- 1 Welcome to the Traveller's Guide to Starium XCV
- 2 What Is This?
- 2.1 Core Council Report : 24th of May, 2017
- 2.2 Core Council Report : 22nd of December, 2016
- 2.3 Core Council Report : 22nd of November, 2016
- 2.4 Core Council Report : 22nd of October, 2016
- 2.5 Core Council Report : 22nd of September, 2016
- 2.6 Core Council Report : 22nd of August, 2016
- 2.7 Core Council Report : 22nd of July, 2016
Welcome to the Traveller's Guide to Starium XCV
Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. So big that no one creature can hope to understand all there is to know about it. Even the most powerful intellects and greatest computers have failed to categorise everything there is.
Where they have failed however, we will succeed. A book, you see, is a veritable font of knowledge. Now imagine a book, but with infinite pages; that is what you hold here at your finger tips.
- Eloise Quepero D'Pigens, Traveller's Guide to StariumXCV, p42.
What Is This?
Starium XCV is a 4x browser-based space game, in which each player will take control of an entire empire and lead their people to glory and prosperity, or to doom and destruction.
Over time we will continue to add to this data resource, so that players can discover more about the Starium Universe, and the people, planets, units, structures and everything else which dwells within.
This guide has been carefully put together by a group of dedicated writers, sages and historians. They will often comment on articles themselves to give additional information or feedback. If you wish to know more about Eloise, Darshana or Conleth, you can meet the staff.
Our plan is to release details of a number of the primary, playable races over the coming months, so stay tuned for updates!
=== News ===]
Core Council Report : 24th of May, 2017
One of our senior designers, Gareth Kay, shares some of the insights and thoughts behind the making of Starium XCV!
Science vs Magic in StariumXCV
Does magic have a place in a space-based setting? This is a tough question and one which I am sure plagues many writers (and designers) in this genre. Different space-based series have different approaches to this and it is often the feature which most differentiates them. This distinction is no clearer than between the two star titans: Star Trek and Star Wars.
Star Trek, a classic example of Science Fiction, considers science paramount. Even where there are hints of magic, it is nearly always explained through ultra-advanced technology. Here, Clarke’s third law comes in to play: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” The Q Continuum seems to be the most controversial area where science and magic are blurred – and rightly so, for it virtually proves Clarkes point. To us, as the inferior races, aliens' incredible abilities looks like magic, but their technology is so unbelievably advanced that it could well be some form of inexplicable (to us) science. Q is so cool, because they successfully blur the lines. You never actually see their technology… but perhaps that’s what happens when a race becomes hyper advanced.
Star Wars, the great example of Science Fantasy, takes the alternative approach. Yes, there is magic but we call it the Force. This is an energy which is shared by all living things and could be tapped into by midi-chlorians. The Force is in essence, a magical power. It grants mystical powers to those trained in its use pushing and pulling objects, persuasion, maintaining consciousness after death, manipulation of matter, ability to perform great physical feats and (for those trained in the Darkside), being able to conjure lightning. There is no attempt to explain these powers through technological means, they are magical entities. The science in this universe comes through space travel and the ability of the races to traverse between worlds and create new colonies.
Another series which explores Clarke's third law extremely well is Stargate SG1. All the alien races seem to be magical to the Stargate team (SG1) at the start of the series. The Gua’uld’s ability to control, their regenerative abilities and their shielding, seem like some mystical powers. Yet, the team eventually discovers that they have devices controlling all of this. Then, we are introduced to the Asgard and once again their initial magical appearance is eventually explained as advanced science. One of my personal favourite races, the Nox, seem to be a very simplistic, even primitive, and yet they too are blessed with these incredible magical powers. The SG1 team isinitially very protective of this people, believing themselves to be superior. At the end, however, SG1 is revealed to actually be far more primitive than those they wanted to protect, when the Nox reveal the extent of their technological progress. They reveal a cloaked, massive flying city in the sky above them, while their own incredible powers are explained through science. The Nox are so advanced that their technology appears natural to them.
There is no doubt that Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate SG1 and many other tales of science fiction have an influence on our own setting. Much of our own “magic” is naturalistic in nature. We differentiate the powers of different races, perhaps more than other works. We’ve studied the natural life around us, learneding the lessons from evolution – and then taken those to extremes.
The Electic Eel for instance, is able to generate electricity. Could not other species, then, have similar abilities? What if those abilities were then taken to an extreme? In our case, we have the Gervians. They have bodies which can excrete chemicals that are highly flammable. Their bodies cannot cause ignition, but if an outside spark is delivered, this sudden expulsion of flammable chemicals can appear to be spontaneous ignition – and thus the Gervians can produce fire.
Pheromones are another powerful tool of the natural world, as many creatures use them to alter the behaviour of others – either to excite or pacify. Well, we have our own race who can harness this power, the Inarians. Combine powerful pheromone control with naturally produced hallucinogens and you have the ability to manipulate emotion and create illusions.
Of course, there is one race which is extremely hard to explain, the Tuleonetians. They are a race with, what is in essence, an organic internet shared with all members of that race. How can they all communicate in this way? What is shared? What is it’s range? Are there any limitations? HOW DOES IT WORK? Well, we all need to have our own secrets…
So where on the Science-Fiction Vs Science-Fantasy spectrum do we place Starium? Very much on the Science-Fiction axis, but we do have elements of Science-Fantasy mixed in. We try to explain things through technology and evolutionary science, but there are a few things which just might be magic…
…or else are sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from it.
Core Council Report : 22nd of December, 2016
Hey, everyone! Another month, another newsletter!
This one just so happens to find itself nestled warm and snug within this holiday season. As such, we find ourselves incredibly thankful as we look back on this past year. We’ve made so much progress and couldn’t be happier. And none of it would be possible without all of the support we’ve received. Entering the next year, we ask that you keep up with us and see just what we’ve been up to all this time. As for us, it’s full steam ahead!
So to all of the amazing people who have helped to add to our offering... Our family members... You! And the rest of our friends...
Core Council Report : 22nd of November, 2016
Last month we introduced the various ship classes that can be found in the StariumXCV universe and talked a little about their combat capabilities. This month, we wanted to discuss the customisation options that players have at their disposal. There are a number of ways that players can add a personal touch to their fleets, including colour and design.
Ships are comprised of a number of design components (different to the strategic modules we talked about last month, those are purely combat while these are solely graphical). These components can be mixed and matched to form a unique design and also coloured however the player wishes.
As a base template, each race has a full ship design which is coloured in greyscale. Every race has a visually distinct design emphasising racial traits. Here you can see a Charian Lancer. The Charains, being very scientifically minded, have ships that reflect this with clinical shapes and a very clean look.
Inarians, on the other hand, are very artistically minded. They detest straight lines of any kind, hence the flowing shapes that this probe embraces.
Each ship is comprised of either 2 or 3 components which are linked together by the player to create their own unique designs.
This is a Charian heavy cruiser fully built.
And here the same ship split apart into component parts.
And here is a Charian Platform for comparison.
You begin with a set number of ship designs (based on the starting race), but you can find more as you play, either unlocking the designs of other races, special components not yet discovered by the Concordium found throughout the galaxy, and even super rare pieces from ultra-powerful entities.
So, why greyscale? It's quite plain and boring? Well, we use the white and greys as they work well as a base colour. Those can then be substituted with colours of the player's choice, creating your own individual colour schemes.
Don't worry though, when you play, your ships will automatically begin coloured according to your heraldry selections, so the galaxy will not be rendered in dull shades of grey! After that, you will have the opportunity to colour them according to your own wishes. Different ships can have their own schemes, so you can have fleets as uniform or freeform as you wish.
The end result is something like this Inarian Probe.
Higher tier vessels can looks absolutely glorious, as with this Inarian Battlecruiser.
Core Council Report : 22nd of October, 2016
StariumXCV is a game all about space, and as such it features a large collection of ships. These range from tiny unmanned probes to gargantuan Battle Stars, many times the size of a planet and boasting a crew of millions (billions?).
These vessels are arranged into loose class categories which denote their role in battle.
Ships designed to explore. They have negligible defences but are extremely cheap.
Launched from larger craft equipped with hangars. Fighters are air superiority craft built to destroy bombers. Bombers meanwhile are armed with weapons capable of inflicting serious damage on larger vessels.
Small combat craft, armed to the teeth with lighter weaponry capable of reducing entire fleets of strike craft to ashes.
The staple of any true combat fleet. Cruisers are all about versatility, balancing survivability with a good range of weaponry choices for any situation.
• Light Cruiser
• Heavy Cruiser
• Battle Cruiser
Vessels with a massive hull, capable of being outfitted with troop transport or strike craft modules - or both.
• Light Carrier
• Heavy Carrier
The kings of stellar warfare, capital ships bring the big guns and are capable of fighting all classes of ship and also the smaller orbitals.
Mass Capital Ships
Massive Capital Ships are massively powerful (and expensive) vessels that could change the balance of power in a region, a single ship being capable of tearing apart hostile fleets.
• Battle Moon
• Battle Star
Defensive and immobile, Orbitals are a means to really stamp an Empire's claim to a region of space. They are far more powerful and much cheaper than any ship of comparable size.
• Base Station
• Battle Station
Of course these are just templates. Players will have a great deal of control over just how their ships function, with the possibility of having multiple ship designs of a single class, each with a different load out for different jobs. We're not quite ready to explain precisely how this works, but essentially each template comes with a range of modules that can be fitted (shields, armour, weapons, missiles, etc), but a limited amount of space to actually utilise. This means a cruiser could be fitted with one really, really big gun for taking down battleships, or a number of smaller weapons for anti-cruiser work or even for fighting strike craft.
These decisions about how to design the ships form a very large part of the strategic gameplay. What do you know about your enemy? Do they favour a particular setup? Is their technology directed at a certain weapon class? If so, how do you counter this? Do you want more shields which recharge between battles, or armour which offers more raw hit points but must be repaired? How is your own technology moving? Are you focusing on missiles for that initial massive barrage? What if this doesn't kill the enemy? Do you have enough close-range weapons mixed in to defeat brawlers?
As you can see ships offer a huge amount of variation for players and this is only their combat power. Their shapes can also be customised, as can their colour scheme. Aliens may drop super rare designs that can really show off how adventurous your empire is... but this is something for another time!
Core Council Report : 22nd of September, 2016
One of the biggest challenges facing a Loremaster is not creating the background stories or building the world, but rather how to introduce the intricacies of a setting to the players. In an RPG, the answer is more obvious: dialogue, characters, ambient surroundings, graphics and quests. For a Sci-Fi strategy title however, the lore is no less important, but infinitely more difficult to bring across. Narrow this down to a massively multiplayer sci-fi strategy game and the task becomes infinitely more challenging.
Thankfully, we are assisted here by an extremely powerful and complex procedural generation engine (more on that in a later update!), but there are elements of our setting which need to be handcrafted in order for players to really engage and care about their circumstances.
These are the elements that are most difficult to introduce to players, but we do have something of a blunt object which serves as a powerful tool to do this - Traveller's Guide to Starium XCV, AKA, the wiki. Obviously this isn't the best solution to our problems - players need to leave the game experience to access it, but it does allow us to put the pertinent information in one easily accessible location where it can educate and be used as reference.
At the moment the Traveller's Guide holds information on the various playable races that can be found in Starium XCV, alongside the short stories and artwork which really bring our universe to life. In time, though, it will include more data on game mechanics and other pertinent knowledge needed to get the most out of Starium.
At the moment, most of the editorial work is controlled by the development team. We want to control precisely what information is released there to the public (and so that we can format things as we need), but in time that will be opened up to the public. I am absolutely sure that is when it will really take off as a knowledge base.
One final note, I am particularly proud of are the "Staff Writers" (thank you to Baldur's Gates' manual for that idea). These are characters from within the Starium universe who can give in-character reflections on the Guide. These are particularly potent as they can really bring you into the world with a more personalised touch on a subject - more so when the writers actively engage each other in a discussion! The slow worms come to mind here... it really adds a touch of personality to the project rather than it being just a dry databank.
You can find the Traveller's Guide to Starium XCV here; http://reference.stariumxcv.com/index.php?title=Main_Page
Core Council Report : 22nd of August, 2016
Hey, there! Red here, your StariumXCV Community Manager. This month, we thought it would be nice to touch on the company, Gwythdarian L.L.C., and the people working to deliver this exciting new sci-fi MMO strategy game. Gwythdarian L.L.C. is an interactive media company specializing in browser-based games. It is owned and operated by Jim Landes and Dr. Tim Trainor. Their goal is to promote the interactive entertainment industry in West Michigan by offering direct opportunities for programmers, artists, and writers. Together they lead a team of talented and creative people who desire to make amazing games for your web browser, beginning with StariumXCV. Over the course of its development, Gwythdarian L.L.C. has brought in 30+ people to add to this awesome offering, and each influence has made it that much greater. To read more on this great company and the driven individuals behind StariumXCV’s development, visit Gwythdarian’s website at: http://www.gwythdarian.com
Core Council Report : 22nd of July, 2016
Hello, everyone! I am Mordred, senior designer and loremaster for StariumXCV, an exciting new sci-fi MMO strategy game by Gwythdarian LLC. In the coming months, you can expect to hear a lot more from us.
As of this post, we're entering "semi-stealth mode". Basically, this means that we will start talking in a little more detail about upcoming features and begin showing off more of the assets that will be in Starium. The idea behind this is that friends and family start getting involved, and we begin to create a community. This is to ensure that there are a group of people following and interested in Starium before we open the flood gates in January, when the marketing machine begins to rumble for real.
So, what is Starium?
Well, in simple terms it is a massively multiplayer strategy game which can be played on virtually any device (anything that can run a browser!), But, really it’s so much more than that. It's; -an original, sci-fi game realm involving 10 unique playable races with rich history -a genesis process that makes up an entire game space through procedural generation -an extensive technology (skill) tree system -where leader skills improve through use, determining their class and which actions are possible -a game with combat alternative strategies - diplomatic, economic, covert.. -a fun, easy-to-use heraldry generator that allows for vast numbers of different possible designs -the ability to play with friends and build up a federation and go about your game space, conquering the many systems you encounter.
This is, of course, just touching the surface of the experience that Starium will offer. We do hope that we have piqued your interest here, so stay tuned for much more in the coming months!