Lux (video game)
|Release date(s)||1.0 - November 25, 2002
2.0 - May 20, 2003
3.0 - August 22, 2003
4.0 - July 22, 2004
5.0 - May 11th, 2005
5.5 - September 16, 2006
5.7 - November 22, 2007
6.0 - August 25, 2009
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
Lux is a turn-based strategy computer game that uses the rule system of the board game Risk but expands it to function on any map made up of a graph of countries and the connections between them. Lux was developed and self-published by developer Sillysoft Games. The user community has been active in growing Lux. Users can create maps and computer AIs for Lux, and submit them to be included in the official plugin manager.
Lux is a Risk-style clone with generally similar rules to the original. Up to six players can play at once, and any empty spot in the game is filled up by "bots," or computer AI personalities. Lux has over 900 maps, each varying in size, shape, and complexity. Regardless of the map, the object of the game remains: eliminate all other players so only one remains. Players play for "Raw," which is awarded or taken away based on whether you win or lose games. These games are recorded, and the player with the most raw at the end of the week is awarded a virtual medal. Aside from the weekly medals, players compete for the best seed, the calculation of a player's best weekly ranking. Awards are distributed on a player's rankings page, along with a record of his/her win percentage, games, and more.
Like Risk, winning in Lux requires both skill and luck, with every attack hanging on the result of a dice roll. However, in spite of the randomness there exists a regular group of players who dominate the multiplayer rankings. Like many online turn-based board games, Lux includes a chat capability, allowing conversation, tactical discussions, offers of alliance, etc., and some players use this as a political tool in their play to great advantage.
The ranking system is very competitive, and has evolved into a two-tiered system where each player has a score in the current week, as well as a seeded place depending on the last 16 weeks of play. The online player base is relatively small (about 700 regular online players), but many of them are fairly dedicated.
A much greater number of users play the game off-line with computer AI Artificial Intelligence opponents. The AI players play by the same rules and are subject to the same game-play limitations as human players, that is, they can't cheat. About half of these "bots" were programmed by members of the community, and they have evolved to employ sophisticated strategies, such as recognizing players who target them, cooperation, and the imitation of other bots' behavior. Some also respond to text chat, and human responses to them can influence their choice of tactics. The bots sometimes receive respectable rankings for their online play.
The original maps are numerous and varied, and most of them are made and submitted by players and casual gamers. Some maps are based on historic battles or wars (e.g., there is a map of the Vietnam War), and others are fantasy realms, inspired by other board games (such as "Monopoluxy," or "Scrabblux"), or are simply geometric shapes. In addition, the coding allows for one-way connections on a map, meaning a particular "country" may be able to attack another, but not the other way around, which allows for unique strategies.
In addition to specific maps, there are also map generators, which give you a random set of countries and continents as opposed to a set map.
Maps feature what is called a starting scenario. When this option is on, players get a set number of troops and income in a location predetermined by the map's creator.
Lux currently has a small dedicated community, with only a few hundred players playing online at any given time, though an unknown number play offline with bots. Currently, this community is moderated by six "mods," and the owner, Dustin. There are very few rules which players have to follow, most of which are along the lines of "Keep your language appropriate for a friendly board game."
Sillysoft has a Lux Delux forum going, where old and new players can get a jump on special tournaments, and other Lux related new. The same moderator who moderate the forums are the same ones that moderate online gameplay.
Lux hosts several special tournaments throughout the year, many of them annual. Some of these tournaments include the "The Last Ninja" tournament, the "Castles Tournament", the "Easter Egg Hunt", and the largest tournament, "Luxtoberfest". Luxtoberfest is a month-long festival in October, with different events, special maps, games, and awards on both the forums and the actual game itself.
Many variants exist that are based on the original concept of the game of Risk and that contain much of the functionality of the original, but are not licensed by Hasbro, such as, for example, the video games Global Domination and Lux. Known as Risk clones, such variants have names not containing the term "Risk" to avoid legal issues. Some of these clones are available commercially, of which many have been released through the iTunes App Store, especially for the iPad. Several other Risk clones are distributed freely over the Internet, such as Dice Wars. Games such as Nintendo Wars can be seen as a complex evolution which still holds some elements from Risk.
Reception and Awards
Lux Delux was a finalist in the 2005 Independent Games Festival awards contest. The user community has been active in growing Lux. In February 2009 wired.com readers voted Lux Touch the #1 iPhone game. Lux currently holds a four and a half out of five star rating on Totaldiplomacy.com Lux got mixed to good reviews, with many praising the community and the huge selection of maps.
Two more games based on the Lux game engine were released in 2006 by Sillysoft Games. They both consist of a single-player campaign through a set of historical maps. In the first game American History Lux the user is limited to playing the American positions in wars from the French and Indian to the Gulf War. In the second game Ancient Empires Lux players can play as any faction in the history of 12 ancient empires from Sumer to the Roman Empire. These games come with some historical data for each level, and also contain a link to the Wikipedia page on each.
In December 2008, Lux debuted for the Apple iPhone in the form of Lux Touch (a free version) and Lux DLX (paid).
- Inside Mac Games Review: Lux
- Fredrik Olsson (March 2005). A Multi-Agent System for playing the board game Risk (PDF) (Master of Science thesis). Blekinge Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2011-01-17.[dead link]
- Ryan Rigney (July 16, 2010). "App Store Games of the Week: July 16th Edition". GamePro. Archived from the original on 2010-07-21. Retrieved 2011-01-17.
- 2005 Finalists & Winners, Independent Games Festival
- Top 10 iPhone Games, as Voted by Wired.com Readers, Wired.com
- Lux Website - The official Lux website, where a demo of the game may be downloaded for free. The website also contain a user forum and wiki, as well as the rankings board that scores multiplayer games.
- Lux SDK - The software developer's kit that can be used to write your own AIs or random map generators.