Let’s be real: we play simulation games because they make us feel like we’re in control. Why else would anyone like Hay Day? It’s not because we all have a passion for livestock. It’s because we’re given almost Napoleonic control over a couple of fields and a barn full of smelly pixelated animals. And that power is intoxicating. We want more. We want households full of incestuous Sims. We want zoos in which we can plunge thousands of guests and fauna into environmental chaos simply by deleting the chain-link fences that separate them. We want whole cities made of poorly laid residential and commercial zones that rise and fall by the click of our trackpads.

But it’s still not enough. Let’s stop screwing around with all this low-level management stuff. Crytivo Games is finally cutting the crap and giving you the godlike powers you’ve always wanted with The Universim, a complex interstellar simulator that puts you at the helm of creation itself. But even with a whole universe at our disposal, we’re just barely scratching the surface of The Universim’s possibilities, and Crytivo isn’t even done unveiling new features. After crushing Greenlight and destroying Kickstarter, they are still accepting funds through their website to reach further stretch goals. You can still get in line for the closed alpha launch in September by pledging $40. Take a look:

Every god has to start somewhere. Right off the bat, The Universim gives you a hunk of rocks, minerals, and gases in the form of a planet. This lump of mass would be otherwise insignificant in the grand scheme of the universe, did it not contain all the cosmic elements necessary for supporting life. “Nuggets,” a humanoid species, rise above the rest in the evolutionary race to the top of the food chain. Having opposable thumbs probably gave them an edge. Despite cookie cutter whiteness all over the promo images, the devs assured me that their game about the rise of a pseudo-humanity will actually have some racial diversity, so don’t take your vanilla LACTAID just yet.

The_Universim_03

The well-being of the Nuggets is your chief concern. Guide them through each era, starting with the barbaric Stone Age and striving for the shiny sci-fi Space Age. Research new technology to advance your Nuggets and give them a better shot at long-term survival.

Just don’t get too caught up in the allure of indoor plumbing and robotic vacuum cleaners. Give your Nuggets the basics first, like fire and maybe clothes, if you’re feeling generous. A coherent language might be useful too, if you want them to communicate effectively and establish family units.

universimmodern

As your Nuggets adapt, they’ll learn the importance of the buddy system and start banding together, establishing cities around Epicenters that serve as central hubs of production and advancement. Give your Nuggets some purpose by putting them to work, using up stamina to supply the city with goods and services.

Nuggets at different stages of their life will work at varying levels of efficiency. Women, for example, will still work when they’re pregnant, just at a slower pace. “Women are badasses like that,” Crytivo Games writes on The Universim’s official site. “They don’t merely allow any old thing, like, you know, the creation of life inside them, get them down.”

As a god, of course, you can push your Nuggets to work harder, but sometimes you can push too hard and ruin your relationship with them. Or they might die. Being a parent to a whole civilization is so hard.

Especially when your kids start fighting. When the universe isn’t throwing natural disasters your way, you might have to deal with some local drama between cities that could potentially escalate into an all-out war. Should you intervene? Will you let only the strongest survive? Are you going to put out that fire? It’s all in your hands. Create or destroy. Raise up or raze down. Make peace or launch a galactic conquest against dozens of systems across the stars. Your choice.

universimship

Oh, didn’t I mention that the endgame is a galactic empire? Once your rockets break out of their atmospheric prisons, you can prep and send away missions off to do your bidding. Just like the Nugget homeworld, every planet is procedurely generated, meaning no two are alike. They all contain valuable resources and the potential for colonization though, so they’re worth the risk. Just be ready for game-changers like nearby supernovas or less than friendly locals.

To handle all the dynamic changes and challenges, Crytivo built the Prometheus In-Game Engine using Unity3D. With changing seasons, environmental processes, and dynamic natural disasters, each of your unique worlds feels like a living, breathing canvas on which to paint an epic Nugget history.

The_Universim_14

The Universim is currently confirmed for PC, Mac, and Linux, with other platforms to be considered after the official launch. The game has an Alpha version planned to drop next month, with an official release date to be announced . . . sometime in the future.

  • Frank Bauer

    It’s Vaporware. The alpha was supposed to be released a year ago. Now in September, they will just release a highly limited pre-alpha. They have been working on this for so long, and they really don’t have much more to show than a graphics engine, i.e. about 5% of the game is done right now. Apparently, they only now got the idea to have a tutorial for the game. Laughable. Even in the best case, they need three more years to develop this. So it will never be finished, never be released, because there isn’t enough money (apparently they realized it and are now looking for idiots…err…investors to throw more money at them). But the development is so unfocussed that you have to wonder if Peter Molyneux is secretely leading it. They are still coming up with new concepts now. So the three years are really a best-case estimate. I pity the people who backed this on Kickstarter. Money -> gone!

  • Brian Hamby

    Interesting; I’ll have to look more into this. Maybe it will warrant a follow up article. I certainly don’t want to be promoting vaporware on my site, but I also don’t want anyone reading your comment to take it at face value either. Not that I don’t trust you, guy-I’ve-never-met-before.

    I guess the truth will really come from this pre-alpha and the players’ experience with it. I’ll be sure to report back with whatever the reaction happens to be. Thanks, Frank.

  • Adam Karn

    Well, considering the scope of the game you need to have a bit more faith in the development process of what may very well be a small team.

    The pre-alpha just came out (Oct 2015) and it gives us a small glimpse into the game itself. Spore was in development for 8 years and it had a massive development team and not a thing to show us as a gaming community for hands on use until the creature creator. Your cynicism, for whatever reason, is baseless and you need to relax, if you didn’t give them any money then your opinion is moot.

    What people do with their spare cash is of no concern to you, if they want to be parted from it at any time then I am pretty sure the individuals are ready to either profit or take a loss from it.

  • Frank Bauer

    First of all, I did give them my money. No idea how you came to the conclusion that I am not a backer.

    Second: Yes, the pre-alpha just came out. In Oct 2015. That is the month that was originally planned for the final release of the game. The pre-alpha contains just a few percent of the intended gameplay, after two years of development with the developers constantly claiming that they are hard at work and talking about how amazing everything already was.

    My cynism is not baseless, but it is based on the fact that the development team very clearly LIED during the Kickstarter campaign 1 1/2 years ago. They stated that there was a gameplay version available and they stated that it would be releasable if it weren’t for a bunch of bugs that need to be fixed. They acted like they were weeks away from releasing the alpha. All of this was lies. All they had was a graphics demo. All the gameplay that can be found in the pre-alpha now was implemented over the course of roughly the last six to eight months. Even now, they don’t have what they had claimed to have 1 1/2 years ago.

    People backed the game a) based on false information about the development status at the time of the Kickstarter campaign and b) based on a timeline that would have ended with a release this month.

    The backers were lied to. That is 100% clear. I think that is enough reason for cynicism.

    If the developers had told the truth in early 2014, then it would have been obvious that the timeline they were aiming for was unachievable. Yes, the team is small – but the team itself knew that two years ago. Now in hindsight, you act like it was clear that they would not be done quickly, because “Spore was in development for 8 years”. Well, why don’t you ask the development team what THEY were thinking when they made promises that clearly could not be kept? “Hey guys, why did you think you’d be done in less than 2 years, if Spore took 8?” The Kickstarter backers could only go by the information given by the team – i.e. by a bunch of lies which have only now really been revealed as such. Why do you act like the Kickstarter backers should have seen it coming, when in reality, the development team should have seen it coming?

    I am amazed by how some people are willing to give practically any amount of leeway to Kickstarter developers, always acting as if the delays should have been predictable from the beginning… to everyone except the developers themselves, apparently. This “Blame the stupid backers for their naivety” attitude has really become a sad part of Kickstarter culture. If you complain that a team lied, if you complain that a team did not communicate, if you complain that a team is late beyond all reasonable development delays, you are told that you are a cynic for being annoyed, because your expectations are too high. Oh, the poor development team! Sometimes, just sometimes, I’d like to blame the people who actually had all the information available and chose to hide and/or falsify it to make their promises and timelines appear reasonable. And why did they do it? Really, to what end did they lie? Yes. Money. They lied to get people’s money. There is actually a word for that, a legal term defined by Wikipedia as “deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain”.

    But hey, I am not unreasonable. I work in software development myself, so I am willing to give people the benefit of a doubt. I’m actually willing to give a new team some leeway. Like I said, the full game was supposed to be released in Oct 2015. I’d be less cynical, if what we’re looking at was just the “typical” kind of delay. Ok, so what if it’s delayed by one year? Fine! Fine? Nope, it’s not. Two years? Nope. Three years? If you’re really really optimistic, then… well, perhaps. But realistically speaking, it will never be released. The original funding was for a development timeline that would have ended right now. There is no way that they have sufficient funding for another three years. So really, don’t tell me my cynicism is baseless.