Introversion invites you inside their Game Design Petri dish

Introversion, the creators of Prison Architect and Uplink, are organizing a Fail Masterclass. Each month, they reveal a new prototype for a game they’ve decided not to remake on their YouTube channel, and then make the prototype available for purchase. All the money goes to the War Child charity.

This month’s caveat: Nanotech, a game about building microscopic creatures in a petri dish and giving them simple, engulfing behaviors. He looks neat.


Nanotechnology apparently didn’t go far in the development process, and there is more to toy than game. There are also some “mixed metaphors” to its concept, as designer Chris Delay explains, but I will do my best to summarize. The idea is that you look under a microscope at a petri dish filled with tiny robots, molecules, and amino acids, and the player has to bio-design tiny life forms that can process the resources around them. The delay suggests that the scenario shown in the video could be an oil spill, where you try to create a creature that can consume the oil, but later levels could have taken place inside the human body or against viruses in it. suspension in the air.

In practice, this means that the screen is filled with many tiny dots, many of which are connected by many tiny lines. Among the immobile hydrogen chains are nanobots, which are worm-like chains that slide through the dish like in a viscous fluid. Then Delay builds a new organism, a terrible mesh of lines and points, to which it attaches “attractors” which attract it towards neighboring pollution. It’s simple behavior that gives the illusion of intelligence, and it’s fascinating to watch it waver. Then he gives him the power to procreate.

There are no other scenarios in the prototype, no escalation, no real challenge, but it’s a neat visualization. I would love a game with creatures that move like this, although I don’t see what Nanotech game could have become.

This is the fourth entry into the Introversion Chess master class, and the previous three games were more substantial. These include the Order Of Magnitude space colony simulation, the Spacebots programmable robot colony simulation, and the Megaprocessor electronic puzzle game. A minimum donation of $ 5 allows you to get these four prototypes and any future prototypes, with all money going to War Child. To negotiate.

I still hope this series ends with Introversion shouting “Surprise!” and announce a game they are creating and intend to complete.


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