It is a rainy day in a city that was once a swamp prior to habitation. Further south still, ruins of French strongholds remain in disrepair amid the rise and fall of murky bayou waters. Subject to the seasons and all varieties of both natural and artificial decay. A history entombed within the walls of a fortress with none but ghosts left to defend it.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to approach the release (and development) of a game I had no idea how to describe. Originally inspired by mountains of science-fiction novels and the titles that marked my first experiences with online gaming, I originally set out to write a large story spanning centuries into the future. To be told in parts as single-player sequences set at different points in time, First Paradise: Pioneers was a minimalist attempt at making that story interactive. But Voyagers, now Apsis Online, strives to tell your story. Embark on a journey into a sea of stars.
I’m no longer sure exactly when I started building the [at]space engine but it must have been late 2016. Right before starting a job at the local IT company to raise money for an apartment. Which was just months after leaving my dream job working at a tattoo studio where I got to meet people from all over the world and practice minor medieval surgery for a time.
There is a point in every programmers life when he or she just has to build what they want. I can’t think of anything more depressing than learning to code just so one could write accounting software. Although if anyone has a job for me in that field I’ll take it. I need to live as much as I need to create.
So I set out to expand not one but two previously game engines in order to finally tap into my reason for learning to write code in the first place. Making multiplayer games. Like the ones I played when I was a kid. But with a focus on the things that kept me playing in the first place. People.
[at]space (originally PlatoNET) is a minimalist social network wrapper that function primarily as an overlay to the game’s standard modes. Being Pioneers (singleplayer), Voyagers (multiplayer) and Expeditions (sandbox) respectively. And I spent way too much time on it!
But It was important for a wide range of reasons. Chief among them being to create a standalone platform for the game to exist and grow on without having to rely on systems with more features than I could use and would ever need. I’m also a code-control freak alongside being self-taught so most existing frameworks simply make no sense to me. I also wanted to keep the game client small, a concept I feel has been vaguely lost in modern software methodology.
Anyway, what’s this all about? What is Apsis Online exactly? I never really told you because I hardly know myself, but here goes.
You are a Voyager. A physically and mentally modified human whose mission it is to explore the universe in an attempt to settle and continue the human race after series of catastrophic events has destroyed a large portion of life on Earth.
There will be multi-crewed ships, a larger variety of ships, co-habitats on planets, 4X-like mechanics for large and small settlements. Species relations, warfare in space, warfare on land, farming, mining, trading and genetic engineering. The latter meaning you’ll be able to modify your own genes to improve your chances of survival on hostile planets or whatever. I haven’t really figured out what to do with that bit yet but bear with me.
Quick note on those planets. They are all procedurally-generated with landing sites created in much the same fashion. In the future I plan to allow the deployment of probes which should at least make sure you don’t end up next to a volcano. where you’ll end up as well as allowing you to leave drones and androids to manage your settlement while you’re away. There’s a lot more to say here but I’ll leave it for a future update.
Much of development so far has been in-context. So no features typically get added until it makes sense in relation to another. So as it stands almost all of what I just mentioned is not even in the game yet. But the framework for these features to exist very much are. In fact one thing I was really disappointed in having to disable recently was the skill system. It was the one thing that had enough issues to crash the server. At least as far as I know, which brings me to my conclusion.
I’ve been keeping this project too close for too long. So Ive decided to release and open v1 up to the public. One of my favorite things about some of those old 2D mmos I used to play was how linear releases were and I plan to carry on that trend. No decimals, no extended changelogs, just plain English updates (and any other language I can support).
The current server is very much a test server. But I’ll need to update it if I’m going to re-enable things like chat which badly clogs up precious bandwidth. Forget it if there are multiple users online. Apsis Online will always be free but if you like the project please do consider supporting. I plan to allow email verifications pretty soon which should allow for some fun in-game perks for those of you who do as well. Thanks for reading, you can find the game at: