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Review by: Jim Richmond
Published: July 30, 2004
Being a real-time strategy game developer has to be one of the hardest jobs around. With so many titles competing for consumers, it takes the ingenuity of Daedalus to create something that stands out from the crowd and the wisdom of Solomon to bring all the pieces into balance so that the end product is fun to play. Even worse, your audience expects games in the genre to adhere to certain principals, but at the same time doesn’t want to be bored with the same experience. So what do you do if you want to step outside the boundaries of convention? That’s the question developer K-D Lab set out to answer with Perimeter.
Perimeter‘s story is based on its own mythology: In the beginning, there were Spirits. The Spirits created the Worlds, and then created Man in their own image. Man grew and became curious, and as he explored, he multiplied. Eventually, Man increased in numbers until all the Worlds were full. When the Worlds could no longer sustain him, Man built the Frames; his multitudes lived in them, but also rotted. Seeing the stagnation, the Spirits took pity upon their creation and returned Man to his corporeal form. The Spirits also shined a light into the future, showed Man the Alpha and Omega of other Worlds, and set him on the path to his destiny. Through the Terminals, Man hears the Spirits, and through their persistent light, he shall achieve his destiny.
The Frame is the central figure of Perimeter; it acts like a headquarters or capital in any other RTS. The big difference is that this headquarters can float above land and be moved to any point on the map. While defenseless, the Frame is the origination of everything you do in the game, and its destruction sends you back to the mission failure screen. Along with hundreds of thousands of people, your Frame also houses the Spirit Core, a warp engine of sorts that allows you to access the Alpha and Omega gates for traveling from one world to another. The Spirit Core can only be charged while the Frame is in contact with the ground.
The Frame is also the central docking facility for Perimeter‘s two key worker units: Buildmasters and Brigadiers. Buildmasters use nano-energy to put up structures and defenses, and Brigadiers send out units to terraform the landscape. Buildmasters can be converted into Brigadiers and vice versa, but Frames support a maximum of five worker units at any time. If you’ve got a big terraforming job, then you’ll have to trade in some Buildmasters to get the extra help where you need it. Switching from one unit type to the other requires a few moments while the unit docks with the Frame to complete the requested change.
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