The Lacuna Expanse

Another obligatory Lacuna Expanse post. JT Smith announced the creation of Lacuna Expanse, a free online game with the backend written in Perl. Most free online games are rather dull (I've tried a few), but this one shows promise.

It's a strategy game, so if like those, you might enjoy Lacuna Expanse. The tutorial is fairly easy to follow, though there are some confusing bits. Apparently I needed a Waste Sequestration Well to use the Waste Recycling Center, but it took me a while to realize that (the game notes that you must manually convert waste, but doesn't mention that the waste must be stored first). However, this sort of thing becomes obvious when browsing through the game. I like that little details like this are there to be discovered rather than simply handed to me.

As of this writing, the "Ovidian Order" -- with a home planet naturally named "Tomis" -- is ranked 33 out of 272 empires. It's easy to climb the ranks, but that's probably because the game is new. To find that rank I simply clicked on my Planetary Command Center, noted the population and then clicked the "Stats" icon (upper right) and went through the empires until I found those matching my population.

Everything that you can click has a link which will take you directly to its wiki page, an excellent feature. The image links are currently broken and the pages are sparse, but I imagine this will be fixed soon.

All things considered, this is a lovely (graphics-wise) game and very playable. How it will work in the long-term, I don't know, but I'm happy to see that JT has created both a compelling game and a possible marketing point for Perl. Of course, I've no idea if JT views it as marketing for Perl as much as he views it as a business venture, but so far, I'm pleasantly surprised. I've played a few online games before, but they're usually awful. I suspect the Lacuna Expanse will be a pleasant surprise for many.

JT, thanks for a great game. I'm looking forward to seeing more of it.

Update: as a side note, I've just put this in /r/gaming/ on reddit. If you like it, vote it up and say nice things about it :)

1 Comment

@ovid: You're welcome!

While almost all of my software projects are business ventures, I always have Perl marketing in the back of my mind. It's like I told the Perl marketing group at YAPC::EU in Lisbon: If you create money and jobs around Perl, the community and marketing efforts will take care of themselves. Long term, if Lacuna makes money (and I'm pretty sure it will), there will be many Perl jobs created because of it. And in the short term, I think that the Perl community has a new pretty toy that it can point to and say "Look what Perl can do."

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About Ovid

user-pic Have Perl; Will Travel. Freelance Perl/Testing/Agile consultant. Photo by http://www.circle23.com/. Warning: that site is not safe for work. The photographer is a good friend of mine, though, and it's appropriate to credit his work.