I was looking at games the other day. Figured I’d support the Indie scene and… what’s this? SpaceChem? Okay, that looks like something I’d enjoy. I picked it up along with a couple others.
Turns out I was disastrously right. Here’s why:
SpaceChem is a training tool for many of the skills I value. Process optimization, design problems, spatial layout, programming, continuous flow problems. It fits snugly in my mind.
There is no “right” solution (just like in real life!), only better, worse, and wrong.
I find SpaceChem really difficult. There’s a constant struggle to create a linked sequence of elegant solutions to unique process challenges.
I think I’m good at it. Judging from the “others solutions” charts (which is a brilliant idea by the way) I’m coming in below average (which is good, since they are all minimize optimal) on all three metrics at once. Consistently. Often on the first try. Of course, this only drives me to attempt ever more elegant solutions, making the game harder.
The game concept is very nanotechnology relevant, which I love. These kind of design problems could end up being very applicable in the near future, so it feels even more real and useful.