Breaking News: Limit Theory Still Looks Lovely

By Craig Pearson on July 16th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Made by Josh #125892345
I have a theory about Limit Theory, the ridiculously handsome game of space that’s being developed by a small team. It looks too good for a two-man team to be making it, doesn’t it? Suspiciously so. But I don’t think developer Josh Parnell is lying when he claims it’s a small team making it, despite italicising ‘suspiciously’ for effect. It’s just that he doesn’t realise that his work computer actually has a Quantum Hard-Drive. His elegant space game is being developed by a multiplicity of Procedural Realities, coding across universes, turning out an Elite-ish space game across dimensions. That’s why it’s so impressive. I hope our Josh Parnell isn’t the evil one! He seems so nice in the videos below.


There have a been a couple of development blogs in the time RPS last took a look, and I think my theory stands when you look at them. Nebulae have never looked so fluffy, battleships are shinier and bigger than ever before. Most importantly for me, one of the many Joshes or Andys (Thompson, Art Lead) has been working on planets. He’s just casually tossed in some atmospheric scattering like it ain’t no thing.

This next video definitely has the shiniest battleship I’ve ever seen. I love the sense of scale. Most importantly, this has the first look at the crafting system. The widget driven UI looks super slick, and I like a man who is willing to test out his missiles on his own ship. Very Zapp Brannigan.

It’s not out, but I want it I want it I want it!

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Top comments

  1. aurious says:

    Doesn't Josh have an Art Director now?
    I seem to recall an update from earlier this year announcing such a thing.

    If this person is real, and not my brain trying to convince me that one person could not do all this alone, then he surely deserves much credit too.

    Ah.. it's Andy Thompson who probably deserves at least a mention for the pretties.
  1. Chalk says:

    Looking good.

    Anyone else seen the Elite: Dangerous screenshots recently (not sure if they have been posted on RPS). I feel they look kinda underwhelming for such a huge game, with a large dev team.

    Then here we have Limit Theory made by one person – and it stands its ground against Elite graphically (and perhaps outshines it).

    Any thoughts on that?

    • SKapsniak says:

      Well, the original Elite was made by two guys, but they only had 32KB of RAM to play with so I guess that was why they needed twice the team size of Limit Theory. one of them had to jump up and down on all the electrons to squeeze then down to a small enough size that they would fit :)

      • Shadowcat says:

        I think people generally had to do a bit of jumping up and down to fit the games into the Electrons.

    • SKapsniak says:

      More seriously, it’s all down to the amount of handcrafting of stuff required.

      If they don’t burn themselves out and are smart enough, very small/one person teams of coders can pull off amazing stuff, keeping at the forefront of their brains the knowledge that they can’t just afford to handcraft anything, and therefore concentrate on building systems out of which the game falls out of as a natural consequence.

      But the problem with that is that you can *only* get the types of game that come about mostly as a consequence of systems. Larger teams can afford to handcraft stuff. The very large teams you hear about working on AAA games today end up I think being mostly people handcrafting most things. Cue actual authored narrative and art styles made by humans rather than algorithms.

      Dumb generalisation: Large teams are actually equpped to handcraft, so that’s their default approach to pretty much everything, meaning they end making blockbuster set-pieces styles of games with tight scripting. Lone coders can’t afford to handcraft, so making a machine to to do it has be their default approach to everything, so they end up making much looser simulationist.styles of games.

      • charnode says:

        That is one of the major problems I have with a lot of games. Due to the handcrafted content you might get very cool visuals and sometimes even a story that is somewhat playworthy. On the other hand you get almost no freedom, diminished value in terms of effective play time and sometimes even encarcerating world design.

        That’s why I backed Limit Theory. I expect to have *my* own universe that no one else has ever seen (possible by a randomized seed the whole universe is based upon). And thus far I am confident, Josh will deliver on that promise. An intriguing thought.

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          Cinek says:

          Hand crafted doesn’t need to mean lack of freedom. For example all of the GTA games are handcrafted (not procedurally generated) and yet somehow I don’t see anyone complaining about lack of freedom.

          Yes, majority of modern AAA games are linear, but it’s more of a design choice than an issue with having stuff handcrafted. So don’t try to make any weird excuses for procedural generation.

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      Craig Pearson says:

      I have an upcoming post on those shots. They were a bit underwhelming, but they’re the usual posed shots games think we want to see. The map shot from a while back was much more exciting.

      • Chalk says:

        Totally agree – the map shop was awesome!

        • Shadowcat says:

          If I owned a map shop, I’d scrawl a tiny ‘x’ somewhere on each one, and feign ignorance if anyone asked.

  2. ryryryan says:

    Having pledged and played the prototype of this game, I have faith that it is money well spent.

    I made a couple videos that I will link to, but it is worth noting that Josh has done a ton of work since, so the camera and general graphics are a lot better as you can see in the june vid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BDo6fssbkw

  3. GreatBigWhiteWorld says:

    I too would hate to see an evil Josh online

  4. DarkFarmer says:

    Josh is a high-caliber programmer, visual director, and communicator, the kind of developer indies fear & look up to! Looking forward to this game.

  5. aurious says:

    Doesn’t Josh have an Art Director now?
    I seem to recall an update from earlier this year announcing such a thing.

    If this person is real, and not my brain trying to convince me that one person could not do all this alone, then he surely deserves much credit too.

    Ah.. it’s Andy Thompson who probably deserves at least a mention for the pretties.

    • Premium User Badge

      Craig Pearson says:

      Good point. He snuck that guy past me. I have updated the post.

      • Problematic89 says:

        Andy hasn’t been working on LT for quite some time now. The reason hasn’t been mentioned on the forums but it has been verified by one of the moderators on a youtube Podcast.

  6. darkhog says:

    Great. Now I got Kinetic void, preordered Starbound, planning to buy Star-Made, have Kerbal Space program, Starforge and now I have to buy this.

    STOP GIVING ME REASONS TO SPEND MY MONEY, RPS, I AM IN DEBT, DAMN IT! :)

  7. PatrickSwayze says:

    When is this buyable anyone?

  8. Premium User Badge

    c-Row says:

    That’s either a very fast spaceship or a very small planet in that first video. :D

  9. Iskariot says:

    This looks so good.
    Another cool spacesim I will buy.

  10. Branthog says:

    I was one of the first backers of this project, but have not kept up on it. At all. Even when I backed it, I kept thinking “this is just one dude and he looks like he’s not even out of high school — there is no way he can produce something remotely as ambitious as he has been talking about . . . hell, I don’t even see how he could have created the concept material he’s demoing for the funding presentation, because it looks as good as a lot of professional stuff I have seen”.

    I really hope I end up surprised by this. :D

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      Harlander says:

      I don’t even see how he could have created the concept material he’s demoing for the funding presentation, because it looks as good as a lot of professional stuff I have seen

      Some people are just inordinately talented, the bastards :p