"Sticks & Starships: Genesis"

by Aloft Studio

Aloft Studio wants some feedback on this project. What do you like? What could be better? Anything missing?

    1. Creator Aloft Studio 2 days ago

      Hi Austin!

      Sorry for the lapse in updates over these months- again that is the result of most of the work around the project being strategic at this point. I have been off completing a couple architecture contracts full time to increase the funds pool we have to work with, but despite over 100 resumes, the applicants so far have not been promising, sadly. Significant numbers have displayed strong C++ skills, but either DirectX or Opengl foundations are generally non-existent, and these are the signifiers of a low-level (which in this case equates to high-skilled) position in rendering, camera, and optimization work; If someone is to reasonably assist us, a strong C++ foundation with Opengl experience is necessary ( an extended description of tasks is available in the GDD and auxillary documents); unfortunately, the quotes we are receiving from capable parties are generally in excess of $45 USD / hour, and these aren't feasible rates for an indie with only several thousand dollars of funding available for the moment. We do have a strong C++ coder with a 10 year industry background involved already, but his contributions have been limited by un-projected family problems, hence the necessity of the search.

      One means available to us right now is a system of grants Epic has just announced for the UE4, although these might not apply to us yet, since our protos are in Unity, rather than UE4 for now.

      The long-term solution to these woes is for me to complete the Opengl work myself, but frankly I am art and asset oriented, and have a little bit more to learn in the coding department for that to be viable; the solution of me completing it alone is probably a year long projection; Opengl is learnable for someone with my background, but not child's play (our guy from EA calls it a “deep, dark pit”, hehe), and requires a strong foundation in systematized matrix calculations and advanced vectors. Solutions for storage and many other of the early woes are in sight, but since we must still write most of the low-level rendering code (other than shaders and imaging effects, hooray!) in order to do voxel work within UE4, it is unavoidable. This is not an ideal solution, but this sort of work often demands extreme flexibility and skills expansion. I guess an apt metaphor for this approach is teaching a Marine Biologist to do human heart surgery. There is some strong cross-over in the skillsets and knowledge base, but there is also much to cover.

      So right now, the remaining work continues to be about a month to two months for two qualified C++ low-level chairs with directly applicable Opengl experience, but the ETA is around a year if the emergency contingency of me completing it myself goes into full fruition, hehe.

    2. Creator Austin Kennedy 2 days ago

      *busy

    3. Creator Austin Kennedy 2 days ago

      I know u guys are really buys but any new updates?

    4. Creator Aloft Studio on January 1

      Oh hi all, and sorry I missed the question earlier, Austin.

      Things are in a good spot development wise, but we are in the process gathering resources for the final demo stages- we are around a few thousand behind in terms of where we need to be to launch the next stages and the KS. It is a bit costlier than you might guess; we are partially the way there, but either I need to wait a bit longer, until I can pay for it all out of pocket in a few months, or we can possibly supplement the development through means of our other side project. For those who want to give us a little push pre-KS in getting there, that other project is likely to be a good opportunity to do so when it matures in a month or two. I will have more info on the side-ie in a few weeks!

      Sorry for flying slightly lower on the radar while we get our cards in line, and we hope to bring more info on both projects shortly!

    5. Creator Christoph Deinlein on January 1

      Happy new year to everyone at Aloft Studio!

      I'm looking forward to some new infos/updates on the project!

    6. Creator Austin Kennedy on December 17

      Haven't heard anything lately, anything new

    7. Creator Thadeus Buttons on November 20

      There was a new post on their Facebook today. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sticks-Starships/1477234149156430…

    8. Creator Austin Kennedy on November 4

      Any exciting news? :D

    9. Creator Aloft Studio on October 1

      Thanks a lot Alex! We have enough performance and bug comments I think at this point, but people are free to play around with the tech demo draft (still same version) - just send us an email at: aloftstudios@gmail.com as before. Otherwise, we are in the process of adding team members for some programming tasks leading up to the gameplay demo and launch.

    10. Creator Alex Oweyan Jennings on October 1

      Oh man this game looks wonderful!

    11. Creator Aloft Studio on September 23

      Hi all! We are testing a version of the first demo part for performance and compatibility among a small number of people; If you would like to help us test this version a little before it is released widely, send your request to:

      aloftstudios@gmail.com

    12. Creator Thadeus Buttons on September 9

      :D I'm so hyped!

    13. Creator Aloft Studio on September 4

      Hi Austin! We have around 15 images of new asset-art up on the Facebook page from August. The demo which you hear about in these comments is finally closeing in; we plan to offer it in two parts: the first is an asset-preivew in the unity engine that will allow you to explore environments and assets with voice commentary to explain it all in the "museum" setting we mentioned, and the second will be an in-engine preview of early terrain generation, exploration, and very basic starting mechanics. We are very close to releasing the first half of the demo in mid-September most likely. The demo will lead into our second interest campaign, which should culminate with the launch of this page finally!

    14. Creator Austin Kennedy on September 3

      and improve my English ;D

    15. Creator Austin Kennedy on September 3

      Cant wait for this to start supporting this. Anything new to note?

    16. Creator Thadeus Buttons on August 8, 2014

      Yeah I did notice I could somewhat clip into certain things. I assumed part of it was because the monsters weren't solid yet.

    17. Creator Aloft Studio on August 7, 2014

      Glad you liked it ;)

      I agree with the sensitivity part- it should be a bit lower, with a slightly wider collider on the character controller.

    18. Creator Thadeus Buttons on August 7, 2014

      I played it last night. It's really neat and your assets are really nice. Everything runs smoothly though the look movement is too sensitive for my tastes at the moment but I didn't mess with the input options. I'm super hyped for the 10-15 room version and so are my friends. :D

    19. Creator Aloft Studio on August 6, 2014

      Just a heads up- an early preview of temple exhibition (whose concept has been expanded and thus delayed slightly in order to encorporate more material), is available to download and romp around in on our Facebook page. The small preview contains one room, but this is the first opportunity players have to inspect some of our assets in a game-engine setting. The full 10-15 room experience will be available later in the month, likely alongside some developer videos of the current state of the engine! You will have to tell us your performance in the room, because it will be pretty indicative of the spec demands of the larger expo later on.

    20. Creator Thadeus Buttons on July 23, 2014

      Sweet. I never liked the 16x16 packs in MC. 64x is much better.

    21. Creator Aloft Studio on July 21, 2014

      Our basic cube measures a half meter, and has a 32x32 texture, and the non-cubic meshes use this same density; the character models are also at the same resolution, so it all ends up being 64 pixels per meter, +/- maybe 15% on some regions of characters which due to curved geometries will have a slight amount of pixel displacement.

    22. Creator Thadeus Buttons on July 21, 2014

      From what I have heard Notch wasn't a very good programmer either so it isn't super surprising to me that it took him a long time to do things. So what resolution are your default textures? They look pretty detailed so like 128x128 or does it vary?

    23. Creator Aloft Studio on July 17, 2014

      I want to say this was something like almost a year into Markus' development:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch…

      He was playing around with generating cobble caves for a frighteningly long time at first glance, but there is an enormous amount of work to be done getting to even that point when you are starting from a clean slate!

    24. Creator Thadeus Buttons on July 17, 2014

      Well as long as it's stable that's my main thing. Minecraft was pretty basic when it was in pre-alpha.

    25. Creator Aloft Studio on July 16, 2014

      Ah, so you must be German then.

      We have been shooting for late July for a few months now, but the honest answer is a big TBA; it is mainly things like the distribution platform and encryption, client code, tweaks to the early generation modules, rendering optimizations, and debugging at this point. We would like to get the demo out in a timely fashion, but the flipside is of course that the earlier it happens, the less polish and features the first look will have- you can see how that is a balancing act! The nice thing about working on the demo is that we haven't taken any funds yet, so we feel a bit more comfortable taking as long as things feel they should take. The launch of the funding cycle will be a milestone partially defined by our comfort with setting somewhat realistic dates to things, if that makes sense!

    26. Creator Christoph Deinlein on July 16, 2014

      More than I'd like to admit......
      As well as people writing my name with K instead of C or f instead of ph........

      But to get back to the game:
      Any estimate when the demo might be out?

    27. Creator Aloft Studio on July 15, 2014

      Ha, sorry. I think my mind filled in the rest of what it expected the word to be. I bet you get that a lot!

    28. Creator Christoph Deinlein on July 15, 2014

      Good to hear this is not abandoned.

      P.S.: My name is Christoph, not Christopher

    29. Creator Aloft Studio on July 15, 2014

      Hi Christopher,

      Demo is coming along well, if slowly! Myself I have switched gears from the temple presentation for a little while toward music production for demo song candidates; you can hear 4 of them now on the facebook page, with another 4 being released in a week or so. I am in the process of painting a few different directions the musical score might take- hopefully we can pin down a good aural style soon!

    30. Creator Christoph Deinlein on July 13, 2014

      So, how is it coming along?

    31. Creator Blair Pritchard on June 13, 2014

      Can't wait

    32. Creator Andrew on May 28, 2014

      Driders are not copyrighted. There is some grey area with “Product Identity” monsters, like beholder (http://www.d20srd.org/faq.htm), but that’s another matter.

    33. Creator Aloft Studio on May 27, 2014

      "Drider's are a property of Dungeons & Dragons. Having them in your game implies a link to D&D and the idea of the Drow and their deity Lloth."

      I actually didn't realize that D&D may have created the name "Drider". The Drider concept itself is well within public domain, because it has been around since at least the middle ages (and arguably implicit in the Greek myth of Arachne, depending on which scholar you ask), but you might be right about the name itself being owned, now that I look. But I suppose that just means we have to be creative in naming it again.

      And yes, it might be nice to have a middle tier between 5 and 20 USD.

      When it comes to posters, making more actually makes them cheaper per unit, because until you are printing thousands, most of the cost (minus shipping) is in the press die, which runs into the hundreds of dollars, so there is less of a need to limit their quantity, as opposed to the late tier rewards, which entail personal work, rather than marginally larger costs.

    34. Creator Thadeus Buttons on May 27, 2014

      Yeah an update would be nice. :D

    35. Creator Phillip Russell on May 27, 2014

      Drider's are a property of Dungeons & Dragons. Having them in your game implies a link to D&D and the idea of the Drow and their deity Lloth. I'm not sure if this constitutes a breach of copyright practices, however, it would be in the best interest of the project to change the name of the creatures. (Wizards of the Coast can be quite litigious; ex. Hex)

      Anyway, another point that has probably been made, but I'll nonetheless say it. I feel that a jump from the $5 to $20 tiers are a bit excessive. Instead increments of 10 dollars would be more forgiving IMHO. ex. 5, 15, 25, 35, 100, etc...

      I feel that people will be more than willing to pledge within those levels, but limit some of them depending on the rewards. i.e. physical items that need to be produced should have a limited quantity.

    36. Creator Andrew on May 20, 2014

      Glad to hear! And keep us in the loop, please. Find a schedule (once week, once a month, whatever), and keep posting. Here, or on your forum, or make a blog.

    37. Creator Aloft Studio on May 20, 2014

      Hi Andrew-
      Work is moving steadily along for the demo, and we also have a mini-preview of the temple assets coming out soon, where the player will be able to explore a prebuilt temple scene with the generation schematics, and a sound preview. We do need to secure the forums- all of that happened in one day somehow; we will add a security feature such as manual account activation pretty soon. Estimate on the temple preview is early June, and late July to August should bring the generation demo.

    38. Creator Andrew on May 20, 2014

      Guys, what’s up? You silent for a long time, and your forum is full of spam.

    39. Creator Thadeus Buttons on May 1, 2014

      Personally I think that infinite volumetric source would be good. I don't mind that it would flood and be a large undertaking to find the hole to plug it and begin draining the area. It makes things more challenging and interesting.

    40. Creator Aloft Studio on April 29, 2014

      We certainly plan to rely heavily on GPU calculations, but the GPU will already have its hands nearly full with rendering and draw calls; it will be able to take on a handful of other threads, but GPUs have their limitations too. Consider what you are asking about with the dynamic ocean concept though- we can't think of a single game it has been implemented in, in a 3d setting. There are games which allow the user to manipulate water, and there are a few games with impressive fluid behavior rendering, but usually it is one or the other, and extremely limited quantities of fluid. Fluid behavior modeling is still in its infancy, and the kinds of behaviors you guys are describing would be very significant industry innovations. One possibility for fluid flow from large water bodies would be like treating them as an infinite volumetric source, that was capable of filling any hole cut below it without draining (that leaves the balancing issue, but not insurmountable performance challenges).

    41. Creator Thadeus Buttons on April 28, 2014

      Would it be possible to offload the block movement calculations to the GPU which are fantastic for massively parallel calculations. Most modern GPUs can do well over a TFLOP of calculations whereas CPUs are generally in the 5-80 GFLOP range.

    42. Creator Aloft Studio on April 28, 2014

      It is challenging to picture how ocean updates would occur if not by sourceblocks though. An average ocean is comprised of around 800 million blocks. What happens when you pop a hole in it someplace? Does the engine calculate all 800 million as one fluid body, and drop its level as each hundreds of millions of units flow out? I don't believe current consumer computers can handle a calculation like that in normal time. A simpler way to do that which I can think of would be to treat it like discretely occupied spaces- when one water block falls out, one of the adjacent flows in, then another, etc. But picture that event when explosives open a hole 40 blocks wide into a water body- you are left with hundreds of thousands of blocks updates all one after another, as blocks vacate their spots and others take their place in a chain- that could create pretty nasty slowdown as well.

      There are ways of possibly doing it, and we will try a lot of possibilities out when we get to that branch, but the fluid mechanics methods for dealing with oceans I believe will be prohibitively expensive. But for smaller bodies, very possible I feel.

    43. Creator Mochnant on April 28, 2014

      I don't get the "ocean issue". You said "(really, there is no way to balance cutting a hole into the ocean flooding the entire lower map)", but what would there be to balance? Oceans are generally at the low point on the map, so what would be flooded? A deep valley next to an ocean? That's not very common and sounds more like a worldgen issue. If you're saying, what if you broke into the ocean from below and flooded the tunnels/caverns below, that sounds great! Those are now sea caves. Hopefully worldgen will ensure that every underground tunnel is not connected to every other one, so that you don't flood every cave in the world. If by "ocean source block" you reall mean you're going to have very small oceans (due to map/worldgen constraints) that you don't want to deplete, I can understand having some sort of hidden non-pickup-able source block to keep the oceans in place, but even that seems needless. Why rob some poor fool the joy of pumping his entire world's oceans dry? Better to add some kind of rain mechanic that can refill water more naturally. Just my thoughts, of course!

    44. Creator Marcel Dreisbach on April 27, 2014

      Please add realistic water. The source block solution is very bad. Even in MC many mods tried to surpass that sourceblockthing with pumps and pools and pipes. If you accidently flood your base with a sea, why not make diving equipment craftable or sth. similar. just tamp the hole, pump the water into another pool or the sea back again ( medieval handpump, later electric pump ) et voila. or dig a big hole under your base or besides and let it flow there. or just simply give the user tools for preventing floods like blocks which are dripping or a water divining rod.
      But please, no water source block. thats just unrealistic and takes a LOT of fun you can have with water physics. realistic coolant systems. and such. [you could use water sources which slowly fill something ( for a river fount ) and configured water suckers in the ocean.]

    45. Creator Aloft Studio on April 22, 2014

      Yes, dualistic behavior is one method we considered too. Defining ocean and river water to behave one way, and small pools to behave another. We really do like the fluid mechanics approach to water... it would just have to be balanced somehow with the sourceblock method that I think oceans must use of necessity (really, there is no way to balance cutting a hole into the ocean flooding the entire lower map). I say balance, because industrial machines are planned to use waterflow as a mechanic, so clearly the player would have preference to the ocean over pools in the dualistic approach.

    46. Creator Mochnant on April 22, 2014

      For what it is worth, I think that the "source block" concept is pretty game-y and I'm not a fan. A complex fluid simulation can get expensive in the processing department (like DF does it, where water pressure from gravity is considered, etc), but certainly a block settling down to the lowest level not that bad. Yes, it can create trouble for the players, but if we're trying for realistic simulation of complex systems, we can't *not* have better than source-block water. Shouldn't breaking a dam cause destruction, or digging up into an ocean flood your base?

    47. Creator Andrew on April 22, 2014

      Proper water, that’s one of the things that “Terraria” has over “Minecraft”. It be very cool if you can do it like that. I want rivers that flows, and lakes that I can drain for cooling, for example. Maybe, you can cheat with oceans, and make only them behave differently?

    48. Creator Aloft Studio on April 22, 2014

      Water has been a big question for us. I was a fan of the way the early MC water, and also the Terraria water fuctioned, and it was much more natural looking. That said, in a 3d environment, it is can get pretty difficult for the player to manage the water- the effect of cutting into the ocean at a high point would be the release of a massive amount of water with no lower place to drain it to; perhaps there are ways of dealing with it, but we are leaning more toward the source-block concept, if only to give the player more control over it. But nothing final yet in that department- we will have to do a lot of experimenting there to see what happens!

    49. Creator Thadeus Buttons on April 21, 2014

      I would ask on the forum but for some strange reason it's blocked at work where I usually ask these questions. The reason for blocking is "Domain has unusually high traffic volume for a very recent registration. IP addresses are not typically used as legitimate web hosts." :(

      That said how will the water work? I really liked the old Minecraft water where if you were mining and hit an underground lake or something the whole thing would empty into the room you were in and you could easily drown so it made it incredibly dangerous and more interesting but I like the new water in that you can have rivers, streams, and waterfalls and the water doesn't all just drain into the lowest spot it can.

    50. Creator Aloft Studio on April 21, 2014

      Pretty much any function that reasonably saves the player time using the interface like this will be implemented. We will miss a lot of opportunities in the first versions, but feedback from users should help us improve it as we go.

      This is also the sort of question that would be good material for the forum!

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"Sticks & Starships: Genesis" launches a game where the player is challenged to develop an interstellar civilization from obscurity Read more

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"Sticks & Starships: Genesis" launches a game where the player is challenged to develop an interstellar civilization from obscurity

Norfolk, VA Video Games
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About this project

Our Homepage: http://www.aloftstudios.net/

Our Forums: http://forum.aloftstudios.net/index.php

Sticks & Starships is a game about Ascendancy. It is a game about seeing your place in the world, and your limitations, and setting them aside. You can set your sights on a distant mountain, with a valley full of perils between, and then reach that peak. Or maybe you are tired of looking up at that moon, and not being there. Maybe even one distant day the stars are closer than they appear. 

A typical communal settlement
A typical communal settlement

Sticks & Starships is a game featuring a random, proceduraly-generated world with a rich cast of pixel-art beings. The player develops through a massively-complex tech tree, following the path of a civilization progressing through the ages. Slowly they gain the knowledge, tools, and infrastructure to reshape their world and their expectations. It is a game that anyone may play alone, but the real thrill is in sharing. Communities of players may divide up the nearly endless tasks amongst themselves to collectively climb the technological ladder as a symbiotic group, while building friendships and sharing interests. Those amongst them with creative skills may design and culturally develop the group's evironment while others focus on engineering and logistics. Everyone may grow together as people, for a common goal, or for no goal at all other than the joy of experience and sharing.

Promotional poster to be had at the $35 USD level!
Promotional poster to be had at the $35 USD level!

A long time ago, in a galaxy very close, perhaps even on the earth (or maybe not), our story begins with a simple question: Who are we? 

The players find themselves in an idyllic ruin. The world is both hostile and giving. It is full of great savage birds and undead aberrations, and yet is also replete with bountiful resources.The shadows of civilzations past litter the landscape, but no one remembers much about them. The lore and culture that can be gleaned from what remains seems to depict a brilliant race of bird gods who taught the world in ages past. 

But who are these mysterious figures? Could understanding these beings be the secret to unlocking our own past and our full identities? The answers to such questions lie strewn across the long path ahead!

Temperature and moisture as Biome metrics, and how they help derive the cube map textures
Temperature and moisture as Biome metrics, and how they help derive the cube map textures

Our story takes place on a procedurally-generated voxel world. The basic unit of measure is the half-meter, which is the universal discrete grid size throughout the entire known galaxy. The world is projected over a sphere, and is thus circumnavigable. 

World-folding technique where we convert cube map into a globe
World-folding technique where we convert cube map into a globe

The surface is divided into set of diverse biomes demarcated by latitude, proximity to water, and a degree of random chance. Some of these include temperate and coniferous forests, plains and savannah, arid deserts, icy wastes, tropical marsh and jungleland. These biomes are home to more than 50 unique species of plants with nearly unlimited specialized uses, and over 300 distinct materials. 

Stone types and minerals are organized into geological strata
Stone types and minerals are organized into geological strata

While being rather large, and probably larger than fully explorable to most players, the entire planet is projected to be around 16 kilometers around the equater, and so the player will be capable of eventually mapping their entire world and its resources.

Temperate-zone marshland
Temperate-zone marshland

Not only does the world stretch on over the surface, however. If the world is expansive overland, it is endlessly serpentine below. Stretching over a kilometer deep are dozens of strata of stone of varying hardness and refinement, encasing both natural treasures in the form of metals and minerals, and hidden relics from civilizations past. And of course winding through all of these strata are vast and unknowable cave systems, home to denizens both docile and ravenous. These shadow-dwellers become progressively hardier as the player descends, so in order to reap the fruits of the deep, the player must continually improve their equipment, and the infrastructure of their technology.

Cavern occupied by a "Drider Queen" and a spider brood
Cavern occupied by a "Drider Queen" and a spider brood

 As the player acquires the requisite tech to penetrate deeper and deeper, so too deepen the mysteries and wonders they will encounter. Vast ecosystems of bizarre flora and fauna based around an exotic chemosynthetic food chain, crystaline caverns, nearly-impenetrable vaults, and terrible underworld full of burning sulfur and seemingly-demonic beings await the well-equipped and well-resolved. Developing the level of civilization and knowledge required to visit these strata will not only entail purposeful collection of very specific resources, but also gradually learning early sciences such as metalurgy and alchemy.

Some of the inhabitants of the sub-terranean infestation
Some of the inhabitants of the sub-terranean infestation
A lively underwater environment complete with harvestable resources and animal life is planned
A lively underwater environment complete with harvestable resources and animal life is planned
The Underworld is the home of the greatest material rewards, as well as the greatest perils
The Underworld is the home of the greatest material rewards, as well as the greatest perils

 Just as competent farming techniques were the foundation of human civilizations, so too will farming be the pillar of your settlements, and the source of a host of products which will help propel you into the industrial age. The earliest game will be a trajectory toward  acquiring the proper tools for farming, and collecting specimens for production. Unfortunately, most of the wild plants found in their natural states will not be viable for easy or efficient farming, so the player will need to use genetic principles to selectively cross-breed many specimens together in order to create plants which are suited to your chosen climate, and highly fertile and productive. Among the crops available to be cultivated in this early phase are flax, alfalfa, rapeseed, beans, and wheat, alongside several orchard trees such as pear-trees, cherry-trees, and raspberry bushes. While several of these provide food, just as importantly they provide essentials such as bio-oil, linen-cloth, and fodder. 

A burgeoning farm in several growth phases
A burgeoning farm in several growth phases

If farming is the foundation of civilization, then metalurgy is the ladder whose rungs define that civilization's capabilities. As the player obtains more tools and machines, they will slowly acquire the ability to smelt, purify, and forge increasingly more useful metals. Weak gold or copper tools will require only basic tools such as hammers and stone work tables to craft, whereas tungsten will require considerably more, such as coal coke, high temperature blast smelters, and air bellows.

A well-outfited smithy,with anvil, smelters, firebox-ovens, casting molds, bellows stoves, casting ovens, and millstone
A well-outfited smithy,with anvil, smelters, firebox-ovens, casting molds, bellows stoves, casting ovens, and millstone

The placement of technology, even at this early stage, will require a fair bit of planning. As an example, these smelters have the need for a heat-source appropriate to what is being smelted, and an output for purified ores and slag. In addition, many of the apparati used in metal work will generate a large amount of smoke, which will either need to be vented directly to the environment, or collected with smoke hoods and led outside with smoke flues and chimney stacks. The need for adjacency-planning in future technological stages will develop into an artform, when the player has to coordinate fluid and electrical conduits, production and storage facilities, and power-transformers, as one example.

Fume hoods capture the smoke evolved from the smelters
Fume hoods capture the smoke evolved from the smelters

As mentioned above, in order to progress from the middle of this first chapter onward, the player will need to learn and perfect techniques of alchemy. These techniques allow the player to take minerals and plant sources, and identify useful components within them, then to infuse those components in solution and then separate and purify the desired components through temperature-controlled denaturation, distillation, osmotic separation, charge-affinity separation, and simple filtration. These purified components can be studied and then used individually or combined for scores of uses. These uses include the production of industrial acids and solvents, and the brewing of potions used to enhance the player's strengths and overcome various hazards, but even this pursuit is not without drawbacks, as the player will need much study before they are able to produce potions which aren't as hazardous themselves as what they protect against.

An alchemist at work, surrounded by cauldron, podium, and storage for alchemical products; a fume hood carries away toxic vapors, because they will ruin your day
An alchemist at work, surrounded by cauldron, podium, and storage for alchemical products; a fume hood carries away toxic vapors, because they will ruin your day
Interface for alchemy station: sigil of transformation, distillery, mortar-and-pestle, and tome of Metazar shown
Interface for alchemy station: sigil of transformation, distillery, mortar-and-pestle, and tome of Metazar shown
Second page of alchemy station interface; tubes for separation tasks and storage shelf shown
Second page of alchemy station interface; tubes for separation tasks and storage shelf shown

The number of materials and their products present in the game is somewhat staggering. Because there are hundreds of products all with their own fabrication patterns, and the uses of the many materials are not always immediately obvious, a useful reference is provided to the player to guide them through all of this. This reference is indexed by material types, and is also searchable; it will provide detailed descriptions of every item, and will provide templates for either how to fabricate each, or where they may be found, as well as to what uses each may be put. This reference is found on the right side of the screen in these interface images.

Armor and personal inventory interface
Armor and personal inventory interface

Found within the world are several dozen types of creature, many of those natively surface dwelling. One example is the "Great Cassowary", which is a large predatory bird which roams the temperate biomes in small herds. These birds are quite threatening to a poorly equipped player, however with the proper gear and precautions, they may actually be domesticated and bred to serve as powerful mounts. Exploring the multifaceted nature of several creatures in this manner will be one of the many paths to further development.

A player mounted on a Cassowary engages a "Titanis" bird, which is the apex predator of the surface
A player mounted on a Cassowary engages a "Titanis" bird, which is the apex predator of the surface

In addition to the hundreds of general-use materials available to the player, there are also many designed specifically for use in architectural design. The player's access to these forms will partially be dependent on technological development, but even early on, blocks such as carved wooden beams and paneling, fine metalwork and glazed windows, daubed and plastered walls, floor parquetry, many kinds of fine brickwork, wooden shingle-board and thatching are all accessible. 

Our blocks allow for the player to design in many styles, such as this half-timber teutonic village
Our blocks allow for the player to design in many styles, such as this half-timber teutonic village
Coffered ceiling paneling, cornice-moldings, glazed windows, and decorative lighting elements
Coffered ceiling paneling, cornice-moldings, glazed windows, and decorative lighting elements

Beyond those first wooden, brick, and metalwork elements, the player also has access to highly-detailed carved stone blocks, and intricately-cut stone patterns. The first of these are available in classical Greco-Roman styles. Column, piers and pilasters, pedestals, balustrades, entablatures and beams, and processional stairs are all included. Architectural works of great complexity are easily possible by combining even a few of these elements in a purposeful fashion; with a few of your friends, you might design and construct an entire antique metropolis!

A colossal central-plan sanctum centered around a reliquary
A colossal central-plan sanctum centered around a reliquary
Full classical-order elements are available in several scales
Full classical-order elements are available in several scales
Processional stairs, balustrades, chandeliers and colossal stone everything!
Processional stairs, balustrades, chandeliers and colossal stone everything!
Stone-carved elements also scaleable to domestic applications
Stone-carved elements also scaleable to domestic applications

The player has even more opportunities for creativity beyond simply the macro environmental design. An easel system with a layered interface will allow the player to paint original works in many sizes which can later be placed in the environment or copied. An exchange is also planned, whereby players can share paintings they have created online for others to use in their own game environments. Similarly, there is a loom-element, which the player may use to create wearable garments, or even design entirely new player-character skins which they may also share online. 

Painting easel, piano, phonograph, writing desk, and the fruits of each
Painting easel, piano, phonograph, writing desk, and the fruits of each

Perhaps most elaborately of all, there will be a midi-based music system. The game will feature a fully produced ambient soundtrack already, however the player isn't limited to this. There exists a piano item, which is a playable instrument where one may either use their standard qwerty keyboard to play, or plug in a midi-controller device such as a digital piano. The piano is much more than that, however, as occupying the piano will bring up a midi-composition suite, where the player may actually compose real music with full range and dynamics. Composing music with this system will produce sheet-music manuscripts. If there is a phonograph nearby, the player may actually record their own compositions to records discs, which can be copied and played at any time; of course this system will also be subject to an online exchange. What all of this means together is that the player is capable of producing beautiful music to enrich both their own game environment, and everyone in the online community of user's experience.

Midi-composition suite
Midi-composition suite

Early Musical Track Review : 

 For more tracks previews and more material on the ongoing audio design part of our process, be sure to checkout our project's Facebook profile, linked below!

The holistic vision we have for this project is admittedly far-reaching. As indicated, we intend for this project to develop into a full-fledged climb from primitive implements to interstellar-traveling starships. Because the project demands the expertise of several disciplines, and because it is irrational to take on such an ambitious undertaking all at once, we have chosen to divide the development into four phases. What you have seen described here makes up the first development phase; the first development phase will be complete when all of the material described here is available to the public in stable form, and we have integrated multiplayer server support. It is our belief that sales and interest garnered during this first phase will likely allow the project to continue on into self-sufficiency. 

If the first phase deals with classical-era civilzation, the second phase will address industrial culture. This phase will include cultivating the infrastructure to produce highly refined materials and machinery, and the need to automate tasks which were previously manual in order to develop industry on a much wider scale. The challenges the player will face in this play phase will include designing and maintaining an economy with many material and service needs, such as energy production and storage, power distribution, fluid management, large-scale mining and acquisition operations, and creating engineered solutions to laborious problems. This section will test the player's ingenuity and management skills, and the rewards will be powerful new tools for travel and exploration, and new means to automate constructions.

A system for using pressurized steam to turn turbines for generating power, which is stepped down and stored
A system for using pressurized steam to turn turbines for generating power, which is stepped down and stored
A reactor array where a central vessel takes in coolant, and exports it to generate steam
A reactor array where a central vessel takes in coolant, and exports it to generate steam
Computer interface which is utilized here to monitor reactor
Computer interface which is utilized here to monitor reactor
Assembly robots constructing pumps and power storage for a large mining vehicle
Assembly robots constructing pumps and power storage for a large mining vehicle
Gantry hooked into a control interface, used for assembling pre-built components
Gantry hooked into a control interface, used for assembling pre-built components
Blast furnace takes in milled iron ore, limestone flux, and coal coke, and passes on the resulting molten pig-iron toward the Bessemer converters, to purify the iron into high-grade steel ready to be pressed
Blast furnace takes in milled iron ore, limestone flux, and coal coke, and passes on the resulting molten pig-iron toward the Bessemer converters, to purify the iron into high-grade steel ready to be pressed
Gantries double as high-volume strip-miners
Gantries double as high-volume strip-miners

The third phase deals with information-age technology. This phase will be defined by computing resources and aerospace systems. In order to progress to the end of this phase, the player will actually need to learn to acquire resources found off-planet. To do this, they will need to build the infrastructure to produce, outfit, and ultimately execute manned and un-manned space missions, and find a way to harvest the resources from far-flung worlds. A system of modular parts will allow for the design and fabrication of these vehicles, however quite a lot of testing and theory will need to be grasped in order to master this art-form. The player will also potentially find the challenge of existing in environments very different from their home world, sometimes complete with quite hostile native life.

Chronos Vll Interplanetary delivery vehicle schematics
Chronos Vll Interplanetary delivery vehicle schematics
Multiblock crawler assembly built to transport rocket to launch site
Multiblock crawler assembly built to transport rocket to launch site
Flight of the Chronos Vll
Flight of the Chronos Vll

The fourth phase will be a sort of finishing school. The player will take all of the skills they developed in planning and management from the previous periods, and they will construct massive interstellar craft, which they will live aboard and maintain, as they traverse the stars in search of the final mysteries.

Every time the player sets sail for a new world, they will be met with unforseen circumstances. Part of the fun is that the trip can be planned for, but what they find on arrival will seldom be planned.
Every time the player sets sail for a new world, they will be met with unforseen circumstances. Part of the fun is that the trip can be planned for, but what they find on arrival will seldom be planned.
Complex, multi-system assemblies, such as this antimatter condenser array must be maintained in order to operate a function starship
Complex, multi-system assemblies, such as this antimatter condenser array must be maintained in order to operate a function starship
The Fusion reactor takes in hydrogen or helium isotopes, and exports hot plasma to fuel the creation of antimatter
The Fusion reactor takes in hydrogen or helium isotopes, and exports hot plasma to fuel the creation of antimatter
This anti-matter is put to use in machines such as the warp-coil, and high-capacity shield projectors
This anti-matter is put to use in machines such as the warp-coil, and high-capacity shield projectors

It goes almost without saying that our backer's and our users are the people who ultimately give us the ability to spend our time developing games. We want to thank your for your help, and offer these tiered rewards for your support!

What we can ultimately achieve will be a function of how much time we can afford to spend in development, and the level of specialist collaboration our resources allow us. We are confident that at our first funding goal of $20,000 USD, we have what we need in order to finish our core game engine in a timely fashion, and deliver this to the player, as well as meet all of the above-promised rewards. We fully intend to complete our full development cycle, where we add all of the projected features, however additional resources  will allow us to do this with far greater speed and polish. Anything our backers provide us above our lowest initial asking will be applied directly to offering the best possible experience to our users.

Who We are 

Chris Bolton, 29, is the holder of a bachelor's of computer science, and an experienced team member with past work at several AAA publishers. He has extensive knowledge in a multitude of computational theories, and with it, has tackled a variety of independent roles in the software development industry including the implementation, debugging, and maintenance of various systems for core engines, games, and tools. He has a strong past game industry experience working on cross-platform games and was responsible for designing, developing, and deploying core technology for independent developers. He is also an expert at engine module assembly, game-physics construction, and environmental rendering. He brings to the project over a decade of C++, C#, Java, and Lua-script coding, among many other languages.

Dennis Varvaro, 27, is the holder of a professional-bachelor's degree in architecture, with an emphasis on historic and traditional design. He has in the past done work in classically-oriented architecture and landscape architecture firms on the US east coast and in Belgium, and has contributed to historic architectural survey work for the Prince's Foundation. He is an expert in architectural computer modeling and general environmental design, as well having experience in digital and watercolor painting media. He is also an adept at several commercial game engine suites and computer modeling suites, and an amateur musician and composer.

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Risks and challenges

Computer game development is a pursuit intrinsically accompanied by delays. We offer dates in order to provide a realistic projection both for our own development pacing and for our backer's information, but these dates cannot be allowed to become our taskmasters. In the interest of providing a product which is worthy of our backer's funding and interest, and our own considerable personal investments, our schedule of projected milestones may often need to slightly extended. Our goal in producing an independent title like this is to create something which challenges present boundaries, and redefines the user's relationship with their peers through digital media. It is simply not plausible to do this with the polish we feel you all deserve on a non-adjustable schedule; we are confident however that many of you will be happy to take this journey with us, in producing something massively fulfilling to all involved!

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

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    We sing your praises and place your name in the special thanks credits section of our title!

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    Pledge $20 or more

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    This is the total access tier.

    Access to the project from the early, buggy Alpha phases onward and a download of all future versions is granted to you!

    All previous rewards included.

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    Pledge $35 or more

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    You want to go an extra step, and we want to reward you!

    We send you a fresh 19x27" poster of the promotional painting featured under the introduction at the top of the presentation!

    All previous rewards included.

    (Note, for backers outside the US, this reward is provided as a hi-resolution digital download)

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    Only ships to: United States
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    Pledge $45 or more

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    You are quite a generous soul, and everyone tells you so, everywhere you go. At this level we will also include a download of the soundtrack of the initial launch!

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    Pledge $100 or more

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    You are a real giver, so we will help you out too! Included at this level are three each of the previous rewards (alpha-version access onward, promotional poster, and soundtrack download).

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    Pledge $500 or more

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    You are a high-roller, and we want to congratulate you! We will work with you to design a character-skin texture for use in game to be included in the defaults!

    All previous rewards included.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more

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    We are not sure where you found all this money. Nevertheless, we thank you greatly, and you have the opportunity to help us design a major game character of your choosing that fits into the game!

    All previous rewards included.

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    Pledge $10,000

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    We are speechless. I will personally paint a large-scale portrait of you wrestling a tiger, or discovering the ark of the covenant, or uppercutting Hitler. Or doing almost anything for that matter. I really will.

    All previous rewards included.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world