Space Antics With Programmable Computers In 3001SQ

As someone who can’t program computers, online space colonisation game 3001SQ [official site] is awfully intimidating. Exploring the galaxy, building planetside industrial colonies, and hanging around space stations sound nice and all, but being able to write code for your in-game ship and devices is what overwhelms me. Playing the small tech demo released to support its Kickstarter campaign, I ended up rebooting my spaceship several times in the hope that its broken bits would just start working. Damned if I’m opening up the editor to fix it myself. But maybe you’re into that!

3001SQ sounds a bit like a genteel version of EVE Online, with a persistent world where spacemen can explore around, build space stations and colonies, make big spacebucks, and maybe fight a bit if they want – but it doesn’t seem combat is the main focus. Oh yeah, and you can write code for your stuff:

“3001SQ runs user-programmable virtual machines on your computer that control complex objects like spaceships and stations,” the devs explain. “The player’s input is thereby processed by applications and translated into control commands for display screens, thrusters and other (virtual) hardware devices.” Sensors inform your computer’s view of the world too, which means theoretically folks might write programs for everything from docking assistants to automated drones.

The current version of tech demo is only a singleplayer chunk set in one ship’s cockpit with most systems busted. At least, I think it’s meant to be that way. Like I say, I did reboot my spaceship a lot in the hope it’d magically start working.

Developers Société des Mondes Virtuels are looking for €85,000 (about £70k) on Kickstarter to fund development. As ever, be cautious and manage expectations before crowdfunding. Here’s the pitch video:

And yes, this does sound a bit like Minecraft fella Markus Persson’s old prototype 0x10c. Well, he’s not making it any more.

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  1. Snids says:

    I’m just here to anticipate everyone missing out the last sentence and reminding us of 0x10c.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Eleven says:

    I like the sound of the concept, but I can’t help wondering if it would be better funded with a Patreon like Dwarf Fortress rather than a Kickstarter. I think these types of complex simulation games tend to work better when developed iteratively with player feedback over an indefinite period, adding new mechanics and building the simulation piece by piece, rather than developing it all at once with the limited Kickstarter funding.

    • StStamenkovic says:

      Hi Eleven! (I’m one of the devs)

      We’re developing iteratively, however going over all core systems in multiple passes to avoid roadblocks due to one of the pieces not fitting into the rest. In fact the first pass is happening right now!

      As Alice said in the article, today’s crowdfunded/early access games tend to promise a lot with varying outcome. Therefore we want to show over these 2 months of open development that we can iteratively get the current technology demo to a fully-featured Multiplayer Test including docking with an asteroid station.

      And programming is not a must – many players may never touch a line of code – it’s just another ingame occupation / role in your team. That will become clearer when more non-coding centric features are unlocked in future updates to the Technology Demo :)

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        Eleven says:

        Thank you for taking the time to answer. Your game looks genuinely very cool!

  3. DJ0JJ says:

    Ok, now imagine if God-please the following idea would be possible to do:

    An MMO same shard on Space like EVE Online where you can make, trade and destroy permanently

    Where you had the ability to play as FirstPerson and fly like Space Citizen

    Where flying and physics are almost real and similar to The Lost Fleet (A book series by Jack Campbell)

    And the ability to program a lot of stuff (turrets, manuvering, ect) like this game.

    Practically nuts

    • MajorLag says:

      Sounds like a game world I’d like reading stories about occasionally, but never actually want to participate in because it would require me to devote huge chunks of my life to and I’d never be more than an insignificant piece of it. Once everyone has coded the most efficient X, the most robust Y, the fastest Z, what is left is just going to be EVE.

      And I guess if you’re into that, then alright, but personally I’m going to ignore any game that I’ll have to treat like a second job.

      • StStamenkovic says:

        As Multiplayer games grow into virtual worlds, beyond sports/battle arenas, there could be roles for various player types with different time budgets, interests and engagement levels.

        Someone may treat it as a hobby, going for strategic control, others just want to participate in quick action provided from conflicts of the first group of players and lastly there could be the VR tourists just hanging out in spaces created by others or spectating a battle from afar.

        Maybe we should part with the paradigm that everyone has to maximize the same stats, be the most dominant in everything, own everything. Undoubtedly getting game mechanics (and supporting technology!) right that would provide such an experience is another problem.

    • frightlever says:

      If the Lost Fleet had been set in an Eve style universe, Geary would have been riding home on a wave of space dust. The book series, which I greatly enjoyed, only worked on the fairly fantastical assumption that everyone had forgotten basic tactics. I did find the logistics of re-supply to be well-handled.

      Unending Galaxy (2D version of X3, basically, made by an X3 modder) actually has a “Lost Fleet” start.

  4. Sam says:

    Sounds interesting. Unfortunately the tech demo requires an account, which in turn needs email verification, and it seems their email server is overloaded.

    All that stuff will be needed for the online version of course, but it unfortunately adds a bit of needless friction for the demo. I’ll try it once the emails get unclogged.

    • StStamenkovic says:

      Cheers for the notification, we’ll activate stuff manually until the problem is solved. Sorry for the inconvenience.

  5. Kapouille says:

    Hey StStamenkovic, what drove you guys to use a non-standard C++ extension for the user-facing programmable part? I’m wondering, because of all languages, it has to be one of the most treacherous and complex, barring more casual users; building non-standard extensions on top of that would also mean you also have to bear the burden of documenting and you have to provide custom tools. I’m assuming you guys are a small outfit and perhaps you may want to eliminate any additional overhead?

    • StStamenkovic says:

      Hi Kapouille,

      as we see it there are two extreme approaches:
      1) Stay close to the actual gameplay code, expose specific event callbacks in a special-purpose language (e.g. Lua, paradigm is practically modding)
      2) Aim at simulating actual computer hardware, have low-level programming in an assembler-like language (e.g. 0x10c)

      Our solution is somewhere in-between: User-applications are written in an existing scripting language, AngelScript, whose syntax is pretty close to C/C++, that is extended by our POSIX/Linux-like “nandOS” system interface.

      The rationale behind this was the following:
      1) Applications should be closer to real world general-purpose programs than specific game/mod scripts, since we can’t anticipate what devices/systems we will have in the end (no hard coupling with simulation-side events)
      2) Mimic a proven general-purpose OS design, POSIX, that can be implemented once; users can RELY on it not changing (no special-purpose game code or reinventing the wheel on the OS-side)
      3) The actual simulation and Virtual Machines are decoupled, exchanging interrupt and control messages over a standardized bus.
      4) Casual users may fall back on higher-level libraries written by others, based on the rock-solid POSIX/Linux base. The only burden may be C/C++ syntax.
      5) Know-How obtained from developing nandOS applications can be applied to the real world in actual UNIX/kernel programming!

  6. frightlever says:

    I’ve been playing Human Resource Machine, which I picked up in a Humble bundle a while back, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to get their head around programming. It reminds me of writing Z80 assembler, about a million years ago.

    link to

    Alice actually did the last RPS article on it, but clearly never played it, or she’d be a programming whiz by now.

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    JiminyJickers says:

    Well, after the reboot, if that doesn’t fix it you have to smack or kick it. Guaranteed to fix it.

  8. Otterley says:

    Sounds like the perfect game to play with the mates. I can already see us sitting there, bifocals gleaming in the ambilight. Our ship tumbling slowly, end over end. Unpowered, the bridge abandoned, we drift.

    Soon, this will change, damaged systems will re-awaken. A first sign of what is to come takes shape on the virtual whiteboard: shimmering with detail, the UML diagram of the Thruster Optimization Framework is nearing completion. Soon, very soon, we will be able to fire up the engines.
    In principle.

  9. neotribe says:

    Neat. I’m also still looking forward to Objects In Space, although its programming appeal is in interfacing Arduino controls.
    (link to

    previously mentioned on RPS — link to

    Human Resource Machine is fun. There’s also Zachtronic’s TIS-100.