Interview: Miner Wars 2081

By Jim Rossignol on November 9th, 2010 at 3:35 pm.


Miner Wars 2081 – as it is now known, so as to emphasize its science fiction setting – has one man at the heart of it all. He’s called Marek Rosa, and he developed the game’s destructible environment engine. That’s what allows players to go around burrowing out the insides of asteroids in the game, and jolly impressive it is too. Having come up with this tech, he was inspired to make the game with a small team in tow. And it’s quite the thing: a space-based mining and combat platform from which players can share their levels online, for a game that is single and multiplayer in the same bundle. Remarkably ambitious, you might well think. You can also take a look at the work in progress, what with it being available now (in rudimentary alpha form) for pre-ordering folk. If they can pull it off, we shall be singing their praises. The team are working to keep to a weekly update, which they’re so far hitting. I decided to set them back a few minutes by having a quick chat with Mr Rosa.

RPS: Can you tell me a bit about the background of the team and how you guys came to be developing this game?

Rosa: Our development team is made up of diverse individuals with a passion for gaming. Half of the team is from Europe, and the other half from USA. Most of the team was recruited through our Miner Wars Community. Basically everybody working on Miner Wars is a big fan of sci-fi and space games so this passion is what is driving us forward. And our Audio Director is Dan Wentz who worked on all Descent series games.

RPS: The pre-order access has shown it to already be quite an atmospheric game, but is the focus going to be on the mining or the combat?

Rosa: Single-player story will focus more on the combat, but the player will be free to engage in mining too. In the MMO, it will be entirely up to a player. We are prepared to support both types of game player.


RPS: A story mode *and* an MMO *and* a sandbox? That sounds like quite a lot- what’s the thinking behind all these different game modes?
Rosa: Story mode is single player and cooperative player experience, where you go through a story, perform missions, etc. We are very serious with the story, especially because single-player gaming is my favorite thing. The sandbox is for players who want quick game. The other part of sandbox is editor and sharing levels you made with whole Miner Wars community. Thanks to this you create your level and then other player can join it and do mining or fight. The MMO is the place where all people meet together. Our vision is to get to a point where players start forming factions, fight for areas and influence. One of the most ambitious features would be when player start voting for faction leaders and then these leaders will make “big” decisions that influence running of the game. Of course all these elements must be tuned up carefully.


RPS: What sort of stuff will happen in the story mode? Will it be like an extended tutorial for the sandbox and MMO parts of the game?
Rosa: Story in Miner Wars is very important. It’s all laid down so we know what is going to happen even in the latest sequel. No deus ex machina. And it all happens in our solar system therefore player can relate to it. Actually, one part will be outside of it… but I don’t want to spoil too much. Story is about two brothers who discover something very exceptional, but must solve load of troubles until they really get to it. This “what is next” is what will drive player through the story. The story is placed in believable game universe where all components work with each other. It’s not just a series of random events – every event can be explained as a reason of some other event.

Miner Wars game universe is situated in a very harsh place, where one man’s life doesn’t count for much. Only the strongest and fastest can survive and win.


RPS: Can you tell is a bit about how players will interact and co-operate in the MMO portion of the game?

Rosa: Players will join factions, fulfill missions or engage in freelance activities. It will all happen in one persistent game universe, no separate servers.

RPS: Clearly you are at quite an early stage of development, but can you give us an idea of a timeline? What sort of features do you expect to see in the alpha of the game in the near future?

Rosa: Our goal is to release our final game is Q3 2011. In alpha, players will receive: editor, better editor, single player missions and multiplayer. Those are the milestones – of course with many small upgrades during this path. We promised an update release every Tuesday and we are holding to it!

RPS: Thanks for your time.

You can get early access to Miner Wars 2081 over on the main site.

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39 Comments »

  1. Joshua says:

    Descent?

    • Dominic White says:

      That trailer was put together by one of the Descent developers. Gameplay-wise, it’s basically MMO Descent with Red Factions deformable terrain.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      So basically, we’re all going to need new pants?

  2. PJMendes says:

    Minecraft meets Tie-Fighter.
    Pre-ordered it when it was at a discount at Impulse last week (a somewhat secret discount it seems).

  3. WTF_IZ_DIZ_SHIT says:

    IF THE SPEND ALL THAT TIME FLYING A SPACESHIP AND NOT MINING

    WOULDNT THIS GAME BE ABOUT FLIGHT SIMULATION AND NOT “MINER” WARS?

  4. DrazharLn says:

    The lights on the ships really annoy me. Why is the light getting scattered like that in a vacuum?

    And don’t tell me “because it looks cool”, because it doesn’t. Realistic lights would be much cooler and teach people a little physics too.

    Other than that, game looks like it could be good. I won’t pass judgement on it for a long while yet, however.

    • Dominic White says:

      “And don’t tell me “because it looks cool”, because it doesn’t. Realistic lights would be much cooler and teach people a little physics too.”

      And would kill performance so hard it’s not even funny.

    • CMaster says:

      “Why is the light getting scattered like that in a vacuum?”

      Dust. This is a game about minig asteroids. Bound to be a lot of dust floating around.
      (My hunch is the real reason is just noone turning off that engine feature, but seriously, near the surface of mined asteroids would be quite a dusty place, no?

    • westyfield says:

      It’s dust. It could be from the asteroid or this stuff: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_dust

    • DrazharLn says:

      I didn’t think of the dust.

      That was scatterbrained of me.

      Even if there is plenty of dust, though, those lights are ugly. Maybe this will improve later; seeing the cone of light ahead of me swirling with dust disturbed by my engines or explosions would be amazing.

    • MacBeth says:

      @DrazharLn (in case of reply fail)

      The dust would never be swirling and turbulent, realistically – that would need it to be suspended in gas. It should however get interestingly pushed around by ships flying through it, so you would see trails of ‘cleared’ space and expanding shapes of moving dust a bit like 3-D bow waves… that really *would* kill performance though…

    • Caiman says:

      Dust. Anybody?

      Dust.

      Dust. Anybody?

      Dust.

    • Robomutt says:

      Cataracts?!

    • DrazharLn says:

      Macbeth:

      I meant the movements as you describe them, dust moved by radiation (from explosions, heat from engines) and from physically getting hit by stuff (which could leave channels free of dust, or perhaps trails of moving debris).

      You’d get some movement from particles having different velocities initially as well. I’m really tempted to make a simulator for this now. I think it would be pretty.

  5. de5me7 says:

    ive pre ordered, looks like an interesting concept, also i like low tech hard sci fi more than the more common, high tech low sci fi (non nerd translation bladerunner as apposed to star wars)

  6. P7uen says:

    “single-player gaming is my favorite thing”

    And just because he said those words, I’m going to buy his game <3

  7. Andreas says:

    This looks like it could be either extraordinarily crap or mind-bogglingly fascinating.

  8. Juror #9 says:

    like a couple others here, that’s Descent. I couldn’t get enough of that game 15 years ago. Interesting that someone brought it back into play. Now, the other game at that time that couldn’t stop playing is BioForge. I thought that was ahead of it’s time. Might be nice to revitalize that, or at least see what devs would do with that now-a-days.

    Now bring back Burn Cycle and that would be a trifecta for sure.

  9. Ovvno says:

    I’ll be buying it when I get home :-)

    • Dominic White says:

      Just be warned – right now, it’s just the tech. It’s good tech – the flight feels solid, the terrain deformation is good, the bot AI can navigate complex player-made tunnel networks, but there’s no overarching gameplay framework yet. This isn’t Minecraft where you’ve got countless hours of fun even with an incomplete build. It’s basically putting your faith in the developers not to screw this up.

      But it IS fairly impressive tech, all things considered, and with some decent structure built around it, it could be a really good game.

    • Tusque d'Ivoire says:

      I’m tempted, too.

      But do I get access to the full game upon release when i buy now (as in Minecraft), or is this just preview access?

    • Dominic White says:

      You get the full game. It makes it pretty clear that this is a preorder at a 70% discount, as well as access to alpha builds as they’re released.

  10. wcanyon says:

    Are the physics realistic or aether-based (I’m looking at you Eve)?

    • Dominic White says:

      There’s full newtonian flight, although you’ve got assists on by default that limit your speed and decelerate you to zero when you’re not thrusting. You can turn off the training wheels and thunder around at the speed of unsound, though.

    • catmorbid says:

      Realistic flight physics is a major selling point for me. I Need some sort of demo before buying though, but otherwise this game seems mighty interesting!

    • DrazharLn says:

      The lack of proper newtonian flight was one of the things that really annoyed me in Freelancer; most jarringly when you get to your “maximum speed” yet your engines are still firing.

      So, happy about the full newtonian flight thing.

    • Dominic White says:

      I think there may be a maximum velocity cap in Miner Wars, but it’s high enough to not really notice it. You can shoot past structures at far beyond the maximum regular allowed speed if you turn off the limiters.

  11. Conor says:

    I’m…interested. Might preorder it. Probably will preorder it. Curse you, lack of willpower!

  12. Sardaukar says:

    I just really hope they get rid of the ship model that appears on most images of the game- if you’re familiar with it outside the game, it just makes things look horribly tacky, since it seems like the go-to model for BIG MANLY DROPSHIPPY SHIPS in indie games or mods.

  13. Linfosoma says:

    Just purchased the game, downloading at the moment. More developers should provide early alpha access, it’s so fun to play a game in such an early state and watch it improve.

    • Dominic White says:

      The problem is that a lot of people have no concept of what ‘alpha’ means, and seem to think that just because they’ve put some money down, even if it’s a massive discount over the base price, that they now own the studio and their opinion should steer the development of the finished product to make it THEIR game.

      Quite a lot of folks need it hammered into their heads that they’re customers, not investors or shareholders.

    • DrazharLn says:

      Well, they are investors, of a sort. I do agree that far too many people seem to think they have ownership over early beta stuff.

      I wonder if the same people who think that investor/producer interference games is a bad thing also over-interfere with games they’ve bought this way.

  14. Jock says:

    The devs are also very actively involved with the community too. Participating in their forums is cool, trolling and typical banal Internet activity are kept to a minimum there.

  15. mbp says:

    I almost included Descent in my suggestions for best games of all time. I do think the game was enormously influential (the first real 3D game in many respects) but the strangeness of the game at the time robbed it of some of its impact. The default control system in particular was particularly bad but some genius of gaming discovered that the game could be tweaked to play with mouse-look. I believe it was the first PC game to seriously benefit from this control scheme.

  16. StormTrigger says:

    Game just looks amazing, bought my self a copy because of this interview. Thanks