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Pocket Space Empire – Early Access Coming Soon

By on February 26th, 2016 11:44 am

Pocket Space Empire | Early Access Coming Soon

Have you ever felt that, given your status as a galactic emperor, you had an inordinate number of menial tasks that you had to attend to? If so, Pocket Space Empire, an upcoming turn-based 4X grand strategy game from developer Silver Lemur is here to offer some help. Being an emperor doesn't mean handling every mundane and inconsequential detail, but rather, knowing who you can trust in power beneath you to handle them. You call the shots and they simply follow them, or at least that's how things would work in a perfect galaxy. Unfortunately, humans will be humans and things are never quite that simple.

Micromanagement of large space empires in a 4X game is often a huge undertaking. The larger the empire, the more difficult it becomes to properly manage it all. This leads to games that start off filled with interesting and fun turns, but which end with very long and tedious ones. Silver Lemur's approach to this problem has been to integrate automation into nearly every aspect of the game so that your goals stay manageable regardless of the size of your empire. For example, while you can help direct exploration, it will ultimately take place without your intervention. While you do manage some aspects of your fleets and squadrons, the more mundane tasks of repairing them and replacing battle losses are taken care of for you. Combat, at this point at least, is largely abstracted as it is when combat is simulated in many other 4X games. Planets have attributes, special minerals, and an economy you can look at, but aside from changing their specialization, there's little for you to manage as your governor handles the details.

Pocket Space Empire | There's a lot of info here, but you don't need to worry about hardly any of it

The game will feature multiple scenarios that place the player in charge of an empire that is at various stages of growth. While you can start with a relatively small empire, you will also be able to start with an empire that owns most of the galaxy but which is facing some serious threats such as rebellion. Within each scenario there will also be story based events that require you to respond and react such as usurpers, galactic threats, and the return of ancient races. Victory conditions will vary in each and will require the completion of unique achievements. The AI races and their positions will also vary, and each one has a different AI rule set that will make it play much differently than the player. One benefit to the large degree of automation is that late game scenarios should be far easier to jump right into whereas this would be a daunting task in most traditional 4X games.

By this point, you may be asking yourself, are you playing a game, or is the game playing you? What are your responsibilities as an emperor? Fleet composition, including squadron quantity, hull choices, and deployment is still very much within your control. Which planets you choose to colonize is also your decision. Research is of course vital to any 4X, and in this case research takes place across 5 categories simultaneously. Each category contains a leveled list of technologies, and in order to research a technology in a higher level, you must first research at least one of the lower level ones. While research is simultaneous, you can prioritize certain areas in order to allocate more of your research points to it. There are also other opportunities to tinker with things such as tax rates, industry focus, political reforms, planetary specializations, and ship modernization. There are also diplomatic treaties to be made, although I believe this is an area still being designed/implemented at this point.

The bulk of your duties are actually social in nature. These include managing the composition of your own 18 member personal court complete with specialized departments and political factions. Keeping this court in check is important as failure to do so could lead to your empire's stability falling, a political coup, and an eventual collapse of everything you've built. Every one of your court members has their own name, 3 attributes to track, a faction, and can be fired or reassigned in order to meet your needs. In addition, you'll have an audience every so often where you'll address the needs of your court, including special events, your governors, and even your fleet and army commanders. Yes, all of these individuals have their own unique names and attributes as well. There are tons of people in the game and they also have limited lifespans, so you can enjoy their services, but only while they last.

Pocket Space Empire | Think of it as a big management meeting

Full release of Pocket Space Empire is scheduled for later this year, but early access will be available as early as this March.

At this point in development, the game is on alpha version 0.27 and is partially playable with several pieces of placeholder art. Being an alpha still under development, it is important to reiterate that many aspects of the game are still subject to change at this point. One thing that won't change, according to the developer, is their core philosophy behind the game that you feel like an emperor. If you want to follow the progress, you can follow them on their website, or better yet their youtube channel.

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  1. Mythox says:

    i love such art of game !! i miss this micro-managment in a huge scall of map !!!! thx for this article Explorminate!!! always the best fom you keep it up

  2. Mark says:

    Meh, sounds like they’re going for Crusader Kings in space. Not a bad idea actually. I’m definitely not a fan of “Only stuff the Emperor would do” logic in 4x games but this seems to be more of a dedicated political simulator than a 4x so it might be all right.

    For the same reason the obligatory starlanes might not be quite as obnoxious since they’re really not the focus of the game at all. Thanks for the heads up Keith, I’ll keep an eye on it.

    • Gary Vandegrift says:

      “Crusader Kings in space.”

      Interesting analysis, you could be correct.

    • SilverLemur says:

      Well, a lot of people compare it to CKII or The King of the Dragon Pass. While the comparison is not totally wrong, it was not the exact premise.

      In CKII you deal with characters, dynasty, families, plus it’s a feudal structure. In Pocket Space Empire there is a single Emperor, basically immortal, surrounded by horders of bureaucrats, a bit liek the Celestial Empire of China with all those court factions.

      As for KotDP it’s more like a storyline based event generator covered with a thin layer of other game mechanics. Pocket Space Empire is a 4X with a storyline. So the focus is reversed.

      Of course these impressions are correct, to a degree, there definitely will be similarities to those titles.

      But much more accurate inspiration is Imperium from 1999 (no one remembers this game nowadays) and several asymmetric boardgames :)

      • Alex Gorobets says:

        No one remembers Imperium? You are mistaken friend :)

      • Mark says:

        Yeah I remember Imperium. Cant say it blew me away or anything.

        • SilverLemur says:

          Yay! So some people do remember it :D I do not feel so ancient old anymore :)
          Yes, the execution of Imperium was not so great but I was mesmerized by the feel of that game. I really felt the grand scale of it, and all those characters who were needed to run the empire but also were all trying to backstab youor usurp the presidency :) I always wanted to recreate this feeling.

  3. Jeff P says:

    What’s with the retro-graphics look? Given what developers have at their disposal, anything less than hi-res is distracting in my book. Also, the automate-everything approach reminds me of Distant Worlds and (gulp!) MoO3.

    I guess we’ll see…

    • Ermdog says:

      Well, it is just one guy I think. It went to crowd funding and $3,000 was the goal but didn’t reach it, so it might of been better if it was funded. Either way, it should be something to check out.

      • Jeff P says:

        3K? Really? If they can’t meet that goal, I seriously doubt that the game will ever see the light of day.

        • Gary Vandegrift says:

          Jeff, whether or not a Kickstarter game project is successful has a lot more to do than with just the game, e.g. advertising, word of mouth, etc. There have been a number of games that failed in their Kickstarter projects, yet were still eventually released.

        • SilverLemur says:

          Don’t worry, making games is my only source of income since like 10 years by now. I have the funds to finish it even if things go wrong. Plus, I have very low costs compared to other indie devs.

    • SilverLemur says:

      It’s unlike MoO3, completelly unlike. MoO3 was made of layers with an option to automate certain layers. In Pocket Space Empire there is a single, top level only, layer. The player is NOT ALLOWED to micromanage things and there are no “automate me” options :)

      There is no automation in the game at all, instead a lot of stuff is abstracted.

      As for the graphics, I would not call it retro but stylised… I instructed the artist to go for cartoon look and simplification of art (it compliments the slightly humorous theme of the game). There are tons of games with high res graphics, I decided it would not give me enough marketing edge, so I went for a more controversial style which some people will love and some will hate :)

  4. SamDog says:

    In Star Wars the emperor just kind of looks scary and says hissy things about The Force. He does get concerned when his death star is behind schedule so I guess he does some production type tasks and he uses in excel in Star Wars VIII, though I think he has some 2D graphics for R&D. His Excel boxes are red when they are behind schedule and blue when the numbers are positive.

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