Heya!

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minkaron
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Heya!

Postby minkaron » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:21 am

Hey all,

Wow, and here I thought classic Maxis sims were going out of style.
Being grown and raised off of Maxis games, stuff like this is my bread and butter.

I look forward to following this game's development!
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Torvus
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Re: Heya!

Postby Torvus » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:19 am

Welcome to the forums! Outer Colony will not disappoint
I am Torvus. My titles at voyager games are thus: Lore Weaver, Creature Consultant, Chief Science Officer, Company Chaplain, and Star Magus among others.
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Re: Heya!

Postby Administrator » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:04 am

Welcome to the boards, minkaron!!

minkaron wrote:Wow, and here I thought classic Maxis sims were going out of style.
Being grown and raised off of Maxis games, stuff like this is my bread and butter.

Oh man, I live for the old Maxis games. They're still my go-to titles when I can eke out an hour for gaming.

What's your very favorite out of all the classic Maxis games? I know this is an extremely hard question to ask, as there are several tremendous ones for me, but I'm always interested to hear what someone's favorite is and their rationale!
minkaron
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Re: Heya!

Postby minkaron » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:18 am

Thanks for the warm welcome guys!

Man, there are so many, though I'd have to say SimLife would be my favorite. Even though SimLife was a touch more difficult to build a thriving ecosystem in, nothing beats the depth in its design as well versatility in flora and fauna customization. I could sit there for hours just tinkering with all the different ways to propagate a species of plant and watch them mutate.

SimCity 2000 would be second on my list for sure. But if we're looking at all of Maxis' releases, SimCity 4 has been a game that I've engrossed many hours into. It struck a balance between difficulty and simulation. Plus it's moddability guaranteed I sank more time into too, haha.

It's a shame that there aren't many gaming studios that are interested in making software toys!
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Re: Heya!

Postby Administrator » Tue Mar 14, 2017 5:49 pm

minkaron wrote:Man, there are so many, though I'd have to say SimLife would be my favorite. Even though SimLife was a touch more difficult to build a thriving ecosystem in, nothing beats the depth in its design as well versatility in flora and fauna customization. I could sit there for hours just tinkering with all the different ways to propagate a species of plant and watch them mutate.

Oh man, this answer fascinates me! SimLife was perhaps the only old Maxis game that I really struggled to get into. I'm not sure what it was about it, but I felt like I could never quite figure it out. I've actually got my SimLife CD-ROM sitting here next to my computer, and I might have to try it again someday.

The one thing I can definitely say about SimLife was that it was a very unique specimen. It was even different from the other Maxis games, although all the usual Maxis-style ambition was absolutely there. This might be my very favorite thing about the Maxis games! While other studios were generally content to make / re-make the same game over and over via sequels in franchises, Maxis was constantly taking risks and doing radically new things. Even the evolution of the SimCity series was sufficiently intense and ambitious as to blow most other studios' efforts out of the water.

What is the actual gameplay like in SimLife?

SimCity 2000 would be second on my list for sure. But if we're looking at all of Maxis' releases, SimCity 4 has been a game that I've engrossed many hours into. It struck a balance between difficulty and simulation. Plus it's moddability guaranteed I sank more time into too, haha.

Awwww, yeah! SimCity 2000! For me, this one might have been the zenith of the SimCity games, although I must admit, I haven't had the time yet to try the newer ones. I really loved SimCity 3000, too, and it's almost a tossup for me as to which I prefer. They're both gorgeous games, in different ways, but I think my first time playing SimCity 2000 was such an amazing experience that it takes the cake. This is another one I still load up on DOSBox from time to time.

Have you ever played SimTower? It's relatively simplistic, in terms of actual gameplay, but it's the first game I can remember that let me see the inner-workings of individual people within the simulation. SimEarth was more abstract, letting you monitor entire populations, and the same was true of SimCity, but SimTower let you connect with the actual, individual people running around your world. You could watch them get frustrated when waiting for an elevator, see where they went shopping on their lunch break, watch them hit a restaurant after work. Just watching these little people awesome to me, and you can see a lot of this influence in Outer Colony.

It's a shame that there aren't many gaming studios that are interested in making software toys!

I agree completely! It's such a fertile area for producing fun software, but I just don't see enough of it anymore. As the game industry has matured, game design has gotten much more "on-rails" and "gamey", which can be fine, but the software toy is its own, different sort of fun. I hope we can rekindle some of that special sort of amusement and take it to the next level with Outer Colony.
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Re: Heya!

Postby minkaron » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:50 pm

Administrator wrote:The one thing I can definitely say about SimLife was that it was a very unique specimen. It was even different from the other Maxis games, although all the usual Maxis-style ambition was absolutely there. This might be my very favorite thing about the Maxis games! While other studios were generally content to make / re-make the same game over and over via sequels in franchises, Maxis was constantly taking risks and doing radically new things. Even the evolution of the SimCity series was sufficiently intense and ambitious as to blow most other studios' efforts out of the water.

What is the actual gameplay like in SimLife?

That's what I admired about early Maxis! The studio worked to both educate and entertain their player-base when they weren't beholden to EA. Granted, EA did save them from going under and the market for software toys rapidly fell out of favor. But that aside, SimLife is almost like taking a continent in SimEarth and focusing in on that. You still have various abiotic factors that influence the simulation (I.e. Rainfall, soil fertility, temperature, etc.), but you can also place down various objects that can either feed, mutate, or kill the biota around them.

It's almost played in two parts. The first part is where you, "build the set" so to speak, and design the world and customize the genes of the various plants and animals. The second part is when you place them all down and see how well the interact with each other and the environment. Over time, they gradually develop random mutations of their own allowing for diverse subspecies to branch off. SimLife certainly falls right into the 'hard simulator' category.

Administrator wrote:Awwww, yeah! SimCity 2000! For me, this one might have been the zenith of the SimCity games, although I must admit, I haven't had the time yet to try the newer ones. I really loved SimCity 3000, too, and it's almost a tossup for me as to which I prefer. They're both gorgeous games, in different ways, but I think my first time playing SimCity 2000 was such an amazing experience that it takes the cake. This is another one I still load up on DOSBox from time to time.

The newest SimCity, or as everyone calls it, "SimShitty", was a complete step backwards in terms of the series. It moved from its laissez-faire market model, to practically a state-controlled city builder. Rather than try to foster the development of high wealth office buildings through the influencing of education and land value, it's as simple as plopping a high wealth park next to a commercial zone. If you're looking to play a good city builder, I'd recommend SimCity 4, or Cities: Skylines. Both of them lack the teeth that SimCity 2000 had, so one random fire won't burn down your entire city, haha.

Administrator wrote:Have you ever played SimTower? It's relatively simplistic, in terms of actual gameplay, but it's the first game I can remember that let me see the inner-workings of individual people within the simulation. SimEarth was more abstract, letting you monitor entire populations, and the same was true of SimCity, but SimTower let you connect with the actual, individual people running around your world. You could watch them get frustrated when waiting for an elevator, see where they went shopping on their lunch break, watch them hit a restaurant after work. Just watching these little people awesome to me, and you can see a lot of this influence in Outer Colony.

I agree completely! It's such a fertile area for producing fun software, but I just don't see enough of it anymore. As the game industry has matured, game design has gotten much more "on-rails" and "gamey", which can be fine, but the software toy is its own, different sort of fun. I hope we can rekindle some of that special sort of amusement and take it to the next level with Outer Colony.

I remember playing that when I was only 2 years old! I never really understood what was going on, but I remember always getting frustrated when you'd get that bomb threat. And yeah, I agree, my favorite things about simulators nowadays is that ant farm feel they have going on. Outer Colony looks incredibly promising! I mean, it's amazing how you're simulating everything from individual genetics, all the way up to weather systems! It's such a huge project, where did you find the inspiration to undertake the challenge?
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Re: Heya!

Postby Administrator » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:34 pm

minkaron wrote:SimLife certainly falls right into the 'hard simulator' category.

This sounds freakin' awesome. It sounds like it's much more on the SimEarth end of the spectrum than the SimIsle end, in that it's more of a pure software toy than a conventional game. I loved what Maxis was doing with some of these titles that had little in the way of hard gameplay. Interaction with the system, as a player, was more a matter of poking and prodding at it with a stick, from 10 feet away, and seeing how it'd react.

I think that in practice, Outer Colony lies somewhere more toward the middle of that continuum between traditional game and software toy. This is to say that there are many aspects of the game that resemble more traditional gameplay systems - commanding units in combat, constructing structures, refining resources. But other elements of it are much more "set up the right circumstances, in order to induce the desired result" - the first thing that comes to mind is the culture management system. Setting the right policies and encouraging your NPCs to produce and consume the right kind of media, so that they'll take on the kind of value system that you want.

I hope that what we've made is a really fun synthesis of the two different approaches to game design that yields a novel and interesting result!

The newest SimCity, or as everyone calls it, "SimShitty", was a complete step backwards in terms of the series. It moved from its laissez-faire market model, to practically a state-controlled city builder. Rather than try to foster the development of high wealth office buildings through the influencing of education and land value, it's as simple as plopping a high wealth park next to a commercial zone.

Ouch, now this - this right here - kinda' pains my soul. It's as if EA completely missed the point of SimCity. Just putting down buildings is so far off from what the core of the game is. It's about, as you correctly assert, creating circumstances that will make the right sorts of things appear. Just putting the things there yourself is...man, that's...I can't even think of the right words to express my disappointment at the concept. It almost sounds like a joke, like a terrible clone made by a micro-studio that doesn't know what it's doing. Not a multi-million dollar project from an industry giant.

I remember playing that when I was only 2 years old! I never really understood what was going on, but I remember always getting frustrated when you'd get that bomb threat.


Oh yeah, the bomb threat! It's all about having a bunch of security stations all over the building, so that when you tell them to conduct their search, they can cover the entirety of the structure before the thing goes off. It's expensive to maintain so much security, but that was usually my approach to dealing with that particular problem.

And yeah, I agree, my favorite things about simulators nowadays is that ant farm feel they have going on. Outer Colony looks incredibly promising! I mean, it's amazing how you're simulating everything from individual genetics, all the way up to weather systems! It's such a huge project, where did you find the inspiration to undertake the challenge?

This is a question I love talking about!! There are so many things that helped inspire Outer Colony, and this might warrant another thread in its own right. It's supposed to keep snowing here, so I'm going to hit the gym now before the weather gets worse again, but I'll aim to make a thread about this later tonight or tomorrow. The backstory that prompted the creation of Outer Colony might be sorta' cool, and I think I can use it as a springboard to get more suggestions for things you'd like to see a prospective players!
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Re: Heya!

Postby minkaron » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:55 pm

Administrator wrote:Ouch, now this - this right here - kinda' pains my soul. It's as if EA completely missed the point of SimCity. Just putting down buildings is so far off from what the core of the game is. It's about, as you correctly assert, creating circumstances that will make the right sorts of things appear. Just putting the things there yourself is...man, that's...I can't even think of the right words to express my disappointment at the concept. It almost sounds like a joke, like a terrible clone made by a micro-studio that doesn't know what it's doing. Not a multi-million dollar project from an industry giant.

This is a question I love talking about!! There are so many things that helped inspire Outer Colony, and this might warrant another thread in its own right. It's supposed to keep snowing here, so I'm going to hit the gym now before the weather gets worse again, but I'll aim to make a thread about this later tonight or tomorrow. The backstory that prompted the creation of Outer Colony might be sorta' cool, and I think I can use it as a springboard to get more suggestions for things you'd like to see a prospective players!

Yeah, I'm saltier than a tin of anchovies over how EA had driven Maxis games into the ground, and subsequently, Maxis themselves. But anyways, I'm looking forward to reading that thread!
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Re: Heya!

Postby Administrator » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:43 am

minkaron wrote:Yeah, I'm saltier than a tin of anchovies over how EA had driven Maxis games into the ground, and subsequently, Maxis themselves. But anyways, I'm looking forward to reading that thread!


I might have to make that thread about software that inspired Outer Colony tomorrow, as I'm getting a bit sleepy tonight. I managed to dig out my car, again, and I'm just a little bit sore at present. It's funny, you can be a madman at the gym, but if you engage in a new activity, like shoveling snow for an hour or two, it can sometimes work muscles that you rarely use, which leaves you rather sore. In some ways, those natural forms of exertion, like shoveling snow or digging a ditch are the best kinds of workouts.

As far as EA and other producers of AAA games go, I hardly pay attention to them anymore. The last one I bought was Civ V, back in 2011. I had a lot of fun playing that over the years with Torvus and Imperator, but there just aren't any AAA games that pique my interest these days. Maybe it's because I'm turning 30, but I feel like I've already played all the games that the AAA companies are making - like they just make (fundamentally) the same games over and over. I don't mean to disparage them, and I can't fault them for what they're doing. If they can make money hand-over-fist by churning out sequels in FPS franchises, more power to them!

But there's just not a lot of innovation or risk taking with most of the big names in the industry, and this is why I think that indie developers play such an important role. We can take risks! We can do new things! And that's why the games I want to play today are indie titles.

What sort of games do you usually play now, Minkaron?
minkaron
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Re: Heya!

Postby minkaron » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:23 am

Administrator wrote:It's funny, you can be a madman at the gym, but if you engage in a new activity, like shoveling snow for an hour or two, it can sometimes work muscles that you rarely use, which leaves you rather sore. In some ways, those natural forms of exertion, like shoveling snow or digging a ditch are the best kinds of workouts.

Yep! Living in a desert, I always go swimming in the summer months, and man, there are parts of my body that are sore that I didn't even realize I had!

Administrator wrote:What sort of games do you usually play now, Minkaron?

It's a split between 4x real-time and turn-based strategy, and management simulators. Dwarf Fortress is a favorite of mine that I always return to. Aurora 4x is a good one, and is often hailed as Dwarf Fortress in space. It's a bit more obtuse to get into (most people call it a space-themed spreadsheet simulator), but if you like writing your own stories and space battles, it's a game worth checking out! In terms of more studio titles, I've lately been playing Planet Coaster and Cities: Skylines though. My fallback for strategy though is usually Sins of A Solar Empire or Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance.

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