Dig Dug vs Eve vs Descent = Miner Wars

By Jim Rossignol on August 13th, 2009 at 4:51 pm.


A space MMO based on the concept of destructible asteroids? Yes, it’s one of those offbeat ideas that might just work. Developers Keen Software dropped us a line to announce the game, Miner Wars, and explained that it was a “space shooter played in a fully destructible environment and is a combination of single player story game and MMO.” So far so unclear. And then: “As a player, you operate an advanced mining ship in an open world asteroid belt area. You dig kilometers of tunnels, harvest the ore, travel the solar system, fight your enemies and discover mysterious alien secrets.” Which sounds kind of awesome. On closer inspection it seems to be the aberrant alchemical offspring of Descent, Minecraft, Eve Online, Dig Dug, and Red Faction. An open world game with beautiful, destructible space rocks. Yeah, it’ll probably take a couple of videos of the thing in action to really get your head round it. Fortunately, they’re beneath the click. Brilliant, eh?


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68 Comments »

  1. Dubbill says:

    This appeals to the bit of my brain that used to love play Pocket Tanks, controlling both tanks and trying to clear every bit of earth from the screen.

  2. rivalin says:

    Looks fairly awesome, those terrible stock ship models aside. Hope that travel the solar system implies seamless exploration.

  3. Dominic White says:

    The great thing about this concept – All in space, with environments literally carved out by the players themselves – makes it pretty much the idea indie MMO. The only thing I’d worry about is bandwidth and server requirements on the devlopers side.

    Games about digging are fun. Infiniminer is addictive, and adding Descent-style space combat to that mix can only make it better.

    I’m assuming that in addition to rival miners, there are the obligatory alien drones to contend with, also ala Descent?

  4. Dominic White says:

    ideal indie MMO, even, on account of them having to actually produce very little in the way of costly and time-consuming content, and instead focus on making the gameplay mechanics fun.

  5. JonFitt says:

    Along with Doom2, Descent was one of the first games I bought when I first got a PC (upgrading from an AtariST).

    It took maze traversal to a whole new level, one quick flip and dodge while fighting a baddie and you could get completely disoriented. It would take a while to work out which tunnel you’d come from and which one you were heading for. It really helped my spatial awareness skills.

  6. the affront says:

    Sounds awesome, as a concept.
    Hope they add decent physics so that you’ll have to compensate for rotating roids and/or can mine roids on a collision course with each other (or set one of them with a rival of yours inside on one yourself with explosives/etc) or other celestial objects, so only the most daring miners get to hollow out that roid falling into the local star for the maximum reward.
    Although the trailers didn’t really look promising for this.. yet still definitely cool enough to give it a shot.

  7. Berzee says:

    Ooh, the potential for creative traps ^_^

    Now asteroids by themselves don’t have a lot of personality, so we can hope that there will be some charm in the interface, ship design, missions, NPCs and alien secrets…or at least in your home base. If there’s something to give a human touch to all those rocks, it could be brilliant. =)

  8. Vinraith says:

    Huh, that looks cool enough that it’s a real shame it’s an MMO. It always distresses me to see a creative idea disappear down that particular hole.

  9. Dominic White says:

    @Vinraith – missed the part where there’s a singleplayer campaign as well?

  10. JonFitt says:

    Yeah, I pretty much switch off when I see ‘MMO’.

  11. Vinraith says:

    @Dominic

    I didn’t miss it, I just don’t trust it. Hellgate comes to mind. If something is advertising itself as an MMO, how likely is it that a significant bulk of development resources are going towards single player? I’m happy to be wrong, of course, and will keep an eye on future information in the hopes that I am.

  12. Feintlocke says:

    I was gonna say “2009, the year someone finally makes good use of voxels”. I then found out that the Crysis terrain engine makes use of them which prompted a “Wait, what?! We’ve come a long way since Outcast”.

  13. TheArmyOfNone says:

    Give me now.

  14. Xercies says:

    How can you have an epic story about mining asteroids…

  15. Tei says:

    Or a movie about ASTEROIDS?

  16. superking208 says:

    Jim, by Minecraft you mean Infiniminer, because one’s actually a game with structure and a purpose that would be a positive comparison and one is blocks.

  17. Demon Beaver says:

    By golly, why have we never thought of mining with automatic rocket launchers?

  18. Wacky says:

    wait wait wait,what happened to the site interface?It looks all blogy and professional now?

  19. Sartoris says:

    I liked the old one better. Boo.

  20. Sartoris says:

    Oh, just read the announcement. Oops.

  21. Alex says:

    This almost sounds like what I wanted Spore’s space game to be. It obviously doesn’t have the scale, but I’d rather be rooting around for stuff instead of just dropping a colony for spice money or detecting a new chocolate terraforming tool.

  22. DMJ says:

    So I could… sculpt an enormous asteroid into an obscene shape?

  23. nabeel says:

    Hey, I love the new look!

    *runs*

  24. Alec Meer says:

    No redesign, just a snafu. Normality will be restored soon.

  25. The Innocent says:

    I hope there’s more to tie it all together than in Minecraft, which was only fun for an hour seeing as how there wasn’t any objective to it. Other than carving swastikas into the side of mountains, apparently.

  26. plant42 says:

    Why the hell does every game trailer have to have that needlessly dramatic O Fortuna sounding chanting music? I mean maybe if you’re going to make some medieval RPG fine, but every damned game uses something similar?

    ‘Ok uh, we’re looking to tease our ? Anybody got any ideas for a trailer?’
    ‘I got it – how about really epic O Fortuna style chanting music with marketing sell-points flashing up overtop of game footage?’
    ‘Sweet, in addition to ‘Ship Upgrades’ flashing in can you throw in some explosions?’

  27. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    RPS looks quite unique now.

  28. Golden_Worm says:

    Perfect time for the Games Media Award Judges to visit.

  29. JonFitt says:

    RPS has had a shave and a haircut.

  30. FunkyLlama says:

    what is this I don’t even

  31. bookwormat says:

    white sites can’t jump

  32. Dominic White says:

    While some may turn their nose up at the idea of an MMO, this is pretty much the perfect setting for it. Mining by yourself is pretty dull, but a dozen players working together to core out an asteroid, kill anything in there that might look hostile, then fight off any claimjumpers is likely to be a much more entertaining experience.

  33. Snook says:

    Wait… explore the Solar System? does anyone else think that sounds a little bit small?

  34. Vinraith says:

    @Snook

    Wow, science fiction really has damaged popular perception of size, hasn’t it? Assuming an absence of faster than light travel, a solar system is PLENTY big.

  35. JonFitt says:

    Hooray, we’re back in black.

  36. LionsPhil says:

    In the absence of FTL, the Solar System is too big. Thirteen-odd hours to cross it, and it’s mostly full of nothing?

  37. Heliocentric says:

    How much a month anyone know? If it tried to claim the full tariff i think it would make me turn my nose up.

  38. soylent robot says:

    Looks pretty awesome. The blasting spherical holes in the rock reminds me of the Worms series, but 3D

  39. Vinraith says:

    @Lionphil

    13 hours?

    Anyway, I agree, but then again the principle objects of interest in this case will be asteroids. A properly populated system has PLENTY of those.

  40. Wooly says:

    “Gravatar bookwormat says:

    white sites can’t jump”

    Casual racismmmmm.

  41. JonFitt says:

    It looks pretty, and the first trailer said, Single/Multiplayer, not MMO so that might not be too bad.

    It’s not that I don’t like the concept of a Massively Multiplayer game, I just detest the reality. For example, I like the descriptions of Eve events and wars, but when I play an open universe trading game I want to be the boss of the universe in 40-100 hours. The thought of slaving away as a peon in a corporate machine sounds like work.

    You are free to play in my universe where I get to be boss, but failing that I feel AI is the way to go, ergo single player or coop.

  42. Howard says:

    Whoa! My Spidey Sense is having a fit! Did someone mention…DESCENT?!!!

    Is this actually Descent-like or are you just taunting me with your cruel nostalgia jibes?

  43. JonFitt says:

    @Vinraith: My guess was he was quoting the size of our solar system in light-hours. I didn’t check it though. Sounds about right.

  44. Howard says:

    Wa-a-a-ait a minute, I thought that ship was familiar:
    http://www.gamershell.com/pc/yager/screenshots.html?id=158670

    (I know, I know, it’s not exact but still…)

  45. Vinraith says:

    @JonFitt

    Kuiper belt diameter, yeah, I don’t know why that didn’t occur to me. I tend to think of the solar system as bounded by the Oort cloud, which makes it considerably larger (and considerably emptier).

  46. obo says:

    @DMJ: Yes, the grand dream of smashing a massive stone dildo into an excavation hole, then blasting your way through and out the other end. That’s a million-seller. Put that on the front of the box, except in Australia.

  47. Owen says:

    Looks inter-est-ing…..hmm.

  48. Larington says:

    Well, if memory serves, theres supposed to be an asteroid belt in this very solar system, believed to be the remains of a planet that either didn’t completely form or to which something pretty cataclysmic happened. And this belt of asteroids occasionally chucks rock in our direction, theres a pleasant thought.

  49. Vinraith says:

    @Larington

    This solar system is VERY well populated with asteroids, as we suspect are most. If nothing else, the leftovers of planet formation are more than sufficient to provide a fairly substantial pile of flying rubble. The densest part of the “belt” is between Jupiter and Mars (with Jupiter acting as a sort of asteroid vacuum and hauling around it’s own cadre of trojan asteroids along its orbit).

    And yeah, we occasionally get buzzed (and more occasionally get hit) by asteroids (as well as comets from the Oort cloud, but that’s another issue). In fact, Jupiter has the effect of shielding us from a lot of potential impacts, while (it’s thought) ensuring that we get hit often enough to kick start evolution now and again. Quite a few mass extinction events were the product of asteroid impacts, like the Yucatan strike that killed off the dinosaurs.