Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Castle Builder

Well, here is another browser game as it refers to itself, and this one is obtuse.

Sand Castle Builder, the self-proclaimed Dwarf Fortress of Idle Games, is unlike Cookie Clicker and Candy Box in that not only is progression very non-linear, but also how you are even progressing starts off as a mystery.

We're not talking about a "why would I want more cookies anyway?" type existential question.  More like, "What units is the game measuring time in?" and "How can I buy any of these things?" and "What just happened when that timer hit zero?"

I am not going to answer any of these questions.  If you are not the kind of person who wants to figure out what is going on in a game by yourself you probably won't like this game.  And I don't mean the sort of person who likes to explore a landscape and see what is hidden there, I mean the sort of person who likes to do tests on practice dummies to average out damage numbers to figure out if those two 5% bonuses add to 10% or multiply to 10.25%.  This is a game for spreadsheet makers.

Not that I can think of any meaningful way to make a spreadsheet for it, which is part of the allure.  In a game where sometimes it is wrong to generate more of your fundamental resource because it is the wrong time to do so, it is hard to imagine what my spreadsheet would look like.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think ultimately this game might suck really bad.  Just like in Cookie Clicker you accumulate resources and then buy things that make you accumulate more resources.  However, in this game the golden-cookie-equivalent dominates your production so massively that doing the other things might not really matter much.  At any rate, there is a huge amount more to this game than I have seen so far, so I'm not going to jump to criticize yet.


  1. I really did not expect to have to pull out the Fibonacci closed form equation for a browser game.

    1. Unfortunately the more interesting numbers are the costs of castle tools which follow a Fibonacci progression but which don't start at 1. Rather than doing any exact calculations, I've satisfied myself by approximating future values as present value * tau ^ n for relevant n. My question isn't really how much will wave 30 cost, but what order of magnitude will wave 30 cost.

      Anyway, a new weird thing just happened and I think I'll be multiplying my production by about 35 when I go home and can save up a few billion sand.