Chatting With Creators – Eco Global Survival Edition
Can a game be focused on something other than shooting, slashing and destroying nowadays? That's probably one of the main challenges faced by Strange Loop Games with their new title, Eco, currently pursuing stretch goals for its Kickstarter campaign.
This game (which will have a special version for classroom use) presents you with a finite world shared with other players (although it is possible, but not recommended, to play alone). Players have to carefully use resources from a fully simulated ecosystem in order to build and invent; they may propose laws, create cities, research technologies.
I said carefully because there are consequences for your actions while playing Eco. You and your group may inadvertently destroy the food supply of the world, or you may encounter imminent catastrophes such as droughts, global warming raising sea levels, pollution and even meteor strikes. It will be up to the players to prevent this; sounds exciting and different, right?
Let's learn more details from our interview with Project Lead and Designer John Krajewski.
- How big is the world of Eco going to be? Will there be multiple biomes, continents etc.?
- Hundreds can play in a world, the server can support 30+ simultaneously currently, and we plan to scale that up to thousands over development. You can also scale down the world and play with a smaller group. An average world will probably take about 10 minutes to walk all the way around. There will be oceans, rivers, lakes, and multiple biomes.
- Will there be the chance to discover means of transport through technology advances (cars, ships, planes etc.)?
- Yes! In Eco you can only carry a reasonable amount of materials, so transport becomes very important, and the landscape will be transformed by different transportation infrastructure through the ages.
- What can you tell us about your "dynamic simulated ecosystem"? How does it work in terms of AI behind the scenes?
- Each organism (plant or animal) is simulated individually, running continuously. They have a number of AI behaviors they run (hunting, feeding, reproducing) and in aggregate you'll see high level ecosystem features like boom/bust cycles.
- You've mentioned that players will be able to host their own servers. What kind of hardware/connection will they need in order to support a lot of players?
- A decent machine should be able to host 20-30 players and a good sized world. Really nice rigs and bandwidth to match can probably double or triple that figure.
- Obviously, Eco is a cooperative game first and foremost. That said, will there be any chances of conflict between players should they decide on a different course of action, laws etc.? Can a splinter group create a separate society in the same server and perhaps be hostile to the former one?
- Yes! A stretch goal will be a criminal justice system, which allows players to break laws but then flags them as criminals, and they can be arrested by other players and punished. To start, we'll have one government per server, but if the servers grow really large we may allow multiple and international law.
- You've already been Greenlit on Steam, and clearly PC is the main platform you're targeting. That said, what are the chances we'll see Eco on PlayStation 4 and/or Xbox One in the future?
- If Eco is a success on PC/Mac/Linux, we will do it for sure.
- Eco uses Unity, which will receive DX12 support eventually. Do you plan to turn this on when that happens and if so, do you expect large performance gains under DX12?
- Yes we'd like to, and I expect we'll be able to have some special graphical features for DX12 users.
- Thank you for your time, and good luck!