About this project
THE DEMO (seriously just play the demo):
The RULE proof-of-concept online demo is live right now! Check it out and start conquering - for free, no download required.
This demo features two playable maps covering three Australian cities and surrounding areas and was made on a teensy-tiny budget of less than $3000 AUD, which is peanuts in terms of game design. Imagine what could be done with $10,000.
Proceeds from this Kickstarter will go toward evolving the RULE demo into much more advanced version with more features and production value, which will act as a stepping stone toward the planned full version of RULE.
The full version of RULE will include:
- Worldwide gameplay map - all 510 million square kilometres of Planet Earth. Your hometown will be in this game.
- Hundreds of diverse unit types on land, sea and air - submarines, special forces, stealth bombers and more.
- Deep real-time strategic and tactical combat system - blitzkriegs, trench warfare and commando raids!
- Detailed (but streamlined) resources and construction system.
- Sophisticated alliance system
- Mod support
- Free to play, NEVER pay-to-win - no microtransactions for shortcuts or gameplay advantages. If you lose, you'll lose fairly.
Ever wanted to rule the world? In RULE, you can.
Build and command armies with (or against) your friends to create persistent, evolving territories anywhere on a 100% accurate map of Earth.
RULE is free-to-play, multi-platform persistent massively multiplayer real-time-strategy set in the real world. Battle you friends or team up to take on everyone else using your smartphone, tablet or desktop PC.
Start your empire anywhere you want - your backyard, your office, your favourite sporting ground, or even in the middle of the wilderness. Fight your neighbours or create alliances with them for strength in numbers.
The real world is the battlefield. Real-life terrain affects gameplay: topography, vegetation and urban terrain all affect unit movement and combat characteristics.
Areas containing raw materials to fuel your expansion become valuable strategic objectives. Highways, air corridors and sea lanes link your troops to vital supplies that will keep them fighting, making encirclement and breakouts a key part of combat.
How will you RULE? What will your strategy be? Infantry excel in close quarters with guerilla tactics but armoured vehicles and jet aircraft dominate in open spaces. Naval forces rule the waves and launch daring amphibious assaults. Will you ambush opponents with insurgent attacks? Instil shock and awe with a bombing campaign? Or plow through their defences with an armoured blitzkrieg? It’s up to you.
There are no edges to the map in RULE, no corners to hide in and no instanced pocket battles. The game map is Earth - all 510 million square kilometres of it. Every territory is different and every battle is unique. Grand strategy becomes quick-reflex tactics with the roll of a mouse wheel or the pinch of a touchscreen as you freely zoom in and out from global satellite view to up-close detail, maintaining control the whole time.
RULE is a proposed multi-platform 2D massively multiplayer online real time strategy (MMORTS) game based on real-world satellite imagery.
Players in RULE are placed in the role of a leader of an independent military faction, and will create and control units and structures to establish and expand persistent territories on an interactive gameplay map depicting a 1:1 representation of planet Earth, including satellite imagery.
RULE is intended to be played on personal computers (PCs) and touch-enabled mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. On PC players will control the game using a mouse and keyboard. On mobile devices players will use their fingertips or a stylus to input controls.
The map’s elevation and terrain values will also affect unit movement and combat abilities, meaning real-world terrain features will be represented in-game as gameplay elements.
Units have varying strengths and capabilities - for example, infantry units can move across most terrain types but are vulnerable to damage, while armoured vehicles are more resistant but encounter severe movement penalties in certain terrain types. Units in RULE are stylised versions of real-world military forces and equipment - for example there is a 'Fighter Jet' unit in the game, as opposed to an 'F-18 Super Hornet' unit. Players will be able gain access to new units and structures through research. For balance, all players will have access to the same range of units, with no themed factions in he game.
While new players all start with the same batch of starting resources, in-game Resources to spend on unit creation, construction and research are unevenly distributed throughout the world, forcing players to compete for valuable geostrategic areas. Resources, split into three streamlined categories of Raw Materials, Cash and Fuel, will be extracted from areas on the map reflecting real-world resources such as mines, oil fields, forests and farms.
This means territorial control of certain areas is vital, just as in real-world geostrategy.
Players can start their territory in any location by placing their Headquarters at the start of play.
Players can engage in combat with each other and can optionally form alliances - which they can leave at any time, opening up the potential for sudden betrayals.
RULE will feature a native player profile system that can also optionally be linked to social media such as Facebook in order to reduce barriers to new players joining the game.
Optional location-based services can also be enabled to allow the user’s real-world location to affect gameplay.
RULE has no victory conditions and never ‘ends’ - the challenge of the game is to establish the largest and most powerful territory and hold it for as long as possible. This challenge will increase as territory grows larger and larger and the player in turn encounters more and more opposition from other players. Even after creating a large and powerful territory, established players will still have to fend off newly-joining or recently-defeated players springing up inside the their borders.
WHAT YOU'RE BACKING:
RULE’s relatively simple 2D graphical style and RTS gameplay should mean a shorter development timeframe than other games, especially 3D titles.
A development timeline of between six and eight months is suggested for the Enhanced Demo, but this is flexible as RULE has innovative elements that will need to be explored and refined as development proceeds.
The RULE Enhanced Demo's suggested timeline and budget is thus:
Development of core RTS gameplay assets: 2-3 months. Budget: $2000. This phase will overlap and be tied to the development of GIS assets.
Development of art and sound assets: 1 month. Budget: $1000. 2D art, minimal animation, simple music and no voice acting.
Development of GIS assets: 4-5 months. Budget of $5000. This is anticipated to be a complex and significant phase. Will involve the sourcing and collating of terrain, landcover, mineral deposit and hydrocarbon deposits datasets, then implementing those assets as gameplay elements.
Development of user interface: 1-2 months. Budget: $1000. Creation of RULE's player account system and creation of plugins to social media .
Play testing: Alpha and beta testing. 1 month. Budget $500. A game of this scale and detail is going to need plenty of testing from many players before wide release.
WHY I WANT TO MAKE THIS GAME:
I've always loved the idea of crossovers between the imaginary world of a videogame and the real world we inhabit.
Seeing something you're familiar with in the real world within a videogame is always highly interesting, because you can do things with it that can't be done in real life.Other people feel this way too - character creators are often used to build digital likenesses of the player, home teams are picked in sports games, and social simulators are used to produce replicas of the player's family.
I'm fascinated by the rivalries between physical areas - between different schools, or towns, or cities or entire countries - in sports, politics or other activities. I'm also fascinated how previous rivals can suddenly become allies when a bigger threat emerges - two cities might have a diehard sports rivalry but they will both cheer for their nation's representative at the Olympics.
There are casual real-time strategy games out there that tap into this. Games like Supercell's Clash of Clans and Boom Beach have become hugely successful off the idea of fighting little battles alongside (or against) your friends.
What games like this lack, however, is the real-world familiarity mentioned above. Battles in nearly every mobile RTS always take place in largely identical, self-contained maps that aren't memorable to the player. Battles on PC or consoles might be more graphically impressive or have a wider variety of units, but the concept is largely the same - there's a finite amount of maps, and success largely revolves around learning those maps by rote. Every time a new game is started, the map will reset and be identical to last time. Maps nearly always finite, too, there's always a corner to put your back against and 'turtle' up. It's not so in the real world,
I wanted to both break this trend and apply the excitement of videogame-real life crossover to the competitive/social aspect of casual real time strategy games.
So, my idea is to create a real time strategy game over the top of real world maps. That way the battles wouldn't be fought over some forgettable generic background map, but locations instantly recognisable to the player. New alliances and rivalries could be created through gameplay and because players were building persistent armies and territories that they returned to day after day, a greater sense of ownership would develop. This would combine with the competitive excitement of a real time strategy game to make something truly unique.
Most popular mobile games implement a microtransaction "freemium" strategy, offering gameplay aids (time skips, unit bonuses, etc) in exchange for real money. I really don't like this trend in the gaming industry - while it might be extremely profitable for the companies doing it, it annoys gamers and reduces the experience of the game.
While RULE will be free to play, it will offer extra features as paid additions. These features will never translate into a gameplay advantage over other players, they will only be player-side bonuses that will not affect anyone else's experience.
The main paid feature will be RULE Premium accounts, which will remove in-game advertising and unlock extra cosmetic customisation options to the player. There will be a few other paid options here and there in the game but they will never be there to give you an uncompetitive edge over your opponents. You will win (and lose) fairly.
Risks and challenges
The current playable demo of RULE is a bare-bones proof-of-concept made on a shoestring budget (about $3000 AUD).
Turning this demo into a fully-fledged AAA-quality game has all the regular hurdles for game development (balancing, testing, etc) but also requires the adoption of unique features like a global land-cover database, databases for mineral resources, hydrocarbon resources, maybe even live weather maps, so on and so on. Many of these datasets have already been found but obtaining all of them and integrating them into the game will be a challenge, but information exists out there, its just a matter of finding it.
Another aspect of the game that could cause controversy is possible violations of privacy. Not only will RULE feature online communication, it is intended that it will be (optionally) linked to social media accounts. This, combined with the obvious temptation for players to set their Headquarters locations on their real-life residences, could allow someone else to determine a player's real-world location.
To this end the game will contain advice against players placing their headquarters on their real-life locations.
One of my experiences with online wargaming is that it tends to attract players with ... ahem... passionate political viewpoints. For the advanced demo at least, strict moderation of in-game chat will be necessary to avoid it becoming a forum for intolerance or hate speech.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
No, this Kickstarter will pay for a much more advanced and release-quality demo version of RULE which will likely still feature limited maps and features. It will be, however, a much more industry-release level product than the current version, which is more of a proof-of-concept demonstration.
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