Space Odyssey - Neil deGrasse Tyson's space game now on Kickstarter - $29+

Discussion in 'PC Gaming & Hardware' started by Xaeos, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Xaeos

    Xaeos [H]ardness Supreme

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    Hello everyone! Perusing interesting crowdfunding projects as I often do I was surprised to see a rather unique development - a game inspired, backed, and created by Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist of "Star Talk", Planetary Society , successor host of "Cosmos" after the late Carl Sagan, and general all around science and space advocate!

    The game is called "Space Odyssey" and as one would expect, is a space exploration title. Much of the technology is based on real science and futurist, theoretical advances that could be present at a time when interplanetary exploration is possible. Its notable that it includes both grand strategy "Civilization-style" and "god game" elements, as there are options to create whole planets (like your starting world) with complex ecosystems and you must make choices for technology trees to guide your spacefaring civilization and discover new technologies. Other elements of the game include the direct exploration of the galaxy from the deck/cockpit of your ship, setting up colonies and outposts (there will be on-foot avatars as well), mining, trading, discovering alien life, and generally "Sciencing the hell out of things". Its notable that the game is available to be played either single player or multiplayer, with some noteworthy features for the latter. You can play with others directly, but you can also experience the systems created by other players - they even have tapped certain special guests like George R. R. Martin and Neil Gaiman to create certain systems with planets, civilizations and more! Much like Kerbal Space Program it will be "educational' but focus first and foremost on enjoyable gameplay, so for those who are interested in titles like Evochron, Vendetta Online, Elite Dangerous, or other space, strategy, and simulation titles will find a lot to enjoy.

    The Kickstarter just started funding and as a neat trick has a financial goal of $314,159 ! They plan to launch at the end of 2018 and support both Windows and Mac to start; I'm trying to figure out about Linux in the interim, if they have it planned or if it is possible to be a stretch goal. Right now, you can get a copy of the game for just $29 which also gives you access to the standard Beta plus some other goodies. At $65, you get the earlier VIP beta, a special in-game helmet, and some other goodies. Above that amount, everything else is pretty much physical , such as a signed copy of Tyson's book, or special comics and prints thanks to Len Wien, a writer known for his work in both DC and Marvel comics. This is nice, as backers can get some unique physical collectibles if they wish, but don't need to feel like they need to pony up big bucks to get all of the in-game widgets.

    A link to the campaign follows - If it looks like something you'd enjoy, it seems like a worthwhile project from some influential community members that will help to energize interest in space exploration while also offering a lot of fun. Take a look!



    P.S - Update 1 confirms they plan to support Linux and are using Unreal as an engine! I'll be asking if they can add it officially to the feature list!
     
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  2. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Well It isn't really clear to me what type of game this will be. Seems to be something like star citizen meets no man's sky. And from 400k? You can call me sceptical.

    The biggest red flag for me is that there seems to be no developer familiar with the gaming industry involved with the project. All artists and designers and physicists. I'm not liking this.
     
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  3. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    Yeah...seems super ambitious but like, who is developing it? I see a lot of concept people but no actual game developers.
     
  4. Ocellaris

    Ocellaris Ginger @le, an alcoholic's best friend.

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    You know shits already going downhill when they are claiming Linux support when nowhere close to their actual goal. And who knows what that goal real means since don't even have an idea to work on, much less promise Linux support. Promising Linux support is a weak cash grab many crowdfounded games have failed to deliver on.

    Not to mention no actual gameplay?!? They don't sound like they have a clue what they are doing, but all those backers can help! Everyone go give them money and they you get forum access to argue with people on since the project has no visionary.

    People need to stop backing this type of stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
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  5. bigdogchris

    bigdogchris Wii was a Novelty

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    Reminds me of the Richard Dawkins game a few months back. They show absolutely zero game play so people are not going to just give them money.
     
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  6. Xaeos

    Xaeos [H]ardness Supreme

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    II was under the impression they went over the varying forms of gameplay going into the title. . For instance, there are elements of "god game" (a la universe sim and many others like it) with the creation of entire systems, which also taps into "Civilization" / "Tropico" style strategy gameplay that guides how both living and natural elements of various systems planets etc.. evolve. There will also be first/third person space exploration not unlike titles like the Evochron series (an incredibly in-depth series of single player space sims done by a small indie team) and many other spacefaring titles with all that entails (exploration, trade, research etc) , with a mix of the semi-realistic problem solving and adventure gameplay seen in movies like "The Martian" and "Gravity". I'd also say there's an element of some "Build and Survive" titles like GRAV, Planet Explorers and others. They even mention the words "Metroidvania Style" tech trees where you will need to research/find/make certain items in order to access certain new areas and progress in that direction. There's also a big dose of "Kerbal Space Program" included in that game mechanics are planned to be based on real scientific theory and process, which is a critical design element. Read over the description of gameplay which includes both sandbox and guided missions and perhaps it will become more clear. It is not a MMO and nowhere near as grand a scale as Star Citizen, though both titles plan for in-depth "realism" in mechanics being consistent within their respective gameworlds. I diidn't play No Man's Sky so I can't make a full comparison there, but from what I read it lacked depth and variation which is something that Space Odyssey will offer thanks to its relationship to real astrophysics and whatnot; Compare the difference between No Man's Sky's planetary travel at the push of a button to the proficiency and knowledge (and many steps - properly breaking out of the planetary atmosphere, orbiting, breaking out of orbit, acceleration and deceleration through controlled burns, entering lunar orbit, preparing to actually descend in the LEM etc) needed just to land on the "Mun" in Kerbal Space Program

    On finances, they note that their primary funding already comes from other sources, and the Kickstarter funds pretty much go towards some elements of polishing, running various tests, and enhancing the game in response to community requests and features. It is even answered on the page, and then expounded upon on update 1.- " The funding goal via our Kickstarter campaign will not cover the financial requirements to develop Space Odyssey. The team behind Space Odyssey initiated the conceptualization process of the game through self-funding, then sought outside funding that's earmarked towards development. The funds received via your support on Kickstarter will grant us the ability to have this community play the game and engage with it while the final build is underway. As the Kickstarter gaming community begins to beta test game-play and provide feedback, we can begin to use the funds raised via Kickstarter to incorporate your modding, mapping and building suggestions, together building the awesome gaming experience you helped to create". They are not trying to exclusively back a title on $300,000 - Hell, look at the exact number - $314, 159 - That's "Pi" dollars, chosen as a bit of a joke. They have many connections in academia and entertainment to leverage to secure funding as well.

    Regarding those involved while they are surely showcasing various luminaries of the scientific and entertainment community, they mention several game studios that are involved in the project. 3 of the C-levels from Section Studios in LA are cited in the "Team", and the "main video" lists a few other game industry dev houses including BigRedButton , Radiant Images, and Infusion Gaming. I grant that they could spend a bit more time showcasing this, but it is mentioned that they have devs ready for the project.

    Linux support is not a negative predictor of crowdfunding success - quite the opposite, for a number of reasons - and it is something that is beneficial to the design process itself, not to mention expanding your audience / backer base.. Designing with multiple platforms in mind such as OSX and Linux ensures that you won't get bogged down with proprietary middleware, engines, or other nonsense and discourages corner cutting when it comes to gaming. That said, they originally announced only Windows and Mac, but a rep replied to a comment saying they are planning to use the Unreal engine and intend to suppport Linux as well. Thanks to the replies and messages from several backers, they plan to announce Linux support "officially", which will help with crowdfunding as the community is rightfully skeptical when developers make a midding commitment of "Yeah maybe they'll be a port someday perhaps kinda" that we used to see in the past. While I'm sure that some titles have failed to provide Linux support, I've been backing titles for years and over 90% of the time that someone makes it a target platform, I've seen it delivered.

    As far as "No real gameplay" is concerned, there is a certain amount in the video, such as a planetary creation UI proof of concept. For a title early in development like this its normal to have mostly concept art and some animations. The vast majority of crowdfunded titles don't start their funding with lots of "real" gameplay - its concepts and animations and if you're luckly mock-ups taken from early internal development that are posed to give you the gist. I'll grant that they could go heavier on the mock ups to better represent the ideas, but if anything this is an error of "telling instead of showing", not something that suggests a problem with their the idea or execution thus far. I do look forward to more content as the campaign continues through.
     
  7. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    If development is already funded and they only want the additional money to cover some last minute changes based on user input, then showing no actual gameplay or even in-game screenshots is even more of a red flag.
     
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  8. Xaeos

    Xaeos [H]ardness Supreme

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    Planning accessible funding sources for the project is very different than actually being at that late stage of development. Prior to beginning formal development, they likely assessed the potential costs of the project and saw that crowdfunding could be a beneficial part of raising the money necessary to bring it to fruition. It seems they realized that the additional capital raised through crowdfunding would enable them to add another facet of development, as well as likely conferring ancillary benefits such as good PR / advertising of getting community involvement.

    I'd be more concerned regarding "red flags" if a project (especially one like this backed by many with connections and leverage) was already deep into development and *OOPS* ran out of money, needing an infusion of cash for the home stretch. Without a really good reason for this, I expect many (to some point, justifiably) would find this to reflect poorly on their professionalism and fiscal planning. However reality seems very different from this worrisome hypothetical.
     
  9. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Neil deGrasse Tyson? No, thanks. I'm really tired of all these celebrity pseudo scientists.
     
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  10. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    Well he might be a celebrity, but a pseudo scientist? I've never heard him say anything scientifically questionable, most of the time he says clever things that can be an eye opener to many of the actual science deniers.
    Being a celebrity scientist is a good thing, because he has the opportunity to get through to the masses, who still look at science as something of a mystery and think that faith and science are equal, and it's 50-50 which one is right.

    In political views I disagree with him on many points, but as a celebrity scientist he's doing important work.
     
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  11. Nenu

    Nenu Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    This is very interesting, thanks for the headsup.

    I wonder if they will simulate alien lifestyles and tools that forward their development.
    ie at advanced stages they create new methods of computing and operating systems. Extending this, the game can self develop support for Linux :)
    The simulated aliens might develop a game where alien lifestyles and tools that forward their development are showcased.
    This would highlight how complete societies can exist inside a simulation.
    Looks up at sky, erm...
     
  12. LightsOut41

    LightsOut41 Limp Gawd

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    Yep....he is the Bill Nye of space.
     
  13. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    He has a doctorate in astrophysics - I would say he's far more qualified to talk about space than most.
     
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  14. Armenius

    Armenius [H]ardForum Junkie

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    His last research paper was published in 2008. He's been nothing but a "science communicator" since. All well and good, but when I think of scientist I think of someone who actually does science. Not to mention he has an extreme superiority complex and bias when it comes to topics outside his realm of expertise.
     
  15. M76

    M76 [H]ardness Supreme

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    You can be a scientist and never publish any papers in your life apart from your graduation project. Regardless I think popularizing science is an important task. Because his work can mean that instead of 2 from 10 kids 5 of 10 kids will pursue a science education. And the more people with scientific thinking the better off we are. The more informed a public the better leaders they'll elect.
     
  16. tunatime

    tunatime 2[H]4U

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    this we need more scientists and less bs art people