The Sunday Spacers: Aurora

By Jim Rossignol on January 23rd, 2011 at 7:33 pm.


So I feel obliged (somehow) to say that this rather minimal RTS, Aurora, is a dead ringer for the fascinating and organic Eufloria (which you should absolutely play, if you haven’t already), but the author acknowledges both that and Galcon, and frankly it’s still rather attractive in its own right. There’s a demo on the site, and there’s a trailer, which I have posted below, purely for the sake of duplicating things. I love just copying information to make more information, don’t you?

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31 Comments »

  1. DrazharLn says:

    The first law of information states that it doesn’t exist unless there’s at least one duplicate.

  2. Sagan says:

    Demo gives me a weird error message saying that I need to install Windows Media Player. Uh no thanks?

    • qizarate says:

      It’s probably an XNA game, which (i believe) use windows media player for music.

    • Sagan says:

      Which would be really weird. I play a lot of the strange little indie games that RPS posts about. How can I have not encountered an XNA game in the six months since I’ve had this computer?

      If I encounter the problem again with another game I’ll install the Windows Media Player.

  3. heretic says:

    I play Eufloria now and then because its soundtrack is amazing, the gameplay elements though, sometimes feel a bit like they haven’t been given much thought.

    For example it isn’t possible to destroy some of the dyson trees you’ve planted (afaik) and plant something else.

    Maybe its because I haven’t played enough of the campaign (around 6 or 7 missions completed), but I don’t really feel challenged at all, the trick is to amass a huge army then it doesn’t really matter which type of seedling you send as long as you send LOTS.

    • mod the world says:

      Have you tried setting it to the dynamic mode in the options? They added that in the last patch. Also you should try the Dark Matter Mode, where enemy seedlings are much more aggresive. Eufloria in the standard settings is a meditation-RTS and i quite liked that.

  4. Schaulustiger says:

    Meh, the concept was already perfectly executed in Eufloria and even that became boring towards the end. Concentrating on macro strategy is great, but it needs some extra elements to spice things up, otherwise every match ends with the player creating endless supply lines. Eufloria had some good ideas with the different types of trees you could build, but in the end they were not meaningful enough.

    • heretic says:

      you mean this is worst than Eufloria? lol…

      also felt bored with Eufloria tbh, its a game I play a level or two when I don’t want to think too much… it’s a shame though, I think they could have made it much stronger.

  5. Armante says:

    The trailer reminds me of the rather excellent Osmos, with it’s absorbing of particles to become bigger etc. Might give this a spin, as I rather like chilled out gaming sessions now and again.

  6. Out Reach says:

    My dogs called Aurora….

  7. nayon says:

    Take Euclidean vector package, plug it into particle effects system, release as game?

  8. Initialised says:

    Loved Eufloria, but as usual felt cheated when I got to the end. Will report back on this when I’ve nailed the demo.

  9. arqueturus says:

    Bad timing Jim, it was free a week ago :)

    I like it, it’s relaxing and fun.

    • trjp says:

      I picked it up on their freebie day too and had forgotten about it until now – thanks Jim!

  10. Initialised says:

    More like a slow paced bout of Galcon without the diplomacy and subterfuge of online play. An altogether pleasant experience but not as deep and involving as Eufloria.

  11. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    “Aurora is an ambient indie RTS game that simplifies the genre to its strategic core.”

    A reasonable game designer would use this as a starting point, not as destination.

  12. DrGonzo says:

    I played a game that was exactly like this on Newgrounds a while back. I’m sure RPS linked to it. Can’t remember the name now though, was great fun. Supreme Commander cut back to basics.

  13. Hugehead says:

    And here I was thinking it would be the 4X Aurora game, not some kind of RTS lite. Sadness. :(
    http://aurora2.pentarch.org/index.php

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      How ironic that those games share the same name while being the exact opposite of each other.

  14. EMcNeill says:

    Dev here. Thanks for the post!

    There was a whole bunch of discussion about the similarities and differences between Galcon, Eufloria, and Aurora when it was posted on reddit earlier this week. For what it’s worth, these were my thoughts:

    - Aurora’s levels are symmetrical, which colors the entire game. It sets up a sort of default strategic situation (a stalemate, usually) and the puzzle is figuring out how to break past that symmetry and gain an advantage.
    - The pacing is pretty different between the games. Galcon is so fast that it’s almost an action game. Eufloria was much, much slower (which I loved), but I felt like the AI wasn’t aggressive enough. Aurora tries to hit some sweet spot in between, where reflexes and APM don’t matter, but it still feels dangerous.
    - Galcon and Eufloria and most of the other games of this sort are all point-to-point. As a purely aesthetic thing, I much prefer battles in open space, so in Aurora there’s more freedom of movement. Sometimes that has strategic implications as well.

    Alex May, one of the developers of Eufloria, actually gave me some good feedback on the beta when I posted it at TIGSource. I gave the Eufloria and Galcon devs a copy when it was released, and they’ve all been awesome to me, in typical indie fashion.

  15. Ergates_Antius says:

    Looks, conceptually similar to Tentacle Wars

    Which I’m sure isn’t original itself…

  16. wsmieszek says:

    I would but there’s no Mac :(

  17. Alaric says:

    I was about to buy it, but the site wouldn’t sell it to me without my full name, address, phone number and so on. Yes, the phone number is actually a required field. WTF? Am I the only one who doesn’t trust some unknown guy on the Internet with this information, and thinks it is absurd of him to demand it in the first place? Since he obviously doesn’t need it yet collects it anyway, I can only assume it’s gonna be sold to some spammers in the end.

    • EMcNeill says:

      I let FastSpring handle the e-commerce stuff. You’ll see that reflected in the URL of the purchase page. They’re reputable. And I won’t do anything with it.

    • MrMud says:

      If they wont do anything with it, they dont need it.

  18. Alaric says:

    @EMcNeill,

    I must compliment you on the game. I really enjoyed the demo, in fact more so than I did with Eufloria.

    With that said, I cannot agree with your choice of distributor. Granted I know nothing about them at all, and I’m sure there is a reason you selected that one, but from a user’s perspective it’s just invasive. I was going to pay with PayPal but in an essence was told that my money isn’t good enough without my personal information. That’s the only reason I do not currently own a copy of your game.

    • EMcNeill says:

      Well, I suppose that’s fair enough, and I already contacted FastSpring with someone else’s similar complaint; they say you’ll be able to pay with PayPal sans personal information in a future release.

  19. FreddyD says:

    This title reminds me of Pixelante’s Pixel Legions.

  20. Kefren says:

    I really enjoyed the game so much that it inspired a piece of whimsy. http://karldrinkwater.blogspot.com/2011/03/auraluxurious-genre-experiments.html