Space Trails And Trailers: Deep Space Settlement

By Graham Smith on July 8th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

It has quickly become trite to say there are a lot of space games currently in development. How about this: there still aren’t enough space strategy games. Sure, cockpit fetishists are well satisfied, but there’s still too few opportunities to command fleets from a spacebird’s-eye-view.

Deep Space Settlement may correct this. It’s an in-development “4X RTS”, meaning it’s about forming enormous armadas and directing them in real-time space battles. There are plans for story and sandbox modes, systems of trade and ship customization, and a lot more. And there’s the first trailer below.

That’s a lot of loveliness for something that’s largely the work of a single person, Stéphanie Rancourt, with outsourcing only used for the art.

So far the project has been financed using savings and contract work, but they’ve just opened up pre-orders to fund further development. The price is $50, which seems awfully steep considering it’ll be at least 6 months before there’s even a “first playable”; the website explains that “setting us hard deadlines would compromise the quality of DSS”, but does offer up some details of which features will be available at first release, and then added at alpha and beta stages.

Whether that seems like a worthwhile gamble is between you and your wallet, but you should definitely continue to watch these videos.

And neat Vines:

There’s lots more where those came from on the Deep Space Settlement site.

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21 Comments »

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  1. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    Oh no, delicious customisation. My weak spot!

    • Tikanderoga says:

      That was my big downfall too….. [floating combat text] -$50 [/floating combat text]

  2. SophiaButler says:

    I think I’m looking forward to this :o

  3. jasta85 says:

    loving how space sims and RTS’s are making a come back, two of my favorite genres that have fallen out of the mainstream

    • Stardreamer says:

      It’s brilliant, isn’t it? Literally every itch I’ve ever had as a gamer who loves space and sci-fi is being scratched by someone. :)

  4. Premium User Badge

    Gap Gen says:

    The name made me kinda wish for a civilian space colonisation game, where the challenge is in the various logistical and economic issues relating to putting people on asteroids and moons, and gathering resources to keep them alive.

  5. khamul says:

    On the one hand, Sword Of The Stars had a learning curve like the North Face of the Eiger – and SotS2 doubled it, whilst coupling it with a good selection of bugs and a less than entirely friendly UI.

    On the other hand, the richness and the depth of the systems, the complex asymmetry of it, and the thought that’s gone into the background lore (and that the lore can provoke) have all spoiled any other 4X strategy/space RTS for me.

    I’d love to see RPS do a piece on Sword of the Stars – seems like the kind of thing Tim Stone could do justice to. There’s some interesting history there in their relationship with paradox that would fit into the games as a business angle that RPS sometimes explores, and there’s no way any other games review site is going to give something like SotS the time and mental effort required to begin to understand and appreciate the way its systems interlock.

    So yeah, I hope the genre makes a comeback. And I hope Kerberos sorts out their licensing issues and is able to give their game another shot. And that this time, it comes with a campaign to introduce the features and a decent UI, so you don’t have to be some kind of manic genius to pick the thing up.

    But for anything else in the genre? Sure, I’m glad it’s happening, but personally I’d rather just go back and struggle with SotS2 again.

    • Sian says:

      Eh… Kerberos doesn’t like to talk about their deals with Paradox – or they’re not allowed to. Not sure, which is true. Either way, getting their angle on the story would be difficult.

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      Hanban says:

      Sots2 was good for one thing. It taught me to never again pre-order a game. After comprehensive patching it is still vastly inferior to sots1.

      • khamul says:

        It took me about 8 tries – with weeks or more between each try – before it finally started to click for me. Having got there – they’re different games. I think it’s maybe harder to get into SotS2 if you’ve played the first, because things you expect to be similar aren’t. Also, starting with Morrigi was probably a mistake.

        I can see what they’re trying to do, though. For example , there’s that bit in SotS1 where everyone hits the level of drive technology where you can storm through the opponents’ rear worlds and there’s not much they can do to stop you. One of the clearly intentional side effects of the new fleet mechanic is to prevent that, with supply and endurance to limit range, so you have actual battlefronts to fight across and protect – and taking out a single system can significantly hamper an opponents’ ability to come after you, so choke-points begin to emerge in a 3D map.

        Complex, clever, interlocking stuff – even without all the other systems it ties into. Very ambitious. But when your mechanisms are that interconnected and subtle there’s pretty much no way for an ordinary human to begin to get a handle on them without significant effort. It’s hard to make the time – and the UI really doesn’t help. Even after putting 10s of hours into it (which is a lot of what I have for gaming), I still have no idea what the limits of my fleet range are, and how supply and endurance interconnect. And what the hell are warehouses on civilian stations for? And…

        More seriously, I’m not sure they’ve got the balancing right. The whole thing feels slower-paced than SotS1, some of the early random threats do far more economic damage, comparatively (as fleets are so much more expensive than single ships). Pirates are a huge time-sink and not much fun… this kind of stuff is much harder to fix than some UI holes, and harder to work around as a player.

        I don’t know whether it’s better or worse than SotS1, but it’s certainly less easy to get into. Either way, appreciating them the way I do, I can’t imagine wanting to play anything else in 4X.

        The lore though, remains superb. The Loa are a brilliant concept, and I was completely taken by surprise by the Suul’ka reveal – though it’s obvious in retrospect. It’s marvellous stuff, and I wish it came through in-game a bit more.

        • Stardreamer says:

          Before Egosoft’s great stillbirth, there was Kerberos….

          Yeah, I’ve tried to get into SotS2, driven by my love of the first game plus my love of the new game’s graphical style but I’ve bounced of it so many times I don’t know if I’ll ever try again. Sad.

        • Premium User Badge

          Hypocee says:

          As ever, Arinn muhfuh’n Dembo, author of the two Homeworlds that make sense, Arcanum, all SotS and a smattering of books and shorts. I eat up just about everything she does with a spoon.

  6. Sian says:

    This looks great! I’m so tempted to preorder, just to help make this game a reality…

  7. LambChop says:

    Looks brilliant.
    But I have learned my lesson from other early access / Green Lit games. Wait until it is released…
    End product is rarely what they set out to be and never on time.

    • JS says:

      This! I’m also extra suspicious when it comes to titles developed by a single person. No matter how skilled and dedicated this person is, there are only so many hours to a day, and modern game development is extremely complex.

      I’m not saying that one person can not develop a good game that’s worth playing, I’m just saying it’s very difficult, and therefore a very rare thing to happen.

  8. Tei says:

    Modular spaceship makes a lot of sense. Even if you don’t build them from the deep a gravity well.

  9. Sc0r says:

    Uuuuuh *____* smells like *looks at price* ….anus