Simon Roth is best known as the newest recruit to Frozen Synapse creators Mode 7, but he's also one of the most veteran developers in the entire history of the world, if my research is correct. And he's moonlighting on a side-project all of his own, the Bullfrog/early Maxis-inspired sci-fi management game Maia. This isn't a matter of keeping colonists happy with space ice cream and zero-grav toilets - we're promised the likes of 'up to 2KM X 2KM X 2KM of procedural world', water and lava simulation, defensive structures to fend off hostile wildlife, bipolar robots and a first-person mode.
Oh, dare I dream 'sci-fi Dungeon Keeper'?
It's all about building an underground colony to protect intergalactic settlers from the dangers of the surface, with mining, construction and entertainment component parts of your base-building.
It uses its own render, which Simon Reckons means AAA-level visual quality is possible, plus this is no throwaway project for him. "The plan is to keep it as a on-going piece and to let it grow organically, over a long period, in the same way Dwarf Fortress did." Imagine if Dungeon Keeper or Startopia had benefited from similar; imagine what they'd be by now.
I've roped Simon into joining the on-stage Gamejam at Rezzed tomorrow, so I shall do my best to collar him about plans for Maia at some time. This looks/sounds very promising indeed - revisiting the spirit of those inventive management games, before they collapsed into chintzy Theme x or x Tycoon, but without being a slavish recreation of something existent. More details on the site, but here's some screenies. Click for embiggenation:
And here's a never-before-seen third screenshot, just for you and your mum:
You'll be able to pre-order it soon, for a variety of different pricing tiers and associated bonuses. You can check out what those will be here.