Darwinia demo

http://www.darwinia.co.uk/
http://www.darwinia.co.uk/downloads/index.html

By the creators of uplink, it’s a weird populous black and white type of game with tron graphics.

You move around godlike on a field. You can create up to four entities of which you have direct control. So far I have made a squad of fighters, an engineer, and one more thing. These can be moved around at will, and will either fight or gather resources.

These resources don’t allow you to make more men, they allow you to create some units over which you do not have direct control. You can control them with another unit, sort of. Rather Picmin like, they go in a general direction you tell them, and fire on anything bad that gets in their way. What they lack in control they make up for in sheer numbers. They are also used to power various devices on the map.

Looks really interesting.

From the subject, I thought it had to do with the Robert Charles Wilson novel Darwinia. What’s the law on this? Can I start work on a Starship Trooper game as long as it has nothing to do with Starships or Troopers?

I played all the way through the demo level.

It’s unclear to me whether there is any affordance for interesting tactics in this game or not. The fact that you can only control one thing at a time, and that when you’re not controlling it it won’t do much, well… it doesn’t speak well for being able to set up your units in advantageous ways.

The demo level is basically just about “move your group of guys in, blow the crap out of the enemy thingers, take over the building, repeat”. A whole game’s worth of that would get really boring.

The look and feel are really cool, though.

Also… why are they releasing the demo two months before people can buy the game? They may be losing a lot of sales due to that…

I think the trick will be that enough enemies will be thrown at you in some levels that you will have to use the darwinians, who eventually can shoot and use grenades. Strategically moving them around for fire support and cannon fodder.

I’ve always had a fondness for unique art design in games (Rez, Tranquility, and whatnot), so of course I found the demo a pretty neat little thing. I agree it feels a little half-baked at present–hopefully there’s a lot more gameplay in the eventual full game that the current demo doesn’t show, and there’ll be a more representative final demo when they’re ready for release. At the moment, it’s not exactly selling me on forty bucks. (Were it pricepointed at twenty, on the other hand…)

The mouse gesture system is…okay. The pattern recognition seems a bit screwy–I have a devil of a time getting the airstrike-arming gesture right. On top of that, it seems very unnecessary, to boot–you need to hold down a key to access them anyway, and for a game that’s supposed to include “retro” homage, mouse gestures just don’t fit. It strikes me as a bit of code someone put together and insisted on shoehorning into the whole affair.

Overall, promising. A few more months will tell.

Yeah, I’m kind of hoping they’ll include some sort of dummy mode, complete with hotkeys.

It’s worth mentioning that I hate it when a game doesn’t let you Alt-Tab out of it.

You can circumvent the alt-tab restriction by setting the “Windowed” option on.

I had great fun with this demo - I love the style and feel of the game, although I’m also interested to see how much depth it develops in the full game. Judging from reports of the beta, though, it looks very promising. Plus I’m 100% behind supporting independent developers with any out of the box concepts.

Plus some extra kudos to Introversion for doing something completely different with their second game project.

I like their different approach to game development. Some time ago I read their game development manifesto (gameplay before flashy graphics, no use for every developer to code their own engine, etc.) and I’d really like them to be around for a little while longer. Also bought Uplink, and apart from the freaking elitist secretiveness and riddles on the bonus disc, I quite enjoyed it.

edit: And they even built in the Tron program crusher thing!

The posters on their website are pretty awesome. I’ve purchased four or five for various reasons and have been extremely happy with the quality.