Now playing: Fortresscraft Evolved.
As has ever been the case, the game I want to play isn't out yet, but it seems about 20 hours of my weekend went to revisiting Fortresscraft Evolved, an ambitious Unity-made project that combines much of the appeal of Minecraft and Factorio into a geeky fusion that is a bit rough around the edges yet still made by somebody admittedly a lot better at using Unity than me.
|What do all these blocks do? Ah, there's the learning curve.|
After those 20 hours, I conclude it's a game of many interesting parts being used to a muddled end.
Yes, you can build ore miners, connect those ore miners to conveyor belts, have the collected ore automatically smelted, the smelted bars routed into machines that further refine them into wires, plates, spools of wires, and circuit boards. Yes, you can produce energy from coal and use a network of batteries and lasers to beam power directly to the appropriate machine blocks.
But to what ends? Downward, ever downward, to increasingly hostile depths containing yet another type of ore to work into the machine. Theroetically, the goal is to escape the planet. Well, it's a great engineering sandbox, I'll give it that.
I find myself wanting to create factories that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functioning marvels, but usually find cruel logistics has other plans. Aliens are leeching off my conveyor belts and I must abandon form for the function of figuring out how to power a network of turrets that have line of sight. I plan an elaborate spiral shaft and... what's this?! The conveyors can go directly up walls?! Even carrying ore upside down on the ceiling?! My careful plans are ultimately scrapped in favor of new developments.
Now Developing: Maybe something in RPG Maker MV?
As it happens, that type of game might be close enough to what I am trying to accomplish. I want it to be an RPG, even though Japanese RPG style combat is not my first choice. I keep returning to tile-based topdown isometric games, of which RPG Maker MV is right out of the box. Having a working NPC dialogue tree editor and presenter from the getgo is also a major tool for the kind of narrative potential I need. This really looks like the path of least resistance to at least a prototype game.
The main cause of hesitation is the fact that I could eventually recreate much of this same essential functionality in an engine that is more flexible and powerful, such as Unity or even GameMaker Studio. So choosing RPG Maker MVll has more to do with walking before I run because it provides me with default content and game mechanics to extrapolate from, whereas the other engines task me with creating those myself.
I short, I know I ought to leverage the more powerful engines, but my drive for do-it-yourself perfection is at odds with the lazy alternative of sufficing with an engine that is already pretty close to what I want. But is that truly laziness, or just efficiency?
One thing's for sure: I'm not getting anything done just talking about it, I need to foster a habit of dedicating some time towards it, as this weekend went completely to Fortresscraft Evolved.