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Sci-Fi Author Timothy Zahn Is Creating a Video Game 116

Posted by timothy
from the interesting-niche dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Timothy Zahn, one of the most influential Star Wars Expanded Universe authors (creator of Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade), and writer of 40 novels and 90+ short stories, will be trying his hand as the Creative Director for a new video game, Timothy Zahn's Parallax. From the Kickstarter page: 'The game concept is heavily inspired by the original Master of Orion but, because Timothy Zahn is the co-creator, a major focus is going to be on making sure that each alien race is as fully-realized as possible, and that the interactions with the other aliens are realistic: talking to one alien race will be different than talking to another, and the choices you make in the game will have side effects and the computer players will remember them — and treat you differently because of them.' Other highlights: 'The game will include at least 5 of his non-Star Wars alien races (Modhri, Kalixiri, Zhirrzh, Qanska and Pom); Backers will be active participants in the game creation process; No Digital Rights Management foolishness.' The Kickstarter starts at 6pm MST today."
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Sci-Fi Author Timothy Zahn Is Creating a Video Game

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  • by denzacar (181829) on Friday September 13, 2013 @11:14PM (#44846381) Journal

    - Modular ships and technology that can make a difference. Both in tactical combat and civilization/empire building.

    - Species traits that really matter during the entire course of the game. Same goes for leaders.

    - A simple interface that didn't require you to go back to the main screen for every single action, select a submenu, then another one, then choose an option...

    - Build queues that worked and didn't require scrolling.
    Also, everything that you could build was always on a single screen, available by a single click but it was separated so you didn't have to scroll through your buildings looking for ships and vice versa.
    And you could sort your colonies by how fast they will build stuff - i.e. by production.

    - Pretty graphics. Planetscapes were simple yet beautiful. Elerians were hot AND a very powerful race.

    - But most importantly, HUMANOID SPECIES. Even Silicoids looked somewhat bipedal.
    Which is very important if you're supposed to empathize with the species you're playing.
    Among other things MOO3 managed to fuck up was the look of the game - most species now looked like bad modern art.
    Practically all of them could be considered "repulsive".

    Really alien looking species are a nice touch from time to time on an episodic show like Star Trek but there is no appeal for a weekly show whose main characters resemble puddles of mud.
    We want to see humanoid aliens with humanoid expressions on their humanoid faces.

    Which is why I'm having a bad feeling about this whole "as fully-realized as possible" thing.
    Smells a lot like MOO3.11 for workgroups.

  • by Abram Jablonski (3070601) on Saturday September 14, 2013 @12:53AM (#44846705)
    [As the developer of the game]

    Anti: $10 doesn't just get you a star name, it gets you an entire year of talking about the game, and having a vote and a voice in the final product. As for the $30 license (and the $500k Kickstarter comment as well), we're putting everything into it up front, so it's the game we want to make right from the beginning, and the customers/ backers get as much as we can give them (rather than hoping to get funded for stretch goals). There's going to be a lot of content, and it's going to be expensive to generate - aside from paying my living expenses, the rest is going to be spent developing the game. "No DRM foolishness" means everybody in your family can use it if they want (yes, all at the same time), so it's not exactly price-gouging.

    Pro: I'd actually rather charge less, but I had to find a balance between reasonable reward levels and enough to meet the Kickstarter goal, and I made a judgment call. And yes, there are some projects on Kickstarter that don't need to be there, or are too high, because the creators don't actually need that much money to complete the project. Timothy Zahn knows my plan for the game, and he was also worried that we might be setting the Kickstarter target too high (but it's not just my name on the line, and there's no way I'm going to waste all the time and energy he is putting into this by turning out a sub-par game that will disappoint the backers, or risk running out of funds because I cut the budget too close).

    In general, it's a valid comment/ concern, but it's not as cut and dry as it seems from the outside, when you're dealing with all the myriad variables and considerations.

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