Our Indiegogo campaign is over. And in terms of fundraising it was a major fail. Not epic, but quite big nevertheless. First of all, we would like to thank everyone who supported us either by donating or by spreading the news. You guys are great and we will always appreciate how you trusted an ambitious idea by two chaps who have no industry experience, but follow a dream. Although it might seem that the dream is a toast now, this is certainly not the case.
There will be Outer Space Exiles regardless.
I'm not gonna lie to you. This failure makes things a lot more difficult for us. And will most definitely impact development process. But difficulties are to be expected during something as complicated as creation of a game. The good part is we managed to draw few conclusions which we can now share with you.
- Running a crowdfunding campaign is complicated, time consuming and exhausting thing. You can hardly do much more during it, let alone keep working on the game. It requires constant attention and effort to make it worth it. - Marketing is the key. Unlike the common misconception, media will not pick your campaign when they see it. You need to contact all possible media way before you launch the campaign. Crowdfunding sites themselves won't really give a damn about your campaign either. In other words - you are on your own and should not expect any boosting. If you are like us, that is. - Expectations always prove unhealthy. I for one expected much more response and impact in my own country as such things don't happen often here. Yet I was wrong and that made me a little sad at the time. And it has much to do with the next observation. - There is this thing I call "The Like Syndrome". People are so overwhelmed with information these days, they hardly care about what others "like" (also tweet, digg, whatever) anymore. It's all fast food now. Attention span has shrunk so badly, people can not stay focused on one thing for more than few minutes. The value of "liking" is so deprecated, it does not mean a thing anymore. Even to the "liker", as some people have automated the "liking" process. - Crowdfunding is not the magic stick that will launch your project and summer is definitely not the perfect time for a campaign. - No gameplay demo = your campaign is doomed. No matter what you say and show, it's the gameplay demo that shows people it's more than a concept and good intentions.
So what's next, you might ask. I wish I could tell you we are going to keep the pace and move on, but that will be a lie. There will be a slow-down, we just can't keep going on like we did without funds. We will most definitely run a Kickstarter campaign once we have something to show and hopefully be able to raise what we need to get back on track. So bear with us. Next few months will be interesting, if slow.
You have heard us talking about the "unique personality" of NPC's in our game a lot. Let us give you more details about that distinguishing feature.
The concept itself is fairly simple. The personality of each NPC is determined by 5 basic factors which come into play when the NPC is "born" i.e. when you start a new game. So far you can say you have seen this before and you will be partially right. Every RPG lets you customize the skills of your character so they suit your gaming attitude best. That's why they are called RPG's anyway. However custom NPC skillsets that affect the entire gameplay are a completely different story. The 5 parameters that determine how an entity will act, are (these are working names, they might be called otherwise in the finished product):
- Explorer - Conformist - Adventurer - Hero - Influencer
Explorer determines whether the entity will be willing to wander deeper in the unknown in order to complete their job or stick to known routes. A scout with high explorer level is indispensable aid to the colony.
Conformist determines if the entity will prefer to follow strict routine and chain of command or be keen on making decisions. It also affects responsiveness to requests by other entities i.e. whether it will be willing to follow someone else’s example or stick to their own stuff.
Adventurer defines the determination of entity to pursue additional goals instead of just minding their main job. Also impacts the level of enthusiasm and recklessness that will be involved.
Hero defines whether the entity will be willing to abandon task in case of difficulties or danger, or complete it at all costs i.e. fight enemy to the last breath.
Influencer is a factor that allows given NPC to influence the decisions of others or in the other case - be influenced itself and how heavily. It's sort of a charisma thing. Entities with higher levels will face greater response to their requests while entities with lower levels are more likely to be persuaded.
These five factors range in scale from -100 to 100, 0 being the balanced state. The unique mixture of them all determines NPC's mindset and massively impacts the gameplay. Each game restart creates a whole new pool of NPC's with totally different mindsets and thus the endless replay possibilities.
To spice it even more, we have included two additional modifiers that NPC's can achieve themselves. Both modifiers have significant impact on the relations between awardees and other NPC's (and the gameplay as a whole as a result):
Veteran status, indicated by golden star is awarded after the entity has successfully performed its duties for prolonged period of time and ranked highly amongst the others. Veterans are trusted more when they make requests.
Good Mate, indicated by golden heart is awarded to entities who have helped their fellow colonists or saved them a number of times. A team with good mate in it is more likely to attract additional members.
Let's wrap this all up in example. Looking at the image above you see the entity named Paterson Jack, who is rank 14 leader that has been awarded both Veteran and Good Mate through its service. Based on their mindset the following behaviour is to be expected from that character:
- They will be able to influence and persuade other NPC's join them with great ease, no matter what their request will be. - They will be willing to try out new tactics. - They will prefer exploring uncharted teritories, but will not be lured much by side missions. - They will occasionaly take risks, but bail out if it wasn't a good call. - They are likely to help their mates and the mission led by them is most probably going to be a success.
That said, you can easily feel the complexity and diversity of gameplay and level of challenge to player this all brings.
We would like to take the chance and introduce you to your trusty colonists. These are the archetypes, but because they will have their own consciousness and identity, no two colonists will act and behave the same in the game.
It's been a while since we introduced the Drifter and ever since we received some confusing feedback. While we have absolutely no clue what made certain people see something else in this distinct shape, we decided it's a good time to clear the confusion about it. The easiest way to do this is by publishing the original manufacturing specifications.
For the past 50 years since its production started, the Drifter has won the title "probably the most popular frigate in the universe". Favoured by many, but mostly by mercs and bounty hunters, this little, but sturdy ship can do wonders in the hands of a proper pilot. Now that original manufacturer is long ago gone, there are still lots of blueprints in circulation that make it possible to build one from scratch at a cost of under 450 000 CRAPS.
A look at manufacturer's specifications reveals the simple truth. It's not the ship you've been thinking about.
Hey there! We are pleased to announce that our Indiegogo campaign is now up. What's it all about? Well, it's about making the game possible. If you can, please support the development of something as different and exciting as Outer Space Exiles. If you can't, as we know how difficult times currently are, please spread the news - every single bit of interaction helps. And when it's about following a dream, there is nothing like pointless effort that doesn't make a difference. Thank you wholehartedly.
You all have been waiting for this, haven't you? When we say "captivating back story", we seriously mean it. After all, what kind of award-winning writer would I be if I can't come up with one, eh? :wink:
The Milky Way. Our beautiful galaxy. A massive spiral spread over 100 000 light years in diameter. If you look closer, you might see Orion Arm. Another spiral shaped concentration of dust, gas and space debris, some 10 000 light years long. And boy, is that a mesmerizing beauty. Orion’s Belt, Orion Nebula, Dumbbell Nebula, De Mairan’s Nebula, the Pleiades, the Ring Nebula along with Betelgeuse, Rigel and many other known and unknown space objects shine in their full glory.
The Solar system resides within Orion Arm, in 300 light years long local bubble, located more than 26 000 light years away from the Galactic center. Third planet from the sun is called Earth. And for so many millennia was home of the Human race.
But as beautiful the Earth is and as much as we love it, it’s just a planet. The case with planets is, they tend to have resource limits. And one better be prepared before resources are depleted.
And prepared we were. In a way. It all started with global depopulation. Steadily and silently through various measures Global Government brought it down to just under 1 billion in a matter of 160 years. But it was already too late. And it became apparent great part of us need to go.
Preparations went on for few further decades and ships full of colonists began departing in search for new places to settle. First we got rid of convicts, criminals and felons. Then it was turn of poorly educated, poorly skilled, unemployed, marginals, chronically sick, elderly, retired. To build fit and sustainable society you need to scrap the misfits, ain't that right?
Right it was for Global Government, whose agenda for the next three decades focused on mass inbreeding of remaining genes with the ultimate goal to produce stronger, smarter, healthier and more capable generation of humans. An idea as sick as desperate.
It wasn’t long before this generation also headed for the stars. In the end it was just the Global Government, their bureaucratic apparatus and some 20 million support personnel to operate all the facilities, who remained on Earth. Concept was simple. Colonies will send ore to Earth for reprocessing and Earth will back them up with finances and technologies and provide logistic and military support.
And so most of the humans were set apart in known and unknown parts of space. Through our journey we met new life forms, encountered unknown species, lived through cataclysms, deprivation, illnesses and everything else space decided to throw at us. And it is not surprising a great deal of us did not make it. Once mighty Human race has quickly shrunk to mere 630 million.
Meanwhile it turned out the inbred “perfect” generation were not the toughest species around. The criminals and misfits first exiled in space were. Like cockroaches they have survived through everything. By the time first ship with inbred colonists set for the stars, they have already had formed their own alliances, set their own territories, researched their own technologies, found their own artifacts, dug their own precious ores and started a war against their own kind. Against the ones who watched their ships departing happily clapping hands they are getting rid of the scum of the Earth. Celebrating and rejoicing purity. Poor bastards.
For the most part Global Government would not take part in the conflict. They were sitting happily back on Earth, enjoying the peace and calmness that suddenly settled on it after centuries of social madness. They also wanted everything the outlaws had discovered and were willing to keep their eyes closed as long as there is steady flow of it. To Global Government the outlaws were just a business partner. And it wasn't of much importance if the business partner is leading a crusade at other colonists as long as the business keeps going.
Same old story, different day under the sun.
So, ladies and gents, prepare to join team bad ass and show them lousy inbred pansies and Global Government who's the real bawse of Orion Arm.
It's been some time since we announced our game, but what remains semi-undisclosed to this point is what kind of game it is and how do you play it.
To answer it, we need to lay some back story. A back story about differences in people. In us two, more specifically. While we are both huge fans of sci-fi games we are also sitting on different planets when it comes to our favorite game genres. So how is it even possible us two to even sit together and lay a concept that will not only make us both happy, but will also captivate others' hearts and minds?
The key here lies in a philosophical conclusion of my own based on analysis of certain events in my life. And it sounds like this:
Differences in people can only lead to enrichment and enlightment, while similarities tend to put critical thinking to sleep.
Outer Space Exiles started as a very vague concept in December. Smas wanted to make a game and needed someone to take care of design part. Being fascinated by games for my entire life and trying to get involved into this for so long, I immediately jumped on the train, as we have had many, many talks about games and gaming in the past two years since we know each other. And so it began.
First thing to clear was if we go 2D or 3D. We decided to roll heavy and chose 3D.
Then we started working on our concept.
You will have a limited number of colonists. Each and every one of them with their own personality, abilities and mind. That’s right, every single colonist has their own identity that determines their life path, decisions and behavior. No two colonists are ever the same. And since they are so complex and basically the core of gameplay, they also interact and communicate with each other!
You will also have several shops, where you can produce weapons, shields, medkits and even vehicles for your colonists. The workers and troops in your colony will work on contracts you assign them, like patrolling an area or attacking enemies with a bounty and then purchase items available in the shops with the money they earned.
And here we come to your role in all this. Your job is to supply the colony and colonists with everything they need – blueprints, weapons, items, vehicles, drugs, anything. If you do this properly, your colony will prosper and withstand just about anything. If not, well, there are many different scenarios for the end of your colony. I hope you won’t take this lightly, as in reality keeping the colony in order won’t be as easy, plain and straightforward as it might sound. You need to take good care of your colonists since you don’t want the loyal and developed part of them to die because they are poorly equipped or leave your colony because you fail to meet their demands.
To wrap it up. The answer to the opening question sounds like this: Outer Space Exiles is one of a kind mixture of economic simulation, RTS and RPG done in 3D, set in a sci-fi environment, backed with unique graphics and captivating back story, where you play the bad guys. And since we have no clear clue how and where it classifies, we also tend to call it genre-defining saga. That’s what it is to us at the very least.
We just launched our first video. Contrary to what you might be expecting, it's neither game based, nor devblog. Instead it's the first episode of our short documentary series FPG Confidential, where we will blab about the development process, life, weather, food, music and everything else our ugly mugs might want to share with you.
In fact these shorts are part of our bigger project The Making of Outer Space Exiles. It's a full-scale documentary that will be released shortly after the game goes public. Lots of shooting coming in the next months and hopefully we will be able to get a proper camera.
About OSE Outer Space Exiles is unique RTS (Real Time Strategy) title inspired by games like Total Annihilation and Dungeon Keeper. Build your colony on a distant planet, but beware. You are never alone out there in outer space! Take good care of your colonists in order to survive what faith is going to throw at you.
This is Ivailo aka procopy, the Game Designer of Crooked Rocket Studios' newest game Outer Space Exiles.
This is my first development diary in which I want to show you some of our work on the game environment, maps and models.
Outer Space Exiles gameplay is based on large distant planet maps. There will be dessert, lava and ice worlds, planets with wild and unseen vegetation and moons that have been struck by asteroids for millions of years.
Our first world, which was inspired by the Moon, will give you a good impression how these maps will look and feel.
Essential part of the gameplay are day and night cycles, so you better bring your flashlight if you want to survive in the dark!
Our alpha is planned for May and since there is still some time to go, here are some nice shoots of our game engine for you to enjoy! Also expect our videos shortly. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel too.