Exactly What It Sounds Like: MMOAsteroids

By Nathan Grayson on July 13th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

Well, unless you incorrectly read it as “Muh-muh-moo asteroids,” in which case it sounds like a mutant cow attempting to pronounce the word “asteroids.” In reality, however, mmoAsteroids is – shock of all shocks – timeless classic Asteroids converted into a massively multiplayer blast-‘em-up. In practice, it’s pretty simple at this point, but it’s also pre-Alpha, so that’s to be expected. Even so, it’s a fun little time-waster at this point, with many bits, bobs, bleeps, and bloops – for instance, UFOs and powerups – already in their proper places. Given time, though, it’s apparently set to evolve into something much, much larger.

Developer Paul Firth explained his impressively ambitious plans for mmoAsteroids in an introductory post.

“Imagine being able to go on MMO style quests with your friends, working together to battle through huge shared worlds which resemble those old shoot-em-ups like RType or Gradius, destroying each gun of a massive enemy ship before taking out the power-cell in its centre.”

“Or imagine all working together in teams to pilot a large mecha ship (similar but more advanced than the one in the current game) all the way to the opposing teams base, avoiding the automatic gun turrets that they placed there earlier and their line of defensive players, to drop some explosive charges right on the core part of their base. Those are just a couple of the ideas I’ve got for the future of this game.”

So basically, Asteroids is only the beginning – which, I guess, sort of excuses the current build’s lack of focus on, you know, asteroids. Currently, Firth’s hoping money spent on in-game avatars will allow him to fund the rest of the game, though that might be a bit of a long shot given that we’re talking about tiny, slightly differentiated triangles. The lowest tier is $4.99, which strikes me as an incredibly terrible idea, because – again – triangles. I am, however, somewhat partial to the “high roller,” if only for its hilariously pitiful array of flashing Pimp-My-Ride-style lights. I’m less partial to its $49.99 price tag.

I wish the project the best of luck, though. It’s quick, simple, but impressively large scale fun right now, and it could even evolve into something really special over time. Who knows? Maybe he’ll eventually opt to add 16-bit graphics, color, a third dimension, an online subscription service, a cover system, motion control, and tablet support and rename it Videogame: The Videogame. It seems like a fairly logical progression.

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33 Comments »

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  1. BlackeyeVuk says:

    Still less repetitive then COD.

    PEW PEW!

  2. Chandos says:

    But can I get a trapezoid for an avatar?

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      RaveTurned says:

      I predict micro-transactions coming soon. ;)

      EDIT: I just saw the part about crowd-funding on the page/article. Not so much ninja’d as sloth’d. :/

    • Yawny says:

      It’s only a matter of time before there are penis-shaped spaceships shooting white pellets.

  3. Didero says:

    I don’t think you can call something that’s available to the public ‘pre-alpha’. The webpage also uses the term ‘tech demo’, which might be closer to what it is.

    Yay nitpicking!

  4. Shinan says:

    For some reason this reminds me of Subspace or Continuum or whatever it was called. I remember a buddy of mine was really into that and I tried it a couple of times as well.

  5. MythArcana says:

    *Rock DLC, Pew Pew Micro Transactions, and Premium Subscriptions not included.

  6. Mr. Mister says:

    A want the mmo of the relativistic version http://www.referencegames.com/

  7. Ergates_Antius says:

    Sounds like he hasn’t quite grasped the “micro” aspect of microtransactions.

    If he needs funds to complete the project, he might be better off just asking for donations.

    Or, y’know, hats.

  8. Dana says:

    Hihi…mmo. That’s adorable.

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    Harlander says:

    Anyone ever play Nettrek? That’s what I thought on first sighting the screenshot

    • LionsPhil says:

      I thought xpilot, which sadly didn’t even compile on recent systems any more last I tried, and that was four years ago or so. (xpilot-ng faffs with it too much, pah. Also I think it took great efforts to even dig up a tarball of the original…)

      Hmm. At one point I threw Box2D, SDL_Draw, and mzscheme into a blender and got a very minimal (and not networked) echo of it. Must resurrect that some time.

  10. FCA says:

    It seems the servers have vanished into a black hole…

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      Morlock says:

      I am certain this game will rock hard.

      • Fumarole says:

        Today’s kids have a hard time understanding the gravity of Asteroid’s influence back in the day.

  11. crsrz55 says:

    I’ve come all the way from 1986 to say this: Comet Busters. Viva la LAN!

    That’ll be all.

  12. Cuchulainn says:

    So, it’s a persistant ,xpilot? Ok.. But the original is still worth a blast! Multi-nuclear-shrapnel-imploding heat seeker for the win!

  13. Mrs Columbo says:

    Is this not kinda Atari copyright-impinging?

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I was about to post the same thing then I saw your post. If he wasn’t trying to fund it he *might* fly under the radar. Going the crowd sourcing route I predict this gets shut down fast. Was he also going to sell this game too? If so then he was setting himself up pretty bad. I predict this entire thing is squashed. If he’s lucky, with only a cease and desist.

    • mike2R says:

      I don’t think there are any copyright issues – its not like he’s using Atari code.

      Trademark on the name I suppose. But there seem to be dozens and dozens of clones out there that use the Asteroids name.

      • Mrs Columbo says:

        Yeah and most of the clones are breaking Atari’s original copyright. One doesn’t need to have lifted code to be in breach. It’s when someone tries to monetise it that they might find their head above the parapet. I hope not, but I reckon it’s a genuine risk.

        • mike2R says:

          I think it is somewhat less clear cut than that.

          Copyright will easily protect against copying of code, art, music etc. A full reimplementation is a different matter, especially if it isn’t just a reimplementation but includes significant changes. Ideas are not copyrightable after all, only their expression.

          Apple lost their “look and feel” case against Microsoft. Linux would only infringe upon Unix if there had been actual copying. The law does not treat copying elements from a computer program’s design in the same way it treats copying the program itself.

  14. oldkc says:

    **Player has logged in**

    Generic Space NPC: “Welcome to space, can you do me a favor?”
    Player: *YES*
    Generic Space NPC: “There is a huge asteroid in the Zed quatrant, I need you to destroy it and bring me it’s metal core” *mission added*

    **Player has logged out**

  15. daraujo says:

    Someone should make a SkiFree mmo.

  16. Reapy says:

    Helooooooooo subspace / continuum .

    Would still play that if more people were still doing so!

  17. AimHere says:

    Crufty old unix nerds might remember something similar going by the name of xpilot in the very early 1990s.

  18. Twerty says:

    Reminds me of the criminally obscure game Gate 88 (http://www.queasygames.com/gate88/index.html). I played it years ago after waiting for hours for someone to hop on. It’s like asteroids… with basebuilding, turrets, upgrades, and alliances that can be broken at will. Nifty little thing it is.

  19. richard says:

    Nathan Grayson, if you weren’t a completely made up internet writing thing, I would buy you a beer. What a jolly good addition to RPS you are.

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    Foosnark says:

    Heh. I once wrote an Asteroids clone in Java and added more goodies to it, like homing missiles, mines, a giant beam, and a repulsor.

    We made it multiplayer and used it as a test for client/server communications very early in the development of HeroEngine. I wish it still existed, but the client source code was on a machine that died, no backup, no source control…

  21. disperse says:

    It really annoys me that there is auto-breaking. I was looking forward to a little Newtonian physics…