Rim World


The women need not be lesbian. The men need not be gamers.


[quote]Claudia Lo

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Claudia Lo graduated from Swarthmore College with a major in Gender and Digital Media, focusing on queer and feminist theory as it applies to videogames.[/quote]

ya, no bias here at all… I studied social sciences and it is sad how much damage this (mostly) pseudo-scientific field does to actual scientific research and debate and that whole article reeks of pure agenda.
Not only that but then to pick a one-man-indie game as your target for such an article is just in poor taste. I can already see the lessons learnt from an article like this => make sure your code can’t even be decompiled AND avoid to depict any gender differences (which leads to pretty much no gender or sexual diversity at all and is in the end certainly worse than flawed attempts).
But hey as long as everyone got their daily outrage and RPS its clicks it’s all fine, right?


As @scharmers said, excellent. I paid $30 for it and don’t regret it. Great story generator. The dev is a great guy and very responsive to the community. Works very hard at cranking out updates.

So I feel bad for him. But I suppose any publicity is good publicity.

If you do want to buy (and not wait for the steam sale) buy it through his site, you’ll still get a steam key and he gets a bigger cut.


I just might. I watched Quill18 play it a little bit, it looks like something that could be very very fun.


I was obsessed with the game for a while, and I still intend to go back. But I did find I kept doing the same thing: building a mountain fortress. It seemed there was little incentive to build outside. Has that changed?


Good luck with the first part. The only real way to do this is not to run the game code on the client, ala server games like wow. Otherwise it’s just a matter of time and dedication. Of course it doesn’t help that Tynan’s language of choice, C#, compiles to CIL which is one of the easiest representations to decompile.
The second part is more worrisome. I get that gender and gender/sex orientation is a hot topic nowadays and for a good reason. But does that mean that all modern art forms (including, cough, games) should conform to the prescribed model or risk internet mobs? Not so sure about that one. Well at least we as society have agreed that cannibalism is generally bad so we don’t have to read articles about how Tynan is secretly a cannibal.


I’m not sure how lately you’ve played, but changes were made to ensure that turtling in a mountain now has distinct disadvantages.

I myself prefer the outside walled fortress.


Thanks for your reply. I haven’t played since July, so I may have missed those changes. I’ll give it a try again. It’s an addictive game.


Even this would be criticised by some people. i.e. the idea that things like gender and sexuality are locked-in at birth and not fluid. But the opposite would also offend people (i.e. that gayness is nurture, not nature). i.e. you can’t please anyone ever so why bother? :)

I don’t agree with you. (For now, let’s ignore the fact that there’s an unequal weighting applied to women than men.). The way the code is now means that sexual preference is not baked into each pawn, and that bisexuality is expressed only via active bisexual relationships. A pawn does not remember if it is bisexual or not. That code is applied to all pawns, which means that x% of a pawn population will be bisexual without explicitly having to track which pawns are bisexual or not. It’s an effective way to model it. So to say that there aren’t heterosexual women in Rimworld is something of a “invalid” statement – there’s basically no sexuality in Rimworld, but there are sexual relationships.

Note: This is entirely based off the few snippets of decompiled code we saw, and I’m making the assumption that the game makes a random dice roll when doing it’s “do I fancy this person?” check. If it doesn’t, then you’re right that all women are bisexual, and will happily tip the velvet if an attractive enough person comes along.

edit: To explain this more: Imagine I made a game. It has people in it. For whatever reason I do not track each person’s heigh. I simply don’t care about it. Then one day I make a bridge, and want to deny some people the ability to walk under it for being “too tall”. I could modify the game to give people a heigh and check it when they attempt to walk under the bridge, or I could say to myself “I want 10% of people to be rejected as being to tall, so reject 10% of them”. What are the consequences of this? It means that if we see someone fail the “can go under a 6 foot bridge test?” we, as humans, would perceive the little computer people as being “at least 6 foot”, but they’re not. Infact they could very well pass under the next bridge which is 5 foot 4… Sure, it’s contradictory and inconsistent, but it doesn’t matter, as it has the overall statistical model that I want.

And it’s the same with Rim World here, but because it’s dealing with sexuality we perceive it differently. We’re brand anyone who has a single bisexual relationship in their lifetime as “always bisexual”. (Q: Until they had that first bisexual relationship, were they really even bisexual? This applies for both Rimworld and the real world) and you’re saying that because, statistically, the developer wanted 15% of women to be bisexual, they’re ALL bisexual. It simply isn’t true. Only those that exhibit bisexual behaviour in the game can be considered “bisexual” by the player.

(That doesn’t ignore the fact that the developer wants 15% of women to be bisexual and 0% of men to be bisexual, they’re different things)


I think I could be persuaded either way - I do see what you’re saying, in that it’s a way to model an outcome. But sexuality is at least partially implemented: there’s a orientation enum with (apparently) only gay or straight available. Compare the female code snippet with the male code, though, that definitively has a “straight” case hardcoded: within that context, I still think RPS described the code in a valid way, regardless of there being other valid ways to describe the intentions behind the same code.

In response to your edit: I think in real life people can identify as bisexual without a bisexual experience (e.g. Brett Anderson of Suede). How about a working definition of bisexuality as “someone who is open to the possibility of a relationship with either gender” - does that seem fair? If so, that’s exactly what the code models for all non-gay women pawns.


About your BridgeWorld example… you’re saying that because you don’t record and track the heights of people - because you can’t point to a location in RAM where it is stored - it doesn’t exist. I disagree. Information about a person’s height is generated each time there is a bridge height check, in terms of being under or over a height limit. That you then choose to discard this information doesn’t destroy it. It has been observed by the player, so the information now exists externally to the simulation.

And you rightly say this choice for the simulation to forget information would lead to inconsistencies. A player would be within her rights to ponder this design decision - maybe that all the people in your world seem to have a fluid height, and wonder why that design choice was made.

But of course this isn’t quite analogous to what RimWorld is doing: to do that, in BridgeWorld you would also add a couple of Boolean properties to each person. One could be whether they are over 6 foot 4 inches, the other would maybe track whether they are under 5 foot 2. (As RimWorld tracks gay or straight orientations.) And for people in between those heights, it’s a dice roll for each height check. Players could be forgiven for being interested in why it was implemented as such, I think.


Yeah, you could assign things as state. But if it makes zero difference to the outcome, why bother doing anything more complicated than necessary? Given sexuality does not appearing to be an on/off switch for different genders, but something rather more gradated, this approach seems simple and as good as anything.

The only true and controversial point in the whole article appears to be the lack of male-male relationships. Which the lead dev has said is a bug, will be fixed soon, and that he told the author of the article. They didn’t report that.


And now for things that actually matter, the dev teased this on the site.


Wait… so now you can travel around the world?? Whee!!!


After the RPS hit I’m surprised they didn’t halt development to spend some years doing research on human sexuality to get their numbers Right. ( To suit whomever looks at the numbers)

I guess this is still in beta, do we know when they foresee a v1.0 relase to be done?


Overmap stuff. Righteous.


How “complete” is Rimworld?


Quite complete. Not every system has been resolved to its logical conclusion, but it’s very playable.


Yeah like, there are only lesbians women and stuff like that.