Starium XCV is a persistent massively multiplayer online strategy game that focuses on exploration, combined with technological, diplomatic, military, religious, economic and covert dominance. Starium XCV is played via a browser with no download required.
Starium XCV is being developed by a small team of West Michigan game designers, artists, writers and coders along with our Loremaster from England. We have been working in our spare time since 2012 to bring this strategy game to you.
Our design premise is: Always free to play, never pay to win. The game is an immersive and expansive experience that respects your time, constantly providing something new to discover. Players begin with a small colony and set out to explore the galaxy, which is rich with story and mystery. Each fledgling nation has a high degree of customization, so every empire is unique.
Starium XCV is abundant in features that will promote both collaboration and conflict on a variety of levels. Combined with different game speeds and procedural map generation, every galaxy will evolve differently. Players build and customize military units and ships, creating game enforced alliances and trade. Leaders and agents are used to perform missions that advance their causes.
Eventually, players can band together into a guild system called “Federations”. These federations are an intrinsic part of the game structure and provide numerous benefits through shared information, trade, collaboration and, ultimately, power.
The game is primarily for players who do not have the time to spend 4+ hours a day in front of a computer to be competitive. We have gone to elaborate lengths to remove “Grind” and to focus on more exciting game play in terms of discovery and strategic decision making, away from rote activity. We envision the player spending some time making moves, then going on with real life for a time, then returning to check on game progress for short bursts of time. In other words, this offering is designed from the ground up to be real life friendly.
It is also designed for those players who want to play games but lack the high entry costs needed to purchase consoles or gaming PC's. Starium XCV can be engaged across a wide variety of platforms, as only an up-to-date web browser is required to play. Yes, this means that you can play with and against those on mobile devices, Chromebooks, PC's, MAC's, and consoles. Even older systems with outdated graphic capabilities can be used.
Our lead designer and executive producer behind Starium XCV is Jim Landes. Some of you know him as "Saxondragon" the creator of Prophesy of Pendor, the total conversion modification to Mount & Blade: Warband. Others may remember him as the creator of "Epic" and "Legends", both massive multiplayer games before the Internet.
"Many years ago I developed a series of game designs and simulations based upon a futuristic vision of interstellar empires that spanned multiple star systems and comprised many different alien lifeforms and their cultures. I wanted to take players into a new place with unique experiences that engage on a multitude of levels. You explore what alien cultures and lifeforms may be like and set this against a backdrop of survival, empire building and eventual galactic dominance."
This vision by Jim is becoming Starium XCV.
We currently have working alpha code that is a proof of concept. A new colony can expand and grow on its home world. Its armies can have custom looks and move from place to place, acquiring new resources and encounter new empires. Fleets can also have be customized and move from world to world, as well as travel to new star systems. When fleets and armies travel, they discover far flung races with different government ethos and religious affiliations. These fleets find vast empires with long histories within the galaxy.
There is a rich lore behind Starium XCV which breathes life into the game. Every race has its "home empire". Each home empire, in turn, is a member of the Concordium. This United Nations like entity keeps the empires from each other's throats – most of the time.
At present, there are 10 playable races, known collectively as the “Core Races”. They are the major powers within the Concordium. All the player colonies were established by the Concordium and each is home to one or two races.
To further explain this approach, let's talk about one of these colony options, the Penal Colony, and the two races you will find in this colony: Gervians and Ursians.
The guards are predominantly Ursian, a bear-like race with a very deep sense of law and order. These massive creatures are known for their fearsome fortitude which enables them to survive the most impossible conditions.
Conversely, the Gervian inmates are known for their ability to control fire, an almost intuitive ability to see and avoid danger, and a sense of people's true motivations – which they can then manipulate.
For centuries, the Gervians and Ursians have been at odds, even within the Concordium. This exalted assembly actually arose from the fires of war between these two peoples. The conflict was due to the Gervian enslavement of another race. The Ursians won the struggle and, in order to enforce the abolition of slavery, united with the Gervians to create the Concordium.
This is just a small taste of what you can look forward to in Starium XCV. Each of the 10 core races has a significant body of history behind it, providing for its culture and entry into the Concordium. We will talk more about the other core races via the updates during this Kickstarter campaign.
Genesis is a tool we created to procedurally generate a galaxy of approximately 100,000 star systems filled with half a million worlds. Living within these systems will be tens of thousands of computer-controlled empires. Each has its own history to discover, based on the experiences of that nation as created during Genesis.
The story behind each of these empires is unique, having been shaped through circumstances such as volcanoes, wars, the rise and fall of religions and a myriad of different events. As a player interacts with these computer-controlled empires, their past events and orientations come alive and provide unparalleled context.
The underpinning of all strategy games is the economic system. The design of Starium XCV's economic system is easy to understand, yet highly nuanced. Every area in the game can host multiple populations of different races, each with differing cybernetics and mutations.
Population in an area is divided among three tasks, these include: gathering organic materials and mining metals, research, infrastructure, producing industrial units and creating trade goods. Production is then further modified by local flora/fauna, abilities of the race and technology.
The resources produced by this labor are then held in the world's market reserve. Every colony/empire on a planet has its own market, allowing for trade within planets between different powers. Populations consume organics, industry consumes organics and metals while shipyards consume industrial units. All of these needs are served by the markets.
Each area can specialize in one of eight types of trade goods. The type of trade good an area is capable of producing depends upon its infrastructure and terrain archetype. These goods are consumed by the population of the world. The price paid is determined by the type of trade good and how many goods are available. If demand is higher than supply, then the price of those goods rise. If the market is then flooded with those goods, the price will fall. This can all be manipulated by players, either to bolster their own economy...or to ruin the economy of a rival.
In addition, there is piracy, interdiction, and a host of diplomatic options to further influence trade. We want to give players the ability to use economics as a tool for diplomacy or as a weapon.
Leaders are the moving pieces which enable you to unlock the full potential of your empire. This can be done either by enhancing other aspects, like leading your armies or administrating cities, or by providing entirely new interactions, like the deployment of covert agents.
Each leader can be fully customized with a new bust and name. Also, each leader has a particular set of skills acquired over a long career. These skills can range from Political or Religious, to Ground and Space Combat. Leaders gain a title based on their top two skills. Although they could theoretically acquire all available skills, as specialists they can be more effective with specific roles.
New leaders start with skills based primarily on the traits of their race, but these skills can be further improved and expanded through the acquisition and use of powerful artifacts.
Agents are sent by leaders to undertake special missions as spies, clerics, mentors, inquisitors or any number of other political or religious actors, each with their own particular skills and operations.
Missions are generated in the context of the game where the leader or agent is located. For example, a leader with political skill might get a mission based on a local alien race asking for help to overcome a famine. The leader would put together a humanitarian response and be rewarded with improved diplomatic relations with that alien race.
Starium XCV has a Lexicon, an elaborate node-based technology tree. By using the Lexicon, players can map out their own technological evolution.
The tiny nodes (the little dots between clusters) on the Lexicon represent minor breakthroughs in a specific area of technology. Each node can give one or multiple different bonuses that affect something within your empire. We track 682 different types of bonuses. They range from unlocking a specific type of space craft, bonuses in terrains for combat and production or growth rates to better weapon types and costs. Other bonuses can genetically modify races to form new life forms or enhance your race with machinery, creating a new cybernetic species. There are 6,987 nodes, some of which can be selected multiple times.
The philosophy of our business model is there is no way to pay to win.
We are a free-to-play game, but money is still needed to pay for developers, server rental, etc. Therefore we’ve adopted a hybrid "micro-transaction" and “elastic” business model.
The first micro-transaction model is used for the sale of customization options and the second involves game functions and usability. We want to be as transparent as we can so that there are no unexpected surprises for anyone, so let’s take a moment to go through this.
You are likely already familiar with the concept of premium customization options. For example, new unit skins, premium shields, user interfaces and the ability to change heraldry are available for purchase. These are all purely cosmetic, meant to allow players to express themselves and look cool.
The second is a little more complicated, as it involves in-game features, but not in such a way as to derive unfair advantage. This is the key. All the items we sell, you can eventually get in-game through the daily login rewards, paying will just reduce the time taken to get them.
So how exactly does this work? Every 24 hours that a player logs into the game, we give out a combination of small in-game resources such as organics, metals, trade-goods and always a few Quadrans, our in-game premium currency. These Quadrans can also be purchased with real money.
Quadrans can be exchanged for the customization options listed above, but also things like additional ship and unit design slots, more pins and beacons (used to post reminders on the map) or renaming worlds and stars.
One of the main themes of Starium XCV is personalization. When we started the project, we posted this refrain for our designers entitled From the Eyes of Our Players :
“I want a place that I own where I am in control. I want to find new things, understand secrets and explore places where no one else has gone before. I want to be unique and represent myself in the game so other players must see, deal with and ultimately respect me. I want my experience to suit my own unique style of play.”
We know that having a unique and cool avatar is important in RPGs, and it's no less so in a strategy game. From creating unique heraldry, to the look of star ships and military units, to developing unique technologies, to dealing with one of a kind computer-controlled empires, personalization is a key design element of Starium XCV. Reflecting this is the ability for players to select different “Themes” that change the look and feel of the game.
There is still more to be done. Most pressing is the implementation of the economic and production systems, which will really bring the planets to life. We need to develop the missions for political and religious agents, together with diplomatic protocols. Our space and ground battle prototypes need to be refined. We also need to fine tune the game on mobile devices. Finally, we have to assemble the Lexicon and integrate it into all our systems.
As you can see the foundations of Starium XCV are in place and, with your help, we can complete the game!.
To encourage the promotion of our campaign we've set these social achievement stretch goals. All of our backers will receive an in-game medal if any or all of the following goals are met. The design of the medal will change depending on which goal levels are achieved.
Our team has been working part time for the last seven years to bring this vision to life. During this time we have been able to bring forth this game from concept to an early alpha. Now we need to acquire some more expertise in order to bring Starium XCV to market. This costs money. Of course, the more traditional funding route is open to us, and we are confident that we could secure this type of financing, However, we’d much rather be directly accountable to you, the players, rather than an entity who is primarily interested in investment return rates.
We have reviewed our options and risks, deciding our best move is asking for help through Kickstarter. We feel this will maintain the integrity of our vision and allow us to make an amazing game. We hope you can share our vision of where we want to go and are as excited about the potential of this game we are. Thank you for your time and support!
Risks and challenges
We have successfully passed proof of concept and overcome the technical challenges for this offering to work as envisioned.
The challenges ahead of us are implementation of several key features and streamlining existing features to maximize their efficiency. Along with this we need to further develop processes and methods that give the game maximum scalability and sustainability.
While all of the key personnel required to complete this offering have committed to seeing this project to the end, a successful Kickstarter will ensure that we have the stability needed to finish the game in a timely manner.
Our Commitment to Our Backers:
We will use all of the funds raised to directly further development of StariumXCV and with the highest level of quality possible.
In addition, we pledge to be in constant communication and transparent in our progress.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)