Blackspace’s Kickstarter Looks Geological

By Jim Rossignol on September 19th, 2012 at 5:00 pm.


War over near-future asteroid mining might not be entirely unique as a theme, but the way the Blackspace team are handling it seems to be. This is a simulation-heavy RTS with destructible everything, meticulous physics modelling, asteroid geology, and an exploration/discovery aspect that is unusual in RTS games. This the first we’ve heard of the game, but they explain: “This isn’t just an idea or a concept. We’re not making up exciting features that we think we’ll be able to implement. This is a project well on its way to completion…” Blackspace is Kickstarting to the figure of $350k, and you can see the interesting and forthright pitch video below. It’s a good pitch, I reckon. Refreshing too, what with it not be nostalgia-driven “don’t make ‘em like this anymore” sort of affair…

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69 Comments »

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  1. Kestrel says:

    Do want.

  2. philbot says:

    It’s like… Homeworld + Kerbal space program…

    COULD IT GET ANY BETTER!?

  3. Switch625 says:

    It certainly looks like it rocks.

    …I’ll get me coat.

    • Didden says:

      When will this game comet out?

    • Fox89 says:

      I can’t think of a crater concept than this.

    • McDan says:

      Well I’m definitely going to fund it so it can be mine(d).

    • DHP says:

      I want. Wonder how much space My HDD needs. Also might need give my graphix card some a-steroids.

    • Fumarole says:

      That’s a warped sense of humor.

    • Prokroustis says:

      The amount of money they want is astronomical however, is it not?

    • Rugged Malone says:

      Campaigns like this have a lot of inertia, so I’m sure we all understand the gravity of the situation. Now that this game has been thrust into the limelight, hopefully it won’t take long for the kickstarter to build up momentum.

  4. Kaje says:

    Anybody else think that Andrea, the producer, is rather hot?

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Please, don’t.

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      Hardlylikely says:

      She shares a surname with one of the guys, good chance they are married. In any case, show some class?

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      tomeoftom says:

      Grow up.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      There are plenty of websites where you can leer over women, this is not one of them so if you want to discuss that sort of thing kindly go somewhere else.

    • wodin says:

      oooooohhhhhh ladies…

      (say in Partridge voice)

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      Gap Gen says:

      Actually, the lander is the sexiest thing on the video. A piece of mining equipment that fires missiles? Yes please.

  5. Armitage says:

    I’ve just signed up on kickstarter and became a backer. I’ve been following the kickstarter phenomenon since the beginning, but this is the first project that I have actually pledged dollars to. It looks great and I can’t wait to play it.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      did you miss planetary annihilation? or no interest for it? or what about project eternity?

      • dontnormally says:

        I think a significant difference between this project and those is that those (Annihilation / Eternity) don’t need you. They’ll definitely be funded just by them.

        • Dark Nexus says:

          True, but I expect most people will base their decision to pledge or not on how much the project interests them, not on how much the project needs their help.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Castle Story also has some VERY interesting RTS-meets-mining-and-building elements as well

  6. Javier-de-Ass says:

    looks fantastic

  7. HexagonalBolts says:

    This looks absolutely amazing. The graphics and the ideas are both amazing! I’m going to throw money at it like crazy, I’m surprised they put the pledge time with only 28 days left – I swear you can normally make it longer? Or has this just been noticed late?

    • b0rsuk says:

      You can make it 2 or 3 months if that’s what you mean. But giving a longer time doesn’t mean people will pay more. On the contrary, judging by past stats it seems people lose interest if the campaign lasts too long.

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    Hardlylikely says:

    This ticks boxes I didn’t even know I had. The setting, the control of the miner thing, physics and terrain types influencing strategy, this looks exciting.

  9. Iskariot says:

    There is no question about it: I want this game!

  10. Reapy says:

    Theme is strong with this one. I’m not too into base building /tower defense RTS games but I was struck watching that how there hasn’t been a themed space game.

    I also was struck by the idea watching the point where the enemies streamed in from the dark side of the planet how cool that would be in an exploration ‘wtf lives on that side’ type of game.

  11. zebramatt says:

    So this is a, what… 1P2D1S game? Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it…

  12. DarkFarmer says:

    This game looks great. Side note, RTS games divergently evolving into DOTAs and Tower Defenses occurred so slowly and gradually, I didn’t even notice until now.

    • konrad_ha says:

      This looks incredibly beautiful, but it really is a tower defense game, isn’t it? They might talk about strategy all they want, all I saw were swarms of enemies heading towards a player base in straight lines. I’m sorry to say it but I really expected something much more interesting after the first teaser trailer.

      • wu wei says:

        all I saw were swarms of enemies heading towards a player base in straight lines

        Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any RTS for which this isn’t true.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Any game where you get flanking, surging, and counterattacking in attack patterns, for one. RA2’s AI wasn’t too bad at that, many singleplayer campaigns try it, and obv. online multiplayer can be as tricksy as people are feeling. It was a bit of a shame that SupComm’s transport route and synchronised attack systems meant that preparing a co-ordinated multi-front attack should have been practical, but it hardly ever came up outside of an early tutorial-esque mission, and the skirmish AI will just stream canon fodder into your waiting defences. (And it builds bases as such an indistinct blob of structures that they don’t really have weak or strong sides, so you may as well just push back and steamroll them.)

  13. squareking says:

    Refreshing too, what with it not be nostalgia-driven “don’t make ‘em like this anymore” sort of affair…

    Ouchies.

    • b0rsuk says:

      I agree. Fundamentally it’s a tower defense hybrid game, but it’s far enough from mundane. It really looks like asteroid mining. Sharp shadows due to lack of atmosphere, convincing lens flares, dust and debris, very good models.

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    tomeoftom says:

    Without hyperbole, this is by far the game I want more than anything else.

  15. Stevostin says:

    KS player is crap. Any youtube version of the same ?

    • acousticsphere says:

      I found it on YouTube Some other vids there too! Can’t wait for this game!

    • dontnormally says:

      I agree; the kickstarter video player gizmo sucks (in comparison to youtube).

  16. VileJester says:

    Models look good. Textures look good. Lighting looks good. Shadows look good. Producer Andrea looks good. Physics look good. Game mechanics look good. Particle effects looks good.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Regarding physics… a minor point, but the gravity looks way too strong on those asteroids. It hurts the realism a bit, but it’s probably necessary for gameplay reasons, so the player doesn’t spend all their time waiting for objects to slowly sink back to the ground. Or risk having things bounce and fly out of the gravity field completely.

      Anyway, cool-looking game. I’m in.

      • whorhay says:

        The gravity was actually explained as part of the game story. These particular asteroids are being mined because they are the remnants of some other celestial object with led to their core material being some super dense material. This unusual situation has led to some other unique elements being present. which is what you are after.

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        Gap Gen says:

        If you look closely you can see the Little Prince running away from the lander’s missiles.

  17. mckertis says:

    Did i see gravity ? On an asteroid ?

    Also they seem to be too enamored with some randomly useless tech like that Oculu Raft, or whatever, i’d rather they make a decent UI, the one they use is not exactly what i would call hot. Mysterious radial menus ? *shudder*

    • Lev Astov says:

      Radial menus are actually the best once you get used to them. I’m not sure about their implementation, though. Anyway, that $350k has to go towards something, right?

      • mckertis says:

        “Radial menus are actually the best once you get used to them.”

        I dont remember a single example where i didnt wish to rip those radial menus out with the roots. It’s been “hip” for more than a decade to make radial menus, and they always, always suck. Of course, if you’re on a controller, there are very few ways you can go with puny 10 buttons or whatever, but even that is not good enough of an excuse.

        • NathanH says:

          Add me to the “never seen a radial menu I didn’t want to eviscerate” club.

      • InternetBatman says:

        Radial Menus are by no means the best. They’re chosen because they’re controller accessible and they look more organic than drop-down menus, but that doesn’t make them easier to use or better.

        • LionsPhil says:

          They’re constant-time to access any element, and the further you move the mouse, the less precise you have to be, so they tune nicely to varying mouse proficiencies: short and fast for the accurate twitchers, but still allowing big, sloppy movements.

          On paper, done right, radial menus are brilliant for a limited number of equally likely choices. Remember that Neverwinter Nights used them, and you wouldn’t play that with a 360 pad.

          In practice, well, opinions clearly vary.

          Edit: Looking the the video, though, it seems that they’re stepping around the items in a loop. It’s not actually a radial menu. :/

    • haev says:

      What’s wrong with gravity on an asteroid? Do you think it disappears as soon as you leave the earth’s atmosphere? Sure, it looks strong, but that’s probably a game design decision.

  18. Amun says:

    I hate to be a negative nelly on this one, but it looks like something that looks great on paper and falls flat in practice. I mean, what’s the the point of the game? Just gather materials, put them in your dropship and….? Is it a multiplayer RTS? If so, where’s the gameplay that makes it amazing? Building a base via a unit you control directly and veteran status for static defenses is not really getting me excited.

    It also doesn’t help that the effects (I know, placeholder) require an atmosphere and high gravity (heat ripple from the engines, the way dust is kicked up, the way the rocks and the lander fall, smoke trails, fiery explosions, shockwaves from explosions, haze, etc etc).

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      BubuIIC says:

      The tower leveling struck me as a bit odd… they are taking quite a realistic approach for the whole game and then the base defenses just get arbitrarily better through shooting at stuff. You don’t have to invest stuff to actually upgrade their targeting processor or load higher powered missiles? Seems like a curious decision.

      As for the gameplay, what I gathered from the KS page is that this should be more some kind of sandbox. You have your lander and build bases and go for other asteroids and so on. Might seem a bit aimless, but I don’t know, maybe it can actually be fun by itself.

  19. wodin says:

    Liked the look of the lander..very realistic looking which seemed odd actually, as it then struck me I’m not sure I’ve seen an RTS game with realistic looking graphics. They usually have a more cartoon quality about them…

    I then got to thinking about Alpha Centauri and how a game like that with graphics of the quality of that lander would be damn awesome..

  20. ShDynasty says:

    When did Danny McBride start doing video games?

  21. The_cake_is_a_lemon says:

    Sorta looks like the Spore space stage, but not half assed

  22. LionsPhil says:

    Aaaaa clean your camera!

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    Hypocee says:

    Yowza. I’m deeply prejudiced against tower defence and hate veterancy upgrades, but that hit like a ton of bricks. Tethered physical flight? Terrain manipulation? Crazy deep-space lighting? Yes.

  24. Armante says:

    Looks interesting. Marking the Kickstarter page and I’ll check development on it.

    Also, I kinda like the idea of the enemies being just boxes. I know it’s placeholder art, but if the enemy is merely strip-mining resources to throw guns at you, why would it make intricately detailed ships?

    Plain boxes are so much more menacing. Endless boxes. Piling up, flying at you..