Remnant is a real-time 4X space strategy game set in a single planetary system. Take command of a rising faction and lead your people. Expand your influence across the system, consolidate power and quell internal strife. Crush your enemies until you alone rule the system. In an endless sea of clones and "re-imagined" experiences, Remnant strives to be unique. We're throwing away all the tired tropes so you can fall in love with the genre all over again.
The principle design goal is to create an experience you feel emotionally connected with from start to finish. Every facet of your empire has a name, face and individual identity that you become attached to. Admiral Harken was killed and his flagship, Executor, was destroyed before Delta Fleet could retreat at the battle of Concordia instead of Two hundred beam cruisers were destroyed at the battle of Concordia. It's a subtle difference but just one of the many threads that form the personal story of your empire.
At the heart of this emergent narrative based gameplay are the agent and colony program systems I've designed to take the genre in a whole new direction. Agents are randomly generated characters that are both your empire's primary tools and resource. Your empire is nothing without a collection of competent subordinates. Programs are government-led initiatives that control how you view and shape each of your individual colonies. It's nothing like you've ever seen before.
Here are just a few features that make Remnant unique:
- Everything has an individual identity: agents have faces, ships have names, colonies are more than an impersonal collection of building tiles.
- There are no buildings at all: no farms, mines or power plants to worry about. No repetitive build orders to execute with every new colony. Instead, agents lead development programs that give each colony their own unique purpose and identity beyond their numerical total output.
- Classic resources are gone too: no ore, metal, gem, crystals or anything like that to collect.
- Single planetary system: a dynamic map that follows Kepler's laws of planetary motion to create a shifting strategic landscape.
- Full 3D movement: no tiles, grids, planes or lanes. Fly around every sector with a full Newtonian flight model and move from one sector to another without following a silly space highway.
Small scale: deliberately lacking in scale to create a deep experience, rich with roleplaying potential and personal narrative.
Shaking things up from other sci-fi 4X games, Remnant takes place entirely around a single star and all of its orbiting bodies. Every planet, moon or asteroid orbits and revolves in accordance with Kepler's laws. Nothing is static. From the moment you load into the game, you can feel how alive the system is and planetary motion adds a whole new dimension to every aspect of your strategic decision-making.
"Doesn't someone just colonize Earth and they win?" you may be asking yourself. Colonization does not claim an entire planet in Remnant. Every planetary body is segmented into sectors, with larger bodies containing more sectors than smaller bodies. A sector is a small pocket of space where fleets can linger in orbit and colonies can be established on the surface. Planets the size of Earth would have a dozen sectors. A system like our own solar system, with eight planets and a handful of meaningful moons and asteroids, would end up with a hundred sectors to act as points of contention amongst players.
You can fully customize how the system is generated at the start of each game too: a huge solar system akin to our own, a Jovian-like system with a central gas giant and a half-dozen moons or even a lone super-Earth with nothing else. The possibilities and gameplay experiences are endless.
Colonies operate drastically different in Remnant compared to other strategy games. There are no mundane build orders to execute or building queues to manage. There are no buildings at all. Instead, colonies are developed and defined through their programs. Programs are government funded initiatives and require an agent to lead them as director. Constructing a ship, researching new technology, expanding a colony's economy, developing essential infrastructure, recruiting new agents or spying on your enemies are just a few examples of available programs. Each program lasts a predetermined amount of time depending on its complexity. The competency of the agent directing the program will decide how valuable the results are when the program concludes.
Each colony has a limited amount of program slots available depending on its size and location. Older, more established colonies support more government infrastructure. This inherent limitation creates meaningful choice: you have a tiny moon outpost and it's up to you whether you use it as a research station for the effects of microgravity, a remote shipyard to construct a new ship in secret or as a staging ground for clandestine operations against your opponents. These small choices create narrative for your empire. It's not just another generic, small colony with two farms, a mine and a power station. It becomes a hidden base on the forest moon of Endor. Another thread in your empire's story. It has an identity and purpose beyond the results of its output.
At the core of all of Remnant's gameplay systems are agents. Agents are randomly generated characters with a name, face and RPG-like attributes that you periodically recruit as the game progresses. They are your assassins, captains, diplomats, engineers, researchers, spies and every role in between. The primary role of an agent is to act as a director for your colony's programs. The results of these programs is tied directly to the abilities of your agent. A veteran agent is worth their weight in gold. There's just one catch: agents are not invincible. They can be assassinated or kidnapped by your enemy to be used as bargaining chips in diplomatic interactions. Killed in combat. Die in an accident or even defect during an internal crisis. It's your job to nurture their development into strong, able leaders while safeguarding them from harm.
Agents don't exist solely for the benevolent development of your empire. An entire suite of clandestine programs are available at your colonies: spy on your opponents, abduct or kill their agents, incite rebellion or sabotage their programs. The catch is that these operations take up a slot in the limited amount of programs you can run concurrently. This balance of internal development versus covertly striking your opponents adds a new layer to your strategic planning.
Ships are your empire's most direct projection of power. As with everything else in Remnant, they have a unique identity including a name, insignia and fleet markings. Construction of new ships is done through a colony program, like everything else, so their undertaking means you're sacrificing other infrastructural development. Their construction is a mammoth undertaking for a fledgling empire that requires significant time and cost. As such, ships should never feel disposable or anonymous. You are constructing the Enterprise, not beam cruiser #187-C.
Fleet engagements are small in scope and tactical in nature. Ships have large pools of health and retreat is always an option. All ships also have special tactical abilities they can deploy that trigger lengthy cooldowns, allowing you to outplay your opponents even when outgunned. Even if you lose a fleet in battle, it only means you've lost control of the sector. It doesn't mean you've lost the war or the game. The lack of space highways and single points of resistance protecting your territory, means that massive winner-takes-all deathball engagements simply don't exist. Moving the entirety of your faction's forces to one sector would leave all other sectors ripe for attack. It also prevents the dreaded snowball because continuously pressing forward is tactically unsound.
Another side effect of the massive health pools, lengthy tactical cooldowns and incredible distance between sectors is downtime. Ships take time to repair and refresh their cooldowns after a major engagement. This downtime creates opportunity: counterattacks. A fresh fleet from a neighbouring sector can swoop in with full hull integrity and a suite of tactical abilities ready to re-establish control of the lost sector. This creates a dynamic, shifting battlescape that needs a continuous stream of fresh ships ready to fight. Back-and-forth. It also creates a psudo-supply chain like dynamic with none of the tedium of managing fuel or ammunition.
Did I mention there's no warp drives? Ships cruise through the system at a comfortable 1 g acceleration and can take quite a while to traverse the system end-to-end.
All backers will make their mark on the game with no exceptions at any tier. It's important to me that everyone who pledges to support the project gets to see a little of themselves in the final product. Everything is subject to approval to ensure an overall aesthetic: no aliens or the Force.
CADET: Add two custom names to the random agent generator.
PILOT: Create a custom game event that may randomly trigger, such as a colony disaster or exploration boon. Includes previous rewards.
COMMANDER: Digital copy of the game via Steam key. Includes previous rewards.
AGENT: Design a custom agent that may appear randomly in the recruit pool, including the name, portrait and attributes. Includes previous rewards.
ARCHITECT: Design a custom map for the game, including the attributes of every single planetary body in the system, down to the last detail. Includes previous rewards.
The entirety of the funds, excluding fees, will be spent on commissioning the 2D art required for random agent generation. The system randomly generates agents by combining a base layer head pose with an array of features (hair, eyes, nose, mouth, scars, etc.) to create the unique faces required to give each agent an identity.
REACHED - Audio equipment for recording more comprehensive gameplay videos with developer commentary. One of the downsides of creating a 4X game is that it's hard to show off in bite-sized GIFs.
- REACHED - More agent generation options: hairstyles, features, scars, decorative makeup or tattoos, etc.
REACHED - Planet and post-processing stack upgrade. There's a suite of software for generating planets in ridiculously high quality that I've never been able to justify spending money on before. This would be a huge visual upgrade for the game.
- REACHED - Additional 3D models. New hulls, in the form of ship modules or weapon platforms.
REACHED - Visual FX upgrade.
REACHED - Even more agent portrait options. The total number of possible combinations will be in the millions.
- REACHED - Expanded ship module set. Every ship hull will have its own unique set of turrets and other modules rather than sharing from a common pool.
$5,000+ - More portrait art. More 3D models. More everything. Every extra dollar will be divvied up and spent across the art spectrum, wherever things seem lacking after the original stretch goals are fulfilled.
Remnant will be released later this summer on Steam for PC, Mac and Linux.
Risks and challenges
After three years of development, most technical challenges have been overcome. The advantage of creating a 4X game as an indie, as complex as they are, is that at the core they're primarily mathematical simulations.
All funds raised will be going directly to the creation of art assets. No additional funds are required for programming as I'm creating everything myself.
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