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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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.Subscribe RSS
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