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f13.net  |  f13.net General Forums  |  Gaming  |  Topic: The Planet Crafter 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
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Author Topic: The Planet Crafter  (Read 498 times)
Posts: 19243

sentient yeast infection

on: May 25, 2024, 05:37:54 PM

Mentioned this in the "watchu playin" thread but I dunno, feels like it actually deserves a thread.

Steam store link.

So, we've all played a bunch of games in this general space, and I was expecting to poke around in this one for a bit, say "okay, I get it" and then not go back to it.  But it's sticky, and not in a "gotta stay up till 4am working on my base" kind of way, but in a "oh that'll be a fun thing to do for half an hour" kind of way.  Having either bounced off or burned out on a bunch of builders over the last few years, it's interesting to think about what makes this one different.  Here's what I've come up with.

  • Number go up.  Although it's fairly open-world-y, you do have a singular defined goal, which is Make Number Go Up.  Number go up feel good.
  • Passive progression.  Building things doesn't make numbers go up directly, it instead increases the rate at which the number will go up, forever.  Yes, it's an idle game mechanic, and I love it.
  • Downtime.  Sometimes you build a thing, and you can see that in a few minutes you're gonna unlock some new tech, so you got time to kill.  Good time to explore, or reorganize your base, or whatever, and the whole time you're doing that, you're still making progress on Number Go Up.  It feels good.
  • Tech.  You start off feeling very vulnerable and confined, and as you tech up, you feel increasingly powerful, and the timing of the upgrades hits that sweet spot where as you get tired of doing a thing, you find a thing that makes it easier (like, tired of digging for ice crystals you can turn into water bottles so you don't die of thirst?  here are blueprints for a water collector that gives you infinite water so you never have to think about that again).
  • Nice incremental progress.  There's never the feeling of anything being "unfinished"; constructions are simple and self contained and they snap together easily and look good and when you build something it starts doing something useful right away without needing any extra babysitting or tuning.  It makes the building gameplay not as deep/complex as some games, but also means you don't stay up till 4am because you have to just finish this one thing you started building.
  • Easy undos.  Anything you build, you can unbuild and get the materials back.  No decision you make is terribly permanent, which means you can blow a bunch of rare materials on building something just to see how it works and there's no anxiety like, shit, what if later I wish I'd saved that uranium rod for something else.
  • Crafted world/story.  I actually thought when I first started up the game that the world was procedurally generated, because that's so typical these days, but no, it is actually designed, and that's a good thing because it's part of what keeps that tech progression nice and steady.  You tend to discover better sources for resources just before they become blockers.  Exploring feels better when things have been planted for you to discover.
  • Oo, pretty.  As number go up, things get pretty.  It's great.  Every new milestone you hit makes the world prettier in some specific way, and it usually catches you off guard just a little even if you know what you're building toward.  The sky turning blue is the first big one, but I also got chills the first time I realized it was raining, and the first time I spotted moss growing on a rock.  These aren't complicated things, but it all reinforces the happy feeling I get from number go up.

That's what I got.  None of this stuff is rocket science, but it adds up to being something that just feels cozy and comforting to keep going back to.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 10135

Reply #1 on: May 26, 2024, 07:08:43 PM

This looks cool. Is there combat, and if so, how much?

"i can't be a star citizen. they won't even give me a star green card"
Posts: 19243

sentient yeast infection

Reply #2 on: May 26, 2024, 09:30:34 PM

Zero combat.

That's another aspect I was reflecting on, it's technically "survival" because the planet is lethal and you're constantly managing the resources that you need to stay alive, but if you die it's only ever because you managed your resources poorly, never because you had some bad luck and a creeper jumped out and scared you to death.  Very early on you can't get very far from your home base without running out of air, so there's a feeling of tension from always having to watch your oxygen gauge and sprint back to safety before you suffocate.  But that eventually just sort of fades into the background as you tech up and those problems get easier and easier to manage.
Posts: 19243

sentient yeast infection

Reply #3 on: June 10, 2024, 02:13:30 PM

30 hours in and the game surprised me with new mechanics:

  • economy (which adds an extra layer to the resource collection/management game)
  • more story (with a sort of scavenger hunt element that I'm still working on)

If you were playing this game for the story you'd be pretty mad that there was all this Minecraft bullshit in the way (and the story is very minimal anyway) but having a whole elaborate side quest just show up unexpectedly while I was looking for shiny rocks to power my algae farm was pretty cool.
Terracotta Army
Posts: 11125

a polyamorous pansexual genderqueer born and living in the wrong country

Reply #4 on: June 13, 2024, 05:10:03 AM

Terracotta Army
Posts: 116

Reply #5 on: June 16, 2024, 08:28:31 AM

When i get my computer to recognize my video card again, i might have to check this out.
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