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Seeking Spacebucks: Astrobase Command Kickstarter

If ever proof were needed that Kickstarter is capable of warping the mind, I almost opened this post about Astrobase Command by claiming that the game probably already had more features than Spacebase DF-9. The two do look similar but in fairness to Doublefine’s take on space station management, its current Steam Early Access version may be lean but it is possible for the public to play it. Astrobase Command, which I’ve enthused about before, is currently seeking 145,000 Canadian Dollars via Kickstarter and although there’s nothing to play just yet, it’s an appealing project. It’s part single player Space Station 13 and part sci-fi Dwarf Fortress.

There are many ways in which Astrobase Command may cause your interest to become perky. Let’s begin with fully customisable player species, procedurally generated universes with stories and histories, and the potential for advanced technology to become a danger in the hands of an incompetent crew. Despite all the fine sci-fi trappings, interactions between characters sound like the core of the game. There’s a long chunk of copy-pasted text below but it’s well worth reading:

Characters have personality traits, and these hook into the AI story engine. So your guys aren’t just bags-of-stats with a name! You care about them because they make decisions based on their personality, and you’ll promote and empower units who make decisions that fit your playstyle.

For example, if there is a reactor fire between a medic and the wounded crewman he is tasked with saving, that character might deal with the problem in a number of ways. Someone logical might first put out the fire, and then deal with the wounded. An adventurous character might try to make it through the fire and be the hero. A focused character might put on a space suit, and avoid the fire altogether by going outside (leaving someone else to deal with it). If he’s creative, he could to seal the burning module and vent the oxygen, and then use the spacesuit to traverse the de-pressurized module.

Every goal has many valid solutions, and it’s the personality of the character that determines how he chooses to fulfil your orders.

The personalities of characters emerge from the situations the player puts them in, as outcomes of the AI story engine. We currently have 280 traits, and a character may posses up to four.

The devs reckon they’ll need at least nine more months to finish the game and they’re currently operating without an artist, so hiring somebody will be one of the first steps when/if the money comes through.

The biggest risk is that on an indie project, everyone is a bit out of their comfort zone as everyone does a bit of everything. But we’re confident we can make this happen based on the prototype, and that each of us has substantial expertise in our core areas (programming, design, technology) and enough general knowledge and experience to figure out the rest. We’re also plugged into the indie scene in Montreal, and they’ve been a big help.

The $30 (Canadian) tier provides access to a beta when it’s ready but otherwise, the wait will be until around November 2014.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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