As much as I am enjoying Elite: Dangerous (E:D,) there are times I just want to relax and laugh a little. If you’ve played E:D, you have to admit it can be a stressful experience. And when RL is already full of stress, even game stress can be unwanted. That’s where I found myself this week. Normally at times like this I just build a few outrageous rockets in Kerbal Space Program (KSP) and see if they’ll fly. But I wanted something new to puzzle out; something lighthearted yet still mentally challenging.
I’d read about Besiege by Spiderling Games back in January when it got into the Steam Greenlight program. As the developer’s web site linked in the last sentence says,
Besiege is an upcoming physics based building game in which you construct medieval siege engines and lay waste to immense fortresses and peaceful hamlets.
Like KSP, it has a physics engine so things like center of mass and Newtonian rules must be taken into account. Also like KSP, it has goals, but the game play is completely open-ended about how you accomplish those goals. It even has a sandbox mode so you can just go crazy if you want. Come to think about it, you can just go crazy on the missions as well, though if you go too crazy it might not count. More on that in a bit.
Well, are you interested yet? The game starts off simply enough. Once run, it presents you with a world globe main menu where each challenge is a different continent or orbital body. Currently there is only the continent of Ipsilon and the Sandbox orbital station from which to choose. The Sandbox is a place to build engines of destruction and then test them out on the various obstacles and constructs presented. There is a village, a few soldiers guarding a tower, a windmill, some sheep, a few land mines – you get the picture. Having a look around also gives you an idea of what the game in its current state can throw at you – so it’s worth having a look around. or just go right into the challenges if that’s your style. 🙂
Selecting the continent of Ipsilon takes you to the level selection screen. There are 15 levels in Ipsilon. You can select them in any order, but I recommend you start at one and work your way up. It seems to me that they are a tutorial system; one you can play. It starts out with a very basic task and moves up from there. As tutorials go, it is one of the more fun times I’ve had. If there is a weak point in Spiderling Games’ strategy, it is that the tutorial became so much fun I didn’t want to move on to the next level. 😉 So here is how they presented the tutorial.
Once these transparent overlays are complete, they minimize to a small box with a question mark on it so you can reference they various instructions later if need be. But it really is just a matter of selecting a part and putting it on an attachment point. If you’ve played any KSP at all, or even just watched it played, you’ll know exactly what this is like. I quickly put together a simple engine to destroy the house. It’s a straight forward affair, and I mean that literally. Here is a quick GIF of the final result.
I have played the first six levels. Below this paragraph is a video showing how much fun I had on level five – not that I didn’t enjoy the other levels. I did. But my death-mobile on level five was just… well, watch the video and you’ll know. It’s a game play video, but not like you think. I’m not laboriously building my death-mobile and droning on about how great an engineer I am. It’s far more fun than that, and I’d do the game a great injustice if that’s all I offered you. What I offer instead is the result… and the result… and the result. You’ll know what I mean. But do yourself a favor: watch it full size and turn the volume up. 😛
Besiege is available directly from Spiderling Games’ web site or in the Steam store for $6.99. I’ve had way more fun than that I can assure you. It is available for Windows, OS X and Linux systems. Score! It is an Alpha release, so the game will constantly evolve, and it may have some bugs though I found none. The alpha build is remarkably stable – but again, that may change from time to time. I did find some of the objects over reacted in extreme situations, but that was really more like poor engineering on my part than a bug in the code. You can push a physics model too far you know.
And just for those who are keeping track, I did play three hours of E:D yesterday after I completed the video. Here is my standing to date, and I’ve went ahead and put an Advanced Discovery Scanner in my Cobra Mark III. You know, just so I can play around with it. 😎