‘From Dust’, A Creation Game Unlike Any Other

From Dust

From Dust

From Dust

From Dust

We’ve featured a few video games this week (Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet and One Chance), so I thought I’d throw my own recent gaming experience into the fray. Last week I played a game called From Dust, which is a game unlike any other I’ve ever played. You play as The Breath, a god-like force that attempts to help primordial man survive in a harsh world. Over time, the game gives you the ability to mold and shape the world, like moving huge swirling masses of sand or water, eventually giving you abilities to absorb lava or create earth from nothing. While you do this you must protect the people from natural disaster like tsunami, fire and volcanos.

What I loved about this game was the simplistic controls, you really use like two buttons for the whole thing, but the seriously complex game mechanics that are constantly working against you. For example, you may need to reach an idol to gain a new power, except the idol is mostly underwater, and tsunamis come every 4 minutes, and your materials are limited so you have to time your approach just right. Ultimately I beat the game in about a week, but it was some of the most fun I’ve had playing a game in a long time. It’s also immensely beautiful, as you can see from the screenshots and production art that was created. Oh yeah, remember I mentioned game mechanics, and how they work against you? Here’s what I mean:

An essential aspect of From Dust is the environment simulation, which underlies the player’s interactions with the world. Developers intended that the world appear as a ‘living thing’, a dynamic and spontaneous entity, irrespective of the player’s actions upon it.[20] Chahi emphasised the difficulty of balancing this technical simulation with individual enjoyment, commenting that sometimes ‘it would take days to find the right value for gameplay that’s also aesthetically pleasing’.[20] Montpellier accommodated this dynamism through a system of rules, which govern the elements of the simulation: flowing water and moving soil result in the emergence of rivers.[20] Lakes at the base of a volcano accumulate sediment, which increases their viscosity, and similar rules govern volcanic eruptions, lava flow, and the spread of vegetation.[19][20] With each rule, the layers accumulate to the point at which the developers are able to create an entire landscape.

If you’ve got X-Box Live you have to download this game from the Marketplace and give it a try. I’m hoping they expand the game and create some more content and levels for it. I’d absolutely drop another $10 or $20 to play more of this game, it’s absolutely worth it. You can also read about the development of the game over on the Wikipedia page.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

August 12, 2011 / By

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