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Rust (video game)

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Rust
Rust vector logo.svg
Developer(s) Facepunch Studios
Publisher(s) Facepunch Studios
Engine Unity
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux
Release 8 February 2018
Genre(s) Action-adventure, survival
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Rust is a survival video game developed and published by Facepunch Studios in February 2018 for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux. The game has only a multiplayer mode. Rust was created initially as a clone of DayZ, a popular mod for ARMA 2 with crafting elements like those found in Minecraft.

The objective of Rust is to survive in the wilderness using gathered or stolen materials. They must successfully manage their hunger, thirst, and health or risk dying. While there are bears and wolves, given the game is multiplayer-only, the primary threat is other players. Combat uses firearms and primitive weapons, such as bows. In addition, attack helicopters, a vehicle controlled by non-player characters, will occasionally fly around attacking heavily-armed players, though they can be taken down with persistence. The game features crafting, though initially, only limited options are offered. To stay protected, players must build bases or join clans with others to improve their survivability, with raiding being commonplace and done more frequently by large clans.

Rust was first released in December 2013 to Steam's Early Access program while in its alpha state. During further development, the gameplay was changed significantly. Dangerous wildlife replaced zombies as the primary environmental threat, and several fundamental revisals to the crafting system were released. 2014 saw the game ported to the Unity 5 game engine and undergo substantial graphical changes. Around this time, Rust introduced skin colour, and then gender. The game continues to receive updates post-release.

Throughout Rust's alpha release, critical reviews were mixed, with many comparisons to other survival games made. Rust was commonly explained as a mixture of DayZ and Minecraft. During this period, reviewers frequently noted the unfinished nature of Rust. During its pre-release phase, critics praised the game's concept and gameplay. By March 2017, Rust had sold over five million copies. After being fully released, the game received mixed reviews from critics. Those who enjoyed the game highlighted the player vs player combat and the survival aspects. Reviewers were critical of the constant need to grind for materials and the harsh experiences had by beginners.

Gameplay[edit]

A player using the starting rock to gather wood

Rust pits players against each other in a harsh, open world environment with the sole goal being to survive. Animals, such as wolves and bears, can be a threat, but the primary danger comes from other players.[1] Most maps are procedurally generated,[2] with the exception of Hapis Island, a pre-built map.[3] Player vs player (PvP) combat is accomplished with bows, melee weapons and craftable guns.[4] Bullets and other projectiles travel in a ballistic trajectory, rather than being hitscan.[3][5] There are a number of different types of bullet for each gun, including high velocity and explosive,[6] thus allowing for more diverse strategy.[7] Hit tracking calculates damage;[3] shots to the head are more damaging than shots to other parts of the body.[8][9] The use of weapon attachments, such as holosights, provides an advantage over opponents.[10] To survive, the player must craft tools, build bases, and team with other players.[11] Rust features only a multiplayer mode.[1]

When starting a new character, a player only has a rock and a torch. The rock can cut down trees and break apart stones. Cloth and food can be gathered by killing animals; mining provides stone, metal ore, and sulfur ore; and chopping down trees provides wood.[12] To survive in the world, the player must gather resources and use them to craft tools, weapons, and other gear.[13] To craft items, all materials must be found,[14] with enhanced items needing more, along with consumables, called components, which are scattered around the map.[15] There are limitations imposed on the amount of craftable items, with blueprints allowing the creation of more advanced items.[14] An important element in Rust is the airdrop.[16] These are parachute-equipped pallets of supplies delivered by a prop plane. They can be seen over extremely long distances, sometimes resulting in players running towards the airdrop.[9] There are also other entities that drop advanced loot, including an attack helicopter[7] and the CH-47 Chinook. These travel to a random zone on the map, try to kill players, and then drop a supply crate that opens after a length of time, inviting PvP interactions.[17] There are player-operable vehicles in Rust. Boats are used to traverse long distances across water and reach submerged loot.[18]

The player must stay well fed, or they will die of starvation. There are other challenges the player may face during gameplay, such as drowning, hypothermia and attacks by wildlife—primarily bears and wolves.[19] Specific locales around the map are radioactive. There are four levels of radiation: minor, low, medium, and high. The correct armour or clothing must be worn to enter these areas; failure to do so can result in death.[20] Upon death, a screen with an option to respawn at a random location or at a sleeping bag placed prior appears. Respawning resets the player's inventory to the basic rock and torch. The main concept of Rust is to form a "clan". Clans usually create housing for their members, give items and supplies to each other and partake in organised raiding and looting.[21][22][23] Safe zones, called Compounds, provide players with a place to trade resources. Automated high-damage turrets fire on anyone who draws a weapon, discouraging betrayal. Additionally, such players will be marked hostile for a predetermined amount of time.[24]

Development[edit]

A comparison of two different updates of Rust, the top (2014) one is the earlier of the two. The bottom (2016) used an updated game engine.

Rust's development began as a clone of DayZ,[25] a popular mod for ARMA 2, featuring elements derived from Minecraft.[26] Garry Newman, the CEO of Facepunch Studios, said "Rust started off as a DayZ clone. But then we decided that we are sick of fighting zombies. And can't compete with the Arma island in terms of landmarks and towns."[25] Consequently, Newman described the game as being more along the lines of entries in the S.T.A.L.K.E.R series.[25] Facepunch released the game on to Steam's Early Access program on 11 December 2013.[27] Following its alpha launch, Facepunch actively released updates for Rust adding mechanics like animals, hunting, armour and weapons. In February 2014, the developers removed zombies, a temporary enemy, from Rust, replacing them with black bears and wolves.[28] Early on developers made the choice not to try to populate the world with interesting locations to explore, but rather provide the ability to create them. Newman described it as "we give them the tools, they make the world".[29] One of the developers' aims was to create a world which does not encourage any particular kind of behaviour from players. They considered implementing a system like DayZ' where those who kill other players get unique outfits which identify them as 'bandits', or possibly a rating or color-coded system. However, the developers ultimately rejected these ideas, believing they would detract from player freedom.[25] Instead, they found to their surprise that the implementation of voice chat had a noticeable effect on player behavior. With the ability to communicate, many players would no longer kill each other on sight out of fear.[29]

In late 2014, developers released an experimental mode for Rust and the game was ported on to Unity 5, which enhanced the graphics, improving the shader mechanics and making the textures look more realistic,[30] as well as allowed for larger procedurally generated worlds.[2] The experimental mode featured a new anti-cheat system called CheatPunch, which banned thousands of players within a few days.[31] In October 2014, the experimental mode became the default launch option.[32] Shortly after, in December, EasyAntiCheat, a third-party anti-cheat system, replaced CheatPunch.[33] In early 2015, Rust added a feature that decided each player's skin colour tied to their Steam ID.[34]

In the original game, the heads-up display featured statistics like as health, hunger and radiation level.[19] These were later modified and hidden statistics such as hypothermia were added.[35] Monuments went through a phase where developers removed the radiation hazards because of the annoyance it was causing.[36][37] Female models, added to the game shortly afterward, were initially only available for server administrators to test. Upon rollout, akin to skin colour, players were automatically assigned a gender permanently linked to their Steam account.[38] Later in 2015, virtual goods stores selling guns, clothing and other objects were added to the game. When Valve introduced its Item Store, Rust was the first game on Steam to use the feature.[39] The Steam Community Market was also allowed to sell similar items.[40][41]

Developers removed Blueprints, one of the main concepts in Rust, in July 2016. They replaced them with an experience system where players could level up after completing tasks, such as gathering wood.[42][43] In September, lead developer Maurino Berry mentioned in a Reddit post that there was a chance the experience system would no longer exist in the future. Before saying this, Berry wrote in one of the devblogs "the XP system had huge praise until it was released, and then lots of people hated it".[44] In early November 2016, components replaced the experience system.[15] Originally, players had an initial list of items they could craft. This was changed to having a complete list with the required components from the outset.[15] Radiation, which was removed in 2015, was reintroduced in November 2016. It was "reprogrammed from the ground up".[20] Instead of each location having the same level of radiation, developers added different levels ranging from low, to medium, and high.[20]

In early 2017, Garry Newman said that had Steam Early Access not existed, Rust would have been fully released as a game by then. The development team would have continued to release updates.[45] In June 2017, developers altered the game's gun mechanics to be more like "traditional first-person shooters".[45] This was achieved by reducing recoil, material costs, and improving overall accuracy.[3] This update also saw the beginnings of an overhaul of Hapis Island, the game's only non-procedurally-generated map.[3] The game left Early Access and was officially released on 8 February 2018,[46] along with graphical and gun changes.[47] By this time, blueprints had been reinstated.[14] Newman mentioned that despite the official release, regular updates would continue. He noted the update cycle would change from weekly to monthly so as not to "rush in features and fixes that end up breaking something else".[46]

Post release, Facepunch have continued to support the game with updates that added new features, including graphical overhauls[47] and new guns.[48] April 2018 was the first big update post-Early Access. This update added the first player-operable vehicle, a boat, and a new hostile entity, a CH-47 Chinook.[17] One month later Rust saw the addition of Compounds, safe areas guarded by scientists, non-player characters Facepunch had hinted at before[49] and high-damage turrets. The update also added scuba diving equipment to allow for the ocean to be explored easier.[24]

Reception[edit]

In Early Access[edit]

Rust received mixed reviews following its alpha release, with many describing the unfinished nature of the game.[50][51] PC Gamer's Andy Chalk said Rust was a great use of Early Access and even though "it's far from finished", it's ready to be played.[52] GameSpot's Shaun McInnis said the early 2014 version was "rough around the edges" and "littered with bugs", but it entertained and had potential.[51] Matthew Cox of Rock, Paper, Shotgun said it was smart of the developers to switch to the Unity engine in late 2014 due to the game's instability. In Cox's review, he noted many glitches in the late 2014 version, including unresponsive animals, framerate issues and unstable servers.[2] IGN's Mitch Dyer did not enjoy the combat, calling Rust a "semi-broken" game he felt unable to recommend.[53]

Other games like The Forest, Just Survive, Ark: Survival Evolved[54] and 7 Days to Die were compared to Rust because of their open world survival aspects, as well as having crafting mechanics similar to Rust.[55] Kotaku's Luke Plunkett noted the similarities, saying it felt as though someone had said thought of a game whereby Dayz and Minecraft could be played simultaneously.[56] Dyer, while criticising Rust due to its bugs, called parts of the experience "utterly unforgettable" and often unpredictable.[53]

The inability to choose and design their character was both commended and criticised. The YouTube channel Extra Credits commended Rust for promoting diversity by randomly selecting a player's in-game race. Tying race to their Steam ID forced players to experience the game in a different way than they might normally experience it, perhaps promoting empathy for someone of a different ethnicity.[57] David Craddock of Shacknews criticised the lack of communication between Facepunch and the community when they added female models.[58] In response to this criticism, Garry Newman commented he felt some trepidation about adding the racial feature, fearing it might be seen as the original character model "blacked up". He stressed the chosen ethnicity was permanent—"just like in real life, you are who you are".[59] Newman discussed the reasoning behind not providing the option to choose their character's gender and race in an article in The Guardian, saying Rust is about survival, not characterization and identity. "We wanted the appearance of the players to be consistent over time. They should be recognisable consistently and long-term."[60] Sales reportedly increased by 74% shortly after the addition of female models.[61][62]

Sales[edit]

Within the first two weeks of Rust's alpha release it sold over 150,000 copies,[63] compared to the 34,000 copies of Garry's Mod sold in its first week.[64] Rust's sales hit one million copies after two months as an Early Access title[27] and during February 2014, Rust overtook Garry's Mod in terms of sales, making over US$30 million.[65] By the end of 2015, three million copies had been sold.[66] By March 2017, the game had sold more than 5.2 million units, with more than 1.2 million in-game skins sold.[67]

Full release[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic69/100[68]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid8/10[69]
Game Informer6.5/10[70]
GameSpot3/10[71]
IGN7/10[14]
PC Gamer (US)80/100[21]
GameStar69/100[72]

After being was fully released, Rust garnering "mixed or average" reviews on review aggregator website Metacritic.[68] Critics praised the PvP combat, difficulty, and survival aspects, while grinding and the experience had by new players came under some criticism.[72][73][21]

Many critics held the opinion that while starting anew was frustrating, the combat was rewarding. For instance, Luke Winkie of PC Gamer summarised the game saying, "Wake up naked, run for your life, do horrible things to one another. There is no grander narrative, or mythos, or win condition."[21] He described the beginner experience as "quite prickly" but continued on to praise the combat, joking that "connecting [a] hatchet with an idiot's head feels great". Gloria Manderfeld, a writer for the German magazine GameStar, echoed these opinions, adding there was little end-game besides PvP. However, she opined the PvP itself was effective.[72] Ray Porreca of Destructoid described the combat as the "meat" of the game. However, he wrote that the experience would vary depending on their desire to fight. "If you can look past a community that tends to be toxic, Rust's sprawling plains and toppled landmarks are an excellent backdrop for player-driven storytelling and pitched, dramatic moments."[69] In a negative review GameSpot's Alessandro Barbosa said the whole experience felt unfulfilling. He described the game as lacking certain creative features, like the ability to easily redesign bases.[71]

The disdain towards the experience as a new player was noted in conjunction with the necessity of grinding, and how repetitive that became. IGN's review described the game as expecting the player to spend all their gaming time on it, fearing that failing to do so will result in being raided and needing to begin again.[14] Game Informer's Javy Gwaltney reiterated this, explaining it felt demotivating when they died solely because they came in contact with someone more experienced.[70] Agreeing with Manderfeld's description,[72] in an updated review Cox said his patience wore thin after a while. He said that while maintaining health bars may have once been enjoyable, he balked at the prospect in 2018.[73]

Nonetheless, some critics praised the game's difficulty mentioning the satisfaction they felt after managing to survive successfully. Porreca recommended the game to those willing to dedicate time, saying the game offers "a social sandbox and a deep, functioning crafting system".[69] Winkie expressed interest in the necessity of managing hunger, thirst, and health while learning more and discovering better items. He also expressed a sense of appreciation for those dedicated to the game, mentioning the YouTube videos of large, multi-clan raids. He closed the review saying everyone should try Rust due to its difference from other games.[21] Cox agreed noting the game's brutality only added to the gratification a player felt when they managed to eventually succeed.[73]

The reception towards the graphics were mixed. Critics praised the environment, but expressed execration towards the animations and character models.[70] Barbosa described the animations as "stiff and unnatural" and the models "ugly and dull".[71] Additionally, the way Rust uses sound was commended by Gwaltney, who explained it as being compelling due to the way players must listen for others in order to survive.[70]

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External links[edit]