Fleet Battles And Friendly AI: Shallow Space

By Ben Barrett on July 17th, 2014 at 8:00 am.

Certainly makes me shallow a har har (it's a pretty video game)

Luigi had his fun; this is the year of space. Unlike Luigi, space is infinite and not a plumber. Space is strong, like ox, only much bigger and filled with giant bits of metal throwing lasers at one another. Shallow Space is an RTS focused on fleet command and larger battles, with creator James Martin citing Homeworld and Nexus: The Jupiter Incident as influences. It’s very much there, looking familiar in UI and control mechanisms, as well as the bulky ships and piercing beams. But where it varies – procedural generation throughout the campaign, for example – is what’s caught my eye.

There’s a backstory, written by John Harper (who’s also doing one of the new Elite books), of a far-flung humanity on the other side of the galaxy once Earth was used up. The player belongs to the new government which is contending with mega-corporations and pirates for peace on and arounds its eight colonies. Boo. Just once I’d like to be the evil banker.

Anyway, that all means you’re moving about the nearby space sectors of the eight colonies as problems pop up. These will take the form of both random encounters and storyline missions, sometimes several at once as you coordinate different battle groups. Just the lightest touch of grand strategy in my Homeworld? Don’t mind if I do, sir. Everything in-mission will be randomly generated too: where ships start, objective locations and the like. All sound a bit complex? James is programming a quite hefty AI to take some of the strain off players who don’t feel like micromanaging it all. He’s detailed it in a number of posts recently.

The game’s up on Greenlight if you’d like to see more, though has already run the gauntlet so there’s no voting to do. The full run-down of the project’s plans is in the announcement post from last month and the latest update is over here. I’m looking forward to seeing more, particularly how much prettier it manages to get and what the consequences of all this procedural generation are.

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13 Comments »

  1. Bullitt says:

    Looks aces. Ive been looking for something to play since i got bored of sins. Looks more pew pew than click click! Right up my alley.

    • GentlemanRaptor says:

      B-bored of Sins? What heresy is this? There are so many mods!

  2. SuicideKing says:

    Ah, beam turrets! Definitely see a FreeSpace/Blue planet vibe too (as i almost always do lol).

    • SomeDuder says:

      Ah, “beam” “turrets”. If there ever were 2 words that gets me going, it’s those. Mutli-beam frigate being a strong contender though, but they were a bit shit against anything in their own class and bigger.

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    Hanban says:

    Been keeping an eye on this for a while now. Hoping it’ll finally be that game to scratch the Homeworld itch!

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Hopefully homeworld HD will be able to scratch that itch too.

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        Hanban says:

        Sure, but I would like something new in the same vein. I play Homeworld 1&2 at least once a year and they still hold up really well despite of not being in HD.

  4. Honsou says:

    I got a Nexus: The Jupiter Incident vibe, and that no bad thing!

    • mickygor says:

      Indeed, as fun as Nexus is to replay, it’d be nice for some fresh stuff in a similar vein

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        Gap Gen says:

        I’d love to see the game that Imperium Galactica 3 was supposed to be, which I imagine was a 4X with Nexus’s combat engine.

  5. Solidstate89 says:

    Wow, no kidding it was inspired by Nexus: The Jupiter Incident. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was the sequel.

  6. AlFitz says:

    This is another of those “oh this looks good, where can I get it” jobs but then you find out it’s not going to be out for a while thingies. I’d never get an early version of a game either as it spoils it for later.

  7. Bart Stewart says:

    Just once I’d like to be the evil banker.

    Based on words and videos from its creator, Josh Parnell, “evil banker” appears to be a thing you can be in his upcoming game Limit Theory.

    Apparently you can make money not just by crafting and selling stuff, but by buying stuff at a low price in one place and selling it at a profit elsewhere. That’s not “banking” per se, more speculation. But because you can use the profits from that market-manipulation gameplay to fund the actions of the NPCs in a faction you lead, there is an aspect of bankiness to it, I’d say.

    More than in many other games, at least, until someone actually makes the game Evil Banker.