Rust: A Realistic Masterpiece or a Rusty Simulation?

By Michael P.

What would your first impression of a video game be if a small section of the store page says ‘Warning: Caveman-themed nudity”? Most of you, according to the principles of common sense, would stop for a second, and then immediately skip to the next game. I, however, was not deterred by this peculiar statement. I started playing Rust in its very early stages, back when it was a DayZ clone . However, I hadn’t touched the game since its developers made the daunting choice of completely recreating the game from scratch, with a whole new developmental approach. After some videos made by my favourite Youtubers, and the message mentioned above, I decided to revisit Rust and give this land of naked cannibals another shot. In the few hours I spent experimenting with this newly updated video game, I came to a swift conclusion; this was the only game that managed to successfully mix realistic, open-world simulation with hilarious player interaction and riveting gameplay. All in all, it is a great game for after-school relaxing, but is also equitable for coordinated, and fore planned tactics; it sews a flawless seam between simulation and casual gaming.

The current version of Rust, as I touched upon above, is not the first. Before the  “experimental” version, the game was in-game graphicsreleased under the Unity 4 engine. It was supposed to be a zombie survival game, but the developers’ history proved incompatible with this idea. Facepunch Studios, the company responsible for this creation, previously had massive success with Garry’s Mod, a casual, sandbox game that was infamous for it moddability and  absurd user-made creations. Facepunch initially had great success with Rust, but later realized that the path they were carving was on untrekked terrain; they had never before attempted to make a realistic open-world survival game! After several updates, and with many sleepless nights, the creators made a bold move; they announced that they would be completely recreating the game. Their first-time code had become too hectic and unmanageable. The old version of Rust, now called “Legacy”, is still available to play, but the main focus has been put into completely reshuffling the game’s mechanics and physics engine, which was to be based upon Unity 5.

 

Unity 5, of course, has been used in a multitude of other successful games, such as Republique Remastered and Stranded Deep. This engine is not only renowned for its functionality, but also surpasses many others in terms of versatility. If you have a quick glance at their website, it boasts a formidable list of games using this engine. Their styles and genres range from 2D, minimalistic side-scrollers to real-time illuminated, surround sound masterpieces. This flexibility was what allowed Rust to be completely remodelled into the unique creation it is today.

 

Rust, in a simple sentence, is absolutely breathtaking. Although I am often ridiculed for this, graphics are a very important factor in my judgement, and are only overthrown by amazing gameplay. This game, however, is an anomaly that I had rarely witnessed; it manages to incorporate both into one bundle! The graphics are absolutely breathtaking. Using real-time illumination, advanced particle generation, and many other features, Facepunch manages to make a smooth and hyper realistic world. The static map of the predecessor was replaced with a procedurally generated one, with seamless multi-biome integration and terrain variation. Even the foliage, which is difficult to accurately recreate, is well spaced, and fluctuated between biomes and altitudes. The low meadows are covered in tender, long stalks of grass, while the deserts are littered with various cacti and dying shrubs. Naturally, a random map would be prone to glitches and visual bugs, but after spending an hour server-hopping, I only found several lighting issues and a single deformed rock. However, the most impressive part of the graphical realism is the game’s usage of the engine’s physics system. As opposed to the previous version, and many other MMOs, Rust’s collision detection system is almost impervious to manipulation or the abusing of continuous collision. Player relation with the environment is fully synchronized and all moving parts have a properly defined mesh. It’s truly an amazing sight to see a wooden structure fall apart into splinters, logs, and bits of debris, all of which act independently, and interact with the environment.

 

But then again, how can several splinters recreate an accurate image of a game? Gameplay is more important in terms of playtime; a game with stunning graphics can only entice a player for so long. Rust utilizes the general stereotypes for a survival game, but expands on what is available in others, while adding its own personal features to the genre. First of all, a large part of Rust is structured around base-building. Any other game might have stuck to the bare minimum, but the Rust developers truly went overboard; servers are strewn with small, one room shacks, but amongst them are gigantic, intricately designed castles, with battlements, moats, stairs and bedrooms. As developers have been adding more blocks, such as curved surfaces and hatches, these separated structures have been coalescing into villages and even small cities. Such variety also extends over to the item and weapon availability; numerous resources and minerals can be used to create armour, tools, and furniture. From basic bone knives, to bucket helmets, the developers of Rust have provided enough resources for any kind of playstyle. A sniper would feel just as content as a “Gung Ho Gamer” or an uncontacted nomad.

 

Another part that is extremely well integrated into the gameplay is a realistic survival mechanism. Swimming, for example, can result in hypothermia, which can swiftly kill you, so a veteran player will always carry a couple twigs with him, to create a fire. Hunger and radiation are also expertly coded into the game; although as of yet, not many foods exist, the ones available are dynamic and have different stages, such as burnt, raw and rotten. All of these aspects, combined with the game’s multiplayer-interactive nature, bring the user a unique experience. All actions, raids and excursions must be carefully planned out in terms of food, temperature and health. Although this game is not the most realistic on the market (getting trumped by DayZ and H1Z1), it manages to fuse fun with a competitive environment; you can actually enjoy yourself instead of having nervous breakdowns every time you run into another player, like in DayZ. New players start off with only a torch and a rock; there is nothing more comical than seeing a virtual, naked man running away from a fully armoured fighter. The developers obviously tried to centre their game around realism, but also incorporated out-standing elements that loosened the gaming environment.


In comparison to other survival games, this is definitely my go-to, no matter the mood. As I mentioned numerous times, very few games have melded strategy with casual gaming, and I truly applaud the developers on this difficult feat. With its high-quality graphics (which can be toned down, of course, in turn for a higher FPS) and superbly realistic gameplay, Rust will forever remain in my books as my all time favourite. Although it was an arduous task to completely remake the game, and to continuously update it, what Facepunch have created is a clean and naked masterpiece.

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