Economy as Gameplay
I attempted to destroy the friendly bartering/communist ecosystem that was keeping me and a dozen other players fed and advancing through the sim’s various skilltrees. I was of the opinion that we needed capitalism. The profit motive, you see, would encourage people to work toward larger goals instead of their personal projects. Maybe that will still happen, but for now, my capitalist dream has led to bickering, greed, and a financial crisis. And I’ve decided to destroy my currency’s value in response.
It’s really encouraging to see the mechanics we built playing out with the richness and depth that gets described in this article and others, as the incentives of the economy twist a group with the same ultimate goal (destroy the meteor) into a dangerous financial conflict with potentially world-threatening consequences. It’s a microcosm of the interactions (good and bad) between government, economies, and the environment we see playing out in the real world, caught inside a microcosm game world.
I see this kind of exploration of economies as having a huge potential for games (both in entertainment value and beyond) and this article details some of the things we’ve built and are building in Eco in that direction.
Eco Report 4 – Garbage Incoming and 7.3 Released
We’re 7 weeks out from Early Access launch and the game has been growing fast, especially out of our native United States, which is cool to see considering we haven’t finished localizing yet! It’s been really satisfying hearing user stories about what happens in the game. For example, Twitch streamer Vortac held a debate before their election:
Eco was also featured on Venture Beat’s gaming podcast, where they did a deep dive, and really got to the heart of the matter when a global debate arose about whether they should guide their society with capitalism or communism. Shenanigans ensued:
“We made a mint, minted the currency and backed it with gold. We made around 650 Hay Pennies. …. While we were doing this, a guy out in the woods, who was not part of our society. He was making his own mint and he ended up minting like 5000 official currency that would work at any store. It was called Pound Sterling. No one’s using it yet, but it’s just sitting out there as a threat. … As we realized this individual was building his own mint, there was a rush to impose a law, that said no more mints could be built. I post that law as I saw him starting, I knew what he was doing, he had built a kiln and learned a certain ability. I bet he’s trying to make a mint we need to pass that law.”
The fact that people are doing such varied and interesting things with the economy, and getting into conceptual discussions about it brings joy to my soul, working as intended, and we still have tons more systems to add (debt and bonds are coming and that’s going to be a fun one). There’s so much potential for emergent player stories in playing with systems like this and we want to really take it far.
Eco Report # 3 New Vehicle List
This version has a ton of various fixes, and major performance improvements, with the goal of supporting 100 simultaneous players. Still work to go on that front but made some major advances. Check out the change list here: https://ecoauth.strangeloopgames.com/changelog
And now we’re starting on the next major monthly update:
Eco Report #2: Eco Late Game Vehicles
We’re seeing a pretty interesting graph of players, which seems to indicate organic growth:
All in all a great launch, not without it’s bumps, but wouldn’t want to make it boring would we? And so, what’s next…
Eco Report #1
Hey all, it’s been a crazy week for us, where not only did we have the Steam Release, but a giant grant proposal to submit (which is 112 pages of FUN!) for a future project.
It all combined into a really epic time, with exciting developments like our login servers crashing shortly after we open the Steam floodgates (fixed now, but that was a wild ride).
Now that it’s out there and the dust has cleared a bit and people are discovering it at a much higher rate, it’s a good time to take stock and think about the future of Eco and where we want to take it in Early Access. And before looking to the future, it’s always fun to look to the past:
It looks like a completely different game over these three years, and basically it is (aside from the fact that you still have an axe and can chop down trees, so much else is totally different). That we were able to communicate our idea with our rough visuals in our Kickstarter and build a dedicated community over the years has been one of the best experiences I’ve had, and we’re super grateful to all our backers. It’s rewarding to hear they’re satisfied with what they invested in.
Eco Beta on Steam this Tuesday, Pre-Release now on our site!
We’re super proud to get this version out there, and looking forward to lots more updates.
Last Eco Alpha Build Released – 6.4. Onwards, Beta.
Alpha rewards: Meteor chunk, top-hat and goggles, and Alpha backer chat icon.
Alpha is available here: strangeloopgames.com/eco. (Note: Multi-packs come with game keys that *will* gift alpha rewards, even if gifted after Beta)
Next up: Beta. At long last after 3 years, our next release is STEAM, February 6th. You can add us to your wishlist here:
Eco on Steam: Feb 6th. Alpha Rewards! 6.3 Released!
We’re putting our Beta release on Steam Early access, and all existing purchasers will get a key!
Add us to your wishlist here:
On Feb 6th, we plan to drop the price from $40 to $30, with regional pricing.
As a thanks to everyone who has supported us up to this point with the higher price, we’re gifting a set of Alpha Rewards. Anyone who buys the game before Feb 6th (and all existing customers) will find these aesthetic items in their inventories when they enter any server:
Eco Alpha 6.2 Released: World Markers, Lag-Free Interactions, Modkit Enhancements, Avatar Customization
We’ll be announcing a beta date soon, sometime in Q1 2018, coming up quick! We’ll be launching to Steam then too.
Check out what’s new in this release:
Eco Alpha 6 Released!
We’ve launched Eco, Alpha 6 Build, and it’s a big one.
Here’s what’s new:
Our new title screen
Eco at PAX West 2017
Our demo of Eco at PAX is complete, the weekend was a success and a ton of fun, great to see everyone who stopped by the booth to check out the latest build and say hi. Next up: we’re going to be shipping Alpha 6 on September 27th. Lots of new features and bug fixes coming…
Our demo of Eco at PAX is complete, the weekend was a success and a ton of fun, great to see everyone who stopped by the booth to check out the latest build and say hi.
Next up: we’re going to be shipping Alpha 6 on September 27th. Lots of new features and bug fixes coming through with this release, it will be a big one. You can download Eco on our site, which will include our Steam release this year and all future updates at: http://strangeloopgames.com/eco
Eco Beta Plans Underwater Ecosystem, Programmable Laws/Contracts, Boats, More
With this release we’ll be rounding out and connecting the three pillars of the game we’ve been building, Economy, Ecology, and Government.
Eco Alpha 5.6 Released
Here’s a look at the new features in this release:
How to Save the Environment by Letting Kids Destroy It
This year’s Earth Day has given us a chance to reflect how the environment is more threatened than it has ever been. Worst of all, this is all occurring with indisputable evidence of the causes, dangers, and solutions to climate change readily available. The fact that climate deniers can still triumph in light of vast…
This year’s Earth Day has given us a chance to reflect how the environment is more threatened than it has ever been. Worst of all, this is all occurring with indisputable evidence of the causes, dangers, and solutions to climate change readily available. The fact that climate deniers can still triumph in light of vast supporting evidence is not only shameful, it’s surprising. We know the answers for how to address this, why can’t we do so as a society?
Eco 5.5 Released
We’re excited to announce Eco Alpha 5.5 is now available!
We’ve added a ton of new features to the game, as well as balancing, polish, and bug fixes.
Eco Alpha 5.4 Released
Should make playing a lot smoother! Update or pick it up here: www.strangeloopgames.com/eco, and you can join us and the community on our Discord chat room here: https://discord.gg/ge3JDp2
Eco Alpha 5 Released.
We’ve left Alpha 5 in the oven a bit longer to get it more polished, and today it’s ready to be released! Check it out at strangeloopgames.com/eco, where you can pick up the alpha version and give it a try.
New in Alpha 5:
New climate and ecosystem model, tracking ground and air pollution, global temperature from CO2 released, sea levels rising, deforestation impacts, biomes that change, dynamic irrigation, and much more.
Eco Alpha 5, Ecosystem Update
We’ve decided to give it a few more weeks of polish and bug-fixing before we send it out, so we’re moving the Alpha 5 date to Oct 24th. Alpha 4 is available now at strangeloopgames.com/eco however, and all buyers will get all future versions (including a Steam key).