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May 11, 2014 | by  | in Articulated Splines Opinion |
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Articulated Splines

Construct Additional Pylons
I, like most of the discerning movie-going population, went to see The Lego Movie during the break. Upon leaving the Embassy Theatre, the only thing I wanted to do was to feel the silky caress of plastic blocks between my fingers and build a spaceship. Sadly, my childhood Lego stash has long since dissipated, but there are other, more processor-intensive ways of making that dream come true.

I’ve done it, you’ve done it, your kid sister probably still does it. Everybody plays Minecraft. Notch, the game’s creator, is an influential figure in the indie game scene, and he’s certainly done well financially. And for good reason, too: Minecraft is a tightly realised version of a cubic builder’s dream. It led to an explosion of voxel-based games like the others on this list (even if the term ‘voxel’ is hotly debated). That said, it’s pretty vanilla. You dig holes to grab blocks, and stick them elsewhere to make structures. Minecraft shows us the beauty of taking a simple game mechanic and turning it up to 11, and I can’t imagine anybody doing it better.

Space Engineers
I recommended this a few columns ago in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it fashion, but it’s worth bringing up again, simply because it has just become my most-played game on Steam. I’ve sunk well in excess of 100 hours into this $20 game, which is notable considering it’s an in-development early-access title. Like every game ever, you gather resources and use them to build things, but Space Engineers is enticing for its novel approach to realistic mining – you actually drill your way into asteroids – and the fantastic building mechanics. You snap individual blocks and components together to make entirely customised ships, stations and mechanisms. Like Minecraft, there’s a Creative and a Survival Mode, so it’s got that going for it. Being in alpha development means the polish isn’t quite there and a lot of key features are missing, but weekly updates mean it’s guaranteed to be one to keep an eye on. Even if building a spaceship isn’t quite your niche.

EverQuest Next and Landmark
I may be cheating a bit here: EverQuest Next is a long way from release and its world-building sibling Landmark is still in the early stages of limited release, but hoo boy does it look cool. Landmark is your classic brickbuilder with mining and a stupendous amounts of tools. It’s a wee bit complex for my abilities, but that’s not a problem. I’m more looking forward to the release of big brother Next, which is touted as the first voxel-based MMORPG. With every inch of the environment being destructible, and the potential to have player-built structures in the world, we could be in for something very special. Among the wanton destruction and dick cities, I mean.

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