What is this game Eden I keep talking about? I think it’s finally time to begin shedding some light on the game itself, the concepts, game mechanics, functionality, etc. So from that point of view I’ll begin by explaining what in the world this game is all about and intended to be.
The short and simple of it is that Eden is a sandbox simulation game about a colony of folks surviving, exploring, building and advancing. The primary goal is to create an experience for the player that is worth re-telling in the form of a story. The inspirations for this game are quite easily relegated to two distinct games along similar veins; those being Dwarf Fortress as well as RimWorld. The intention isn’t to re-create or copy those games but to take some of their concepts in a different direction and craft something original yet familiar for those that appreciate both of the aforementioned games.
That the game is a simulation is an important facet. By this I mean that the game is simulating a whole world with rules and logic. It’s not simply a decorative backdrop on which some kind of interesting action takes place, but a living breathing world that follows hard set rules. Living creatures need to eat, need to drink, they need to sleep and they have moods, attributes, skills and traits. The world is composed of discrete pieces and can be mined and re-formed, flora grows according to rules, etc. Without adding minutia to world building and simulation that doesn’t beget something fun, the world has a lot going on for the player to discover and learn and adapt to.
Probably the most important aspect of the game to me is the fact that it is designed to be a digital ‘sandbox’ of sorts. The game doesn’t have a defined goal other than surviving. It is up to the player to define their own goals beyond that. Do they want to create as large of a colony as they can? Do they want to challenge themselves to see how long they can survive with just single colony member? Perhaps they are interested in creating a sophisticated mining colony, or only exist off things they can create with renewable wood resources. The possibilities are meant to be endless and up to the imagination of the player within the scope of what the game simulates. Some people like the aspect of simply surviving, others like the challenge of hunting down enemies and many others like simply building out their colony and expanding their population. This is all possible within the game and I strive to give the player as many options to create their own story as reasonable.
The very best games in my opinion are the games that stick with you, years after you’ve played them. Whether they were a sandbox game that really came alive and let the player be creative and inspired to do something they’ll never forget or they were more of a linear game in which a very strong narrative unfolded before them; it’s those games that you don’t forget that make for the very best entertainment experiences. Like a good book or a good movie, things happened in them that were unique, interesting and stayed with you. That is the overall goal of Eden, to create experiences that the player want to tell their friends about. Emergent game play and unique stories are my personal goal for the game, where things occur that I as the developer did not intentionally program into the game to occur, but through all the rules and simulation did, for someone. My goal is a game that many people can play and all have unique experiences that are worth sharing. It’s a lofty and ambitious goal but based on what I’ve experienced in Dwarf Fortress and RimWorld, I know it’s possible.
Eden is a game with a lot of moving parts, many systems are in place to simulate a living breathing world with interesting mechanics, player decisions to be made and emergent storytelling is the intended result. The game gives the player indirect control of their colonists and otherwise those colonists behave as necessary given the situation at any moment. I’m ever reminded of the adage from an early Dwarf Fortress that “Dying is fun!” and that couldn’t be more poignant in Eden as well 🙂