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RimWorld – Sci-Fi Colonization with an AI Storyteller

By on October 7th, 2013 11:36 am

RimWorld - Sci-Fi Colonization with an AI Storyteller

Are you interested in a Firefly, Dune, and Warhammer 40k inspired sci-fi colonization and survival game? Perhaps the idea of controlling 3 survivors stranded on a remote planet, starting a colony from scratch, and dealing with technologically diverse inhabitants and space critters appeals to you? If so, Tynan Sylvester and his Ludeon Studios have just the game for you. Its name is RimWorld, and it’s on Kickstarter right now.

It’s a bit misleading to say Ludeon Studios without referencing the fact that in reality, this is the work of one man right now. Tynan Sylvester is experienced though, and has written a book called Designing Games which is available on Amazon. He also worked on BioShock Infinite, amongst other titles.

So the developer has some experience, but what’s RimWorld all about? Well, here’s a feature list that I compiled myself based on the Kickstarter page that should help:

  • Inspired by Firefly, Warhammer 40k’s universe, and stories in Dune and Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space series. Western style Sci-fi setting.
  • Described as a combination of Dwarf Fortress, FTL, and Prison Architect gameplay.
  • Create a base on the surface and within mountains, keep your colonists alive, trade, research, and defend yourself from intruders.
  • Choice of Storyteller AI’s designed to create unique challenges and opportunities based on your current situation.
  • Colonists all have their own personalities, traits, talents, and reactions to activities taking place around them.
  • Advanced tactical combat including diverse weapons, cover, and an AI capable of flanking and other maneuvers.
  • AI is supposed to help the player learn and manage the game through intelligent prompting and notifications.
  • Deal with other inhabitants whose technology may range from bow and arrow to pulse rifles. Kill them, imprison them, enslave them, recruit them, the choice is yours.

Aside from those features, the other notable thing is that this game seems pretty far along in development. I’ve not had a chance to play it myself as of yet, but tiers are available to provide alpha access immediately following the Kickstarter if desired. There are also a few independent YouTube videos out showing some early gameplay for those seeking more information.

RimWorld is currently on Kickstarter and WAS seeking $20,000 CAD. I use the term WAS because they currently sit at more than $60,000 CAD with plenty of time to spare. They are also accepting PayPal on their website for those who want to back that way. The funding goal appears to be primarily for artwork and music/sound. They are also looking for votes on Steam Greenlight if you like what they are doing.

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12 Comments


  1. ashbery76 says:

    I don’t see those sci fi influences but it sure looks like a Prison Architect with guns clone.

    • janos says:

      The prison architect graphics are only a placeholder. He’ll be using the kickstarter money to hire a proper artist.

      • ashbery76 says:

        So they not only copy but also insult another developer in one.

        Great PR.

        • Skeith says:

          No they don’t… They talked with the Prison architect artist and he was cool with it.

          And secondly it’s a one man team, he said he can’t do everything. So he had to use an easy to do and yet visualy pleasing style.
          And yes, prison architect does that very well.

          So he is using a similar art style until he get a proper artist to give the game it’s own “soul”.
          He is not saying he will make it look better, the game will still be with the same camera with similar models just with another theme.
          No insult there.

  2. Bluebreaker says:

    it looks more like a dwarf fortress lite with the graphic style of prison architect.

  3. Njordin says:

    Actually the graphic-style is not final.
    The only reason the dev “copied” the prison architect artstyle was his lack of skills as artist.
    With the kickstarter money he´ll hire one for an individual graphic style.

  4. David Carron says:

    I did not want to be intrigued… but I was.

    There are quite a few videos on Youtube, so clearly they have a solid and playable base to work from.

    I’ll be watching.

  5. wat says:

    At the moment it looks too much like Prison Architect. Too much. The NPC icons should be at least slightly different, or just have actual NPC graphics.

  6. Keith Turner says:

    As Njordin mentioned, one of the goals of this Kickstarter is to find an artist who can bring a new, unique, look to the game.

    To quote the FAQ regarding the look of RimWorld: “I made the character art you see in the trailer as a stopgap, and borrowed the Prison Architect style because I’m not a good enough artist to develop a new one. They were never intended to be final. With this Kickstarter, we’ll be able to get a real artist who can sit down and develop an original style for RimWorld.”

    I like the fact that he launched a Kickstarter with something solid to show. I’m sure that’s a big reason why the campaign has done so well thus far. That and the concept in general just seems interesting. I am curious to see how many sci-fi elements it will contain though, aside from what’s been mentioned.

  7. Mark says:

    Sounds really interesting. The whole idea of in-depth colonization of a planet is a genre that has hardly been touched on and is rich with intriguing possibilities and unique, refreshing gameplay.

    The idea of using “Prison Architect” graphics to block out and refine the gameplay in the absence of an artist is a great idea, which should be obvious to almost anyone who gives it a little thought.

    I’ll be keeping a close eye on this and will look forward to purchasing a fully working, feature complete, bug free, well reviewed final version. I’m patient, I can wait.

  8. Marc says:

    Sounds really good I love Dwarf fortress I really like Prison Architect and I love space colonisation games especially ones that take inspiration from Firefly. I may put in a third tier backing when I get paid :)

  9. Hypnotron says:

    It looks like Prison Architect. The author really shouldn’t be trying to copy other people’s ideas…. lol. I’m kidding. Seriously though doesn’t anyone read the commented posted before their own?

    I think this game looks like a Firefly border world simulation. The main thing I’d like to see is actual drop ships / landing sites rather than supplies just being dropped from the sky.


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