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Startropy
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Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« on: May 21, 2017, 05:47:46 pm »

Update 27/05/2017 - Demo now available - http://www.indiedb.com/games/startropy/downloads/startropy-pilot-demo

Hi all,

My name is David and I'm the developer of Startropy, a new sci-fi adventure game that's heavily inspired by SC2.

My background is in AAA games where I've worked on a couple of big games like Batman: Arkham Knight and Grand Theft Auto V, but I've left the scene about 2 years ago to pursue a personal passion project which is to become this game.

Startropy puts you in the role as the captain of humanity's first starship capable of FTL travel. Your task will be to explore the universe to discover strange new worlds, and then befriend (or blast) the aliens you meet.

Features:
  • A graphic adventure type setup where you can explore, talk and interact with the world.
  • Away team missions will have you assign different crewman to explore hostile planets to gather resources and sometimes enter “dungeons.”
  • Space combat that emphasises tactical choices over twitch reflexes, and sometimes feature environmental hazards and other quirks.


Trailer:
https://youtu.be/a9GsQEx77o8

Expand for screenshots:
(click to show/hide)

The game flow should feel pretty familiar to SC2 players here: You will freely explore the universe gathering up resources so you can upgrade your ship in order to explore further out, and on the way you will encounter alien civilisations that will have a major “quest” involving them.

How it differs from SC2 however is that the more action-ey based gameplay of space melee and planet exploration has been replaced with a more methodical RPG-like approach. The idea I wanted here was to try and create tense situations that stem from strategic planning (think of that long internal debate you have with yourself whether its worth trying for that 60% shot in X-COM or whether it would be better to retreat!)

I've mentioned that this game is a passion project. Well Startropy is basically my attempt at trying to put together a lot of the fantastic experiences I've had that made me go “wow, this is a great game!” That got me into computer gaming, and that I hope will bring joy to others as well.

Growing up I was a big fan of Lucasart style adventure games, but it wasn't until my college years when I found out about SC2 (via the Ur-Quan Masters port no less!) that I was blown away by the sheer depth and charm of that game.

So I'm pretty happy with how my game is shaping out, but recognise that it is a niche game. If any of what I wrote sounded mildly relevant to your interests, then please help me try and reach others that might also be interested, by voting for my game on Steam Greenlight with the link I have conveniently pasted for you below:

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=864030494

Thanks for reading guys. Let me know what you think. If you have any questions please ask and I'll do my best to answer.

The usual links:
http://startropy.com/
http://www.facebook.com/startropy
https://twitter.com/startropy
« Last Edit: May 27, 2017, 08:00:12 pm by Startropy » Logged
Krulle
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2017, 09:57:21 pm »

That sounds indeed very inteesting!
Alas, I can't upvote or do anything on steam for you. as I do not subscribe to steam....

I'll folow you on that bird song service, though.

Good luck!

PS: there's also the UQM independet Star-Control forum, where you migt want to advertise too: http://star-control.com/community/viewforum.php?f=11
« Last Edit: May 21, 2017, 09:59:26 pm by Krulle » Logged
Startropy
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2017, 11:01:50 am »

Aha, thanks for the tip! Smiley
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2017, 01:44:38 pm »

At what stage of development is this? I don't see how to get it, so I guess you're still testing/developing? I don't know enough about how Steam Greenlight works for that to be very illuminating.
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2017, 02:18:14 pm »

As far as I understood the Steam Greenlight program: it is a tool for developers to test acceptance of a proposed new game.
In a very early stage you can show off your ideas to the steam community, and if enough people say "I like this, please develop a full game" steam gives you "green light" to continue developing.
You can also enroll in news, and possibly buy early access, but you can say "yes please" without commiting any money. Once enough people say "yes", the steam algorithm says that you might have enough customers to have the full development being a worthwhile investment. Otherwise steam advises you to stop pouring time and money into a project that will (in their opinion) likely be a commercial failure.

It's a kind of market evaluation...

Also, steam greenlight FAQ: http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/about/?appid=765&section=faq
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 02:20:49 pm by Krulle » Logged
Startropy
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2017, 09:00:25 pm »

Hey all,

Krulle is partially correct. The idea of Steam Greenlight is to basically leave it up to the players to decide what kind of indie games they want to see appear on the platform by voting on possible candidates.

For Steam it's a way to see what kind of game their users would be interested in seeing. For developers as Krulle says it can be a useful way to gauge the interest people potentially have for your game idea.

Just to clarify though:
- Being "greenlit" just means that Valve will allow me to distribute my game on their Steam platform when the game is finished.
- The game is still getting made even if I don't make it through Steam Greenlight. If it comes to that I will look into entering their new submission process which is supposed to happen sometime this summer, as well as different distribution platforms. Greenlight is a bit of a special case since it's better to enter it midway through development rather than once you are near completion.
- The reason why getting on Steam is such a big deal is because they are basically THE platform for PC gaming. Their install base is massive and create a domino effect where one person can see what their friend or favourite curator is playing/following and so really helps to create visibility for smaller games. You may also be surprised to hear there are people who will refuse to play a PC game unless it's on Steam.
- Voting for my game in no way commits you to getting/purchasing the game.

But to answer your question Death: The game is still in development and I'm currently working on releasing a playable demo for it soon, once I clean the game up a bit for general public consumption and also figure out the best way to distribute the demo.
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Startropy
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2017, 07:59:21 pm »

Hey guys, I'm back with a playable demo! Smiley

You can download it here:
http://www.indiedb.com/games/startropy/downloads/startropy-pilot-demo
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2017, 12:14:07 am »

If this is exe only, you're about to find out if it works in wine.
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Startropy
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2017, 12:53:02 am »

Hmm, let me know. The demo is built on an older version of AGS. I hear the new engine is linux compatible which I'll hopefully be able to port the game onto.
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2017, 02:22:17 pm »

Works through wine on mac. Not sure how to check if cmd-click or fn-click is being read as right-click, since I don't know what examining as opposed to acting would do on anything.

Seems fine so far. Most of the quality in the end will come down to the storytelling and puzzle quality, which is a little hard to gauge from the demo. I did like how the captain doesn't go down right away.

Tiny note - when I was trying to scan one of the museum plaques, the click registered as being on the translator guy, or perhaps the background. You might want to make their hitbox a little larger.
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2017, 02:05:13 am »

Thanks for playing it Death! Smiley

Yeah the hitboxes are a bit off in the demo, but it'll be fixed in the game proper.
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #11 on: June 08, 2017, 10:35:48 am »

Startropy has now been greenlit! Thank you so much for your support everyone!  Smiley
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2017, 06:11:06 pm »

Hey all, I hope everyone here has been doing well. I've been tinkering away at the game still, though I realise I should probably post a progress report lest people think the project has been abandoned.

Aside from rewriting the code after the demo I released, the big feature I've been working on has been the star map:

Initially the idea was to base the map on an actual face-on map reproduction of the Milky Way. The game's premise will have mankind moving on from the sector of space that contains our solar system, further outwards on our local arm.

Researching into the matter, I found out that nobody has an accurate idea what our galaxy really looks like, and that reproductions using the best estimates creates an almost scattershot map, where stars are either evenly spaced out across large distances, or many are packed in as clusters.

After some internal debate and looking into how other games and properties have approached map creation, I've decided on creating a starmap similar in style to SC2, which sets star systems out in constellation style groupings. SC2 smartly got around this by calling it a “hyperspace” map and therefore not subject to how stars would be set if we got a tape measure out.

Grouping them as constellations is great from a game perspective, as you get that feeling of risking an unknown voyage across large distances of empty void so you can go explore that “island chain” of stars, and the groupings are more human friendly for our brains.

So that's the plan for Startropy, and the authenticity of the star arrangements is getting hand-waved away as it being a new and uncharted sector of space.

The other hefty task was in the system of generating the planets that would orbit a star. The star systems are randomly pre-generated and I then go in to hand tweak some variables if needed to provide a better play experience, though not much tweaking is really needed so far as the system has created some pretty interesting arrangements (plenty of relatively pleasant planets that players can explore, as well as resource rich hell-worlds that players will be praying to the RNG-gods for protection if they dare risk it). For plot planets like the ones used in the demo, those are crafted by hand and then placed in a system where it makes sense.

There's fair bit of number crunching behind the scenes to determine what planet types or other objects are likely to appear given various factors within the star system (though not quite as hardcore as what the Starflight programmers created). These variables then get simplified to more game-relevant details which are presented to the player:

Typical planet report (gameplay effects are subject to change):
- Average temperature: Frozen worlds may add a fuel tax to keep the away team alive. Hell worlds are suicidal without special gear and only somewhat suicidal with it.
- Volcanic activity: The higher the level, the more resource rich the planet is but also more dangerous.
- Tectonic activity: Higher it is the more dangerous.
- Atmosphere: Toxic atmospheres will increase the likelihood of the away team dying if injured (to simulate their environment suits getting breached).
- Gravity: Affects fuel consumption.
- Resource value: The main reason for your expeditions! Precious metals, radioactives, etc are abstracted into resource units which acts as a universal currency amongst the races.

Life on other planets:
There will also be other details which may or may not be explicitly outlined in the report like alien life. You stand a good chance of finding life on a garden world (though garden worlds are uncommon) but you may find it in other exotic locations too.

Hope you guys found that interesting!
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 09:55:46 am »

Indeed. Sounds good!

I also like the SC2 maps very much. As you say, the Human mind works in grouping things together.
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Re: Startropy - A SC2-like Sci-Fi Adventure Game
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2017, 06:44:23 pm »

Update: Been working on the structure of the main quest and various sidequests. I'm pretty happy with the plan laid out for the main quest, and think I would like to make a separate post about quest structures after playing around with it some more and can talk about some various and definite examples. For now I'll say that the main quest is left open in that you must collect X amount of macguffins through various means available to you (mine, trade, plunder, etc) which will be the hook for you to meet the various races in the game and engage in the sidequests.

Instead this will be a lore update on some of the races you'll meet in Startropy. So far I've written out 9 races you'll meet in the game, and various interactions and quests involved with them. At the moment I'm thinking of rounding it up to about 12 different races/factions when I'm done.

Race: Glutonians
A savage race that fanatically worship a chaos god of gluttony and excess. This race is a relative newcomer to the space-age, when an unfortunate scouting ship crash landed on their homeplanet. Perceived as a divine miracle when the race was close to extinction from famine, the Glutonians devoured the ship's crew before slowly exploring the rest of the ship, catapulting this once primitive race to an advance one in an incredibly short amount of time.

The Glutonians are mostly an unknown to the other advance races, but they know enough to avoid their region of space as ships passing through have a tendency of never returning. Unfortunately for Humans, nobody gave them the memo. Mankind has taken up residence in what seemed like a cozy and undisturbed sector of space, in close vicinity to them.

Race: Tradashi
Most humans agree that this somewhat shadey race bears an uncanny resemblance to the raccoon in old Earth records. They are one of the most prolific races due to their natural affinity for trade, get rich quick schemes, and scavenging junk (anything that isn't bolted down and guarded by kill-drones is considered “junk” to the Tradashi).

With that said, the Tradashi are a good source of information for the location of any sites rich in resources or salvage, or information on any of the other space-faring races they have had dealings with. You can always count on a Tradashi when you need to trade for goods on your journey. Just be sure to check the quality, and the legality too if you care for that sort of thing.
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