Downloadable Context.

Hi all!

We are launching a new podcast called Downloadable Context.

Downloadable Context is an interview podcast where we will be speaking with individual game developers about what makes them tick.  The aim is to have a new episode once per month, and these episodes will substitute for episodes of The 1st 10 Minutes.

Head on over to check it out, and we hope you enjoy the show!

Uplink – Steam Curator

This game is a game about hacking, that makes you genuinely feel like you are hacking, even though the mechanisms involved are almost certainly nothing like actual hacking.


Thanks to tight scoping, focussed design, and very cleverly constructed UI, you will work your way through this game in a state of near-constant tension.  It is essentially a roguelike, so one false move and you’ll probably have to start over again.  You learn many things along the way, but you still have to execute your plans well in order to succeed.


Introversion have gone on to make other similarly great games, like Darwinia, DEFCON, and the (currently in Early Access) Prison Architect.  This is one of their earliest titles, and it still holds up very well.

Crusader Kings II – Steam Curator

This game is a feudal murder/intrigue/dynasty simulator.  This game takes quite a long time to figure out.  This game will reward you a thousand-fold if you stick with it.


If you’re the kind of person who enjoys games that operate around the collision of multiple systems to create interesting and unexpected outcomes, you need to play this game.  If you like games that can surprise you with curve-balls you never saw coming, and you can laugh and have a blast when your cunning plan falls apart at the most inopportune moment, you need to play this game.  If you like the idea of Dwarf Fortress but want something a little more accessible, you need to play this game.


If you enjoy Let’s Play videos and want to see what happens when this game gets its hooks into people, check this out:


You can watch all 17 hours if you want.  That’s what this game does to you, if it clicks.  All the major DLC expansions are also recommended.


Miasmata – Steam Curator

This game was made by two people.  TWO.  It’s a first person game without the shooting; you awaken on an island, and you’re sick.


Through exploration, foraging, and analysis, you must find a cure for your illness.  The game doesn’t give you any of the usual superhuman skills you are used to.  You cannot sprint endlessly and leap to great heights.  Sliding down a slope can lead to falling, which can lead to death.  Your map does not automagically update; triangulation relative to known landmarks is necessary.


The island is mysterious, and its environments are diverse and interesting.  And yes, the game doesn’t have AAA polish, but it was made by two people.  Quite remarkable.

This War Of Mine – Steam Curator

This game places you in control of three people who are caught in a war-torn urban environment, where you must do whatever is necessary to survive.


The presentation is side-on 2.5D, and while the game operates in real-time (much like a traditional RTS) the limitation of only three “units” means that each of them can (and are) given a much more individual treatment.  They will become hungry, tired, sick, and depressed.  The actions that you set for them are utterly mundane, and utterly compelling.


How do you eke out an existence in a setting where finding a tin of food can mean the difference between your group having enough strength to build barricades or not?  And if raiders come to your dwelling in the night, and those barricades are not up, you may lose everything.  Everything.


You will build your own narratives for these characters as you progress through the game, and it’s amazing.  Play this.

Unity Of Command – Steam Curator

This game is set in the still under-represented Eastern Front of World War II, and its core mechanic is brilliantly based around lines of supply, rather than clicking on things until they run out of hitpoints.


The core game is set in the 1942/43 Stalingrad campaign, and each map of the scenario is an intricate (but ultimately comprehensible) puzzle in which you need to figure out how to maintain your own lines of supply, while cutting off the enemy’s.  As in the real war, units that are cut off from their supply lose their effectiveness, so the game is about cleverly taking advantage of this mechanic.


It also has a very attractive visual style for a hex-based, turn-based game.  The game is a pleasure to look at, and all the information you need is easy to spot, and easy to read.  It is a great example of how to design an abstraction of real-world systems into something fun, engaging, and playable.  And it will challenge you.