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Void of Darkness Announced

Tropical Games announces Void of Darkness, a space combat/trading/exploration game coming to Windows, OS X, and Linux in September of this year. The Void of Darkness website details and media, including a video, and here's a feature list:

  • Exciting & Engaging tactical combat
  • Interact directly with more than 10 Alien races
  • A large and dynamic universe
  • Engaging exploration: Discover anomalies, wormholes and more!
  • Acquire advanced technology: Cloaking technology and kinetic barriers
  • Deploy Auxiliary craft such as mining drones to mine for you
  • Trade/Haggle with alien merchants for the best price
  • A nonlinear story line against the back drop of sandbox gameplay
  • Hybrid Rogue Like: You can only save once docked safely at a station
  • Fleet Engagements
  • Starbase Assaults
  • more!

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15. Re: Void of Darkness Announced Jun 26, 2013, 17:28 Justin
 
If anyone is still monitoring this, a campaign to secure funds to do the art work for the game has launched here: http://igg.me/at/VoD/x/3267940

Thanks for your support

-Justin
 
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14. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 15:28 Justin
 
Hi guys, thanks firstly for your kind words of encouragement and interest in the game.

@eRe4s3r

The aliens are not all hostile at all. Some of their personalities tie in with the back story of the game as well. There is also a reputation system, so you can make enemies out of friends.

If you are familiar with starflight, the interaction will be very similar. Except the encounter won't be instanced from the rest of the game, it's all real time.

I won't take any shortcuts, and no excuses...only being real in some cases, being one person I can't spend months developing one feature, or the game would become vapor ware. Your ideas for the ultimate immersion are on par with mine, it is what I hope for in Star Citizen, and all my other list of book marked in development space oriented games, of which the number is about 30

If upon the release, people see the potential in the game, but some factors are barring their enjoyment, then I hope they will provide the constructive feedback to enable me to work at it.

It is everyone's choice to say well, this sucks, that's fine, but if something could be better, and you can see that potential, your feedback about why it sucks might help. That is if you see any potential in it in the first place.

I think my ideas are good, and the wealth of experience I've had with all the space games over the years, however, what I think is useless when it comes to what others perceive. So I am going to be very much dependent on feedback on the alpha, and addressing specific concerns as long as they do not fall outside the scope of the design.

You have a lot to say and I am all ears, the only thing I wish to convey is that there will be certain things set in stone, which cannot change, because of the inspirations of the game and the need to actually produce something in a timely manner.

Thank you again to everyone!
 
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13. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 14:06 eRe4s3r
 
Justin wrote on May 19, 2013, 09:38:
Hi er, I played the Drox Operative demo but could not get into it because of the combat. While combat is not the be all end all, I still want it to be as engaging as possible, when it does occur.

The trick will be to keep the player entertained enough to want to upgrade his ship. Since starting out with a fully upgraded ship to me isn't very fun at all. Which is why I take a page out of Starflight's book here, basic ship at the beginning. Perhaps you are at the mercy of more powerful aliens, but they should watch out once you roll out your upgrades.

Or you could probably go destroy their pirate bases just for ransoming you back when you couldn't defend yourself.

Well if you know what I mean regarding combat in Drox there is hope you can avoid the pitfalls I just hope you make the Aliens we meet interesting and not all hostile. I know you have probably no way to make complicated visual novels part of the interaction but at least some way to talk to the (Alien?) crew members.... get to know them, why they help us. You could randomize the Aliens (that are crew) and their back-stories too.

Basically, make as much as you can non linear (without making it shallow) and your game will be more fun for it. Anyway I agree with the others that it sounds unique, but there have been soooo many space games that wanted to be so much more than they ended up being.

I hope you get the game made in the way that you want it to be. Don't take any short-cuts or do something half. When you put crew in, make that crew interesting, allow us to interact with crew. Maybe even have the player create the "captain" avatar and allow the captain to be injured and killed like all the other crew.

You see, there are so many things that can spice up flying around. Not just combat. Every element you put in, Crews, Aliens, Diplomacy, Stories, Fleets needs to have non linear and dynamic randomization. Needs to have depth that allows us to dig deeper if we want, or ignore it mostly if we want.... and keep it fresh through multiple play-throughs. Have us discover new (interesting) things...

Mhh yeah, nothing more to ramble here Wish you luck with your game
 
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12. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 13:48 Wowbagger_TIP
 
Justin wrote on May 19, 2013, 09:38:
Hi er, I played the Drox Operative demo but could not get into it because of the combat. While combat is not the be all end all, I still want it to be as engaging as possible, when it does occur.

The trick will be to keep the player entertained enough to want to upgrade his ship. Since starting out with a fully upgraded ship to me isn't very fun at all. Which is why I take a page out of Starflight's book here, basic ship at the beginning. Perhaps you are at the mercy of more powerful aliens, but they should watch out once you roll out your upgrades.

Or you could probably go destroy their pirate bases just for ransoming you back when you couldn't defend yourself.

Looks like the game has potential. Reminds me somewhat of Escape Velocity Nova, which was a great game that gave you quite a bit of freedom and let you do things your way for the most part. The real key to games like this for me is that sense of freedom, and in having a lot of possibilities for things to do. You may not be able to do them all in one play-through, but that's not really a bad thing in my opinion.
 
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
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11. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 13:02 Creston
 
I love space games like these, so I hope this will turn out well. We need more than just X.

Creston
 
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10. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 12:36 Wildone
 
STAR CITIZEN  
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9. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 09:38 Justin
 
Hi er, I played the Drox Operative demo but could not get into it because of the combat. While combat is not the be all end all, I still want it to be as engaging as possible, when it does occur.

The trick will be to keep the player entertained enough to want to upgrade his ship. Since starting out with a fully upgraded ship to me isn't very fun at all. Which is why I take a page out of Starflight's book here, basic ship at the beginning. Perhaps you are at the mercy of more powerful aliens, but they should watch out once you roll out your upgrades.

Or you could probably go destroy their pirate bases just for ransoming you back when you couldn't defend yourself.
 
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8. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 09:28 eRe4s3r
 
I will give any game a fair chance once it's finished (and I get around to play it).. so we'll see then. Bluesnews certainly harbors the most bitchy of all players so I guess I am no exception... I have a lot of memories about space games and most of them are of disappointing nature... so much potential wasted everywhere...

The Sandbox aspect you mention certainly sounds interesting, but like in Drox Operative I have fears combat will become basically an repetitive click-and-circle-fest.. hopefully you have some plans to spice it up.. namely via the "non linear" story and interesting events and situations and things to discover
 
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7. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 08:58 Justin
 
Hi JD, this choice certainly wasn't designed to frustrate the player, thank you for your feedback on it. I will of course make alterations based on feedback from the persons who will be playing the game. Since the build is still very much an alpha, this means nothing is set in stone. If this turns out to be a major caveat for them, then I will make it optional. That you can choose which play style you wish.

I will also bring it up for discussion on my forums, once the alpha has been released.

@eRe4s3r

As the current state is alpha, many design decisions can change. One word I am thinking of tweaking is tactical to strategic:)

There is an article I wrote recently on part of the combat system involving the use of special weapons, while managing your 'power' and keeping your defensive systems online. The article focuses on that aspect and is not intended to be an exhaustive description of the combat. You can view the article here:

Combat feature

I just built the site and I am in the process of migrating some content. I used to use a wordpress blogs which had about 40 blogs on the game, they will be copied to my forums.

Just to touch briefly on your questions, WASD...W sets your speed and your ship then accelerates to your desired set speed. It is true that in many games the flying in circles thing is an issue, and certainly here is no exception. However, as I have not fully developed the AI combat routines, I have not delved into all the possibilities to mitigate this issue.

The ships are intended to handle like 'starships' and not fighters, rotation will be slow the bigger the ship you have and the same for acceleration and max sub-light speed. Ships have firing arcs, and therefore, you might not necessarily have to always keep the nose at the enemy

Visual sign of damage will be shown by plasma trails, as is viewable in one of the screen shots.

As for fire control, there are two options, auto-fire, and manual control where your shot is aimed towards the mouse pointer. But the pointer must still fall within your hardpoint arcs. So there is no 360 degree firing arc.

As it stands enemies receive damage to sub systems, with enough damage to engines, they spin out of control.

Yes you can deploy mines. There is a video all weapons which might interest you on indie db. You also have shield quadrants.

I remember one time while play testing, I had sent a distress call and had some allies respond. Well due to a nice little bug, after they dispatched the ships attacking me, they turned on me! I was determined not to let them win. I had one strong shield remaining my left shield, all the others were down. So in an effort to survive, I flew past the group of them, activated the flight mode where there is no friction, so the ship drifted right past them, then I turned to keep that strong shield facing them.

My strong shield held, and since it is a dev version I have access to all the powerful special weapons in the final game, I launched what I call a fustrum torpedo which is an AOE weapon which blew them all up. Since I am not yet extensively play testing, this was quite a cool moment in one of my rear lengthier play tests.

But obviously all space games aren't for all space game fans, if eventually when you get a chance to try it and you don't like it, it's ok, in the end you have to look for what is fun for you, and I hope you find it! I thank you for your keen interest regardless.
 
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6. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 04:11 jdreyer
 
@ Justin,

Thanks for coming by. This forum is populated by a lot of older gamers nostalgic for updated versions of the classics that we played during our youth. I lost many hours in SF 1 & 2.

One suggestion: I was struck by this paragraph:

While you can save your game, you can only do so at a space station. This means that once you leave a station, until you return or find another one in your travels, you cannot save the progress you have made on that journey until then. This adds a level of tension and is not intended to frustrate you.

You should really implement a save feature that allows us to save wherever we are and resume from that point. The majority of people attracted to this game are going to be frustrated by a checkpoint save system. Our time is precious: we don't want to lose our place b/c the baby wakes up, or our kids or spouse come home from football practice or work. Even FTL doesn't require you to be at a store to save, the only restriction is you can't save during a firefight (which are usually resolved in a minute or two).

Please reconsider this limitation.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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5. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 19, 2013, 01:48 eRe4s3r
 
Mhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Your planned features sound nice enough but.. I am not seeing the epic combat ;p assuming WSAD is used as a acceleration and rotation control all the combat will degenerate into is flying in circles or just keeping the front pointed at the enemy.

Basically, I am not seeing how we have any tactical influence on the battle. Can we deploy drones, mines, fire torpedoes. Is damage modeled in high detail? Can enemy ships be hit and lose power, drift around, be boarded? Are the angle of attack calculations for kinetic weapons? Heat absorption and spread calculations for laser weapons? Is it FTL style crew simulation, or more SIMS style? Is it abstracted or shown. Is damaged modeled on the deck of the ship, or just visual particle effects?

The Story sounds nice enough, but in the end the game is gonna be judged on it's combat given that this is what we do 95% of the game...

Can't say I am feeling all that impressed, but then there is little to actually see of the game yet.

Anyhow.. I guess what I want is more like a way more complex FTL style game mixed with Silent Hunter and Nexus elements Hehe
 
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4. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 18, 2013, 20:01 Justin
 
Hey guys, I am developing VOD. Although it isn't for everyone, it is inspired by the games Starflight 1 & 2 by Binary systems and in part by Distant Worlds. I myself have played every space game there was for the past 25 years. Even though I enjoyed most of them, the majority tended to focus on fighter type combat, and mainly the star trek ones focused on starship combat. (With the exception of a few others, Iwar, Nexus etc...)

Distant Worlds showed me that something didn't have to necessarily be 3d to appeal to me. The developers had something called 'alternate ways to play' you could view in the game. And one of them in particular intrigued me. Take command of a single vessel from your fleet and guide it through the universe.

While initially it is fun to outfit a nice capable ship and play this way, you could only point and click control your ship, and you had no control over it during combat or its ship systems. I wanted something along this line but where you could control your ship on a deeper level inclusive of a crew. So it seemed logical being a fan of Starflight as well to borrow from the things which made it special. The feeling of a small ship and big universe, and a non linear story line against a sandbox, but with some more engaging combat.

I too backed Star Citizen, and I am hoping it will be all that is promised at the very least. Thanks! Feel free to email me with any questions comments or feedback.
 
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3. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 18, 2013, 19:10 Burrito of Peace
 
Bah. Yet another top down scroller.

My only hope, really, is for Star Citizen/Squadron 42.
 
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2. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 18, 2013, 14:40 saluk
 
Yeah, I want to like this genre a lot more than I actually do. It's kind of my dream game, but I haven't really had my imagination tickled the way I want since I played escape velocity in middle school.  
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1. Re: Void of Darkness Announced May 18, 2013, 14:17 Cutter
 
Sounds cool, however, it's a shame so many of these fall woefully short. Cross your fingers.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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