Project image
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$1,981
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
74
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, April 12 2015 2:00 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated April 16, 2015

Starship Empire

An intense PvP-filled space MMO where you not only take your ship into epic battles, but manage each and every crew member inside.

Starship Empire

An intense PvP-filled space MMO where you not only take your ship into epic battles, but manage each and every crew member inside.

$1,981
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
74
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, April 12 2015 2:00 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated April 16, 2015

About

Starship Empire is now on Steam Greenlight


Starship Empire is a real-time space MMO with tons of PvP action.  It takes place in a persistent universe where hundreds or even thousands of players are all interacting with each other at the same time, talking, trading and blasting the hell out of each other!  You play the role of the ship’s captain and not only take your ship into epic space battles, but you command a full crew as well.  Command one of your engineers to fix a broken shield generator or tell one of your security officers to attack intruders that are boarding the ship.  There’s just as much fun inside the ship as there is outside!

I'm a huge sci-fi / space opera fan and my vision for Starship Empire is to recreate the experience that has captivated me for the last 20 years. Most games in this genre only attempt to capture the ship-to-ship gameplay and completely ignore where most of the fun happens... inside the ship! I want this to be the key feature that separates Starship Empire from others out there.

I also want the game play to be extremely accessible. I've heard great things about EVE Online (and hell, they have nearly half a million players and an annual convention), but when I tried to play it I was blown away by how complex it was to get started and ultimately the learning curve was more than I wanted to invest just to blow some frakking ships to dust. Because of this, I've tried to make Starship Empire very easy and intuitive to play, yet have enough game play depth to keep you coming back for more. 

If you are looking for this game to be the next Mass Effect, it wont be, but if like me, you've been dreaming of an experience where you could soar through the galaxies, captain of your own ship, in command of your own crew, exploring, solving mysteries, and fighting those who threaten your freedom, ideologies and livelihood, then please help me make this game a reality.

The game is centered around two warring races:

Human
An exploratory race driven partly by intellectual curiosity, partly by raw emotion and partly by a strong sense of competition to be the best.  This mix of factors often results in actions which can be unpredictable or even dangerous.

Brakken
A ruthless warrior race who has become technologically advanced through conquering other civilizations and stealing their technology.  They claim to be superior and will stop at nothing to decimate all who oppose them.

Background

In 2284, an American astrophysicist, Eljin Grant, developed the first hyper-light-speed engine which single-handedly revived the space program and launched humanity into a new era of space exploration.  Progress was initially slow however, due to the low supply of hydronium, the experimental fuel needed for Grant's engine.   In 2319, this all changed... a long-range exploration vessel discovered an asteroid field rich in fuel-grade hydronium.  Mining operations began immediately. This was just the break the program needed, but no one could have predicted what came next.  A month or so after mining began, humanity's first contact with an extra-terrestrial race was made. They called themselves the Brakkens.  They claimed that the human mining colony was trespassing in their territory and threatened to destroy the colony if they didn't evacuate.  Knowing how rare of a find the hydronium field was, the humans attempted negotiations, drafting up the Voltekk Treaty (named after Imperial King Voltekk of Brakken as a show of good faith).   After months of human persuasion, mostly resulting in further threats, the Brakkens finally agreed to commence negotiations.   The momentous day had finally come and just as the Brakken king placed his hand down to accept the treaty he glanced over at his council and with a solemn nod, the council struck instantly, without the slightest hesitation, viciously slaughtering every human in the room.  This single act, now referred to as the Voltekk Massacre, sparked the largest war in human history.  The very same asteroid field that started the war continues to be the epicenter of a never-ending onslaught of both Brakken and Human kind.  This location is now called the Crimson Reef, chromatically referring to the bloodshed that happens there on a daily basis.

  • Massively multiplayer support for thousands of players
  • Real-time ship-to-ship combat (PvP!), using laser cannons, photon-style weapons, and other futuristic weapons
  • Board other players ships to loot cargo and attack their crew (even more PvP!!)
  • Interior ship gameplay such as assigning crew members to various stations, repairing ship damage, and healing injured crew members
  • Two races spanning seven galaxies, each with it's own danger level from fairly safe to imminent death.
  • Eight classes of ships including War ships, Trade ships, Science vessels, Diplomatic vessels and Pirate ships.
  • Visit nearby starbases to upgrade your ship and crew... stronger, faster, better!
  • Entry-level missions
  • More complex missions and other great features will be up to you.  (see the Stretch Goals section below)

Real-time ship-to-ship combat
Every ship has a certain amount of weapon slots.  For example, a Military ship will have more weapon slots than a Science vessel and a level 2 ship will have more weapon slots than a level 1 ship.  Weapons can be upgraded in the Starbase Shop and added to these slots and then used in real-time space battles.  All weapons use energy generated from the engines.  Some weapons such as laser cannons use much more energy than other weapons.

Real-time crew-to-crew combat
When an enemy ship's shields are down and it has been damaged enough, you can board their ship, sending selected crew members over.  The boarding player can loot the boarded player's cargo and bring it back to their ship.  Both players will control individual crew members, and can shoot at each other, injuring or even killing each other.

Hybrid Permadeath
When your ship is destroyed, there are two options.  You can decide to salvage your ship and recover whatever wasn't looted by pirates or permanently scrap your ship, collecting an insurance payment that you can use to start a new game.

Inner-ship Experience

As captain of the ship, you can select crew members and assign them to repair shields, hull plating, and other damages.  Crew members that are injured during an attack can recover in sick bay or you can assign medical officers to heal them.  Throughout the ship there are various crew stations including Navigation, Tactical, Engineering, Medical and Command.  When crew members are assigned to these stations they earn experience in a specific skill.  These skills have a direct impact on how well a ship fairs in battle and solving problems.  For example, if a crew member assigned to a tactical station is a level 2, the player will have a better chance of hitting an enemy during battle than if that same player assigns an officer with level 1 tactical skill to the station.

Fuel/Power System

Every ship has a certain amount of engine slots. Each slot can hold an engine that will burn fuel and produce energy. This energy will be used to power shields, weapons and other devices. Engines can be upgraded for increased fuel efficiency and power production. In addition to engine slots, each ship has a certain amount of energy cell slots that can be filled to increase a ship's energy storage capacity, thereby allowing ships to recover shields and fire weapons more quickly.

Starbase Shop
Each galaxy has one or more starbases where you can dock your ship for safety and upgrade your ship's shields, hull plating, weapons, scanners, crew and more.  You can also sell acquired items and raw materials that were mined from asteroids and ship remains.

Starship Empire will be free to play and will use micro-transactions to support ongoing development costs.  I know there are mixed feelings about F2P games so I want to be clear about how this will work within Starship Empire:

  • There will never be any "pay walls" or obligation to pay for anything in the game.
  • Non-paying players can advance to the same level as paying players and advancement will not be limited in any way
  • Credits earned in-game will be equivalent to credits purchased and can be used to buy both functional and decorative items in the starbase shops.
  • Earnings credits in game will be reasonably balanced vs paying for credits (e.g. you won't have to mine asteroids for a ridiculous amount of time to earn a decent amount of credits)
  • Major ship upgrades in the shop will require a minimum level of experience points so even if you are a paying player, you can't simply "pay to win".

The gameplay varies in intensity from peacefully flying through space to intense epic battles and I needed the music to reflect this.  I stumbled upon Ben Rawles and he did an amazing job composing three tracks that can seamlessly transition between one another.  If the Kickstarter goal is met, I plan on working with him to finish the rest of the music needed for the game.

Ambient (peacefully flying through space)

Orchestral (conflict arises, shots fired)

Metal (epic battle)

My name is Bruno Campolo, creator of Bantam City Games, a one-man independent game development studio and I'm also the new owner of the well-known Indiegamer Forums.  During the day I'm a full-time software engineer and team lead for a large corporation and I spend my nights and weekends doing game development with an ongoing goal of growing my hobbyist game studio into a self-sustaining company.  My first commercial game was called Trials of Werlin which was not financially successful, but I learned a great deal about developing games and later released a game called Invadazoid which was much more successful, topping the charts on Real Networks' Game House, Big Fish Games and Reflexive (later bought out by Amazon).  Since then I've been slowly, but steadily working on Starship Empire.

Game development is a difficult and costly endeavor.  In my experience, the largest costs for producing a game are development and artwork.  I'm the only developer for Starship Empire so none of the funding will be used for programming.  The majority of the money raised will go towards artist fees for missing artwork and to improve existing artwork.  The goal amount that I set is based on what is needed to get it from the current state to initial release.  Here's the breakdown:

$1 Level - Your Name in the Credits
Your dollar will be converted to virtual in-game currency and then shot out into space to become a permanent, but invisible part of a new and exciting universe. You'll also get your name in the credits as a "Contributor".

$5 Level - Super Early Bird Special
Get access to a pre-release version of Starship Empire. Play the game in its early stages and help shape the experience for all future players by making suggestions and feature requests + your name in the credits.

$10 Level - Early Bird Special
Get access to a pre-release version of Starship Empire. Play the game in its early stages and help shape the experience for all future players by making suggestions and feature requests + your name in the credits.

$15 Level - Beta Access
Get access to a pre-release version of Starship Empire. Play the game in its early stages and help shape the experience for all future players by making suggestions and feature requests + your name in the credits.

$20 Level - Kickstarter-Exclusive Weapon

You will get a Kickstarter-exclusive weapon that is not available to standard players + all previous rewards.

   NOTE: This is just a mock up. Actual weapon may vary.

$35 Level - Kickstarter-Exclusive Starship
You will get a Kickstarter-exclusive starship that is not available to standard players + all previous rewards.

NOTE: This is just a mock up.  Actual ship may vary.

$50 Level - Upgrade Your Ship
Your level 1 ship will get upgraded hull-plating, shield generators, engines, laser cannons and 100 missiles + all previous rewards.

$100 Level - Max-out Your Ship with Cash to Spare
Your level 1 ship will get the best hull-plating, shield generators, scanners, engines, laser cannon and 100 high-yield missiles + start with 10 times the normal startup credits to purchase whatever extras you want + all previous rewards.

$500 Level - Create Your Own Item/Weapon

Collaborate with the developer (me) to come up with a unique in-game item/weapon of your choosing + all previous rewards.

You will brainstorm directly with me to come up with a unique in-game item/weapon that will be available for purchase at some of the in-game starbases.  You take care of the idea, and I'll take care of the development.  Disclaimer: I have the final say and I will not create any items that contain explicit content or are otherwise inappropriate for the game's audience.

$1000 Level - Name a Starbase
Name one of only 8 starbases in the game + all previous rewards except the $500 level.

The game currently has 7 galaxies and 8 starbases.  You get to make your mark on the Starship Empire universe and name one of these 8 starbases.  In addition to naming the starbase you can optionally provide a link to your website which will appear as a sponsor link in the starbase shop.  Names and links will be kept for at least 1 year from the delivery date.  Disclaimer: I have the final say and I will not allow any names/links that contain/point to explicit content or are otherwise inappropriate for the game's audience.

  • $10,000 - Project Goal reached!
  • $20,000 - Higher quality artwork with more variation in ship interior design and crew member appearance
  • $30,000 - Crafting - create your own items/weapons from collected materials (1 month after existing delivery date)
  • $40,000 - Advanced ship controls - rerouting power, scanning interiors of nearby ships and more (2 months after existing delivery date)
  • $50,000 - Factions - team up with others to form powerful alliances (3 months after existing delivery date)
  • $75,000 - More complex missions (4 months after existing delivery date)
  • $100,000 - Planet Exploration - land your ship on a random planet and have your crew scout for supplies, artifacts, etc. (6 months after existing delivery date)

I recently presented a pre-alpha demo of Starship Empire at PAX East in Boston.  I met a lot of great people and here are some of the highlights:

Player Reactions
Players were having a lot of fun shooting other ships and blowing things up in the outer-ship view, but my favorite part was the reactions on their faces when they saw that you can go inside the ship and control individual crew members. When they found out it was an MMO on top of it they seemed awe-struck.

I got a lot of "This looks like Star Control meets FTL plus multiplayer!" Some people replaced Star Control with Escape Velocity (or a few other games I've never heard of) and one guy said it looked like a real-time Gratuitous Space Battles, but no matter which game they quoted, one thing was for sure, they were excited!  Another comment I received was, "This is a little like EVE but really easy to get into," which was reassuring to hear.

Tweets during the show
Fairlight ‏(@FairlightEx) Support good games! Starship Empire looks impressive and is being made by literally one guy. Definitely my favorite so far  @BantamCityGames

Charlotte Armstrong (@scifichar) Really impressed with @BantamCityGames Starship Empire demo at #PAXEast2015. Check it out and help make it a reality

Chris Plath (@name404) Definitely check out @BantamCityGames Starship Empire. Twas very awesome and I must have it. #PAXEast

News Coverage
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asp7RwUt_uo&sns=fb

http://www.onrpg.com/articles/editorial/pax-east-2015-day-1-recap-trion-worlds-dreadnought-indie-games-and-cosplay/5/

http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/starship-empire-is-a-new-one-man-kickstarter-attempt-at-an-mmo/

http://justpressstart.net/starship-empire-pax-east-2015/

http://www.mmorpg.com/newsroom.cfm/read/34303/General-Starship-Empire-An-Intense-PvP-MMO-in-Space.html

http://massivelyop.net/2015/03/24/starship-empire-gives-you-command-of-your-own-ship-and-crew/

http://www.tentonhammer.com/news/starship-empire/ambitious-mmo-project-starship-empire-hits-kickstarter

Whether you choose to back this project or not, we can still use your help to spread the word about Starship Empire.  Tell your friends, post a link to this Kickstarter page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and wherever else you can think of.

Risks and challenges

All game projects have a ton of risks and challenges to overcome. An MMO has even more than most genres. I work full time as a software engineer and team lead for a large software company and we release customer-facing releases every two weeks. I know how to create quality software and I know how to get it released on time and within budget. My career depends on it and I bring all of this experience into this project. In addition, I have released two commercial games to date (see "The Developer" section above) which proves I have the drive and determination to deliver.

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    Your dollar will be converted to virtual in-game currency and then shot out of a torpedo tube into space to become a permanent, but invisible part of a new and exciting universe. You'll also get your name in the credits as a "Contributor".

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    Early Bird Special. Get access to a pre-release version of Starship Empire. Play the game in its early stages and help shape the experience for all future players by making suggestions and feature requests + your name in the credits.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Your level 1 ship will get the best hull-plating, shield generators, scanners, engines, laser cannon and 100 high-yield missiles + start with 10 times the normal startup credits to purchase whatever you want + all previous rewards.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Collaborate with the developer to come up with a unique in-game item/weapon of your choosing (see description for details) + all previous rewards.

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    Name one of only 8 starbases in the game, including a link on the starbase shop page to the site of your choice (see description for details) + all previous rewards (except for $500 level).

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    Super Early Bird Special. Get access to a pre-release version of Starship Empire. Play the game in its early stages and help shape the experience for all future players by making suggestions and feature requests + your name in the credits.

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Funding period

- (40 days)