Ancient Space Shows Star-Studded Campaign

By Ben Barrett on September 3rd, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

I feel like I’ve written about quite a few space RTSs in recent times, but none of them are releasing quite as soon or look quite as promising as Ancient Space. The latest trailer thankfully does more than show up Adam’s lack of sci-fi TV knowledge with its voice cast. It’s actual game footage, UI and all, and interspersed with comments from the developers about how the ship customisation and campaign systems will work. It also brings word of a September 23rd release date, a welcome surprise since I’d assumed that, like everything I ever want to play, it wasn’t due for months.

Definitely interested in this ship customisation stuff. The problem with systems like those is making the possible configurations impactful enough without over-complicating combat or reducing the number of units involved. I love a nice big space war, but if I’m just attack-moving my giant fleet into that slightly less giant fleet, it’s going to get dull quickly. Equally, having to micro-manage loads of different abilities isn’t going to let me enjoy the spectacle. Splitting it between modules and crew is a cool idea flavour wise, but means the possible combinations are likely astronomical.

I’m excited to try it. Nothing’s really scratched the same itch as Homeworld 2 in over ten years. The Homeworld remasters are still on the horizon with no release date, though the original plan was for this year. Gearbox recently showed off one of the revamped cinematics as well as the Mothership statue that will be coming with the collectors edition. Which I’m probably going to need, if I’m honest.

While I’m talking space, indie attempts like Shallow Space are still chugging away too. Limit Theory, the smaller counterpart of big boys Star Citizen and Elite, wants to have RTS elements once you’re in command of a fleet, though is mostly an RPG. What’s on your personal RTS space-minimap readers, what should I be looking out for?

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30 Comments »

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  1. darkath says:

    From what I understood of the video, the customization and crew parts only concerns the Capital Ship through unlocks in the campaign etc., not the many other ships that will most likely accompany her.

    So i don’t think the ship customization part will be too much of a hassle.

    I’m not that interested by what they have shown thus far however. Shallow Space looks more my kind of thing.

    The game i’d really love to see made is something mixing KSP orbital mechanics and RTS elements.
    That way we’d have a RTS in actual Space rather than a RTS in an alternate dimension where physics rules don’t exist made of vacuum, rocks, static planets and blocky ships.

    • Mordin says:

      I disagree, KSP like sandbox games has its charms, but its ‘flight simulator’ material not RTS campaign. Also contrary to what most realism die hard believe, realism is ALWAYS second place to gameplay\story. (IMHO most of those die hard act out, because they feel insecure due to gaming becoming mainstream and many kids playing the same games as they)

      I find the ‘RL unrealistic’ asteroid belt action intriguing, as it offers a lot of gameplay elements. Overall IMHO in terms of fleet engagements WW2 period was the most interesting, which modern tech (such as adv missiles) made obsolete and by moving the action into vastness of space you also lose\dilute a lot of other elements that made it great such as horizon/terrain line of sight, area denial action etc. Hence instead of game you get scool grade physics problem..

      • Consumatopia says:

        Also contrary to what most realism die hard believe, realism is ALWAYS second place to gameplay\story. (IMHO most of those die hard act out, because they feel insecure due to gaming becoming mainstream and many kids playing the same games as they)

        That’s a strange thing to say–how was darkath or anyone else acting out?

        For that matter, why isn’t second place good enough? This world is big enough for both Call of Duty and ARMA. Heck, even if there were only one person playing video games, s/he could still play both games.

        I, for one would like to see an orbital mechanics combat simulator, not necessarily because I’d like it better than Homeworld, but just to see what it was like. It’s difficult for me to imagine what orbital combat would be like–what kind of strategies would work, what kind of thinking you would have to engage in to play it (presumably the computer would have to provide a lot of help in planning trajectories) . Maybe I don’t even want a full blown game so much as a public prototype we could all try and see what it was like.

        In the end I’d probably reach the same conclusion you have that I’d rather play Homeworld. But that’s not the only way to evaluate a game. We all know the cliche about how Dwarf Fortress is more fun (to most people) to read about than to play. And Amazon just paid almost a billion dollars for Twitch. It probably won’t be too long before we see simulations designed primarily for spectators rather than players–perhaps simulations with no players at all. And if we’re talking about what kind of space RTS I’d like to watch, there’s no doubt in my mind–I would much rather watch a virtuoso playing a newtonian (or relativistic) orbital combat RTS than a homeworld-style game.

        • obowersa says:

          I had a private prototype for a similar idea.

          There were some interesting challenges. Taking into account such things as ‘How would you actually detect a ship at range?’ or factoring in the communication delay between entities at range ( the idea I’d been trying was based around the idea of kinetic weapons and drone based craft. With the player character being the AI of a larger ship. Honestly it was a poor concept but a fun prototype. )

          It was franky a lot of work and potentially beyond my skillset/time to make work. Still, if there’s an interest I’ll try and dig out the source, polish it up a bit and look at releasing the prototype.

          No guarantees on when though as I’ve just started a new fulltime role.

          Edit:

          A lot of the prototype was influenced by a friend of mine who was working on Exoplanet detection at the time. So her biases/opinions had a large impact on what got defined as plausible within the expected timeframe.

  2. DrManhatten says:

    I would say Shipbreakers but it got awful quiet around that one

    • Sian says:

      Am I remembering this wrong or was Shipbreakers a ground-based RTS last I saw it?

      • Cockie says:

        Was there any actual gameplay info then? I can only remember a prerendered cinematic.

        • Sian says:

          Well, there is a supposed gameplay video, but the chatter reminds me of a cinematic too. It’s definitely ground-based, though:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kqNp1fZ9xQ

          (Episode 1 seems to focus on the lore, episode 2 on the main vehicle, I think. I only gave them a cursory glance.)

          • Cockie says:

            Ah, I had I only seen the 3rd episode and thought it was a cinematic. :) Maybe there’s 3D action with those plane things?

          • Sian says:

            Yeah, it nearly fooled me too, but then the devs said it was totally a gameplay demonstration. ;)

            One can only hope for 3D flying.

  3. Kempston Wiggler says:

    If this is anything like Haegemonia’s mellow, poetic experience, I’m there.

  4. fr3udes says:

    Wowww, the devs look really freaky.

    • rpenm says:

      Bald+goatee = videogamez

    • yonsito says:

      They look like heavy metal musicians. That’s bonus points in my book. The game looks nice, too.

  5. cmsd2 says:

    Did he say Dwight Schultz for some of the voice acting? I’m a total sucker for things like that. Like Leonard Nimoy reading out techs in Civ IV.

    • DrManhatten says:

      Agreed Nimoy in Civ 4 was epic too bad they couldn’t get him back for Civ V which felt so bland

      • Rich says:

        “Beep… beep… beep…”

      • Tssha says:

        The narrator for Civ V (William Morgan Sheppard) is a freakin’ badass and a Sci-fi guy with no lack of accolades. Roles in B5 and Star Trek, like old school Star Trek, among other things.

        He may not be Spock, but he’s freakin’ awesome. He did a damn good job with Civ V. I always listen to what he has to say, whether he’s introducing a Civ or reciting Homer for the hundredth time. Never gets old.

      • Sian says:

        The narrator of Civ V did take some getting used to, but I like listening to him now. I wouldn’t mind Mr Nimoy coming back, of course – his voice is just so iconic – but Mr Sheppard is actually really good too.

      • BlueTemplar says:

        I found Leonard Nimoy ‘s voice acting extremely bland in Civilization 4. This might be due for not having watched any Star Trek (never saw it on TV), and when compared with Alpha Centauri’ s stellar voice acting.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Much better video, this time. I couldn’t tell from the last one if it was even 2D or 3D rts! Since they say it’s one of their big objectives, they should have made it a lot clearer from the outset.

    • Premium User Badge

      Anthile says:

      Joke’s on you, it’s actually 4D.

      • Tssha says:

        Technically, everything that is 3D is also 4D. Unless it’s a static picture of a 3D object, then that’s strictly 3D.

        Now 5D, that would be something interesting. That I’d like to see.

  7. JoeX111 says:

    And what ever became of Space Noir? Wasn’t that supposed to release over the summer?

  8. Sian says:

    When I heard that Dwight Schultz was going to be the computer’s voice, I was kind of startled. I had expected a female voice. Now, is it just me or have computers been voiced by women almost exclusively in the last few years? If so, why do you think this is? Note: I don’t mind either way, it’s just something that makes me curious.

    In any case, I’m looking forward to his performance.

  9. Tei says:

    This looks really good.
    Also the poor devs looks tired to dead, man, making games suck.

    I will look forward for this. I am not sure RTS is still a thing I want to put money, but this game looks incredible good, detailed, pretty and so on.

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    Well this DOES look interesting. It’s been a while, but I think we can safely say we’re back in a world of space games of all genres.