PLEASE NOTE : Due to a Trademark Infringement which we publically acknowledge, "Dominion" is now officially "Dominium" for the duration of this pitch.
Explore a unique galaxy, and uncover the secrets hidden amongst the stars!
Become a legend; a pirate overlord, a hero to the people, or forge your own destiny. You decide. Dominium is a sandbox game that never ends, where you choose what to do and where to do it - ignore the story if you want to and get exploring!
Nb. Rewards equal to above £30 may choose one of the £30 rewards, and rewards greater than or equal to £40 can choose one from £30 and one from the £40 tier. We will honour this "multi-selection" when we get funded, and ask you your choices.
This first release of Dominium is a single player game for PC, that plunges you into a rich, diverse and ever evolving universe. A galaxy full of beauty and wonder, intrigue and betrayal, death and ancient dark forces. As you make your own way across the galaxy the choice is yours as to whether you dive headlong into the upcoming conflict and join the Navy, skirt around its edges and profit from it, or ignore it entirely.
But - the overarching goal of Dominium is to let you explore - not just your standard flying around hoping to bump into something kind of space exploration. Send out probes to distant locations, find hidden artifacts, civilizations, and rare ore deposits... and one or two other surprises along the way! The galaxy is waiting to be discovered!
Stretch Goals allow for a Mac, iOS and Linux port, potentially even Android!
Dominium is a sandbox game. We will give you all the in-game tools and toys which let you do what you want, how and when you want to.
Playing in the first-person, with a wide choice of newtownian, or non-newtonian flight models depending on the ships you choose to fly, you'll directly integrate with your ship at the AI level, becoming one with it as an extension of your physical being. Feel it's pain as it gets hit by laser-fire!
If the Fleet Control stretch-goal is attained - more RTS-like controls become available, allowing you to direct your fleet where, when and how you choose to deploy it!
Our Dynamic Event Engine (DEE) will make use of the "sandbox" and throw in a wide range of dangerous, fun, and mysterious events at you as you travel the galaxy. A standard distress call could be exactly that, or a pirate's trap... or perhaps something more dangerous, as you stumble upon something that wasn't meant to be found.
The flip-side of the DEE is that you can drive these same events as you play. Perhaps you sent out a distress call after suffering a catastrophic engine failure. Maybe your distress call is a trap, pirate scum that you might be!
If tech-talk is your thing - feel free to pop by our devlog to see our posts on the tech behind Dominium as we beaver away behind the scenes!
"Today I will mostly be a... "
There are no classes. You won't be type-cast as "a trader" or "a pirate" or any other classification. Your role in the game is determined by your actions, and the local laws and policies of whichever system you are in. The only assigned "role" you might choose to get involved in is if you enlist with the Imperial Navy, earning rank, medals a glory/infamy as you go.
So what can you do?
- bounty hunt - and we do mean 'hunt' not just sit at a co-ordinate and wait for them to turn up - enlist in the Imperial Navy - do commercial jobs - cargo transporting, passenger taxi services, be a courier... - purchase orbital bases or stations (Stretch Goal) - go rogue/pirate, steal cargo, fulfil a hit, even order a hit... - explore - there's plenty of the Great Unknown still out there! - pimp your ride - reskin/reconfigure your ships to your hearts content (Stretch Goal) - go mining - resources are always in demand!
Even better - why not do all of them at once? Kit out your Explorer class vessel with mining kit "just in case", or commit piracy in a Naval Cruiser - just be prepared for the consequences of upsetting both the pirates and the Navy... upsetting the factions by being found out as "disloyal" is a sure-fire way to get a hole in our hull!
This list might seem ambitious for an small Indie – but we've been careful to be sure we only put up the features we know we can deliver within the budget and time-frame we're proposing - there's far far more planned for later releases!
Playing the Game
Gameplay itself will be largely 1st person - in Dominium ou play as "you" - and see the universe exactly as you would yourself.
Thanks to nano-integration technology, you will be connected directly to your ships AI via the qNet, which means you see get a virtual cockpit view from within your ship, along with direct access to all ship systems.
Then thanks to "Observer" technology - you can pretty much create a viewpoint from anywhere outside your ship, so if you choose you can go 3rd person, view from the left/rear/front/back et al. We plan to even let you hard-mount your own view points on the hull of your ship, viewing from turrets and even taking them over is also on the cards.
Initially there won't be any physical cockpit - modelling these to any decent detail will be too complex and time-consuming. But, future releases and modders will allow this to happen.
The drive tech on offer in Dominium largely means non-Newtonian physics are involved. The laws of physics have been totally mastered (with certain limits). A fighter can pretty much spin on a dime and change orientation and velocity without the occupant being aware of anything. That said, we don't want 70,000t Carriers doing the same thing!
However, Newtonian physics will still feature - with tech from outside the empire (and very old Imperial tech) still being subject to Newtonian physics, putting them at a major disadvantage to Imperial technology!
So flying with Newtonian physics won't be "optional" in that you can turn it on/off - it's optional in that you can buy a ship that has Newtonian/non-Newtonian drive systems.
Ship with a Past
It's not just the characters in Dominium who have a history, the ships do as well. Just like buying a used car - buying a used ship you have to be careful of where it came from. How many light-years on the clock? Was it a former pirate ship? What about it's markings? Clearly some kind of faction. Is someone going to shoot you on sight because it's from a rival clan? Will the Navy haul you in for piracy when you've never stolen a single credit? You may want to get the ship re-id'd to make sure, and best give it a paint job before someone recognises it...
Main Man, Hard Man, Iron Man
Which would you be?
We want to cater for all gamers - pick up and play through to hard-core.
There's no "Easy" mode - Main Man is "Normal" difficulty - posing challenge enough whilst being playable, fair and square, and letting you get on about your business exploring, progressing and buying all the shiny kit.
Hard Man poses more of a challenge - things cost more, ships are typically harder and their weapons pack more punch.
Iron Man sorts the boys from the men. It plays as per Hard mode, and still saves your progress as you go. But - when you die - that's it. No checkpoints, no resume, no loading an old save. Game Over.
The initial release will be in English - however if we achieve the first Stretch Goal, we can look to supporting FIGS locales (French, Italian, German, Spanish). Non-latin1 language support would be left for a subsequent release.
For more info than I can fit in this pitch (because I can - and will - go on, and on, and on...) feel free to visit our homepage at http://dominium.maksw.com to see more about our longer term plans for Dominium!
Also! Kick It Forward! We subscribe to the ethos behind http://kickingitforward.org - not just for the sake of it, but because we believe this is the honourable way to respect crowd-funding as a whole!
The Kalarian Pathfinder mission has just discovered a new world in the Roth system, called Maia - details have been filed with the Imperial World Catalog as follows in the attached v-feed.
Verdant - aka Greenlight
Verdant is a centre of excellence for all technology within the Empire - technicians from all disciplines either come from there, or move there to train and become experts in their chosen field.
It's a "reward" field for the Greenlight community voting us to 5 stars for a game they'd like to see on Steam - we hope to be able to accommodate!
Discover new systems, races, and celestial bodies in the totally unique Explorer Mode
We're building Dominium o have 200,000 stars, over 1,000,000 planets, at least 1,200 unique species and civilisations - most of which are waiting to be discovered!
Imagine an experience where, instead of just flying around aimlessly, you could map and plan your journey before you leave dock. Even if it's into uncharted territory.
Discover comets, deadly planet-threatening asteroids, new resources, first-contact species, and much more!
Send out probes to do the grunt work - but just be prepared for what they may discover...
Dominium has been generated using astronomical statistical data to produce stars of various categories, which determine the likelihood of having planets, with the stars "Goldilocks zone" determining if they are habitable, etc. Binary systems exist - as well as some other surprises and artifacts waiting to be discovered.
Dominium is not the galaxy it might seem on first entering it, there are some deep seeded truths lurking deep within...
... why not create your own content? Modders welcome!
We'll provide the tools to get your own spaceships and stations into Dominium - and if you want you can submit them into the game's downloadable content for everyone to see!
Trading forms a large part of the peaceful route to riches in Dominium as such we will build on and evolve the trading which normally takes place in such games.
As players move goods about, the economies of the systems selling/buying the goods reflect the trade - new relations/routes are forged dynamically - old unused ones will fade away... the economy is dynamic and always changing, just as it is in reality!
Disasters, heavy pirate activity, political actions - these will all impact the economies of the systems involved. If they go on for long enough – you will see their effect ripple out across the galaxy.
And it's not just peaceful traders that should take note here. If you are up to nefarious activities in a dangerous backwater system, you'll still have to find somewhere to fence those stolen diamonds or illegal commodities. You can't upgrade your ship or buy those replacement missiles without income!
Death is coming... a dark and unforgiving force is rising. It has a one-track mind, one goal to attain - and it won't stop for anything. It consumes everything in its path, and destroys what it can't consume. The Empire is preparing for a conflict which it has no idea if it can win.
Take on recon missions for the Imperial Navy, know the enemy. Find their strengths and weaknesses, take part in hit and run missions - and ultimately full-scale campaigns to liberate systems from their clutches.
Guns n' stuff...
Dominium will feature all the ships and guns and missiles you could ever want in a space-game, the aim is to provide as many as possible for launch and refuse to stop making more of them for as long as the game stays live with on-going downloadable updates, Too many is not enough for us!
Destructibility is a big thing for us too. Ships will explode into bits, and feel the shrapnel bounce of your hull! Those hulks will float around forever in space - unless they get salvaged, or blasted to smithereens!
"Shoot to kill, men..."
You're going to have to defend yourself at some point. If you can afford multiple ships, you can probably afford wingmen. So sign them up, strap them in... and maybe whack them up front to take (or deal) the majority of the damage!
Every ship in Dominium can be cracked and split and blown into a thousand bits. That includes the space stations. Become powerful enough, and you could laser one right in half - if the Navy lets you that is!
"You got a job, we can do it, don't much care what it is."
Who wants to work in a game? Well - buying shiny kit requires money, and doing jobs is a fast track to earning some serious moolah and reputation. Jobs for the fair and jobs for the foul, and jobs for everyone else in-between. But you get to choose what and where, we won't force you to work!
We're classing them as jobs because - quite frankly - taking some cargo from one place to another isn't really a mission. Or a quest. We aren't going to dress chores up like other games might do. Missions will be missions...
Chances are doing a job well will mean more jobs come out of it, and earn you a good reputation - invaluable in a galaxy where everyone is out for the same thing - money!
It could be carrying some papers from one place to another. Or carrying people. Or even less savoury jobs like making someone dead... it's your choice.
Do a job, do it well, and you'll see the rewards.
As for missions? When you get a mission in Dominium you will know that it's a mission. A proper mission. There will probably be big guns involved, lots of ships, and lots of explosions. The risks will be high, and so will the rewards. If you survive them - you'll definitely make a name for yourself.
But, that's not enough. We want more. Far more. As a taster - here are some game-play and feature extensions we feel Dominium needs on day one, but we need even more support to allow these awesome features to be developed!
We could go on, and on - but we want to keep it real. We know we're not Star Citizen - we know we can't expect bazillions. So we're keeping the Stretch Goals and the fund at modest, realistic and more importantly deliverable levels. Again - check out dominium.maksw.com if you want to see our longer term vision for the Dominium universe!
Stretch Goal Rewards
You'll notice our reward tiers trail off at £100 - there's a reason for that. We have some great additional rewards to add in across all tiers, but they rely on the Stretch Goals being reached to "unlock" them. So - if you are super-generous and back us above £100 from day one, we promise on our honour - one of two things ;
1) When a stretch goal is reached and it's rewards are unlocked, we will ensure your pledge is granted the rewards it qualifies for
2) As the campaign progresses - we will put up more rewards, and ensure your pledge is granted the rewards it qualifies for
Small, but perfectly formed...
So - a one-man-band-indie-studio... and an artist... how can we possibly expect to achieve this?
First - passion... Dominium has been gestating in my brain for 27 years - yes, 27! I've been turning over what I want it to do, and how it will happen for that long - held back only by time and finances. I’m as confident as I can be that I know what to deliver, and how to deliver it. If this funding route fails - I'll figure out some other way to realise the awesome universe that's unfolding in my head ...
Second - we've already started work. I've been realising some of my basic ideas over the past months, resulting in a solid prototype that demo's the core-tech which hopefully you've seen in our trailer I've only committed to this Kickstarter project after making sure what I am planning is feasible, and that I could realise it the way I wish.
Third - Crowd-development - or "modding" - our ambitious plan is to provide the largest and most diverse content set any game has ever dared to hope for. But how can we do that with such a small team, and a (relatively) modest budget when even the big publishers would not dare? Because we are Indie! And we are prepared to take the risk to achieve something unheard of. Well - we petition anyone to join our cause - worldwide! We want to form what could be the largest content development effort ever, to produce the most diverse and graphically rich universe for Dominium that can be made... visit here for more details (even if you're just curious as to our madness!). And if this fails? We're prepared for that - you'll still get some superb content (just less of it...) and we intend to keep shoving more in after release as the project hopefully grows!
Fourth - it won't just be "me and my mate" - that is why we need you! Your generous funding support will allow us to hire the developers we'll need to produce the full game (such as the team I've drawn up below). So the more funding we can get, the more we can achieve!
Fifth - my entire career (games and app's) has been spent honing my "deliver- quality-product-come-what-may" skills - so far successfully! Without being immodest, I know we have what it takes to produce something to this scale.
Overall our development aim is “AAA” – of course, even the most dedicated team with the budget requested for a game of this scale couldn’t consistently reach AAA – the big- boy studios churn millions of £’s to achieve that. But – our motto is “Aim high…” If you shoot for the moon but fall short, chances are you at least made it into space… the trick is to plan for what happens next!
Finally, we've got our own kit - laptops, beast-PC's with dual displays, Mac's, iOS devices, file/SCM/Web/FTP servers, software licenses, off-site backups... so we don't need to buy anything. The money being raised is for developing Dominium, not for creating a studio or buying or renting expensive premises!
How will the funding be used?
The "target" fund will be used for delivering the MVP (Minimum Viable Product), i.e. 200,000 stars with worlds to explore, space/combat/trading/missions and as much content as we can squeeze out the target fund.
Excess funding (!) will be used toward stretch-goals, and ramping up what we have beyond the MVP plan above.
Feeding developers - I'm sorry, but there it is. Passion requires energy...
Public Relations / Marketing
Licensing 3rd party software (as appropriate/if needed)
Additional ad-hoc asset purchases which cannot be catered for in-house, or where our Content Author submission goals fall short.
Final release server platform(s).
Dominium will be a stand-alone game that can be purchased and downloaded. Further user-modded content updates will be provided free of charge, and expansion packs as purchasable content add-ons.
Your generous contribution will allow us to develop the initial platform for something much bigger and better down the road!
Everyone involved is a hard-bitten gaming vet, who have all shipped multiple AAA titles. To give you an idea, here's a small selection of titles we've worked on...
I'm afraid some of the people I will include need safe-guarding due to their current commitments, so forgive the aliases!
Principal : Myself, Malcolm Sparrow
12yr veteran, 8 published games(EA/SEGA), 2 self-published, 14 iOS App's - has worked full time as a Development Consultant, Lead Programmer, Ops Manager, Database Administrator, BSc Computer Science (Hons)
Andy Debus (aka PixelDad)
2D/3D Artist - UI/Textures/3DCG/Content Reviewer
17yr veteran, 11 published games + a further 13 games/apps contributed to whilst freelance - has worked as a Senior / Lead Artist, Illustrator,Graphic and Product Designer
SolCommand is lined as one of our Content Authors ready to knock out some awesome ship content for us - check out his website here to see some of what to expect in Dominium!
That's the core team working on Dominium at the moment - there are more recruits if we get funded - click here to see the full team!
This fund allows a 12 month development timeframe,
As early as possible (hopefully at 6 to 8 months), we'll provide an Alpha to get feedback and allow us to review our process/design.
At 8 to 10 months we will provide a Beta for proper game testing.
The remaining 2 months will be spent bug-killing and polishing!
Finally, all being well at 12 months, we will have a shippable title, ready for download!
Ok, so that's a lot of jabbering - and thank you for reading through it! I apologise if I rambled on, but there's so much to tell! But before you decide to donate (or not) I want to be clear on what your hard earned cash will be helping to build.
This initial release is a building block - the hopeful starting point of a much grander thing.
It may slip a few things here and there, or gain a few things - but essentially, your donation will be going towards building a space-combat game, set in as rich and as diverse a game-universe as we can achieve in the time-frame and budget we've set out.
What happens after that - we can't wait to find out! We hope you can't either!
* No profane/offensive/copyrighted/trademarked names or aliases will be allowed.
* All user content will be vetted and anything found to breach copyright/legal rights will be removed without warning. That means no Star Wars ships in-game I'm afraid!
Risks and challenges
Developing games is a risk - even the biggest and best have fallen foul of over-reaching and/or under-funding. Whilst we are confident we can deliver (otherwise we wouldn't be putting our names out on this!) certain things may have to slip, but if they do - it will slip into the next point release, or the next Episode at the worst. However, our overheads are far-far-far lower than a traditional studio, because we don't have one! Hence we think we can do "as good as them" but for far less dosh.
Using our own engine - make no mistake, we know it's unproven in a commercial product - and therefore is a risk. I know it's fit for the task, but tools will need creating (for Maya exports, Blender and/or others - although Max is done already), and more tool support means more in-engine changes to cater for specifics. Worst case - we restrict content to existing working tools. Extreme worst case - we dump it and pick up another engine. Dumping tech is painful, we've done it before for other studios - and it's not something I'd care to do again believe me. I'm confident we won't need to otherwise I'd already be downloading another engine and evaluating it...
We pulled out all the "not online, online" aspects which we wanted to put in as the foundation for going MMO later. The original pitch would have played the game in a persistent online universe which allowed you to share your game world with others, even if you couldn't play head to head. So lots of server comm's, database setups, account management, transaction processing, and not to mention testing could be detached from the pitch this time around.
We've also moved a lot of gameplay features from the original pitch into stretch goals to make our minimum fund more attainable. If you look to the Stretch Goal ladder it totals £150k (ish) to bring in features which were part of the original £325k pitch - such as buying and running stations.
We worked long and hard to try and reduce the game to core features which will deliver a good game in this time-frame at this budget, and we believe we've hit the spot!
I may not be able to give you a "superb" answer here. I've backed both SC and ED - being a space game nut - but, due to having already been working on Dom for a long, long, long time - I didn't want to get the in's and out's of what they are up to for two reasons. 1) so that I don't accidentally mix their ideas into Dom and 2) to avoid the obvious "this is nicked from SC" or "from ED" etc.
Dom has to stand on it's own two feet - sure there are bound to be similarities - it's a space game! but, I want Dom to be cool for it's own reasons, and not it's "similarities".So! What do we do - well, we have a deep background for the game universe - but one we want anyone to be able to contribute to. Mod's to roll into the game content, short stories set in the universe, we want to big up "exploring" and not just "shooting" stuff. Actually encountering new species, or having to save worlds from destruction. These will happen in Dominion. Our Dynamic Event Engine allows that.In most space games you expire just to SEE something new. In Dominion you explore to FIND something new. That's a crucial difference. That's why we are offering specific Explorer ships in game. We want these to be fitted with everything from geological survey information, to probes that you can launch to scout new systems for you.We want you to feel unrestricted by the game - but not left feeling aimless and lost with no objectives. The main draw for us is the ultimate destination we are aiming toward - a vast MMO with user submitted content - worlds to walk on, ships & stations to wander around, FPS levels made by players so people can explore their creations online.The universe is dynamic - even though everyone will get the same galaxy - it won't be the same after you've played it. Discovering new species could lead to war, or new trade routes opening up... and we've not mentioned the secrets hidden deep in Dominion's past...We don't just want YOU to be able to do anything in Dom, we want you to be able to build anything as well. Fleets, stations, bases, colonies, control worlds and star systems. These are all very grand aims of course, but we think by taking small steps and building it up as we go, with the approach we have - we reckon we can get there, otherwise we wouldn't be asking people for their hard-earned to share our vision ;) I hope that helps - if not, ask for more!
We've had to think long and hard with the rewards - as much of the gameplay fro the original gave the higher tier rewards are now stretch goals, we don't feel it's right to promise them as rewards for higher tiers until we hit the stretch goals themselves. This poses us a problem though. You may (generously!) back us for £250, and hope for a similar reward to come from the stretch goals - however we may get funded yet miss such a goal. At that point, I would genuinely expect you to wish to change your pledge, and would honour that wish. Or, we could perhaps produce other rewards which may sit well instead. At this time, I'm hoping to do an update shortly about 3D prints of vessels, possibly as rewards... so if that might interest you, I'd say hold fire for a few hours until I get chance to check out the results ;) Also, if someone does donate higher than £100, we have committed (in the £100 pledge) to back-reward anything we come up with which that pledge should have been granted. With respect to the Planet-Lord tier - we think realistically, that at £100k, or even £150k, this gameplay feature will be beyond what the fund will allow development wise :( But, given your (return) interest and faith, we'll have a think and see if we can nudge another stretch goal onto the ladder.
Pengari Race Ticket : Free in-game entry to the new annual Pengari 40 Star Race, plus to commemorate the inaugural race - the awesome Super Laser Racer from the BAFTA award winning indie dev - New Star Games!
+ Rewards below £19
The Humble Crumble Bundle :
Get Season 1 of the adventures of Crumble, a bar owner on a far off space station that hovers near the dangerous backwaters of the galaxy. Download Episode 1 free, then receive another short story every month for the next nine months until the end of seasons cliffhanger!
Story : you get the final digital copy of "Daria" - a story set in the Dominion game universe. Visit http://dominion.maksw.com/story/daria/Chapter-01.pdf for a sample chapter. (Sorry, links don't seem to work in KS Rewards)
Creators Club : A special backer dedicated forum for submitting and discussing ideas, chat with us dev's and progress updates. Also, details for wannabe author's who'd like to contribute short stories to the Dominion Universe.