Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Monday, November 20, 2017
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I am one of the worst video game players on earth.  Despite my utter ineptness, I enjoy playing and occasionally, idly, think maybe I should stream my attempts live. I could call myself “Captain Disaster” or “Your Colony is DOOOOOMMMMED”.  I don’t enjoy shooter games and war games much. I prefer sims, strategy and the odd dungeon and dragon style game.  I enjoy the mechanics of governing and the minutia of dealing with the economy etc so tend to gravitate towards games that allow me to micromanage the smaller details. I'm not good at the management, but I do have fun.

The problem is, I tend to get into weird moral dilemmas’ while playing. One of the reasons I don’t do well at games like Europa Universalis or Civilization is the mental gymnastics my brain gets wrapped around. I start thinking “I can’t just declare war, they have the right … “ or “well why can’t there be universal suffrage or freedom right now … oh that was quick” and the game goes to hell in a hand basket.  Inevitably, my little kingdoms get swept away. Often, shockingly fast. Once in awhile I’ll throw ethics aside and play the role of despot or whatever and .. nah, never lasts long.  I know, it’s just a game, but the little running commentary in my head harkens back to my days as a political studies student at Queen's discussing the historical ramifications between this act or the political maneuverings that led to that disaster. Eventually I end up looking up some arcane bit of history and forget I have the game playing. If it’s real time based, I return to find everyone dead.

I’m working on a new game now – Planetbase by Madruga Works (http://planetbase.madrugaworks.com/) Steam is running their summer sale and I picked it up to try out. The premise is straightforward. I’m in command of a new colony on some distant planet. No wars, no moral dilemma, not a rival colony to be seen. Just me and my little colonists. I’m in charge of setting up the colony and making it sustainable. Planning things out properly will attract new colonists, opportunities for trade and expansion.  What could go wrong?

Colony one.  Even for me, it was a stunning record of 15 min worth of game time.  Need to plan a better layout. Oh and get the oxygen maker running faster. Much faster.  

Screen capture of second colony in Planetbase

Colony 2.  Not too bad! Lasted long enough to grab a screen capture. 

Planetbase colonists arriving! This is a breeze
Sustainability! This is a cakewalk.

Planetbase screen capture - colonists are arriving!

Ohhh colonists already!

Then again, I could be wrong. Who knew hydropoinics need water?

 Uh oh. This isn’t good. Right, hydroponics needs water. Of course.

Planetbase screen capture - injured worker. No medical wing. Not good.

This isn’t a good sign either. Need to build a med wing

Planetbase - guess they need beds too.

Oh and beds.

Planetbase colony is now struggling. Needs food, water, beds, oxygen.

But more water first.

Planetbase - colony is about to die.

Really not good.

Planetbase I've got nothing but dead colonists on my hands

Really, really not good

Planetbase colonists are starting to pop off from hunger

Did you know, when their little symbols go orange, they are about to die? I do now.

Planetbase and of course, now they're grumpy

Oh great now they’re grumpy.

Planetbase and I have nothing to trade

A trader ship … at last. And I have nothing to trade. Crap.

Planetbase - new colony starting again

New colony!

Planetbase - my planning on this one didn't work out so well.

Didn’t plan this one out very well.

Planetbase - and the colonists are dead.

Don’t know why anyone wants to follow me into space.  

Planetbase - another colony start. Gullible colonists signed up with me again

New colony! In a Hal-esque moment I named it “Theyre Dead Dave”

Planetbase - naming my new colony "they're all dead dave"

Ohhh not bad.

Damn! They should have stayed home. Colonists arrived and were all dead in a few min. Ran out of spare parts again. Astroid hit power generators, nothing to repair them with. You know what happened next.

Planetbase - another colony. Better luck this time?

New colony!

Planetbase - guess not

Sigh ... just ... sigh. 

Great - new colony! oh ... wait, they're dead already.

New colony! Oh .. that didn't last long.  

Planetbase - colony try number? I've lost count

New colony! Hmmm. So far so good? 

Planetbase, looking good so far.

Okay, feeling a bit optimistic. 

Planetbase - well hell! What now? They have beds

GIVE ME STRENGTH! I built you little bastards beds. You have food now, and water. Lots of oxygen. And you curl up on the floor to sleep. I'm worried. They don't seem to want to wake up. Maybe it's space flu. Yea, that's it. 

Planetbase - this doesn't look good.

I’m really worried now. They’ve all curled up into little balls of unhappiness and aren’t doing a lot of moving.  I called it quits at this point last night, declaring  a victory because I hadn’t killed them all off, yet. I’ll take another run at the colony tonight. Keep your fingers crossed they survive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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"Writing is not life, but I think that sometimes it can be a way back to life."

- Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

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