Is it a sign? Are space MMO fans finally holding on to their hard-earned dollars a little more tightly after some promising but ultimately dismal releases in recent memory? As we reported a couple weeks ago, the Dual Universe Kickstarter opened up to a pretty healthy start, and as I mentioned on my Twitter (shameless plug? Yup.) continued through the halfway mark in terms of the money goal quite steadily. At this point though, that Kickstarter has gone past the halfway mark in terms of time, and things aren’t looking as positive as they were in the beginning. As of this writing, the Kickstarter has 13 days left, and is still needing €126,270 in order to reach its goal. A quick bit of math tells us that they need to amass €9,713 per day in order to get there which, when put into those terms, is no simple task.
Throughout the Kickstarter, Novaquark has released little tidbits and details as the number of donations continued to increase. One of these details was to lay out some of the stretch goals. Though Novaquark’s founder JC Baillie mentions a lot of the ambitious things that are planned for Dual Universe in the handful of Youtube videos that they’ve released, their stretch goals paint a more realistic picture of what players may see in the initial release and in expansions thereafter. The stretch goals for the time being are €600,000, which will allow for Construct vs. Construct combat. As we mentioned in our previous article, Dual Universe’s initial release only intends to have avatar vs. avatar combat, so players will get a grasp of the combat system shooting at each other on the ground before they can get themselves into real trouble with their constructs. This stretch goal, however, would mean that ships will be able to shoot at each other, which would be a really big step in the playability of the game. They also go into a little more detail about how the PvP mechanics may work. The other stretch goal, at €650,000, will allow for more advanced character customization: players will have the option of removing their helmet and customizing hair and faces. It may be somewhat of an inconsequential feature, but certainly a step in the direction of making the game more immersive.
Additionally, Novaquark opened up an AMA on reddit that posed many questions about the details of the game. They released a video which answers some of the questions asked in the AMA, such as questions about the LUA scripts that will be usable by players in the game, and noting that scripts will not be able to be automated so that they can run while the player flies off and does something else. Players will have to be in relatively close proximity to keep scripts running, in case people figured that the game would wind up just being a bunch of bots dominating everything. Also of note in that video, JC talks about the “Death Star” concept. He explains that although a massive construct of a Death Star’s scale will be able to be made, a planet vaporizing death ray will not be something that will be made available, since that would be a little bit too easy to exploit.
As much as they have released some demonstration footage of how the voxel technology will work. One thing that Novaquark has yet to offer much open explanation of is how their servers will handle the massive amount of computing required to make this game run smoothly. One could assume that a part of this is because they have not yet opened their servers up to a game-breaking number of real humans. Simulations and bot-player testing can only reveal so much before they unleash a bunch of crazy nerds on the game that will actively try to break it.
So, have space MMO fans been turned into a bunch of tight-pocketed skeptics from some disappointing recent releases? Or are they holding out until they see a little bit more proof from Novaquark that this ambitious idea really will work? We’ll only be able to know with time. That’s something that Dual Universe’s Kickstarter doesn’t have a whole lot of to spare!