Contested Space: Build an empire in an online sandbox
Contested Space: Build an empire in an online sandbox
Action oriented ship combat in one persistent universe where everything is created by players
Action oriented ship combat in one persistent universe where everything is created by players Read more
About this project
Contested Space mixes action oriented ship combat with creativity and community. Players design their own ships and stations, while defending and expanding territory for their alliance. All of this happens in one persistent universe where every action has a lasting consequence. The game will be available on PC, Mac, and Linux.
The Contested Space prototype is available for anyone to try. You can download the prototype from the Contested Space website. Right now you can design a ship, fly it around, and blow stuff up.
A Role Making Game
Too many online games impose a static narrative on their players. Contested Space lets players control their own identities and define how they interact with the universe. Players naturally fall into role playing when they are given different goals and perspectives. The game's primary goal is to help players create their own stories.
Contested Space gives players direct control of their ship. Every shot and missile is physically simulated and must be carefully aimed. Ships range from lumbering battleships a kilometer long to nimble frigates only 60 meters long.
This project's first step was to create a prototype that demonstrates the game's foundation. All of the Contested Space video was captured from a client connected to a server hundreds of miles away. The game's networking, physics, and data are all implemented in a simple, straightforward, and decentralized manner. Everything is designed so it can be affordably scaled to larger audiences.
Contested Space will start small, perfect the features it has, and grow from there. The purpose of this campaign is to fund that first step. The goal is to launch a completed version of the game before the end of this year.
At first Contested Space will be about territory control. Players will pick from one of three predefined alliances. These alliances will compete to control locations in orbit where stations can be built. Players that defend or capture territory will be rewarded with credits that can be used to build space stations or buy better ships.
The game will launch with three different ship sizes along with a suite of weapons and abilities to go along with them. Players will have a skill progression that will grant them modest bonuses as they gain experience.
Long Term Development
Development will continue after the game launches. Eventually the game will transition to become more of a sandbox. Features will be added that give players more control over their ships, the game's economy, and even the game's social structures. All of it will be designed to create a better framework for telling stories.
A Simple Subscription
Contested Space will be a subscription based game. The subscription will be $5 a month when the game first launches. This fee may increase over time as the game gets major expansions.
All updates to the game will be free to subscribers. There won't be any micro transactions or pay to win. Every subscriber will be treated equally.
The Test Universe
Pledges $ 30 or over will receive their choice of a set of four ship stickers. Pledges $ 60 or over will receive a full set of stickers.
3D Printed Frigate
Anyone that pledges $ 200 or more will receive the blue 3D printed frigate pictured above. Pledges $ 500 or more will receive a similar 3D printed ship, but they'll be able to choose any valid frigate design in any color they want. Pledges over $ 1,000 will receive a custom 3D printed frigate made of sterling silver. All 3D printed frigates are two inches long.
My name is Matthew Zvonimir Haralovich. My friends call me Zon. I've worked as an application developer in the web and mobile start up industry for nearly 15 years. I know a fair amount about designing distributed systems and a lot about how to deliver software using limited resources.
I've been tinkering with games for most of my life, but didn't get serious until a few years ago. I've been working on Contested Space part time for a year and a half.
Video Editing by Clay
This Kickstarter's video was produced by Clay Grumieaux. Maybe you should contact him if you need similar work done?
Risks and challenges
Online games can be complicated to develop. As software projects advance they accumulate what is called technical debt. Technical debt is created any time a programmer cuts a corner or lets the project become disorganized. Software projects often fail because their technical debt becomes too severe.
I have learned a lot about how to manage technical debt over the years. Most of the Contested Space prototype has been rewritten at least once. Each time I made sure the code became clearer and more concise. Right now the project has very little technical debt. The code is ready to grow and take on new functionality.
Contested Space needs around $ 62,000 of yearly revenue to pay it's bills. That's around 1026 subscriptions at $ 5 a month. This Kickstarter campaign should get at least that many pledges if it meets its funding goal. Past that it's a matter of converting as many backers as possible into long term subscribers and growing the subscriber base to compensate for churn.
After technical and monetary challenges are met the last remaining risk is whether I can continue to design a good game. I take a minimalist approach to everything I do. I'll be searching for the smallest collection of features needed to meet the game's design goals. That way anything added to the game can be polished so that it functions really well. This minimalist approach is how this project has gotten to where it is today.
Contested Space will enter testing a couple of months after this campaign. Most of the pledge money will be spent trying out designs with backers and making sure that everything works correctly. This will give me plenty of time to deal with any unexpected obstacles.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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