I R Scary Eyeball
16th October 2006
Preamble First of all I'd like to preface this by saying that this thread isn't intended as advertising, I'm hoping to encourage some meaningful discussion and gather feedback further on down the line.
Right then, a few of you may already know that I've been working on game development for quite a while, and I think I'm at a stage now where I could reasonably create something worth paying for. I was inspired by seeing Solar 2, looking at how everything revolves around (pun very much intended) the fact than all objects orbit other objects with greater mass. Although Solar 2's giant game of space-conkers is a lot of fun, there are lots of other interesting things that can be done with the simple principle of solar/planetary orbits. So after a bit of thought and preliminary design, here's what I came up with:
Premise Magnum Orbital aims to be a semi-casual, 2D - or 2.5D to be more (Read: less) precise - game about space exploration and colonisation. However rather than colonising individual planets, the player creates artificial solar and planetary systems. Every object in space can be made to orbit other, larger objects and all objects have unique purposes. The name is a gentle play on the phrase Magnum Opus; "great work"....
Progression I don't see Magnum Orbital as being a game with a pre-defined "Win Condition". Instead, the gameplay is somewhat freeform. The player has the ability to create colossal systems with multiple levels of objects carefully placed to orbit other objects, carrying out automated tasks such as mining, energy harvesting or producing equipment and ships. Alternatively, if you prefer to just fly around and shoot at stuff, that's fine too.
You begin with a small ship capable of harvesting basic resources and towing small objects across space. Large cosmic bodies and systems drift gradually across space under their own momentum, but require huge amounts of thrust to propel properly, so to begin with your ship is the only practical way to explore. After you've gathered a few basic resources you can start to produce larger ships with greater towing capacities, and drag larger objects around to build up your system. Every object has a purpose, for instance turbines can be placed in orbit around a star to produce energy, mining platforms can capture passing asteroids and strip them of metals and minerals.
If you've played anything like The Sims, Minecraft, or most MMOs you'll be familiar with setting your own goals in a game. Magnum Orbital is much like that. There are only very minor penalties for dying - it'll be easy to save many of your resources and recover quickly upon respawning.
Interaction / Multiplayer To begin with, I'm focussing on core gameplay mechanics in singleplayer. There will be AI performing similar functions to the player. AI may be hostile or friendly, and depending on the region of space you're in they may be highly advanced or just starting out. There may also be boss characters who are particularly important, and offer missions or give large rewards when killed. I intend to give the player and the AI characters the ability to form alliances, and perhaps have major factions with certain benefits and bonuses.
Multiplayer is likely to be added later in development, as it's one of the most complicated and time consuming parts to work on. What I would like is to have the ability for players to set up dedicated servers for large numbers of players, functioning almost like a private Mini-MMO (MMOO?). Players will be able to trade, form alliances and fight each other just like the AI can interact with a player, but will also require protective features to safeguard their creations while off-line; I'm currently considering having a certain number of structures be able to warp in and out of space at different locations.
Technical and Monetary Stuff I'm building Magnum Orbital on my own RedSky game engine, which can be made to run on any recent build of Windows or Mac OSX currently, and hopefully Linux before too long.
I'm aiming for the $5 mark (That's £3.16 at the moment) though as the game gets more complex (particularly with the addition of multiplayer) that may increase slightly. I'm also seriously considering using Rockethub for early funding, I have to eat, afterall. I'd be appreciative of anyone offering their thoughts on this, as it will help me to judge reasonable project goals and rewards.
I'm going to be posting updates on: Cracking Pear Productions and more frequent mini-updates on: https://twitter.com/#!/CrackingPearPrd There's also going to be media for Magnum Orbital and other bits of tech available at: CrackingPearPrd - YouTube
Is there some sort of graphic style you have in mind with this? As for the gameplay, is it a randomly generated thing, or done from maps you load?
I R Scary Eyeball
16th October 2006
Aesthetically I'm going for retro sci-fi mixed with diesel-punk designs, so lots of flying saucers and sleek spaceships given a heavy industry twist. I'll be rendering everything quite realistically, though I'll have to play around with relative sizes and ambient lighting for gameplay purposes. The maps will be randomly generated with a common theme; they're in the shape of a spiral galaxy, getting progressively more dense towards the centre. I'll probably add some options for size and general density, and perhaps even a seed method similar to Minecraft so you can generate the exact same map twice, though I'm not sure how useful that would be.