams.
A sandbox RPG/RTS in a procedurally-generated universe filled with procedurally-generated planets and traversed by procedurally-generated ships all fighting and trading across infinity. Limit Theory promises a lot, but also has substance to show and definite passion to drive it into the future. Go check out the project’s webpage for more information, and be sure to drop any questions in the Kickstarter’s comments section, where Mr. Parnell seems quite active in responding to the community.
Sui Generis is the name of a new RPG from Bare Mettle Entertainment. Well, it’s really just a tech demo at this point, but the engine and toolset behind it are extremely promising, offering powerful physics simulation and impressive procedurally-generated terrain at the click of a button. Combat is also physics-based and while it currently looks quite wobbly (drunken is perhaps more accurate), it seems like great fun, too.
RPG players have a lot to look forward to these days from the indie game development community, with lots of small developers bunkering down for the long-term to develop their dream games. Dwarf Fortress, Age of Decadence, Grim Dawn, Kenshi, Starfarer, and the candy-coated Cube World all show a lot of potential. Hopefully Sui Generis will join them in seeing a successful release some day.
Also, this is probably as good a time as any to announce that Kickstarter has finally opened its doors to the UK.
After four months of hard work the Legend of Grimrock team has released a level editor beta for their first-person dungeon crawl. Due to Steam’s rapid updating capabilities, the editor is currently only available for players who own the Steam version of the Grimrock. To try it out, right-click on “Legend of Grimrock” in your Steam library and select properties. Then click on the “Betas” tab and opt-in to begin downloading the editor.
Almost Human says that it will be available for all distribution platforms after the beta is over.
This is a video that mashes up quite a few trailers for doujin games that will be available at this year’s Comiket (Comic Market), a Japanese self-published comic book festival (and the largest in the world, with half a million attendees last year). The video was put together by Edelweiss, a doujin game developer that created Ether Vapor and is attending Comiket 82 with a new shoot ‘em up called Astebreed. The festival is taking place this weekend on August 10-12.
Links to each of the games featured in the video are available here on Edelweiss’s website.
[This is a guest post from Offal]
Developer Calvin French has released long awaited action-adventure game The Real Texas,
presently purchasable at a discounted early-release price. In the game, you follow the story of a vacationing cowboy who finds himself on an unexpected journey in a land full of strange happenings and peculiar personalities. You solve puzzles and explore the boundaries of a well developed overworld, and the deep challenging dungeons that lie beneath.
StarForge is an ambitious 3d action game that’s currently in development. According to the game’s wiki, it’s inspired by “Halo, Warcraft 3, Borderlands, Terraria, and Minecraft”, and features a number of modes that let players build bases and wage war across randomly-generated alien worlds. Player movement is entirely physics-based and body parts react (somewhat) realistically to every impact.
The first public alpha was released earlier this month and is free-to-play, although you can purchase “Hatch Points” to spend on player models and other assets to use within the game. The developers have warned that this alpha is unoptimized, may have performance issues, and does not include every feature shown in the trailer.
Punch the possum for a fan-made video which explores the alpha in more depth:
Iron Tower Studio has released a public beta for Age of Decadence, their up-and-coming role-playing game, and opened it for preorders. As far as I can tell, there’s a lot here to get hardcore CRPG players excited: AoD appears to put a heavy emphasis on role-playing, dialogue, and combat, with the three carefully intertwined. Quests are designed not only with multiple solutions, but also multiple starting points. One playthrough, for example, may have you assassinating a certain character while the other will have you protecting them – it all depends on how you choose to play. And the combat, which is turn-based, promises to be extremely punishing to players without the requisite stats and skills.
AoD takes place in the shadow of a crumbling, Roman-themed empire, where various political factions are vying for their own agendas. According to the FAQ, these factions play a strong role in the game, and as a player you can make and break alliances and even double- or triple-cross your allies. Or, if you want, you could try to ignore them and remain unentangled.
It sounds like Iron Tower is hellbent on delivering a complex CRPG in which your choices truly have deep consequences and role-playing is at the forefront. Enjoy the beta while you wait – Age of Decadence is slated for a 2013 release.
(Source: Chef Boyardee)
Avernum: Escape From the Pit is a remake of Avernum (1999), which itself is a remake of Exile: Escape From the Pit (1995), Spiderweb Software’s very first RPG. Built on their latest game engine, Avernum: EFTP retains the original’s storyline and environments, but revamps the graphics, interface, and certain game systems. On top of that, it adds some new characters and areas to explore.
The game is available for Mac, Windows, and iPad.
TIGdb: Entry for Spiderweb Software