Objects in Space blasts off early next year

Objects in Space

Not long now until you get to sit in the cockpit of your own floating Cold War submarine-inspired spaceship, because Objects in Space [official site] is coming out early next year. Before now it didn’t have a publisher, but 505 Games have decided to bite.

If you haven’t heard about it before, it’s an open-world “stealth-action” space game that thinks the ships in other space trading games are too fast and nippy. They should instead be big, bulky, and look like they’ve come straight out of the ’70s. So, you sit behind a retro cockpit, try and stay off other ships’ radars by hiding in asteroid belts and, if combat can’t be avoided, take them out from long distance.

It’s an open world, and there will be lots of dialogue (handled through on-screen text) and choices to make. Here’s developer Flat Earth Game’s co-founder Leigh Harris:

“This is an open world in which time is always passing and events unfolding. NPC dialogue is never repeated, so if players are faced with a choice in a branching conversation, they can’t come back and change their minds later on. We’re really pushing the ‘open’ part of open world with this game. There is no hero’s journey or main quest line here, but a wealth of small stories the player can choose to engage with if they wish.”

I’m intrigued by it: I’ve watched a fair few let’s plays of the Silent Hunter series and really enjoy the plodding pace. Objects in Space looks like it’s trying to emulate that.

Here’s five minutes of gameplay – the video is from 2015 so things will have changed, but it gives you a good idea of what to expect:

And as Joe wrote in 2015, you’ll be able to build your own ship consoles at home that work in the game, which is cool. If you fancy learning more, the dev blog is pretty good, and includes regular podcasts discussing the game’s progression.

24 Comments

  1. crankypants says:

    I love the idea of a game that is all UI. I remember playing Rules of Engagement back in the dawn of PC gaming. The entire game had you moving around in an LCARS UI. It was a blast, and I never forgot the game. I’m looking forward to this one.

    • poliovaccine says:

      Did you happen to notice Kingsway, which they’ve just reviewed here lately? It’s a dungeon crawler/RPG played entirely in UI on a mockup Win95 desktop, and apparently it’s actually quite good and moves beyond being gimmicky and into having novel ways of producing depth. Sounds worth a look, but especially if the idea of a UI emphasis is appealing to you..!

      Also, for another, more space-themed option, did you ever try Duskers? It isnt entirely in UI, it’s got some realtime control of drones you use to scavenge valuables out of wrecked spacecraft, but you only see those spaces as your drones can see them, i.e. by their heat signature or electrical output or however that particular drone sees. You even control them by typing commands into a DOS prompt.

      Basically, each drone can be outfitted to specialize in certain things, so different drones are useful for different tasks, and on top of that there are realtime enemies on some ships as well, which you never really see beyond their blips on your drones’ readouts, but which you’ll need to evade or maybe lock in a room via some careful planning and maneuvering. Was a super addictive little game for me for awhile there – it’s like an FTL style game but with the skin of the Alien movies… it’s a little like being one of the grunts working salvage within that universe. Pretty cool little game, very atmospherically effective, and it was cheap when it was new so you gotta be able to get it for a song by now.

      • Infernal Pope says:

        I still pop into Duskers every now and then. Can’t stop myself from save-scumming sometimes, though. I get attached to some of those drones.

        As for UI games, there’s also Hacknet, a blackhat hacking game where the game interface is just the UI of your character’s PC.

      • vahnn says:

        +1 for Duskers.

        There’s also Deadnaut which I had a blast with for a while, though not as polished as Duskers.

    • damnsalvation says:

      I’m still waiting for one that’s just spreadsheets and databases.
      Like “Excel: Adventure Mode”, with the must-have “Access: The Apocalypse” DLC.

  2. Syrion says:

    I love the concept and it looks very interesting. Definitely looking forward to more recent footage of this one. I think more indirect controls help connect you to the world, as it’s just a bit more believable.

    TIGSource held a lovely Cockpit Competition in 2009, and one of the games developed for it, Vessel-IV, looks a bit similar. I don’t think download links or other footage still exists, but here’s a video of it: link to youtu.be

    Back then I really hoped the idea of such games would catch on more, which sadly didn’t come true. At least Envirobear 2000 from that competition became somewhat popular :)

    • oyog says:

      Venus Patrol was one of my favorites to come out of the Cockpit Competition. I recommend it any chance I get. It’s also still available through itch.io.

      I was hoping I might have a copy of Vessel in my collection of indie files but unfortunately I think the competition had been over for long enough that the file wasn’t still being hosted back when I was digging through TIGS for games.

  3. BuboNulus says:

    kW/s – That’s weird. If it represents the power consumption of a system, it should just be kW. J/s^2 is the change in power if i’m not mistaken.

    • Infernal Pope says:

      Kilowatts measure power. Power consumption would be work, as in W = P/T(ime). For electricity, it’s generally measured in kilowatt hours, or kWh.

      • udat says:

        It’s been a long time since O grade physics, but I think this is wrong.

        Power is Work over Time, so your equation for Work should be W = P x T, so yes, kWh are a measure of work – kilowatts x hours

        The original comment is correct, power/time is a weird metric, as it’s showing the change in power consumption, not the consumption itself.

    • HeinzHarald says:

      If the momentary power draw fluctuates heavily but that is still what you want to know it makes sense to show kWs rather than kW to smooth it out but still show close to momentary draw.

      Don’t know if this is the case though.

      • HeinzHarald says:

        I should clarify that it makes sense if the reading is reset every second rather than cumulative for the mission for instance, and using kW/s rather than kWs indicates that it is reset (spelled out fully it would be kWs/s).

  4. newc0253 says:

    With a title like ‘Objects in Space’, you’d at least hope they’d make a Firefly-esque space smuggling game…

  5. gabrielonuris says:

    For a moment I thought it was about that other UI/cockpit based game, where you fly a spaceship in high pressure enviroments, controlling it using only sensors, levers and handles…

    Does anyone know the name of that other game, by the way?

  6. Glentoran says:

    So by the time it comes out this game will have been in alpha and beta for an astonishing 5 years?

  7. Synesthesia says:

    UI’s in games are things of beauty when done right. I think it’s part of my love for sims. Not just the plane, but the dashboards, buttons, screens, lights and dials. Going through the motions to start it up. Same thing with omsi. Setting the air conditioner, waiting a bit, looking at berlin. I wish VR was easier.

  8. BlacKHeaDSg1 says:

    Their “tutorials” for making controllers are still very poor for noobs like my self. This game is for those people who have knowledge about electronics.

    For game, i wish for outside look, just like in Silent Hunter.

    • bob22 says:

      Well that would be an entirely different game, and one that already exists – there are a few third person space combat games.

  9. Sleepery says:

    Reminds me of the way combat was described in the Expanse books, intrigued.

  10. Korrow says:

    Does anybody know if they have orbital mechanics? The gameplay video suggests no, but it’s also very out of date.

    I’m not sure I see myself playing this otherwise – after playing KSP, seeing ships flying around a solar system map like that ignoring gravity just seems odd. Especially given that it seems like they are trying to build mechanics that feel fairly realistic.