Space Strangers: Wayward Terran Frontier

By Adam Smith on January 20th, 2014 at 6:00 pm.

Initially, I only stuck with the lethargic trailer for Wayward Terran Frontier because I was enjoying the soothing warp of the guitar strings that serenade its spacefarers. It’s a top-down combat and exploration game set on that most final of frontiers, but it was only when the viewpoint shifted to a ship’s interior that my attention was entirely captured by the pull of the attractor beams. Wayward Terran is a complex project and while there’s a free multiplayer alpha, a visit to the Kickstarter page is required dig out all of the enticing promises and secrets.

The ship’s layout reminds me of Space Alert’s raggedy disaster-capsules, which is an immediately endearing trait. Exploring, fighting and looting while constructing a vessel should be fun, particularly if the crew management side of the game is interesting in its own right. Even a slight shade of FTL would be welcome and, eventually, individual members will have their own inventories and tasks to perform.

While the game can be played as a space-based RPG -which allows players to trade, hijack or simply explore – there are stranger areas to explore. One-man design team George Hultgren explains:

“I played cookie clicker for hours and I asked myself…why is this fun? There is nothing redeeming in this. Is there something wrong with my brain?” the goal was to imagine the antics of an ideal antagonist intent on enslaving all of humanity. “I wanted to create a game that plays like a deep engrossing RPG, except as you play through it you learn that the mechanics are designed as a form of mental slavery for your character. The villain of the story is the one handing out the quest rewards, constantly encouraging you to do RPG type things in a freedom and frontier themed game world.

At the moment, George aims to expand on the free alpha, implementing the foundations of the larger game with the money raised on Kickstarter. Development will then continue, adding complex simulations to the world and perhaps expanding the meta game.

At its core, Wayward Terran Frontier aims to be a mix of a space trader, and an exploration based action role playing game. Inside the procedurally generated galaxy there will be some core human worlds that act as a safe haven for trade and commerce. Players will enjoy space stations, an economy, and non player characters going about their daily lives that can be messed with or exploited for profit. However, outside of those core worlds players will find the galaxy plays more like an action RPG. As they explore players will find dynamic events, monsters to fight, bad guys to explode, and most of all they will find loot.

The meta game can be played casually, or very hard-core depending on your preference. Players who stay near to civilization can enjoy short, low stress game sessions with constant character progress. This game is inspired by games like escape velocity, so trade and piracy will be viable gameplay strategies. Meanwhile players who venture out into the dark will find great rewards in exchange for great risk: the farther you travel the more dangerous and mysterious space becomes.

Fascinating and not at all what I expected when I first loaded up the trailer. There’s much more information at the Kickstarter page and George is currently just over $40,000 short of his $50,000 goal, with the campaign still in its early days.

Could this be a massively multiplayer Space Rangers 2, with a similar living galaxy? That seems to be the plan. If you only read one post about the complexity of building an effectively infinite playspace, make it this one. Check out the alpha client or the Kickstarter page.

__________________

« | »

, , , , , , .

33 Comments »

  1. Trent Hawkins says:

    Take my love, take my land
    Take me where I cannot stand
    I don’t care, I’m still free
    You can’t take the sky from me.

    • Lanfranc says:

      “Shiny! Let’s be bad guys.”

    • Lone Gunman says:

      Take me out to the black
      Tell them I ain’t comin’ back
      Burn the land and boil the sea
      You can’t take the sky from me.

    • kikito says:

      Jayne!
      The man they call Jayne!
      He robbed from the rich and he gave to the poor.
      Stood up to the man and he gave him what for.

    • sinister agent says:

      With a little bit of this
      And a little bit of that
      And shake your bum
      Na na na na

  2. Rollin says:

    So Firefly + StarDrive + FTL?

    • RedViv says:

      Oh good, the smelling salts have kicked in. I won’t comment further than that.

    • Mokinokaro says:

      Plus MMO, which harms my personal interest in it. It sounds very much like multiplayer will be required to progress in any real fashion.

      • Leucine says:

        From the kickstarter page:

        Will this be an MMO or can we play it on lan?

        The dedicated server will be software that you download and run on your machine. It will integrate with the existing client and allow you to play local singleplayer, host network only games, and if you are willing to forward some ports on your router it should be able to host internet games as well.

        Will multiplayer be mandatory?

        No, in fact most of the game play is inspired by games that were single player only, so the opposite will be true. The game will be easily played by 1 person and an AI crew, my goal is to make it so that replacing one of those crew with a real human has no drawback and provides equal rewards to both players so that multiplayer is fully integrated and worthwhile.

        So, while I share your feelings on the multiplayer side of things, it would appear the dev understands not everyone is of the persuasion that likes playing with others.

  3. Lone Gunman says:

    Why did they stop making Firefly? One of the universe’s many mysteries.

    • Tacroy says:

      Because each episode cost millions to make.

      • Corb says:

        And fox is stupid.

        • lomaxgnome says:

          And contrary to how everyone acts now, hardly anyone watched it. And the movie was a borderline flop as well. Tragically, us geeks don’t do a good enough job of putting our money where our mouth is.

          • dE says:

            And want to know why no one watched Firefly? Bad Airing Spot, fucked up Episode Order, almost zero advertisement for it. International following, versus national viewing statistics. Most people didn’t even know it existed until years later, when the whole thing had crashed and burned.
            Don’t go blaming people for something the TV Station screwed up. The quality of a series has almost nothing to do with how much it is watched. There are plenty of abysmal formats that get renewed, because they were hyped to hell and other well made formats die, because of a lack of hype.

  4. Geebs says:

    Are we allowed to call all 2d space games “Khan Simulators” from now on?

    (also holy not-actually-blue-notes-just-off-key, Batman)

  5. dorn says:

    For those interested in this you should check out Starsector: http://fractalsoftworks.com/

    It’s progressing fairly slowly but it’s already a load of fun.

    • dE says:

      Starsector was the first thing I thought about after seeing this.
      It’s not really slow in development in that it resembles something moving at glacial pace. Doesn’t matter though, even without mods this is already a great game. Mods expand quite a bit and even introduce faction wars and a whole lot of other features.
      Buy Starsector now, get a great game to play now. Just be aware it may be a decade or two until it actually finishes. If you buy it, buy it for what is there, not for what they said they’ll implement.

    • drinniol says:

      Or check out Escape Velocity: Nova; http://www.ambrosiasw.com/games/evn/

      It’s an oldie but finished.

      • Rizlar says:

        EV was the first thing I thought of, then it gets a mention at the end of the quotes! This looks pretty cool, the quest-giving antagonist idea sounds absolutely excellent as well.

        edit: Haha, reading that universe generation article made me think of Dwarf Fortress and the way it generates huge worlds with varying frames of reference. Then the first paragraph of the kickstarter mentions DF! Must…. pledge now… lose hours of life… playing with spaceships… …

  6. gigan says:

    Shit music for a space game though.

    • JFS says:

      Ever heard of StarCraft, man?

      • secuda says:

        Though music was the best part took me back to starcraft 1 aswell.

      • gigan says:

        Well of course I have… I just like my space music more… “Futuristic” than the slack jaw Dobro sound.

        Anyways, i don’t think it suits it myself.

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          Space music should be jazz. Bebop, to be precise.

        • Phasma Felis says:

          “slack jaw Dobro sound”

          I think this is the worst taste I’ve ever seen on RPS.

    • kikito says:

      Maybe in your universe.

      • gigan says:

        They should call it space farmer. Where’s my ethanol..
        haha

  7. RanDomino says:

    Why is it always Space Trader? How about using the other genre instead and making Fantasy Trader? Load out your caravan with guards of the various standard fantasy races, each with unique stats and equipment and XP and classes and so on. Fight goblin bandits in turn-based tactical combat. Buy low and sell high, with “high” being determined by the fact that the city that produces those things was recently burned down by a dragon, or the town that’s buying is on the other side of a troll-infested mountain range. Leave the ancient prophecies to the random adventuring parties you occasionally encounter, who may buy your wares at exorbitant mark-ups.

    • Pippy says:

      There is Reccetear.

    • Feste says:

      The Space Trader games tend to be a little more action-oriented than what you’re describing. There’ll be dogfights with pirates etc and maybe that lends them to a different crowd. It might even bring in the space-simmers who’re starved for a game.

      I even half wonder if it’s got anything to do with timing of the development of free-market capitalism coinciding with the Enlightenment and scientific advance. It might tend to make the far future the more natural setting for near-anarchocapitalism that these games base their political economies on.

      It could also be scale. It’s easy to be one amongst teeming billions in AD3056, and that means that the developer doesn’t need to give you tools to influence the universe. Although many are now, I think. Whereas in a trad-fantasy setting you’ve got a far smaller population (although probably still in the millions), and the influence of merchants can be huge (see the Medici).

      All theese are just excuses mind, and a game in your style could be good fun. As well as just changing caravan guards, you could do things like provide mounts and different carts, all of which would help give you a range of methods to imprint your personality on your caravan. Also, what about ships? Ships were interesting and really, really dangerous: ‘Kraken off the starboard bow sir! It’s come for our herring!’

      I wonder if you could play Dwarf Fortress in this manner?

    • Harlander says:

      There’s some kinda roguelike in development about mooching around between towns like this and one of the options is to be a merchant… I can’t for the life of me think what it was called though