30 Years of God Game History Part 9

Clumsy Kinect motion controls aside, it wasn’t a disaster in itself, but it was the last straw in a series of missteps, and an epitaph to what the company had become: an unimaginative product factory, not the bold innovators they once were. With the “father” of the god game free from the shackles of Microsoft, Peter Molyneux soon co-founded a new studio, 22cans. In just a handful of months they released Curiosity, a free-to-play game where players would tap away on their phones and tablets to dig away blocks, like a massive, worldwide excavation effort to find the answer to the simple question, “what’s inside the cube?” With the promise that whoever gets to the center of the cube first will get a “life-changing” reward. Manually digging away 69 billion micro-cubes was just as repetitive as it sounds, but attracted a lot of buzz and millions of players during its 7-month run. This sort of friendly competition hearkened back to the more quaint days of video gaming, like when Bullfrog Productions hosted Populous tournaments to crown the world’s best player, or when they held a game design contest, and awarded the winner a real job at their company. The “winner” of Curiosity decided to share the news with the world: a video with Peter Molyneux himself announcing that 22cans were working on Godus, an ambitious return to the Populous formula, but also that this lucky player would become the “God of Gods”, who was able to influence major design decisions in Godus’s development, and would receive a small portion of the profits during his six-month term.

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A crowdfunding campaign for additional funding for Godus launched in November, 2012, and was a meteoric hit. Fans clamored at the prospect of playing a true god game again, crafted by none other than its inventor. The Kickstarter exceeded its goal and raised over 800 thousand dollars toward the development of this new and exciting PC game, with a free-to-play mobile port planned down the road. Godus had incredible promise. 22cans planned to host the game on a dedicated server, with a single planet-sized world where every player starts out as a burgeoning god with a small plot of land, eventually growing out and having to interact with other gods either as a friendly neighbor or a devious enemy. It replaced the tile-based elevation system of Populous with a layered minimalist landscape you can smoothly sculpt with your mouse or touchscreen.

It seemed to be an ideal hybrid of the simplicity of the god games of old, and the production values and presentation of the new. Molyneux planned for the game to feature progression through each era of civilization, from primitive tribes to the Space Age, and you would influence them through wielding divine powers. An Early Access build released on Steam in late 2013, to some skepticism by backers and early adopters. Featuring a narrower scope compared to the open, unshackled freedom of something like Populous, and more suspicions were fueled by Molyneux playing, and stating the game played best, on a tablet rather than a computer. Despite these concerns, Godus had a lot going for it: a gorgeous, abstract graphic style with colorful layers of terrain, and you could harness fun godly powers like meteors, swamps, rain and holy forests.

Or you could squash enemies with your almighty finger. The world sculpting was pleasant and relaxing, and the kinetic controls felt like you were carving at your own “arts and crafts” project. Making adequate trails and clearings for your followers was addictive, using powers to condense your buildings into specialized complexes, the promise of having your people advance through the ages, learn new buildings and technologies, and eventually butt heads with other civilizations, had a ton of potential. But red flags popped up as 22cans tried to mimic the successful tactics used by the mobile gaming industry. After a few hours of enjoyment, you realize that Godus is hand-crafted to stop, inhibit and limit players so as to drive them to buy shortcuts, and would receive denser and more enjoyable experiences by doing so.

You have to constantly click or tap hundreds of little spheres to collect faith currency, and there’s a button in the corner that opens a gem-spending store, despite 22cans assuring us that there wouldn’t be microtransactions in the PC version. One of the most frustrating aspects were the regular stops a player would experience, due to lack of resources in the form of “stickers”. You had to either find stickers through hidden treasure chests, or buy them in randomized packs when you earned enough gems, which constantly halted your progress.

It felt like the antithesis of Molyneux’s earlier work. Godus has a sphere of influence, from which you cannot affect anything outside that boundary, but unlike previous games like Black & White, it doesn’t expand gradually as your belief grows. Instead, you have to complete a lot of busywork and menial tasks to gain access to distant totems and unlock new lands. Game development has always been a business, but when your business model directly degrades your entertainment experience, your product becomes less enjoyable, or at its worst, economically manipulative. Months after the Early Access release, the game changed regularly, but was still missing many promised, fundamental features.

The planned seamless multiplayer was implemented, but later removed. Months became years, and the growing tensions between paid customers, backers and 22cans grew more and more. The numerous broken promises, delays and “freemium”-like design elements began to make sense when it was discovered that 22cans, originally promising that there would be no publisher influence, after burning through the Kickstarter funding, later courted DeNA, a Japanese mobile game publisher, to pick up the check for Android and iOS development. As unwanted changes and alterations to the original concept reached boiling point, consumer outrage and bad reviews stacked higher than the mountains you carved in the game. This culminated in a 2015 talk between Peter Molyneux and John Walker, senior editor of Rock Paper Shotgun, in what is easily the most brutal interview I’ve ever read, starting out guns-blazing with the opening line… “Do you think that you’re a pathological liar?” It was an hour and a half of listing grievances and biting commentary on Molyneux’s false or misleading statements he’s made to the public.

This marked a change in the technology and availability of information. We no longer half-remembered a promise or claim from last year’s magazine, the internet age documents every word, feature and claim you’ve ever made, serving as the public’s collective memory. Peter might have made false promises in the past but were often forgotten or only heard by a few. Now the man had become infamous for promising mountains, but delivering molehills instead. Perceiving a clear favoritism toward mobile development infuriated fans even more, and as PC updates stagnated, the mobile version continued to improve and ran quite smoothly. It would have been the superior version had it not contained speed boosts and gems locked behind advertisements and microtransactions ranging as high as $100 each, and of course, deliberately slower progression.

It didn’t end there, however, in a seemingly genuine attempt to make things right, Molyneux and 22cans hired Konrad Nazynski, a fervent fan, programmer and Kickstarter backer to help fix and finish the project. The result was splitting the game into two separately sold packages. Godus Wars was a more combat-focused version of the game which put you in control of small skirmishes against AI opponents or other players. It introduced military buildings and infantry, which was a feature promised in Godus’ original Kickstarter.

Combat is a new touch to the game, but it primarily involves growing your population as fast as possible, then converting them to military units, and sending them to their deaths, or to victory, depending on your numbers. Simplistic even by the most casual strategy game standards. These features would be welcome as supplemental to the core game, but a second price tag for what would become ANOTHER unfinished game — which regularly requires keys to unlock new maps, as well as introducing consumable cards that granted you powers or bonuses in each match. It reeked of future monetization opportunities. To make things worse, hidden away in the single player campaign was a prompt to pay another 5 dollars to unlock the rest of the maps. Molyneux explained that funding dried up, development cost three times what it raised on Kickstarter, and that Godus Wars was a way to reignite the project and garner funding for Godus to continue.

But after the legendarily poor handling of the game’s development, double-dipping your most loyal customers, despite every reason for them to give up on you, felt like a slap in the face. When Konrad’s contract to work on Godus expired, it left nobody at 22cans to work on the project, as they were all making the developer’s next game. And due to the original plans being abandoned, Bryan Henderson, the winner of the Curiosity contest, only got a tour of the 22cans office, but never received compensation or a chance to act as “God of Gods,” like he was promised.

22cans eventually released Godus Wars for free to all owners of Godus, and the mid-game paywall was removed due to overwhelmingly negative feedback. A nice gesture, but the damage had already been done. At the time of this video’s release, the PC version of the core game was last estimated to be about 50% complete, and despite still being available to purchase, no updates to the PC versions of Godus or Godus Wars have been posted for years.

If a game fails, nobody wins. Consumers don’t get to enjoy what they were looking forward to, and developers don’t get to reap the rewards of success. Nobody won with Godus. Peter Molyneux pinned his name and reputation on Godus, and its fallout virtually destroyed any credibility he had left with core audiences. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt4-tBFIcsI

Would Peter have wanted everything he’s ever boasted, claimed or misled us to believe about his games to be true? Of course he would. But there’s a fine line between naive optimism and knowingly misleading audiences about your product — a line often crossed by Peter Molyneux.

Once one of the greatest game designers ever to walk the Earth, now the besmirched snake oil salesman of the industry. If he came out with a genuinely great game tomorrow, fans would probably forgive him in an instant. That’s just how passionate this community is, but will he ever return to make games for his core audience, or will he continue to pursue the easy-to-please, less discerning mobile market? Only time will tell.

But hope was not lost. Inspired independent developers have sprouted and have attempted to revive the god game concept all around. And today, it’s never been a better time to strike out on your own and self-publish, with modern development tools and engines at your disposal, a solo creator or a small team can make a competent and attractive game with a much smaller budget than ever before. Reus is a very different take on the god sim.

This 2013 indie title by Abbey Games places you in control of powerful titans aligned to unique elements. You can order them to move along a side-scrolling spherical world. The core mechanic of the game is to terraform a grey, dead planet to create unique minerals and life.

30 Years of God Game History Part 8

Selling over two million copies, Spore wasn’t a failure, but it’s clear Maxis and the community wanted it to be so much more than “just another quarter 3 hit”. It fell short of its astronomical potential. The disappointment of seven years working on Spore only to have it descend into obscurity seemed to lead to Will Wright quitting Maxis, the company he founded, and game design entirely for nearly a decade to pursue other industries. And so, with two mighty god game creators both failing to meet their visions with success, we witnessed the end of the triple-A god game era. Homages and successors of various god games emerged after Bullfrog’s closing in 2001, mimicking many of the features of this niche of games: excavation, terrain manipulation, and the influence of autonomous inhabitants. Nine years after the sleeper hit, Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim, a sequel released, though no longer developed by Massachusetts-based Cyberlore, now taken on by Russian software developer, 1C Company.

The clear boost in graphics and tech is palpable, and it’s quite a looker even today. Majesty 2 attempts to capture the spirit of the original game, influencing heroes with bounties, rather than directing them with orders. Disappointingly, the popular sandbox mode of the original was strangely omitted. The ability to start a customizable standalone map right out of the gate was a fun and replayable way to play, and was my personal favorite mode in any strategy game. They implemented skirmishes into an expansion pack a year later, and with two more expansions after that, the game was fun and modestly successful.

But something fundamental seemed to be missing from the original, and the game’s delicate balance and AI felt “off”. Many of the quests were carbon copies from the original game. The AI was weaker than its predecessor. Random difficulty spikes and imbalances were common, and enemy dens would spawn out of nowhere and destroy your town without warning. The game introduced a party system where you could group up multiple heroes, but its usefulness was debatable. With enough patches and expansion fixes, however, Majesty 2 is a technically superior, though contentious sequel to the amazing concept that was the original, despite the series experiencing many years of dormancy, before and since.

This game most importantly proves that there are still promising and original ideas in the genre that could be revived and experimented with, outside of the well-tread ground of common strategy games. And that not every game has to be simply “Starcraft, but X”, in an ever-descending spiral of derivative game design. The sporadic but revered French game designer, Eric Chahi, noted for his highly influential Another World and Heart of Darkness games, emerged after years away from the industry. He was inspired by his studies into actual volcanology, the raw fury of nature he saw in Mount Yasur, in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia. He pitched a concept to Ubisoft as early as 2006, eventually getting a small team together and developing an unexpected god game, finally releasing in 2011. From Dust takes the core mechanic of Populous (land formation), and brings it to a new generation.

With state-of-the-art 3D graphics and a modern physics engine, you no longer magically create or eliminate land like its forebears, instead you control a cursor that can suck up a sphere of any one of three materials: sand, water or lava. Then you can float it around and drop that material somewhere else. It’s an incredibly simple concept, but the delicate and smooth way the physics and game world work is intuitive and addictive. For me, the game peaks at level 4, where you must use your abilities to shape water, sand and lava to not only expand your people, but to mold a rock wall to protect them from tsunamis.

There are many other notable scenarios, and although the game’s mechanics remain simplistic, the new dangers the game throws at you keeps you challenged. Though later on, some of these hazards become annoying, such as the fire plants which ignite terrain regularly. From Dust was a brilliant experiment in terrain interactivity and puzzle game-like problem solving with a sandbox toolset. It was well received by players and critics. Over a half a million people bought the game on PC and consoles, outperforming any other digital title released by Ubisoft by nearly 50%.

But despite this success, Eric and Ubisoft didn’t opt for the possible expansion which was going to add a level editor and multiplayer, nor a proper sequel — perhaps due burn out after the five-year development cycle. A web-based fan-made game designed as a spiritual successor to Populous surfaced in 2012. Its cult popularity prompted indie dev Electrolyte to redevelop it as a standalone desktop game called Reprisal Universe, two years later. It enjoyed quiet success, and was praised for staying true to the Populous formula, though it made some of the interface and controls less straining. The game adopted a stylized, geometric graphic style and some sleek post-processing effects to make it attractive to a newer audience. It retains the focus on world sculpting, but also brings back many of the fun and devastating powers from Populous 1 & 2.

Reprisal is an approachable remake of those classic games, and though a few purists criticize the so-called “dated” mechanics or some of the minor changes the game made, it’s a great reminder that these classic ideas are still popular and fun, two decades on. After a 15-year dirt nap, Electronic Arts unceremoniously revived the Dungeon Keeper series… as a mobile game. Despite putting the competent Mythic Entertainment behind the wheel (who had developed multiple successful MMOs), all was not well. Playing more like a disguised clone of Clash of Clans than its namesake, there were frustrating stops at every corner, whether it was blocks of earth that could take up to 24 real-life hours to excavate, or upgrades requiring gem packs which costed up to a hundred dollars each! Dungeon Keeper mobile may have worn the skin of a much better game, but was immediately despised by the core gaming community for it.

Even Peter Molyneux, the original game’s project lead, fiercely criticized how crazy it was that these mobile games indoctrinate you into spending gems and speeding up the deliberately designed drudgery present in these games. Poignantly pointing out that “Asking people for money is not a right. You have to justify it,” a quote that I enthusiastically agree with, but would later become hypocritical with his own foray into mobile gaming.

Dungeon Keeper mobile features dully-lit, limited corridors, without the freedom to explore into the dark unknown, with generic, cartoony graphics that could be mistaken for any other mobile game. It was missing the thick and immersive atmosphere, the addictive gameplay you couldn’t put down, and the heart of a classic god game that we knew and loved. You can even pluck an excavated room from one spot and place it down somewhere else without digging or rebuilding it. One of many examples of how little reverence this poor imitation had for the originals. Gamers and journalists alike tore this misguided product apart.

Only dedicated mobile game critics gave the game a pass. A sad commentary on the rock-bottom expectations many mobile gamers have. And like clockwork, Electronic Arts shut down the Mythic offices just months after Dungeon Keeper launched and, unsurprisingly, failed to garner a viable audience. A particularly sour end, as Dungeon Keeper 2 was one of the last games Bullfrog released before, too, getting the axe. There were several more genuine attempts over the years to revive the magic of Dungeon Keeper.

Though instead of looking at what worked in these games and improving upon them, they often imitated the theme and style, but drastically changed the core gameplay. Vying for simplified real-time strategy game mechanics, and lack of gameplay polish and nuance led to them being poor imitations of RTS games and god games alike. The dungeon sim, Impire, showed a lot of promise as a spiritual successor to Dungeon Keeper, but its clunky interface and confounding design choices led this imaginative spark to fizzle.

These kinds of games looked great in trailers and screenshots but in actuality were deeply flawed, with little of the charm, intuitiveness or fun factor of the games that inspired them. Despite their original attempt receiving poor reviews, to everyone’s surprise, Kalypso’s Dungeons II actually came out of the gate swinging with vastly improved gameplay, interactivity and polish. And most notably, featured an underworld map AND an overworld map running simultaneously, meaning your demonic denizens could reach the surface, wander and fight enemies outside, then enter other dungeons and locations. This seemed to be a nod to the ideas espoused by the cancelled successor to Dungeon Keeper 2 by Bullfrog. So it’s worthy of praise that Realmforge Studios managed to turn a poor imitation into a competent successor with even some neat features of its own. With the unique take on the “Dungeon Keeper” formula though, you could see their own voice emerge: evolving the “dungeon life sim” approach into a more traditional real-time strategy game — with the ability to order units around through direct control in the overworld.

It was a jarring shift from god game to real-time strategy game when traveling to and from your dungeon. Though a welcome addition to spice things up, rather than mundanely imitating a classic, it felt like two loosely-connected games at times. As the Dungeons series found their footing, they even strayed further from the formula, eschewing the influence-over-direct-control design pillars. In Dungeons 3, you hire creatures directly with money. Many other mechanics and design choices were changed or removed, and overall, the experience is enjoyable, but feels less interesting.

Your dungeon is no longer a mysterious abyss to explore and traverse through, as the area you can work with is small and limited. It’s now more like a base to build up as quickly as you can. Mana is now a mineable resource, the creature limit is always cripplingly low, and tech tree paths become dominant to your strategy, as the game forces you to go into the overworld to gain “Evilness”, the currency needed to unlock research.

Perhaps this was an effort for the developers to come into their own, outside of the long shadow Dungeon Keeper casted, and which all similar games inevitably get compared to. But is nevertheless a welcome if stylistically different take on the formula. Probably the most true-to-form recreation of the Dungeon Keeper concept since Bullfrog shut down was an indie project started in 2009 by Brightrock Games, which included some of Dungeon Keeper’s most talented modders. The new game was named War for the Overworld — after the cancelled Dungeon Keeper 3 project. It quickly grew from a labor of love to a successful crowdfunded Kickstarter project, raising over 300 thousand dollars. Longtime advocates of the franchise promoted the project, and they hired the always-enjoyable Richard Ridings as the game’s narrator, whose voicework for the Dungeon Keeper games was a fan favorite.

This was proof that there was a dedicated fanbase for these ideas, that were itching to get more games of this style. The game was released on the Steam Early Access program in 2013, and though production went through several hiccups, including a botched launch in 2015, which temporarily broke several maps and the multiplayer mode, strong post-launch support and free add-ons brought it to a much better state as time went on. It’s one thing to nail the feel of a classic, but to come up with new, original ideas that mesh with the original formula so well is inspiring.

Featuring more creature types, spells and rooms than either of the Dungeon Keeper games, the game isn’t content on just imitating its inspiration, it tries to innovate on every level. Introducing an expansive skill tree, that allows for more diverse playstyles, with the branches of Sloth, Greed and Wrath. Sloth skills focus on defense and traps, a more hands-off and defensive playstyle. Greed is all about mining and amassing wealth and resources. And Wrath is the hardline offensive strategy, with rooms, spells and powers focused on making your creatures strong and your enemies weaker. With new mechanics like rituals, which act like more powerful spells you must invest time and resources into, and new obstacles such as brimstone, which can only be broken through with explosive underminers, fragile ice, hardened permafrost, and sacred ground, tiles that cannot be claimed by Keepers.

War for the Overworld manages to capture that magic sensation of governing your evil empire from above perhaps better than any other game, save for the original Bullfrog titles. My only disappointment is its limited campaign, which plays more like an extended tutorial, rather than a story-driven set of challenging missions. But after years of content patches, free additions such as new maps, a survival mode, and expansion packs like My Pet Dungeon, in some ways, the game even eclipses its predecessors in terms of depth and variety. Especially with plug-and-play Steam mod support.

War for the Overworld skillfully dovetails classic gameplay and brand new ideas, and in doing so, stands strong as arguably the most adept successor to the Dungeon Keeper franchise to date. After the decline of big-budget god games, the genre fell into the hands of smaller, often independent studios to carry the torch. Many of these were more casual, social affairs, gravitating toward the Facebook and mobile phone platforms. The obvious drawback is the all-too-common adoption of the budding “free-to-play” model attached to such games, where your progress is deliberately slowed or outright halted, to incentivize the purchase of premium currency. But there were some bright spots here and there. In 2012, Lionhead Studios co-founder, Peter Molyneux left his own company, at the completion of Fable: The Journey, a mostly panned spinoff of their most popular franchise.

30 Years of God Game History Part 6

Villages will expand on their own, and will build more homes as needed, but you can always speed that process up by providing them the materials they need, and by using the workshop to craft scaffolding for more advanced buildings. Villages are composed of a simple set of structures, farms, civic buildings, and potentially, your civilization’s wonder. Black & White toes the line so as to not demand too much micromanagement — emulating the more elevated influence a god would have, rather than a more hands-on mayor or king. And for the most part, I think the game aces that balance, it never becomes a SimCity clone, but you still have ways to direct your sometimes wayward followers. The core activity of the game is harnessing belief. Worshippers at your temple fuel your miracles through prayer.

You can demand more prayer (and thus more power) through raising or lowering your godly totem, with the drawback of taking villagers away from their day-to-day jobs. Miracles have a wide variety of uses, for good or evil. Summon rainstorms to replenish farms and forestry, throw fireballs to smite nonbelievers, summon doves or wolves to impress or threaten other cities, or replenish your wood or food stocks. Belief is also crucial when capturing other towns.

Even randomly tossing a giant stone over a village will impress the inhabitants somewhat, but they will grow tired of seeing the same trick again and again. So you’re constantly having to find new ways to wow outsiders into believing in you. Either peacefully, or aggressively. Once they have gained enough belief, the village will turn to your side, and your influence range will expand further.

The satisfying and sometimes kinetic feedback of simple actions in the world feels so empowering. A deft hand and flick of the mouse can fling entire trees toward your storage facility, which get ground up into reusable wood. Villagers witnessing your feats of dexterity will also be impressed and gain belief.

But if you slip while showing off, that rock you tossed may crush a few of them before you notice. There are a few shortcomings to the game, most notably its long and tedious runway. Lionhead made the game intuitive and natural to control. Though it has a few more obfuscated mechanics, none of them justify the hours you’ll spend as the games’ narrators hold your hand through every step.

Even getting used to movement and shifting your viewpoint takes several minutes to burn through, whereas they could have explained this with a single prompt. The game features a multiplayer and skirmish mode which pits 2, 3 or 4 gods against one another. You can play solo against AI enemies, or with other humans online or over networks.

It’s fascinating watching other gods move around and tend to their civilizations in real time, and these modes were incredibly enjoyable additions to the game. Your creature would even grow and learn throughout your skirmishes and multiplayer matches, and those changes would be retained when you came back to the single player campaign, creating a sort of persistent progression. Black & White was so ambitious that during the game’s alpha phase, multiplayer was almost removed entirely.

And it seemed like Lionhead cut their post-launch support of the game short. A more ambitious online mode, where a large number of players would battle it out in a last-man-standing arena was planned, but later cancelled. So all we got were three official maps outside of the campaign, a step down from the large set of maps available in Dungeon Keeper and Populous. And the small and unrevolutionary expansion pack was set on a single map with no multiplayer support. Though Black & White saw great success on the PC, selling two and a half million copies, plans for a set of console releases were cancelled one by one in a cascading series of failed projects. A Sega Dreamcast port was reportedly nearly finished when the system saw a sudden drastic decline in the wake of the Playstation 2’s release.

Lionhead planned ports to the Playstation, Playstation 2 and Xbox, but quietly cancelled them, with no announcement or reason given. Even Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions were in development, until EA’s lack of interest killed them. Black & White was clearly a passion project, something that Peter Molyneux and the other talented and inspired creators at Lionhead had wanted to make for years. And the result shows in every corner.

These are the game developers that would even sneak interactivity into their logo reveals, after all. Though more narrative-driven and linear than the god games before it, and almost serving as a big, fantastic tech demo rather than a game, in a world of tightly crafted corridors, and minutely tailor-made cutscenes and scripted sequences, a great big sandbox which lets you make it your own, without any one right way to play it, is about as unique and memorable as a game could be. After Black & White’s success, Lionhead quickly grew out of its original one-game-at-time routine.

They started multiple projects, most notably the open-world caveman action-adventure game, B.C., and an experimental fantasy RPG known then as Project Ego. Both were to be published by Microsoft and intended as exclusive system-sellers for what would be their most successful foray into console games: the Xbox. Due to the monumental effort put into these games, their E3 and trade show demos and the ever-expanding hunger for resources needed to make Project Ego, now famously known as Fable, a reality; the cost was the cancellation of B.C., and undivided attention toward Fable. Lionhead’s rapid growth put Molyneux in more of an executive role than he had ever been previously, less hands-on in programming and day-to-day design, but holding more of a detached director’s role from above. Daily costs of employment and running the shop were reaching sky-high levels for an independent developer, and resources were being spread thin.

Despite mounting tensions, a sequel to Black & White was released in 2005, but Lionhead Studios had become a very different company in the four years between these games. The first game’s artist and creative director Mark Healey had left, to later go on to make the smash hit, LittleBigPlanet at Media Molecule, and Lionhead experienced growing pains from developing multiple games at the same time, especially following the 2001 economic crash. Fans must have spoken, as Lionhead listened.

The glacier-paced tutorial in the original game has been hastened in the sequel. Basic controls are in an optional segment, and in fact the first two entire worlds you visit are skippable. But I immediately felt something was off about this game when I first played it. Maybe it was the obvious re-use of the first game’s intro animation, or the lifeless and unenthused way you’re thrust into the story.

It just didn’t have the heart or soul of Black & White, which immediately hit you with an emotional bond as to why and how you became a god, with the theme of personal story and tragedy echoed through its quests. For example, one of the earliest quests in Black & White was a desperate woman crying out for help in the rain, as her sick brother wandered into the woods. One of the first quests in Black & White 2 features a man with an inconvenient boulder in his front yard.

It’s the same type of tutorial: picking up and moving objects, but a far cry in terms of emotional investment. There is also an incessant flow of trivial objectives sent your way this time around, like collecting a specific quantity of ore, or achieving a population milestone. It’s the most barebones method of engaging the player with a game, an odd design choice since Black & White naturally has so many interesting abilities, objects and worlds to discover and interact with.

Four years of technological advances were kind to Black & White 2, which featured much improved graphics: higher definition models, and landscapes and miracle effects that still look stunning even today. The aim for a minimalist interface was discarded, instead replaced with a tacked-on objective window, and a clunky building and upgrade menu that clashed with the rest of the game. Much of this stays on your screen at all times. This sequel offers a wide swath of new buildings, with many favorites plucked straight out of a city-builder.

Multiple types of houses, baths, amphitheatres, pottery markets and even old folks’ homes, among many others. There’s a lot more micromanagement this time around, requiring explicit placement of roads, buildings and farms. Most notably, you can now force your creature to build buildings, or you can hold down a button when carrying materials to construct buildings directly, without any villagers at all. The game introduces a third resource, metal ore.

This is most used in constructing higher-end buildings, and is a key requirement to build armories and siege shops, and equipping an army. This is a new focus for the game: military tactics, and has a strong effect on the tone and style of gameplay. The first game was more about swaying belief through godlike means, whether aggressively or peacefully, but this sequel often suggests or demands that you conquer enemy towns by building up a platoon of soldiers and taking land by force. Your creature can also fight in battles, which can be amazing to watch. Seeing a towering lion kick dozens of foot soldiers into the sky never gets old, and some new miracles can be devastating and beautiful to watch.

Summoning a meteor swarm and seeing death rain from the skies is oh so satisfying, but it seems the focus has switched toward a more aggressive (or evil) playstyle, rather than the more balanced set of options the original game touted. This emphasis on city building and battle strategy is empowering, but now it seems like you have to do all this busywork, and less divine activity. Black & White 2 sees you constantly building out your town, spending currency to unlock more buildings and abilities, and planning wars, rather than influencing and guiding a more autonomous civilization. One of the sequel’s bright spots is the inclusion of Epic Miracles, which are like the more powerful abilities from Populous — on steroids! Firstly, the Siren converts enemy soldiers to your cause. There’s the Hurricane, a devastating whirlwind that sweeps up entire buildings and towns.

30 Years of God Game History Part 5

It wasn’t that there was anything particularly wrong with it, it’s just that’s the point where it changed, and stopped being the same Bullfrog, I think. Yeah.” At the turn of the century, we saw more experimentation in real-time strategy games and city builders. One such example was Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim.

Like other RTSes, in Majesty, you can build all sorts of buildings, combat unit trainers and towers to establish and defend your kingdom. But there are two changes it makes which have resounding effects on the way you play the game. First is the removal of direct orders to your combat units.

Instead, they wander around on their own, seeking fame and fortune. Hireable heroes have names, classes and can level up and equip a myriad of upgrades and items, which dabbles into RPG territory. You can only influence heroes through setting bounties: paying out a specified amount of gold to them for exploring an area, killing a monster, or destroying a monster den. Once you pledge the money, you can’t take it back, so it’s a risk/reward system you have to consider carefully. And the AI is just sophisticated enough for heroes to weigh your proposed gold versus the imminent danger at hand.

Majesty also innovates through its unique economy. Tax collection is your primary revenue source, but if you’re strapped for cash, you can extort some buildings for a quick buck, though everything has repercussions. Economic buildings like blacksmiths, marketplaces, inns and others attract heroes, who will purchase weapons, armor, potions and items to better survive their adventures — which leads to more income for you.

A fascinating symbiosis. You can wield an impressive arsenal of spells, anything from healing, lightning, buffs, fire spells, necromancy, earthquakes, and even resurrection. Though technically you play a king, the reliance on incentivizing heroes to do your bidding rather than giving them direct orders, and your ability to cast powerful spells from a bird’s-eye view, puts this game squarely in god game territory. Finding that sweet spot between building defenses, increasing revenue through economic investment, and putting up bounties on dangerous monsters and the dens they spawn from is challenging.

Keeping your kingdom in order along the game’s campaign, customizable skirmishes and multiplayer, is endlessly entertaining. There was an exodus from Bullfrog around the end of Dungeon Keeper’s development. Among those who left, Mike Diskett, Gary Carr and others formed a new company, Mucky Foot Productions.

Including veteran developers who designed Populous, Theme Hospital and the Syndicate series. After releasing the action game, Urban Chaos, under Eidos Interactive, their next project was a hybrid of sorts, equal parts business management game (such as Bullfrog’s famous Theme series), and part-Dungeon Keeper successor. A “Star Trek Tycoon” of sorts, with a dash of wackiness and humor. Instead of a Dungeon Keeper-like tunneling mechanic, Startopia instead offers large open space station compartments, where you can place rooms and decorations anywhere there’s open floor. To grow further, you must purchase new compartments over the three levels of the station. There’s the Bio Deck, which you can terraform to recreate the home planet environment of different species, the Engineering Deck, where machinery, storage, ports, and other utilitarian rooms would go, and the Pleasure Deck, where diners, commercial buildings, bars and other recreational activities take place.

Your creatures can get into scuffles, but this time with laser guns instead of claws, swords and arrows. The game barely squeezes into god game territory, with all the tropes and mechanics of a business simulator at the forefront, but I feel it qualifies based on a few points: your god-like “indirect control” perspective, your need to manage creatures, their personalities and conflicts, and your innate ability to teleport, hold on to, and re-materialize anything in the game world on command. You may not get lightning bolts, possession, or other magic, but in many ways, it is a successor to Dungeon Keeper. And a good one to boot! I think the general public didn’t know what to make of Startopia, as the early 2000s were a molding point, where genres like real-time strategy, city builders, and other categories were getting solidified.

Other genre-bending games such as Giants: Citizen Kabuto also fell through the cracks, while straight-shooting genre-definers like Starcraft and Diablo sold millions. StarTopia became a cult classic since its release in 2001, but its minor ripple in the gaming industry, along with a commercially unsuccessful movie tie-in game based on Blade 2, Mucky Foot never saw the success they needed to stay afloat. Despite having six other games in the works, they ended their short but bright run in 2003. Shortly after leaving, several ex-Bullfrog directors and employees went on to start up a new game development studio. Among them were co-founder Peter Molyneux, designer and programmer Mark Webley, technical director Tim Rance, artist Mark Healey, as well as bringing on the tabletop game legend and co-founder of Games Workshop, Steve Jackson. Using several million dollars of his own personal money to initially fund the venture, Molyneux led the development of some of the most inspired projects in gaming history.

Following the habit of naming companies after intentionally stupid things, like naming Bullfrog Productions after a desk ornament, Lionhead Studios was named after Mark Webley’s hamster — who tragically died soon after. As a retort to the all-directions-at-once corporate culture now pervasive in the industry, the studio was deliberately founded to be a driven, professional, small-scale developer that worked on one game at a time until completion. Lionhead worked tirelessly for nearly four long, passionate years to create a giant among god games: Black & White. Peter Molyneux had been getting a reputation in the industry as not only an idea man, but one of the few game designers most gamers knew by name, a programmer, and a persuasive gaming personality.

Perhaps this was how he was able to garner EA’s attention so handily, leaving a studio he sold them, only to turn around and have them publish his next game under a new studio. Despite Molyneux’s later notoriety by failing to actually deliver promised features, Black & White was one of his few titles that lived up to the hype. Few games have fused so many aspects from different genres so cleverly and organically.

Black & White touts village life simulation that keeps track of individual people, names, jobs and families. You can wield godlike magical powers, with impressive fire, water, weather and gravity physics. It’s all backed up by real-time strategy and city building elements, and a morphable AI creature you can tame, train and teach right from wrong. It’s all so broad, yet so cohesive, and arguably stands as the most impressive example of a god game to date. Black & White shifted the core mechanic away from Populous’ terrain manipulation, toward your godly hand itself. Your mouse cursor is now a 3D object, directly moving around the game space, and Lionhead’s innovative and intuitive design shines brightest here.

You can control anything in the game, from camera movement, complex spell casting, training and building, all with a two-button mouse only, with a minimalist user interface, and few popups to break that immersion. Molyneux wanted as little as possible to get in the way of the player’s interactions with their virtual realm. You can throw boulders, uproot trees, pluck schools of fish straight out of the water, toss villagers like they were soccer balls or countless other actions one might want to do in this sandbox world.

Few live dealer online casino games approach the level of tinkering and innovation that Black & White begs you to experiment with. As you might suspect from the game’s title, you have the option for a good or evil decision in every scenario. Angel and devil-like advisers personify your conscience, and guide you through the story. One adviser might tell you that the best way to convince villages to believe in you, is to impress them.

You can summon flocks of birds, fulfill their desires for food or wood, or wow them with your towering pet, as your good conscience suggests. Your evil conscience will delight in the suffering of people as you squash, burn or starve them, and both consciences will offer you choices in each quest you take on. For example, in an early quest, you can kindly fulfill a villager’s prayer to save her brother, or if you like, smash open her house to find hidden spoils. Each quest is personal, quirky or endearing.

Whether it’s satisfying the needs of entitled missionaries who will sing about their beggary, or solving the mystery of magical stones you must locate and place in a puzzle-like sequence. Your good and evil actions physically transform your temple to a bright and shiny paradise, or to a spiny, crooked spire. Your landscape will become brighter if you’re benevolent and grimmer if you turn to evil. And even the game’s soundtrack will morph into a more happy tune or a desolate one depending on your alignment. But the scene stealer in Black & White is your godly “creature”. Early prototypes of the game featured human “titans” you could teach and grow to become your avatar.

But the moral dilemma of slapping children to teach them right from wrong led to changing this human “pet” into an animal, as the human version made people uncomfortable. Early in the game you get to pick from a handful of large animals as your titan-like avatar in the game world. They start out timid and infant-like.

A blank slate, from which you can teach skills and instill morals into. They will become towering powerhouses as they grow up. Rub your tiger’s belly while he’s holding a citizen and he’ll develop a taste for man-flesh. Take him for a walk and cast miracles, and the creature will learn them organically, and try to mimic you to earn your approval, whether for doing nice things or cruel things.

Creatures are fully autonomous, and can interact with just about anything. Tossing villagers, drinking from lakes, relieving themselves all over town, and breakdancing are things you’ll catch your creature doing to keep themselves busy. It’s fascinating to watch. In my most recent playthrough, I accidentally tossed a pig instead of dropping it.

My tiger thought it was hilarious, so his favorite pastime became pig-tossing! That’s just how impressive this AI is. It feels a little like raising a pet or a child, encouraging them when they do things you like, and punishing them when they cause trouble, or if you’re going the evil route, when they’re not causing ENOUGH trouble.

You’ll gradually become attached to your creature, and want to help them grow, expand and succeed, and there’s a sense of pride when they do something on their own and it’s a hit with the villagers. It’s this surprisingly personal focus that makes Black & White stand out. In the introduction, you see the creation of a newly formed god, summoned out of the ether due to a dire plead to a higher power. Neglectful parents let their young boy swim out into the ocean and is about to be eaten by sharks. They pray for you to save their child, and thus the core tenets of the god game was explained in an emotional way here: a perfect world needs no gods. Only a world filled with prayers to solve its many problems is a world where your presence is necessary.

Thus begins your quest to gain power and influence through harnessing the belief of the common people. You only have powers over those who believe in you. In gameplay terms, this addresses a long-standing issue with the Populous series. In classic Populous, you could create powerful effects right in the middle of an enemy city with no restrictions. In Black & White, a ring of influence is visible around your believers.

You cannot pick up anything or create miracles outside of that ring, but if you’re crafty, you do have a small window of opportunity just outside your reach. As long as you build up its momentum, you can toss a boulder and sometimes hit distant targets. You can try to flick a fireball at a nearby village, or quickly snag a tree or two just outside your influence.

It’s this ebb and flow of power that makes interacting with your world so fascinating. You’re constantly trying to impress your followers and non-followers alike in order to gain an edge. You can ordain any citizen to make them into a disciple, who fervently performs the task relevant to where you placed them. Drop a lady next to a man and she will repopulate the village, drop a man next to a forest and he’ll begin logging, place someone next to an unfinished building and they’ll become a disciple builder, and so on. This is the most direct way you can control your followers, but has its own drawbacks if you strip your population of its basic jobs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gt4-tBFIcsI

30 Years of God Game History Part 4

Bullfrog re-hired their favorite composer, Russell Shaw, and his eerie sound design coupled with the game’s stirring visual spectacle of exploring massive caves and hallways are an unforgettable experience. The delight of slaying those pesky knights, archers and do-gooders who dare disturb your subterranean kingdom, results in a game for the ages. Each creature type was designed with their own personality, requirements, quirks, likes and dislikes. Beetles would fight and try to eat flies.

Some creatures, like dragons, are greedy and leave your dungeon quickly if unpaid, or might steal money if unhappy. The game often becomes a balancing act of getting prima-donna creatures to play nice with others, and trying not to drain all of your resources in the process. With a full multiplayer mode, and an expansion pack with plenty of skirmish maps, Dungeon Keeper was an addictive, atmospheric god game, with enough strategy and business management thrown in to make it grounded and competitive. Dungeon Keeper’s influence is so far-reaching, its engine and block-based digging mechanics directly inspired the creation of one of the most successful and imitated games ever made, Minecraft. Selling nearly a million copies by the end of the decade, it still fell short of Populous and Theme Park’s numbers.

Frustrated by the corporate constriction of his new position at EA, Molyneux turned in his resignation mid-Dungeon Keeper, though he personally saw the game through to its completion. EA reacted to this departure by hiring more managers at Bullfrog, causing this small but brilliant developer to begin to buckle under this added pressure to churn out more surefire hits. Fast. Employees compared the long-term effects of the acquisition to becoming a lifeless factory, or being taken over by the Borg from Star Trek. Further evolving the engine that began with Magic Carpet, and was later revised for Dungeon Keeper, Bullfrog set out to make their first god game since Molyneux’s departure.

Bringing Populous to a new generation after a lengthy 7-year hiatus, the third and final entry to the series made sweeping changes, both lauded and controversial. Populous: The Beginning is a real-time strategy game with god game elements. This time around, you no longer soar over the world using miracles wherever you see fit, instead you channel your abilities through the Shaman.

She is both your most powerful asset in the game and the thing you must protect most. You can now select units and order them around directly, and though some units hint at autonomy, you’ll need to micromanage here, even down to manually placing buildings — a first for the series. The freeform terrain deformation from Magic Carpet is on full display here, but it is deeper and even smoother than ever before. A fully manipulable grid of water, sand, grass, dirt, rock and snow let you craft the earth from the ground up, just like in the original Populous. Though due to the 3D presentation, and your more limited power, the environment feels a lot more fleshed out and has more of a permanence to it. Villagers will stomp and flatten land before building a structure, tactical terrain crafting can create natural walls and bottlenecks for enemies, and higher elevation grants you a longer reach for throwing projectiles and casting spells.

You can create land bridges. Summon volcanoes and watch magma roll down and engulf anything in its path. Suck up villages bit by bit with powerful tornadoes. Set fire to buildings and trees, igniting those around it.

Conjure a swarm of locusts to chase away invaders. Convert godless wildmen to your cause. Toss enemy units into the drink with a fun and responsive physics system.

Summon angels of death to wreak havoc from the skies, and rain fire and fury upon your enemies. It was all-out war over land, sea and air, with flexible vehicles and buildings such as watchtowers, which increase attack and spell range, and boats and air balloons, to aid in traversing the world. The map is a seamless globe you can zoom all the way out and look at from the stars. This allowed for interesting and unpredictable strategies, where you could attack from the opposite side of the world, instead of only head-on.

There’s just something so satisfying about watching your muscly little braves trade punches with their enemies, while tribal drums thump in the background, showing heathens the true word with your preachers, or raining biblical destruction down on a rival Shaman’s town and watching its inhabitants run around and scream their heads off. Populous 3 brought some newcomers to the series, due to its more mainstream appeal, but divided oldschool Populous fans. It was liked by most for its impressive physics and charismatic and interactive world, but it strayed from the god game formula, preferring more of a standard RTS approach, with sometimes weak AI.

It’s still an amazing achievement and an engaging but less unique experience. This entry does however maintain a loyal fan base who still play it both offline and online together, and modify it to this day, and is much more active than the community of its predecessors. A successor to the Populous series was in development for several months called Genesis: The Hand of God. Red flags sprung up however, when Peter Molyneux’s new startup company, Lionhead Studios, was making their new game, ironically, also with EA as the publisher. Marketing saw the conflict of interest, and decided to axe Bullfrog’s game, despite pleads by employees about the originality between the two. The inevitable sequel, Dungeon Keeper 2 added many new features and mechanics to the series, and moved to fully 3D models for characters.

Every wall, building and object are deliberately bent and malformed, making it unique-looking, twisted and timeless. The sequel’s tone is a bit lighter, but Richard Ridings’ deliciously evil voicework returns as both narration and vocal notifications. Many creature types went by the wayside, including ghosts, beetles, demon spawn, tentacles, dragons and such. And they changed the game’s most iconic creature, the Horned Reaper, from the most brutal and moody of all the creatures in your dungeon, to a limited summon spell you could cast. There are new additions though, such as the lovable salamander, the spidery maiden, dark knights, dark angels and such. One big change introduced mana as a new resource.

No longer having to drain your gold reserves to cast spells, you now regenerate mana and can use magic even if you’re broke. You can now also summon a small sum of gold with magic, acting as a band-aid for bankrupt keepers. New rooms abound, such as the Casino, where you can improve the happiness of your minions at the cost of your precious coin, or you can secretly rig the gambling tables, to rob your minions of their money, and their good mood. Dungeon Keeper 2 was slicker, ran smoother, and was much more scalable due to its new Windows-based engine and 3D acceleration support.

A notable addition was My Pet Dungeon, a casual sandbox mode where you could craft your own personal dungeon over time without a specified overarching goal — like an infernal terrarium of sorts. In this “Sim-Dungeon” mode, you could manually request attacks from enemies to test your defenses, or simply chill out and manage your lair at your own pace, without limitations. Despite being a solid upgrade to the original Dungeon Keeper in most respects, the market was changing and mainstream RTS games were taking the world by storm. So something off-kilter and patently different like Dungeon Keeper 2 didn’t succeed.

It sold about a tenth of its predecessor. Co-founder Les Edgar left Bullfrog shortly before Dungeon Keeper 2’s release, and while helping fund fellow Bullfrog veteran Glenn Corpes’s new development company, Lost Toys, Edgar left the gaming industry entirely, while later resurfacing in the automotive industry. He’s now a luminary in the field of British sports cars. Dungeon Keeper 2’s critical and consumer praise, despite disappointing sales, led to developing a sequel, though they planned for major mechanical changes. A trailer on the game disc teased the idea that the fans’ next frontier was to take on lands outside the dungeons, and fight heroes on their own turf. War for the Overworld was a spiritual successor in development for months by a small team at Bullfrog.

It was an attempt at retaining the originality of Dungeon Keeper, but attracting a more mainstream audience. This new game was to have more real-time strategy elements, and shifted from excavating the underworld to building castles and fighting heroes in the overworld. A small development team planned supply line mechanics, a more direct control method, and multiple playable races with asymmetric abilities — likely inspired by the proven design of the megahit Starcraft. This sounded promising, as most of the company was working on money-driven strategy games and theme park sims at the time, but before the project came to full stride, Electronic Arts secured video game rights to both The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movie franchises.

With the keys to these gargantuan money-makers in their hands, EA decided to scrap any in-development projects Bullfrog was working on, and disbanded it as a company in 2001, later to shuffle remaining staff to licensed games. As much ire EA receives for running this inspirational studio into the ground (and some of it well-deserved), Bullfrog’s structural integrity had died years before. Molyneux and Edgar were the founders of the company, but also their protectors. Without that shield between publisher interference and their development teams, they didn’t stand a chance against the ever-expanding and competitive gaming industry, and EA’s increasingly aggressive handling of their subsidiaries. GLENN CORPES: “When EA first bought Bullfrog, they left us alone for about three years.

They bought Bullfrog for a reason. They didn’t buy Bullfrog to turn it into some generic EA thing, and what what did happen, was that, because of that, Peter found himself in the States a lot, or in Canada, on the worldwide steering committee — and that’s kind of why he wasn’t involved with the initial version of Dungeon Keeper so much, which is why when he came back it was all sort of like, ‘throw it all away, and start again!’ “They didn’t really interfere at first you know, at all, it was only later on, when Peter left. They didn’t realize that he only really worked on one game at a time, totally focused on it. “But things like Syndicate and Magic Carpet, he was barely involved with, because he was too distracted with Populous 2, Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper, while those games were in development. “And, you know that worked. But of course, when he left, you know EA perceived all kinds of gaps and started bringing in people.

30 Years of God Game History Part 3

Dropping the 2D presentation of Populous, their new project pushed the limits of what was possible in computer gaming. The first time you boot up Magic Carpet, you’ll immediately soak in its thick atmosphere. Howling winds soar around you, with a mysterious desert world below. Encounters with magic and fantastic creatures punctuate your travels, evoking the charm and style of Arabian Nights.

You control a wizard atop the titular flying rug, where you must bolster your power to face off against monsters, armies and even other wizards. Claiming settlements and mana spheres allows for greater spells, as well as summoning and upgrading your very own castle, which doubles as a respawn point and mana storage. You learn a myriad of spells, ranging from fireballs, lightning, teleportation, land deformation, to even summoning volcanoes. It’s this versatility and power over the environment that makes Magic Carpet such a dynamic experience. The ground will swell or deform chunk by chunk when you let loose a powerful ability. Townspeople will run around and battle monsters to defend themselves.

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Occasional scripted events can turn things on their head, leading to some surprising and challenging moments. Teleporting you to an unknown destination, or summoning a group of monsters, to stop you in your tracks. Magic Carpet was less of a hands-on project for Molyneux, who did not work on the programming or design side of things this time around. The game’s revolutionary technology was what made it stand out from the pack. A programmer’s game, like Populous before it. Glenn Corpes, one of the technical pillars of Bullfrog since Populous, built the powerful engine at the game’s foundation, which is a marvel of its time.

Corpes was so influential to early god games, you can see his initials he snuck into the user interface of Populous. The game was way ahead of its competition in graphics tech, which may have hindered its adoption rate. It featured 3D vision options, VR headset support, an optional SVGA resolution, real-time water reflections, completely deformable 3D terrain, and even anti-aliasing! Unheard of in a 1994 game.

Mis-marketing Magic Carpet as ONLY a first-person shooter seemed to sell it short, competing against the ever-popular DOOM II that same year. And so the cult classic undersold, despite its ports to the Playstation and Sega Saturn consoles. Perhaps it was the game’s obtuse objectives, whimsical and dizzying combat and spectacle, the loose control scheme, or its complexity that turned people away. It nevertheless remains one of the most original and atmospheric games of the 1990s, and would influence future titles for years. Magic Carpet 2 wasn’t as revolutionary, in fact it retains all the features of the original, but just adds more.

More spells, more levels, and more interesting scenario design. Bullfrog added some nice environmental variety, though. Stark nighttime levels, and underground worlds, which have impassable walls you can’t soar over.

This was a clever technical trick, where they mirrored the terrain map to create a cavernous floor and ceiling. The game shows off more nuanced level design, with frequent scripted events to keep the players on their toes. They also added excellent voiceover by Hugo Myatt, famous for playing the dungeon master Treguard in the 1980s TV show, Knightmare. This storybook-like narration helps guide players through each level, and makes the game’s story more engaging. Like Populous’s sequel before it, Magic Carpet 2 adds a layer of progression to the game, with the player gaining experience from using magic, which unlocks three tiers of each spell. So what starts out as a single fireball ends up as rapid-fire attacks.

Lightning bolts become lightning storms, and you can even upgrade your castle with magic turrets to better defend your mana trove. Magic Carpet 2 didn’t release on consoles like its predecessor did. Despite its cult status with a dedicated but niche fanbase, continued lack of mainstream interest eventually led to the promising franchise’s demise. During the development of Magic Carpet and other Bullfrog games, Peter Molyneux was in talks about an acquisition. After courting other big publishers who had expressed interest, Bullfrog and Electronic Arts inked a merger in 1995, which propelled Molyneux and co-founder Les Edgar to vice-presidents at EA, while simultaneously managing their own studio from above. Bullfrog Productions was still small around that time, but with this acquisition, EA put the studio to work and demanded a steady assembly line of hits, like a mechanized factory.

At one point, seven whole games were being developed at the same time. Bullfrog even slapped together an entire racing game in just seven short weeks to appease their new owners, in-between tirelessly worked on their next triple-A release behind the scenes. While change was amok in Guildford, fellow brits in Cambridge released Creatures in 1996. The game made a big splash in the world of life simulators, featuring a complex artificial intelligence system in the form of Norns, cute little aliens who are naive, trusting and fun-loving to a fault. Playing the game and trying to make your Norns smarter, more mature and more sentient over generations was the crux of the game and its sequels. Even teaching them language and deeper thought patterns through association and repetition.

Though more of a life sim than a god game, it still featured a host of ways to influence and evolve the little critters into a more successful species. Acting more as a “spark of enlightenment” rather than a Zeus-like god with heavenly powers at your fingertips. After making several games in the Creatures series, computer scientist Steve Grand would go on to make real-life robots with machine-learning AI that would start with human baby-like intelligence and attempt to learn new concepts organically like a real person would.

This was during a trend where life and pet simulation games were all the rage during the mid-1990s. More games would explore the idea of evolution. And more complex and interactive takes on the SimLife and SimEarth formula would follow suit.

These tended to be traditional simulations, as they didn’t include supernatural influence or abilities. Thus losing the “god game” classification. As Peter Molyneux’s next pet project loomed, Glenn Corpes re-tooled the powerful Magic Carpet engine for more strategy-oriented gameplay. They shifted to a bird’s-eye view and moved from the open outdoors to the claustrophobic underground. The game retained the developer’s quirky look and sense of humor, as well as their iconic feature: terrain manipulation. Part-business manager, part-god game, 1997 brought us one of the most celebrated PC games of all time: Dungeon Keeper.

This time around, Bullfrog puts you in the role of a dark overlord, not a god per se, but its inspirations are obvious. The lack of direct control over your dungeon’s inhabitants, and your detached hand which can pick up and move minions, slap them or cast powerful spells make it stand apart from the slew of RTS games at the time. The game replaces the elevation of terrain in Populous or Magic Carpet with marking the earth for excavation. Your loyal imps will dig out the plan set before them. They also claim land in your name, and reinforce the walls of your dungeon to keep out unwanted guests.

After a fight, they will do your dirty work for you, snagging loose coin, dragging corpses to your graveyard, or captives to your prison. The beauty of Dungeon Keeper is that you must keep your own house in order before fighting your enemies. The game starts out simple, with the basic goal of making a habitable dungeon with food, shelter and money to satiate your minions. You must claim a portal, which in turn summons creatures, depending on their individual needs.

A library attracts knowledge-hungry warlocks, a large hatchery entices bile demons, and gold-filled coffers lure dragons to your lair. The whimsical discovery of finding new monsters to house is one of Keeper’s most enjoyable aspects. Starve heroes in a prison to reanimate them as skeletons, or bury the slain in a graveyard, and watch powerful vampires arise from the dead. Not all your minions get along with each other, so breaking up fights and keeping them orderly, fed, housed and paid is all part of the joy of being a lord of evil. On top of designing your dungeon, you must face off against goodly heroes that venture to the depths, hungry for glory and riches — and you will eventually face an even greater foe later on: other keepers.

You can wield powerful spells to influence those inside or sometimes outside your dungeon. Cause a cave-in to stop some pesky heroes in their tracks. Reveal a faraway location before digging to it, summon more imps, speed creatures up, zap them with bolts of lightning, and more. Most mind-blowing of all spells is the ability to control any one of your creatures directly through first-person possession, with all their attacks and abilities. Perhaps dig out some gold or claim territory as an imp, fight heroes as a vampire, or fly over lava as a dragon.

Few developers would be so crazy to put this much work into a single feature, but Bullfrog did just that. The pursuit of those fascinating “wow” moments was part of Bullfrog’s DNA at this point, and the desire to innovate overruled proven, common design choices in the games industry. Putting your erudite creatures to work at the library, leads to researching new types of rooms and spells.

Building a subterranean maze, which is not only efficient, but tactical, keeps your treasure and softer minions safe. Fortifying your dungeon against rivals by way of doors, traps, guard posts and well-trained minions is a must. But all these require time, patience and gold, so planning and creature management are key to survival https://www.reddit.com/r/retrogaming/comments/b6n9dp/30_years_of_god_game_history_populous_dungeon/.

30 Years of God Game History Part 2

Peter Molyneux helmed the game studio, but was also hands-on in design, direction and even programming. There wasn’t room for ivory-tower “directors” back then, everyone got their hands dirty in raw software development, every step of the way. Populous’s simple but addictive concept offered 500 maps in the base game alone. A player-vs-player mode was available, and an expansion allowed for even more challenges to complete. There was simply no other game like this at the time. After a few dozen plays, you pretty much get the concept, and the simple charm of the game loses a bit of its luster.

Though groundbreaking for 1989, the AI was simplistic. Predictable. But fussing about with these little buggers in a world you could sculpt and influence from above was, in a word: captivating. Populous was a smash hit and it’s estimated to have sold 4 million copies to date across a dozen platforms. And it’s this innovation that catapulted Bullfrog into the limelight as one of the most unique and creative game developers of all time.

After the success of Populous, other developers tried their hand at the god game. Conflating god simulators and games about evolution may seem antithetical, but they are in fact, close relatives. After all, how better would you help your tribe or species than influencing changes in their DNA? An early example of a game where you evolved species over time was the seminal Maxis title, SimEarth in 1990.

It allowed for manipulating a planetary sandbox, adjusting the climate, geology and influencing life. Raising your creatures to sentience before the sun dies out, was the unspoken goal of the game. This began a trend of more experimental sim games which often dipped into god game territory — with the ability to use cosmic powers like comets and natural disasters to test your creatures’ survivability, and their reactions to new stimuli.

Though the Maxis simulation titles bordered on being “toys” rather than actual games, self-imposed goals still made them challenging experiences. From simulating entire worlds, creating and evolving lifeforms, and seeing how species interact with each other, these were life simulators on a massive and almost scientific scale. Bullfrog’s next evolution of the Populous formula, Powermonger, is more down-to-earth, becoming one of the very first real-time strategy games, even before the creator of Dune II coined the term itself. Its true 3D polygonal world is both rotatable and zoomable, groundbreaking for the time. There are so many details and environmental interactions implemented into the game. There are four full seasons, summer sees the growth of food and trees, drought and deforestation influence rain cycles, and the winter snows threaten your food stocks.

The game eschews the iconic ability to morph terrain at will, but you can now give direct orders to followers, a small but pervasive change over Populous. Though it still dabbles with the ideas of its god game predecessor, influence and autonomous civilization is less integral to the game’s mechanics. You can win through peaceful diplomacy with other villages, to get them to join your side.

Or you can take your kingdom with the pointy end of a sword. Much of this was cutting-edge at the time, but the game’s ambitious technology suffered under its less intuitive controls and user interface. Despite its shortcomings though, Powermonger’s environmental depth would influence many future god games. Though not forgotten, the game remains more of a stepping stone in the history books of the god sim, due to its looser adherence to the genre.

In 1991, the Japanese developer, Quintet, released a surprise addition to the genre, the Super Nintendo title, ActRaiser. Part action-platformer a la Castlevania, part god game. In ActRaiser, you switch back and forth between “god mode” and “avatar mode” — god mode sees you flying over your world as a cherub, shooting at monsters who rampage and massacre your followers, and guiding your flock to seal off the gates which spawn these cursed beasts. You can also use miracles like lightning, rain and sunshine to aid followers in times of need, put out fires, accelerate crop growth, lead your followers to new lands, or listen to and answer prayers via quests. Between each god sequence, you incarnate as a walking hero, sword in hand.

Platformer sequences are simplistic jump and attack fare, with the occasional magic powerup. Enemies and bosses have predictable AI, and there are some cheap player deaths, but it’s fun to alternate between these minigames, nonetheless. Separately, the god and platformer modes don’t quite measure up to dedicated games of their ilk.

But together, they somehow exceed the sum of their parts, and mesh into a unique experience you can’t find anywhere else. Its 1993 sequel had improved visuals and added more advanced movement and level design into its action sequences, but sheds any semblance of god game elements. It’s a shame, taking a unique spin on the genre and turning it into a forgettable action title, likely as an attempt to make the game more marketable. After its massive success with Populous, Bullfrog attempted to strike gold again with more experimental games, meanwhile working on its anticipated sequel.

In 1991, Populous II: Trials of the Olympian Gods launched to a positive reception, despite making less of an impact than its predecessor did. Sporting a Greek Mythology theme this time around, it retains its core gameplay loop, but simply adds more of everything. The sequel introduces an RPG-like progression system, granting experience after each mission which you’ll use to unlock a much broader arsenal of godly abilities. New and exciting powers include pillars of fire, lightning storms, whirlwinds and tidal waves, among others; as well as the ability to summon from a myriad of heroes, such as Adonis, Heracles, Perseus or Odysseus — each with their own strategies, pros and cons. The result was a much deeper and dynamic experience. A longer and more rewarding progression kept you engaged during its gigantic collection of 900 levels.

And there was a “matchmaking” system of sorts which decided which demigod you battled next, based on the outcome of your previous match — a little extra depth to the campaign, rather than a linear sequence of challenges. Selling about a third of its predecessor, it was still a big success, though it wasn’t quite the sleeper megahit Populous was. In early magazine articles and screenshots, Peter Molyneux boasted wild claims and drummed up massive hype leading up to its release, talking about numerous modes, orchestral music, and huge, sprawling cities with interconnected walls and roads, expanding on the original’s individualized buildings. Artist and programmer, Glenn Corpes mentioned that around this time, media coverage and interviews were starting to affect Bullfrog’s development process. During Populous II’s cycle, an interviewer asked Molyneux about specific features, and in order to impress and generate buzz about the upcoming title, he confirmed that those would be in the final game.

Only later would he talk to his designers and programmers about actually planning or implementing these ideas. On one hand, it’s a beautiful example of open game development, which embraces feedback and ideas with open arms, on the other: the prospect of publicly promising gameplay mechanics before they’re actually researched or planned, is a dangerous one — and it’s a habit Molyneux would become notorious for in later years. Populous II wasn’t the revolutionary experience promised in pre-release coverage, but with many more fun and deadly powers to use in this battleground of the gods, it’s a much more replayable and enjoyable game. In 1994, Bullfrog developed a brand new engine for a fresh spin on the god game genre.

30 Years of God Game History Part 1

online games

Have you ever dreamed of being a god? Whether keeping fish in an aquarium, watching little civilizations grow and interact, playing with figurines, or tending to an ant farm. We’ve fallen in love with the prospect of reigning over miniature worlds. With the technological boom of the 20th century, it’s no surprise this would find its way into video games. It grew into a niche and often misunderstood genre, but one that inspired some of the most empowering and creative games ever made.

But for us to discuss them, we must first break down what a god game really is, and whether it’s technically even a genre. The definition is vague, but I’d argue “god games” are more like a set of loose design elements, limitations and rules that a variety of titles share. I’ll try my best to lay down the rules I am following for this video here, based on dozens of studied examples. The more a particular game has these elements, the more they approach a “pure” god game.

Autonomous people or creatures Growing power through gaining believers Supernatural abilities and world-sculpting And most of all, the focus on influence, rather than direct control Most “proper” strategy games let you select units and give orders. Conversely, a god sim lets you influence rather than micromanage. This means that god games often overlap with city builders and life simulators. But I’d argue the focus on belief as a resource and wielding supernatural powers helps differentiate a god game from the more realistic activities of a pure simulation.

Because of these more conceptual and less tangible design goals, the god sim has always been a treat to play, as each attempt at the formula is like an experiment in itself, a freeform sandbox you tinker with and discover more about over time. And for that reason, it has become one of my very favorite types of games to play. So let’s explore the decades-long history of our obsession with playing god. In the earliest days of electronic entertainment, if a game wasn’t mindless action and reaction, it was a foreign idea. Arcade games and basic platformers dominated the 1970s and early 80s.

Graphics and controls needed to mature enough for deliberate strategy titles to even exist. After home consoles became more than simple Pong-machines, the first strategy game with real-time elements was born. The 1981 Intellivision title, Utopia, pitted two players against each other. Each trying to bring their own island to prosperity, sometimes at the expense of the other island. It’s a hybrid of turn-based commands: like constructing buildings, farms and boats, or ordering rebels to sabotage the enemy. But real-time elements like changing weather, boats harvesting seafood, migrating fish and moving storms kept things dynamic.

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This was a seed, that sprouted the roots of city builders, 4X strategy, real-time strategy, and god games. Will Wright’s 1989 smash hit, SimCity, popularized the city builder. Here you don’t control your citizens directly, instead you influence them via taxes, construction and city planning. Other developers imitated this style, creating a rich library of city builders set in Rome, Egypt, Heaven itself, or just about any setting you could think of.

These share similarities to god games like having an autonomous population. But mundanely building and managing excludes them from being true “god games”. Sid Meier’s hallmark classic, Civilization, inspired its own genre, now known now as the “4X Strategy” (EXplore, EXpand, EXploit, and EXterminate). It is likewise involved in leading people to flourish, and spread commerce and religious influence.

Yet the direct control of units and cities, and the lack of supernatural powers solidifies it as separate evolution of strategy games. Real-time strategy games which focused on creating buildings and battling armies to the death rose to popularity in the 1990s. Westwood Studios’ Dune II paved the road that so many games followed. Being controlled by the player through direct orders, and their focus on micromanagement and tactical combat, RTS games are not god games.

But as we’ll prove later, the god game and RTS do cross over sometimes. To describe the history of the god game, you have to start with the story of one ambitious man and his love for video games. Guildford, England. Early 1980s. Entrepreneur and programmer, Peter Molyneux, started a small company selling Amiga and Commodore game disks. The first video game he designed himself was in a way, ironic: a simple text adventure called Entrepreneur, a game about starting a business.

Molyneux’s first game sold very few copies, but he remained undeterred. Accidentally landing a programming contract, after his company was mistaken with a more established one which had a similar name. They nailed the job. Peter Molyneux and his friend, fellow entrepreneur Les Edgar forwarded this success into founding a game development studio together: Bullfrog Productions.

The concept behind their first big hit was accidental. In-house artist and programmer, Glenn Corpes, created some isometric tile art which inspired Molyneux to dabble with in a prototype. It featured a landscape of varying elevation. Then they added people, who wandered around until reaching an obstacle or a body of water.

Next came raising and lowering land, from the oceans to mountains, for the people to traverse easier. It was a neat little distraction, until the idea sparked that these denizens should create buildings and homes on suitable terrain. And so formed what would become the core element of god games: influence over creatures or people, rather than direct control. The design philosophy that defined Populous was that the player alters the WORLD, not its people or their buildings.

Populous, as the title suggests, was all about increasing the population and prosperity of your people. To ease expansion and remove obstacles, with the end goal of defeating your rival god‘s followers. You start out with limited land manipulation, but if you gather enough followers, you gain access to more biblical powers. Summoning volcanoes, floods, earthquakes and pestilent swamps, and the ability to rally your people via a divine banner. Most of the gameplay involves helping your followers settle land, then “sprogging” them out of a building to found another settlement. To win a match, you can kill off the enemy’s flock with divine sabotage, you can rally enough followers and create a path to defeat them in hand-to-hand combat, or you can reach the level required to cast Armageddon, which immediately converts every person in the world into fighters, who duke it out til only one side is left standing.

https://www.reddit.com/r/videos/duplicates/bb5x89/30_years_of_god_game_history_2019_a_journey/

Battle Royale! (New Guns, Maps + MORE)

We’re the banger of gameplay But just before we get into that we have got huge details on new updates there in the work for fortune, Battle Royale That makes the smoke Grenade the launch pad and a brand new SMG look tiny in comparison For everything in this plan for this game. That’s pretty amazing, and I’m gonna cover all of it for you guys right here Just before we jump in some live fortnight action. I’ve said this Thank you to all you guys are the hidden a little notification bell next to subscribe becoming a part for Notification squad all the support My fortnight videos has been blowing my mind, so thank you so many guys Honestly it means so much and I really really appreciate it so as for updates that are planned and in the works the fortnight team put out a Development post letting us know what they’re working on and what becomes fortnight really soon Let’s take a look at it all first of all with an inventory remap which means that the actual way that the inventory looks when you’re Bringing up all of your items is gonna be changing a little bit tweet to be a lot smoother and look Aesthetically a lot nicer so this I guess draws a lil bit of information from Minecraft You can actually drag an item out of the boxes And if you let go it will drop the item on the floor there will also be quick keys It’ll be added which allowed to drop exactly half of any items. You’re holding, which as you know can be really useful on a share That’s awesome news now currently when you finish a game a fortnight battle You know which position you are in and who killed you B Don’t get many details. Take a look at this. They’re gonna be including a load of information including How many assists revives?

Accuracy hit Creek two hits loads of details that will all be displayed at the end of a game’s you can get a little bit More feedback and where you did well where things were a little bit wrong, and I think this is great I think the needs bit a little bit more detail and what’s exactly going on in a game when it comes to a death? So you can improve show off to your friends if you do well And I’m really liking this now this one gets me so excited map updates They’re going to be adding unique Pio eyes which is point of interest to the map to fill in some empty spaces and absolute variety to the gameplay actually said today when I was playing some games on fortnight that the left-hand side of the map currently is a lot more sparse and doesn’t have enough drop points as it does on the Right-hand side of the map so take a look at this picture right here of a brand new city in fortnight’s Battle Royale This is going to be coming soon to the mat And it also going to be updating some existing areas on the map such as swamp and mountain regions to make look a bit more visually appealing and also be more obvious from the map view so from the top down And I think this is amazing news

Sometimes it gets a little bit stale jumping to the same map over and over and over and just sees little tweaks new towns especially is Amazing and mixes up the gameplay and makes it so much more exciting to find these new places Now as we had the introduction of a shop recently that gives us different? customization for our umbrella our gliders our pickaxe and also our character however They’re going to be going even further into this and you can see one of the model assets on screen here Just giving more unique personality and design features to all of those things to spice them up, even more, keep an eye on the shop and ingame for more new characters that Look even cooler coming soon. That was a big segment on the update covering audio so important in the game like fortnight, and it’s depending on the server if you’re standing on depending on whether or not you’re above or below a Character loads of little tweaks so that is very exciting and is really really important for a game like this Finally they say on the horizon And these are some bigger updates on the way more items and more weapons that is right They even say here for the recent update of the Bush Launchpad Sun SMG slurp juice and smoke grenade is only scratching the surface Of what they want to add to gets me so excited I don’t want to add too many things to a point where it just seems overkill is too much to choose between But I think little additions here And there really mix up the gameplay Give you more unique ways to win your games of fortnight and have fun of your friends And this is great news guys more stuff is definitely coming they’ve also said that they’re going to be bringing custom games better support for spectating players Which hints potentially at some sort of eSports and more competitive aspect of this game, which is certainly exciting? and then the final thing we’re going to cover if the badges and Medals and these are medals, which I think will be similar to courage which is a pop-up mid game If you get like a really cool kill Like if you throw yourself off a mountain and rocket launch or someone or something the boobies cause unique medals and badges which will pop Up and show that it does something really cool engage Oh, I told you guys There are some huge amazing updates coming to this game and Hopefully you guys like the sound of them all let me know you think down below in the comment section things are looking good I’m absolutely loving this game and a fact this game so much support from the developers is just Amazing so now that we’ve covered all the updates Let’s jump into some live for my action as always.

We’re going for that number one spot if you guys are excited Give it a big fat thumbs up make sure you subscribe for more fortnight without further ado Let’s jump into it ladies and gentlemen were all about switching it up and we’re landing in the prison I cannot remember the last time I landed here, to be honest with you and actually Surprisingly not expect this. It’s actually a few people landed here with me well welcome It’s gonna be a battle to the death so hope you are prepared for this because I am definitely willing to go all out to lockdown I have no idea what that guy off to Maybe there’s a party we’re not invited to but I certainly want to see what’s up. What are you doing, buddy? Okay, one person down already. I think you must have heard me saying. I wanted to take that prisons my own He got a little bit scared poor guy had no weapon I’m pretty sure I also have never ever Since playing this game ever landed in the moisty mire in my life and it looks disappointing Cannot lie Maybe this is one of the kinds of places that they’re going to revamp and change visually and hopefully give a little bit more action too because who lands it you guys ever land in the moisty my if you don’t fair enough Please don’t take offense maybe it’s a good place No Just don’t know Anything about it for its places like this over on the left-hand side of the map that I think does need a little bit of What the prisons great don’t get me wrong, but there’s not enough going around to pay off me someone’s around here Chest Science testing for you why not why not The shotgun was just at the wrong angle oh That was Extremely extremely close.

I told them I was gonna make this prison mine, and I wasn’t lying let’s bandage back up Let’s put ourself in a position. We can actually take people on he had a scar amazing I’m gonna leave my Uncommon assault rifle here to be honest with you guys stick of a shotgun and sat in silence SMG I think I got actually seen a distance there a little shield as well It’s just looking good wow talk about an interesting start genuinely didn’t really expect anyone to come and shoot with me here into prison But Ference a little bit more popular than I expected I guess I need to go and explore the map a little bit more and hang out in these new places a little bit Sibs anything up here. Oh, yeah, that’s right.

It’s that if the door but leads to nowhere I mean at least a piece might vomit or take that but I forgot if you open that up you just literally looking at the Other side of the world to be honest with you. I can hear another chest here I Don’t know if I saw oh another Legend another epic scar wow it’s giving all the best weapons apparently I think it was only me and two other people to actually land It’s the experience with you guys, so I don’t know if we’re gonna find anyone else I’m just gonna spend as much time as I can oh, it’s upstairs here We go and exploring and just trying to take in as much loot as possible to get as setup as possible Wow, man it’s good if I could get myself another shield then that would actually be perfect home I Think there’s a few more buildings in here. We haven’t quite checked out yet Let’s make our way up to the top and to see I did see something green This is what other better actually Oh ammo, beautiful, beautiful Thank you so much Bandages is that I thought it may be a smoke grenade It’s right. It’s only a pistol not ready to to necessary.

We’re not too far from the next ring it will come in all Potential slap juice over there that would literally be perfect right now What is it gonna be? What? 3 Epic scars in the first place we spawning that’s crazy.

Hey, I ain’t complaining about that. What do you reckon? Anything else left in here for us to explore Doretta moses.

It’s gone. I think but good to be honest with you Nothing up there. Yeah, you know what prison. I wouldn’t anything I was gonna say it’s a prison He’s been a pleasure and you’ve actually served me extremely well because anyone else said it came out alive They would have also had an epic scan alas.

It was just for me. That’s fine. Though. I’m not gonna complain Let’s get bring ourselves back up to at least 50 100 health shield split should be absolutely awesome But let me know what you guys are thinking of the smoke great getting a little bit of a go and load of fun playing using it for you guys that’s absolutely as Absolute your life is loving your people who think people really expect that really Lord it is illegal often think it’s just a grenade to be honest with you, but We’ve had so many cool. Little updates recently.

I mean at this moment It’s been literally a weekly thing the next big update for us is gonna be a new game mode Which was talked about a little bit in their blog post which is really cool And they’ve also said that I’ve only scratched the surface of new weapons and new items that blows my mind Weapons. I’m a little bit nervous about I’ve really like the balance at the moment of all the weapons they’ve got in there I don’t want it to get to a point where there’s a little bit too many items if I like traps and builder balls I’m actually kind of damned. It doesn’t take up a space in you in but you slot Let me know you guys think do you think you want more is more good, or is more gonna be a little bit too messy? I think people be a little bit split, but new things there’s always good news, right I’ve actually got a new skin on right here Let’s go up a little camo trousers your chaps who you love for the way and her beanie. Yeah, she’s looking very cool Oh, yes, we even found herself another chest.

I could I should goobies houses the alley a house. It’s good spirits with you I don’t think I ever play a game. I don’t come and check out these houses Let’s go pick this up put ourselves back up to 100 100 And we’re just gonna be on the edge of the ring here.

I think I Wouldn’t expect anyone to come from behind to be honest with you because we’ve just come from the prison I’m pretty sure we’ve cleared that that grew out pretty successfully but Always always always one of the biggest things one of the things that saved me in just the most weird situations has me just been stopping whilst I’ve been running away and is turning around and be like is anyone following me and Actually, it’d be surprised how much four times someone always has been built into unfortunately. You’d be surprised How people have just been following you for ages And then you can just turn around build a little build a little basin store them out You know I mean, that’s what we like to do What is there in here? Nothing too useful unfortunately, I guess it’s good for the science SMG part from now Yo, don’t tell me it’s another freaking legendary epic scar my god I’ve still got legendary an epic mixed up for my old advanced warfare days. If those guys don’t know and called you advanced warfare I’ve smoked there oh-oh sniper Don’t mind if I do smoke Mmm.

What you reckon smoked or not– That was all she shooting owed up Jeez Louise that was a tough gunfight, I lost all my shield in that oh, she’s got some spare ones and she’s got an RPG Whoo that’s what I’m talking about. Let’s go girls – shoot it back. I didn’t know expect something to come from that direction Thank God. I was looking there at that point in time that was just pure luck I kind of even played it off being anywhere near skill unfortunately, but we took her out up and actually I did it just them Obviously if I do anything a little bit wrong in these videos you guys like to let me know she’s great It’s good to get feedback But obviously if you crouch in this game you get better AES accuracy or ain’t downsize hip hip fire accuracy basically But in some cases.

It’s not worth doing simply because of how much slower you move whilst your abs and sometimes I will run into a fight with an an assault rifle and Shoot it and spray it like a shotgun and just jump like just jump like a lunatic because one bullet would deal a good 30-plus damage and sometimes it’s better for you to be more mobile even though your weapon isn’t quite as accurate Just in case you see me in a gunfight, and I’m jumping around like a bunny rabbit That’s why it could be really effective sometimes honesty guys 18 people left three kills to our name Apart from the two kills we got in the prison people are dropping quickly, and we haven’t really seen many other people she’s fine So good as long as we’re alive That’s what I’m here to do stay alive and get that number one place if possible also How weird is it seeing the RPG having gone back from the pumpkin to a normal RPG? I actually like seeing the noble RPG. It looks more badass, and I think it looks cool I’ve missed it to be honest we I’ve missed you RPG Standard RPG you were miss my friend right and after throwing all those compliments your way Give me some luck, and hopefully get me secured gay It’s good ahead of his rouse worried that maybe people be coming out of retail Grove looking ok Can’t hear anyone People have built over there cheeky backcheck Can’t see and deaf people have definitely been here Popped popped me. They now only dropped him about 63 of his shield So he’s gonna have potentially 100 health and another What 27?

shield remaining so that guy’s pretty shielded I’m glad I got the Shawn in though and know he’s knows he knows where I am now, but I don’t care I’d rather him have a little bit their shield going into that gunfight Made things a little bit more even you know I mean Nice cheese Louise Black Panther so one thing that was also mentioned briefly in the patch notes is actually the accuracy of weapons and then trying different things and Potentially making it a little bit more a little bit less accurate now if you guys saw my PC victory our videos my first ever win on PC I got it. Just before we went to Abu Dhabi on the weekend. It was banging bad gameplay I was really happy with it I had I eat the most ridiculous long-range shot with the ARS, and that was just after the update gone live Last week where they made the accuracy of a hipfire spread on on Assault rifles better and that I think they realized I didn’t say anything, but I think they realized it was too good You saw me mapping people with you assault rifle. It was basically acting like a semi-auto sniper rifle They have a hundred percent a hundred and ten percent Made the accuracy of your saw wife who’s a lot worse especially at range? That kind of showed it, but there’s definitely some gunfights.

I’ve been in today where emptied a whole clip whilst tap firing at range and literally Those puts down hold on here we go Literally like only one or no bullets is hit so just be aware of it because I’ve had to be aware of it Where the heck did that guy shoot me from I? Let you go afk for two seconds to check my phone. Sorry guys, and I get sniped in the side We’ve lost a little bit far shield Unfortunately, but it’s okay.

It’s okay. I was saying base just beware long ranges your autos are not going to be as a cure as you expand to be and snipers are deadly Which they should be a longer range it so? You see someone far off go for that potshot sniper shot probably gonna help you out more so Buddhists praying praying if your assault rifle Talk you for salt, rifle. We’ve got a ton of ammo having news data.

Made a kit We do actually have a spot free and our inventory which is pretty nice pretty neat. We’re top 10 for top 10 for kills Hopefully we can get some nice eliminations here and pick off the rest of them if we pick off six of them We could make it a cheeky double-digit game right at the end. It should be a lot of action I Wouldn’t be surprised. If someone’s up here.

I don’t have a shotgun regrettably we Do you think’s gonna hear me oh No one in here did not expect that generally did not expect that I mean estimate most quiet entrance in the world But you know what it’s like whenever you come across some sort of man-made base this point in the game You just have to assume someone’s in it every single time Where the hell you come from buddy geez That guy was sneaky Wow thank God I was gonna go down the mountain that direction I wasn’t gonna do it initially, but I realized how close we were and we can outrun this. This is fine This is quite so largely He was coming at you sort of man name that made Beatty knew I was up You came along to try and pop it’s not happening eight people left five kills to our name now who? What in the next ring thank goodness the last time a game ended in these words or towards the edge of the woods?

I just came out of the woods late like a sneaky ninja. I just blew a for no I’m fat this is almost the exact same way I Think I post the video like a few weeks ago, but I came through this woods And it was the exact same direction Do you guys remember have you seen the videos? If you’ve been checking out my fortnight playlist and watched all the videos you may remember I thought the fall corn on that truck was literally an enemy Supply Drop over there building over there someone’s definitely inside that Good What’s the use of RPGs? We don’t use and ladies and gentlemen or he’s jumped out? Oh, I think you may have seen me He’s retaliation is retaliating God build Ally build here We go take this take this seriously cuz it’s going like this guy and messing around oh My god oh My I did not expect her Whoa there’s not expected to push that quickly But oh my god, literally. What was I saying earlier?

Jumping around like an absolute goon and shooting your weapon or this Oh Legendry grenade Oh legendary RPG Let’s go Some med kits in now as well some traps in there as well Do you know what I’m gonna keep this loadout and Okay six people laugh six kills two are Naina’s good, but yeah jump around like a bunny can save you save me there That’s visual jeez eyes work around the bottom of this and see if any was chilling in the woods I’m sure I kind of hope they dog because there’s so many trees that could pop out off from there Someone’s firing some engagements going down. Oh, it’s back. Oh you got him You got I was just about to save as’ sniping is subsided. I was so wrong. Yeah.

I was so so wrong. Thank you Thank you to ever put. This it dope it says I build this no no think I did no No, this is a different mountain. This is the basis Carson. You know what it’s perfect.

I’m stealing it. I’m taking its my own It’s now Ali A’s base. It’s tiny it’s broken.

Let me fix it autumn we do n fix here we go Here we go okay nose nose nose Now this is where I’m really tempted just to fire a load of RPGs into trees, and it’s watching board explode Oh my god Someone almost almost sniped me where the hell from that. Where are you? Please say oh my gosh. You could not get You could not get the storm much closer to me right now Is tickling my butt right now?

Oh, hey up oh, it’s a base over there Where is he this could be a potential job for the RPG I’m checking bushes I Can’t see any nut bushes Let’s do this Come out come out wherever you are There is serious He’s come out. He’s come out. Please come out.

Oh, I thought you might take falling damage, but oh my god Just two of them in there all right. There’s five left. It’s me There’s two people in both buildings that would leave two other players on the map Someone’s sniping in the trees in the woodland. I am actually gonna say goodbye to everyone oh My god, she had no health unless you scarlet scarlet scores go to legendry scars and shield Become a tree a leak but cut that tree drink that potion It’s amazing.

I don’t know if that was the sniper potentially was But let’s not forget Growing for grades yeah, let’s not forget two people coming from the building’s over here. They’re still there. They’re gonna have to come out Fighting going on that’s good fight away. Oh, yeah absolutely fine by me All right time to metal base, baby, let’s make it a double let’s make it a two by two by one Let’s make it towards make it big.

Let’s make it proud what the hell some was lost in the storm Who’s that what you’re doing? You don’t get top what Oh someone’s been killed geez I? Bit spend all this time building its 1v1 Someone who’s lost in the storm GG and lock your main to what you’re doing. Oh, he’s a bush He has no shield oh, we could mess with this guy We could mess with this guy. I wanna take it Too lightly, but this is a potential chance system mess around him Still build it I’m pushing him. What should we do?

What should we do? What should we do. I’m gonna get this doesn’t get me killed but We get connait in there What do you reckon there is there? He is there? He is don’t let me get shot on me Hold him oh my god.

We know he’s it like 60 health mats Obvious guys so screwed One shot will kill him one shot will kill him. What should we do guys? Oh my god? Okay? Don’t get too cocky ally RPG from above raining RPG from above Down Come out come out buddy Meet my little friend Boom see RPG. I gave him a compliment beginning.

FIRST SPIN BONUS! – WIN on Tiki Fire Slot Machine

Okay, we are here at the Paris. We’re gonna play Wild Fury, and we’ve got $60 in the machine and we are gonna play… let’s do… $1.80 Hundred and eighty credits. And there we go. Here we go! All right, we’re going to take a look at the game rules real quick.

Let’s see, we get stacks of wilds. Three of those symbols in any position wins free games bonus. So, that’s what we want to do. All right, let’s keep going. There’s some wilds there. 90 cents.

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Got to get three of those anywhere. Oh there’s some nice wilds. Money back! Got to get three of these anywhere.

So, we want three of those. Already down $10. One! Oh, come on!

Is our volume up all the way? No. there we go. It was up all the way. Whatever.

One, two! Come on! One more! Dang it! Looks like it may need to be on the second, third, and fourth reel, but we’ll see.

Oh! There’s a bunch of wilds! We got to get those free bonuses on this slot machines. Let’s get that bonus going. There’s some nice wilds there.

$5.70 Uh oh! Here wegot something going on here! OH YEAH!

Wilds all over the place. There we go. That’s what we want to see. Every once in a while a dragon will come down and give us a bunch of wilds.

So we’re back to where we started pretty much. That’s kinda nice! Keeps us in the game a little longer.

One more! One more!! UGH! Come on! Come on.

Let’s get going. Let’s get that…uh… bonus. Or another dragon.

That would be kind of nice. There’s a quick stop. See what that does for us. Nothing?

All right we’re down $20. Ah, come on. Let’s see that bonus! We need that bonus round. AH!

Missed it by one! Dang it! Sixty cents. One more! Come on, hit it!

There’s a lot of close calls on this today. And then of course it shows up on the next spin. That’s nice. All right, we’re halfway through our $60. We got to hit something here. $20 left Another dragon!

Here we go! Let’s see what he gets us. Woo! There we go. Wilds all over.

Let’s see what he gives us. Only seven dollars and 20 cents. Well…that’s great…. We gotta get this bonus. Come on, bonus! Hit it!

Hit it! Oh, come on. It snuck right by us.

Oh yeah. Then it shows up again right next spin, just like like before. $20 left here on our round on this.

Sixty cents. It would be nice if we hit something here before we zero out, you know. There we go!

Five all the way across. $5.70 Let’s get that bonus round. Come on, bonus round, bonus round, bonus round. Well, we’re down to our last $10 on this.

Oh! We got a blue dragon coming down. See what he gives us.

There we go! Big win! Let’s see what he gives us.

That was awesome! Oh! $20! Well it keeps us in the game at least. OH! Look at all them wilds!

There we go! Another…. $16. All right, we’re back up to $43! We’re still in the game! Now, if they would just bring us some bonus symbols that would be…I’d be a happy camper, I guess.

Oh, come on! Look at that! Right there! Just barely missing it! come on Alright. $25 left on this.

Haven’t seen any bonus symbols really tease us again. Oh! I got some wilds. $2.85 come on All right, we’re down to our last $20. Let’s get some bonus here.

Some dragon come down. Save the day! Oh, come on! We’ll wait for a second here. Maybe taking a little short break. We have $14.40 left.

Let’s see what happens. All right! We got the blue dragon coming back.

Let’s see what he gives us. Oh, he’s just teasing us. What the heck! Stupid dragon!

Alright, $10 left. Come on! Keeps teasing us with these bonus symbols.

Alright, we’ve got….um… Two spins…and here’s our final spin. And nothing! We are down to 15 cents. We’re going to cash out. That’s it.

Okay we’re playing Lightning Link – Tiki Fire here at the Cosmopolitan. And we’ve got $40 in the machine. We’re playing five cent denomination, and we’re gonna do… we are going to do… Uh…50 credits. So that’s two dollars and fifty cents a spin. So here we go!

Right off the bat we got the… Right off the bat, we got it! There we go! Okay.

So, now we just got to keep getting these. Fill it up, and…um…we’ll see what our bonus is. That’s a pretty sweet little hit right there. Here we go!

Every time we hit one of these fireballs it starts us back up at the three. Here we go again. Spin button is a little sticky. Two more spins.

Come on… There we go! Come on, spin button. There we go.

Two of them! Right on! Here we go, hitting again. Come on, fill it in! Fill it in!

All right! Come on! Let’s fill it all in! Come on! All right.

Two more spins. Two more spins. Come on, come on, come on! One last spin last.

Last spin…. YEAH! Reset back up to three spins up here. Okay we got three more squares to fill in! Come on! We gotta hit it.

We get three more, and we get that grand jackpot of $13,000 that’s up there. That would be kind of sweet! Alright, three more spins to go! Come on! Come on…. Last spin….. Last spin, last spin, last spin! AW!

Okay, let’s see what we got going on here. That’s awesome! First spin and we get the the bonus.

HOLY COW! There we go! 205 210 WOOO! Yeah! Off of $40! There we go.

That’s a nice little uh…. T hat’s a nice little hit I’d say, wouldn’t you? We are up to $280. We’re gonna do a follow-up spin here.

And…. Oh! We got a wild there. And… Let’s see what we got. Holy cow, we hit something there.

A little bit back. All right! That’s it! That is Lightning Link – Tiki Fire. We are going to cash out.

Collecting our ticket here. $281 off of $40.00 into the machine. That’s a nice little bonus wouldn’t you say? Okay, we just cashed out at $281.10 off of Lightning Link – Tiki Fire.

And we’re gonna cash this in and put a majority of our winnings into our Winners Bank200. Ok, we just cashed out at $281 off of Lightning Link – Tiki Fire, and we’re gonna take our profits… we’re gonna take the two hundred dollar bills… We’re gonna actually leave the $40 that we started out with, and we’re going to the $40 we started out with, and we’re gonna set that aside so we can play with it again. And we’re going to take our $240, and we’ll leave this out for a tip for somebody. And we’re gonna put that in our Winners Bank200. We’re gonna take out the plunger, and fold our money like this, like this, and put it over the plunger like this.

Put that in there. $200 is going to go home with us. Tell you what, have another $20. We’re gonna leave that out so we can play a little bit longer. And then we’re just going to take this extra $20 and we’re gonna put that into our Winners Bank200 right here, so that we’ve got some money to go home with. So, now we’ve got two hundred and twenty dollars in here that’s going to go home with me.

It’s not going back to the casino!