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An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one.  Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe.
An RPG, RTS, and sandbox space exploration game all-in-one. Explore, trade, build, and fight in a beautiful, procedural universe.
5,449 backers pledged $187,865 to help bring this project to life.

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Next Stretch Goal and the NPC Contact System

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
1 like

Ready to Own a Faction?

We've tackled Mac/Linux support and are maneuvering into position to fire upon Planetary Ownership! But what comes next?

At the next level, you'll unlock the ability to create and manage your own faction. Doing so will entail the ability to manage recruitment, advancement, training, and, of course, organize missions for your faction!  Want to build a mining empire? Take it to the next level by starting a mining guild. Organize faction-wide events to dangerous systems. Manage your relationships with neighboring factions by signing treaties, trade agreements, or war declarations. The ability to control an entire faction will take the RTS element of Limit Theory to the next level.

I've also reset the stretch goal poll and added several new options, so go vote now to determine what the $200K goal will be!

Personally, I think I'm most excited about this stretch goal. Owning planets is cool but...managing an entire faction? Come on, it doesn't get better than that!

Please note that, as stated in the last update, this stretch goal will come as a free, post-release content update for the game if we hit it. Again, this is to make sure that we don't push back the release date too much by adding stretch goals!

Non-Player Characters in Limit Theory

Regrettably, I haven't had time to do another video demo yet or prototype this system, but I'm eager to share with you some more details concerning NPCs and NPC interaction in LT, as I feel that it's one of those features that will make the game truly unique.

In Limit Theory, the NPCs that populate the universe don’t simply spawn out of nowhere, perform some trite task, and then evaporate out of existence forever. Rather, non-player characters are dynamic, persistent entities that go about their business just as the player does. Moreover, NPCs play by the exact same rules as the player. They boast no infinite bank account, no ability to teleport, and certainly no omniscient knowledge of the entire universe. Like the player, they struggle to make a living, fall prey to pirate attacks and factional conflicts, use jump gates and acceleration lanes to get to destinations, and try to stay afloat in a universe that’s constantly in motion.

As a player, you’ll undoubtedly cross paths with many such NPCs. You’ll meet them while travelling in space, perusing the markets on planets and stations, and engaging in large-party missions.

The Contact System

Keeping up with friends in an infinite universe sounds like it could be a full-time job. Luckily, the contact system in LT is designed to make keeping track of your contacts as intuitive and painless as possible. When you meet an NPC that you’re interested in keeping up with, you can choose to add him/her to your contact book. From then on, upon pulling up your contact interface, you’ll see the NPC’s name, profession, and a few other details listed. Now comes the fun part: you can attempt to communicate with the NPC. Communication with NPCs in LT is mostly about business deals, of which there are two distinct types: doing something for someone, and having someone do something for you.

“Favors” – Gaining the Approval of NPCs

When it comes to making friends, you don’t usually get something for nothing – and LT is no different. To become good friends with an NPC, you’ll need to prove your worth. Admittedly, there are several ways of doing so, but the most straightforward is to simply offer your assistance. Through the contact system, you can ask an NPC whether they have any jobs that need to be done. In doing so, you make it known to the NPC that you’re willing to consider “mission” opportunities directly (i.e., the NPC can simply ask you to do something, rather than having to post a notice at a local planet or station). Having made note of your offer, the NPC may respond with a request in the event that they need to accomplish something that could be expedited with your help.

Now, offering to do missions for NPCs isn’t all about being a benevolent saint. When an NPC creates and proposes a mission to you, it almost always involves some form of reward. Depending on your relationship with the NPC, however, that reward may be less that you might expect for the type of mission. The benefit of accepting such missions, however, as opposed to taking a job from a station, is that you gain favor with the character in question. Favor can be of immense value in a universe of surprises!

“Proposals” – Negotiating with NPCs

Perhaps the most important use of the contact system, and of keeping up with NPCs in general, is to allow the creation of proposals. A proposal is, more or less, a mission that the player constructs and offers to an NPC. Taking into account factors such as estimated completion time, reward, risk, and so on, the NPC can then accept or reject the proposal. In the event of acceptance, the proposal becomes a formal mission contract between you and the other character. NPCs with whom you are in good standing are always more likely to accept work from you, even if the reward isn’t quite up to market standards. That’s when your friends come in handy!

Proposal Details

A proposal consists of some number of conditions and some number of rewards. A condition simply stipulates something that must be achieved in order for the proposal to be considered complete. For example, a condition might be to destroy a certain target, acquire a certain quantity of a certain good, report scanner details on a certain location, or defend a target for some amount of time. Rewards indicate what happens in the event of the fulfillment of a proposal. Of course, the most common reward is a transfer of credits. Other rewards, however, can include transferal of cargo, information, or even property such as ships, stations, or planetary buildings. When the conditions of a proposal become fulfilled, the rewards are automatically transferred.

An Example of the Proposal System

Suppose you’re hauling some valuable goods through a system with which you’re rather unfamiliar. You’ve just come from a station where you met a few freelancers and, for whatever reason, decided to add them to your contact list. While traversing this unfamiliar system, you come under attack by a small squadron of pirates. Unfortunately, your ship isn’t adequately equipped to deal with them, and the pirates quickly take out your weapons and main engines. In the meantime, however, you’re able to pull up the contact interface and shoot off a message to the freelancers that you met on the station. You offer a hefty lump of credits in return for them escorting your ship for some duration. Shortly thereafter, you receive confirmation that they've accepted and are headed to your coordinates.  

The pirate leader hails you and, not surprisingly, demands a cargo drop. You’re in no position to refuse, so you open your inventory and start releasing cargo. Naturally, you take your sweet time doing so. The pirates start tractoring the goods. Just as they’re finishing up, however, the freelancers pop out of a nearby acceleration lane. Just in the nick of time!!! They immediately identify the pirates as hostile, and the fight begins. The seasoned professionals have no problem converting the pirate ships into large plumes of debris. In the end, you lost some of your cargo in the explosions…but you made it out with your life, and many of the goods were salvageable. Perhaps more importantly, you made some new friends!

That’s just one of the innumerable possible situations in which the contact system could, quite literally, save your skin. If you had good friends nearby, it would be even easier, as you probably wouldn't have to pay them a whole lot to get them to come save you. Naturally, the problem could easily be solved by buying more ships and building your own escorts. But for the fledgling pilot with few credits, leveraging the numerous characters around you could mean the difference between life and death!

Limit Theory is single-player. True. But make no mistake - should you learn to gracefully and skillfully handle relationships with the other lifeforms, you'll find yourself far from alone in this infinite universe.


Tactical Interface Tech Demo

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)

Given that we're about to hit twice the goal, I figured I really needed to push another tech demo out!

"Tactical Interface" Tech Demo

Over the weekend I worked a bit on an idea that I had related to fleet command. The "tactical interface" that's demonstrated in this video is a pretty neat and painless way of issuing orders when you're right there, in combat with your fleet. The main feature that makes this interface so intuitive is the ability to select in-game entities by simply clicking on them directly. A second nice feature is the radial menu that pops up when you right-click an entity, which makes it very easy to, for example, tell certain members of your fleet to attack, follow, move to, scan, or dock with a certain entity. Please note that this interface is really only intended for situations in which you are in close proximity to your fleet. There will be a different interface for managing fleets that are far away (more like a traditional, top-down RTS interface).

As always, watch it in HD to justify the two hours it took to upload ;)

Some Notes About the Demo

  • Although I didn't show it, you can, alternatively, select units by clicking on their name under the "Pilots" list.  This makes it easy to give commands even if you can't see the unit on screen.
  • In the future, you'll be able to select multiple units and issue commands to them all at once.  Furthermore, you'll be able to drag selection boxes in order to quickly select a group of ships.
  • You'll also be able to assign numeric groups to specific subsets of the fleet, and select them using standard RTS-style numeric hotkeys.
  • There will be lots more information on the tactical interface!  Right now, it's pretty barren...but the general concept is that it is intended to give you an at-a-glance overview of the system, surrounding entities, and your assets.
  • It features some new music composed over the weekend.  Unfortunately, this track didn't turn out that great in my opinion, so it may not make the cut for the game.
  • I know you're all tired of fog by now.  There won't be that much in the game, I promise.  Sorry!


"No more badges, Josh!  Please!!! Anything but more badges!!! Will it ever end!?!"  No.  No, it won't.

Thank you all for tuning in, and I look forward to surpassing the Mac/Linux stretch goal!!!


"That's no's a Stretch Goal!!"

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
1 like

The Third Stretch Goal is Revealed!

You've voted, and your voice has been heard! The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of allowing players to own planets. More details to come on what exactly this feature will entail, but, for now, let your imagination run wild as you picture yourself reigning over huge swaths of space! And start voting for the next stretch goal at!

Concerning Stretch Goals Above $100K

I've made the decision that stretch goals above $100K, starting with planetary ownership, will be realized as free, post-release content updates. Why? As you can see, there's quite a bit of functionality slated for the base game. As we start to pile on more functionality, it will obviously take more development time to complete. Instead of delaying the release, I'd like to just put the basic game in your hands, and then augment it with free, post-release updates to give you the stretch goal content.

Now, that doesn't exactly preclude the possibility of having these features in the first release - it just means that I won't promise that they'll ship with the game. If I do end up having more development time than anticipated, of course I'll try to put as much as possible in the initial release. But what I will promise is that you'll get the content, and you'll get it for free if you purchase the game!

New Wallpapers

Some people have requested more wallpapers.  I can't help but oblige!  You can download the full-res versions at!

More Badges...

Are you tired of these yet??

Interview with RPS

I did an interview with RockPaperShotgun, in case you're interested in reading:

The Future is Bright!

We annihilated the original goal, blew past the first stretch goal...when will it end!?!? Who knows. But it wouldn't have happened without the enthusiasm of so many generous people who share the same vision of living that dream life in space. Thanks again for giving me the opportunity to bring that vision to life...I won't let you all down :)


Ship Editor Prototype

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
1 like

Finally, the first new content update is here!  After a bit of code-jamming today, I'm happy to give you all a sneak preview of what you're working toward with respect to the next stretch goal.  In celebration of the fact that it looks like we're going to hit it (very soon..), I've built a quick mock-up of the editor to demonstrate what I've got in mind.  The editor is rough around the edges (to say the least), but hopefully you will still enjoy seeing this technology, as I think it's quite cool to be able to modify the ship in-game!

Remember to watch in HD...otherwise the absurd amount of time that I spent uploading is in vain...

Things that Will be Better in the Real Thing:

  • The procedurally generated components will be much more diverse than the simple cylindrical things that you saw in this demo.
  • You'll be able to load and save your favorite components.
  • You'll be able to change materials/texture.
  • The controls for scaling will be sleeker.
  • There will be more transformations than just scaling.  You'll be able to do nonlinear transformations to make curved pieces, for example.
  • You'll be able to toggle snapping so that you can easily create well-aligned designs.

Hope you guys enjoyed that!  Sorry the update is so brief today and I don't have any more badges for you...but I really wanted to crank this demo out ASAP before we hit that stretch goal!  Oh, and apologies for the repetition of music.  Haven't had time to compose a new track yet...hopefully soon!

Once again, I am so, so thankful for the overwhelming support that LT has received.  You guys have made one man's dream a reality.  Or should I say, you have made one man's reality a dream!?  Who knows.  :)


Success, Stretch Goals, and Music

Posted by Josh Parnell (Creator)
1 like


Six days ago I took a chance on making a dream come true. And here we are. Only six days later, that dream is a reality. Limit Theory is going to happen, and I couldn't be more thrilled that it's how I'll get to spend the next year-and-some of my life :)

Sincerely, thank you. Thank each and every one of you, whether you chipped in a few bucks, saddled me down with a generous pledge, or just spread the word of a cool-looking indie game to your friends...thank you!!!

Stretch Goals

Well, you guys have voted ( although it was a really close battle, Mac and Linux Support won out as the next stretch goal! This means that, if we hit the mark, you can expect Limit Theory to come in Mac and Linux form.  Unfortunately, this does not mean that the pre-alpha prototype will be available for other platforms. However, there is a good chance that the beta will be available!


I've decided to release a few of the tracks that I composed for the LT soundtrack for free. For those who ordered the soundtrack, please don't worry, there's lots more that won't be released for free! You can listen to the soundtracks or download them via Soundcloud.

Here's the main track that you heard at the beginning of the KS video:

And the slightly-modified, shorter version played at the very end of the video (personally, I like this version a little bit's straight to the point):

And, finally, one of the tracks that you heard in the background while I was talking. This piece is something you might hear as you outfit your ship on a station or trade on a planet. It's not general space exploration music.

SpaceGameJunkie Interview

In case you're interested, Brian over at SpaceGameJunkie has posted an interview that I did with him. You can read it here:  I'm also working on finishing an interview for RockPaperShotgun. Exciting!


And, naturally, you get some more badges for paying attention to the update! :)

Once again, thank you guys so much. Building LT is going to be absolutely amazing, and I can't wait to start working double-full-time on it!! :)