Universum: War Front Clears KS Goal, New Footage

The extraordinary one-man project, Universum: War Front, rather significantly caught our eye yesterday. Looking like an RTS from a team of 30 made over two years, this action-strategy is impossibly the work of just Cyril Megem, under the title of StarworksArt Studio. When Jim posted about it yesterday, he was just over halfway to his modest $20,000 goal. By this morning he’s already well past it, with 23 days to go. I’ve a feeling this is going to be one of those times when a developer ends up with a whole lot more money than he was expecting. There’s new footage below.

That means that things should well be in place for the planned release of an early access alpha by December next year. It also means that a fair number of the stretch goals should be achieved. At $50k the game will get a whole new map, another single-player campaign, and a bunch of new units and so on. $75k does the same again, as well as adding a new mode – Survival. And the game just keeps getting bigger as the numbers become less realistic. $150,000, $225,000, 350,000 and half a million all unlock new planets, with new campaigns, as well as more complicated features. $20k to $500k is quite the stretch. It’ll be interesting to see how far it can get.

Meanwhile, here’s the game running, looking utterly stunning.


  1. VCepesh says:

    One-man projects can certainly suffer from the lack of critique and multiple perspectives during development. This being Kickstarter, though, the backers’ feedback is supposed to help the matters and alleviate this.

    So far, unfortunately, can’t help but be dissapointed at unimaginative aesthetics and setting. But, well, it’s his game in the full sense of the word.

    • Volcanu says:

      Bit harsh – the aesthetic is pretty ‘sci-fi’ generic, but no more so than something like Starcraft. All things considered it (looks like) a staggering achievement for one person to get all of this done.

      • Bull0 says:

        I’d be happy enough saying the aesthetic is “Starcraft”

        Also, I must be getting old and out of touch because I simply can’t believe that one person has accomplished this – how?! Lots and lots of middleware and asset packs? I just don’t get it

        • solidsquid says:

          The guy mentioned he worked in the art side of game development for the last 10 years, so he’s able to make the assets himself. He also used Unity, which simplifies the programming side of things as well. It’s an incredibly impressive bit of work, don’t get me wrong, but the tools have gradually scaled up the level of complexity a single or small team of developers can handle themselves

          • jalf says:

            The guy mentioned he worked in the art side of game development for the last 10 years, so he’s able to make the assets himself.

            Having the skills to do something is not the same as having the time to do it, though. Games usually have a whole team of artists doing *just* art to produce the assets for a game. Having experience doing that doesn’t magically enable you to make, by yourself, all the assets that a whole team would normally produce, *while also doing everything else on the game*.

            No matter how much industry experience you have, that’s a pretty impressive feat — and, no doubt, also responsible for the sort of generic aesthetics. Finding a unique visual style and tweaking everything to fit that is one of those time-consuming tasks that a single guy doing all the art probably doesn’t get to do. ;)

        • Shuck says:

          Yes, middleware, asset packs and contract modeling. It’s still extremely impressive, even so.

      • Viroso says:

        Starcraft borrowed a lot but it was it’s own thing back in the day.

    • RedViv says:

      Aye, the really uninspired-while-heavily-inspired aesthetics did put me off rather quickly. I’ll just wait for the actual release here, despite loving the genre mix, before I dive into this to belly tattoo armour cleavage depth. Still mad respect for that being only a one-man project, if true.

      • waltC says:

        Yes…back in the 80’s and into the 90’s, even, one-man games were far more common than they are today (of course.) If the “one man” happens to be very good at his job, though, you can often wind up with an excellent game–short on hype and long on content and presentation and even plot/story. Today’s games are often “games by committee” and look it when they’re done. I’ve always believed that $40M+ development budgets were huge wastes of time and energy and money, and often pine for the days of the “one-man” developer…;) A good one-man game (*not* Derek Smart, btw!) can be great because the creator has a unified vision of exactly what he wants and has no one to veto him if he wants to take extra time and spend extra effort getting the result he’s after. The flip side is a Derek Smart, of course, but you know, poor developers like that are easy to spot because they spend 80% of their time promoting their games and their own sheer genius but 20% of their time actually programming anything…;) As long as this guy puts out trailers like this and refrains from verbally telling us how brilliant he his and how fantastic his game is gonna’ be, this developer may indeed be on the way to creating something special. Will watch this one.

  2. Rollin says:

    I like how the “Best” graphics setting has two higher than it.

  3. shaydeeadi says:

    I was quite impressed how at 1:34 the soldiers seem to start moving out the way when he drives the tank through. I like functional AI, it makes me smile. The whole concept of the game sounds pretty good and I backed this a couple of days ago after spotting the forum post on here. It will be interesting to see how much he raises for development.

  4. Zorn says:

    I like the aesthetics, also I do like when games are trying to be good games and not so much to be as realistically looking as possible. But as aesthetics go, I prefer a style like Red Alert and Earth 2140. This comes close for me. If it’s well-crafted and enjoyable, it’s good enough for me.

    Edit: Ouch, corrected the most painful grammar errors.

    • Orageon says:

      Oh, how I would love to see an Earth21XX game made again. Preferably closer to Earth 2150 than 2160, though.

      The amount of details, the number of features… At the time I remember I was very very impressed. I mean, turning the lights of your vehicles on and off ! Vehicles and structures getting white layers if if was snowing ! Underground tunneling ! Turrets/shields/etc on buildings ! 3 differents factions with clear different technologies ! Vehicles that had life, armor, electrical and thermal statuses reacting to different weapons ! Gosh I need to install this again, I’m just afraid I’ll hurt my eyes with the now huge pixels.

      • squareking says:

        One of the Earth 21XX series went free, right? Or am I thinking of something else? edit: Pretty sure that’s Warzone 21XX or something. Turns out I never played the Earth 21XX series! Should I start with 2150? Looks like GOG has it for a song.

        • Zorn says:

          I loved Earth 2140, but that was back in the day. Nostalgia aside, I think it stands the test of time pretty well. I remember playing 2150, it was quiet the difference for me, but I found it quiet enjoyable after getting used to the new camera perspective. I really like good 2d, but as 2140 was a really fine and solid game, I gave it a chance. That aside, maybe somebody will chip in with a suggestion where to start. I would say 2140, if you think could find it enjoyable, else maybe 2150. As I played 2140 when it came out, I can’t say for sure if it would be the best starting point, you know, good memories and stuff, tending to cloud judgement sometimes, even when you don’t recognize.

          I think you’ll find there is a great time to be had with Earth. =)

  5. Matfink says:

    Looks pretty good…
    Unity is ON FIRE at the moment as indie development tool of choice!

  6. stele says:

    “Looking like an RTS from a team of 30 made over two years, this action-strategy is impossibly the work of just Cyril Megem, under the title of StarworksArt Studio.”


    Talented, focused people can achieve amazing stuff. Especially when the hardest stuff (the engine and development tools) is already taken care of. Nothing impossible about it.

  7. SuicideKing says:

    Send this guy to BIS.

  8. Moraven says:

    Developer making a basic RTS in 7 days in Unity
    link to gamasutra.com

    Pretty powerful tool once you can spend thousands of hours in it.

  9. Moraven says:

    Now while it looks like a lot and fleshed out game, its hard to tell if it will be any fun. During the 90s early 2000s there were a ton of RTS, but a lot were hit and miss. The ones that were fun I found were ones that had their own feature that worked well, that make it stand out from Age of Empire and Warcraft 2 (although Rise of Nations and Empire Earth were good AoE like games).

    This looks like a cross between Dawn of War 2, SC2 and some custom SC2 maps that offer direct unit control. And without a demo its hard to tell if it is fun to play or broken where making 1 unit works.

  10. guygodbois00 says:

    For god’s sake, man, interrogate, pardon, interview this palindromically named person, NAO! RPS, really, now.

  11. HKEY_LOVECRAFT says:

    While not a fan of conventional RTSs, I think this looks absolutely splendid.

    If only the TimeGate folks could regroup and make a genuine Kohan (Ahriman’s Gift, specifically) sequel with this level of graphic fidelity. Rise of Nations or Seven Kingdoms would be on my short-list of welcomed, revived RTS franchises, too.

  12. dagudman says:

    Couldn’t he seriously come up with a better name for a volcanic planet than lavra? I mean almost anything is better than than.