Edit: Tier Details, Stretch Goals, and DRM
I've had some people asking about if the tier awards can be modified so they don't get as much Desura keys because they don't have use for extra keys. So when the kickstarter ends, I will contact people who backed any tier that provides two or more keys and ask them how many keys they want up to the tier amount. So if you back the $75 tier, but only want one key, then that can be done.
Also, every backer who've backed this project, no matter the amount, will be listed in credits that will scroll in the main menu, similar to MoO 2's credits. They will be ordered in the amount pledged, but the amounts won't be disclosed. If you don't want to be included in this list, you can opt out, just let me know!
The stretch goals are as follows:
$2,600 - Three more races added for a total of 13 races, this will be enough to allow me to create an mod that supports MoO 2 gameplay and races.
$3,600 - An alternate artist who will provide a "high-def" artwork version of the same races, UI, and all other graphics. You will be able to choose between two art styles on launch.
If we go higher than that, I assure you that it will all go into Beyond Beyaan, maybe additional races, hiring of freelancers to assist in development, creation of an intro video, etc, depending on the amount raised. I won't use those money for personal purposes.
As for DRM, there were some questions about obtaining Beyond Beyaan without DRM. For those who are unfamiliar with Desura, Desura offers both a Desura download, and a standalone download. So you can download the standalone without having to install Desura client. Also, the game's source code is open, so you can download and compile the game. Can't get more DRM-free than that :)
What is Beyond Beyaan?
Have you ever been excited by a newly announced 4X space strategy game, but then had hopes dashed when you realize that they're not implementing a certain feature? Are you still waiting for a new game that has similar gameplay as certain classic 4X games? Have you ever wished that you could mod a Space 4X game other than altering its graphics or basic data?
Look no further! Beyond Beyaan is an ambitious project where the goal is to support many different features that can be turned on or off via config files. If that's not enough, the source code is open, allowing you to directly tinker with the game itself. Basically, a 4X Space Strategy Engine!
It's already on Desura for alphafunding, but I need your help to push it to its completion!
What makes Beyond Beyaan different from other 4X attempts?
Let's be honest here. Almost everyone wants a new Master of Orion 2 game. When a new 4X game is announced, they check off a checklist, comparing it to Master of Orion, making sure that every feature they wanted is included. Unfortunately, there's always one or two, or more, that's not included.
Beyond Beyaan's goal is to be a flexible 4X game designed for modding. This means that if you want Stacked Ships just like in Master of Orion 1, you enable this feature. Don't like Starlanes? Turn it off. Sliders vs Regions on a planet? You decide. So if you see an item missing from your checklist, you can turn it on (or off)!
How is this accomplished? At my work, we've had experience tailoring our product to different customers. I learned a lot from my work, and I plan on using that knowledge for this project. For example, if you enable "Stacked Ships", the game knows to use a certain UI control, otherwise use a different UI control.
That sounds awesome, but wouldn't that take forever to develop?
The plan is to create a playable version with basic features, enough to start a new game, play it to the end, and win or lose the game, and have all the basics of the X's (Exploration, Expand, Exploitation, and Exterminate). After those are implemented, then I will start adding extra features.
The game is already halfway developed, you can download the demo from above Desura link. The game currently has (in varying degrees of completeness):
Turn-based Tactical Space Combat
Galaxy Generation using Scripts
Ship Equipment Scripting
They are currently basic implementations, but I hope to expand on them in the future, making for a wide variety of 4X configurations you can choose from!
How will the funds be used?
You may think that $2,000 is a rather low goal. The reason is that I'm not relying on these funds for my personal living expenses. All of the funds will be used in obtaining assets for the game. $2,000 will be sufficient to obtain the artwork necessary to complete the game, but not intro or ending videos or other nice extra non-essential features. Those extras will depend on how well the funding goes.
The $2,000 is broken down to the following:
$200 per race - This includes the race portraits, 31 ships artwork, landing ship, colony site, and ground troop's regular and dying artwork. I plan on adding 6 more races to make a total of 10 races. Races are detailed below.
About $20, $30 or so per leader portrait, depending on complexity of the portrait - I plan to have about 20 leaders, including Empire-wide leaders (those affect all of your systems/planets), System-Wide (those affect all planet inside a system), Planet-Wide (affects only that planet), and ship captains.
The remaining $200 will go into particle artwork for space combat. They include missiles, torpedoes, beams, bullets, and other weapons.
What are the races in the game?
New Race means that the artwork is not created yet, but will be in the game.
Humans (Included in Demo) - Your generic race, but instead of peace-loving like most of other 4X games, this brand is aggressive and likes to expand to obtain a lot of shiny objects!
Space Hamsters (Included in Demo) - Early in development, a person personally funded this race. They're pirates, thieving on others' resources and ships! They have a personal grudge against the Humans for forcing them to run endlessly in a circle!
Zero People (Included in Demo) - A race of computers! This cliche race is of course biased against carbon-based lifeforms and seeks to serialize the entire universe!
Salix Cybornia (Included in Demo) - Literally translated as Tree Cyborgs, they were tasked with guarding Mother Nature, but then they became a bit too aggressive with their responsibilities. They're now seeking out life forms that throws the nature's balance off and wiping them out. Hates Zero People passionately, despite being the most similar to them.
Pyrrhans (New race) - Those parrots somehow managed to gain enough intelligence to build starships, but yet they still crave crackers and name their children Polly. They also seek vengeance against pirates for abusing them for generations, hates Space Hamsters and Humans.
Velociraptors (New race) - Originally thought to be extinct, they left Earth after causing a world-wide extinction of all animals bigger than ferrets. They prey on nearly everything, and gains a boost if they share a planet with other races due to plentiful "delicacies". Doesn't hate anyone, but nearly everyone hates them.
Liphistii (New race) - Every arachnophobe's bane, those huge spiders are actually peaceful, except when they're hungry. Due to their huge size, they're almost always hungry, so they're misunderstood as being aggressive.
Nurds (New race) - The race where the word "Nerd" was derived from. At first glance, they look like humans, except their heads are three times bigger, they have multiple randomly-placed pockets lined with pocket protectors, and have four literal eyes. Nicknames includes four-eyes, dorks, and bookworms.
Edit: Last two races decided! Here they are!
Zygobies (New race) - Spores that has taken over various hosts, often without hosts noticing it, as their personalities and thinking are gradually altered. They are excellent spies for this very reason, and are heavily mistrusted, because you never know if some of zygos has rubbed off on you. Their society is a pure meritocracy, with ranking based directly on the host's brain mass as their intelligence is limited by the size of the host's brain. Despite their name connotations, they are very cunning and clever, not to be trusted.
Morions (New race) - When they were first discovered, scientists incorrectly labeled them a category of Morion Quartz based on their physical attributes before realizing that they're sentient rocks. However, just like many other incorrectly labeled races, the name stuck. Their hardiness and lifespans are legendary. Instead of building things, they grow everything, and they only have one type of region that produces everything they need. Zero People and Morions hate each other, each claiming to be the true inorganic lifeforms.
Are there any other sites that I can check for more information?
Yes! There's a couple of websites dedicated to sci-fi and space gaming that previewed Beyond Beyaan in its early stage before I made the decision to support modding and open the source code:
Frequently Asked Questions
If it's open source, why isn't the game free?
While I can develop the game in my free time for free, obtaining artwork, sounds, and other materials for it are not free. If you really like the concept of a 4X engine, it won't do having just one dataset for it. I want to create different mods that use this engine, but utilizing new features that I add in the future. Some mods may use existing assets, those will be added to the official game for free. Other mods that requires me obtaining new assets will not be free. Perhaps there's even some mods created by others that they want to make money on that's released through me.
I really like the concept, but I'm not really a fan of pixel art. Can something be done about that?
Beyond Beyaan was originally going to be a game similar to Master of Orion 1, before I decided to add modding and make it open source. Hence, it has artwork similar to that game, which I personally enjoy. However, some people said they didn't like it. If I do raise enough funding, I will hire a 3D artist to create pre-rendered artwork, and you will have the option to choose either pixel or pre-rendered artwork. Both will use the same gameplay mechanics.
Also, you can create your own mod with your own artwork, or look for other people's mods!
Do you have a list of features that you're working on or plan to implement in the future?
Yes! I created a google doc to keep track of what I need to do or plan to do. It is readable by everyone: Beyond Beyaan To-Do List
Where is the source code located?
It is located on Google Code. It also includes the Demo assets so you can compile and run the game immediately. Full game will include more races, more technologies, etc., but won't be included in the source code download.
What if I want to develop my own 4X game, can I use your game's code?
Certainly! I already have a person who's contracted with me for license to use my code in their commercial product. Or if you want to create a mod for Beyond Beyaan, but profit from it, we can work that out as well! Hopefully this project will help other future 4X projects to succeed! There's a lot of FPS engines, RPG engines, but no 4X engines that I know of.
Risks and challenges
Since this is a very ambitious project, there's a risk of it being too ambitious and failing to deliver. However, since it is open source, the risk is reduced in that others can pick it up and finish it. I don't plan on giving up on this game, but if something were to happen to me, the game won't be automatically doomed.
One thing that may help reassure is the fact that I've been working on this for 3 years now. I will continue working on this for a long time. This is a pet project of mine, but I need your help to have it succeed!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Desura has two ways of downloading the game. One is through its client, similar to Steam. Another is a stand-alone that you can download and install which don't require Desura. In fact, Desura required that I create a stand-alone before they could accept my game.
You can see this by going to the Desura site for Beyond Beyaan, then clicking on Demo. A window will pop up saying that you need Desura to install the game. At end of that sentence there is "(View standalone downloads)", click on that and it will show you list of downloads without requiring Desura.
However, one nice thing about downloading through Desura is that it also installs pre-reqs. You will need SlimDX June 2010 to be installed before running this game. It can be downloaded here: www.slimdx.org/download_june10.php (You want the Runtime one, unless you're a developer and want to tinker with the source code, in which case you want the Developer SDK)
The short answer: No.
The long answer: It uses a SlimDX 2D engine called Gorgon (http://www.tapeworm.net) which runs only on Windows. However I tried to keep the game logic separate from graphics logic so that graphics components can be easily swapped out for something else. In the future, I do plan on expanding the graphics so that it'd support more features such as 3D rendering and cross-platform. But that's down the road, after I've gotten the game in a working and playable state.
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