Monday, 24 March 2014

Veure Roadmap

Bulk Carrier
I've had a lot of interesting private reactions to my Veure post. Right now we're making plans on pushing it forward and seeing how we can make this work as a business.

For those who those who are curious about what currently works:
  • You can log in and create up to 5 characters (probably too many; most games allow only one)
  • You can search ruins of space stations to salvage parts
  • You can train in the gym and your stats slowly build
  • Training wears you out but you regain strength over time
  • You can travel to other stations or systems via pubic transport or via ships you've purchased
  • Traveling costs money, so you can sell salvaged goods at the market
  • Some stations have shipyards where you can (almost) buy ships (a day or two to finish)
  • You can refuel ships
  • You can view ship manifests
  • You can view the main starmap
  • The star map is pluggable and alternate versions will show details on the four main factions: Consortium, Gaul, Independents and Freebooters
  • Threaded forums have been built
  • The archive (think "a read-only Wikipedia of the future") has been built. Needs more content
  • Traveling to Gaul stations requires a visa which can be purchased at Gaul embassies
  • Currently there are 544 stations in the game, but not all of them can be reached
  • Currently there are 70 wormholes in the game, but not all of them can be reached
  • There are 1757 separate areas currently available in the game and that number will rise dramatically with more area types (to be fair, many of those are identical areas on different space stations)
  • Corvette
  • And more, but the above contains the highlights
And the current planned features for an invite-only alpha:
  • Finish some minor issues with ships
  • Self-adjusting Elite-style trading system leveraging arbitrage
  • Combat
  • In-game email
  • Weapons
  • Medical items
  • Armor
  • NPCs
  • More area types (cloning vats, sick bays, etc.)
  • Missions and jobs (repeatable missions)
  • Auctions
  • Education courses
  • Leveling
  • Remove some jump gates to hide "undeveloped" stations
Of course, there's a lot more planned for the beta, but the above should be enough to give you an idea of what's planned.

There are some tricky bits in there, to be sure, but I've estimated the above roadmap to be roughly 1,000 to 1,500 hours of develop time. That's five to seven months of full-time work. However, trying to create a text-MMORPG with the richness of storyline of a graphical MMORPG is a lot of work. There are, fortunately, some shortcuts available for some of this.

Speaking of stories, my vision requires good story, too. For example, if you're in the Beijing Stronghold (a station in the Alpha Centauri system), you don't want NPCs named "Bob". You want an administrator named Qin Shi Huang asking you to retrieve Cheng Ying, his stolen blaster (those names are not accidents, though the latter is more obscure). Maybe visiting the Jean Baudrillard Stronghold (in the CD-40 9712 star system), reveals extensive cloning vats that are expensive but offer better cloning options.

Public Shuttle
In other words, I would like to have this future of humanity be tied to human history and culture, thereby providing something for people to wonder about and research instead of just "click-n-drool" gameplay. This level of detail increases the value of the game, but requires more effort.

The ship graphics, incidentally, are courtesy of Lost Garden. The artist who created that site made many graphics available for free. I took them and stitched them together using gimp and then turned them into gifs so I could show the "engines" throbbing.


  1. I second the "me want." Looking forward to alpha / beta / "you can start paying for this now."

  2. I fondly remember Tyrian, the game those graphics came from. It sounds like an interesting game.