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Colonisation: Moonbase – A City-Building Game on the Moon

By on July 2nd, 2013 11:38 am

Colonisation: Moonbase | Space construction and management simulation

Indie dev Scott Jones went to Kickstarter about a month ago for Colonisation: Moonbase, a game for Android devices which would allow you to build a base on the moon. A bit like playing SimCity on the Moon, by the looks of it. But, with a higher focus on strategy and resource management, and with story missions and goals.

Scott did not make it on Kickstarter for Android devices. But, with the feedback he obtained by then, he decided to start a new Kickstarter campaign, this time for the PC. That’s the beauty of using a flexible game engine like Unity3D, which allows you to release for multiple platforms.

It reminds me of Outpost, also a space construction and management simulation game by Sierra from 1994. And, it clearly has a SimCity touch to it. Scott also mentions to have been inspired by Theme Park, but I’ll have to take his word on that one :)

Proposed game features include 70 buildings to construct, technology development, story-based missions, resource mining, trade with Earth (you should be able to see transports landing and taking off), and little ships (the “cars and people” from other city-building games), for flavor.

Colonisation: Moonbase | Space construction and management simulation - Kickstarter

Scott Jones’s Colonisation: Moonbase proposal in a nutshell:

  • Construction and management simulation “city-buiding” with strategy elements
  • Futuristic space setting (build a base on the moon)
  • 70 buildings, tech development, story-based missions, resources mining, trade
  • DRM-free
  • Windows PC
  • £15 (~$23) pledge to get a digital game copy
  • ETA: October 2013
  • Target: £6,800 (until July 29th, 4:43am EDT)
  • Why Kickstarter: Help the dev complete the game working full-time; repay some of the generated debt;  software licenses, game assets, wages, utility bills (e.g. electricity)

Scott says that the game is currently in Alpha, and that every backer would be allowed to play the current version during the time of the Kickstarter, when and if £10,000 are raised. This stretch goal should also unlock four additional soundtracks and allow for better game polishing. £15,000 would bring additional buildings. More than that should allow Scott to design more story missions and possibly implement other ports (iOS & Linux).

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  1. Rich B says:

    Brilliant Adam, thanks for highlighting this with an article, I’m sure Scott will be thrilled and I’ll bug him to post an introduction post himself soon!

  2. Hamil says:

    Sorry, but maybe i missed something. But is this game just about building the structures? I did not see any requirements in distance or infrastructure. Only limiting factore is ressources. This sounds quite like Sim City Societies. Fun for about 1 hour. After that you have seen everything.

    Why arent there any infrastructure problems? I think that to be quite a challenge on the moon where you cant just walk from your dorm to the factory.
    Or there could be rangelimitations to the buildings, like in the Anno games.

    Thus far this project is just a click-and-see-game. Not much of a long time motivation.

    • Rich B says:

      Originally he planned for an android release and PC port with the casual gamer in mind. That kickstart didn’t fund and he’s come back this time with the aim of a pure PC game. What you can see is stated to be an early alpha demo. Focusing on a PC only release means he can expand the game mechanics to meet the demand of the target audience. It’s early days but the current build should be considered a framework from which to expand if there is sufficient interest to continue development… (nominally market-driven by supporter feedback)

      • Hamil says:

        Hm, but i wont back a game, that lacks fundamental gamedesign. It currently more a moon-base-sandbox. Theres no game. And the promise of a near future implementation of such features, that i deem essential, is not a good way for a succesful kickstarter project.

        I don’t want to criticise the project per se. I think it’s an interesting gameidea. But it’s just that: an idea. The game itself is not presented. And thus i fear the kickstart will fail again.

        • Rich B says:

          Never avoid critical comments dude, that’s what destroyed the industry in the first place! I see exactly what you’re saying though and would agree with you on an indigogo or steam greenlight campaign but kickstarter (to myself at least) is all about ideas and possibilities instead of funding production of completed designs.

        • Scott Jones says:

          Hi, I’m Scott the creator (not sure how to prove it, but if you think of a way I will do it :P)

          To be perfectly honest and upfront, both Rich B and Hamil are correct.

          So in its current version of the game, its a click and build, instead for a casual audience – this fits perfectly with the original intention for android.

          I have also been playing the game myself on the PC – I totally agree that as of this point it is too social for the PC audience.

          for this reason I added an extra £1000 from the android target for the PC and an extra 2 months of development to add extra features!

          But to put this into context, the feedback I got said they would like it as it was for android (back when I was getting feedback on the failing android)

          However they had not played it and as stated before I realised it needed something extra – so following the feedback – looking at my options too – I was left with a choice.

          either go nuts and add loads of load of features – guarantee every single one of them and ask for an insane amount of money to cover all of that (at that point my confidence was low after the android kickstarter)

          Or to follow the feedback whilst knowing it needed something more, so adding a few more features that would make the game more challenging and fun for PC yet being able to keep my goal low so I would have a higher chance of succeeding.

          With all that said – the more funding I get the more features I will put in – more to the point I am willing and listening to ever bit of feedback I get back to make it what you, the customer and player want! – I have said this everywhere I have mentioned the game, if you have a question, ask it and I will do my best to answer it.

          as this is turning into an essay, I will end this post here as a reply specifically to yourself and make a new comment with updates/plans/features I would love to add and anything else that I think is relevant.

  3. Adam F5ing says:

    looks good, hope he gets extra funding to maybe redo a more realistic contrustion animation of maybe astronauts and rovers going about making stuff, and maybe spacecraft coming and going.

    • Scott Jones says:

      thanks for your interest.

      The one thing that I have struggled with to this point is how realistic should the buildings be.

      The current plans for facilities on the moon are limited, mostly using the same design, a dome or a tank shape, this was boring in my opinion, makes it hard to recognise the different buildings and would look the same throughout.

      With that in mind, realism on construction is actually something difficult to put a finger on, current methods (I believe) would be to drop them in from spacecraft, recent research suggests that they may now make buildings from the lunar material in a 3D printer fashion, using large printers that use high power microwaves to give the material stability.

      However, you do bring up a good point!
      I would rather slightly change it from realistic to more interesting and fun (the current system was designed to work on the limitations of android devices as one could imagine) adding something like that wouldn’t be too difficult and could again bring in the realism factor of having the buildings printed layer upon layer as it somewhat resembles that at the moment.

      Though, as Hamil said, the game is lacking in features currently, I would prioritise making the gameplay/design more fun before adding this in

      • Lee says:

        You should look at Outpost for pc. All the buildings will give plenty of ideas. Diggers burrowing multiple levels to your base. Buildings meant for the surface as well as underground. Take that retro game and expand all its features and add everything you are probably doing. I really don’t know what you have done so far, but Outpost was addictive. I just wish they finished it. Have it start out on the moon and build stuff to leave the sol system(Earth solar system) because of impending doom. Have scientist, engineers and regular workers to operate facilities. Make there be difficulty settings to simplify the game to meat everyone’s standards. If not make remaking Outpost your next project. There have been a lot of people failing at that because of lack of help with plenty of excuses.

  4. Scott Jones says:

    Hi, as posted in the reply above I am scott eh creator of the game.

    So to bring everyone up to speed – I am a sole developer, working my ass off day and night to bring this amazing (android) PC game.

    So the current features that are in the game as of right now!

    A highly integrated resource system.
    This system was to be the main focus of the game, this is not as easy as one may think, all resources are linked to each other in some way, especially the colonists!
    So you have to start building and getting resources, however each building requires colonists – colonists themselves require maintenance and resources so its a dog eat dog world out there.

    If you don’t have enough colonists you can’t expand, if you don’t have enough resources you can’t build, then you need to make room for supplying resources to your research centers so you can progress and unlock new technology, make your base more efficient and build ever bigger and better buildings to be able to follow the missions and storyline.

    Building placement, unlike most city building games, I wanted to break the norm and be able to place anywhere and in any direction you want, possibly squeezing that extra bit of space in a crowded colony – if you plan enough in advance you will be able to build more – however you can only build on flat land – as in more realistic terms your less likely to bulldoze a crater flat, this would be more difficult than it would be on earth – it also adds another challenge to the game.

    So I hear you! you want more you say, something that will make the game that more interesting, challenging and fun!
    So playing the game myself on the PC I realise that it gets a bit boring after an hour and a half, placing the same buildings growing outwards and watching you’re resources gather.

    So to combat this I have came up with several ideas, in no particular order are as follows:

    Damage due to micro-meteors: over time you will get damaged buildings through ware and tare, micro meteor showers will speed this up occasionally and you need to keep on your toes to make sure things are repaired – otherwise disaster could strike and all of a sudden your solar power plant goes and your energy rocket falls.

    A colonists health system (this is partially implemented under the colonists happy or sadness to determine a bonus to influx of colonists) Due to the low gravity on the moon and solar radiation your colonists need special medical care and facilities.

    Distance from your 3 construction buildings (think I mentioned this on the kickstarter) you have 3 main construction buildings, these are your starter buildings that give you a building limit – they have an area of effect that you have to build within, they control it so has to be in its area.

    solar panel light coverage – the moon has a long night period of 14 days, each solar panel will only collect light when the sun is actually shining on it (how accurate I will be able to get this I do not know, I would ideally like it to work in craters and with shadows from other buildings – by the minimum I can give a general light income for any given area, so wont be dependent of the exact time of day – but if its built inside a crater then it will have less average income)

    some sort of micro management of resources.
    There are many ideas for this, some that are just too time consuming and makes the game less fun, like having to direct transport ships every time a building needs resources.

    however candidates thus far – some of these are from feedback and suggestions from backers

    “Shipping lanes” you will need to set up shipping lanes to and from buildings, ships go collect the resources and bring them back to a specified storage unit (for game play sake all storage units are linked and share the same pool of resources to distribute) if you do not keep a constant supply of resources that building stops producing.

    Pipes and transfer system, for water and energy for example, possibly other materials too in a conveyer style system. linking buildings together allowing transfer of resources to and from buildings – these could be subterranean systems (would be easier for myself to develop) or pipe them over the top of the terrain, making it that more difficult to place buildings and more essential need for building placement planning.

    the hard part of the above one, is due to a non gridded placement system connecting pipes could potentially be a nightmare to implement with no issues, especially if you want to have cross over points

    A way to actually lose the game (no fun without risk right)
    currently, as it was more of a casual game it has no way of losing really, there are measures so that you may have to reduce your base considerably, but you can’t technically lose.
    So I thought about putting the currency to good use here (like most games of this genre do) the original intention of the currency was to have it there for microtransactions on the android version, while still useful to the PC version (all micro transactions are 100% completely removed from the PC version) this can be taken further and used as a lose mechanic, with a few buildings costing money to maintain (still sticking with the principle of a self sufficient colony though) and that if you run out of resources, your cash will be used to maintain enough import of resources from earth for your colonists to survive, run out of cash and its game over.

    Further to the currency system and trading, you have to purchase colonists (currently you just get an influx depending on certain factors) in the form of having to pay to get them to the moon, after a certain amount of colonists there could be some colonists breeding mechanic, giving you free colonists occasionally.

    And finally, have actually left this one to last as its something I have been working on today!
    As a casual game, I needed a way to get water in the game, so I have used the concept of sub-surface water/ice – however I was looking into more realistic system, of high concentrations of ice and water, so have been pouring over the nasa website, scraping all bits of information I can find on the subject (most I already knew) in the hopes they had some sort of data for water/ice distribution on the lunar surface.
    All information relate to the polar caps that are in constant or near constant shadow.

    There has been little information or data about the possibility or evidence of subsurface ice/water

    So this has left me with a few options, again peoples feedback and opinions are most welcome as to what they prefer.

    1. keep the current system: place water mining outposts down and get a standard income.

    2. have a fake distribution map, using this just purely for gameplay sake, would make it interesting and fun, but people may complain that its unrealistic (though it is more than the current system in place)

    3. As the ice most likely forms in shadows, have a distribution map to represent this, with more chance of water in craters where the shadows are cast – this brings the issue of being able to build on flat land, generally craters are anything but flat

    4. Have ships fly on and off the map, they fly to the poles and harvest water and bring it back.

    5. Build polar colony first, this is the most accurate way a colony would be formed, however one large issue wit this is that the polar terrain data I have access to is less accurate – the data I have is in the form of a rectangular image (simplest terms) that when applied to a polar cap has stretching and warping due to a rectangle being mapped onto a sphere – I could fix it so it looks nice but so far, the intention was to have accurate locations, so it would feel like you was actually exploring the moon as you played.

    By all means, if you have suggestions, please post them, I am open to any and all and I will take all criticism on board – I am looking to start a set of forums up very soon for this purpose exactly.

    The following was going to be left for an update to the kickstarter, however while we are on the subject, will post it here first.

    All these features are stuff I would love to implement, some would not be hard in the current state of the game, others would be more so.

    As to what makes it in the game – well I have made it this far – I will not release a boring game, thats just pointless its like shooting yourself in the foot, make one bad game and those that did follow you wont ever trust in you again, chances of ever making another game then falls dramatically.
    But the answer is it all depends on the level of funding I get, with the £15,000 I should be able to implement them all baring any technical difficulties that would prevent such a feature
    for the standard goal of £6,800 I will add some of them, I would prefer the easier ones so I can get more in, however this will be down to you guys and what people would prefer out of what is available and been suggested.

    Further to this point, I don’t want to disappoint anyone however I also want to be upfront and honest.For me to be able implement all of these features would take longer than the stated estimated release date of October to do, so if the extended goal of £15k is made then the release date will be pushed back. (some people may of expected this anyway, but I wanted to make it clear)

  5. Scott Jones says:

    On a slightly different note, if people are uncertain about pledging, please let me know why and if there is something I can do – maybe show evidence that during the kickstarter one of these mechanics are implemented, or if you wont pledge without a certain feature guaranteed to be in the release ( I will never guarantee anything unless it will be so!)

    Also – while I don’t want to sound like a douche – you have to factor in that I am only asking for small amounts – with people being able to get the game for less than a large studio city building game would cost. – I suppose what I would be getting at here is, you got to think about what you expect to get for the price – I don’t want to sound like an ass hole with that comment but it all does cost money unfortunately – I understand that if you pledge a lot, it may feel as a risk, that if only the minimum is met that you spent too much on it – what I would say to that is, pledge for the game at its £15 if you think its worth it at its current state, then if it looks like its going succeed to a stretch goal near the end then pledge more so it reaches it and so these features get included.

    It would be disheartening, but if the worst comes to the worst and you dont think its going to make it to the level you want the game at, you could always cancel your pledge – though I really hope no one does, the option is always there!

    P.S. to help you follow the progress and make your mind up possibly, you can view the current pledge amount, estimated target and more for the kickstarter project at

  6. Rich B says:

    Thanks for taking the time to expand on those points Scott :)

    When you have a chance I’d suggest looking at the development/release cycles of ‘Stardrive’ (Zerosum games, published by iceberg int.) and ‘Starsector’ (Formally Starfarer by Fractal softworks) They offer two totally different examples of community development that may provide some insight or inspiration to you…

    Both titles have very ‘passionate’ fan bases and both were offered for sale early to fund development. I think there are valuable clues in both their stories to help you choose a development path that both provides requested depth/features but also avoids feature-creep and tweaking limbo…

    Personally for base design though:- Evil Genius FTW :D

  7. Scott Jones says:

    Another update for you guys, as Hamil was concerned about the development process (and rightly so, I hope more people speak up!)
    I have spent the last 24 hours making an added feature – full details can be found on the kickstarter update #5

    For a quick overview its a maintenance system where you have to keep an eye on the buildings to make sure they don’t stop working – along with this a natural disaster – micro meteors and a new building to complement the system, a maintenance yard.

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