A little while back, I somehow (and I forget how, but it might’ve been Greenlight) I stumbled upon a neat looking textual space exploration and conquest game entitled Space Corp Tycoon, which bills itself as “A Space Themed Text and Integer Management Sim”. Intrigued as all get out by that description, I had no choice but to contact the developer, Thomas Bacon (mmmm, bacon…) to get more details about the game. The Q&A below is the result, and stay tuned for more as they game gets closer to being released. Enjoy! :)
Brian Rubin: First off, please explain to folks what Space Corp Tycoon is if they’re not already aware.
Thomas Bacon: Space Corp Tycoon is a Text and Interger Based Space Simulation game with an emphasis on exploration/colonization of Space and the Storylines.
It takes little bits that I loved from the older games and merges it with a few things from the modern era, and some things I’ve not seen before.
To hopefully offer a fresh experience to players.
BR: In looking at the game, this appears to be one of those numbers-heavy managerial style games that are usually reserved for sports, but here the focus is galactic expansion and conquest. If that’s the case, how do you work to make this sort of graphics-light, text-heavy approach both approachable and entertaining? If not, explain why I’m wrong. ;)
TB: Well this has been something I had asked myself very early on in the planning, It leads to area’s of the game not being so text heavy but still having some depth. (finding the correct balance between depth and just being stupidly deep was pretty easy I think).
I look at it as two sides of the same coin, You have the text-based gameplay of the storylines, UI navigation etc., with the integer based mechanics of the economic and battle calculations.
Something I did early on was to test the fun factor of each feature, Was this fun? How did I feel? Etc, this lead to a lot stuff being removed as a creative decision.
Once again it comes down to balance and making sure each part of the game compliments the next.
BR: So if you’re the head of a giant space faring corporation, how much micro managerial control do you have over your own units and so on? Can you give them insanely specific orders, or do you just tell them to have a general mission type and trust they’ll do their best based on their AI?
TB: I read space farming for a second there, Oops aha!
This is something I really wanted to expand upon fully within the game, But I was really constricted by the tools I was using and by funding, but here’s what we have.
Theirs a few different aspects to this, for instance ships will be assignable to fleets, same with ground forces, management of tactics will be done at the time of battle. On the other side you have the management of them via other routes, For instance you can train/dismiss them and upgrade them.
One thing with the game is the fact it’s designed not to be an autopilot game, Player interaction really makes it better, During battles taking a different stance may lose you more ships, But may grasp victory for your side.
But what I will say is I plan on adding a full AI mechanic alongside diplomacy at a much later date, this will change things up a lot, and most likely will introduce automated battles.
BR: Will the galaxies in the game be randomly generated or will they be fixed?
TB: The Galaxies with be preset in one way and random in another, Let me Elaborate.
All Galaxies will have a pre-determined setup, But the order in which each celestial body is discovered will be randomised.
BR: Could you give us some examples of some of the random events the player might run into?
TB: Not yet implemented, but I’ll share what I have in my planner.
Some of the Random Events will be truly random, For instance you may find an alien relic floating in orbit of another planet, or discover a rare deposit of minerals.
But others will lead to unique side missions, which I’m really looking forward to getting started on I might add.
BR: The game apparently has a storyline, so could you tell us a bit about that story line as well as the universe it (and us) will inhabit?
TB: I’ll give you a rough idea of what the universe will be like,
The earth was Very low on resources and the superpowers of the era turned to war to satisfy the growing demand for supplies, This eventually leads to privately owned corporations making billions in arms deals and from their privately owned reserves of resources.
Eventually the superpowers and their cities lay in ruin with 3 corporations left to rule the dystopian and destroyed earth.
A few years go by and during a joint research program they finally create an engine that I capable of long distance space flight, this leads to a race to find the untouched resources in the universe.
(The first galaxy will see clashing between yourself and the other corps, and smaller clandestine factions, you will get hints at other races and minor alien artifacts, The first galaxy is meant of a sort of tutorial in itself, With each galaxy getting harder and harder with new factions and storylines.)
BR: You mention that Earth won’t be affected by population and food mechanics. This leads to two questions. First, will you only be able to play as humans in the game? Second, could you explain how these mechanics work?
TB: Yep you will only be able to play as human’s in the storyline, But I do plan to add a Sandbox mode in which you can play as whoever you wish at a much later date.
Well each value of 1 population will require an amount of food to be productive and permit growth in the colony, When there is a surplus of food, the growth % will increase slightly higher than normal and thus when food is scarce people start dying until it balances out again.
Also Earth won’t be unaffected forever – just during early stages.
BR: How does one win the game, and are there different win conditions?
TB: As of now the game is endless, But I will be adding win conditions further along.
Conquer Said Galaxies
Have a Cumulative Population of xxxxx
BR: The game apparently allows you to build your own planets? How is this accomplished?
TB: This is still very much being finalized but we plan on it having modules, 500 or so modules will make up the frame of the outside of the planet, and each module will allow for more surface buildings.
But it’s really too early in the design phase of this part to say much more than that (it was a late addition)
BR: Could you give us some insight as to how research works in the game?
TB: I certainly can.
First of all you have researchers, these cannot be fired, but you can find them throughout the universe or earn them by doing various tasks, or even by training them in your private space station :)
Each researcher will lower the time it takes to research something, with only one item being worked on at a time, you will just select something from the queue and begin.
It gets more in-depth in the player space station but for the general research tree its simple yet effective.
BR: Are you competing with other corporations in the game? If so, can you do things to hamper their progress like sabotage or espionage?
TB: You will be yes, but as of yet nothing is planned for sabotage or espionage.
BR: Since this is a browser-based game, how long should one full game take to play, and can the game be played in separate sessions?
TB: First of all its a windows game. :) (Brian: I thought it said somewhere it would be played in a browser, sorry!)
A full game could take you forever to be quite honest, there will be a lot to do and plenty to enjoy.
Yes, the game can most definitely be played in multiple sessions, it will support saving and loading.
BR: BR: Are you competing with other corporations in the game? If so, can you do things to hamper their progress like sabotage or espionage?
TB: Currently the game is in alpha stages, getting additions to the UI and features.
I am doing a 12-step program (12 updates) to get the game up to speed for early access via forums, at which point as a community we will work on and improve it until it is ready for release.
I would estimate December 2014 for early access and full completion by 2015.
But I would also like to say that long after release I will be working on improvements and extra content at no additional cost to the player.