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Space Games

Notch Wants To Make a Firefly-Inspired Sandbox Space Game 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-by-two-hands-of-blue dept.
silentbrad sends this snippet from PCGamer: "After stepping back as lead designer of Minecraft earlier this year, Notch has been considering what to do next. ... While he's still deciding exactly what he wants to work on, he told us that he'd quite like to do a sandbox space trading game like Elite, 'except done right.' Notch is aiming for something with a bit more character than the classic trading sim. Instead of being the spaceship, you'd be a character inside the spaceship. 'I want the space game that's more like Firefly,' he said. 'I want to run around on my ship and have to put out a fire. Like, oh crap, the cooling system failed, I have to put out the fire here.' He hasn't decided to make the game yet, and doesn't mind if someone else takes up the reins. 'If someone steals the idea before me, that's totally fine. I just want to play that game,' he said."
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Notch Wants To Make a Firefly-Inspired Sandbox Space Game

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  • amazing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by msheekhah (903443) on Friday March 23, 2012 @04:54PM (#39456739)
    I want that game
    • So which character on the ship do you want to be? If you enjoy putting out fires you're probably going to pick engineer. So the entire game will consist of you fixing machines. You don't need a space game for that. On the other hand if you pick captain, you'll probably just yell at your crew to put out fires, since you'll be too busy dealing with whatever hostile ship CAUSED your fire.

      • by lennier (44736)

        . On the other hand if you pick captain, you'll probably just yell at your crew to put out fires, since you'll be too busy dealing with whatever hostile ship CAUSED your fire.

        Of course as Captain -- since you won't be either Helm or Fire Control -- you won't be able to fly the ship or fire at the hostile, so your options for "dealing with them" will consist entirely of saying "Onscreen!" and delivering stinging insults about their dress sense.

    • X Rebirth (Score:5, Informative)

      by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday March 23, 2012 @07:51PM (#39457995)

      It's called "X: Rebirth" [deepsilver.com] and is a follow-on to the quite successful X series of games (the current version being X3:Albion Prelude). These are pretty much Elite type trading/fighting sandboxes, but with multiple ships, remote controlled fleets (ie you can buy traders and set them off on autopilot trading for you), fighting (of course, but with wingmen ships or just sent your fleet of frigates or carriers to defend your trading sectors from the bad aliens, robot aliens or pirates), plus missions to keep things interesting - both small "transport a passenger to x", and large "follow a whole set of missions in a series to do something major".

      What's a bit special (and controversial in the X community) is that the new game will be based around a single spacecraft (previously you could decide what kind of ship to pilot) but that has different 'rooms' to play from - so your co-pilot can be set to fly while you remote-control your combat drones or play the stock market or whatever.

      Read more on the developer's forums [egosoft.com]

      Nobody's quite sure exactly what it'll be like, but I think we can be confident Egosoft will pull the rabbit out, X3 served me very well for over a year, and I still didn't manage to finish all the plot missions. You can buy X3 on steam or impulse (or whatever impulse is called nowadays) for next to nothing, it cost me $10 in a special offer that seems to be repeated regularly.

      • by TheLink (130905)

        I thought he said a character inside the spaceship.

        In which case it might be more like: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SunDog:_Frozen_Legacy [wikipedia.org]

        FWIW I heard rumours that Eve Online might start to have pilots wandering inside ships too.

        • by Patch86 (1465427)

          FWIW I heard rumours that Eve Online might start to have pilots wandering inside ships too.

          That rumour has been going around for years- it was already an old rumour when I stopped playing 3 or so years ago.

          As far as I'm aware, they've implemented some simple "walking in stations" concept, but since lost interest in developing it further. So probably going to be fully delivered at about the same time Satan goes shopping for wooly jumpers.

        • by gbjbaanb (229885)

          rebirth is supposed to be more of a character inside a spaceship, not just a first-person view out of a cockpit.

    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      you're not the only one.

      I honestly have no desire to play minecraft, but I read that interview with Notch.

      He's legit, the real deal. He's an O.G. gamer like me. I have honestly played more games on Commodore 64 than my 5 consoles and PC combined. And I've played a lot of PC games.

      That said, I've been dreaming for so long of a space sim that doesn't focus only on one thing like combat or trading. I want to roam the ship like I do the Normandy. I want to make connections to people, places and feel someth

    • by lexsird (1208192)

      Omfg yes, me too. I read this and was gleeful, as in "Oh goody goody gumdrops, tee hee hee" giddy. Yes, I tee hee'ed like a little girl.

      I fucking hate EVE and it's "lets be a space ship" mediocrity. I'm playing SWTOR and it's a gas bag of a half baked game, a complete douchbag copy of WoW mechanics, the space aspect of it is on RAILS FFS. That lamo tech was out when the ORIGINAL damn SW came out, sweet jesus what passes muster these days is damn pathetic.

      Why am I playing it? Why did I play Asteroids to the

      • by rwa2 (4391) *

        I like some of the ideas behind EVE... it's really more of an business/economy sim than anything else, except it has cool space graphics. And occasional "rock-paper-scissors" in space which is the best description I've heard of its PvP. Every 6 months or so EVE sends me 5 free days of play, which is enough to get bored of learning and grinding for the next 6 months.

        But yeah, I'd much rather be flying... Vendetta Online is pretty decent at that, though I've kinda become disappointed with the ways they've

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) <{taiki} {at} {cox.net}> on Friday March 23, 2012 @04:55PM (#39456755)

    Hot shot Dev wants to build an open ended space sim?

    Is Derek Smart possessing people now?

    (I kid I kid, Derek. The Verge's article about you rocked.)

  • Notch (Score:5, Funny)

    by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Friday March 23, 2012 @04:57PM (#39456775)

    Is Notch his real name or just his street name on... developer... street...

  • and this is why... (Score:2, Informative)

    by robi2106 (464558)
    ... Notch is awesome. He just wants to play that kind of game. and will make it if necessary.
    • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 23, 2012 @06:12PM (#39457349)

      Unfortunately, the first semester of any Computer Games Development degree course is filled with kids who think just that - I like playing games, I have an idea, I would have fun building what I like to play. The second semester of those courses are usually much less full...

      The gory details of creating games usually murders the fun of playing them :(

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Teancum (67324)

        The difference is that Notch not only has the talent to pull it off, but also the money to buy the help to finish it off if he wants to get onto the next cool thing. He even hired a separate CEO to manage the business and financial affairs so really the only thing he needs to do is simply write the software.

        I think Notch could write a lame version of Pong and still sell over a million copies at the moment from his fanbase, so the fact it may be successful is almost irrelevant too.

        • I don't doubt he as the talent to pull it off, but I would love to know how often he plays Minecraft...

          My point is, engaging in your hobby as an actual act of work usually destroys the hobby aspect - trawling through the bug reports and spending days tracking down that one elusive but deadly bug kills the fun aspect very quickly.

          Writing the game you want to play will probably result in you never playing it for fun.

      • by Anguirel (58085)

        Of course, some of those types of people also go on to create some pretty neat things [wcsaga.com] in their spare time.

      • Abstruse Goose [abstrusegoose.com]

  • DO IT! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thehodapp (1931332)
    But don't you dare write it in Java (but please make it cross-platform). Don't judge me, I can be as demanding as I like.
  • I loved the idea of Elite but the implementation (particularly the later ones) was always a bit off for me. The crew based thing would be quite a bit of fun. Have a game that is part space shooty, part RTT or TBT crew management.

    There is a kinda related indy game a couple guys have up on Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/64409699/ftl-faster-than-light [kickstarter.com]. It is a space ship game with crew management and that sort of thing, but more a pure tactics game, not a space shooty/sim which is what I love

    • by mccalli (323026) on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:41PM (#39457113) Homepage
      I loved the idea of Elite but the implementation (particularly the later ones) was always a bit off for me. The crew based thing would be quite a bit of fun. Have a game that is part space shooty, part RTT or TBT crew management.

      I want a remake of Psi 5 Trading Company [cerebus.de]. That's a great game which I still play now and again - for those that don't know it, you're the Captain of a freight-carring star ship and you command your crew. You can do nothing directly, all actions occur because you've instructed your crew to carry them out.

      I'm a massive Elite (original, never got into Frontier) fan too - have a look at Oolite [oolite.org] for a modern remake.

      Cheers,
      Ian
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Sounds like Dwarf Fortress - you can't really control the Dwarves, just designate orders and hope they don't get distracted by a shiny barrel of Dwarven Rum.

        Actually, your game sounds like one I'd like to play.

      • It's very vaguely related to what you've described, but have you tried Majesty (on PC and recently also iOS/Android)? It's a fantasy "RTS", sorta, except that every unit is really a unique hero with stats, XP, inventory, spellbook etc, and you don't control them or even order them in any way beyond hiring them. The closest it comes to that is setting bounties for things you want to get done, like a reward for a killed monster or destroyed monster lair - but heroes are free to ignore those if they don't cons

    • by xhrit (915936)
      >Have a game that is part space shooty, part RTT or TBT crew management.

      That is the sort of game I want to make, but it is far too ambitious a project for one person to undertake all at once. So for now I am focusing on developing the underlying technologies required to make a 'lite' version of my 'ultimate' open ended space game. Once I have a stable foundation I will expand it with additional features but until then my design dictates the absolute most simplistic implementation of the core features
  • Vegastrike (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Culture20 (968837) on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:06PM (#39456861)
    It's been an oft-asked for feature in Vegastrike. [sourceforge.net] And they've already got the flying around in space and trading stuff covered. Maybe he could do the "I'm just a space janitor" portion that no one seems to want to do?
    • Vega Strike is the furthest-along general purpose space sim and it needs love.

      The most-requested feature AFAIK is still continuous planetary flight
      The second-most is FPS, so there you go.

      They DON'T have the trading stuff covered in that game, though. First of all, the planetary navigation interface is awful in every way. Second, they don't have a functional economy. I stopped playing because your actions have no consequences beyond your reputation score. That's dumb. I won't play any space sim that goes dee

  • by BDZ (632292) <(rich) (at) (fourducks.com)> on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:06PM (#39456863)
    In case there are Elite fans out there who haven't heard of it; check out Oolite http://www.oolite.org/ [oolite.org]. It's an open source version that is nicely done. Available on Linux, MacOS & Windows.
  • by mseeger (40923) on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:11PM (#39456893)

    If he puts that idea up on kickstarter, he get my bucks in an instant ;-)

  • by allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:11PM (#39456897)

    I also want to play that game. Wanted to play it for 15 years. Yes, I know there are/were some contenders out there, X3, Evochron Mercenary, Privateer... while each game had it strengths, they lacked the overall appeal of Elite. I want to fly the depths of space and over the surfaces of alien planets. If there is trade, factions, vast space, missions, an optional main quest, decent combat, and then at the end of the day I can get out of my spaceship to take a stroll on an alien colony, I will create my own little shrine dedicated to Notch.

    Make it so!

    • There is a man over here [infinity-universe.com] that will sell you that dream. Just don't ask him how long it will take...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:12PM (#39456911)

    FTL [kickstarter.com]
    It is a spaceship roguelike where you actually control the ship up close, rather than directly.
    Glad it got funded, these guys sound pretty good and the idea sounds solid.

    Would like to see him have a try at it. So little actual decent space-trading games that are full-on, large or even fun.
    So many of them are just a plain chore to get in to, and you can lose everything just like that.
    Quite literally a second job to get in to in order to even play most of them.

  • ... is the name of the board game that encapsulates this perfectly: flying around in a ship while also running around inside the ship. Its a good game.

  • It's called Sundog (Score:5, Informative)

    by bfwebster (90513) on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:34PM (#39457055) Homepage

    Wayne Holder and I did it 27 years ago for the Apple II. ..bruce..

    • I think I had that on the Atari ST, if I remember right...

      What happened? Why no remake yet? Now is the time! An iPad version would be nice.

      • by bfwebster (90513)

        Yep, it was originally on the Apple II and was then ported (and significantly enhanced) for the Atari ST. As per my other post, Wayne's working on an updated version. ..bruce..

    • Now get your butt on kickstarter so that I can support you in your port!

      • by bfwebster (90513)

        Actually, Wayne is working on an updated version -- I'm constrained from doing so, not because of Wayne but because of a patent case I worked on as a consulting expert that put me under a protective order not to do certain types of development until the case was settled. ..bruce..

    • by Fencepost (107992)
      I was going to post that, but it's hard to beat it coming from the original developer.

      On a possibly-not-approved-by-said-developer note, if you want to play it you can find ways to do so that involve Atari ST emulators and bootleg content. The actual title of the game was "Sundog: Frozen Legacy"
    • by thomst (1640045)

      Bruce F. Webster confided:

      Wayne Holder and I did it 27 years ago for the Apple II. ..bruce..

      I played that on the Atari ST. It was fun. You had to maintain and upgrade your ship, while building up your cash by trading, all the while gathering the colonists for a new world that your inheritance depended on you setting up (thus: Sundog: Frozen Legacy)

      Great game.

    • by YuppieScum (1096)

      Thank you, sir - I enjoyed the Apple ][ and Atari ST versions.

      Now, please tell these kids to get off your lawn...

      • by bfwebster (90513)

        Heh. Actually, I'm more than happy to see someone, anyone do a modern version of a Sundog-like game, since our original was so constrained. My favorite is Space Rangers 2 (available via Impulse.com). ..bruce..

  • I'll pay cash money for that.
  • ...let this come to pass.
  • run twisty, twisty, kill someone.
    run twisty, twisty, touch something
    run twisty, twisty, kill twenty someones.
    run twisty, wind up behind a closing door and kill a big someone with helpers.
    get a new style for your armor.
  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Friday March 23, 2012 @05:56PM (#39457217) Homepage

    That, I believe, is pivotal to its success.

  • Lots of people have wanted to do space games. I've wanted to as well. A key part about doing such a thing with multiplayer (or even just the internet now) for me has been the use of computing. Folks have been building aimbots forever. What if the rules of the universe, and the ships, were only roughly (and/or inaccurately) described, and each player/ship had a limited amount of processing to figure them out and optimize the ship?

    So I see Notch has a working 6502 emulator, and even a crude display system.
    • by mmontour (2208)

      Not directly related to your post, but take a look at http://nassp.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] . It's an add-on to the "Orbiter" spaceflight simulator with models of the Apollo spacecraft, including an emulated guidance computer that runs actual AGC code.

  • I guess he wants to work on an actual game.

  • I keep coming back to this quirky game because it starts with a space ship and from there you have the standard fare (trading, missions, fighting, mining, etc.), purchasable upgrades, treasure hunts,...

    However it also includes a tactical fight/FPS hook, adventure text missions, a kind of arcade game, upgrading local command posts (though you can't fight enemy ones, and yes Pirate bases are my enemies), staving off alien invasions... Oh so much good stuff. When it decides to work correctly... Though about

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday March 24, 2012 @09:22PM (#39463841) Homepage Journal
    Space...craft...

    Looking forward to punching trees for the wood to build my first spacecraft.

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