More than a year ago and $70,000 invested out of our own pockets, we set out to create a Space MMO with:
·a fully-interactive world where the deeper you go, the more you see
·two modes of play (Combat and Industrialist)
·science fiction backed with real science
·no PvP and optional PvE
Ascent: The Space Game is the result—and you can play it today http://thespacegame.com. However, we need your help to take Ascent to the next level by updating the average looking graphics and improving the user interface to make Ascent the polished space MMO it was meant to be.
Ascent: The Space Game features unparalleled freedom in space. Many of these features are unheard of when it comes to gaming and completely unprecedented in any game genre.
•Direct ship control: You can fly in first- or third-person view as well as autopilot warping, docking and jumping
•270 billion star systems: Procedurally-generated according to how scientists believe star systems form. The game boasts every kind of star, giant star—and even stellar remnants such as black holes and neutron stars. There are gas giants, planets, and moons—each with unique chemical composition, terrain and geology, mineral concentrations, and soil fertility variations. As a result, the exploration game is absolutely unprecedented in its depth and value. When you discover a system, it's initially named after you—and you're forever recorded as the one who discovered it.
•Rocky planets and moons up to the Earth’s size: We have an extremely detailed and active spherical terrain engine that generates full-sized planets—which no other game developer has done before!
•Colonize planets: You can plant a 100 km radius colony deed and construct your own city (consisting of up to tens of thousands of buildings so far)—producing whatever the planet or moon has in abundance. This has expanded into a major city-building game inside our space MMO. We now have over 700,000 colonies out there—all settled by players. You can set up offline trading at your colony so that others may visit, buy your products, and sell you what your colony needs.
•Environmental controls: Colonies have quite a deep environmental control feature involving the management of environmental domes. Using these controls, you can colonize planets with harsh environments.
•Player-driven government with actual voting: As part of the player-driven government, you can cast your vote to rename systems and build new jump gates. In the future, players will also be able to vote on terraforming and other exciting features.
•Open-ended research/industrial game with tons of depth: You can construct every ship and module in the game on your own personal starbase. Each of the eight inner starter zone planets one of the eight main planetary resources, which teach you the basics of city building that will be needed later for colonies. Blueprints for ships and modules may be obtained by salvaging ancient wrecks for lost technology and researching them at your starbase. You can also research to up-class a module or enhance the productivity of a structure.
•Full combat quest line: Made challenging by increasingly tough AI rather than just throwing hordes of ships at you or cheating. The initial combat stage begins as a small fighter on fighter dogfights and ends with ships 2,000 times that size pounding away at each other with over 40 weapons each. There are three kinds of weapons so far; shields and armor all have individual faces; and to succeed, you need skill, tactics, and strategy.
•Asteroid mining is interactive and requires skill and patience to learn: Yields depend on persona skill, equipment, and selecting the right rock to mine. Asteroid fields now exist in the outer systems with varying compositions, densities, and values.
•Gas giant harvesting for various gases you need to use: Learn the colors of each resource gas and know at a glance what you can get from any given gas giant (of which there are hundreds of billions--all of them unique).
• Dynamic trading and procedural contracts game: This is the starting point for the Industrialist quest line and where players ease into the wider game.
•New paint system: the new paint system, now in Beta, allows unprecedented customisation of our new ship models.
It began with the banks. All greed and no caution led to a chain of collapses. Businesses followed them down—and one by one, the big names fell. Then the governments started going bust. First, the planetary governments; then the interplanetary.
We lost our savings. We lost our jobs. We lost our homes. And we began to lose each other. There were riots for food. At first, the government quelled them—but later, there was no government . . . and no one to put a stop to the violence—which spread, burning through our worlds like fire through dry grass. Cities burned, emptied, and lay in ruin.
Nobody managed the libraries, the archives, or the news feeds—and we began to lose our memory, our knowledge, our technology, our future. We began to fall.
Nobody was left to keep maintaining our communications networks, our star gates between the worlds, or our space stations—and one by one, they began to fail. We have lost contact with many colonies. They are now alone in the black. Finally, burning and war torn, Earth itself was lost to us when the last of the star gates failed.
Just eight systems remain connected. A tiny portion of the military remained loyal. With no pay and little provisions, they still keep the peace. Arrayed against them are all the forces of anarchy, chaos, and terror. They stand alone—holding back the flood.
Our systems are failing. Our people are starving and lost. Our factories are empty and silent. Our fields are sown with weeds. Chaos is consuming our whole race—one town, one city, and one planet at a time. We are running out of food, components, and material. We are running out of time. We are running out of hope.
We have almost lost our place in the stars.
James is the creative mind and developer behind Ascent, having previously developed two computer games. James has a long history in the I.T industry, with past industry experience in numerous start-ups, telecommunications and government.
Chris provides business insight and administration, with significant experience in business technology management. Chris has over 15 years' experience in I.T, with past industry experience in software development and utilities.
We have the qualifications to operate this project successfully. It is our third computer game and fourth business venture. Between us, we have over three decades of corporate IT industry experience spanning networking, servers, databases, software development, testing and release management, and project management.
We have invested $70,000 into our dream, and money is about to run out. In order to appeal to a wider audience, we need better graphics and an improved user interface.
To do this, we need to hire our part-time graphics artist, George Karandais, and a part-time user interface expert. We have four months of money left to cover development. With the money from this Kickstarter campaign, we believe that we can hire George, get on Steam, and create an awesome space MMO.
George is a long-time gamer, sci-fi lover and musician, keen to enter the gaming industry. During university he quickly found his passion was creating game assets and bringing practicality to game universes. His great love of science fiction and mathematical mindset has allowed him to work aside James with ease, quickly zeroing in on the purpose and function behind each piece he's created and in doing so added gameplay elements and functionality through his designs. His iterative approach and constant communication with players has been well-recieved, furthering and strengthening the community spirit within the game universe.
You can see George's work in these old and new ships:
These in-game reward items are relics of a bygone era. Many require alien technology now lost to us, and this event represents your one and only chance to obtain them.
The Hawk is a highly manoeuvrable and versatile light fighter with the unique ability to attach itself to one of your larger ships. This ability means you can combine a larger ship's massive cargo holds with the ease of use and manoeuvrability of the hawk, vastly streamlining actions like planning and then supplying structures.
The Bowhead is the first pure freighter available in the game. While only requiring the same astrogation modules as the Class 12 "Seraph" light cruiser, it will have double the available hull space, for the steep price of never being able to fit significant weapons, armour or shields.
It will also be the first ship to provide thust in all six directions, providing excellent docking and mining manoeuvrability, somewhat offset by its slowness, bulk and mass.
The Alien Cloaking Device is a unique, one off item that has class 1 mass but can cloak any class of ship completely from radar and almost completely from visual detection, as shown. The cloak will de-activate when any weapon is fired. The game will one day include human technology cloaking devices which will have more limitations.
The G-Device is Alien technology that allows terraforming of any planet up to 1 earth mass. It is a colony structure that requires massive power input, but can change the molecular composition of atmosphere and oceans, alter ozone, greenhouse and other atmospheric effects, and even change the planet's gravity, making it completely habitable and allowing colonists to walk around on the surface outside of domes, and the construction of non-roughenv structures outside of domes.
Terraforming technology will also be added to the game later but it will require vastly more time, energy and effort than operating an alien G-Device.
The LGD has the same capabilities as the SGD, however it can work on planets up to 2 Earth Masses.
Stellar Credits (SC) are used in game to pay monthly dues on Colony and Outer Starbase deeds, maintaining your ownership over them. SC will have other uses down the track, but already they are the most often requested item to be available for purchase.
Premium Access is required to advance beyond a certain point in the game. Industrialist and combat modules over class 5, inner starbases beyond the first ring and 6 modules (up to 100 rings and 600 modules), and colonies all require premium access. Generally speaking, premium is not required until many hours into the game, but once there it's a great enabler. Full premium also adds up to 300 SC per month to your account.
Permanent Planet and System Ownership is available for you to claim your own planet or system in perpetuity. You will be able to allow others to settle there but retain overall control, and their colony and starbase dues of Stellar Credits will be paid into YOUR account instead of the central UNCA bank. Planet and system ownership will give you veto voting rights, effectively dictatorial control, over things like terraforming and other laws as they are added.
In the interest of transparency, we’ve included our full budget below. The $35,000 Kickstarter goal will allow us to add four months to Ascent’s development—resulting in a total of eight months of development time. We strongly believe that the added time will allow us to greatly expand the game’s user base by polishing the visuals and fixing the user interface.
We want to further develop Ascent so that it becomes one of the greatest space MMOs out there—leveraging its unprecedented architecture to reach mobile devices and game consoles. We foresee a future in which you spend several hours playing a stunning game on your PC or console—and then switch to a more streamlined version on your mobile device while you’re out and about.
We have no doubt that Ascent can carve a unique place in a future where games transcend the devices they’re played on. With your help, we can invest enough time and money in Ascent so the game is at the forefront of online gaming and able to deliver truly unique multiplayer experiences. With your support, we can make it happen!
Risks and challenges
Risk management is a key component of our past in corporate IT management and the company maintains an up to date risk register. Our top seven risks are as follows
- Funding and publicity goals not met
- Compute, storage or network failure causes major outage
- Major in-game defect
- Competitive product
- Technical limitations for new features
- Flood of new players causes system slowdowns and other issues
-Technical limitations in Unity engine prevent feature completion or stability
We have mitigation strategies in place for each of these and do not anticipate any impact upon the Kickstarter or future game releases.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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