RimWorld, the critically acclaimed sci-fi colony sim from Ludeon Studios, is getting a third paid expansion, titled Biotech, bringing babies, mechanoids, and genetic modifications when it launches later this month along with a free content update for all players. .
The first great additions of biotechnology come in the form of children and reproduction, with settlers and outsiders able to become pregnant and give birth, either naturally or through technological means.
Once babies become children, they can learn through lessons, games, or by watching adults at work, with players able to determine their traits and passions every few years. Children who receive more attention and better education are more likely to become happy and talented adult colonists, but players can skip parenting and use growth tanks to pump in cheap soldiers and workers to exploit.
In addition to the babies, RimWorld’s Biotech expansion introduces the Mechanic, a colonist with a special brain implant capable of psychically controlling half-living machines. Never getting sick, cold, or mentally disrupted like humans, these mechanoids are grown in gestation tanks and can specialize in work or combat. The former can help with everyday tasks such as farming, crafting, and repairs, while the latter can wield melee claws and blades, sniper weapons, and flamethrowers to aid in battle.
The cost of all this robotic assistance, however, is pollution, which can poison colonists and pets, produce choking smog, and even cause insects to swim to the surface of the planet. However, there are ways to mitigate its effects, such as freezing, exporting, and adapting.
Finally, Biotech adds genetic modification, giving players the tools to create genetically modified xenohumans with exotic traits. These can range from the subtle, a change in eye color or personality, to considerably more dramatic attributes, such as massive size, rapid regeneration, breath of fire, and even immortality. These genes can be bought from merchants, acquired as quest rewards, or extracted from xenohuman prisoners, before being implanted, even recombined for strange and unusual results.
RimWorld developer Tynan Sylvester has shared some thoughts on the design goals of the new Biotech additions in a blog post on steam. It also details some of the features coming as part of RimWorld’s free 1.4 update, which will be released alongside the Biotech expansion later this month.
Key new features in 1.4 include the following: paint and color customization for walls, floors, furniture, and lights; functional shelves; two new types of turret; starting possessions for settlers depending on their backstory; rotting stench from carcasses and meat that can turn into lung rot; more prisoners; a new layer of heat; a new mod manager and various other UI updates.
RimWorld update 1.4 is currently available via the game’s unstable branch for those interested in seeing its additions early, and more details can be found on the 1.4 changelog.
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