The Harvest Legacy

January 1st, 2010, Harvest

Almost three years have passed since I made the first Harvest prototype. I recall it was a wednesday and I had “this idea I just needed to try,” and never got out of my bathrobe that day. The idea was based on the concept that I wanted to make a mining game where the challenge would be to get power from the plant to the harvesters. The aliens (originally green goblin heads) and defense towers were quickly added afterwards, creating the basis of what would become Harvest: Massive Encounter.

This concept has in turn inspired other game developers to make their own implementations. The first time I heard of one of these “clones” I was really shocked. It was the same kind of feeling as when we discovered that Harvest torrents were available on the same day as we released the game. It wasn’t a good feeling, but now when I look back at it I see how irrational and childish that feeling was. We should be proud that the game was worth being inspired by!

In addition, the game was The Space Game by The Causal Collective, and David Scott & Paul Preece were super cool about it and even added us to the game’s credits. Since then three more clones have appeared, and in truth I think some of these are more inspired by The Space Game than by Harvest… In any case I thought it would be fun to write a small blog post about them. (They are listed in the order that I heard about them.)

The Space Game - The Causal Collective – Game Link

This is the most famous of the “harvest games.” It’s even more famous than Harvest itself, so sometimes I read in comments and forums messages like “oh, this looks like a browser game I played somewhere…” The Space Game expands on the idea with missions and more options, while simplifying a few things to make it runnable as a browser game. Pretty neat!

Creeper World – Knuckle Cracker – Website Link

Creeper World is quite different from Harvest and has received a lot of positive feedback. It’s made by Knuckle Cracker and was brought to my attention by somebody under the alias “Zulgaines.”

Caleum Defense – anpd – Link

I’m not actually sure who has done this game. It was posted to the TIGSource forums by the mysterious user “anpd,” and s/he didn’t give any website or other personal information. The game itself doesn’t contain any readme either, so I’m lost there. In any case, what I’ve seen is an early 3d prototype which allows you to place laser defenses and energy links.

Space Station – Origin 8 – Website Link

I don’t know much about this game except that it’s available for iPhone from the AppStore. I would guess this game is more inspired by The Space Game than by Harvest, though. We had plans for making an iPhone version of Harvest, but those plans were stopped by lack of motivation (and funds, actually, because we couldn’t afford to keep on working like we did). I don’t think our version would bring the game to space, though…

So there you have it! I fully expect more games to come, please let me know if I’ve missed any.


4 Responses to “The Harvest Legacy”

  1. Michael Todd :

    I have a harvest clone prototype lying around somewhere. It has a combine harvester! (Massive Harvester: Attack)

    Only three years? I must have first played it when it was new then. I remember the first time I thought ‘wow, this game is genius’.

  2. lupodw :

    Good things are worth t be inspired by. But as so often – a copy is never as good as the original.I played every clone except “Caleum Defense”… and i gotta say they are much less complex then harvest.

    The biggest disappointment was “Space Station”. I literally played it ONCE – finished the boring and way to easy ten levels, and got the first place on the worldwide high score in the categories i played, although i didn’t even really try to set a high score… Yawn… nothing like the real Harvest experience.

  3. Luke :

    I’m not sure but I’d say that Harvest may be my favourite strategy game: few elements for several combination – a receipe for emergent gameplay.
    Then, it was a real shame its lack of multiplayer; how am I supposed to release the power of my death star? ;)

  4. Harvest: Massive Encounter « SAND STORM :

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