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A genre defying sandbox game that combines elements from all of your favorite games in a procedurally generated universe.

We've all played that game that left us hanging.  You begin going down a path and are suddenly wishing that <insert content or feature here> was available.  You feel let down.  But fear not, for with your help, Imagine Nations will resolve that dilemma.

You will be able to enter a sandbox game (built for Windows, Mac, and Linux) that is catered to your play style.  In Imagine Nations, you could:

  • Explore a vast procedurally generated universe, from your starting planet to the stars beyond!
  • Research new technologies that help both yourself and various cultures advance through the ages.
  • Go out and build creative and elaborate constructs from duct tape and guano (or whatever else is lying around on the ground).
  • Engineer and pilot a new jet, ship, or even a state of the art spacecraft.
  • Build and run a successful town, growing it to heights beyond just a planet, but into space itself.
  • Fight creatures and find awesome loot in dangerous locations, only to sell it to some sucker in a nearby town.
  • The opportunities are as endless as your imagination.

Please continue below to find out just what Imagine Nations can do for you.

"To say that the guys at Cat Banana are shooting for the stars might be an understatement.  What they’re attempting appears to be nothing short of a universe simulator.  It’s easy to admire their enthusiasm and ideas, but we’ll have to keep an eye on them and Imagine Nations to see if they can pull it off." - Greg Micek , cliQist, November 21st

Changelog:

1.1 (12/4/2013):  First Patch

  • Resolved some performance issues, but there seems to be some confirmed issues on AMD graphics cards that cannot be reproduced on Nvidia.  Still investigating.
  • Added splash page with controls and basic tips to play the demo
  • Added ingame menu by hitting Escape which allows controls for resolution, shadows, screen effects, sound/music volume, and a way to exit the game without Alt+F4
  • Fixed final cart mission to allow the player to grab the cart and return to granary
  • Defaulted speed to run.  Can switch with Caps Lock.

1.0 (12/2/2013):  Base demo launch

This demo will showcase some concepts of our game as well as some audio and visual elements. While we have not been able to build a demo that truly encompasses every feature within Imagine Nations (which is simply impossible with the scale of the game), we have focused on core elements that nearly every feature will derive from in an extremely simplified manner.

Imagine Nations is a sandbox game that defies genres by allowing you to play the game using the features that interest your play style the most.  Once you've created your character, you are dropped into a voxel universe (think games like Minecraft and Cube World) that will let you do as you please, for better or for worse.

The center of Imagine Nations is the various cultures that can be found on planets throughout the universe.  You begin in one of these towns, with a culture that looks similar to yourself.  These cultures act with or without your input, growing from humble beginnings as hunter-gatherers to massive empires spanning a galaxy filled with space-age technologies.  You are free to support the towns directly through various means, or let it grow naturally.

From the beginning, the choice is yours as to how you want to progress.  Do you support the cultures directly by helping to gather resources, building new buildings, settling down with your own home, and maybe even starting a family?  Or do you work indirectly, completing various missions offered (which may send you off to dangerous and exotic locations) that have the potential to impact on how well the towns function?  Or maybe you simply don't care about these people, and go off on your own and rough it?

However, be aware that the universe is ever changing.  You may find yourself caught up in events that are far reaching even if you could care less about the people around you.  These are times when the universe is looking for a hero, and the time for someone (maybe you?) can step up and be that person.

When you start the game, it procedurally generates a new voxel universe.  This universe is "infinite" in nature, and expands as you begin to explore.  The basic building block is a...well, a cube.  Many cubes are placed together to create larger objects (like a building, a tree, a planet, or an asteroid).

Cubes were chosen as it allows players to very easily interact with the world, whether building, extracting, or destroying it.  This also allows the procedural nature of the game to shine when it comes to exploration, missions, large scale battles, and more.  It becomes much more difficult when using traditional 3D models in games to achieve the openness that is necessary for a game like Imagine Nations.

Artist's rendition of a cube planet from National Geographic
Artist's rendition of a cube planet from National Geographic

At its core, you begin on a cubic planet and could feasibly stay on a planet for your entire game.  Yes, they are that vast!  However, if you find a planet is simply the starting point of adventure, you can boldly go where no voxel-based character has gone before in the vast emptiness of space.  Well, not empty at least as there are many planets, stars, and objects ready to be found and explored for the enterprising individual.

You create your character out of various head, body, and locomotion modules.  These allow you to give yourself various benefits/weaknesses pertaining to each, and we look to have a wide variety at launch.  The modules can be further customized to give you the perfect avatar.

You are given many tools to build your story.  From a progression standpoint, you can both wear armor and equipment and wield various tools and weapons.  Most items in the game are procedurally generated out of various parts that define how effective the item is when used. 

You also can utilize a wide array of skills that increase as you use them, with stats like your health and stamina dependent upon the skills being used.  For instance, the researcher may find they have a hard time carrying a lot of gear, and may get a bit winded on longer travels.  The brazen adventurer may find their travels a walk in the park, carrying sacks of loot back to town to be sold to witless merchants, but their bargaining skills may leave a lot to be desired.

Constructing anything starts with the concept of a core block.  A core block typically contains a special UI that allows you to interact with it in various ways.  They can be purchased in towns, or built by hand.  These block types can be broken into two categories:  manufacturing and construction.

Manufacturing core blocks can be as simple as a workbench or anvil.  You can utilize these either individually or within a larger working machine to create objects.  Nearly every object in the game, with the exception of base resources, are created and enhanced through these blocks.

Construction core blocks act as the "foundation" for a larger construct.  This could be a home, a specialized building, or a vehicle.  Once placed, you enter a build mode that allows you to create whatever you like.  When completed, you can access the core block and finalize the blueprint (which then becomes a tangible object in your inventory).  This process both ensures that only the blocks added are part of the construct, and that the final blueprint can easily be reproduced in the future.

The universe is constantly alive in Imagine Nations, regardless of where you are or what you are doing.  You may visit a primitive culture your first day exploring, only to find a week later that they've expanded into modern technology and many cities.  This adds a certain flavor to the game no matter your play style.

As an adventurer, you may find that the time spent on a mission far from your town hub has allowed the town to greatly expand.  This offers new gear that could greatly benefit you, and new missions as the needs of the town must be met.

The simulation also allows you to experience all the game has to offer even if some areas do not interest you.  For instance, you may not care for space travel.  However, the culture you are involved with has expanded to space and has begun attempting to colonize another planet.  They find that it is infested by dangerous creatures, and put out a bulletin that they need mercenaries to help clear them out.  You get this mission on the planet and it interests you, and a transport ship flies you (and others) to the planet to accomplish the mission.  When completed, you're shipped back and can continue as you left off.

Cultures act as the backbone of the game.  They are procedurally generated similar to the player from various head, body, and locomotion modules.  These define the AI, stats, and movement abilities of the new race.  You begin as part of a culture (that looks similar to yourself), and interact (in some shape or form, both aggressive and passive) with many throughout your gaming experience.

Your initial culture begins at a very early technological stage, similar to our Stone Age, and begins to expand from there.  They focus on the safety and well-being of their people, expand to choice locations on the planet as their numbers increase, and progress through similar technological ages as we have.  They are very much autonomous but by no means perfect, and there are plenty of opportunities for you to steer them in a direction (for better or worse).

Discovered cultures can be friendly, passive, or aggressive to you as well as other cultures.  They are all procedurally generated, so both their looks and approaches to their cultures are greatly varied.  You could find a lizard-like culture that is very warlike and hates everyone, and then find an octopus-like culture that is passive and only cares about research and knowledge.

Towns will typically contain merchants to buy and sell various wares, individuals that offer missions based both on the needs of the town as well as procedurally generated content, and the various citizens performing different tasks.

Every culture hub (towns or space stations) has an area of influence around it.  This is everything that the town can directly interact with, and is the first stage of missions offered to you.  These can range from situations such as bandits/pirates damaging trade routes and creatures threatening the safety of the hub with their numbers, to resources needed for the hub's expansion being earmarked or returned.  All missions can be handled by the culture if the need becomes too great, but you should have enough time to handle most missions if around a town often.

If the area of influence hits another hub's area (whether the same culture or otherwise), this will generate second stage missions such as defending the borders, patrols along trade routes, escorting caravans, and supporting outposts between the towns.  Hubs of the same culture, or friendly hubs, may also share first stage missions once their own are accomplished.

A larger culture may offer third stage missions that are culture-wide.  A war between two cultures can fall into this category, as well as the example above with a culture needing support on another planet.  If a hub is having issues surviving, missions may sprout up to support them.

Finally, fourth stage missions are procedurally generated scenarios for adventurers to accomplish.  These typically do not directly affect the hub or culture, but do provide a way for you to get a better reputation (as well as the potential for gaining more loot or money).  For these missions, a location or objective is generated somewhere that has not been explored by you (and is a sufficient distance from the culture's holdings).  You must accomplish the mission and return for your reward, and can range from defeating enemies in a dungeon/ruins, to finding a missing item.

While there is no set story in Imagine Nations, and the game is dynamic, there comes a time when you simply want to be a hero in some grand event.  Enter catastrophic events, situations so grand that cultures would be crazy not to call you hero (and maybe erect a statue in your honor).

A catastrophic event can happen at any time and anywhere within the universe (both on planets and in space).  These events require the collaboration of cultures to possibly overcome, and you can see enemy cultures working together in these times.

Events could be destructive like a super alien race slowly wiping out all planets as they expand, or a culture (or the player) accidentally opening up a gate to another dimension of hellish creatures.  They could be biological like a super virus that causes cultures to be unable to have offspring, or slowly kills everyone off that is infected with it.  Or they could be scenarios such as an asteroid slowly approaching the planet you are on, or the nearby star exploding and destroying the planet.

In all of the above, you are going to be affected by this even if you do not interact with cultures, and it may take your expertise to stop it.  In these times, a hero is needed.  Will you be the one?

Modding is an important factor in Imagine Nations.  As we are building the game engine from the ground up to properly support the features we are aiming for, we need a solid toolkit to put the game together.  This toolkit will be available to everyone that plays the game, and will allow you to do nearly anything that we did to create the game.  This can include:

  • Adding new assets to the game such as textures, 3D models, audio, and more.
  • Creating new content such as culture, creatures, items, and more.
  • Changing any content already in Imagine Nations.
  • Scripting new missions that can be used by cultures.
  • Scripting new catastrophic events.
  • Changing various game parameters such as how the simulation engine works, how the physics of the universe functions, and more.
  • And much, much more.

One major focus with modding is a unified approach to getting mod content to everyone.  Rather than requiring mods to be found, downloaded, and installed from third party locations, we want the mod database to be available at your fingertips within the game itself.  When making a new game, mods would be just another option available to customize the universe to your liking.  With this approach, server hosts will also be able to set various mods during creation, while visitors will automatically be streamed the mods needed on connection.

Having a unified approach also ensures that the content you receive is safe and secure.  Since the mods are directly from our servers, you can be sure that you are not downloading something that could compromise your system, or may require a lengthy installation process that becomes disheartening at times.

On a side note, if we are able to reach the expanded blueprint system stretch goal, we would have the back end to allow content creators to be compensated for their work.

Our goals with multiplayer are simple:  we want you to easily be able to invite friends to play in a universe you've created.  This should be a quick and painless process, and we're approaching the game as such that there is no distinction between single and multiplayer. 

You could create a game and play for a few days, then send invites to some friends who could instantly join your server.  Another friend wants to show you something cool and invites you over.  Your original server stays running with your other friends while you're checking out the other server.  You then quickly switch back to your original server.  We want this as seamless as possible, both for LAN servers as well as larger scale WAN servers being hosted to handle hundreds of players.

Plus if we can hit our persistent world stretch goal, we would be looking to expand the multiplayer areas of the game to handling tens if not hundreds of thousands of players.  Absolutely not an easy feat by any means, but an important part of what we feel makes Imagine Nations a game we personally want to play.

Our current goals allow us to build the core of Imagine Nations to be a very expansive game in its own rights, but we definitely need to keep the development as manageable as possible.  Aim too high and we will never finish the game.  As such, we have come up with a series of features we really want to add, but it would require more funds (and obviously more time) to accomplish them.

For each stretch goal achieved, one (or more) criteria will also be dictated by anyone with access to our backer's forum through various posts, polls, or even directly through modding tools (more on that later).

We will add a series of bosses that can be fought by the player and cultures.  Catastrophic events are situations so grand that cultures would be crazy not to call you hero (and maybe erect a statue in your honor).  As these bosses would fall in the "catastrophic" category, you're looking at massive enemies that may not be defeated alone, and can be found both on planets as well as in space.  You will be able to help design various bosses that we add into the game.

We will double all the content built into the base game.  Base game content will be fully defined post-KS when we have the undivided ability to completely flesh out the entire game and all procedural elements.  Once accomplished, this stretch goal includes (but is not limited to) double the starting culture types (heads, bodies, and locomotion modules), double the creature types (same as above), double the planet types, double the items, and double the fun!   This will also increase the amount of binary star systems by 2%, because we care.  You will be able to vote on and help steer design on 2 of each category.

We will expand the base game from Windows, Mac, and Linux to support various consoles and mobile systems.  Controller support for the base game will also be included.  This will include:

  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One
  • Playstation 3
  • Playstation 4
  • Nintendo Wii
  • Nintendo Wii-U
  • iOS
  • Android

You will be able to help direct our initial stages of console/mobile support, from defining how controllers will function, which console/mobile systems we aim for first, and more.

We will expand the base game beyond free-build and story modes.  These can range from FPS-style modes like capture the flag and deathmatch on specialized maps, to survival where a culture's city is bombarded by <insert mobs here>.  You will be able to present ideas for game modes, and will be able to vote on the game modes to move towards.  The 4 highest voted game modes will be built into the game.

A precursor to the persistent world stretch goal below, we will aim to allow servers to be interconnected into one multiverse. Each server in the multiverse can have its own quirks (whether through various built-in options or installed mods), and you can hop between each universe at will through various mediums. You will be able to help shape the grid system from the beginning, including testing of larger scale multiplayer demos, stress testing, and supporting ideas for various ideas on incorporating multiverse-wide catastrophic events.

Standard gameplay allows you to blueprint something you've created to make it easier to build in the future (such as using machinery or a hired work force). The expanded system will take it much further.  You will be able to sell blueprints to cultures, whom will then utilize these blueprints in their future expansion. Future games can also see these blueprints showing up in newly discovered cultures as you explore. These blueprints will be sent to the Imagine Nations cloud where all players connected can see these blueprints showing up in their games (greatly increasing the base content in the game for everyone, and barring moderation to ensure "questionable" material does not get out).  Any player can purchase these blueprints (if they are friendly with the culture offering it), and the original creator will get a commission. Finally, you will be able to purchase in-game currency to purchase awesome blueprints you find if gaining said currency is difficult, and can also exchange their currency back out to real-world cash. You will be able to help shape this entire system from day 1.  This includes different approaches to blueprints (including testing various tech demos to ensure the process is simple but powerful), as well as being able to help add the initial batch of content to the cloud once available.

While Imagine Nations will have LAN/WAN multiplayer, it will be limited to your friends or players hosting their own servers.  These servers will all be self-contained universes with no inter-connectivity beyond the blueprint system above. With the persistent world, we will host an official server that will bridge the gap.  This will contain a specially designed universe that will be constantly alive with activities and events from our team and other members of the community. On top of this, all players that are hooked into the blueprint system will find that their personal universes suddenly have worm holes attached to this persistent world that they can fly through at their leisure. This generates an ever increasing multiverse with the persistent world as a hub between universes.  Other players can fly into these player controlled universes, complete with their own content, rules, and even mod sets. You will be able to help shape the persistent world system from the beginning, including testing of larger scale multiplayer demos, stress testing, and supporting ideas for activities and events found inside this universe.  Some active backers will also be invited to be a a part of a community event team to facilitate these events.

So who is Cat Banana Studios, and what's with the crazy name?  We are a new indie studio, led by two Full Sail University alumni, whose mission is to create high quality, innovative, and ultimately fun games without making sacrifices. We want games that we'd personally enjoy playing for days on end and will do everything in our power to achieve that.

The members of our small but dedicated team have been together on various projects for almost half a decade, and the camaraderie and familiarity built allows us to develop Imagine Nations into a game that you will want to play for years.  With our funding goal, we will be able to work on this full time and get the base game launched, and we plan to work on this game until we are 100% positive we have met every goal.

The name is a story in itself:

  • We like cats, and we like bananas.
  • We saw a picture of a cat inside a banana suit.
  • We said the name many times, and our insides tingled. It just flowed off the tongue.
  • ???
  • Profit

We can only make this game a reality with your help!  If you have pledged, please help spread the word with these wonderfully imaginative graphics below:

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

No game development project is risk-free. Converting an idea from someone's head onto paper, and then being able to produce that idea into a tangible game requires a tremendous amount of planning, coordination, and work. However, with the necessary planning to identify where your greatest risks lie, coupled with consistent communication with team mates, all risks can be overcome.

With a smaller but dedicated team, we look to utilize both our experiences as professionals (both in the game industry as well as other areas) and training (with multiple team members being Full Sail University alumni) to overcome any risks that arise. With our lead developer's experience working on the War For The Overworld team, we look to be smart with the funding to ensure we can truly accomplish the game features and not aim too high, as well as be efficient with the time available.

With proper planning during the design phases, we can ensure that we have properly assigned the work necessary to accomplish the game and stay on track at all times with tools like Microsoft Project and TeamworkPM.

We can identify any possible risks that will push us back and ensure we have plans to either overcome them should they present themselves, or have alternatives ready to shift to if we cannot in a reasonable amount of time.

A key to risks is being open and honest with everyone that is part of the Imagine Nations community. If a risk is causing us to fall behind, we need to be transparent about it to you, as well as what we are doing to overcome it.

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