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Thread: Frostpunk -- mid-apocalyptic city builder / Canada simulator

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: May 2004

    Frostpunk -- mid-apocalyptic city builder / Canada simulator

    I've been playing this cool little city builder from the devs that made This War of Mine and so far it's definitely one of those "one more turn" games. I thought I'd give it a try for a couple of hours the other day and suddenly it was 5 in the morning.

    The gameplay is divided between city management, policy making, research, and outdoor exploration, with the city building taking up the bulk of the time. In the city screen, you plunk down buildings, assign workers, and manage heating. You also need to pay attention to the time of day, as your workers only work 10 hour days at the start, those lazy slackers. Policy making is where the game really hammers home the harsh decisions you have to make in a situation like this. For example, one of the first things you have to decide on is child labour and there's plenty to follow. In times of need, what do you do with the gravely ill? What do you do with the dead? And yes, the game goes there. Research is pretty straighforward -- building types, efficiency upgrades, heating upgrades, etc. Finally, the outdoor map is where the background story gets delivered. You send out scouts to explore points of interest where you might have to make a decision, depending on what you find.

    I've seen people compare the game to Banished and They are Billions and there are definitely some similarities, but what it really reminds me of are city builders like Caesar, Pharaoh, Zeus, and Emperor. The difference is that it's perhaps a little less complex, but also much more difficult right from the start. I'm playing it on the medium/default difficulty and it has been one small disaster after another. People getting sick, resources running out, labour shortages etc. Always scrambling for one thing or another and there is not a whole lot of room for mistakes. It's the type of game where you need to play it once to really know how to play it or maybe even fail once. Once you get in the groove, though, it's a pretty chill game.

    The story is quite intriguing as well. In a Victorian steampunk world plunged into an ice age, the only inhabitable places left are in the north where animals have adapted to the climate and where coal reserves and generators have been prepared for just this eventuality. You're managing a band of survivors who makes a journey to one such generator and has to build a city from scratch while the situation is steadily getting worse.

    I'd say that if city building games don't leave you cold and if you like steampunk at all, it's pretty much a must buy. Anyway, here's a trailer/intro for the whole thing:

    Last edited by Starker; 13th May 2018 at 07:55.

  2. #2
    Moderator
    Registered: Jan 2003
    Location: NeoTokyo
    I thought this was going to be this game, which I saw the trailer of recently:


    But that would be Cliff Empire. I'd say it's a hell of a coincidence that two "scifi/steampunk city building in the mountains and snow" games would come out in April, but I guess some ideas just have their moments. Edit: Correction, Cliff Empire just released the trailer and the game is just an early alpha, whereas it looks like FrostPunk has been released outright.

    Both look pretty good. Looks like FrostPunk has a lot more narrative substance, more 4X, more steampunk, and Cliff Empire looks to be just pure city building and it's scifi.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    One more trailer; these are pretty cool:



    Oh my goodness gracious let me tell you the news
    My head's been wet with the midnight dew
    I've been down on my bended knees
    talkin' to the man from Galilee
    He spoke to me in the voice so sweet
    I thought I heard the shuffle of the angels' feet
    He called my name and my heart stood still
    When he said, "Man go do my will!"

    Go tell that long tongue liar
    Go and tell that midnight rider
    Tell the rambler,
    The gambler,
    The back biter
    Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down
    Tell 'em that God's gonna cut 'em down

    You can run on for a long time
    Run on for a long time
    Run on for a long time
    Sooner or later God'll cut you down
    Sooner or later God'll cut you down

    You can throw your rock and hide your hand
    Workin' in the dark against your fellow man
    But as sure as God made black and white
    What's down in the dark will be brought to the light

    You can run on for a long time
    Run on for a long time
    Run on for a long time
    Sooner or later God'll cut you down
    Sooner or later God'll cut you down
    Last edited by Starker; 12th Aug 2020 at 20:07.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: May 2003
    Location: Minecraft
    Quote Originally Posted by Starker View Post
    I'd say that if city building games don't leave you cold
    HO HO HO.

  5. #5
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland

    rez

    Since The Long Dark ain't getting a new episode I figured I'd get my chilly winter-gaming-kicks from this one.

    I, uh, love it, but also is this game FUCKING RIGGED? I just had an objective to keep my houses heated for a couple days, but no matter what I did I failed it, causing Hope to sink to nearly zero. I reloaded and replayed that bit several times and as far as I can tell, all the houses WERE fucking heated! But the game still failed me on that objective. Eventually I just said fuck it and played on, shortly afterwards a story event happens(we find out Winterhome is lost) and hope is driven down to zero, at which point new gameplay options open up. Kinda makes me think it was gonna hit zero no matter what I did, which is kinda fucking infuriating.

    edit: OH. GREAT. Now guess what? I've been banished. GOOD. Fuck these ungrateful bastards.
    Last edited by henke; 20th Nov 2020 at 11:29.

  6. #6
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Ok, started a new game and I'm already doing better.

    My problem the first time around was forgetting that children are our future. I just had them sitting around all day, no more of that. Also there's far too much SLEEPING going on in this camp. We'll have less of that, I think. Implementing 24 hour workshifts.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Ireland
    Failing the "heat homes" objective usually happens if your furnace runs out of coal and everything powers down. I never saw it happen outside of that - though maybe you hit some kind of bug.

    Children are very useful, even if you only let them do the safe jobs and research. You can actually get away with being a benevolent ruler and still survive, it's just a bit more challenging.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    The game definitely has a bit of a learning curve in how to juggle all the different needs and how to best plan out and expand the city. It's not an easy game even on normal and when things start going wrong, it can snowball into a full-blown crisis very quickly.

  9. #9
    Administrator
    Registered: Oct 2000
    Location: Athens of the North
    Been a while since I played it but the overall impression I got was that it required you to make the "right" choice at every step and there was very little margin for recovery if you weren't doing everything as the developers intended. I love the aesthetics and it's one that I will go back to - it just put me off a little.

  10. #10
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Yeah I kinda get that feeling too. On my second playthrough I'm learning from the mistakes of my first run, but I get the sense I'm gonna be making all new mistakes once I get further in, meaning I'll need to learn from the mistakes of my second run on my third run, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless Voice View Post
    Failing the "heat homes" objective usually happens if your furnace runs out of coal and everything powers down.
    I definitely wasn't powering down, but in retrospect I think it might've been that my homes were still too cold, despite being within range of the furnace.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Yeah, you need to learn how to plan your city and for that you need to make some bad/inefficient choices first, since you don't really know how the city and the technology develops. At first, you're just scrambling along, trying to react to every new problem as it arises, but once you learn how to cut corners and be efficient and know what to prioritise, you'll have much more leeway in how to tackle things. As NV said, you can actually be a benevolent ruler. Just takes a bit more skill/experience.

  12. #12
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I actually am being quite benevolent. I'm going down the Faith path, but haven't instituted the Faith Keepers yet, despite a few thefts and people clamouring for public executions.

    Just survived a couple days of -60 degree Celsius weather, kept my workers in the coldest factories home during those days. Luckily I had enough wood and steel stockpiled. Coal ran tight towards the end, but now I've got my first coal outpost set up so I shouldn't have to worry about that for the next little bit. Also got my factory churning out prosthetics at a rate which means there won't be an amputee left in camp in a day or so! Think I'll build another automaton after that. Right now I'm looking at a couple days of -40 degree weather to stockpile and prepare for the -70 cold we'll be facing next. The Londoners (or maybe they should be called Brexiters?) aren't doing too good. I kinda feel like I'm nailing this right now.

  13. #13
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    Sounds like you should try Oxygen Not Included henke.
    Man, I love that game, but fuck me, does it get complicated.

  14. #14
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I might, yeah, I have an uneven history with Klei games, but I added it to my wishlist.

    Anyway, Frostpunk's BROKEN dammit. I'm having a bug where outposts stop delivering goods unless you turn them off and then back on again after every delivery. Other players have been having this issue as well, and there's apparently no fix! Except just the boring, manual workaround of the off-on procedure. Having to micromanage this shit really puts a damper on my enjoyment.

  15. #15
    Thing What Kicks
    Registered: Apr 2004
    Location: London
    I know what you mean with Klei.
    I loved Mark of the Ninja, was indifferent to Invisible, Inc. when everyone else seemed to love it, initially liked Don't Starve, but eventually found its systems too simplistic, and thought Shank was better than most gave it credit for.
    But Oxygen Not Included is exactly my kinda jam, a heady mix of Factorio and Dwarf Fortress.

  16. #16
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    I made it through the winter. I like this timelapse epilogue you get at the end of the story.



    Don't listen to all the doomy and gloomy "was it worth it?" nonsense. People LIKE me as a ruler! I'm a nice guy!

    RE: the outpost bug. I solved it by simply disabling one of my outposts, that meant the other one worked fine.

    Should I play the expansions next? SHOULD I? I'm probably gonna play them. Because this was pretty much the most engaging strategy game I've played all year.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    I'll let Raul Julia take this one:


  18. #18
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Of course! I played The Arks. Managed to save all the arks, but not New Manchester. SORRY, NU-MANCS!

    That was fun, but I'm also kinda starting to feel like I've had my fill of Frostpunk. These 11bit folks are good! I also enjoyed their first game, Anomaly: Warzone Earth. Wondering if I should give This War Of Mine a go.

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    I played This War Of Mine not too long ago. I kinda liked it, but I still don't know whether I'd recommend it or not... I felt that the game has a lot of potential, but after being quite addicted to it at first, I soon realised that its game mechanics are rather shallow.

    Frostpunk's been waiting in my games library for a while already, so I guess it's about time I gave it a go. Not sure if I feel like playing anything too complex at the moment though, so I dunno. :/

  20. #20
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    It's not that complex, it unveils new wrinkles in the gameplay piece by piece, in a way that keeps things interesting but not overwhelming. I'd say it's less complex than a SimCity or Cities Skylines.

  21. #21
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    As far as complexity of the systems goes, yes, but there's also no real tutorial to speak of and it's quite a bit more challenging right out of the gate, which means you need to keep juggling between different priorities.

    I think I liked Winterhome the most out of the three free scenarios, but the initial planning stage took a long time and I didn't quite get to the ending I would have liked, IIRC.

  22. #22
    Level 10,000 achieved
    Registered: Mar 2001
    Location: Finland
    Oh I didn't think it needed a separate tutorial or anything, I felt the way the complexity grew as I played it let me ease into all the new systems it presented.

    I played the Refugees, but things went so wrong I eventually just gave up. Made some dumb decisions early on and paid for them big-time later on. Winterhome was indeed a great scenario. I liked being dropped into a place where I had to clean up from the previous administration's mistakes. I didn't do too hot tho, ended up getting banished.

    I picked up Oxygen Not Included in the Steam sale so next I think I'll leave the freezing wastes of Frostpunk behind me, and go freeze to death in space instead. Be nice with a change of scenery.

  23. #23
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Black... Instead of white.

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