One of the first big steps in Dual Universe coming to fruition is complete: the Kickstarter is fully funded within days of its deadline. Having reached the goal with 3 days to spare, the Kickstarter continues to accept pledges to push towards the stretch goals, namely the €600,000 goal of Construct Vs. Construct combat which we linked to a couple of weeks ago. Though the development of this game was well underway before the Kickstarter had begun, a successful crowd funding campaign both confirms to Novaquark that there is definitely a market out there for their product, and also starts a slow building pressure cooker amongst their fan base. Those who pledged towards the game will be excited enough to see gameplay videos and read devblogs at first, but will want to be able to play the game in some shape or form sooner than later, and everybody knows that we gamers are a bit of an impatient bunch.
What’s In The Works So Far
-Continuous Single Shard: Dual Universe is intended to be played on a continuous single shard server. Fans of EVE Online are of course familiar with the single shard concept, only implemented in a different style: a single shard split up by instances, or systems. Each system is limited in the number of players that can be present at once, and are seperated by Jump Gates. They are connected however, by things like chat channels, the market, EveMails and so on. DU plans on having everything all in one “system” so to speak. FTL travel is intended to be possible, but there won’t be physical jump gates seperating things, just physical distance.
-Player-Created Items/Market: It’s a tough job to not constantly draw comparisons between Dual Universe and EVE Online, and even moreso when it comes to the market. The first markets in the game will be NPC spawned markets with items such as tools and basic things to get the new players going, but after that the intention is to have it completely controlled by the players. The players will be able to set buy and sell orders, and name their price as they see fit. An interesting part of the DU concept compared to EVE’s market is that the market itself will be a physical entity in the game placed by players. This adds an interesting element of creativity in market strategy, as a crafty player could potentially set up a market in a remote location with extremely competitive prices, and wait around to see what kind of unsuspecting player shows up waiting to have their stuff stolen. Sound familiar? Again, it’s all very similar to EVE, but different at the same time.
-Constructs of any size: Dual Universe’s voxel building system intends on allowing its players to build constructs of any size without restriction. If a player wants to build a construct the size of a planet, then they are encouraged to try (though it may take them a while). It has been noted, however, that constructs on planets will be limited to building to a certain height, to prevent any issues with colliding with orbiting constructs. This concept has, of course, gotten people talking about the potential for a Death Star type of construct. That sparked a bit of discussion in our last DU article about the possibility that players would be able to use scripts to make a planet vaporizing death ray, but that’s becoming more unrealistic as more details are revealed about DU’s combat system. Even when Novaquark’s goal to allow Construct vs. Construct combat is reached, the combat system will still be similar to EVE’s in that the player will only be able to attack things that they can lock on to. If Novaquark doesn’t allow people to lock on to a planet, then the planet vaporizing death ray may be fairly unlikely. Nonetheless, the idea of two Death Star sized constructs duking it out is one that certainly makes the imagination stir!
-No limit to number of players in one place at one time: Since Dual Universe is intended to be played in one continuous single shard, Novaquark had to come up with a way of making it so that you can have anywhere from 10 to 1000 people all occupying a small space without there having a loading screen or seperate instances. They’ve developed an algorithm for basically increasing server power to dense groups of players, but it has yet to truly be put to the test, so it remains to be seen whether or not this is going to be feasible. This concept, coupled with Novaquark’s theory of scaling their constructs so that they can still be seen from great distances should make the game that much more immersive if it all goes according to plan.
-Player Owned Territories: Players will be able to construct Dual Universe’s own version of Territory Control Units, which will allow players to take control of regions of land on planets. This will allow the player to dictate the rules in their territory, such as who can build there, access to markets and so on. Before long, players will be vying for the ideal patch of territory on resource packed planets to try to gain an advantage over the competition!
There are more in depth concepts that you can read about as well, but these initial concepts appear to be the foundation for this game as it grows with time.
Devblogs And Videos
As the Kickstarter wraps up, a more reliable source of fresh information and Dual Universe content will be the DU Forums. You can find all sorts of in depth information there, as well as the rest of the answers to the reddit AMA here and here, which may have answers to some of the questions you might have been thinking of. Novaquark continues to release videos on their Youtube channel demonstrating some of the different facets of gameplay, such as the most recent video which shows the game’s developers building a ship to go along with their recently built asteroid base.
If reading is more your thing, the forums have the devblogs all reproduced and readily available here. That stuff will keep you busy for a little while, but many of us have already perused the forums, and are chomping at the bit to get to experience the game first hand.
So, What’s Next?!
Novaquark’s staff made it very clear that a successful Kickstarter doesn’t mean that the game will immediately be released. As it is, they have slated the official release of the game for December 2018, which is a somewhat generous deadline on paper, but is a realistic one if the developers actually deliver the expected product as promised on that date. The next step for the game is an obvious one: Alpha testing. According to Novaquark, Alpha testing is supposed to begin in the “first half of 2017”, followed by the Beta which will begin in “the first half of 2018” which is both promising as well as somewhat vague.
At this point the waiting game begins. Novaquark is confident that their investors will see the merit of producing this game upon the completion of the crowd funding project, so things are certainly looking fairly positive for Dual Universe for now. Until the testing phases begin however, there will remain an air of skepticism surrounding DU, or any other crowd funded space exploration game for that matter. We’ll keep you up to date here at Imperium News as this story continues to develop!