Give It A Trya: Maia Lands On Steam Early Access

By Nathan Grayson on December 4th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

The Maian Prophecy came true after all! Just as was foretold by a news post I wrote a couple months ago, so shall it be. Maia is now available on Steam Early Access, and I’m aching to worm my futuristically gloved hands into its steaming, ropey gut pile of systems and AIs. The Dungeon Keeper and Dwarf Fortress-inspired colony sim is, however, currently not working for me, as it launches at a weird, choppy resolution and I can’t find any way to fix it. Boo. Maybe you’ll have better luck, though?

Maia’s alpha is 25 percent off at the moment, and you can grab it here. But is it worth the investment at this point? Well, here’s what you’re getting (assuming it works):

“The game is still very deep in development, so many things might be broken. Sometimes in a rather amusing manner, sometimes… less so. The current sandbox build (0.38) allows a basic level of colony building, colonist interaction and base simulation, but the best is still to come!”

“We want to keep development hurtling forwards at a steady rate and plan to release update builds every week (probably on Fridays) as the game progresses.”

So that’s what you’re working with for the moment. The future, meanwhile, is a twinkling star-sea of possibility, especially given the complexity of Maia’s underlying systems. It’s still probably got quite a ways to go, but I would very much like to see it reach its potential.

And, you know, to see it at all outside the bottom corner of the map. But that’s Early Access for you, I suppose. We get to experience (and pay for) all the warts before the makeup goes on, for better or worse.

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24 Comments »

  1. Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

    I was so excited to see my key for this turn up! I’ve got an assload of work for today so this is going to have to wait well into the evening, but I think Maia’s going to take priority over Starbound (Starbound keys are releasing 6pm UK time) when I get some time later on. simon, the dev, is a thoroughly pleasant and dedicated chap who stops by the RPS Steam chat occasionally – even if it’s still very much an alpha/beta at the moment, I’d really suggest getting in early and chipping in to help him make this the fantastic end product it’s inevitably going to be.

    • Kitsunin says:

      So annoyed that Starbound keys are supposed to be coming at 2 A.M. CST. How am I supposed to sleep?

      • Capt. Eduardo del Mango says:

        CST as in Central Standard Time? Starbound keys are scheduled for 10am PST, or 12pm mid-day CST.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Erm, whoops, Chinese Standard Time, forgot they share the same abbreviation.

  2. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    I backed it & I’m still looking forward to it but people should be warned it’s not a game yet, just a tech demo, the colonists for example just stand around and do nothing & the UI is absolutely shocking (because it’s a test UI, i’m sure the final one will be awesome).

    • Premium User Badge

      RaveTurned says:

      This. In addition, the game may not even perform that well at present, depending on your hardware. The first tech demo of this I tried was so stuttery I could barely navigate the menus to exit the game. A more recent demo after a round of optimisation and multi-threading managed a more playable 15-20FPS or so with the odd nasty performance spike, but I found the mechanics in place were fairly rudimentary (at least in terms of the parts you can actually interact with – there’s clearly a lot of groundwork in place). I should say I have a few builds to catch up on, so there might be more there now.

      I know there’s a long way to go yet and I’m fine with that, but I wonder if Simon’s launching the game on Early Access a little *too* early. Feedback from the Steam community can be a little… unforgiving at times. But then again, maybe being transparent about the development process and showing games in a work-in-progress stage is the best way to set expectations for Early Access games as a whole.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jp1138 says:

      I think this early in the process only the backers should have access, as the build is too primitive. It can bring lots of negative feedback and fill the forums of angry customers, even taking away the momentum of the real launch. This is no prison architect, for sure :(

  3. brat-sampson says:

    It’s definitely a case of YMMV at the moment. I’ve seen people successfully run through 30 minute Lets Plays of chte current version, while my experience has largely been crashes and game-crippling bugs.

    First boot I couldn’t find the actual station, it seemed to have just dumped me into an empty wilderness. Zooming is temperamental w/ my mouse wheel, meaning I can’t zoom out all that much. Second try I found the base, tried to build a room and my robot got stuck in a task meaning I couldn’t place the work bench. I think I’ll just give it another couple of weeks and try again. I backed the Kickstarter because I was interested iin the final product, so I really don’t mind at all that version 0.38 or w/e is a bit iffy, but if you’re looking to get a Prison Architecht or Nuclear Throne level game from your Early Access Maia, you might want to hold out a little longer. Again though, this is just my experience, others are faring better.

    Finally if you do play, I rcommend reading the Readme first, the controls can be a bit unintuitive otherwise and you might not know how to, say, exit the game. (Shift+Esc)

    • HothMonster says:

      I wonder if steam requires you to make your game available for sale once you start using it for alpha distribution. Like maybe there is a limit of free alpha users you can have, obviously Dayz is on there in some capacity already but not for sale, but if Roth wanted to make this the only distribution channel for his 8K+ backers he had to make it available for purchase. There has to be some limit to how much they let you use their resources for free.

      Or maybe he just said fuck it and decided he might as well open up sales if it is on Steam.

      EDIT: Or neither, I noticed he has had preorders available from his site for a while now when I went looking for my key.

  4. Zanchito says:

    Staying away from it until it gets close to release, but good news anyway.

  5. Bull0 says:

    But that’s Early Access for you, I suppose. We get to experience (and pay for) all the warts before the makeup goes on, for better or worse.

    Yeah, in this case it’s for the better if you like the sound of the project. Your purchase helps them carry on with development. I reckon that’s a Good Thing(tm). For the big boys who could secure enough capital to do it anyways, and then deliver a shitty mobile game with microtransactions anyway, less so. Don’t give those guys your money.

  6. Ross Angus says:

    I like that chairs are called “bum support”.

  7. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I backed Maia and I don’t regret it, but it definitely is very work in progress right now. I tried it once a couple weeks ago, and I had framerate issues and the UI was functioning, but still lacking a lot of layers of paint and chrome. Because of this, I personally couldn’t find much fun to be had yet, and I’ll refrain from playing for a few months and then pop back in to see where it’s at. I’ve picked up more than enough in the Steam and Humble Store sales to last me till the end of time probably, so I won’t get bored anyway.

    If you buy into it now, only do so if you want to support the dev that way, but not if you expect a proper game you can play right now.

    • President Weasel says:

      This.
      It’s intriguing and it makes me glad it’s one of the very few games I kickstarterised, but it’s not a finished game by any measure. There’s enough there to make me look forwards to playing the finished article.

  8. jarowdowsky says:

    Yeah, picked this up because I want to do everything I can to support space games but hell, it’s really early access. I mean, Spacebase DF-9 is practically a finished game compared to this version.

    I don’t mean a lot of the functionality isn’t there yet, it’s just not there at all. I managed to get a workbench built after 30 minutes but that was it.

    Just a warning really, don’t go into it expecting anything at all and then get upset.

  9. Didden says:

    I know Simon reads RPS. I hope his hair looks just as good after all this coding. Good job dude!

  10. Lemming says:

    I backed this, so I’ve got the early access but I won’t be using it. Like Godus, I’ll wait until it’s finished. I’ve tried early access stuff before and I just end up disappointed it’s only partly done.

  11. fluffy_thedestroyer says:

    This has nothing to do with this game but early access on steam must stop. It’s getting annoying as hell. This here is just an example Nathan Grayson couldn’t go deep in it. Well theres other arguments but I just hate early access. They’re other ways to build hype without making an alpha broken release… But the game does look interesting.

    In my case, Today, I will record StarBound and upload it on Youtube for sure.

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      What’s so annoying about it? If you don’t want early access games, surely you can just, you know, not buy them? I mean, the category isn’t even advertised on the front store page any more. Are all other games that don’t interest you annoying as well and should be removed?

    • HothMonster says:

      So you hate early access but are looking forward to playing an alpha that comes out today?

  12. Burningvillage says:

    just head over to Gog.com and buy Startopia, you’ll be a lot happier.

    • Lemming says:

      Or, get it on Steam. But I don’t see what Startopia (awesome though it is), has to do with a new game coming out that’s not even finished and is arguably trying to do something different

  13. The First Door says:

    So, I’m aware this might be a silly thing to ask but… is there a plan to have the colonists build the actual rooms? It just seems a little odd that they magically appear in the video when everything else requires a colonist to build it!