I love building games. From SimsStuff (anything, not just the dollhouse game), Tycoon Games, Minecraft, Subnautica, Ark, Rimworld, and Terraria (better known games) to the more obscure titles like Banished, Stonehearth, Planet Nomads (my current play), and Embark. If I can build I’ve probably at least watched a YouTuber play it. It very well might be on Steam wishlist or in my library. It’s my favorite genre.
I really get involved in the single-player exploration and building games like Ark, Subnautica, Planet Nomad, and Raft. I love building bases, vehicles, and exploring. I love maximizing and minimizing (I have a super-efficient Raft build, it’s like 12 tiles and only 2 floors – Super proud of it). I love testing what the buildings can create. LOVE IT.
I do have a frustration with some of these game designers (I’m gonna call out Planet Nomad, Planet Crafter, Rimworld, and especially Starbound and No Man’s Sky) for being too terra-centric in their thinking on an vital, VITAL element when dealing with multiple worlds. The local starlight (sun) may or may not always “rise in the east.”
I want planets that are tidally locked to a gas giant. I want planets which rotate such that the sun rises in the West. I want planets that are tidally locked to their neighbors so this other planet dominates the sky on parts of the planet (seriously, No Man’s Sky fails so hard on this and considering how they hyped their uber-creative world creation…. BLECH.) I want planets with weird poles that “wobble” (it’s a thing!) because they orbit a dual star system. I want planets which are interesting and challenging because I have to throw out my terra-centric “world view” – I’ll claim that pun – and think in their terms.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it that “north” always leads to a pole and I know I can watch the east for sunrise (damn dark night, lol). I appreciate that I know I can use all my earthly knowledge of navigation exactly the same. But it is a little boring too. It’s one more way a game could challenge me and none of them do it. Seriously, No Man’s Sky was touted as this “expansive” universe but it really isn’t. They have like 10 pieces of plants and maybe 30 for animals that they mix and match “these legs with that head” but you end up seeing the same basic meshes over and over. And the planets…. oooooh they used colors.
Starbound might be the only “you travel to many planets” game which I’ll give a little bit more leeway to because it’s 2D scrolling adventure. Some of these planet ideas DO require a 3D world to even begin to attempt. And in Rimworld you park in one spot and are God looking down on your colony, so it makes less impact on gameplay. But Subnautica could have done this. Planet Nomad, Planet Explorers, Aven Colony all could have added this depth. Even if it was just one of them and they applied it to every game. Like, you are crashing/building on a planet that is not Earth. Make it interesting!!