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Banished's 'build what you want, when you want it' game design
Game industry veteran Luke Hodorowicz had a vision. He'd played a whole bunch of city-building games over the years, but nothing had really managed to scratch the itch properly.
Game industry veteran Luke Hodorowicz had a vision. He'd played a whole bunch of city-building games over the years, but nothing had really managed to scratch the itch properly. So after building console games for around 10 years, Hodorowicz decided to fill that void himself. He quit his triple-A job and started Shining Rock Software, with the aim to create the city-building game that was lodged firmly in his head. This game was Banished, and it's about to release for PC via Steam. It follows a band of outcast travellers, who find a quiet little spot to set up camp, start building up a little village, and eventually find themselves battling through the harsh conditions in order to survive. "With other city-builders I've played, it always kind of annoyed me that you have this tiny house and there's 70 people living in it, or that you have this infinite supply of resources," Hodorowicz tells me. "Those were a couple of things that I thought it would be interesting to explore when I prototyped the idea. I ended up liking it quite a bit, so I continued working on it." Where other city-builders focus on building from the ground-up, funnelling this resources into that building and generally constructing the very same town that every other player has accomplished, Banished has a grand aim for creativity. There is no perfect town in Banished. Rather, you can build whatever you want, and in whatever order you choose. You can decide to focus entirely on one form of survival, or you can go large on everything. Even staying small is a fair tactic in this game. "You just build what you want, as you want it," explains Hodorowicz. "The only requirements are the resources to build it. You can build a tailor to make clothes, but if you don't have leather, there's no way to make clothes. You need to be able to acquire those resources before you can that building work for you." "I wanted to build a game where you could play it anyway you wanted," he continues. "If you wanna play where your town stays as a small community in the forest, that works. Or you can erase the whole forest and have farms as far as you can see, and still have your population work that way - although it's a little harder to maintain." The main goal with Banished, he notes, is for players to be able to create whatever neat-looking city they want, and have fun doing it.