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Comments/Level 13: Shenzhou

I Written a long time ago on 13th floor, The classic 1991 British crisis and cover-up game, it’s great to hear that it’s recently re-released in modern form 13th floor: Shenzhou [Steam], With updated graphics, gameplay and storyline.

The task at hand is to maintain the status quo in the UK and fight against interesting evils in a mediocre way: you, Director of the Shady Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. A strategy game centered on information gathering and decision-making, “The 13th floor is considered a bit strange,” the designer David Eastman wrote in describing the disturbing 1991 original, which has a lot of narrative DNA with the remake. “Over the years, it has indeed cultivated an avid audience.”

Terrorist suspects and political troublemakers can be carefully tracked, kidnapped and interrogated, and their homes will be searched or looted. They can even disappear. The media may receive false information about organizations and celebrities that pose a threat to the government or its popularity, and opinion polls will judge you privately. What an image is the relationship between the vanity of democracy and vices!

The game is “file-driven”. The game involves reading reports, considering clues, and then issuing commands, leading to more reports.

Despite the new subtitle, 13th floor: Shenzhou The original British environment of the 1980s was wisely preserved, the contemporary surveillance obsolescence was slightly updated, and it worked well as an out-of-date period work. The cool realism of John Le Carré slowly gave way to the wild conspiracy of Dan Brown. Although driven by text, the visual background makes it feel like a BBC TV series tainted with nicotine drizzle, which was shot in the past video. It helps a lot to understand British politics in the 1980s. You can better appreciate the satirical scenes and black humor on the 13th floor.

After writing the original version (and the hit songs of 1990) Conflict: Middle East, A simple but clever narrative-driven strategy game) Eastman has entered a traditional development career, and the idea for a sequel only appeared in the 2010s when political intrigue and chaos broke out again.At the prompt of his old friend Geoff Foley and co-developer Shahid Ahmad, he set out to form a team to re-examine Computer game world Once condemned as “the most unpleasant spy game ever”, by then, Cult classics.

Eastman wrote in an email: “By the time the last episode of 2019/2020 enters the game, the world has fallen off a cliff.” “Before he became president, I had involved Trump. There are two A viral conspiracy. Of course, I introduced Brexit. Obviously, there was terrorism that was much more serious than anything in the 90s. I really didn’t need to use any fantasy-based plots-even though I learned from some novels Borrowed.”

Eastman added: “The plot in the game usually comes from two sources, combined through unlikely circumstances. But in these years, the facts have made the novel look timid.”

In the game, the case is a clever combination of generated text and manual details. You will neither struggle with randomness nor see the same face in every game. Over time, the pressure to find and solve problems will increase, but too rough or hasty solutions to problems may cause embarrassment and exposure to the government-for you, the ultimate embarrassment is exposed outside the window.

Through the bureaucratic filter of memos and Manila folders, you can see the unfolding secret and political dirty world, which is very interesting. The hidden appeal of the political simulator is to blind the player. This is an epistemological thriller, and then focuses on the lack of knowledge, the filters created by the bureaucracy and the scope of its actions.

However, it is difficult for me to dive into the game because 13th floor: Shenzhou Repeated animation transitions triggered by a person’s actions can also slow down. Reading a file means viewing the file being opened, opened and lifted into view. Starting a new turning point means watching someone go to work every morning, sliding past subway posters, walking down the street, gazing at the unremarkable but menacing ministry building. It seems that the same procedure is most effective in every situation-apply each security option systematically, and then choose from the risky options-at least until things get weird.

To be fair, this is part of the game’s dark humor.

“This is my attempt Have the same dream every day Repeat to slow down people’s thinking. Moreover, it is not popular,” Eastman wrote. “But in the most recent update, it speeds up immediately after a normal speed operation. “

Welcome to the isolated and painful imaginary reality at the darkest turning point in state governance. All on board!

13th floor: Shenzhou [Steam]

(The following is the full text of my Q&A with Eastman.)

BB: How did the remake come about?

Eastman: Although my other old game, Conflict: Middle East, was happily taken back when it was released (for budget products), the 13th floor was considered a somewhat strange road. Over the years, it has indeed cultivated an avid audience, but despite this, I really don’t want to repeat myself.

I wrote a design for a game called Global International Terrorist. In the mid-90s, Virgin Games didn’t have much interest in this game-maybe a bit lucky, because it involves destroying two towers for various terrorist organizations, etc. Things. So I found a “right” job in software development.

By 2011, my friend Geoff Foley (he was also a game developer at the time) began to say that with so much news happening, the 13th floor could indeed be rewritten. Shahid Ahmad, my main collaborator and friend have quit Sony and said that if I make this game, I can make it. So I am back.

We originally thought this game could be launched in 2013, but the name will change significantly, but I chose a slow development route.

BB: Since this has made remakes challenging (or interesting in other ways?)

Eastman: Therefore, the first thing that makes the game possible is Unity. It allows me to program the back-end, serious artists (Bismuth Works) can make scenes, and front-end developers (Erlend Grefsrud of countless celebrities) can build structures. I am very happy to work in a distributed team (the time I spend in the industry is very useful). Shahid immediately insisted that the game looked great-why not? This is a menu-driven game that can show off some cute art.

As for news reports, the world is changing rapidly, and by the time the last episode of 2019/2020 enters the game, the world has fallen off a cliff. Before he became president, I had involved Trump. There are two virus diagrams. Of course, I introduced Brexit. Obviously, terrorism was more serious than anything happened in the 1990s. I really don’t need to use any fantasy-based plots (although I borrowed them from some novels).

The plot in the game usually comes from two sources, combined through unlikely situations. But in these years, facts have made the novel look timid.

BB: How did you merge the old gloom of Thatcher era with the more modern atmosphere of conspiracy?

Eastman: So the time period of the game is fuzzy, but it is obviously based roughly on “now” while sliding slightly.

In the original version, the state was seen as more rigid, slow-moving and closer to “yes, minister”. There is no doubt that Thatcher is behind Gate 10; in the new version, the emphasis on the government is much lower. On the contrary, we see pressure groups, mavericks, lonely people, etc.

Today’s conspiracy is better known to the public. Back in the 90s, conspiracy actually meant that a group of people came together to commit some type of fraud. Suddenly, a leader may be killed. They must be serious people. Today, things like QAnon have been mentioned in every media, even though it is nonsense.

BB: The mixing of procedural/generating elements and manual content seems to be well done. What makes this all right?

Eastman: Fortunately, my ability in game computing is very limited. I don’t know how to draw; I don’t understand lighting, and my UI skills are not the best. However, I am good at lexical branching and narrative decomposition. Intertwining threads is something I can do, so I did it. I may have gritted my teeth when trying to localize various aspects of the system, but in general, it worked more or less as expected. This has the added benefit of making the game look good on the Twitch channel because the game is very different every time it is played.

BB: Can you turn off the animation transition between scenes and actions? This is my biggest sticking point as a player.

This is my attempt to repeat the same dream every day to slow down people’s thinking. Moreover, it is not popular. But in the most recent update, it speeds up immediately after running at normal speed. I probably hate people who use standard systems the most. They think that games will not push older graphics cards-but embarrassingly, it does sometimes. By the next update, I might give in and let you jump outside most days.

13th floor: Shenzhou [Steam]

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