Indie Showcase … – Industry Giant 2

Originally released back in 2002 by JoWood Entertainment, Industry Giant 2 is a well-loved business sim. Well, thanks to developers Fancy Bytes and Reactor, and publishers UIG Entertainment, the title has been re-vamped and re-released on Steam with a host of new features!

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Industry Giant 2 is a business sim with a focus on economics and produce. The goal is to build your empire in its entirety, starting with raw production and ending with your goods in stores. As ever the economy is a fickle mistress, and there will be economic booms, stock market crashes, oil crises and more that will need to be overcome in order to succeed.

The game begins in the year 1900, you have little money but big ambition. It’s up to access the markets, decide which products are most profitable. Where they should be grown? Where should they be sold? It’s all up to you, and with over 150 products at your fingertips the possibilities are vast!

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IG2 has a number of game modes available including a set of comprehensive tutorials, campaign mode with a selection of pre-defined scenarios, and endless mode where the goal is to create the biggest empire you can. I jumped into campaign mode to give it a go and immediately failed. I spend all my money on farms and storage, without leaving enough money to set up the rest of the supply chain!

One of the most charming things about IG2 is also one of the things that may turn off newer players: the game is very much from 2002. While the Steam page states it now supports HD resolution, don’t expect updated graphics or UI design. It feels very much like OpenTTD, and while that may appeal to gamers familiar with the original, for newer gamers it may feel outdated when used to sims that haver newer, more intuitive interfaces.

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If you’re into your business sims, especially the older ones, you should check IG2 out on Steam. The updated version brings everything was players loved about the original along with:

  • Full HD resolution
  • Steam Achievements
  • Steam Cloud Save

The rating are almost unanimously good, with an average of 7/10 across most sites. A great blast from the past! Here’s the trailer!

Let’s talk about … – Sol Trader is back on Kickstarter

Earlier in the year we covered Sol Trader, an in-depth space sim from Chris Parsons. If you missed that article you can check it out here. After the first Kickstart fell short of its target, raising £9,251/£20,000, Sol Trader is back with a second Kickstarter campaign, this time only looking for half the original goal, £10,000.

We had a quick play of Sol Trader when the first Kickstarter launched, and one of the things we loved was the depth of gameplay and the social aspects of gameplay: it seems we weren’t alone. After feedback from both players and industry, gameplay has been re-written to place even greater emphasis on these features. There’s also been lots of work put into the graphics, so the game is prettier than ever.

To coincide with the new Kickstarter, a fresh demo is available showing the current state of the game. Bear in mind, some features promised in the Kickstarter are not yet available.

Here’s a full feature list taken from the Kickstarter page:

  • Single-player combination of arcade 2D spaceflight and strategic manipulation of your network of contacts
  • Run missions using your family and friends’ connections to government or business
  • No ship given to you at game start: you must take a loan and hire a ship, or borrow one from a wealthy relative
  • Fly between planets, interacting with the various characters you come across in cities and in space
  • Research information on other characters through chatting to friends and relatives
  • Customise your ship with lasers, passenger quarters, shields, bolt weapons, missiles and scanners (coming soon)
  • Blackmail others with the information you find, or sell it to the press (coming soon)
  • Trade goods for profit
  • Procedural generation of a whole society of thousands of random characters
  • Start every new game from your character’s birth
  • Choose your parents and all your major life choices as you grow up
  • Your choices determine your personality and your friends, relatives and enemies
  • Full modding support: change all the organisations, events, weapons, planets, ships, conversations and tutorial system.
  • Windows, Mac and Linux at launch
  • Already greenlit on Steam

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We liked what we played of Sol Trader, and will be picking up the new demo soon! It was also Greenlit earlier this year, so there’s certainly the audience, it just needs a little help getting across the finish line. Head to the Kickstarter to show your support, or visit the official website for more information on the game.

Let’s talk about … – Former AAA developer turns to Kickstarter to fund indie title Sol Trader

Chris Parsons is a former AAA developer who worked on titles such as Evil Genius and Republic: The Revolution for Elixir Studios. Three years ago he decided to return to his roots in writing his own video games as an independent developer. Enter Sol Trader; “a cross between Elite and Asteroids, with a deep and thematic storytelling RPG elements”.

For those of you into your sims this may be one to watch, and you can have your part in making it a reality. Sol Trader is currently looking for £20,000 on Kickstarter to bring it out of Alpha through to a finished project in 2015.

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Keen to distinguish Sol Trader from similar games in the genre, Chris posted the following on the games Kickstarter:

I decided to build a rich world history which allowed players to discover and forge their own story in the context of their family, upbringing and childhood. I wanted players to uncover secrets about their rivals that go back seventy years and use them against them. I wanted them work their uncle’s contacts in the senate to secure lucrative diplomatic missions. I wanted them to meet school bullies on the space lanes, and teach them a lesson.

Even in the Alpha builds of the game this shines through. Before you even start there’s a large number of decisions that you make that generates a full family history that you can browse. Each individual has a full breakdown of their life, their interactions with other people etc. it’s incredibly in-depth.

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Moving past the lore and depth of the world around you, while core mechanics are there, such as trading and combat, gameplay is a little thin. Given the game is in Alpha that’s hardly surprising so we’re going to hold off on a review until the game has progressed a little further and we can give it a fare shot.

If you like the sound of a space trading/exploring/shipbuilding/combat sim then check out the games Kickstarter and help get the game released in 2015. Sol Trader is also currently on Greenlight, so head over there to drop your vote.