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How to start rebuilding in the waterlogged wastes of Floodland

Flooded city
(Image credit: Vile Monarch)

We've previously introduced you to the world of Floodland and the priorities you'll have in this flooded post-apocalypse. The game is out now on Steam and, for those brave enough to dive into what could be the Earth's future, here are some tips to help you build a thriving (or at least surviving) haven on the waves.

But survival in Floodland is about more than just learning to fish or putting a roof over peoples' heads. It's about those people getting on and, when they don't, managing disagreements in such a way that they don't fester and become bigger problems. Everyone would agree that a society needs laws but, in a desperate situation where everything's on the line, people fall into clans and disputes that, ultimately, you'll have to settle - one way or the other - and with consequences that will be remembered. 

The first big tip (and the biggest help you'll have in the game) is to listen to what the people are saying. Each clan has its own chief, who will advise you on what their people are saying; they'll provide tips on the mood, how to improve your camp, and more specific advice on laws. What you'll have to balance is that this will come from every side. Each clan has an ideology and mindset; pleasing one will often displease others, and your real job is to get them all pulling together.

Next is the laws themselves. These are a crucial part of Floodland and have enormous consequences for the people who live under them. Implementing new laws should never be taken lightly as their effects will touch everything and ultimately dictate how generally liberal or authoritarian your society is. People like newspapers, but they might be too much of a hassle when you're literally struggling for survival. Then again, how are you going to stop the people doing it themselves without a police force to enforce your will?

Laws will also feed into your society's future, thanks to the kind of buildings that flow from certain policies and can benefit your society at large. But not all laws are compatible and, if you try to mix-and-match thoughtlessly when so much is at stake, the consequences could be… well, everyone drowning.

The third tip here, which ties into both the previous, is managing the clans and their problems with one another. Yep: learning to catch some fish is actually the least of your problems.

When clans get hacked-off with one another, bad things happen. Most notably crime. Each clan has their opinion on how this society should be run, and they aren't exactly aligned: but they're all here. So it's on you to manage the mood of each clan, placate where reasonable and push back when it's not, which can mean anything from laws that suit their thinking to meeting more specific, and dynamically generated, demands. 

You can't please all of the people all of the time: it's even more true when life gets brutal on the waves. Clans can get along but, ultimately, you'll have to make big decisions about those who can't: whether that's hiving-off a district where things are amenable to them, or even more drastic steps.

The fourth tip is that this isn't a sandbox: the world of Floodland is dangerous and to stay alive and advance your society you'll need to explore. A handcrafted narrative sits atop the game's dynamically generated elements, which will lead you to new locations where you'll hopefully find technology and who knows what else. Exploring also raises the possibility of expansion: and the kind of decision that will make the shape and future of your society. 

The fifth and final tip is that a bad decision is better than no decision at all. You are the leader of these people hoping to survive, and this is a world where crises will hit. At those times you'll need to put everything to one side and make a big call, but sometimes there is no right call to make.

Say you've been exploring, but a ship brings back something contagious. Do you stop an epidemic by enacting special laws? What if the clan they're from begins getting unruly about it and, after a certain point, gets violent? Release the plague or banish the clan: when you're living in this kind of environment, no-one has the luxury to put off big decisions. Their future - your hands. Well, no one said it would be easy... 

Floodland is available on Steam now.  

PC Gamer

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