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Looking for game development help from the space community

Posted by: CryptoQuick - Thu Dec 08, 2011 5:34 am
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Looking for game development help from the space community 
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Post Re: Looking for game development help from the space community   Posted on: Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:51 pm
(Alright, guess I didn't sleep. Got a second wind, as it were.)

Great ideas, guys! It's encouraging to see a productive response from this forum, and I'd like to encourage further participation in this endeavor. I just have to say, I agree with JamesG on many points. Lourens, it's an interesting idea, and I've had game designs with similar premises, however, I'm not looking to go the post-apocalyptic route. I have to agree with JamesG on that point, and would add, that many, many science fiction stories have used that as an inexpensive plot device to reboot a setting and easily reconcile the author's vision with the present. Also, I must be honest, I'm ridiculously, eternally optimistic. When ELO wrote their song 'Mr. Blue Sky', that was about me.

At this time, I don't think space elevators are absolutely necessary for what I have in mind. They would be nice, certainly, but megastructures are not within our economic reach at the moment. Expansion into the solar system, even colonization of Mars, I can see these things happening without a space elevator, as long as we're taking into account expected advancements in RLV technology. Really, we're seeing the beginning of a second golden age of modern rocketry; there's fantastic designs being developed and tested by Masten, Armadillo, in addition to the work being done by the big boys, Blue Origin and SpaceX. If these projects pan out the way they're expected to, the cost of spaceflight can be brought down by an order of magnitude. This would put access to space within the grasp of many startups and companies looking to get in on space development.

I've been meaning to say something about the factions I've had planned for this game. There are three playable factions (with three major players in the background). I’m currently playing around with names, but in order to poast this post in a timely manner, I will just stick with what I’ve got for now. If you guys want, I’d be interested to hear any names that are better. By better, they need to actually 'sound good'.

Also, just note, the Earth is neither in an unmanageable environmental or economic crisis. Things are about as good as they have been in the past, never permanently bad, but certainly not a utopia, either. China's GDP now surpasses that of the U.S., and has firmly taken its place as the second superpower, but we've seen that coming easily in the past decade. What's interesting is that although China and the U.S. are intriniscally economically tied, politically they could never be further apart. This is nothing new.

What's new is the explosion of space development after NASA investment in RLV technology.

On Earth (Non-playable)
  • WANSA - Western Alliance of National Space Agencies; U.S., Canada, all ESA countries, Japan, South Korea, and Brazil. They were the primary force behind the NEO mining effort, and currently operate a colony on Mars.
  • STAR - STAR Coalition (not to be confused with the Star Alliance); Russia, China, India, and other APSCO nations, sans Japan and South Korea. They were the primary force in forming the current moon colonies, and still have primary interests there.
  • ECO - Although not affiliated with any specific country, ECO is an international industry superorganization founded in Germany, coordinating green industry efforts worldwide. ECO acts as the primary driving force behind coordinating the technological, political, and economic efforts of any who choose to participate towards initiatives that benefit environmental health. In the past this was a noble effort, now it is seen as a very necessary one. ECO has done a great deal of work towards adapting ISRU technologies perfected by NEO colonists for use back on Earth, which is a very controversial subject in many countries, especially those invested in space assets.

(Note, I certainly don't consider myself an environmentalist, and rocketry certainly isn't very concerned about that issue just yet, nor does that really have a place in a game about war, but green industry will no doubt become a very heavy economic player during this timeline, due to broad support and demand as environmental conditions worsen within first world nations)

In Space (Playable)
  • ISDC - International Space Defense Command; Supported by WANSA, they protect orbital assets and Earth's economic interests. Politically-correct, but also well-funded and strong, they also operate LEO and Mars colonization infrastructure, which includes propellant depots, orbital station and spacecraft assembly, and they try to regulate all space traffic to and from Earth.
  • LUNAC - Union of Independent Lunar Colonies - Several moon bases on both poles of the moon were colonized by STAR countries. Although they now operate independently of STAR, they engage in free trade of their resources to the burgeoning Asian economies. They have major reason to take issue with ISDC and their WANSA-endorsed ISDC regulation of Earth commerce and Earth's orbital assets. Seeing more benefit than harm in ISDC protection, STAR also supports ISDC, much to the chagrin of LUNAC.
  • NEOCs - Near Earth Object Communes - Radical space pioneers who have occupied about half of developed orebodies with resources and assistance from ECO. Their thing has been to assist (and disrupt) ground economies in whatever ways available to them, including valuable materials such as PGMs, copper, even uranium. This can be valuable to smaller countries in sharing the benefits of space colonization and the unequal footing this puts many of these countries. As relative self-sufficiency was reached ten years ago, NEOC efforts Their ultimate aim is to be inclusive and make abundant space resources available to any who ask.

Obviously this all needs to be fleshed out more. I have some more documents, but they're more towards game mechanics and less about the fun stuff, space politics and space technology!

Some logos I came up with (heh!)

Although it might appear that I'm setting up for a corny Cold War-esque East/West Space Race, I'm really more concerned with ECO's implications, especially when factoring in ISRU and SRM technologies being employed on Earth, such as stuff proposed in the Lackner-Wendt 'Auxon' paper. It doesn't affect space much, but my thought is, ISRU and robotics developed and used in space have applications here on Earth also. ISRU depends on scale and value; efficiency not as much. Also, things that are very scarce in soil on Earth, like Cu, might be readily available on NEO orebodies. Just a thought. Valuable Chlorine might also be found in NEO volatiles, and He3, not really a big deal on Earth at present, but if developed and utilized in-situ on Luna, there's a huge factor at play there. Energy will be plentiful on the moon, no doubt about that-- and further, there's things like ALICE and valuable construction materials that can be made from regolith and lunar ice. There's a lot of factors here to play with, and I'm sure you guys have more concrete ideas on that than I might. Feel free to link me to anything you've read or written here on these forums. I intend to read the asteroid thread.

Also, I know, the argument for mining things in space is rather tenuous, especially given there are tons of resources on Earth, but RLV changes a lot-- a lot of things get shifted left by a factor of ten. Coupled with ISRU technologies, price of PGMs, volatiles processing for in-space repleneshment of the propellant depot infrastructure... It could work to help build the next steps for space industry. I suppose there'd be parallels to green industry on Earth with space industry on NEOs and Luna.

Having a focus on asteroids is also very timely, in light of NASA's "Asteroid Next" plans. I disagree with using the SLS as the foundation of their plans; the SLS is a slow, lumbering dinosaur in a field rife with smaller, nimble commercial space companies. That dinosaur might well be made extinct well before its time comes. Also, I should remind you folks, I said 30 years from now-- given it's nearly 2012, I've set the date as 2042, not 2030. 2012 is the year I expect to see a great deal of movement in the commercial spaceflight industry, the dawn of that Second Golden Age of Modern Rocketry.

Of course, if we go by NASA's schedule, only at the end of this 30-year timeframe will we just then have the capacity to do what I've outlined; I might indeed have to give it another ten or fifteen years for things to escalate.

Damn, this is so late, I just need to post this already, see your guys’ feedback. I just wanted to give you guys a better idea of what direction I’d like to take this. I have more in docs and stuff, but I thought I might do this as a little experiment to see where everyone's at and to spark further debate about this sort of scenario... I'm curious what people might do to fill in the blanks on something like this. I've started somestuff, feel free to move it around and add whatever you like, within reason. Also, remember, these changes can always be rolled back. Revisions, yo.

Also, just let it be known, I'm currently I'm looking for a good ship and station concept artist for the different factions of this game.

I think that's about all I've got for now... Please continue to participate!

P.S. -- I was made aware I hadn't mentioned the name of the game yet. It's going to be done under the name 'Apsis: Orbital Conflict'. Hope that's good!

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