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Kickstarter of the Week: Rimworld

Today’s Kickstarter of the Week looks at a project that recently closed to a ludicrously successful amount. Tynan Sylvester’s Rimworld only asked for a mere $20,000 to get off the ground. Instead, it raised over ten times as much, closing out at $268,132 with over 9,000 (no, not a joke), backers. So let’s take a look at why Rimworld was so successful and why you might want to think about pitching in your money as a late donating slacker backer.

Rimworld is a sci-fi colony sim, with no real goal or ending. It’s a lot like The Sims in that your only real goal is to continue playing in order to see what happens. However, unlike The Sims, Rimworld isn’t about day to day life. It’s about how you deal with the hardships of living in a space colony. That’s where Rimworld’s most interesting feature comes in: the A.I. storyteller.

Rimworld’s A.I. storyteller is modeled after things such as the A.I. director from Left 4 Dead. It generates events to keep your game interesting, like pirate raids, offworld storms, trader arrivals, and more. However, these events aren’t pulled out of a hat, like the disasters in Sim City. Instead, the storyteller analyzes your situation and decides what event will make for the most drama.

The development team has currently developed three different types of A.I. Storytellers. Cassandra Classic builds tension with a growing curve. When your colony is young, few disasters will come your way, but as your colony prospers you will have to deal with raider attacks, storms, scavengers, alien viruses, and more all at once. The friendly storyteller, dubbed Phoebe Friendly, will rarely send challenges your way, turning the game into much more of a sandbox. Finally, Randy Random is true to his name, sending out disasters and aid with no rhyme or reason. The team is looking into developing new storytellers as well that focus on certain types of stories, like high population colonies, or stories that focus on murder and darker overtones.

Even though your colony may grow to Sim City sizes, you need to treat each of your colonists individually. Your colonists aren’t blank slates, they are people, survivors that are trying to eke out a living after a space ship crash. They all have skills, jobs, and preferences. Cooks and farmers may feel right at home tilling the fields, but good luck trying to get a journalist on plow duty. Similarly, carpenters and soldiers will provide your essentials of shelter and protection, but won’t do very well when conversing with traders who may have important resources your colony needs. You will have to manage each colonist’s skill set individually in order to make the most of them.

Rimworld is currently in development for the PC, though Mac and Linux versions are planned for the future. Currently, Sylvester will be sinking his Kickstarter funds into forming a company, finding an artist to give his game a unique style, and paying all the licensing fees for the software he will be using. The game will be made available as a DRM-free download both independently via the Rimworld site, and through Steam. Anyone who is interested in backing the Rimworld project can donate on the official site and will still receive the official Kickstarter reward tiers for doing so. Anyone who pledges at least $30 will gain access to the pre-alpha version of the game which is available now. For more information about Rimworld, check out the official Kickstarter page.

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