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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.
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.

An Incredible Ending to an Incredible Experience

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Boom.

Did you hear that? That's the sound of our initial goal being obliterated into billions of tiny fragments by the massive ion cannons of supportive space sim fans. Well done everyone, that last-minute surge was incredible! Left us at almost 4x the initial goal. You guys are awesome.  But...

Too Bad About That Last Stretch Goal...

Yeah, it's a real shame, I was really hoping to hit $200K so that we could add seamless planetary landings, multiplayer, and ship interiors/walking to LT.  I know you all were too...but that's OK, at least we got carriers, right? Wait, why is everyone sad about not getting carriers?  Maybe you guys were confused about the stretch goal levels...let me remind you..

Hopefully that clears up the confusion ;)

Thank You.  Thank You All.

I still remember shaking from fear when I clicked the submit button a month ago. I had no idea what the world would think of my little project, my little universe. I just hoped that maybe a few space geeks out there like myself would sympathize and chip in a few bucks to help me code up the space simulation game of my dreams.

Almost $190K and 5.5K backers later, I'm simply shocked. I'm in awe. Truly. To know that so many people share my dream of living in procedural sandbox of opportunity...it's humbling, inspiring, and immensely exciting.

It's been an absolute pleasure to run this campaign, meet and talk to you all, and listen to the overwhelming amount of excitement, cool ideas, and overall positive feedback that you've given.  But of course, this isn't the end! I hope each and every one of you will come on over to http://forums.ltheory.com, where we're already hard at work discussing a billion-and-two different gameplay ideas. I'll continue to be active on the forums and email, so don't hesitate to contact me there!

I really appreciate the risk you all took in investing your hard-earned money in Limit Theory, especially during the holiday season. I plan on repaying each and every one of you to the maximal extent by delivering every bit of the game that I promised (as well as high-quality physical goodies to those that went for the higher tiers)! I will not forget your generosity.

And, that being said, if you'll excuse me, my compiler is waiting for me.  I'm sure you aren't funding me to write eloquent thank-you notes, are you? ;)

I'll be in touch soon with more details concerning where we go from here, etc. Again, thank you all so much, and Happy Holidays / Merry Christmas!

~ Josh

The Final Stretch and the Super-Secret Tech Demo

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Galactic Domination...Now in an Organized Fashion

I hope you're all ready to create and manage a faction, because I know I am, and we've now officially hit the goal!!!  It seems like just yesterday that we hit planetary ownership...it's incredible how much steam this project is picking up here towards the end!  Who knows where we'll end up??

Super-Secret Tech Demo #5

Yep, I said #4 would be the last one, but I was wrong!  I spent the last week slaving to get the engine running as smoothly as possible on my laptop so that I could record some more footage.  It worked!  I'm pleased to say that performance of the LT engine has more than doubled over the past week...so get ready to play on under-powered machines if you'd like to do so!

Thankfully, I've got a lot to show this time.  It's the longest tech demo yet, mostly because I've had more time to work now that school is out.  But I'm not going to tell you what's in the demo...you've got to watch to find out!  I'll just say that...maybe it will provide some inspiration for getting to the $200K goal! :)

Don't forget to watch in 1080p...this one took a whopping five hours to upload!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLINRbq3QKM&hd=1

A Month in Retrospect

Let's take a look at what's happened this month in terms of Limit Theory development, shall we?

  • Ship/station Editor
  • Tactical Interface
  • Landing
  • Carrier Prototypes
  • Station Generation
  • Asteroid Base Generation

In the beginning, I asked you all to believe me when I said that everything I had shown so far was representative of only 3 months of work, and that I could finish in a bit more than a year. Over this one-month period, I hope I've managed to substantiate that claim in your eyes!  Of course, the only real proof will be when I deliver the finished product to you...but I hope the tech demos have given at least a glimpse of the pace of LT development that is to come.

In fact, I'd like to go even further, and let you know that the development that you've seen over this past month has been unusually slow for LT.  Why?  Because at least 50% of my time has been devoted to keeping up with the KS campaign, answering PMs, comments, forum posts, Q/As, etc.  Furthermore, it was the month of final exams/final projects at school, so that took up a bit more time than usual. With those things in mind, I hope you'll believe me when I tell you that a typical month for LT is generally even more fruitful than what you've seen this month :)

Off to the stars we go! Will we be riding in carriers along the way? Only time will tell!! :)

~Josh

Carriers and the Meaning of Limit Theory

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Congratulations to everyone on hitting that planetary ownership stretch goal! I'm sure you're all excited to build your empire! I'm really interested to see what happens in the last few days...particularly because I'm so enthused about being able to run my own faction. But regardless of where our total ends up, we've already garnered more than enough support to make Limit Theory a reality, so everyone should rest easy knowing that they'll be playing it in due time! :)

The $200K Stretch Goal Appears!

Docking Bays and Carriers won by an absurd margin on the forum stretch goal poll, so there's really no question that it should be next! Get ready to be able to carry your ship collection with you, because if we hit this goal, you'll be able to purchase and build ships with internal hangars that will be able to hold smaller ships (scouts, fighters, corvettes, perhaps even destroyers). You'll be able to use your carriers to repair, refit, and transfer cargo to/from docked ships, which would usually only be possible by landing on a planet or space station. In addition, you'll be able to use carriers to switch to piloting other docked ships, which, again, would usually only be possible at a planet or space station.

This opens up a whole new world of exciting gameplay possibilities! Imagine having your whole collection of fighters to choose from when a battle begins. You can pilot your carrier, then switch to one of your docked ships, go out and participate in the fight, then return, dock, repair, and carry on piloting the carrier.

As with the previous two stretch goals, this one will come as a free, post-release content update, so it will not ship with the first release of LT, but will come for free at some point in the months thereafter. Again, this is to ensure that I have enough time to properly implement everything without pushing back the release date of LT!

New Wallpapers

You can get the full-res versions at http://ltheory.com/media.html

New Badges

Yes indeed, I'm trying to see if I can set a record for the number of KS badges produced by one project.  I think I may have already set it...we're now at 17 badges, so let me know if you know of any project that has more than that!

The Meaning of Limit Theory

Maybe you've already read the short little snippet that I wrote concerning the back story of Limit Theory and the meaning of the name, but I'm guessing most haven't. Well, I'd like to share a little bit of the "story" of Limit Theory, because it turns out that the meaning of the name runs a significant bit deeper than just two cool words that I pulled out of the air!

Limit Theory isn't just the name of the game. It's also the abbreviated name of a philosophy, which happens to be the philosophy that forms the back story for the game. The Theory of Nonexistence of Extrinsic Limitation, or Limit Theory for short, says that all limits, all things that oppose you, all challenges, are fundamentally located within your mind, and nowhere else. In other words, the only real limits are within yourself, not within the external world. This mentality directly implies that you can somehow overcome any limit simply by making the appropriate internal change.

To understand how radical of a theory it is, imagine applying it to a situation in your life. Let's say that you've got a corporate job that you're kind of lukewarm about, and that your dream job has always been to become a musician and travel around Europe on tour. Big dreams, but Limit Theory says that the only thing stopping you from doing so is yourself. It says that, if you feel that something external - your boss, financial situations, social obligation, etc - is the thing keeping you from doing so, then you are wrong. Limit Theory posits that a limit is, by definition, internal to your mind. Now, maybe it's true, maybe it's not. But the point is that the mentality, regardless of whether it's objectively correct, encourages one to take action. It encourages one to question whether anything is actually opposing progress towards a dream, or whether it's simply a mental unwillingness to take action.

So why does this theory matter? Well, it forms the back story of the LT universe. The explanation for why you have space ships, space stations, faster-than-light travel, etc. in LT is that you come from an extremely advanced civilization. How did they get to be so advanced? Simply-put, they were the original founders of the Limit Theory philosophy, and the greatest proponents of it that the universe has ever seen. They were rabid idealists, believing firmly that all limitations were internal, and that, with enough mental fortitude, any problem would eventually yield to the mighty fist of intellect. And they were right. They terraformed planets that should have been living Hells into magnificent Edens. They produced hyperdrive engines that made the laws of physics bow before them. They sung their song of idealism from one corner of the galaxy to the other, using technology that should have been reserved for gods, not men. And they did so because they believed in the theory of nonexistence of extrinsic limitation.

So that's the backstory. But it goes even deeper than that, because, as you might have guessed already, Limit Theory isn't just the philosophy of the civilization in the game. It's my personal philosophy.

Let's apply it to a situation that comes a bit closer to home. Let's say that you're a 20-year-old college student, and you want to make a space simulation game with a massive scope. Perhaps other people will tell you that it's too much work for one person. But suppose that you believe in Limit Theory. Then you believe, regardless of what other people might say, that the only thing standing between you and the finished product is your mind. You believe that with enough hours of work, thought, code, research, etc...you can succeed.

Perhaps the ultimate, mind-bending irony of the whole thing is that successfully producing the game Limit Theory will be the ultimate proof of the philosophy with the same name. Over the next year-and-some, I intend to complete that proof and show you all that my philosophy is valid, at least with respect to this application!

And there you have it, just thought I'd let you all know that the name is actually a lot richer than your average "select a handful of sci-fi-ish words" space game title!

So...do you believe in the theory of nonexistence of extrinsic limitation? If so, maybe you should stop reading this, and go achieve your dreams! ;)

~Josh

"It's Too Big to Be a Space Station..."

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We're so close to unlocking planetary ownership...I can almost taste the world domination!

Procedural Space Station Tech Demo

Over the past week, I've been doing a lot of internal work on cramming even more functionality into LT's procedural engine, in the form of various geometric algorithms that make procedural stuff easier than ever before! To test it all out, I took a shot at writing a space station algorithm yesterday. I'd say it's quite promising!  Have a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBtZKio_J20&hd=1

Regrettably, this will probably be the last tech demo of the campaign. I know, I know...it's sad that I didn't get to show more (well, I mean, ship editor + tactical interface + station builder isn't too shabby, I hope you agree). Unfortunately, I'm packing up and going home for the holidays on Saturday, so I won't have access to my desktop machine for a while. I'll still be able to work on LT, but won't have enough power to record and edit high-def videos anymore. I'll try to keep some screenshots rolling in, though!

Limit Theory on Multiple Monitors

A rather esoteric feature, but a fun one, nonetheless: multi-monitor support.  Limit Theory has it. Let's face it, when you're exploring an infinite universe, a single monitor just doesn't always cut it...

The Never-Ending Stream of Backer Badges

Here are some badges of your favorite procedural space station technology :)

Thank You!!!

260% and climbing. This is just insane...I never would have thought so many people would be excited about Limit Theory!!! I hope you're ready for a fun ride...because I can't wait to see where LT takes us :)

~Josh

Next Stretch Goal and the NPC Contact System

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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! http://forums.ltheory.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=21

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.

~Josh