To begin with, I was thinking I could do some really cool stuff and compile all the information currently out on Subversion into a handy post for those not in the know, with some intelligently educated guesses about just what the game will involve. Unfortunately, there really isn’t that much out in the wild, even with Chris from Introversion releasing 15 (count ’em!) different updates about stuff they’re doing with the game. So far, I’ve figured out it will feature procedurally generated cities, and may have people in it. Apart from that, all I can tell is it looks fucking awesome. Some slightly more detailed analysis through the jump.
Firstly; those procedurally generated cities. They’re mind boggling. They’re astonishing. They’re a huge step forward, for something. Man, I’m really abusing the italics here, but the emphasis is necessary. The latest video of the city generation (downloadable here) is just absurdly impressive, having a 10km square city materialise out of nothing in just under 2 minutes (which actually only takes the program 1 minute to do, but Fraps slows things down). To put that in perspective, that’s about 2/3 the size of GTA IV’s Liberty City. That means that you’ll have a fully utilisable city just ready to explore in about the time it takes to make a cup of tea. Not that you’ll be making tea, because watching it all come together is far more interesting.
From those initial videos, the game very much seemed to have an Uplink vibe, involved in City sabotage and mostly just interfering with businesses and the like, especially given the name of the game. However, it soon became apparent that the game will be played on a far more detailed scale, what with every building in the game filled with rooms, doors and elevator shafts. Working elevator shafts. With counter weights and everything. I’ve said this already, but it’s truly astonishing the amount of working things they’re aiming to get in the game.
I’m focusing on what the game appears to be, rather than what it is at the moment, and that’s because the potential is positively seeping out of these diaries. Every time Chris posts something new, possibilities pour out, eliminating some of the things you thought before, and opening up new alleyways. It’s incredibly smart of Introversion; fans are just piecing together clues, trying to figure out just what they’re building in there. In one of the latest videos there is the presence of a placeholder google person image, spawning an entire debate as to whether people will be in the game at all. Similarly, in the most recent entry it’s written “people shouldn’t be able to walk through walls” and “People without ground under them (for whatever reason) should fall under the force of gravity.”, setting the forums ablaze with the idea that there would be people in the game. Imagine that.
Physics have just been added, making more things seem possible, and the theme of sabotage is running stronger than ever. It’s mostly in the things being said, hinting at interference with automatic door systems and elevator shafts such as cutting cables or shoving bins into openings. Will this be an ‘Enemy of the State’-esque technological thriller game? Will the Uplink vibe stay strong, with you merely interfering from a distance, hacking into security systems and locking doors? Honestly, there’s not much way to tell either (or any other of the myriad possibilities) way, and as such speculation remains just that.
Regardless, Introversion have a very strong track record so far, and I trust them when they say Subversion will be their magnum opus. Just the city generator on its own looks incredible, and will surely be taken up by someone else once the game is released, especially with them claiming to make it far easier to mod the game. Procedural generation really is, in my opinion, the future of games in general; games where the game is utterly different each time you play, and there is no way to anticipate or ‘learn’ a level. There’s no current release date on the game, and I’d be surprised if we even see it this year, but damn if it doesn’t look incredible.
As an aside, as Chris states in the very first post, all the images featured here are in no way screenshots; they’re just what they’re working on at the moment. Take nothing as a given, as it could easily all change at any time.
Big thanks to Redoubtable Trout on the TIGSource Forums for compiling the links.