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What are your favorite simulation games?

 
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javelinrl
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 6:33 pm     Post subject: What are your favorite simulation games? Reply with quote

By simulation I mean games like SimCity or Dungeon Keeper which simulate a digital world, not racing or flying games. I understand that some people prefer to call these strategy games but they're not your typical strategy games either, like Warcraft or Civilization.

I'm particularly interested in old DOS games but I'm a Linux gamer too Shit-Eating Grin others might enjoy hearing about games for other platforms so feel fry to discuss them here!
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 6:03 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh, I wanted to say that I like F-19 Stealth Fighter but since this isn't really about simulation games in this sense... Happy I'm quite fond of, but haven't played a lot so far, games in the Settlers series, which I think qualifies to an extent being a managerial strategy game. In particular, I like The Settlers II, which I assume is mostly for nostalgic reasons, although I played several different demo versions of it and like the game mechanics too.

Back in the 90s I was all into RTS games (inspired by my experience with Warcraft II), and I remember reading articles about the then-upcoming Settlers II in several magazines. However I did not get the chance to actually play the game until much later, and at the first glance was confused by profoundly different mechanics compared to the "typical" RTS. Again, only sometime later I played the demo to such an extent as to get the idea of how it all works, followed by a demo of Knights & Merchants, which is somewhat of a marriage between The Settlers and Warcraft II. Didn't like The Settlers III though because they have altered some of the core mechanics like removed the roads.

Another game that also qualifies and I have played more is Seven Kingdoms. It's pretty in-depth an intricate, and actually the only game I am familiar with where I had the impression that I'm interacting with a living world where characters are not simply game functions but people who have actual needs. You pay your workers and soldiers salaries, villagers buy stuff in the market if available, and there's a loyalty/morale counter for each of the player's subjects that shows how happy they are with their leader. The economy system is somewhat limited but it's ways ahead of something you would find in a more typical RTS.

By contrast, in The Settlers, the eponimous settlers seem to be only working, and food and money are just different types of resource like wood and stone, not essential commodities that the people require. This is why I gave the game an unofficial moniker of Workaholics. In Knights and Merchants, this is somewhat remedied by the fact that all of your subjects need to eat and drink, and the feeling of a living world is more reinforced on the whole.

I haven't really tried Cultures which, as far as I can tell, addresses many issues with insufficient realism in depicting the life of a society under the player's control. The cartoonish graphics kinda put me off although I believe that some gameplay ideas are better executed in this series than elsewhere.

I've also played a limited demo of Alien Nations and its sequel but wasn't too impressed.

Recently I played demo versions of Transport Tycoon and Transport Tycoon Deluxe. I think I like the concept altogether. There's the free OpenTTD version so I might give it a try as well.

UPD: Right, I completely forgot to say that I have also played demo versions of SimCity 2000, Caesar II and III, Pharaoh and Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom. Out of these I really only enjoyed the latter if only because it has a very detailed tutorial: for the first time I had a more or less clear idea of what I was doing Happy
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 9:43 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

I still play various SimCity's on and off. My favorite is probably SimCity 2000, but they all have their charms.

If it's by hours played recently, I'd have to say Civilization Revolution sitting on the couch. Lighter weight, but fun.

I used to love Sid Meyer's Alpha Centauri, and I picked up Civ: Beyond Earth hoping for more similar fun but haven't played it yet.

I tried Planetbase and had fun with that for a while. I ran into the problem lots of people apparently did, where you have workers (biologist/botanists) and jobs (oxygen plants), but for reasons unknown and apart from game issues (ie. rested, fed, healthy) the workers won't do their job, so everyone dies. I hope the company keeps making games and getting better, but they aren't up to SidM's level yet.

The Movies was fun a few years back. It was addictive for a week or so, then the stars started complaining, little divas, and I lost interest. But if you haven't tried it and can track it down for cheap, was a fun brief diversion.

I know there are lots of train based simulations, from being the engineer to building and managing the big picture routes and companies, but I never played. Always curious, though.

I lean more toward turn based military strategy when I'm in the sim mood, and love games like Age of Wonders and Commandos and Panzer Corps and everything in between. But those are more mission and less world building.

Have you played the recent factory games, or the "sim-game industry" games? I forget their names, and they are too OCD for me to enjoy, but there must be a niche since many seem to come out. Even MineCraft became a sim "build a machine" game, amazing.

My first simulation game was Star Fleet I, where Interstel took the old StarTrek game and made it a full starship simulator. And Begin: The Starship Simulator, a different take in shareware based on an old classic boardgame, StarFleet Tactics, IIRC. Other Interstel games look like interesting scifi wargame simulations, if you can enjoy the old interfaces.
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javelinrl
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 9:45 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Both The Settlers II and Seven Kingdoms have open-source versions nowadays:

- Widelands (clone) https://wl.widelands.org/
- Seven Kingdoms: Ancient Adversaries (actual source game with improvements) http://7kfans.com/

Knights & Merchants is 75% off on Steam right now, practically for free, really http://store.steampowered.com/app/253900/Knights_and_Merchants/

Cultures seems interesting but I'm not a Windows gamer unfortunately :/
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javelinrl
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 9:52 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Quadko: I did try the Factorio demo but I found it very awkward to play. I expected a mouse interface more than anything, not a WASD input mode. I like simulation games where I can idle for a bit and having to actually control the very movement of my avatar is the total opposite.

The game industry sims either seem too small in scope for my taste or (the more ambitious ones) kinda overpriced. Some look pretty cool but I'm not going to pay the same price on them as I'd pay for an older Civ or The Sims game, which are far more complex and replayable.

By the way Dungeon Keeper has an in-development modern clone too http://store.steampowered.com/app/329970/KeeperRL/
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 3:06 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool, I always like the idea of Dungeon Keeper and was glad it was released on Gog, but still haven't actually played.

Good to know about Factorio, too. Screenshots are pretty, but that never tells the whole story, right!

Tangent, but I loved the various The Incredible Machine and etc. puzzle games, too. Not really a sim, but "SimInventer" gameplay was always fun.
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javelinrl
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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2017 3:48 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

TIM was pretty great too ^^ just not what I'm looking for right now!

I found this Dungeon Keeper clone too a few minutes ago http://store.steampowered.com/app/230190/War_for_the_Overworld/
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Quadko
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 12:01 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot about the electrical circuit simulators out there. Not officially games, of course, and I haven't played with one in years, but lots of fun!

Google:
https://www.google.com/#q=electrical+circuit+simulator

Interesting looking individual ones:
https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/circuit-construction-kit-dc
https://www.partsim.com/simulator

Best I ever saw was in a presentation, where he had live updates shown on the simulated circuits:
Bret Victor - Inventing on Principle
https://vimeo.com/36579366
Electrical stuff is around the 25 minute mark, but he shows off games (Braid), code, and other stuff on the topic of immediate feedback and linking output to input for quick adjustments.
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