Electron Dance
22Jan/199

Transmission: Miasmata

60 minutes. One game.

Stream this week, Tuesday 22 January. I will begin at 9:30PM UK, 10:30PM Central Europe, 4:30PM EST. My Twitch channel can be found at twitch.tv/electrondance.

I will discuss the following titles:

I have written about Miasmata twice: The Beast and The Island.

Previous Transmissions are available on the dedicated E/TX YouTube channel.

Update 23 January! Here's the archived stream now uploaded to YouTube.

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Comments (9) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Great stream HM! It’s just like that beast to be a no-show, too. He was all, “Joel is showing off Miasmata, of which I am an integral part. I will hide!”

    I bet if you’d shut off the stream, he’d have jumped out and eaten your face instantly. Just so long as no one could see.

  2. Yeah I wasn’t sure if the beast would appear after the practice play went for an hour and a half without him. After I stopped recording the practice, he turned up within a matter of minutes. How vexing.

    Thanks for tuning in Steerpike!

  3. Thanks, it was very interesting. I like how the map works, though both the number of landmarks on the island and how often it’s necessary to triangulate your position seems a little bit ridiculous.

    On the other hand, you did get lost after what, a minute of walking through the swamp path? Which I think would never happen in real life. Is it due to the graphics, that make the world more homogeneous that what it would look in reality?

  4. Hello Fede!

    In defence of Miasmata, I’ll offer some bullet points.

    (1) It is just another abstraction at the end of the day. It represents navigating an island but is not accurate in any way. This abstraction results in Designated Landmarks that all look alike, and the flat graphics leading to getting lost after a short amount of time. The paths not being clear is obviously intentional on the part of the developers.

    (2) Whether you like having to triangulate so often will determine whether you like the game or not. While you get map fragments occasionally, there are whole swathes of the island that only you can map through establishing the location of landmarks. This map is your challenge and is your achievement. For Miasmata fans, this is *immensely* satisfying, this constant challenge of figuring out how to develop the map because it seems like there are no landmarks when you’re marching through dense forest.

    (3) The presence of the beast charges the whole thing with tension. Because you might have collected a couple of new flowers that could be important and almost at a new camp – then the beast appears and throws you into chaos. If you don’t wind up dead, you could easily wind up hopelessly lost.

  5. It was an interesting stream of an interesting and surprisingly hardcore-looking game. I’m not sure how I’d get on with it but I appreciate getting a flavour. It does make me wonder if a Miasmata prodigy with a flawless sense of direction could exist, who could learn the island by sight and complete the game without having to refer to the landmarks.

  6. Hi CA – interesting you call it out at as a “hardcore-looking” game. I think Miasmata does well to shrug off the title of “walking simulator” because you have to work so hard.

    Personally, I doubt the existence of such a Miasmata prodigy because you spend more time digging out new parts of the map than retracing your steps. Certain areas do become familiar but there are chunks of it which looks too similar (dense forests are a death trap in that sense). Plus when you have to be careful not to slip down cliffs or swim through bodies of water etc. it forces you to change direction. I found that was screwing up my sense of direction a lot.

  7. I’m definitely sold on the triangulation, I added the game to IsThereAnyDeal halfway through the stream, I’ll get it one of the next times it gets discounted.

    I’m wondering whether the number of landmarks and the need to triangulate often are due to the game making it easier to get lost or whether, since it was easy to get lost, more landmarks were added. I have watched some parts again on youtube, since the video resolution wasn’t very good during the stream and the graphics look better than I thought.

  8. Fede, I have a feeling the developers wanted it very easy to get last and so the confusion sits just right with them. The downside is that it you rely on the game telling you what your character ‘recognises’ than you identifying the landmarks yourself. Like if they were giant stone letters, you’d be able to navigate without triangulation I imagine. A design necessity, maybe.


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