Miner Wars releases a new developers diary and talks about Realism in Space games and how it helps or ruins games in general.
as always we have been hard at work on Miner Wars. I would like to dedicate this developers diary to realism in space games and how it helps or ruins the actual gameplay.
When we started to make this game we have have decided that a decent sense of realism has to be present. All the best games these days aim for partial realism. There are exceptions of course. Some of these exceptions are even more fun being totally unrealistic than having any realism at all.
While designing the game we agreed on a few focal points. First of all we wanted our weapons to be realistic and more or less up-to-date. We did not want to have any fancy lasers because they have been already done over and over. Also we dont think that shooting those peewee lasers is really cool.
We just dont like the sounds associated to it. And hey, do lasers have any sound at all? Of course we can get into the ever-present discussion whether there are any sounds in space at all. More on that later however.
So we decided that we want mainly projectile based weaponry and if we are to do any lasers in the future, then it would be the real stuff. A laser with the speed of light and a straight beam.
Would this be any fun to shoot? We like to think so. In regards to projectile based weaponry our weapon of choice is the vulcan cannon. As we have not heard the right sound of this weapon in game yet, we decided to make our own very much based on the real thing. The sound and the cannon itself represents power and is really very cool to use. A-10 tank killer gun anyone?
Our take on the game is semi-realistic. What does this mean? Well mainly it has to be fun to fly and shoot. Were not aiming for space simulation here.
We even took out the word "simulation" out of every marketing material we had. We want to make a fun and accessible game for anyone.
So how do you get to fly in our game? First of all you can use the braking thrusters that slow down your movement and if you stop-pressing the directional button, then the ship stops moving.
You can also turn this function off anytime and maneuver the ship with your thrusters in space hard-core.
What does that mean? It means that if you stop pressing the directional button, the ship will continue flying in the direction where you told it to go.
In order to get back to your course you will have to use your thrusters to maneuver the ship like you have seen in say Appollo 13.
So here we took the approach to give the players a choice. If they want to fly hard-core then they can. Anytime they get tired of it they can turn on the automatic thruster correction. Is this good for gameplay? What advantage will this give to the hard-core players? Well first of all flying without automatic thruster correction will be faster, so generally its better to use if travelling long distances. Its not too usable when flying inside an asteroid or an interior level though, as it will require a huge amount of skill to use and not hit walls constantly.
Another feature we have put into the game was the survival factor. In order to survive in space your ship has to have 2 basic resources. These 2 resources are oxygen and fuel. Again you might ask why bother people with oxygen and fuel? Wont it be repetitive to fuel your ship up and pump some oxygen?
Absolutely not. Its a key game feature that were actually proud of. There will be stations where you can refuel both resources but at the same time, you will have to watch them. It also adds a lot of new strategic elements to the gameplay. Imagine yourself in a situation when your fuel runs low or, your oxygen levels are getting dangerously low. It will pump some more adrenaline into the player and that is what we want. It will be easy to refuel, but not in a stressful situation. Players will have to prepare well before going into uncharted space or a space battle.
Another point was in deciding whether or not should we have sound in space. All the space flicks always had sound in space right? At least those that were focused on action. I am not referring to Odyssey 2001 here. I am referring to the likes of star wars and such.
Its not wise to ignore all the people out there that have a firm stand on no sound in space. Generally we agree, so we introduced a feature in our game called sound emulation. When the sound emulation is active you can hear all sounds coming from outside and inside your craft. When you turn it off you can only hear your breathing. And again we have given this feature a real purpose. When you turn off the electronics in your ship then it means that you dont hear anything and that you cannot control your ship. It will continue to fly the path that you have set before you turned the electonics off. It will also make you undetectable to radar and missiles. Its just another layer of strategy that we added to gameplay. If you want to run your ship stealthy and undetectable you will be able to do it.
There is many more features in Miner Wars that are like this. Did I also mention that the game will have all our known solar-system planetary bodies?
We always balance features and try to give the players the fun and kick out of every single one that we put into place.
Our closed beta is already running and anyone can experience the Miner Wars in its early development stages. For more information on how to apply to the closed beta please go to: Minerwars.com
We already have close to 100 closed beta testers in place and this week we are releasing a some new features into our build.
Some of the major features were implementing into the game this week are:
- Headlights - near/long range
- Ship customization screen - prototype phase. Player can switch ship or add
weapons to his current ship.
We also have an engine logo competition going. The best 5 logo contributors will get a free Miner Wars license and beta access. We have broadened the
competition by the possibility to design your own Miner Wars logo.
Please stay tuned! :)
Your Miner Wars Team