Blackspace is a defensive action / strategy game that takes place in the not too distant future, when asteroid mining has become common. Piloting a mining craft around a unique series of asteroids, you will be establishing mining operations while defending yourself from incoming enemies who loot and destroy.
The key features in this game are a destructible spherical play surface, direct control of the environment and extensive use of physics to make the experience more organic and non-formulaic. Upgrade and modify your ship and your operations to suit your play style.
UPDATE: Reward Tier Add-ons
As we draw closer to the end of our campaign, we would like to extend our rewards with the following add-ons:
For all reward tiers:
Extra digital copy of Blackspace - Add $15 for each copy
Game loaded USB Key showing custom Blackspace artwork - Add $40
Game loaded USB Key signed by the Blackspace Dev Team - Add $60
Kotaku - PC Strategy Gets a Shot in the Asteroid With Blackspace“Looks neat! Both in terms of its design and its aesthetic. I'm a sucker for "realistic" space stuff, and Blackspace looks like it has it in spades.”
RockPaperShotgun - Blackspace’s Kickstarter Looks Geological "It’s a good pitch, I reckon. Refreshing too, what with it not being a nostalgia-driven “don’t make ‘em like this anymore” sort of affair…"
IndieGameMag - ‘Blackspace’ the Space Mining RTS game Lands on Kickstarter
"...it’s not every day that I drool over a Kickstarter project...but holy crap does Blackspace looks good... If what you saw there isn’t making you practically vibrate with excitement then you obviously have no soul."
Destructible everything. Pretty much anything can be destroyed and harvested. The entire ground can be demolished down to the super dense core. Old wreckage, derelict mining bases, even your own demolished structures break apart and can be reclaimed.
Discovery. We're adding the element of discovery to an RTS,
not just through fog of war, but with the terrain itself. The
terrain is a blanket covering resources, and technology. It becomes
truely exciting to see that blip on your depth sensor indicating
something beneath the surface. Anticipation of the dig, wondering
what type of resource and the value it will have, and finally
uncovering and extracting it. We want the resource discovery aspect to become a very gratifying
and entertaining experience.
Geological strategy. A base can be
built anywhere the ground is level enough, but dirt is weaker than
rock. The type and amount of resistance you are likely to face may
change your decision to build right next to that element deposit in
favor of building on more stable surfaces, then relying on your ability
to defend resource transportation to your base. Additionally, there will be strategy in enemy routing. Ground traversing enemies will try to find the easiest path to their destination. A few well placed explosives could change their route significantly.
Physics. Use physics to crush your enemies,
smash them into one another or into the ground...or...if you're feeling
primitive, drop a big rock on them. You can even test your
trajectory skills and try to send them into orbit. The physics of
the world are not only fun, they add a new dimension to whats
possible in an action RTS.
Customize. Your ship is customized to your play
style. It has many different loadouts and upgrades that can be equipped, swapped, or expanded. These tools and attachments are the way
you interact with the world. Far beyond a simple mouse click, you
can sculpt the terrain, dig for elements, collect scrap, hoist
wreckage, repair buildings and much more. The capabilities of your
"Lander" are designed by you. If you like
hanging back and letting your turrets do the talking, spend money on your regeneration systems or upgrade the scanner array. If your'e feeling a bit
more vindictive, you can equip your mining tools with weapons-grade
explosives and beef up your armor. Its up to you.
Command. It's not just towers, while you're not babysitting hordes of units constantly like in many RTS games, you do build and command units, albeit a bit more passively. Your units will be constructed and deployed for many different tasks. There will be units that gather resources, repair and that even defend your base locally. Units in Blackspace will be intelligent and perform their tasks without much need for player contribution other than an order here or there when their duties are to be changed, though you'll need to setup defenses around their work sites if you expect any to survive. The interface will be quick and straight forward (no box selecting units).
Nowhere to hide. This "map"
has no corners. Enemies could potentially come from any direction. But, with some early scouting, and intelligence gathering, you will be
able to predict the general direction of the front line so you can
dig in and deploy before the enemy strikes.
Structure alchemy? That's right, you
can combine structures into grids, the arrangement and combination of
structures will offer special enhancements to the operations within that grid.
There's also a ton of stuff that will be familiar to the RTS fan. Base layout, build queuing, and resource management are big parts of the game.
You start as an independent mining contractor working for a gigantic mining company, and end up in the middle of a simmering conflict between a major world government and Collier Industries, the mining giant. There is a territorial depute between the two entities with no chance of outside mediation at this distance from Earth.
Collier Industries pioneered deep space travel and laid claim to an asteroid cluster of particular interest. It is believed to be the shattered remnants of a collapsed star. These fragments have gravitational magnitudes rivalling that of Earth at only 1/100,000 the diameter. Therefore, it contains very uncommon elemental compounds, in quantities far exceeding any source ever discovered.
Mining these fragments is dangerous work. Collier compensates proportionately, but he is not generous nor does he get involved directly in the conflict. He provides support in the way of prompt order fulfilment, research facility access, and strong supply lines.
It is rumored that he is building something with these rare elements you're gathering for him, but no one knows what it is. This also may have something to do with the growing resistance to Collier’s operations on these asteroids.
PixelFoundry currently consists of three people. Two developers and a producer. Not surprisingly, we want to change that. A game like this needs large quantities of quality content (ships, upgrades, environments, music, etc). A large hurdle is already cleared; we have created the code and systems to use the content. Now what we need is more content and to hire a few of the right people to help make it.
Before creating PixelFoundry we both worked at EA Sports Tiburon and have extensive experience in shipping AAA video games. We know what it takes to make a quality game, and plan to apply that knowledge on this and future games. With your contribution we will be able to bring on more awesome talent to help us make this game as good as it can be.
We're small, but we try to do big studio things. We're excited to announce that we recently began a partnership with NVIDIA. We are very gratified to see a company the size of NVIDIA take notice and support an independent studio like ours. They have been extremely helpful so far and will be working with us to make sure our game works flawlessly across their entire line of supported gaming video cards. Additionally, for those who have the hardware, you will be able to play Blackspace in full stereoscopic 3D with NVIDIA's 3D Vision technology.
(Don't worry AMD owners we've got you covered too, including CrossFireX)
Yeah, turns out video games are really expensive to make. It seems everyone expects to be paid to do work. We were stunned. We've been spending enormous amounts of our money for the same privilege. If you're a Kickstarter / video game regular, you may have heard this speech before.
We think this game can meet and exceed the standards of games with much larger budgets because of our innovative designs, workflows, techniques and negligible overhead not to mention our dedication.
Loads of them...
The obvious one is, simply, more stuff. More turrets, upgrades, buildings, elements, missions, locations, etc. But, we also have some big multiplayer plans, micro manager mode, interconnected global player economy, among other things.
We'll be laying out the details as the campaign moves forward and we want your take on them as well. But it seems a bit presumptuous at this point to start talking about stretch goals.
This isn't just an idea or a concept. We're not making up exciting features that we think we'll be able to implement. This is a project well on its way to completion, and we're really excited about the prospect of being able to bring it to you.
We have been working on Blackspace full time for ~9 months. In that time, we have been focused on getting the game's core systems, features, and mechanics up and running. We recognize the importance of working these systems out first. The earlier the game is playable, the more time we have to tune and get it balanced properly.
About 3 - 4 months ago we came to a fork in our game dev path. Since we started this project, the game has changed, and new possibilities have opened up from a design perspective. We had to choose between following the game design where it would lead, or to cut it short and finish a smaller game.
We felt so strongly about the new designs and direction, that we decided to expand Blackspace to what it should be instead of what was convenient for us. We think it is the right decision, and hopefully everyone can benefit from it.
The initial release of Blackspace is targeted for the PC. Our code base is flexible and could be branched to Mac, Linux, as well as consoles.But due to the expense of porting a game like this, this will likely happen if and after the PC release is a success.
On a related note, keyboard and mouse are the only controllers you need. The game plays, in many ways, like an FPS so no need to dust off that joystick. Now if your joystick is not dusty and is impatiently waiting for something cool to do, look no further, the extra finesse you get from a good joystick will add to the experience. From menus to in-game controls, this game is made to be played how ever you want to play it. This includes you gamepad folks as well.
Yeah the Oculus Rift. It's an innovative new VR headset and a recently successful Kickstarter. We are VR nerds and really want to support this. The good news is that we already have Stereo 3D functioning in our game so we're not expecting much work to get the Rift supported as well.
We are putting together a compilation of mini-games to test out physics as well as flight control. We are using it to tune certain areas of game play and we thought it would be cool to offer it as a fully functioning standalone mini-game package.
Basically it will be a set of little challenges for you to accomplish. The games will be things like: who can stack a pile of junk the highest, how fast can you race through an asteroid canyon below a certain altitude without killing yourself, and maybe even some stuff to make your CPU sweat like how many crates can you blow to bits and maintain a certain frame rate.
You'll be able to compete against your friends in our online leader boards. Its just some fun stuff to do with flight and physics in the Blackspace universe, and a way to compete with your friends. Also, getting good at these will put you way ahead of the tutorials when the full game comes out.
How many challenges will there be? Were not really sure yet. We have about 20 we think would be cool but, it really will be determined by what we need in order to test certain functionality for the main game which is, after all, why were making these challenges in the first place.
PixelFoundry is a small non-centralized studio, which basically means we currently work from our homes.
Working together for the past 7 years, Jerry Phaneuf and Volga Aksoy have contributed to award-winning AAA games, including EA Sports MMA, Madden NFL Franchises, NASCAR Franchises, Tiger Woods PGA Tour franchises, and more. With their combined holistic knowledge and high-level experience, they bring the best in art and design, software engineering, and project management.
Jerry Phaneuf has over 10 years of professional video game industry experience, ranging from art asset creation, tool development and Art Direction, to new IP prototyping and programming. He is credited in 7 shipped AAA video game titles. Most recently he was one of the key members of the EA Innovations Group. This small group specialized in prototyping and experimentation with future software and hardware technology.
Volga Aksoy has 14 years of professional programming experience and has spent ~10 of them working in the games industry mostly at Electronic Arts. Most recently, he was the lead Graphics Engineer on EA sports MMA. He was among the top graphics engineers at EA Sports and is credited in over 10 AAA video games.
Andrea Phaneuf, our producer, is in charge of everything outside of development. She has a history of small businesses expertise, and brings her financial and organizational abilities to our project. With Andrea's help, we can focus on making games while not getting on the bad side of the IRS.
PixelFoundry, LLC was formed January of this year 2012. Since then, we have been working on Blackspace full-time.
Yes, the controls on both the keyboard and mouse as well as the supported joysticks will have customizable controls. So if you prefer ESDF instead of WASD, don't worry, we got you covered. For the gamepad controls, we will provide different control profiles for you to choose from.
We can give some bottom-line-required minimum specs that are pretty much limited by the framework requirements:
- Dual-core x86 CPU (similar to Intel Core or better)
- 2 GB or more system RAM
- DirectX 9 compatible GPU with 256 MB or more RAM and at least Pixel Shader 3.0 support or Intel HD Graphics 3000 or better (not Intel GMA)
- The classic things like hard-drive with 2 GB or more space etc.
Note that a 64-bit OS is *not required*. Obviously the recommended specs will be much higher than these, but it wouldn't be right to speculate almost a whole year before we release Blackspace. The recommended specs will be determined by multiple factors, including the graphics options we implement and the amount of optimizations we will be doing once every real-time feature is implemented.
At the moment we are planning to release our mini-games this winter. Then go alpha during spring time, then hit beta early summer and finally release the game to public late summer of 2013. We will keep our backers informed every step of the way as we figure out the specific dates for each of these stages.
THE MECHANIC: Early access to the "Mechanically Challenged" mini-games + Early access to the beta version of Blackspace + Developer diary updates and videos showcasing progress in Blackspace only for our Kickstarter backers + Included in Blackspace credits under 'Mechanics' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE PILOT: Early access to the alpha version of Blackspace + Limited edition Blackspace Lander skin pack designed for our Kickstarter supporters + Digital copy of the 'Making of Blackspace' book + Included in Blackspace credits under 'Pilots' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE PIONEER: Limited Edition Blackspace-Backer T-Shirt + Full-size Blackspace poster (please add $10 for shipping outside of the US) + Included in Blackspace credits under 'Pioneers' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE STRATEGIST: Blackspace poster signed by the PixelFoundry team + Printed copy of the 'Making of Blackspace' book + Included in Blackspace credits under 'Strategists' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE SPECIALIST: Your name or a name of your choosing (within reason) worked into the game play of Blackspace + High quality hardcover 'Making of Blackspace' book signed by the PixelFoundry team + Included in Blackspace credits under 'Specialists' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE INNOVATOR: The physical 'U Rock' meteorite from Blackspace boxed with a special thank you letter from the PixelFoundry team + Included in Blackspace credits under 'Innovators' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE DEFENDER: Name one of the major asteroids in Blackspace (exclusive reward) + Statue of the asteroid you named in Blackspace (exclusive reward) + Included in Blackspace credits under 'Defenders' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE LEADER: Blackspace Lander Vehicle Statue with the base signed by the team + Credit prominently displayed during the Blackspace intro under 'Leaders' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE LEGEND: Dedicated and on-going 1-on-1 communication with the PixelFoundry team + Your name or a name of your choosing (within reason) permanently engraved into the main lander's body (exclusive reward) + Credit prominently displayed during the Blackspace intro under 'Legends' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'
THE LEGEND: Dedicated and on-going 1-on-1 communication with the PixelFoundry team + Your name or a name of your choosing (within reason) permanently engraved into the body of the central drop ship (exclusive reward) + Credit prominently displayed during the Blackspace intro under 'Legends' + All previous rewards unless marked as 'exclusive reward'