There is a type of game that I call, “Conveyer Belters”. These are games where you build manufacturing machines that connect to each other through conveyor belts. It is definitely a niche. The genre never going to have the wide-ranging appeal of jumping on turtle monsters as a plumber. That’s something everyone can get into. But for people who enjoy trains and problem solving, these games are perfect. Dyson Sphere Program is one of these games, currently in early access, and it is great so far.
Note, I say people who love trains because I think conveyor belts and trains are sorta similar, and lots of people say they like trains. But very few people talk openly about a love of conveyor belts.
Other than this one, there are a lot of games in that genre but the two biggest (to my knowledge) are Factorio and Satisfactory. Factorio is a top down view and everything is built in 2D. There are some structures that let a belt or pipe go underground for a short distance to get past another belt or pipe, but you’re mostly building on a 2D plane. Satisfactory is a first-person, entirely 3D experience. You can build in all three directions (along X, Y, and Z-axes), allowing you to construct giant skyscrapers and belts weaving on top of each other like the fibers of a blanket.
You would think those are the only two general styles of game you could have. Any further entries in the genre would either be top down 2D or would be first-person 3D and would have to innovate within those paradigms. But then Dyson Sphere Program came along and gave us a top-down view but with 3-axis building.
This is a Whole New World to Play In!
For me, at least. It is entirely possible that some other game that I’ve just not heard of has done top down view with 3D building. If that’s the case, I apologize and invite you to leave a link in the comments so I can find and play it. Thanks!
If you're a fan of either of those games, do yourself a favor and grab the early access of Dyson Sphere Program. You're not going to be disappointed.
I find the top down 2D view a lot easier to understand and use. So much so that while I took to Factorio instantly, I was put off of Satisfactory the first time I played it. Conceptualizing production lines in three dimensions hurt my brain.
I eventually tried Satisfactory again and got super into it, but I still got confused in that 3D world. But the Dyson Sphere Program interface gives me the top down 2D view that’s easier for me to understand and navigate. But at the same time, it also also gives me the ability to build conveyor belts that go up and over things. And I do mean, up and over. These things can go up on many different levels of elevation. So again you can weave that 3D cloth out of conveyor belts in the sky.
Many of the buildings are also stackable, and unlocking technology to stack more buildings higher and higher is one of the things you research and unlock as you play. You don’t exactly build skyscrapers in Dyson Sphere Program, but there are plenty of opportunities to increase production by scaling vertically when you’re out of space.
Speaking of Space…
You can fly into outer space! Dyson Sphere Program is ultimately about building a Dyson Sphere around a star. If you're not familiar with the concept, it's where a reflective sphere fully encases a planetary system (star included) to capture and reflect back the solar energy for use.
While in the real world, we are so far out from building Dyson Spheres that it's an abstract concept, is is not in this game. In fact, it's kind of the point. You can literally fly up into space, where you can find many other planets to land on and exploit. As your technology advances you can set up mining operations on multiple planets, having all the raw materials shipped via space drones to planets with centralized refineries you’ve constructed. And then, you ship those finished goods back out to space to other planets where you need them. All through automated space drones and docking facilities you set up.
If that sounds overly complicated, it's not. In fact, the interplanetary economy actually simplifies things because you can get all the parts you need shipped to a new, empty planet and start building there fresh. Meaning that you are able to establish production without working around the spaghetti mess that you built to gather those parts in the first place. It’s great!
Currently in Early Access
Dyson Sphere Program is in its early access phase. As I write this, it only just became available to the public. But even with those few weeks, the game already has a ton of content, and I haven’t had any big bugs that impede gameplay. The developers have been patching a lot too with improvements based on player feedback.
Admittedly, it’s always a risk to get into an early access game, but I wanted to write about Dyson Sphere Program because it seems like a safe bet. And of course, based on the improvements already and the current state of the game, it will just be more awesome when it has its full release, so I wouldn’t blame you for waiting.
Bottom line: I highly recommend buying this game if you enjoy trains, conveyor belts, factories, problem solving, and space.