‘Roadside Picnic’ in game form


Man, I love post-apocalyptic tales.  Seeing the breakdown of social order and its ramifications – and then watching ordinary people struggle to put some semblence of order back into their lives – really entertains me.  And the video game industry’s full of this stuff.  One game that came out last year, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. – Shadow of Cherynobyl, injected some good ‘ol Soviet pessimism into the mix to bring one of the best – albeit buggy – games of 2007.  And considering that other game, that’s saying quite a bit.  The bugginess is excusable simply due to the raw ambition of the AI (actually called A-Life) involved in the game. 

The developers at GSC Gameworld attempted to create a living world for you to follow the story in – a ballet of mutant pigs, blind dogs, and desperate humans through which the player stumble through following his own path.  Sure, it broke a lot.  I’d often turn up to meet somebody, only to find them shredded by wild dogs and the quest unrealizable.  But, while the story you take part in is good, watching the others around you go about their business is just as great, if not more.  And the best part?  Clear Sky, a kind of prequel, is slated to come out in May 2008.  It’s more of a v1.5 on the original tech-wise.  Clear Sky covers what happens immediately after something else goes wrong at  Chernobyl, while the original (I can’t be asked to type all those full-stops) is set more than a decade past.

For a rather technical discussion of the A-Life system, read this interview.  If you want to read more about the original, including how the developers’ office is an abandoned military factory in Ukraine, RPS has a good interview up.  And if you haven’t read the original “Roadside Picnic,” go here now.

(via Rock, Paper, Shotgun)(image from S.T.A.L.K.E.R official site)

One thought on “‘Roadside Picnic’ in game form”

  1. I’m nearing 65 and I grew up fascinated with end of the world stories – along with the few humans left to rebuild. Don’t know why, for sure, but it’s been a strong attraction.

    For the last six years I, along with a friend, have been writing a novel, and the theme is along those lines. It’s a sci-fi story, but it takes place on an alternate earth. There are no humans on this alternate earth. Instead, their are 11 sentient races.

    I found your site looking for images that will be useful for the book and the web site.

    It was fun to hear of someone else who has a similar interest.


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