When I think of a farming video game, I think of Farmville.
If you’re not familiar with Farmville, it was a Facebook sensation a couple of years ago:
Players could design their own farm by investing in, growing and selling virtual crops. Once players made enough “farm coins,” they could then buy larger equipment, livestock and other things to make their farm unique. It was the ultimate productivity killer.
I never played the game, but I was an unwilling participant in the constant Facebook Newsfeed requests to help my friends’ farms become successful. It was mildly annoying, to put it nicely. In fact, nothing caused me to unfriend more people on Facebook than Farmville. I really hope I didn’t crush anybody’s dreams of becoming the best farmer on social media.
Apparently I wasn’t the only person annoyed with the game, Time Magazine placed Farmville on its list of the “50 worst inventions.”
Dawn of a new era
Here’s a video:
Notice anything? Aside from the pretty graphics, it’s plain to see that “Farming Simulator 2013″ is just that: a farming simulator. Players plant, water, harvest and expand their fields. And just like a real farm, players can play alone, or they can play online with friends.
What inspired the game makers to create a game about farming? I e-mailed Marc Schwegler, associate producer at Giants Software and asked him a few questions about his company’s latest release:
Q: Why did your company choose to make a game about farming?
A: We had the idea to create a combine harvester simulation game, taking the idea of Flight Simulator and applying it to a combine harvester, but when working on this idea we realized it would allow for so much more gameplay when we would add all the farming related processes to the game.
Q: What kind of research did your crew conduct to make the game seem as realistic as possible.
A: A lot of the input actually came from our own prior experience, that is some of our team either grew up on a farm or near one and had some idea of what we wanted to add to the game and how it should work.
Q: Is it more important to make a faithful simulation or an entertaining game?
A: It is more important to make the game entertaining. In terms of steps you take in the game to achieve your goals, yes it should be as realistic as possible. However, realism would stop where gameplay is bogged down. For instance, it is not much fun to wait until your crops have grown and ripened, therefore time is not simulated realistically [in the game].
Q: With the game coming to consoles, I heard your team has added American-type farms to the mix. What other improvements or additions can players expect?
A: There will be a new American map to play in and the regular European-styled one in the console version. A lot of optimizations have gone into the game to make it run smoothly on consoles and we added a couple more vehicles and tools to the console version. Of course these additions will then also come to the PC version as a separate add-on.
Q: What do you say to people who scoff at the idea of a farming video game?
A: They should definitely give it a go and just play it sometime. I am sure they will find it is way more fun than they thought it would be.
Q: The game is becoming quite a success, why do you think Farming Simulator 2013 is taking off?
A: We have iterated on the design of the game a lot over the last versions and made so much content that every player can pick and choose from an array of different machines to play the game in his very own way. It is like a big sandbox where the player can do whatever he likes, turn any place in the game into arable land, drive huge combine harvesters, buy cows, sheep and chicken or even supply the local bio gas plant with fuel.