How do you beat a game about life, romance and ambition in three-and-a-half minutes? If you're thinking "well just create a charming character, pick the gold digger lifetime wish, marry a rich sim, then lock her in a tiny box and burn it down to secure her inheritance" then firstly, what is wrong with you, and secondly, yes, absolutely that.
As consumers, we’d prefer to get content updates for free rather than pay for them. Yesterday, Coffee Stain Studios announced that it will patch more content into Goat Simulator for free in May, and according to the developer’s game designer and PR manager Armin Ibrisagic, that's not only great for us, but also good for business.
The bad news is that Coffee Stain Studios, developer of Goat Simulator, has announced that it’s not planning to sell any DLC for its not-quite-a-simulation game. The amazing news is that the team plans to add a bunch of free content to the game some time in the middle of May.
It's hard not to think that Goat Simulator's ascent from cheese dream inception to being one of the most talked about PC releases of the year owes a lot to just its name. Because you might think, in the same way SimCity theoretically lets you simulate a city (yes, I know), so the name Goat Simulator suggests it will simulate, hopefully in painstaking detail, the life and times of one of the world's lesser loved ungulates.
Reinstall invites you to join us in revisiting classics of PC gaming days gone by. This week, we dive beneath the waves and try to keep our voices down in Silent Hunter II.
Slicing through the frigid North Atlantic waters, my wounded Type VII-C U-boat is one well-placed depth charge away from bursting open like a cheap German piñata and sinking rock-like to the ocean floor. Those British destroyers circling manically overhead show no signs of bugging off and leaving me to lick my wounds. Probably because I sunk two of the fattest ships in their convoy 15 minutes ago with a perfectly-aimed torpedo spread. But the sense of elation I felt is transforming into terror. After my fish made contact and turned the freighters into flaming steel coffins, the convoy’s three destroyer escorts descended on me, peppering my crash-diving sub with hull-ripping depth charges.
Post-launch comments from indie game designers often get right to the heart of what's at stake for them during the development process. After the March 18 release of Vlambeer's aerial shooter Luftrausers, the devs took to Twitter two days later and put the game's apparently successful release in perspective.
Want to play a game about the tumultuous life of a street shop vendor? Well, you can't right now, as the website hosting it is currently drowning under heavy bandwidth load. But when it returns, you'll find Cart Life, the indie small business simulation from Richard Hofmeier, available free of charge and completely open source for tinkerers to slot in custom characters and stall types.
With Citybound, designer Anselm Eickhoff has a simple goal—"to do something crazy." A 21-year-old computer science student in Munich, Germany, he originally set out to make an alternative to SimCity, according to a story at Gamasutra. Citybound will be browser-based and run offline, with moddability as "a priority, not an afterthought," according to Eickhoff's dev blog.
The holidays were good to Next Car Game and its particular vision of motorized mayhem. After Bugbear Entertainment's Kickstarter to fund its latest racing game fell short of its goal in November, the developer asked for support through the project's website. Backers there have contributed more than $490,000, well clear of its original crowdfunding goal.
Robert Stephenson and the Reverend W Awdry are rotating in their resting places. The latest edition of ‘the world’s favourite train simulator’ contains no steam locos whatsoever. Significant new features are pretty thin on the ground too.
Buy TS2014 and essentially you’re buying TS2013 with a different mix of routes and rolling stock. The handful of minor engine changes feel like the contents of a free patch (which they are if you already own TS2013). Greater draw distances, a new zoom function, a clumsy consist builder for assembling your own trains for Quick Drive sessions... the lack of ambition is palpable.
A dogfighting multiplayer game focused on the aircraft of World War 2 and Korea never seemed like a natural fit for mouse and keyboard. World of Warplanes faced an almost insurmountable dilemma: if it was easy to control, it wouldn't feel like actual flying and dogfighting, and if it did feel authentic, then it would probably exclude most of its intended audience.
By billing itself as a hard sci-fi experience, indie space-colony sim Maia has posed a fascinating set of questions for itself. Available since Tuesday through Steam's Early Access alpha testing program, the strategy game's reference to a classic sci-fi genre points toward the gritty, dangerous, and sometimes darkly-futile nature of exploration.
Spend some time around the Kerbal Space Program community and you'll see a lot of parallels to Minecraft's early days. Here players are building spaceships and launching them into the universe rather than building home out of blocks, but both are great sandboxes full of creative potential for building, exploring and picking apart each new update. Just like Notch's blocky playground, when people encounter something missing - whether its a feature, a ship part, or an aesthetic preference - they turn to mods to set things right.
There are hundreds of tweaks and additions on Kerbal SpacePort (KSP's mod repository), ranging from specific parts to wide-ranging overhauls. The good news is that they're easy to install. Just extract the mod's main folder into the GameData folder of KSP's directory. As for what to install, here are twelve of the best mods available today.
Football Manager makes sense to me again. The series had slowly driven me away as it crammed more detail into its already stat-heavy simulation of football. I never seemed to be able to tell what information mattered, and which decisions were the cause of my various triumphs and failures.
Classic Mode changed that. Introduced last year, it strips back the game to something that, on the surface, resembles Championship Manager from ten years ago, but is underpinned by the same rich simulation that drives the main game. The mode returns in Football Manager 2014, and it’s still my favourite way to play the game. This release doesn’t have any equivalent flagship feature, but the hundreds of changes it does make are important. Most notable for fans of modern football is the inclusion of expanded player roles, and a tactics system that replaces sliders with the language of real football tacticians. That means being able to deploy players in the midfield as a trequartista, a false nine or an enganche.
For a cathartic two minutes’ of destruction, SCS Software, developers of Euro Truck Simulator 2, have released a video of cars being dropped from great big cranes. The profits from the Halloween Paint Job Pack have been reinvested, allowing the team to spend a day crashing, smashing and otherwise invalidating their insurance to capture new audio for ETS2. A likely story.
My ministers are looking at me like I’ve lost my mind. The country is an economic basket case, we’re trailing in the polls, and my next policy decision is... tougher abortion laws. I pause for the gasps to subside, then, like a political Poirot, explain.
Restricting abortions will mollify the religious component of the party membership in preparation for next turn’s ban on teaching creationism. Returning Darwinism to its rightful place in the curriculum, together with a boost to science funding, will help address the ‘technology backwater’ situation that is doing so much damage to GDP. A healthy GDP together with some canny VAT and corporation tax changes, should, in the long run, equal prosperity and – pause to sip water and anticipate imminent applause – the voter support necessary for victory in the next election.
This review was written by Jon Morcom.
Venice, 1455. The Renaissance is stimulating dizzying levels of creativity and La Serenissima is acknowledged as if not the crossroads, then at least the Spaghetti Junction of all trade in the Occident. Born into a city rife with political manoeuvring, family feuds and rising damp, you are Giacomo da Narni, continuing your family’s proud mercantile tradition and advancing yourself socially until you reach the exalted title of Doge.
The interface for a sim that lets you run a country is always going to be daunting, but Democracy 3's fearsome array of orbs made me want to ALT-F4 and hurry to the kettle for a calming cup of something hot. That feeling lasted only minutes. After the briefest investigation, the quality of Democracy's interface becomes clear. It's a fine example of how thoughtful design can present complex data simply and allow complex strategies to be enacted with simple interactions, like the tug of a slider or the tick of a checkbox.
It closely resembles Democracy 2's layout. Each blob represents a social issue. Hover your mouse over one and green and red spokes appear indicating all of the issues that positively or negatively affect your chosen subject. It takes two seconds to discover that the racial tension, alcohol and organised crime are fuelling violent crime, and that those are being countered by a combination of CCTV surveillance, a well funded police force, education and strict handgun laws. I can click on any of those contributing factors to access sliders that'll let me adjust taxation and alter the legislative strictness around problematic comsumables like booze. Tackling my nation's drinking habit would turn out to be the start of a long slippery slope.
I'm hoping that Space Engineers can overhaul the reputation of the humble space engineer from psychotic limb-chopper Isaac Clarke of Dead Space to something more placid and workmanlike. Space Engineers lets you drift around in a spacesuit, building scaffholding and welding plates together to build spaceships that you can crash into other space ships. Not that serene, then, but it's interesting enough to be one of the 14 space games we're excited about right now. That doesn't necessarily mean you should go out and pay £12 / $15 for the early build that's just arrived on Steam, of course, but if you're convinced you'll enjoy the ship-building, ship-crashing sim, then here it is.
"Welcome...to the world of tomorrow!" is not how SimCity lead designer Stone Librande begins this narrated look at the game's sci-fi expansion Cities of Tomorrow, and I think we can all agree that's a bit of a shame. At least the new content itself looks pretty damned nifty, evoking the shiny utopias of Minority Report or Mirror's Edge, which are both lovely places if you stick your fingers in your ears and obey the rules. The video also shows off a neon-tinged industrial city, surrogate-like drones and much more.