Miner Wars 2081 - as it is now known, so as to emphasize its science fiction setting - has one man at the heart of it all. He's called Marek Rosa, and he developed the game's destructible environment engine. That's what allows players to go around burrowing out the insides of asteroids in the game, and jolly impressive it is too. Having come up with this tech, he was inspired to make the game with a small team in tow. And it's quite the thing: a space-based mining and combat platform from which players can share their levels online, for a game that is single and multiplayer in the same bundle. Remarkably ambitious, you might well think. You can also take a look at the work in progress, what with it being available now (in rudimentary alpha form) for pre-ordering folk. If they can pull it off, we shall be singing their praises. The team are working to keep to a weekly update, which they're so far hitting. I decided to set them back a few minutes by having a quick chat with Mr Rosa.
RPS: Can you tell me a bit about the background of the team and how you guys came to be developing this game?
Rosa: Our development team is made up of diverse individuals with a passion for gaming. Half of the team is from Europe, and the other half from USA. Most of the team was recruited through our Miner Wars Community. Basically everybody working on Miner Wars is a big fan of sci-fi and space games so this passion is what is driving us forward. And our Audio Director is Dan Wentz who worked on all Descent series games.
RPS: The pre-order access has shown it to already be quite an atmospheric game, but is the focus going to be on the mining or the combat?
Rosa: Single-player story will focus more on the combat, but the player will be free to engage in mining too. In the MMO, it will be entirely up to a player. We are prepared to support both types of game player.
RPS: A story mode *and* an MMO *and* a sandbox? That sounds like quite a lot- what's the thinking behind all these different game modes?
Rosa: Story mode is single player and cooperative player experience, where you go through a story, perform missions, etc. We are very serious with the story, especially because single-player gaming is my favorite thing. The sandbox is for players who want quick game. The other part of sandbox is editor and sharing levels you made with whole Miner Wars community. Thanks to this you create your level and then other player can join it and do mining or fight. The MMO is the place where all people meet together. Our vision is to get to a point where players start forming factions, fight for areas and influence. One of the most ambitious features would be when player start voting for faction leaders and then these leaders will make “big” decisions that influence running of the game. Of course all these elements must be tuned up carefully.
RPS: What sort of stuff will happen in the story mode? Will it be like an extended tutorial for the sandbox and MMO parts of the game?
Rosa: Story in Miner Wars is very important. It’s all laid down so we know what is going to happen even in the latest sequel. No deus ex machina. And it all happens in our solar system therefore player can relate to it. Actually, one part will be outside of it… but I don’t want to spoil too much. Story is about two brothers who discover something very exceptional, but must solve load of troubles until they really get to it. This “what is next” is what will drive player through the story. The story is placed in believable game universe where all components work with each other. It’s not just a series of random events - every event can be explained as a reason of some other event.
Miner Wars game universe is situated in a very harsh place, where one man’s life doesn’t count for much. Only the strongest and fastest can survive and win.
Rosa: Players will join factions, fulfill missions or engage in freelance activities. It will all happen in one persistent game universe, no separate servers.
RPS: Clearly you are at quite an early stage of development, but can you give us an idea of a timeline? What sort of features do you expect to see in the alpha of the game in the near future?
Rosa: Our goal is to release our final game is Q3 2011. In alpha, players will receive: editor, better editor, single player missions and multiplayer. Those are the milestones - of course with many small upgrades during this path. We promised an update release every Tuesday and we are holding to it!
RPS: Thanks for your time.
You can get early access to Miner Wars 2081 over on the main site.