The Odyssey is a turn-based sci-fi tactical game where you play the role of a Fleet Commander in a space conflict. Why turn-based? I felt that there was an over-abundance of real-time games set in space. Turn-based games give you more time to think and can be very addictive, if done well, as X-Com or the Civilization series have shown. Plus, it opens the possibility of asynchronous multiplayer games.
It is 2282 C.E.: Humanity has colonised the nearby planets of the Solar System and established outposts and research stations in the Trans-Neptunian reaches of space. However, more than 15 billion people now live on Terra and tensions between the Old World and the New Worlds are high. An almost depleted Earth is highly dependent on her colonies, although it remains the sole authority in the Solar System.
The Eye of Titan, a space telescope in orbit around Titan, has identified various planets in the habitable zone around nearby yellow main sequence stars: Tau Ceti, Sigma Draconis and Eta Cassiopeia. Three ships using an experimental Anti-Matter drive have been built. Theory and laboratory studies confirm that it will be able to provide enough power to warp the space between the Solar System and the destination. In practice, it has never been tested before. The UTS Winter Solstice, the UTS Dream of Mankind and the UTS Odyssey are en route towards the far reaches of the Oort Cloud where the Anti-Matter drive will be activated. Each ship will escort a small flotilla of ships carrying colonists in cryogenic stasis, deployable factories and biological arks. The voyage is one-way only. You are the commander of the UTS Odyssey and all of mankind’s hopes are with you. Especially after NASA's Chiron program, a generation ship travelling at 0.1 times the speed of light, failed to contact Terra after its 50 years voyage to Alpha Centauri.
The game is set at the very beginning of interstellar exploration. No alien civilizations have been contacted yet, if any do exists after all. Humanity’s only enemy is itself. The Odyssey, your ship, is a space carrier. Close to Pluto, it will rendezvous the UTS Voyager, a colony ship; the UTS Gagarin, a transport ship with the resources to build infrastructure upon landing and the UTS Darwin, a biological vessel containing seeds, embryos, livestock and everything else needed to jumpstart life. Its route is set towards Sigma Draconis. It is expected that the warp field generated by the Odyssey’s drive will envelope the other ships as well.
Preliminary render of the battle grid
Somewhere along the way towards Sigma Draconis, conflict will erupt. One of the key points of the game is that you as commander will not have total control over every single ship in the fleet. Alongside the traditional “Action Points” of turn based games, The Odyssey will build on the concept of “Command Points”. Your character will only be able to influence or advise a limited number of ships in your fleet per turn. The ships you do not choose to advise will act as their own ship captain will decide. Each ship captain will have RPG-like characteristics that will influence its decisions. Bravery, morale, discipline, etc. Each ship will belong to a particular “class” which will define the type of operations it is able to conduct. The Odyssey is a space carrier. It hosts several vessels capable of orbital insertion and interplanetary sublight travel. It is armed but it is something that has been kept hidden to the public. All other ships in the solar system are armed with high precision lasers against space debris, at best. Over the course of the game you will have access to ships capable of boarding and long-range strikes. The general idea is that capital ships do not enjoy the same manoeuvrability of single-pilot vessels. Once in motion, a capital ship will take several turns to “brake”. The game will feature a story-driven campaign, possibly more.
The first screen at the beginning of this post is a preliminary draft of the Campaign Screen. Your fleet will move in-system towards the orbit of Pluto where you will attempt to warp towards Sigma Draconis. In this part of the game, you will control your fleet in a similar way to Mass Effect's own system-level screen. Exploration will be a big part of the game as you will need resources to keep your fleet operational. When all hands will need to man their battlestations, the actual battle will be played on a hexagonal grid.
When will be able to play it? Can I help?
At this point in development it is very early to tell. However I, the developer, have already built a sizeable portion of the game engine. I am at point where the next technical steps to implement will depend on the direction the gameplay will take.
You can help in several ways. First and foremost by following the development of the game. Motivation from the community will be a deciding factor in the success of the game. If you like the idea, if you feel that a turn-based space-themed game is something that you would like to play someday, I would be glad to hear your feedback. More details on the gameplay will emerge as I flesh them out.
Furthermore, if you have art that you would like to contribute such as 2D or 3D art, sounds, music, etc. I would really appreciate it, as it is not one of my main skills. Stay tuned for more updates about the voyage of The Odyssey!