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Interview with IdeaLcenter on M.O.R.E. [Kickstarter]

By on October 24th, 2012 10:16 am

M.O.R.E. - Space 4X game

The turn-based space 4X game project M.O.R.E. (Military, Organization, Research, Economy) is currently on Kickstarter with 4 days to go. IdeaLcenter has managed to raise about 68K from their intial goal of 50K. Not bad, not bad indeed. Now, it’s time for stretch goals. 

I contacted the people responsible for MORE to get more info about their game. Not exactly more info about MORE’s gameplay concept itself, which was already presented and largely discussed, but to know more about some aspects I consider of key importance when defining a great space 4X game. That and more on why should we all support their vision.

Here’s what Marcin Bednarski, MORE’s lead designer and basically the guy running the show, and who’s idea for MORE was in the beginning, had to say about his vision. Enjoy!

SS: What’s different about MORE?

Marcin: Almost everything. Starting from the game box which can be delivered to you, to the in-game content, to some features which are skipped in nowadays games even by big companies. We will give our players over 10 hours of epic music, 20 alien races – every with different User Interface and characteristic obtained by race picks and dedicated tech branch.

In M.O.R.E. there will be huge galaxies which will contain 1500 different sizes and colors of stars. There will be ships created from ship-blocks. Every race will have 50 ship blocks, so there will be plenty of different combinations. Maybe I’ll stop here because we will introduce so many new or redesigned features like spying, diplomacy or economy that I could tell you about them all in a new kickstarter update in a few hours.

MORE | Space 4X game

SS: Micromanagement can be a pain in many 4X games. I understand that you propose the use of Dysonion Spheres to aggregate colonies in order to mitigate this late-game problem. Could you please elaborate how these Dysonian Spheres will work, and how will they achieve reducing micromanagement tedium?

Marcin: At some point of a game (around middle) in many 4X games there is too much micromanagement due to the large number of colonies to manage. We want to avoid this problem and let Players focus on the game and have fun, not on managing vast empires.

To do so, we will introduce advanced building queues and Dyson Spheres. If your star is suitable for this, and if you have proper technology and resources, you will be able to “destroy” all planets in the star system and create a Dyson Ring or Dyson Sphere. Instead of some planets and moons you will have a Dyson Structure which will provide better conditions for work and development for people living there.

Dyson Sphere/Ring will be treated from now on as a single vast colony and its quality will depend on the quality of the planets present in the Star System from which it was built. Also, a smart queues system will help players to manage colonies. For example you will create “Industrial” building queues. Then, when you discover a planet you can assign a queue type and that’s all. Planets will be developed by this “Industrial” plans which you will be able to modify later. In this way, by changing only 5-6 building plans you can manage all your colonies in your entire empire.

SS: All 4X in general are faced with a somewhat unsatisfying game-end phase, the eXtermination phase, where everything seems done before the game actually ends. How do you plan to tackle this issue? In other words, how do you expect to keep gamers engaged till the end of your game and give them a satisfying end? What sort of victory conditions are envisaged?

Marcin: We want to create military, diplomatic, research and cultural victory. Yes, in late games, when game is already won, you always get bored. Our job is not “what to do then?” but “how to avoid players reach that point?”. This is where diplomacy gets in. If your empire will grow too strong, other smaller empires will often make cease-fire and unite against you. If you defeat them… it’ll be over. We want to let the AI empires use the “Surrender” option, so players don’t have to conquer all the last remaining colonies.

SS: I find curiosity and surprises to be key factors for having fun with a game, especially a space 4X game. What would you say MORE has to offer regarding these two aspects?

Marcin: A huge load of random events. I played Master of Orion 2 many years, and there always was something new! We want to extend this idea. Besides that, we want to introduce interesting planets. In almost everyone of us there is something from “explorers”. We want to move to the stars and check how this universe looks. So yes, you will get plenty of different kinds of planets and star systems.

There will be many regular star system which looks different, but sometimes you will find among them a system or a planet which will have other features. And that’s something we like in games. Don’t forget that we are players too, and we want to create a game which will be fun, even to its creators :)

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SS: One of your recently achieved stretch goal is the “periodic consultation of an experienced game developer”. Do you have someone already in mind? Can you tell us who it is?

Marcin: We don’t have anyone in mind, but there was some people working as developers in different companies who want to help us create M.O.R.E. and they gave us some advices. And this is great, that experienced developers want to help us! It’ll allow us to avoid many mistakes and help us develop this game faster and better. We will also want to consult with experienced developers for the game engine which we are using – UNITY.

SS: Your initial 50K budget doesn’t seem compatible with the efforts and costs required to develop a game of this magnitude. How do you reply to that?

Marcin: We’ve already managed to raise $67.000. We know that even twice as many wasn’t going to be enough for experienced game devs to create this game. You would need at least 1 million dollars. We know that we won’t be paid by Kickstarter, and even if we are working for other companies we will invest into this game from our own time and money – but all the team wants to prove something and create this game. It’s our mission, and if we create a great game – and we know that we will – we will get our reward later.

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SS: I understand that you plan to release to Win PC, Linux and Mac. What’s your current release plan for all those platforms (alpha, beta, release)?

Marcin: Yes, we will release our game to PC, Linux and Mac. At the moment our plan is to give you the Alpha version in July, Beta in September and the full game in December 2013.

SS: Do you plan to do post-release support (patch work)? Are you envisioning expansions or DLCs?

Marcin: Yes, we will release patches and we want to go back to the good old days. For example add a little game content for free to our players (like additional spaceship blocks or planet surfaces). With that our game will become even better. We have plans for 4 DLCs for M.O.R.E. but for now it’s far too early to discuss them.

SS: Let’s imagine that for any reason you will not be able to release the game. Would all the backers be allowed for a full refund for their pledges?

Marcin: We don’t think about such turn of events. We will create this game, we don’t imagine other situation than the full release of M.O.R.E. without bugs. All what we’ve done during these last 2 months, and earlier, proves that we are capable of doing this game. But if for any reason we won’t be able to release the game we will make a full refund.

MORE Box Set

SS: Now that we are a few days from the end of your Kickstarter campaign please take your time to tell us why we should all support you in your quest.

Marcin: Because we want to create great game which can be a tribute to Master of Orion 2. Because M.O.R.E. will be great game, and the more kick we get from the start from our backers the better this game will be! Because we want to prove that there are still devs who cares about gameplay, about players and their needs! Because games can be deeper, richer and better! We want to remind older players and teach the younger ones, that the essence of games is on its gameplay, not great graphics or effective advertisements in TV.

SS: Thank you for your time. Godspeed on your quest and good luck on your final days on Kickstarter.

MORE is currently on Kickstarter with 4 days to go, having raised about 68K at the time of this interview. For more details on this space 4X game project check the MORE’s kickstarter page and our small preview.

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  1. Adam F5ing says:

    certainly has a great vision, hope they’re successful!

    • AstralWanderer says:

      Agreed – but I must say I too have reservations (as a supporter) about the project’s ability to deliver what they’re offering by the end of 2013. An epic 4X game with proficient AI is a monstrously complex undertaking, and the best in the field have typically been through 3-5 years of development.

      The ship-block construction idea sounds similar to GalCiv2 – if so, I hope they provide a better UI for it than Stardock did. My issue with GalCiv2 was that minor upgrades (a new warp engine, say) became a PITA because you had to spend time making the changes look good – if M.O.R.E. (those full stops are getting a PITA too…) can separate component functionality from ship appearance, that would avoid such problems (i.e. make upgrades keep the same ship exterior).

      Merging colonies into Dyson spheres is an interesting option (hint: ringworlds would be a plausible intermediate step) but why not just provide the option to group colonies by system instead? (i.e. treat a system as a “super colony”).

  2. DeLastOne says:

    I am always wondering about the “We are currently making the game, release in 2013, and we already have plans for a lot of contents after that”…

    So I always want to ask… Why don’t you just put those great DLCs ideas right on the vanilla ? and then start to make DLCs based on the communauty requests…

    I am really lost on this. Can someone explain this (marketing) process to me ?

  3. Wodzu says:

    Thanks Adam for keeping us in touch with M.O.R.E. :)

  4. harry says:

    hmm very dangerous,, You did an interview with the Legends of Pegasus betrayers.. And they promised a good game too..

    I am very sceptical about this.. I mean working for other companies. doing the game in free time.. Maybe with family… and 67000 is the salary of one dev for one year.. with hardware and room costs …
    Adam please wait till you see something playable.. before that dont make so much PR for them. because in the end it could be that they only want the Kickstarter money..

    I really would love a moo2 clone with nice graphics.. But if you develop something like this than they have to do it for the money.. They have to create a game which sells.. And only then the game will become good.. But if you get Free Kickstarter Money at the beginning..

    • Adam Solo says:

      Interviews are good to know more about a game but they’re certainly not a way to tell how good a game will be. You gave the Legends of Pegasus example. You’re right. I did two interviews with them, what I would consider good or even great interviews, and look at the results …

      Everybody that decides to take the plunge deserves a fair share of coverage. I assume people are in good faith, and so I treat everybody equal, until proved otherwise. You can’t deny coverage on the premise that people may run with the money. That path leads to less games and missed opportunities.

      In the end people need to be very careful and decide if a particular kickstarter is something they would like to back. I’m just the messenger here.

      • salvo says:

        Adam, you are right, but on the other side – though I’d be happy to be proven wrong, eventually – I do think that the intention to create such a complex game in the given timeframe and with the given ressources is absolutely unrealistic. I indeed believe that the young developers act in good faith and that they want to deliver what they have promised, but they say themselves they are unexpierenced, so in my opinion they may do so without appreciating the full implications of such a daunting task. How long have the people developing free orion been working on the game? How far have they come? They, too, work on their spare time, and I suppose there is at least one experienced developer involved. Even as for LoP, I do think that the small team behind the game, too, wanted to create a fully functional game but eventually they were defeated by themselves as they evidently had started from the wrong assumptions as for the requirements to successful finish such a complex project. So, in my eyes, the probability for this project to fail is rather high, not in the sense that someone may run away with the money, but that the real development process will probably overcome them. As I already wrote, I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though.

      • AstralWanderer says:

        With Legends of Pegasus (and most mainstream games) there is the complication of publisher financing and control – the publishers’ viewpoint is going to be more financial (“Can I make a profit from this?” rather than “Is this product ground-breaking and bug-free?”) and, unfortunately, this can result in flawed products being released.
        M.O.R.E. won’t have a publisher to deal with so they should have more control of the end result. That doesn’t guarantee success, but it should remove one major cause of past failures.

    • Wodzu says:

      @harry do you really think that they want the Kickstarte money? It is clearly written in the interview: “But if for any reason we won’t be able to release the game we will make a full refund.”

      @salvo, where did they say that they are unexperienced? Their devs have experience, their graphicans IMO do not need to state their experience cause the graphics already shown says for itself. They might have a problem of putting every part of the game togheter tho. And I am sharing your concern about the final delivery. I would gladly pay 20$ for improved MOO2 with only six unique races, but stable, bugless and enjoyable:)

      • salvo says:

        the first stretch goal speaks for itself

        “periodic consultation of an experienced game developer”

        this is not per se a bad thing nor does it mean that they are not capable of successfully developing a game of such scope, yet it may be a relevant indicator of the chance of failure.
        And to me it seems relatively high.

        Looking at the kickstarter bio itself they mention that they do have experienced programmers but none in game development.

  5. t1it says:

    I have far more faith in an updated MoO 2 clone than something like Legends of Pegasus, which tried incorporate features of many 4x games at once and clearly promised way too much for themselves to handle. Heck, the fact that the graphics of this game isn’t the prettiest reinforces the idea that they’re focusing on delivering a great game(play) first and foremost, as ANY 4x game should IMO.

    Again in contrast to LoP with it’s fluffy graphics, 3d view, real time combats in sync with the TBS part.
    And as someone said, they are entirely devs and have nothing to do with some shady publishers like Kalypso media.

    I see no reason to distrust these guys more than other kickstarters, rather I see reasons for the reverse.

  6. MayPlayer says:

    Some refer to M.O.R.E. as MOO clone… from what I see M.O.R.E. not a clone at all – its light years ahead of what MOO or MOO was. It’s like saying Guild Wars 2 is a clone of some basic roll-playing game from the floppy-disc area. It makes me lough!

    Yes, there might be risks that the game will not be completely finished by Dec 2013, but it will be completed and even now, the prospect looks way better than buying crappy big-box, dumbed down games I see out there. I just spent way too much $$$ on games, which are not worthy playing. They sit on my shelf, once played, not much value..
    With M.O.R.E. it is a little different, they offer superb value for gamers that enjoy strategy games. Maybe not so much for players who do not want to think much and are fascinated by ‘cool’ graphics only.

    In any case, the opinions are just opinions and it’s totally worth to support a good game in development if there is a chance that it will provide something UNIQUE which you cannot find out there… I say; support them if you wish but do not be an obstacle if you have a different opinion!


  7. salvo says:

    the last update is online

    the planet surfaces look awesome. I’m getting a bit more optimistic now, let’s hope for the best!

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Post category: Interviews, Kickstart