Author Topic: Fringe Planet - a survival simulator game inspired by Dwarf Fortress & Rimworld  (Read 699 times)

beebug_nic

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Intro

Hey folks! I just thought I'd post a little bit about the game that I'm developing - Fringe Planet.  Fringe Planet is a survival simulator based in a Lovecraft inspired universe where both magic and science co-exist. Six strangers (called peons) awake in a frozen and harsh environment, with no memory of who they are or how they got here.  Through discovery and exploration they will gradually discover some of the mysterious of the place they are trapped in - and if they are lucky they may start remembering who they were in their previous lives.


The game is designed to be tough - AI story tellers throw events at the player that can change the game very quickly, turning a success into a failure.  The environment itself - a frozen and bleak floating island traveling through an infinite void - is incredibly tough to survive in.  Peons can freeze, starve and go mad very quickly. And even when they aren't just fighting the elements, you never know when a passing demon may possess one of your own.

Using both science and magic, the player can tame the landscape in multiple ways - extending the surface area by catching other floating islands (which may involve harvesting the arm of an ethereal creature that can drive you mad and sticking it in a machine) - creating whatever homes/bases they desire - or by setting up complicated factory chains of belts and machines to automatically craft items.

The game itself is fantastically lore deep - but a player can choose to ignore the lore of the game and just focus on survival - the game itself is very much aimed at being a sandbox that will allow players to tell their own stories.

Designed in mind with modding from the ground up, every aspect of the game can be changed - and I'm very keen to see what other people start to come up with for the game - sometimes it feels like I'm writing more of an engine than a game!

About me

I've been a developer for over 20 years, breaking my teeth on BASIC on a BBC model B many, many moons ago. I've worked professionally with many startups over the years, initially as a developer and then moving onto becoming a systems architect.  When one of the start-ups ended, I decided to start up myself and work full time on Fringe Planet - it's honestly a terrifying journey at times but it is the most fulfilled I've ever felt in my life.

Eye Candy




More Info

I tweet daily about the development of the game, so twitter is normally the best place to catch me : https://twitter.com/beebug_nic
On top of that, Fringe Planet has a website here : http://fringeplanetgame.com/ and you can find the development blog (new posts on Friday) here : http://fringeplanetgame.com/blog/

Thanks for taking the time to read this :-) I'm always happy to talk about the project so if you have any questions or comments just let me know :-) I'll keep this thread update as things develop :-)

Jubal

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This looks fun! I've never been a massive taker for that sort of block-type (am I allowed to use the "M" word to describe it) graphical style, but the theming for this looks really, really nice and I'm really up for lore-heavy gaming so that's definitely got my attention!

What sort of modding are you expecting/catering for? And how much variation is there between playthroughs/ is there a lot of random world generation and how do you deal with that sort of variance from a lore perspective?
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beebug_nic

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Thanks for the questions :-) I normally get them on twitter - so REALLY appreciate being able to do much longer format answers - without having to delete and rephrase like a crazy man to fit the word limit :-)

Minecraft is mentioned a lot in regards to the game, but one thing I didn't mention in this first post is that everything is pretty much place holder graphics - keeping the peons in a voxel-esque style creates a more consistent art style, which is pretty important (am currently in the seeking funding/investment stages so eye candy helps).  I'm far from an artist (just a dev) - the goal is to hire someone with that talent :-) So it will be the "M" word for a while, but really want to move away from it (though honestly the "cute" style with very dark themes is starting to feel like an interesting direction to go in).

Really glad you like the theming for the world and the lore :-) I've spent a lot of time ( huge internal wiki ) creating lore and making sure that they lend themselves to various different game mechanics. At some point I need to clean it up and release it on the main website, that is another task on the list :-)

Modding is a huge selling point for the game.  At this time pretty much everything you can see can be modded in some way : terrain generation, peon attributes, story tellers, interface. I honestly would love to see a total conversion created out of Fringe Planet - I'm not sure what I'm expecting people to mod, but I'm catering for pretty much everything :-)  My first guess would be a zombie mod as that seems to be a universal constant whenever modding is added to a game :-)

Variation is incredibly important - I want every play through to feel very different.  The primary differences in a play through (aside from geography) are two fold - firstly the peons that you are given (they can vary massively in stats and even AI behaviours) and secondly the story teller that you select ( I've actually written a brief introduction today in my dev blog about story tellers - http://fringeplanetgame.com/blog/2018/07/27/dev-blog-6/ (shameless plug)).

As detailed as the lore is, I've made sure that all of it makes sense with the procedural generated universe - the lore is very much about the entities that transported the peons to this place, and the science and magic that exist together there - as well as about the other peons that have passed before.   I'm a very firm believer in lore and mechanics working together to create an interesting experience :-)  And the nice thing with important locations drifting around an infinite void is you don't have to remember which important ones are to the North :-)

A little lore snippet I did a while ago (for example) :


This will be discovered (or something less placeholder-esque) when a certain bit of research is done - at the end of the bridge is one of the first magic/science machines that the player will discover (it's basically an ethereal demon arm (and an appropriate holding container), some steampunk awesomeness and a joystick that looks very much like a ritual dagger sticking into a heart) - and this allows a player to capture other orbiting island and tether them to their home one - expanding the play area.

Thanks so much for the questions :-) Love being asked about the game!

Jubal

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Quote
Modding is a huge selling point for the game.  At this time pretty much everything you can see can be modded in some way : terrain generation, peon attributes, story tellers, interface. I honestly would love to see a total conversion created out of Fringe Planet
...I'll have to try and get a couple of other projects tidied up before you get the game released. :) (I have a fair ol' bunch of game total conversions to my name, and a major habit of not playing a game for more than a few hours before I start jotting down lists of things to tinker with and poking around in the files).


I definitely think the fairly "cute" nature of the graphical style is good, it just needs something that's a little bit more its own and maybe with a few more rounded edges! I can empathise with not being much of a graphics person - all the games I make are just hobby projects, but their one unifying feature is me spending a lot of time writing stuff and programming logic and just finding whatever way I can do do the bare graphical minimum (which is probably why nobody plays them!) I love the idea of different "storytellers" that give you a different set of random encounters/overarching conditions, too, that's really cool and I can definitely see myself borrowing some kind of similar idea somewhere at some point!


I really like that lore snippet, too. Sets a very nice tone :)
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Tusky

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It does look like good fun. I've had some good times with voxel survival games so looking forward to seeing this finished.

The lore looks fantastic too!

Is this going to be completely open ended and up to the player to make up their own stories? So will it be more about drip feeding peon backstory & other mysteries - or will there be a distinct endgame or ending?

I love the visualisation of the peon AI by the way, like the their paths being shown and the text about their decision making :)

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beebug_nic

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Thanks for the kind words :-) It's incredibly inspiring to get feedback :-)

I'll be releasing some of the modding tools during a closed beta period - so am more than happy to send them your way during that time if you would like a play :-) Stalked some of your TCs so would be awesome to get a modders opinion on things.

And yes the story tellers are both incredibly cool and very fun to deal with - feel free to borrow the idea :-)

And yay! glad people appreciate the lore - I've always wanted to be a writer but sitting staring at an empty word processor document is frankly terrifying - Fringe Planet allows me to get the writing out of my system and helps flesh out the universe :-)

And to answer Tusky's question - the game is a sandbox, as much as I want people to dive into the lore I know a lot of people arn't into that - so it is possible to play (and complete) the game without reading any lore (debating an option to turn it off completely - people feel quite passionate about the issue!). There are a few paths to a "victory" condition, but it is very easy to ignore them and just do what you want.  I've built a peon builder which allows people to create and customise their peons (back stories and traits) - and the back stories are literally just a CSV file so it is super easy to add new back stories :-)

And thanks :-) That text is mostly debug and very much not inline thematically yet ( saying "nom nom nom" when eating probably doesn't inspire terror in a player) :-)

beebug_nic

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Wow! I just noticed the latest "Updates from The Forge" includes Fringe Planet - thank you so much! This kind of press is awesome and honestly makes me grin like an idiot! Thank you so much! :-)

Jubal

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No probs, glad you like it! :)

And yes, I'd definitely happily take an advance look at some modding tools whenever they exist :)
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beebug_nic

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Awesome I'll very much add you to the list of folks who have expressed interest in the modding - and yes, I very much did like it, was grinning like an idiot for quite a while. In slightly related news, I've just added a newsletter section to the official website, and it would be awesome if anyone who is interested in the game would sign-up for it - I promise I won't spam you or sell your email :-)

https://fringeplanetgame.com/newsletter.php

Let me know if anyone has any problems with it, been battling with my hosting provider over it but hopefully all should work now :-)

Jubal

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Seems to work OK :)
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Tusky

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Seems to work OK :)

Ditto. Seems to work alright. Site seems to be coming together nicely!
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beebug_nic

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Super thanks for checking and signing up - glad it worked well! Honestly I would not wish my hosting provider on any body - not having hands on access to the server is a complete pain (you get a cpanel and a very locked down ssh account). Plus at some point emails weren't getting through during testing - PHP said they were being sent ok, but nothing appearing in mailboxes - it took me an hour long phone call to get to someone who could tell me why emails weren't being sent. Went through three different techs and only the last one was "oh you tripped our internal spam filter" - you would have thought a first line tech could have told me that :-/ The reason for tripping the spam filter? I'd sent out 10 emails in the past three hours which contained the word "test" in the subject :-/

Tusky

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What a pain  :(  I hate not having sufficient access to stuff when I need it.

You'd think that providers would not be so stringent when the word "test" is involved though...
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Jubal

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I wish Exilian had the budget and punch to help better with that sort of tech capacity for devs... it's something I've thought about quite a bit over the years but never had a great brainwave on how to do.
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beebug_nic

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That would be extremely helpful, but also a massive amount of administration :-) It was so frustrating because given the correct tools/access I could have at least found the problem myself - once my current contracts are up with them, I'll probably move towards amazon or similar, where at least I can get root on my own instance. But thankfully the website seems to be behaving correctly :-)