One Guy Shouldn’t Be Able To Make Meridian: New World

By Nathan Grayson on July 29th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

And yet, that’s exactly what he did. Elder Games may sound all big, official, and plural, but it’s actually just a single, Herculean soul: a guy by the name of Ede Tarsoly. For the past two years, he’s been very probably going out of his mind to synthesize Meridian: New World, a fully featured traditional sci-fi RTS. I mean, just look at that. I’m pretty sure it would take me two years to Photoshop a screenshot that nice – let alone build a full game around it. The game itself sounds quite impressively tactical, too – if a tad generic.

Meridian apparently has “a focus on storytelling,” though its tale of Daniel Hanson (Dear Future Parents, MORE INTERESTING NAMES, PLEASE) and a mysteeeeeeeeerious planet doesn’t strike me as particularly novel-sounding. The feature list is similarly standard, but nonetheless impressive, given the context:

  • Traditional RTS gameplay with a focus on strategy – the forceful approach rarely works
  • Experience a world of choices where every decision has an impact on the world around you
  • Use the right tool to get the job done: equip your units with 15 different weapons
  • Gain XP during battle and upgrade your commander profile with special combat abilities
  • Get to know the people on board your ship: by talking to them, you influence the crew’s behavior
  • The level editor and scripting tool used to build the campaign will be available upon release
  • Never run out of maps with the in-game custom map downloader and official levels made available frequently after the game’s release

Special commander powers could further liven things up, and multiple play styles – ranging from covert sabotage to hyper-high-tech guns-a-blazing – are supported. Also, there’s some kind of crew influence system that reacts to your mid-battle choices, and I’m definitely interested in hearing more about that.

I admire Tarsoly’s single-minded (and, well, just singular) determination, but it’s much too soon to tell whether or not it’s paid off. Here’s hoping. This world could use some new RTS powerhouses, regardless of their dev team size.

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24 Comments »

  1. f4stjack says:

    FIRST COMMENT!!!

    Ahem, just kidding.

    As a coder myself I have a huge amount of respect for the guys who are like this. A single coder shouldn’t be able to do all of these, graphics, ai, pathfinding etc etc yet he did and in an impressive manner.

    Makes one wonder why Microsoft had ceased support to XNA when people are just getting used to it…

    • Low Life says:

      Making a game by yourself doesn’t have to mean downloading the XNA package and coding everything from scratch – there are a lot of libraries and assets to help in that process.

      That doesn’t diminish this accomplishment in any way, though. And who knows, maybe he did do everything from scratch.

      • Darkwings says:

        Even if he used a bunch of libraries and existing assets , the talent required to discern good things in different areas of expertise (audio, graphics, gameplay, engine, etc) isn’t something to dismiss so easily.

        Even having a good and talented team isn’t enough to ensure that the final product won’t be garbage if coordination and analysis is all over the place.

    • amorpheous says:

      It’s not XNA:

      “This isn’t really XNA, I use SynapseGaming’s SunBurn engine, but that engine doesn’t have a site on IndieDB, so I chose XNA, on which SunBurn Engine is based right now.”

      Author’s comment from the ModDB page.

      Your point still stands though, of course. Still an impresseive feat.

  2. 1Life0Continues says:

    Colour me interested.
    I long for a base building RTS that rewards tactics instead of building your biggest units and rushing them at the enemy. This seems like a concept that I can get behind.

    And also, the fact it’s just one guy behind it all makes it all the more clear that big budget AAA developers might still be missing the point.

    • Njordsk says:

      hear hear.

      Oh, how I loved ground control so much. Lost your unit? Had to take care of it before, now cry.

    • lizzardborn says:

      Game budget is only loosely correlated with game quality. You cannot buy passion and you cannot engineer fun.

      I hope that soon we will see the Portal style cooperation – few guys make amazing game and then some of the big guys pours money to up the production values and polish.

      But you have to have the amazing game to begin with, and big game studios are just not that good with that.

      • darkath says:

        You can actually engineer fun.
        Example : Roller coasters.

        • MasterDex says:

          And game developers – it’s basically their job description.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        If one cannot engineer fun, how do you explain Milton Keynes? That’s the funnest place on Earth.

        • Runty McTall says:

          True story: Milton Keynes once made my mother cry (we were trying to meet my dad and my mum just could not navigate the roundabout system to save her life and we kept ending up back in the same place, over and over).

          Oh, also, in an economics exam once I somehow conflated Milton Friedman and John Maynard Keynes (unforgivable, I know) and ended up attributing a quote to Milton Keynes.

          Basically Milton Keynes is a curse on my family.

    • darkmorgado says:

      “I long for a base building RTS that rewards tactics instead of building your biggest units and rushing them at the enemy”

      Never played Starcraft?

      Hell, going by the feature list of this, it IS starcraft. Everything listed could have been taken off the box of Starcraft 2.

      • tormos says:

        Did I miss the features of starcraft where you could equip your troops with a variety of weapons and gain commander experience during the mission which unlocked special powers?

  3. PatrickSwayze says:

    We so don’t get enough games like this these days.

    • Premium User Badge RedViv says:

      Truth.

    • MasterDex says:

      Aye. Just the other day, I reinstalled Dawn of War. I did not expect to feel so sad when I played it. Nowadays, the strategy genre is made up of “Welcome to your new job” 4x games and “While the kettle brews” RTT games.

      I really hope this turns out good because if one man can hit it big with this style of RTS, it’ll be a good incentive for others to try their hand at one too.

  4. Shadowcat says:

    How long before Bethesda’s lawyers claim that “Elder Games” is a blatant infringement?

  5. Lemming says:

    If you’re a competent 3D artist and willing to learn some scripting, being a one-man game development team is easily possible with platforms like Unity.

    It’s us scrubs that haven’t an artistic bone in our body that are stuffed and are doomed to make horrible looking prototypes, hoping to entice an artist to help out.

    • The Sombrero Kid says:

      It’s annoyngly hard to be a programmer & try the same thing, “why is my art so bland!”, “because you are rubbish, get an artist”.

    • Reapy says:

      Seriously… pretties sell games still…. This has a RPS article because it has nice screenshots, not because we know anything about the difficult stuff to do under the hood, or even the game besides a few vague descriptions.