TFR is an MMORPG that's designed from its foundation to feel and function more like a simulated universe than a traditional, theme park style MMO. TFR offers a tremendously open ended experience and next generation gameplay to produce the most immersive, fun environment possible.
TFR features an immense variety of gameplay, facilitated by its profession and skill based system of character progression.
Players have an unprecedented ability to change the worlds of TFR, through its system of player structures, player cities, and variable NPC dynamics.
TFR's NPCs do much more than wander and fight. They build structures, craft items, spread rumors, have personalities, and maintain relationships with players. Plus much more!
Crafters matter in TFR. They produce virtually every usable item in the game through an intricate crafting system that requires skill and smarts to master.
TFR features a high stakes, faction based, world PvP system that encourages large scale battles that change the world.
TFR has no classes, levels, or instanced content whatsoever, representing a major departure from themepark style games.
If this sounds interesting, read on to find out about TFR's gameplay, worlds, and development!
What makes TFR unique among existing MMOs is its gameplay. Its mechanics allow players to build and change the world, to engage in world PvP with significant consequences, and to collaborate in unraveling the universe's secrets. As a player, you can choose to pursue the play styles that suit your tastes and carve out your own unique niche in the universe. TFR's gameplay facilitates a great variety of possibilities, but it's up to you to decide who you want to be.
In most MMOs, NPCs are little more than moving targets. They spawn, wander around, fight, and serve little purpose beyond being cannon fodder for players. TFR's NPCs are much more like real, detailed characters in the world.
They don't just fight – they persist in the world, leading virtual lives like fleshed out characters.
They craft items.
They form groups and associations.
They work jobs.
They build structures.
They spread news (and sometimes tell lies).
They remember important things that happen to them.
They have procedurally generated backstories and personalities that affect their behaviors.
They maintain relationships with players.
The Far Reaches features a skill-based crafting system where virtually every usable item is created by players. Crafting is a high skill-cap endeavor in which talented crafters must use their wits to build items with the best stats.
In addition to its intricate crafting system, TFR features a player economy in which talented businesspeople must use guile to corner a market. Much of the nuance of running a business in the real world can be experienced through TFR's player economy, which features:
A vendor based retail system, allowing players to establish and customize shops within their houses.
A strong focus on metagameplay mechanics, like advertising, real estate acquisition, and brand establishment.
High level systems designed to encourage behavior in TFR's economy that emulates real world markets.
TFR features an RPG-style combat system with several improvements to give it more of a fast paced and intense feel.
We've done away with move timers and the traditional health / mana system, in an effort to decrease tedium. We want to avoid optimized "move rotations" in TFR and create a combat system that's dynamic and encourages players to think on their feet.
TFR features a 9 stat system that governs players' actions, adding depth and complexity.
The combat system is still RPG style and not twitch based, and it feels comfortable to players with experience in the genre.
TFR also features a faction-driven system of world PvP that revolves around defending, attacking, and destroying certain types of player structures. The result is high stakes fighting that changes the game's worlds, with real consequences for players.
TFR features a non-linear, skill and profession based system of character progression that gives players immense freedom to define their unique roles in the universe. The profession system offers a great variety of gameplay with more than two dozen professions to choose from.
Some of TFR's professions include:
A bounty hunter profession, which involves hunting criminals, rogues, and high profile players.
A smuggler profession, which involves producing and transporting illicit goods.
A host of crafter professions, which involve building everything from weapons and armor to vehicles and lamp shades.
An artist profession, which involves social gameplay and specialized buffing.
A variety of offensive and defensive medical professions.
A commando profession, which focuses on group PvP and destroying player structures.
A roboticist profession, which involves creating your own NPCs.
Plus many more professions that aren't listed here. See the website and forums for more details.
TFR features an advanced system of player structures and cities. Players can build highly customizable houses, factories for mass producing goods, automated resource harvesters for extracting natural resources, and even factional military installations of their own.
Players also can work together to build cities in TFR, which offer features that haven't been explored in MMORPGs before.
Mayors can zone areas of cities for NPC housing, attracting desirable NPC residents to their towns.
City administrators can define the types of NPCs they want to attract by configuring their city's business and social policies. Player cities can range from opulent retreats for the galaxy's business elite to grungy pirate outposts.
Player cities exert influence over the NPCs that live nearby, providing an immense capacity to change the world.
Situated on the edge of the galaxy, The Far Reaches is a region of space that contains sparsely populated frontier worlds. It's a largely unexplored, lawless place full of pirates, smugglers, strange cults, and hearty frontiersmen. The game universe of The Far Reaches consists of 5 vast, open worlds with expansive environments. With more than 1,250 square kilometers of terrain and no instancing, TFR is a huge, wild place for players to explore.
TFR features rich lore with a variety of factions and a detailed history. Embroiled in a galaxy spanning war, The Far Reaches is a place rife with conflict and intrigue. As a sci-fi game, TFR explores concepts like the relationship between strong AI and humanity, post-humanism, and the nature of war on a galactic scale.
For supporting us on Kickstarter, we want to offer our backers awesome, exclusive rewards that will never be available in TFR again. These are our way of saying thanks to the people who support TFR!
Heirloom Ring A Kickstarter exclusive ring that grants a 5% bonus to all XP gains! Included at the $15 tier and above.
Urban Camo Carbine A Kickstarter exclusive starter weapon that features a unique, urban camouflage skin. Useful in combat or to hang on your mantle as a rare, collectible item. Included at the $15 tier and above.
Taiga of Svalbarg Painting A collectible, in-game painting of terrain on the icy moon of Svalbarg, to be used as a decoration. This rare painting will never be issued again.
Available at the $20 tier and above.
Wanderer of Tuar'ib Painting A collectible, in-game painting of a lone figure on the desert world of Tuar'ib, to be used as a decoration. This rare painting will never be issued again.
Available at the $20 tier and above.
The Five Worlds Painting A collectible, in-game painting of the five playable worlds of The Far Reaches, to be used as a decoration. This rare painting will never be issued again.
Available at the $35 tier and above.
Mansion Authorization Writ A special crafting component needed to built a private mansion. This luxurious, three floored building can only be built with the writ acquired from a Kickstarter pledge, making this a rare and unique option for housing.
Available at the $55 tier and above.
T-Shirt Select your size and faction to receive a TFR t-shirt, with all its writing in Galactic Standard. The Imperium (black) shirt reads, "TFR Imperium", and the FAW (red) shirt reads, "TFR Free Association of Worlds".
Available at the $65 tier and above.
Design and Name Your Own World! The galaxy of TFR contains a huge number of worlds, and this is your chance to design one of them! While we only have 5 visitable worlds planned for launch, NPCs in the game come from all across the galaxy. In designing a world, you'll be able to define properties of an official planet in our lore system, and you'll be able to meet NPCs in the game that have migrated from your world to one in The Far Reaches. We'll send you a questionnaire about your world, asking about its culture, geography, climate, and the features of its people. Is yours a lush core world of disciplined, specialized roboticists, or a lawless, scorched wasteland of scoundrels on the edge of the Beta Periphery? You tell us! We'll convert your specifications into a world in our NPC system, and we'll even let you name it! All submissions will have to be kept within reason.
Available at the $350 tier and above.
Be Immortalized in an In-Game Portrait! Send us your picture, and we will create a portrait of you in TFR.
You can decide whether this painting is issued only to your account,
or whether it can be crafted by all players in the galaxy and hung
over mantles all across The Far Reaches. Either way, you will be
immortalized in TFR as a tremendously generous backer. All submissions will have to be kept within reason.
Available at the $650 tier.
A Note on Rewards and our Philosophy
A point we want to emphasize is that TFR is not a pay-to-win game, and that we won't sell items or content as microtransactions. We've experienced "free to play" games in the genre, and, for the most part, there's not much free about them. We plan to fund our server maintenance, customer support, and continued development through a monthly subscription plan. In our minds, this is the most honest and straightforward model for running an MMORPG. Rather than dinging players $7 a week for semi-necessary, microtransaction purchases and charging box fees for future expansions, we want to offer all of TFR's content, including future expansions, as an easy-to-cancel, subscription based service.
That being said, we want to offer great rewards to the people who generously back us on Kickstarter. The rewards we offer are largely cosmetic or convenience based items, but we think you'll find them as awesome and interesting as we do. These are our way of showing gratitude to all of our backers!
As a final note, all backers at the $15 tier and above receive a month of playtime as part of their support, and no one is signed up for any sort of recurring fees as a part of backing the project here. Play the game for yourself for a month, and we're sure that you'll enjoy TFR and appreciate our good business practices enough to subscribe then.
Our goals with TFR are lofty, but attainable. The whole project grew from my guild being unable to find an MMO that we really wanted to play. This led to conversations about the features of our ideal game, and these conversations evolved from idle talk to active planning. Our ultimate goal is to make the coolest MMORPG we could dream up: a game that we desperately want to play, but couldn't find anywhere in existence. We're making precisely that game, and we want to invite everyone in the world to play it with us.
Influence and Inspiration
In building TFR, we've drawn a lot of inspiration from great games of the past. My favorite games, visually, are KOTOR I, KOTOR II, and SWG, and we've sought to emulate their style with TFR. I found the environments of those games to have been beautiful and immersive, and we're striving to create a similar look and feel.
There are so many influential thinkers in the world of gaming, but we regard Raph Koster especially highly. Much of his website and blog reads as a veritable how-to guide for creating great games, and we try to apply his principles to the design of TFR. From a gameplay standpoint, we draw inspiration from classic MMO titles, like Ultima Online and early versions of SWG, as well as certain features from modern themepark games that we've enjoyed.
In particular, we think that early SWG especially did many things almost perfectly; but we're going beyond merely recreating the gameplay of the classics and introducing tons of new mechanics that have never been tried. More than a decade after those titles were released, we have access to hardware that those games' developers could only dream of, and modern middleware has greatly simplified development of massively distributed systems. For example, it would've been impractical for games ten years ago to run the sort of NPC system that TFR runs right now on consumer hardware. Our goal is to learn from the great thinkers and fantastic games of the past - to stand on the shoulders of those giants and push the MMORPG genre even further!
The Far Reaches is being developed by Voyager Games (Sam Ruggieri) and a talented team of collaborators.
There's only so much detail we can include on a Kickstarter page before it becomes unwieldy, but we have mountains of additional information about the game available on our website and forums. If you'd like to learn more about TFR's features, you can browse our website at the link below: http://voyagergames.com/
If you've got suggestions, would like to read tutorials, or want to become a part of TFR's friendly, growing community, join our forums at the link below: http://tfrforums.com/
Risks and challenges
Every software project is accompanied by risks, and TFR is no exception. The key to success is identifying those risks and taking steps to manage them. Let's examine 3 of the most significant challenges on the project and what we're doing to overcome them.
The Risk: TFR includes a number of gameplay elements that haven't been tried in online games before, and some of these give players significant ability to change the game world, like producing their own NPCs and building player cities that change whole areas. Will small numbers of players exploit these mechanics to harm the experience for everyone else?
The Mitigation: A great deal of thought has gone into this possibility, and we've designed feedback mechanisms and systems of checks to lower the chances of this happening. Before a single line of code was written for TFR, we spent 6 months discussing and designing the game to a high level of detail, producing hundreds of pages of design documentation. Many activities that have the greatest impact on the world are not easy and require the coordinated efforts of many players. We've even designed an entire profession, bounty hunter, so that the player base can police itself.
Still, even with all our planning and design, we don't know exactly how all of TFR's mechanics will play out when players are turned loose in the game. Consider this a bit of an adventure, like an experiment in sociology and economics, and trust that we'll be able to handle any situations that arise. Part of what makes TFR great is that it's a step into the unknown of online gaming!
The Risk: Voyager Games has never launched an MMORPG before. Is launch day going to be a rough experience of login queues and waiting?
The Mitigation: While the team does have experience in deploying and launching networked systems, it's true that none of us has specifically stood up a real time MMORPG. Again, a great deal of planning has gone into the technical specifics of launch day, and we'll be working closely with experts on the hardware side to make sure things go as smoothly as possible. The most important step we're taking in this regard is to conduct several waves of beta launches, each with a successively larger number of testers. This way, we'll get plenty of experience standing up production TFR servers while lots of users are hammering on them.
The Risk: Isn't Voyager Games' team small for a project this ambitious? Will you be able to deliver TFR on time and within its budget?
The Mitigation: The most important factor in minimizing this risk is how much time we've spent in development to date. Everything you see about TFR is not a tech demo or a prototype. We built those back in 2012, and the project has been in development, full time, for a year. Everything you see about TFR is the real game, in its present state.
The first seven months were spent in functional and technical design that yielded a more than 500 page roadmap for completing the project. The next seven months were spent beginning TFR's development, and they saw the completion of most of TFR's core systems and tons of gameplay systems. We know precisely where we are in development, and we know (as well as any team can) the specifics of what we need to do to finish it. Our process is one of intense discipline and engineering rigor, and the result is producing a lot from a little.
We wanted to wait to publicize the project and launch our Kickstarter campaign until we were very comfortable that we'd be able to deliver, and we've now reached that point. If you're interested in specifics of our development progress, check this thread on our forums for more details:
Like any good indie team, though, we make up for a lack of resources with talent and passion. A lot of heart and soul has gone into TFR, and it's translating into a great game.
Of course, there's always the potential for delays in the release, and unforeseen problems can affect any project. We've baked a healthy degree of padding into our timetables and are absolutely committed to delivering a fantastic, fun experience.
Presently, we plan to support Windows 7 and Windows 8 for version 1.0.
That being said, we would love to support Mac and Linux users, and it could be technically feasible at some point. TFR's client is developed using Unity, which features build functionality for Mac and Linux. Even though Unity can build for those operating systems, extra testing and tweaking is always required for cross platform deployments, and we would need to make sure that we have the resources to do potential Mac and Linux releases justice.
We're committed to delivering a thoroughly tested, top quality release, and that's why we're presently scoping our efforts to Windows development.
A downloadable copy of TFR (playable on a PC) and 1 month of play time! Also receive a Kickstarter exclusive ring in game that grants a 5% XP bonus, and a collectible, Kickstarter exclusive starter weapon.
Two Kickstarter exclusive paintings to be awarded in-game, “Taiga of Svalbarg” and “Wanderer of Tuar'ib”. Decorate your home with these rare, prized, and highly valuable paintings that will never be issued again. Includes all lower tier rewards.
An in-game, wall-sized painting showing a map of The Far Reaches. Never to be issued again, this elegantly framed masterpiece shows the five worlds in exquisite detail and would be the showpiece of even the most opulent mansion. Includes all lower tier rewards.
Earn the “Champion” title in-game, showing you were a big time backer of TFR on Kickstarter! This title will never be issued again, and its bearers will be recognized as having made a tremendous contribution to the project. Includes all lower tier rewards.
Receive a special writ that can be used to craft an in-game mansion. A luxurious, three floored structure, this building will only be craftable with this Kickstarter exclusive component. Includes all lower tier rewards.
Help us design and name your own world in the TFR's galaxy. All NPCs have procedurally generated backstories and personal histories in TFR, and they hail from a great many of planets outside The Far Reaches proper. With this tier, you can define properties of your world (within reason), and we'll code it into the game! See the rewards section for details. Includes all lower tier rewards.
Send us your picture, and we will create a portrait of you in TFR. You can decide whether this painting is issued only to your account, or whether it can be crafted by all players in the galaxy and hung over mantles all across The Far Reaches. Either way, you will be immortalized in TFR as a tremendously generous backer. All submitted photos are subject to approval. Includes all lower tier rewards.