"VoidSpace has potential to be revolutionary if everything clicks together." -Regan Williamson, BagoGames.com
"VoidSpace Aims To Let Gamers Mine Dogecoin – With Lasers"
-Danny Bradbury, CoinDesk.com
"This technology looks to challenge the current limitations of the gaming industry, and provide players with a fun experience they won’t soon forget." -Clay Michael Gillespie CryptoCoinsNews.com
VoidSpace is a twitch-based MMORPG set in a sandboxed world called The Void that you can play on any modern computing device. The top-down style is similar to Escape Velocity Nova except you are not on your own, you are playing with thousands of other players worldwide. However, it is the invention system that really sets the game apart from all others.
The very first person to enter VoidSpace, upon its release, will see a vast untouched world filled with nothing but raw natural resources. Like Minecraft, players will need to create their own infrastructure to survive. Exploring the world can yield valuable resources that are used to construct inventions that improve your lifestyle in the game. Banding up with other players for protection will not only make the game easier and safer, but it can also accelerate your technological advancement as a group. Player created societies are a big part of VoidSpace.
Utilizing Html5, we will be able to deploy the game on any computing device that supports a modern browser. This means that the game will be playable on desktops, mobile phones, and even some gaming consoles. You will be able to play your character on your desktop and then continue right where you left off on your mobile phone while you're waiting in line somewhere.
VoidSpace affords you a great deal of griefer protection. Player characters are always online and, while this may seem counter intuitive, it is actually the foundation for character protection. This concept, coupled with the fact that when a player is offline their character is controlled by an artificial intelligence, creates additional protection for characters in the game because AI controlled characters will default to defend themselves, their group, and their group's belongings.
Characters are given no significant skills when they begin the game. In VoidSpace, a skill is anything that a character is capable of doing including:
Manufacturing an item
Performing a special action on a piece of equipment
Teaching other characters new skills or ideas
Characters will generally get new ideas for a skill or invention randomly but the algorithm will also take into account other factors like the character's base intelligence, or the character's knowledge in a particular field. A player can choose to try and create a working prototype from an idea and a successful prototype then becomes a reproducible skill for the character. The materials, attributes, and properties of the end result of the skill will differ each time a new skill is created. No two skills or inventions will be exactly the same. Everything man-made must be the first invented by a real player character.
Automation will be a big part of the game, even when you are not actually actively playing. Set your character to work on long projects while you're offline, defend your base and your belongings while you're offline, or set up long trips for the artificial intelligence to follow. This will allow the game to be played by both casual and hardcore players.
One of our development progress videos
This is a very condensed video of our live prototype - version 0.3.1
VoidSpace takes place in The Void, which is an area of space the player's character has been unwittingly catapulted into via a network of wormholes that exist in the universe. Characters cannot escape it and are forced to live among each other in The Void, fighting for the few available resources that manage to find their way into this desolate place through the wormholes.
The most obvious difference when you enter The Void is the drag your ship experiences as it moves about. The drag increases as you speed up, thus limiting the maximum speed of your ship. Energy weapons also seem to be impacted by this strange phenomenon as energy dissipates quickly as it travels through space.
Not much is known about The Void, and your character will need to perform research to study it and unlock its secrets. In doing this, you may uncover properties of The Void that you can use to your advantage, allowing for inventions that will aid you in your survival. One day, your character may even discover a way to leave.
Upon arrival, you will find that The Void is not as empty as it's name suggests. The wormholes have filled it with asteroids, gases, wreckage from civilizations, and even other players. Search The Void to find the materials you will need for energy and construction of your own ship equipment, buildings, outposts, and ammunition.
Find ancient abandoned player-made civilizations that you can research and study, acquire, or disassemble and recycle.
There are no NPCs in VoidSpace, instead, every man-made structure has to be built by a real player. There are circumstances that could occur to force players to leave an outpost they had constructed and for it to become abandoned permanently. This would allow other players to discover the abandoned facilities and begin to overtake and/or perform research on the technology the players created.
Certainly, one of the most powerful aspects of the game will be alliances made with other players. There is power in numbers. Discover other player outposts and possibly join another group in order to maintain your own security. Even if you don't want to join another group, having a safe place to trade goods can only help.
There are no maps given for the game, instead, players will be forced to create their own map of the area by exploring. Once an area has been explored, a player can then sell the map to another player, or share it freely. Established civilizations may want to make map sharing as part of their initiation process for new players.
All players enter The Void through a wormhole and in a ship. The ship you start with will be random, but even though different ships have varying capabilities, you will generally start with only the basics. Your character is actually a man inside the ship. You will even be able to exit your ship and enter another. Players will be able to dock with any space stations or outposts, and if the character has the appropriate permissions, they can take command of the structures defenses.
In addition to being able to research and develop ships, equipment, base structures, and weapons, your character will be able to learn personal skills. For example, your character might learn the ability to hack certain types of equipment or base structures. This could be used to disable key base structures in preparation for an attack from the rest of the character's group.
It is for this reason that it is important to keep your character alive and share your skills with others. Characters that have been around for a while could focus on research to boost the character's aptitude for invention. The more a character knows, the better he will be at creating something new.
Players are able to form groups in order to better manage their social systems. Groups can be created within groups to create ranks.
There is no single leveling system in a Universe Project. Instead, characters become more skilled at certain tasks through practice, and can train themselves into improving a set of base stats. The only way to improve a particular skill is by practicing it, or by practicing something very similar to it.
Players will be given a number of options when spawning a new character. In general, the options will be as follows:
Spawn close to a small, medium, or large civilization
Spawn far from a small, medium, or large civilization
Spawn near friends, or into a major player faction
There are a couple of other rules regarding spawning as well:
You cannot spawn anywhere near another character you might have in the world. In order to get 2 of your own characters to meetup, you would have to travel a great distance.
You cannot spawn "beside friends" immediately after dying. You will have to wait quite some time (probably hours, if not days). Keep in mind though that during a battle, there will be every opportunity for your friends to rescue or save you.
Research, New Ideas, and Inventions
New ideas come to a character automatically, but they can be focused and accelerated through the use of a research facility or lab. Invent weapons, special equipment with special abilities, base modules, ships, and ammunition. Sell manufactured versions of your invention, or sell the ability to create them, to other players.
The spread of ideas, skill, and knowledge will be a very valuable concept within the game. It is very likely that players will create schools to educate and spread knowledge for money. Well established player groups may even provide education free-of-charge to new players in order to give their player-base an advantage in the world.
How it will actually work
As players go about regular activities in the game, their character will come up with an "idea" for a new skill or invention. This will happen at random along with a number of other influential factors such as:
The character's intelligence
A need that the character has been tagged with internally
The availability of the materials required for the skill or invention, or the character's knowledge and experience with these materials
Other skills or inventions that the character has available to him
However for the most part, the best ideas come from more focused research which the character can engage in using a lab or research facility. Generalized experimentation with materials is the first step, and once the character has a certain level of understanding of various materials, he will start to get ideas for actual working inventions that use those materials. Once a character has an idea, he can use the lab to try to create a prototype.
The prototype stage is the stage in which the character is trying to turn an idea into a reproducible invention or skill. It may take many tries to get something working, and the difficulty of coming up with a working invention will depend on the following factors:
the character's intelligence
the knowledge level of the category the invention falls within
the level of knowledge the character has of the materials being used
the general complexity of the skill
Once the character has successfully produced a skill or invention, he will be able to create or perform it at will. For objects or skills that are executed by the character himself (not by some completely automated, mechanical process) the result of the skill or invention will vary somewhat, and the character will get better at producing better and more consistent results through practice. For example, if a character is hacking a certain type of equipment, he will get faster and more accurate, and have fewer failures as he continues to perform that particular skill.
The player can then choose to create another prototype in order to get a better end product, by going through the very same process and hoping for a better result. For the most part, the resulting attributes of a skill or invention are random, but they will also be influenced by the 4 factors listed previously.
Ideas, skills, and inventions can all be shared freely or sold between characters.
In addition to skills and inventions, characters will be able to research concepts in order to open up to them more skills and inventions to be discovered. For example, The Void is a place where physics are different from the natural universe. Characters can use a lab in a research facility to concentrate their research on The Void itself in order to unlock certain concepts that allow for inventions that make use the discoveries made.
Construction and Manufacturing
Since there are no NPCs, there is also no supporting infrastructure in VoidSpace. Players will need to create their own infrastructure in order to facilitate their own growth and progression in the game. Players will be able to build and manufacture their own buildings, outposts, bases, cities, ships, ship upgrades and equipment, and even ammunition.
Certain large scale projects will also require multiple characters contributing to it's construction.
There is no centralized auction house which means the might a player possesses is really relative to his local area. One area might be lacking in ammunition production, so a player can take advantage of that and create the factories required to meet that local need. The alternative would be to have players trade ammunition brought in from the nearest manufacturing plant, which would raise the price of that commodity in the area.
Players will be able to rent out their manufacturing facilities to other players for profit. Some facilities will be very generalized, capable of creating a wide variety of objects. Renting another player's facility doesn't mean you need to give them the plans for your invention, you'll be able to produce your invention in their facility while keeping it private.
Players will be able to create protected cargo containers that are difficult, if not impossible to open without destroying what is inside. They will be protected by permissions set up by the creator of the container. This will allow you to transport valuable commodities while keeping them very safe from pirates, and allow you to stage a recovery mission if your goods fall into the wrong hands. Some examples of particularly important cargo could be:
Plans for a very valuable invention
A particularly difficult to make and/or valuable invention
A character of some importance
Raw materials that are banned by a particular player group or government
VoidSpace will have a fairly extensive set of hacking skills. Every time a new hacking skill is obtained, it will always be for a specific piece of equipment or ship. For example, a turret was perhaps invented by "xTheManx", and some other character might get an idea (and develop it into a skill) for overriding the permissions on that turret. The skill will ONLY apply to that specific type of turret invented by the player character "xTheManx".
Now consider that there will be lots of freely available skills for creating certain inventions simply because people will release the skill to the general public (out of the goodness of their hearts, or for other more malicious reasons). This means that the permission hacking skill for those inventions will very likely also be very common!
Due to the commonness of hacking skills for inventions that are essentially public-domain, a very real need for proprietary inventions that serve the same purpose will be there. In other words, it will be worthwhile for people to research and manufacture their own versions of the same equipment, just to ensure that they remain unique and much more difficult to hack.
Trade and Shipping
Parts of the game world will have higher concentrations of certain raw resources than others. Mine and collect these resources and travel to distant parts of the game world to sell your goods at a premium. Furthermore, players can create factories, and even entire industries, manufacturing ships, equipment, and ammunition. These goods will also need to be distributed throughout the game world.
The game can undergo sweeping changes due to major player actions. Wars, for example, can change supply and demand of various goods and raw materials in an area. Traders not involved in the war could use it to their advantage by shipping goods to either side.
Long range shipping can be done if a player sets up a series of way-points that his ship would navigate to automatically. Since there is no concept of "logging off", it is important for a player to prepare for a trip that could potentially be dangerous with pirates ready to intercept. Keeping with a caravan of other players, building defensive drones, and keeping the ships equipment up-to-date with the latest in offensive and defensive technology will go a long way to keeping a player safe on a long trip. If the player is offline when his ship is attacked, the players ship will automatically defend itself according to the rules the player has defined, or the default rules of engagement. If the player has VoidSpace as an app on his phone, he will receive a notification about activity in-game like attacks and chats.
You can trade more than just raw materials and equipment. Players will be able to sell the rights to buildings and even entire outposts, managed completely by the trade window in-game. Players will also be able to sell ideas, skills, and even maps.
Business and Real Money
Because there are no NPCs in the game, anything that the player needs to progress in the game must be provided by another player, or himself. This paradigm opens the world up to an incredible number of business types and business models that the players can create. A business can be created around any player need, and it is not just limited to the buying and selling of raw materials or manufactured goods.
The game will allow players to perform Dogecoin transactions between each other. This will allow players to have in-game businesses that actually make them real money.
There are so many businesses that can be created. Here are some examples to spur your imagination:
Allow players to rent your infrastructure to build their inventions.
Sell your services as a defense contractor.
Act as a maintenance crew for a base/outpost while players are away.
Give other players rides from one place to another if they're without a ship or if you can offer a safer passage.
Ferry smaller ships inside of larger carriers for a fee.
Store offline players, their ships, and/or their equipment in protected facilities for peace of mind while they're offline.
Offer your services as a guard or patrol.
Offer your service as an intelligence agent and spy for weaknesses in other players bases.
Start a package delivery service that delivers sealed containers with goods.
Start a telecom company that delivers messages over a network of long distance communication nodes.
Start a bank that secures in-game currencies.
Provide loans and credit with interest.
Offer insurance for aspects within the game.
VoidSpace will allow for all of these types of businesses, and many many more.
With the exception of real-money transactions, there will be no currency provided in the game world. Player groups will have to create their own in-game currencies in the same way they invent any other object. Just like in the real world, the larger player organizations with a stable government and a currency with wide utility and acceptance will likely also have the strongest currency.
Combat is done in real-time, similar to that of an arcade game. You control your ship, choose what weapons to fire, and try to avoid your opponent's shots. Since the player has to develop his own weapons, it is up to him to keep up with the latest technology developed by the players. He can do so by buying upgrades from players who choose to sell, or by developing technology on his own.
More than one player can man a ship. It will be possible to have a crew of players, all with different jobs micromanaging in order to gain an advantage during battle.
It is important to note a general rule of a Universe Project is that strength comes in numbers. Technology does play a significant role, but there is no greater power in the universe than when players unite with a single cause. The same goes for VoidSpace in every aspect, including combat. Traditional MMOs tend to have highly exaggerated levels of defense and offense, to the point where new characters are incapable of even touching even moderately high level characters. VoidSpace strives to break that tradition.
There are going to be a large number of weapons, defensive equipment, and even special equipment. Here are some samples:
And many many more...
Anti-missile laser turrets
And many many more...
Ship cloaking device
Optical displacement device
And many many more...
Large scale battles will be able to be waged with the help of some in-game mechanics. Groups of players can be given waypoints by their commanding players. This will allow the commanding players to play the game like a real-time strategy, moving groups of units around the battlefield with relative ease.
Being destroyed during combat is not necessarily the end of the line for you. Players usually will survive the destruction of their vessel, and continue to survive in their space suit. A player's space suit can be upgraded, but is generally fairly helpless beyond some basic slow movement. However, while you are awaiting rescue, you could potentially hide within the wreckage of your ship, provided your opponent isn't interested in collecting a little extra metal. Players in space suits will not show up on radar, and will generally be difficult to spot, and hit.
Code and Cross-Platform
We are taking advantage of what we consider the "perfect storm" of technology that has come about in recent years. Html5 allows us to create a visually rich game on almost any device and it serves as the foundation for the graphics in VoidSpace. We are also employing a framework called GWT (Google Web Toolkit) because it allows us to share code on both the client and server side. This means that creating objects that simulate perfectly on all systems, client and server, is much easier. GWT allows us to concentrate more on game development and less on the logistics of maintaining simulation code in two different coding environments.
We will also be taking advantage of PhoneGap for creating native applications for mobile phones. PhoneGap is software that allows us to easily create iOS, Android, and Blackberry (and a handful of other mobile operating systems) native applications that you can easily acquire through their respective markets. This means that if you're not comfortable playing a game in a browser, you won't have to. We will even be providing standalone desktop versions of the game using a similar technology.
Development and Progress
Phase 1 of development was to get a working, playable prototype. The purpose of the prototype is to lend credibility to our cause and our own abilities so that we can fund the rest of the development of the game.
PHASE 2 DEVELOPMENT GOALS
Massive Multiplayer Online Game
One of the most important parts of this phase of development will be bringing the game from a multiplayer game, to a massively multiplayer game. The work we did in Phase 1 got us to a point where we're not very far from this goal, and it will be one of the first major milestones we hit for this phase. We will start by implementing a more rudimentary version of the "client bubble", which will then allow us to use the same code to create server clusters. Both of these things allow the game to move giant leaps ahead in performance and allows us to support many more players at the same time.
Game Elements Framework
It is essential to the Universe Engine because it allows us to define game content through the database without the need to code each item. This means that we can have a vast amount of different types of game objects for very little effort on the developer's part. The game objects will instead use common sets of generic code, along with an extensive set of settings, to create unique objects with varying properties and abilities.
In addition to the MMORPG servers, we offer a way for you to practice combat scenarios against a small number of players. Our current prototype includes this functionality where you are allowed to create a new small custom instance of a VoidSpace game world that can host up to 8 players each. Later on in development, we will be offering different game types for these arenas, including:
Wagered games This game type would require all participants to pay a buy-in of Dogecoins. The winner of the game (usually the one who survives) will collect all of the buy-ins at the end of the tournament.
Deathmatch This game type would allow you to host 1 vs 1 or up to 4 vs 4 games against your friends or against random opponents.
Capture the flag This team mode will allow you to score points against another team by returning a flag home to your base. There will be options to have wagered CTF games as well using Dogecoins.
AI combat scenario This game type is unique in that it could be played as a single player. Choose the combat scenario to face and a new random world will be generated for you to try to beat. You will also be able to play a scenario with up to 7 other players.
Due to the way we have developed VoidSpace. It is particularly easy for us to create this arena multiplayer experience. These small instances also give us an additional development benefit because we will be able to test out new code modules in the small arenas before releasing them into the MMORPG game instances. Also, while we as developers benefit from extra testing, our players will benefit from being able to perform their own gameplay tests without having to risk their valuable MMO characters, in a risk-less small game instance.
Dogecoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer digital currency that enables you to easily send money online. Think of it as "the internet currency." Dogecoin is based on the same code that the wildly successful Bitcoin was created from, with some added tweaks to make transactions much faster. We have decided to go with Dogecoin for our virtual in-game currency for a number of reasons:
1. Dogecoin was founded on the idea that a digital currency should be fun and friendly, and we believe this ideal fits in very well for an in-game currency.
2. Unlike Bitcoin, Dogecoin's value is much less than a dollar, which makes it better suited for a game currency. It just feels better to get paid 1000 Dogecoins rather than 0.001 Bitcoins.
3. Dogecoin transactions are much faster than Bitcoin (~8x faster) and Litecoin (~2.5x faster). This means that putting money into your account or sending money from your account will be much faster.
4. Dogecoin has support from many currency exchanges so you can easily convert Doge into the currency of your own country. However, we would encourage you to check out Dogecoin services online that will accept Dogecoin directly!
Even though Dogecoin will be directly used as the in-game currency for VoidSpace, we will still accept other crypto-currencies and standard currencies. The crypto-currencies we will be supporting are as follows:
We believe the video game industry is lacking in truly organic video games that model a real universe.
Traditional massive online games evolved from pen and paper style games; from a time when there was only so much you could keep track of before it got too tedious to play. But while computers and technology have advanced enough to better model the human experience in a game environment, games have continued idly down this path of game model simplification.
We believe it is time to break this paradigm. Games don't need to have a simple start and end; they don't need to simply simulate one aspect of life. We're ready to experience video games as a true and un-coddled participant in an alternate reality. We're ready to enter a vibrant and active reality that emulates our own, with no excuses and no deception, just the pure and simple emulation of a real world, where game mechanics only exist to ease the disconnect players face in a GUI.
Risks and challenges
Having already overcome some of the more difficult challenges, we are excited to embark on this second phase of development. The frameworks we developed have been specially created to pave the way to the implementation of a massive multiplayer game that will allow us to add content quickly and easily in a safe and stable code environment. While we still face coding challenges ahead, we offer our success with the first development phase that has already been played by hundreds of early backers.
1) We will be creating an experimental MMO server that allows you to spawn a new character at the cost of some Dogecoins. The dogecoins you pay in will be randomly distributed throughout the game world as a mineable resource. Which means that you can actually make money by playing the game. Not only will you be able to mine Dogecoins in-game, but you will be able to trade them with other players, or even attack players and loot their coins.
2) We will also be allowing for custom servers to be created where all players who join the server have to pay a buy-in in Dogecoins, and the player who survives gets to keep the coins at the end of the game.
3) Finally, the standard MMO server configuration will allow players to simply deposit coins into their characters so they can buy things from other players in-game. With this configuration, players won't need to mine the coins first. There will be some limitations on this configuration however. Players won't be able to remove coins from their character whenever they want. There will be a period once the coins are acquired that they will need to stay in the character's inventory. This is to keep players from stealing coins, and then removing them from the game so they cannot be taken back. Coins will also only be able to be removed in batches. For example, if the batch size is 1000 coins, and a player has 1200 coins in his inventory, he will only be able to "cash out" 1000 coins. The purpose of this is to keep at least a small amount of coins on the character available to be stolen/looted by other players. (Keep in mind that 1000 doge is currently worth about 40 cents)
VoidSpace is a game that relies on a one-time purchase model for the most part. I was hoping I could come up with a way to make VoidSpace simply free to play, but the problem is that it is too easy to create an army of characters without an upfront cost. The exact cost of VoidSpace upon release has yet to be determined.
The servers and staff required to keep the game up and running are an ongoing cost that will be supported through fees collected from in-game real-money transactions between players. Any time players trade where Dogecoin is involved, the receiving player (the seller) will be charged a small fee (likely 1% to 5%, the exact amount has not yet been decided). Also, any time a player withdrawals from their universe projects account, a similar fee will be charged.
Choose to spawn near a certain type of resource when spawning randomly in-game which will save time looking for resource rich areas when your character is just starting out (only available in the full MMO).
We will add a custom skin for everything you build; all buildings, all ships, all weapon effects will be a common theme and the graphics will be unique to you. Only you can create them these things unless you decide to teach the skill to someone else.