Outlining an ecologically-aware, anti-militarization answer to “Factorio”

2019-09-07 20:17:35 -08:00

I’ve enjoyed “Factorio”, but find it hard to progress in the campaign because it quickly bogs down in militarized colonization: the game turns, from one level to the next, from the fun part of Building Stuff to the much-less-fun task of having to defend that stuff against the “aliens” (lol) who are native to the planet you’re colonizing.

I spent some time thinking about how one might make a game essentially like “Factorio”, but more ecologically-aware, anti-colonization/anti-colonialist, and anti-militarization.

  • You land with enough resources to build a small, self-sufficient colony with recycling, composting, and subsistence farming. As in “Factorio”, it’s an emergency landing; this is basically your survival tent. You didn’t come here to colonize, but now you’re here and you have to survive.
  • Buuuut, your long-range radio broke, so now you need to pursue one of two goals: Build enough of a tech tree to build a replacement long-range radio so you can summon help, or build a much taller tech tree so you can repair your vessel and escape on your own.
  • You can mine/harvest to expand, but doing so risks disturbing the wildlife (and, since you aren’t bringing in colonists, you don’t have much motivation to expand beyond your needs).
  • You can protect your resource extraction sites (and the colony itself) with fences or moats, which cost acquired resources (moats require water outside of your drinking supply, whether by diverting existing geological water features or by pumping from wells or collecting rainwater).
  • On a related note, there should be a water cycle and rain barrels.
  • The deeper tech tree to escape on one’s own requires deeper invasion of the surrounding territory and extraction of resources (such as unobtainium to power the ship’s propulsion), reflecting the devastation wrought by pursuing solo achievement or solo subsistence while pretending that there’s no such thing as societal support.
  • Inversely, the shallower tech tree for summoning help reflects how we can achieve great things more easily, and better respect and protect the environment we live in, when we work together in mutual aid.

I’ve never made a “Factorio” mod (and don’t have the time or inclination to do so), so I don’t know how much of this is possible within that game’s engine and how much would require a whole new game. If you have the ability and the will to make this a reality, please do so and let me and the rest of the world know how it goes!

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