I’m working on TorchShips again in a very limited ‘as time permits’ mode. I’ll begin doing short updates on this site fairly regularly (bi-weekly or maybe monthly). At this point I’m mainly doing design work and some testing of the tools I’ll need to get the game out the door.
I’ve changed my thoughts about the direction of the game somewhat based on more research on Atomic Rockets, backer comments and questions, and from playing a lot of the new space games like Elite Dangerous, Kerbal, and Rodina. All of which are excellent and I highly recommend you check them out – Kerbal for one is amazing – it has turned my ‘not that interested in space’ older son to someone who understands orbital mechanics. He is now interested in a space engineering career, and can intelligently critique the physics errors in the movie Gravity :)
I also am inspired by the feel and engagement caused by permadeath in large unregulated multiplayer environments. Rust or DayZ are good examples of this – when this works it is very powerful – actions have real consequences and players are forced to make critical decisions that really matter – emotionally and within the game. Yes there are a bunch of retarded griefers running all over these servers – but done right these worlds have room for all types – warriors, explorers, builders, and even 12 year old psychotics….
My high level goal for TorchShips is to present as many aspects of what living and fighting in space could really be like.
Based on that the design elements have changed somewhat from the original vision, here they are this point…
- 3-D combat & UI.
- Newtonian physics – your ship maneuvers in 3-D space using a reaction drive.
- Procedurally generated world.
- Muliplayer from the start, maybe some solo missions for tutorial purposes but at core game is multiplayer. Either session or server based like Rust/Dayz or possibly one large contiguous world like Eve Online (server technology permitting).
- Some rpg/rogue-like elements but core game is space combat and some exploration, less emphasis on crafting/grinding/leveling. Progression is ship based, not character based – you start very small (small pod with limited weapons) and work up to larger more capable craft.
- No FTL – the games takes place in a solar system other than our own but assumption is Humanity got there through sublight means.
- No aliens or ‘magic’ technology.
I’m going to suspend commercial development on TorchShips.
One of the reasons for the kickstarter was to raise the funds to work on it full time through 1st release – unfortunately the numbers weren’t there (though the passionate support from existing backers was great – thank you) and working part time I haven’t made the progress I expected.
I still want to finish TorchShips – but the economics don’t really make sense to do it as a commercial venture at this point – I will still work on it as time permits and do some sort of non-commercial open source or freeware/donation release with modding support – but that will take quite a bit longer.
I will continue to post occasional updates at TorchShips.com – but they will be infrequent at best.
Thanks for your support and I’m sorry that this project did not get out the door in the timeline I expected.
I had originally planned on a demo release today but it looks like I need at least another couple of weeks to complete it. I’m doing some additional AI work on the enemy vessels and implementing features that will help make the game more moddable in the future. I also went ahead and upgraded to Unity Pro so I’m incorporating some higher resolution textures as well.
I’ve reached agreement with FastSpring to handle setting up the pre-order/donate tiers to match the Kickstarter pledge levels – but will wait to turn those on until the demo is released.
At this point I’m planning on a release for July 27th. I will notify everyone via the site and Kickstarter when the release goes out.
The forum is available if you have any questions or comments.
Thanks for your patience and support.
Created a forum for TorchShips – I’m using a hosted solution from Vanilla forums – which so far I like a lot.
You can reach the forum from the ‘Forum’ link in the menu on our home page or go straight there.
Please sign up and post any thoughts or questions you have – together I believe we can create a wonderful game – thanks.
Since the Kickstarter campaign didn’t reach the funding goal I’ve been looking at alternatives…
Below is ‘plan B’ – with estimated dates for completion.
* Set up a method for players to pre-purchase and register the game at torchships.com – using similar tiers and rewards that I used for Kickstarter for a limited time (the $1 and $10 tiers will go away and the $25 tier will drop to $20) . Once you pre-purchase you are entitled to all future releases and enhancements of the game. [done by July 1]
* Add a forum for all registered players at torchships.com. [July 1]
* Release a playable demo – it will be a single scenario around one planet against the AI – with a subset of available weapons. [July 13]
* Release the first paid version. At first the paid version will just be the demo with multiplayer enabled (co-op or pvp). [July 13]
Thank you again for all your support and I’ll continue to post updates here and at TorchShips.com.
I answered some questions from Brian Rubin about TorchShips at Space Game Junkie.
Posted an update to the TorchShips kickstarter page – we’re at 20% with 6 days to go – added a reward tier that includes a physical copy of the game & manual – plus committed to a stretch goal – if we hit $40k I will add full modding support to TorchShips – more details available here.