Correction: with Alpha 7‘s release, the space magic continues. Or, uh, the starving frontier space magic, beset by violent thugs and now diseases. But let’s look on the bright side of things: even as Ludeon has introduced plague, it has also given us the prosthetics and organ harvesting and transplantation, in addition to a welter of other neat new features.
The introduction of prosthetics is far more important than you might realize. The last version, Alpha 6, introduced a complex medical system which tracks injury and debility by location, though perhaps without quite the same granularity as Dwarf Fortress‘:
My Alpha 6 colony had a slowly growing number of people who’d lost appendages to chronic cases of gunfire and explosions. I was forever terrified of having my wonderful and productive citizens maimed horribly while defending the colony. Now, it looks like we can give our debilitated friends a leg up, so to speak, by building prostheses for them to replace whatever they’ve lost. Given the constant scarcity of more advanced medical supplies, I foresee specifically targeting raiders with cybernetic prosthetics so that I can strip the things I want from their cold, dead bodies. Or from their warm and unconscious bodies, if they somehow survive the fusillade of bullets and seem like they aren’t worth rehabilitating.
This is Rimworld, after all, and I already do my best to hunt down fleeing raiders when they’re wearing or carrying things I find especially desirable. It’s hard to come by powered combat armor without taking it off the body of an erstwhile attacker. Traits have already made a meaningful entry into the game, affecting everything from move- and work-speed to mental stability and opinions of cannibalism, and there’s nothing quite like having a murder-happy speed demon ready to hunt down your fleeing enemies. You just have to make sure that they never suffer a mental break or suddenly decide to betray you.
The first time I played this game, my people nearly starved to death. I tried to solve this by getting tricksy and using sunlamps outdoors in order to boost my crop’s growth cycle, only to discover that many electrical systems explode and catch fire when exposed to rain. I did manage to pull through in the end, but it was pretty tight for a while.
That was all several releases back. When I last reviewed the game, I mentioned that I thought it wasn’t yet worth its $30 asking price, but that it could be if it continued to develop as well as it had thus far. Now, here I am several releases later, ready to tell you whether or not I think it’s continued to live up to its earlier promise.
My answer is easy: it has. I’m not saying that it’s all the way there yet, but the game is damn interesting and its central features have been expanded aggressively over the past few months. Any given change usually feels small, but the shift from when I first played back in early March has been impressive. In addition to there simply being more junk that I can make for my colony, the world around my colony has gotten considerably more interesting, and often far more threatening as well. I won’t cover everything, but…
I set down on the planet with complete awareness of the dangers that I would face, and a steady sense that I would do better than those who had come before me. As I established my new outpost, eagerly digging into the cliff face nearby to harvest the easily accessed metal and provide my fellow accidental colonists with shelter, I was certain that I was in the right place, doing the right thing. I planned out my dwelling carefully, designed it with defense in mind, and laughed at the idea that I might have missed any of the silly issues which had so beset the Let’s Plays that I had watched before I picked up the game.
I forgot, of course, to plant any food. Welcome to Rimworld.
It’s taken a bit longer than I had expected, but I finally have another installment for you. This goes along with two otherpieces in the same setting. I won’t claim that this is the final version of this story, but I do think it’s ready for your eyes. It might even, according to some of my proofreaders, be fun. Enjoy!
Jerome lay on the sandy hill, exhausted. He had pulled himself up to the line of trees, above the high tide mark, and fallen to his knees before slumping over onto his back. The sun was slowly lighting the sky from beyond the horizon, turning the east pinkish gray in anticipation. Lifting his head, Jerome could see the ship breaking apart on the reef. Much of it was still afloat, but it was all wrong. The wood was holding together, but it had been so battered by the waves and rocks that the only piece he could recognize was the bowsprit. That jutted into the sky, waving back and forth like a flagstaff whipped by wind as the swell dropped it time and again in the shallow water. It had separated a while earlier, breaking off the forward hull with a sickening crack that he had heard across the water. Soon enough there would be nothing but fragments and scattered driftwood, carried off by the rolling waves. Jerome found the fate of the ship a fitting metaphor for all civilized accomplishments. Who could claim that they had made something which would last more than a few heavy storms without being constantly repaired and rebuilt? Everything slowly fell apart, even as people tried to hold it together.
His head dropped back onto the sand. This was probably just his fatigue talking. He knew that he wasn’t usually this unhappy. He watched as the darkness of the night sky fled across the heavens towards the western horizon. Then again, he reflected, he usually hadn’t just been shipwrecked and marooned, likely to die far from home on an island in the New Sea. It was enough to make him want to cry, but he was just too tired.