Dev Diary #0: Project Space Sector Announced!

Discussion in 'Development Updates' started by Adam Solo, Oct 14, 2016.

  1. Adam Solo

    Adam Solo Developer Administrator Ensign

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    [​IMG]

    Hi everyone!

    Today we’re thrilled to announce what we've been cooking for you over the past three or so years.

    Space Sector is currently developing a turn-based space 4X strategy game, and you’re all invited to participate and help make it happen!

    The game is called Project Space Sector, for now, and a forum has already been put up to welcome everyone interested in taking part and helping out make this the best game we can.

    We've just reached pre-alpha. Most of our vision is already established and partially implemented, so we really need some fresh air now. And that's what the phase that starts now will be all about. The road from pre-alpha to alpha1 will be about collecting feedback and improving the game so it may be in a reasonable state for people to start pre-ordering it, with instant access, in a not too distant future.

    The Vision

    What is Project Space Sector?

    One of my lifelong dreams has been to enter the games' industry and create my own games. While this dream drove me to get a degree in computer science, it was my love of space strategy games which motivated me to found SpaceSector.com. A few very interesting years down the road, and after getting a glimpse on how the games' industry works, I felt that the time was right for me to take the next step. This was when the idea behind Project Space Sector started to brew in mind and when I first began developing my own space strategy game.

    My initial vision for the game began with wondering what "humanity's reach for the stars" would look like. What types of beings would we meet out there? They would probably be very different from us, and not just in physical appearance, but also biologically. I also wondered what would happen when we make first contact? These questions formed what would become the central theme for the game.

    That was the beginning, the spark. I didn't know for sure how much I'd want to innovate, but I knew in my heart that the game would be a space 4X game, and that the gameplay could not be very different from the two games I loved to play the most in the genre, namely Master of Orion 1 and 2. So, I started wondering what would a Master of Orion game be today, with all the fundamental elements MoO fans love?

    And, it was probably after writing this article, and witnessing people's reaction to it, that I finally realized what my mission was.

    Our mission, with Project Space Sector, is to develop a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2, the turn-based space 4X strategy game from the 90's that we love so much. A faithful successor, that is true in spirit to the series, but one that manages to offer something new (and this is important).

    We believe that no game has stuck to the MoO2 formula to the extent that would please fans who would like to relive the experience with all of its fundamentals. For us, the fundamentals are (more or less in this order of importance): Turn-based tactical combat; ship design; free space-based movement with range limits; race customization; leaders; deep colony management and espionage. This is the foundation upon which all other aspects of the game will be built.

    We also knew from the start that we wanted to alleviate a bit the excessive micromanagement felt on MoO2 both on the colony management and space combat aspects, especially by the mid/late-game. So, that was taken into consideration in our design since the beginning. Espionage has also been simplified in concept.

    Regarding the new stuff, we added more meat to the exploration phase, terraforming and to leaders. We also added strategic resources, a social engineering system, modding support and introduced a few novelties to the space combat.

    By the way, the game will be single-player only (i.e. no multiplayer).

    With all of this we believe we have all the ingredients to make a worthy successor. One that will please the fans who want to feel the atmosphere and that “feeling” of Master of Orion 2, but also want to experience something new and fresh, with all the complexity and depth of a big and complex 4X game.

    The Team

    I, Adam Solo, am the game's vision and design responsible. I'm also one of the programmers, alongside MalRey.

    Hugo Rosado (MalRey) is my colleague and partner. Our lives have been deeply intertwined since high school, and he's like a brother to me. He's also a big fan of Master of Orion 2. We used to play it together when we went to college. MalRey is also a programmer in the team and has helped shape the game's vision and overall design. He's the "artist", although I don't think either of us can really be considered as such. So, we'll need a lot of help here.

    Both me and Malrey work at full time on the project.

    My dear colleagues on SpaceSector.com over the years, Keith Turner (aReclusiveMind) and Edward Varfalvy (Edward the Hun) will help us interact and collect feedback from the community, as moderators in the forums.

    The community. Yes, you will also be part of this, and can make your voice count! Everyone who registers and contributes on the Project Space Sector forums will be able to follow the development of the game, provide feedback and propose ideas. Hopefully, you will resonate with what we have in stock for you. But, if not exactly we’ll see what we can do. As in Jeff Bezos’ quote, we’ll be “stubborn on vision, but flexible on the details”, so that’s what we propose for us to do here. Your feedback will be key to help polish the game's rough edges, and it is our hope that we all manage to have polite and helpful discussions so that we can improve the game as a result, and have a lot of fun while doing it.

    SpaceSector.com transition

    So, but what happens to SpaceSector.com, the reviews blog?

    We are very happy with what SpaceSector.com managed to achieve over the years, both in terms of the community that was formed around it, as for its content. But, we felt that we were ready for a new adventure, that we hope you want to share with us.

    Eventually, Project Space Sector (the game), will branch off onto its own website, along with the new Project Space Sector forums (which will move to the new site as is), and SpaceSector.com, as it is, will be shut down (effectively stop being updated) at that time. However, we'll finish our coverage for the ongoing titles, that are currently in Early Access or about to be released that we've been providing coverage for, but we can't promise to provide coverage for newer or to be announced titles from this point forward.

    There are other sites out there that have been doing, and are doing a great job covering sci-fi and strategy games, and 4X games, like the folks at Explorminate.net, SpaceGameJunkie.com and SpaceSimCentral.com. So, you’ll be in good hands.

    Rewards to SpaceSector.com's long-time readers

    We can’t thank enough to everybody who engaged on SpaceSector.com over the years, so we want to reward the most prolific and enthusiastic members, if they so decide to follow us in our new adventure that is, and register on the Project SpaceSector forums.

    The top 30 posters on either SpaceSector.com's blog or the old forums, are awarded the “Star SpaceSector Badge” recognition, and in addition you’ll see your usernames added to the list of stars that will be present in the game!

    Everybody who has posted on at least 30 different topics, on either the blog or forums, are awarded the “Elite SpaceSector Badge”! Thanks a lot for your contributions.

    If you have made 30 posts or more on either the blog or forum, you receive the “Prolific SpaceSector Badge”, in addition!

    To all who have participated in the discussions over the years, you have our deepest thank you. And, if you posted at least 10 times (either on the blog or forums), you receive the “Supporter SpaceSector Badge”, as well. And, you’ll also be listed in the game’s credits!

    Note: The data for the rewards was obtained a day before this announcement and was collected from all SpaceSector.com's blog posts and forum posts. To claim your prizes, please try to use the same email you used when you registered for SpaceSector.com (either the blog or forums) as that will ease the job of awarding the badges to everyone on the new Project Space Sector forums.

    Rewards to those who join us in these early days

    Even if you haven't been a long time member or frequent contributor to the SpaceSector old blog and forums, you still receive something special if you join now. Between today (we're currently at Pre-alpha) and the time we hit Alpha, you'll receive the "Pre-Alpha Badge", as a token of our appreciation for registering and signing up to comment on the Project Space Sector forums in these early days.

    You'll also be listed in the game's credits!

    Next steps

    Next, we plan to release a new update in a couple of weeks or so, which will kick off a series of dev diaries that we plan to keep releasing in a 2-week or monthly fashion. So, don't forget to check us out again by the end of October where we'll have more details on a specific topic. In the meantime, and to stay updated on news, you can follows us via the site's twitter, facebook, G+ and RSS feed, which is where we'll be posting the dev diaries on. You can also follow this thread on the game's forum to stay updated.

    Now that our game project is public, and you have a glimpse on what our vision is, we want to know what you think. We want to know your wants and desires for a spiritual successor for Master of Orion 2. Tell us what you think and we'll publish the results from our first wave of feedback and ideas obtained soon, which by the way will be collected, categorized and published in the forums for everyone to be able to see and track.

    In the meantime, see you on the Project Space Sector forums!

    Project Space Sector is a spiritual successor to Master of Orion 2, the turn-based space 4X strategy game from the 90's that we love so much. This will be a faithful successor, that is true in spirit to the series. We believe that by sticking to its fundamentals we will please the fans who want to feel the atmosphere and that “feeling” of Master of Orion 2, but also want to experience something new and fresh, with all the complexity and depth of a big and complex 4X game. You can join the discussions here.
     
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  2. Matthias

    Matthias Cadet

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    Great News! I am a long-time reader and fan of the spacesector site, but I think I never did much commenting. Seeing this post, I had to sign up (sorry for scooping one of the the first posts here as a newbie...)! I have always been a big fan of the Civ series and MoO2 (I have never played the first versions of both though), so I am very happy about this announcement to develop a true successor in spirit. I have often day-dreamed about trying something like this myself, but my professional development has taken me in another direction.

    Anyway, how can I help with the effort? I am a planetary scientist, so if it comes to adding some realism (as long as it fits in with fun & playability, of course) of space bodies and properties, I can offer detailed advice.

    I also think that "surprises" and "events" (which both add complexity and depth to the exploration experience) are an important feature of both the scientific endeavour to understand the universe, and the MoO2 game we all love. So I hope I can provide some creative ideas in that direction too.

    Onwards!
     
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  3. aReclusiveMind

    aReclusiveMind Moderator Ensign

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    Hi Matthias, no need to apologize for being a newbie, we are just thankful you took the time to join and comment!

    I agree that exploration, and all the surprises and events that can unfold as part of it, are very important and key to creating an immersive and highly replayable 4X game. With your expertise, I imagine you'll be able to present some ideas and situations that none of us would have otherwise even considered. It's great to have you aboard!
     
  4. TericDragon

    TericDragon Cadet

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    Pro game dev here (programmer), and I'm very interested to see how this project develops.
     
  5. Dunska

    Dunska Cadet

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    Wishing you great success Adam, Hugo and team.
     
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  6. Thrangar

    Thrangar Cadet

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    Ready for launch! , Oh and I didn't see ? (old and blind) anything with regards to diplomacy, don't forget the bureaucracy, we must have the bureaucracy!
     
  7. MalRey

    MalRey Developer Administrator Ensign

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    Thanks a lot! Hope to see you around
     
  8. maathyas

    maathyas Cadet

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    A long time lurker but received the email newsletter and decided to register and support this game.

    Looking forward to it!
     
  9. EQLarac

    EQLarac Cadet

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    Will be fun to watch how you decide to set up the AI as well.

    Luck to you!
     
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  10. Mammoth_IL

    Mammoth_IL Cadet

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    I'm a dedicated reader (though in a lurker-like way ;-) ) of Space Sector.
    I think you have an excellent chance to succeed in creating a superb game...
    I mean, just the discussions in various game reviews over the years could give lots of valuable ideas and solutions to potential problems in a 4x game!

    I do have one question, though... How do you plan to finance this project? Did you considered crowdfunding?

    In any case - best of luck. It's gonna be a hell of a project! :)
     
  11. echo2361

    echo2361 Cadet

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    Best of luck guys! Looking forward to following the progress of your game.
     
  12. Finestra

    Finestra Cadet

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    Looking forward to the game. Been an avid reader on your blog for a long time.
    Your in depth reviews has helped me a lot deciding what to buy.
    You also got me hooked up as a game tester due to your information.
     
  13. Urza-gc13

    Urza-gc13 Cadet

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    As a longtime reader of the Spacesector blog, I'm extremely interested to see your design approach for a Space 4X. Maybe interested enough to even overcome my "lurker" tendencies and make me contribute to the discussion here, so bring on the Dev Diaries!
     
  14. rxnnxs

    rxnnxs Cadet

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    I wish you will come up with a really fresh UI and game design.
    since you and your friends have tested so many games through and through, you know what is good and what is not.

    If all of us would make a MoO4 (stated we had all almost endless time),
    many would be good,
    some would be stuck in the process,
    others would not be so good
    but for sure every game would look different!

    I read for many years all of space sectors game tests and thankfully bought games that i would not have otherwise (but i really can not really love Distant Worlds. Something does not feel right and it is NOT the graphic).

    I wonder what makes a game good.. i mean, you can make good graphics but still it could feel.. soulless, dead.
    And some tiny things turn me off of some games. Lets say for instance in "MoO: Conquer the stars" you can drag your People from one slot to another and they wave around when you pick them up.
    It looks like the Google Puppet when you are in the street view option (I hope you know what I mean).
    I do not like it. It makes it look silly.
    Also another point (of many) is that the Spaceships look silly and the whole process how ships are built is too shallow.

    Or lets take Swords of the Stars 1 as another example:
    Those acknoledgements when you command a ship were so stupi (excuse me), i woul rather enjoy no acknoledgment at all (yess sir... and so on).
    also, those comic style graphic before a fight were kind of kiddy manga style or whatsoever.


    You have to be inspired and hit the nerves of many others. thats not that easy.

    Right now one question i have is:
    You mention in your Post an article where you got so many comments, that they made you start developing your own game.
    This article is years old, and meanwhile, there were not only many 4x scifi games made, but also
    "MoO: Conquer the stars" came out.

    Now this new game must have not met your expectations (yes, you tested it i know an dread .-) ), but otherwise you would have said so in your post.
    But a thing that the successor of MoO2 should have (as was said in your linked article) would be a good AI, and you said "MoO: Conquer the stars" has it.
    Also the Graphic is good.
    So what makes your MoO 4 different, why don't you mention "MoO: Conquer the stars"?
    OK, besides this:
    "For us, the fundamentals are (more or less in this order of importance): Turn-based tactical combat; ship design; free space-based movement with range limits; race customization; leaders; deep colony management and espionage. This is the foundation upon which all other aspects of the game will be built."

    Ok, I guess your update at the end of October will give us more insight, right :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
  15. Reformations

    Reformations Cadet

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    Cautiously optimistic. How many moo2 inspired games have come and gone?

    Good luck!
     
  16. The Asgard

    The Asgard Cadet

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    Greetings,
    Long term lurker on the Space Sector site. Avid 4x fan so seeing your news gave me hope that we are going to see something special from you guys. I wish you all the best on your journey.
     
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  17. tindrli

    tindrli Cadet

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    just wana say good luck and dont dumb it down
     
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  18. Melkor

    Melkor Cadet

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    Good luck, guys. What about realism and simulation complexity?
     
  19. Neil

    Neil Ensign

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    A realistic space 4x would have all the species stuck in their home systems the entire game.
     
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  20. Melkor

    Melkor Cadet

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    Why??! Even nowadays we are capable to send interstellar probe to nearest systems, at least with fly-by mission. 10% of speed of light is achievable right now.

    With fusion reactors we will be able to send larger missions.

    So it is obviously covered be good hard science fiction. :)
     

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