Spaceship RPG The Mandate Blasting Off In 2017

Very important that space be nice and colourful.

It’s been a few years since Adam chatted with the folks making (and crowdfunding) The Mandate [official site] about their single-player starship-captaining RPG – lots of stuff about space-Tsars, building and training a crew, knocking out enemy ships’ subsystems, and all that. The game’s been delayed twice since then but a new trailer gives a peek at how The Mandate is coming on as it heads towards launching in 2017:

Space, yeah? The marketing blurb talks about developers Perihelion Interactive wanting “To boldly do what only Sid Meier has done before with his outstanding game Pirates!: create a living, open world RPG experience with different factions, demanding tactical battles and you as the captain of your hand-picked crew – your family.”

Not-Sid Meier’s Space-Pirates!

If you fancy knowing more about all that, Perihelion have been posting Kickstarter updates about the adventure mode, the game’s plot structure, and other bits.

As for why the game is delayed again (from March 2015 to 2016 and now to “early 2017”), Perihelion say:

“After many internal playtests, the team at Perihelion has decided to delay The Mandate until 2017. We want to ensure that we deliver an outstanding experience for all players who love space games as much as we do, and always saw themselves in the the role of Captain Kirk, Admiral Adama or Mal Reynolds. To achieve this, Perihelion Interactive will take all the time it needs and release the game when it’s done.”

That’s one of the better times to release a video game.

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14 Comments

  1. Hyena Grin says:

    Just to get it out of the way; I saw the announcement for this game a while back, I liked the sound of it then, and I like the sound of it now. Right up my alley. Almost certainly going to give it a knock.

    That said, though, I am starting to get a little fed up with the ‘tiny star system’ aesthetic, where planets and space stations are shown at scales that compete with the stars they orbit. Like seriously, is this the best we can do in anything other than a first-person dog-fighter?

    Maybe this seems nitpicky. It’s all about the game mechanics, the RPG elements, etc. Sure. I get that, and that’s why I’ll end up playing the game anyway, but the magic of space is, for me at least, partially the sense of scale. Of truly distant worlds, of the vast expanse, the sensation of feeling small in the sheer girth of the galaxy.

    All these games take this cartoony, absurdist scale that just utterly murders that sensation for me. It might as well not be space anymore, and that’s disappointing. It’d be like making a game about being a pirate and setting it in a bathtub. I don’t know why we do this with space games.

    Anyway, just my morning rant for the day.

    • shocked says:

      Realistic planet scales are very hard to implement with current hardware, mainly because consumer graphic cards use 32bit floating point precision internally. There’s a lot of visual trickery necessary to even display the ‘small’ planets you see in current games.

      That probably won’t change until more engines and cards use 64bit precision.

      • Solgarmr says:

        The Gpu 32 bit precision has nothing to do with that fact both star citizens version of the cryengine and space enginers engine whatever that is called use double point 64 bit precision.

        link to pcgamesn.com

        • Geebs says:

          Storing the location and size of an object as double precision floats on the CPU side is all very well, but given that, without some major trickery, your vertex buffers and depth buffer are 32-bit, actually displaying really big things is another matter.

          For an open world engine, displaying two objects within a couple of metres of each other at a couple of kilometers’ distance will give you nasty depth flimmering.

    • AlianAnt says:

      Like others are saying, I think it’s limitation of hardware. I also see what you’re getting at too, though.

      I know you mentioned first person dogfighters and I guess that includes Elite Dangerous but, it’s also important to note that the developers for that game had to drop 32bit support in order to do planetary landings at the quality they wanted. It really changed the sense of scale for me when I did my first landing and realized that tiny crater could fit am entire city the size of New York City.

      • Hyena Grin says:

        I’m not saying it has to be 1-1 scale, or even close to that. Nor am I saying that it needs to look like Elite Dangerous, or that it needs to have full authentic zoom from the macro to the micro scale like E:D and Star Citizen have. Those things are technologically difficult to pull off, I get that. But that’s not the only way to represent a realistically scaled star system, especially in the context of an RPG style game.

        It’s just that these kinds of ‘tiny star systems’ are a bad way to represent the stars and planets, and I just don’t accept that there’s no way to represent planets and stars that doesn’t involve cartoony proportions. That is just ludicrous to me.

        Let’s be honest here. The reason they do this is almost certainly because they feel it makes for better screenshots. You can see the star system, all the parts in it are visible, it communicates everything to the player. Which is good sensible game design on the surface. But it misses something crucial about the aesthetic and feel of space, in my opinion.

        I can’t think of any game in the 4X or similar genre that don’t do this, so you can’t really blame them for sticking with that trend. But judging from the screenshots and the trailer, they have chosen a pretty extreme end of the cartoony proportions scale. Which is why I felt compelled to post in the first place.

  2. Maxheadroom says:

    Of all the games I’ve backed on Kickstarter (which is a lot) this is the one im most looking forward to, in no small part because its as close to a remake of the ancient Amiga game Rules of Engagement 2 as i’m ever likely to get.

    ie small fleet tactical RTS crossed with Laser Squad-esque tactical shootyness when boarding other ships (assuming you had the Breach 2 expansion anyway)

    link to mobygames.com

    Now if I can just get something that reminds me of Psi-5 Trading Company I’ll be happy

  3. KDR_11k says:

    There’s already a not-Sid Meyer’s Space Pirates on mobile, called Star Traders RPG. The setting is pretty much Dune/40k.

  4. DailyFrankPeter says:

    Sounds (and looks) like the Soviet Union is still alive in this future and universe.
    This star captain needs a hat with a wider brim, though.

  5. Janichsan says:

    Yet another game set in the bright and colourful Disneyland version of space…

  6. brochoose says:

    There’s been a huge amount of discontent on their forums from their Kickstarter backers. The community not hearing anything from the developers for months, not hearing back about refunds, constant delays. Really took out my enthusiasm for this game.

  7. NephilimNexus says:

    Vaporware.