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[KICKSTARTING] Exoplanet: First Contact

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Name: Exoplanet: First Contact
Genre: Action / RPG / Survival
Mode: Single player
Status: Alpha build #14 / WIP Steam Early Access
Distribution: Steam / preorder
Website: Alersteam / Exoplanet: First Contact
Engine: Sahara Engine (Custom Built)
Graphics API: OpenGL + GLSL


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Exoplanet: First Contact is a single-player, story driven action-RPG set in a space western universe, where real and fictional technologies meet the cruel and unforgiving, yet romantic reality of the Wild West exploration and development. You are playing as Jack Sharp, a daring adventurer, stranded against his will on a dangerous, wild planet known as K'Tharsis. The former mining outpost where he’s taken up residence is now gradually becoming a “ghost colony” as the Antigravium Crystal Rush is over and the inhabitants of this desert world struggle for survival.


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In our game we transpose the outstanding archetypes of the western genre characters and the ever-existing problems of the human race to the steadily moving Space Frontier, to a resource colony situated far from the beaten paths on the wild, untamed planet K’tharsis. Torn apart by conflict between the mining corporations and the free prospectors, the colonists, and natives, this is a place where actions speak louder than words, a place that contains eminent danger for our protagonist, who has never before set foot on these hot sands.

Despite the fact, that you can ride a hoverbike and have cybernetic augmentations, you still need to keep your trustworthy revolver well cleared and greased, just in case you want to leave the town’s walls. The local humans often see kindness as a weakness and aborigines won't be impressed by bubble gum and glass beads.

The Western genre has not only granted us a healthy dose of good old “shoot ‘em up” moments but also a rich set of charismatic characters to meet. Many of them are the spiritual successors of cult personalities from Western movies who always have a strong and understandable motives, as well as a few skeletons in the closet.

On K’Tharsis, the vast desert in-between the so-called fires of civilization is ruled by violence. Various outcasts, desert raiders, runaway slaves and even the original natives are always thirsty for the blood of other inhabitants of this cursed planet. They fight the “normal” people and aliens, who seek safety behind the walls of free settlements and last corporative enclaves. These are the years of decay for human colonial regime on K'Tharsis. A single man in the wrong place, at the wrong time becomes the smallest stone that triggers an avalanche of events. The only thing guaranteed is that not every inhabitant of the planet will survive.

We also decided to invent a “new gold”, a precious mineral which is driving the colonists mad, spilling some fresh oil onto the flames of the eternal conflict in human civilization. This “new gold” is called Antigravium, and it became a symbol and the fuel that feeds the ambitions of the daring colonists, who, like their ancestors, are mesmerized by the visions of enormous wealth to be found literally under their feet on those wild Frontier planets. Unable to resist the call of this new Gold Rush, they ventured to the wilderness to spend their life in an unrelenting environment in hopes of laying foundations for the generations to come — or to die in vain.

The “Antigravium Crystal Rush” broke out on K’Tharsis decades ago, but the local powers that be are still fighting for control over the remaining deposits of this treasured mineral. Wandering in this strange world full of opportunities and deadly traps, you must act carefully, always watching your back and keeping an eye on your numerous enemies, trusting only a select few friends.



Exoplanet: First Contact is a balanced mix of RPG and action game mechanics. The RPG aspect signifies a thoughtful and nonlinear approach to plot development where the player can choose how the story unfolds while facing the consequences of his deeds.

The action mostly revolves around old fashioned gun-slinging, spiced with futuristic weaponry. The player can snipe at long range, use an assault rifle-like weapon for mid-range, and a variety of shotguns for close encounters, as well as getting up close and personal with melee weapons. You can focus on mastering a certain weapon category or rise as a jack-of-all-trades making use of different weapons and combat skill synergy. A skilled shooter can also make use of his environment, activating devices and destroying objects to maximize the damage to groups of enemies.

Talking to NPCs and listening to their ambient dialogs will not only help you solve quests but also enlighten you to Exoplanet’s rich lore and provide additional information about the remarkable characters you will meet. They always have a background, their own story to tell, their motives and problems, fears and quirks. Learning all this will allow you to influence the NPC’s or get access to the locations of secret stashes and hideouts, or even warn you of upcoming assassination attempts. We give everyone a couple of fun barks and tips for your hero as well as reaction lines leading to the events you have probably got yourself involved in.

Our crafting system opens up options for a patient player who has spent time gathering resources and blueprints which allow you to learn how to:

• mine Antigravium;
• salvage scrap from old items;
• build electric fences, portable turrets, camping assets, mining equipment and more;
• augment old weapons and armor with new features, or craft entirely new ones;
• forge amulets and rings to please your taste and boost your stats;
• create unique items with excusive properties or simply mass-produce trinkets to barter with the locals.

And when you’re finished preparing, it’s time for some good old bounty hunting, killing monsters, robbing farmers and doing anything else you need to do to strike it rich.

Exoplanet will also introduce innovative elements of survival that are limited (and optional) to give the player a more immersive experience of traversing a wild alien world and facing its hostile environments. If you choose to turn these options on, the hero will be affected by realistic needs like sleep, food and water. The lack of them will add negative effects to his physical and mental condition. So eat up those juicy hornhog steaks and crusty bitebugs-on-a-stick which you can cook at a campfire, and make sure that you gather some healing plants and keep your water canteen full: a well fed and rested hero is worth a dozen hungry and dozy bandits.

In a good RPG, the growth of your character must always visibly affect the gameplay and that is why our role-play system is based on the idea of perks you can unlock and upgrade at every level. Perks are the game-changers. They allow you to interact with the world in a new and fascinating way as the foundation for creating your gameplay style, whether it’s focused more on direct combat approach, stealth, social or crafting activities. We are doing our best to design all the perks to be viable for many “builds” of the characters you will play.



Jack might be not always act as a paragon of virtue, but we don’t just love western characters for their positive traits. Mister Sharp is not one of these clichéd Chosen Ones, destined to save the world with his band of mismatched henchmen and become the head of a secret service or powerful organization in the process. He is a smart-ass, charismatic scoundrel, whose selfishness often backfires on him, but he never stops looking for a big catch. Fortunately, Jack is bright enough and knows how to hold a gun. This fact, coupled with his natural wits and luck have saved him from any dire consequences of his precarious and impulsive choices, so far.

Mister Sharp often calls himself an independent merchant, but his real field of activities was stretch widely from smuggling to salvaging battle wreckage and even good old piracy.

Despite the fact that Jack does his best to create an image of a cold-blooded killer, who blasts heads like pumpkins while maintaining a perfect poker face, his few close friends know him as quite a sentimental gentleman with critical weakness for pretty women.

This guy could be called a real charming anti-hero, because creating him we took inspiration from Han Solo (Star Wars Universe) and Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly TV-series) adding some western grit from Clint Eastwood’s western movies characters, so don’t be surprised hearing our Jack delivering those punchy one-liners from time to time.  After all, Exoplanet: First Contact is a western!

In videogames, the best way to tell something is to show it, so the logically correct and well-thought actions our protagonist can perform and his realistic decisions are what will define a credible, mature and highly motivated central character for our story.

The mysterious planet K’Tharsis gives many desperate people a second chance, but only one. Will our charismatic hero find something here more valuable than just money and vengeance? Perhaps he will discover true friendship or even love? A new purpose for his life? Or will he become a selfish, power-hungry killer or a virtuous lawman? A cold-blooded corporate mercenary or a legendary savior of the enslaved aborigines? It is up to you to decide!



The world of Exoplanet will tell you its story trough the level-design and scripted events you will encounter, but not in the way of a railroad show we often can expect from a modern RPG-like games. One of the primary goals of our team, one of the pillars of our design philosophy is to make the exploration of Exoplanet's world an enjoyable and rewarding process.

Our game’s world consists of large separate locations that could be called levels, which are connected via loading screens. Each location is completely free to explore, and it usually contains one unique biome or landscape type, several quest hubs, as well as secret areas and points of interest. A good example of a similar design would be Dragon Age: Origins or Borderlands 2. However, levels in Exoplanet: First Contact have a much more complex terrain, with many levels which contain more paths, shortcuts, and hidden areas.

There will be no loading screens when entering houses and caves in each level, and only the natural objects will stand as impenetrable borders for the player’s movement. No invisible walls or scripted closed doors will hinder your freedom, but you must always consider that strong enemies, environmental hazards, or even your reputation with certain factions will affect the chances of your survival in certain areas. Explore wisely, study your environment, and improve your equipment. Take a step off the beaten path, if you dare.




Overall, this approach allows us to create each location with its own unique assets and landscape, lighting scheme and effects with more details than any open world engine can process.

Our locations will change as you make important decisions in quests, sometimes opening new paths, building new obstacles or completely changing the rules of navigation and combat, even resetting dangers and traps you must be aware of.

The world reacts to your actions: you can revisit levels at will to see the fruits of your deeds and to obtain extra profit from new side quests and encounters. Who knows, maybe your arrival will be celebrated as a homecoming of the great hero. Or, perhaps there will be a price on your head and packs of hungry bounty hunters on your heels as soon as you show up in already explored areas.

Solving problems one way or another, case by case, you will shift the balance of the global situation in the game’s world towards critical states, where the events will unfold on their own. Your actions can wipe entire towns and locations from the map, or change their inhabitants and their attitude towards you.

The living and breathing world of Exoplanet: FC does not revolve around your hero and his decisions alone, but you can affect its state on a larger scale than you would sometimes expect. Through the reactivity of the world, we create high replayability and your first playthrough will not be like the second or even the third if you want to discover all possible options, find the optimal way to get the best reward, or keep your conscience clean.



Before Mister Sharp landed on the K’Tharsis, he was a proud owner of a hunk-a-junk private spaceship, the small freighter that he loved more than his life. His spaceship was both his home and the manifestation of freedom to Jack. In the prologue of our story this most precious thing was taken from him by force. Delivering suspicious "geologists" with military implants (ha!) and their equipment to a smugglers landing on the remote planet was quite risky, but the call of "easy money" could not be easily resisted in Jack's financial situation. Once he had fulfilled his part of the deal, the treacherous employer shot Jack in the back and dumped him from the ramp of his "Crystal Betty" like a sack of trash. Now Jack is stranded on K'Tharsis and wants “his flying baby” back. Bullets will be shot, teeth cracked and God knows what will happen, because Jack has become angrier and greedier than ever.

A man with a mission and a strong backbone for taking back what was his - will it suffice to survive on the planet that has already consumed generations of such adventurers? See it for yourself. Our main quest line will tell you stories of ambition, greed, treachery and heroic deeds, accomplished by a rugged antihero, whose only true desire is to get his freedom back.

Our team hates to see the mindless filler, fetch/kill side quests just as a source of  experience points or being used to prolong the length of the game. In Exoplanet: First Contact, both the main plotline and each optional quest will have a certain degree of freedom in their completion and provide a meaningful choice for the player, such as an opportunity to look for the most profitable way or a solution that suits your moral principles. Each choice will have logical consequences, sometimes easily predictable, sometimes not.

Here are just a few examples of the world’s reaction to decision made by the player:

• Spared some change for a penniless miner? Well, you just might have helped him to save for a rusty gun, which he will wisely test on you several days later, since you obviously just demonstrated that you have some cash. Maybe instead of just throwing money at the problem you should have used your connections to help this desperate guy get a new job as a prospector?

• Organized aborigine slaves uprising? Who can be certain, that without shackles and telemetric collars they won’t go on a bloody carnage against simple townsfolk who had nothing to do with their former cruel masters but just happen to be not so well protected as the members of the infamous Terraform Corporation?

• Found a strange artifact containing memories of a millennia old alien creature? Eager to activate it? You can get a unique perk from it or be cursed by ancient spirit resting within. Take your chances or just trade this dangerous trinket with someone else who can make better use of it. How about to play smart and to find an expert who can identify the thing’s properties and origin first, so it can lead you to a better offer from a rich collector and start a whole chain of xeno-archeological quests. The choice is yours. The coming troubles are yours as well to endure.

You can be a ruthless war chief or a diplomat, an éminence grise, creating alliances between the factions, dragging them into bloody conflicts causing massive casualties or eradicate them completely. You can become a peacemaker too, but this path can prove to be even more painful and tricky.



The standard development cycle for an RPG of the Exoplanet's scale lasts about 2-3 years minimum and our team doesn't want to make our backers and other supporters to have to wait that long for us to release something barely playable at the alpha and beta stage to ruin the initial gameplay experience for them.

Accounting for the fact that we already have the core gameplay mechanics up and running and have completed large amounts of pre-production, we decided to work with smaller iterations and came up with a concept of the Chapters.

Exoplanet: First Contact will be released in Chapters. Every Chapter contains a significant narrative sequence with clear goals, critical decisions and their visible results. Each Chapter delivers more hours of gameplay and quests than any standard episode of modern games, for example in one of the Tell Tale studio series. One Exoplanet’s Chapter will contain approximately ten hours of core gameplay, not counting the side-quests. To summarize: a Chapter is not an episode in a TV series; it is more like a part of a book.

This model allows us to release the results of our work much sooner and to receive direct feedback from our audience so we can improve the next Chapter's content, as well as update the previously released Chapters with new technology and additional features that will encourage the players to take alternative paths in their playthroughs and explore the world more thoroughly.





Exoplanet: First Contact is powered by our proprietary game technology called the Sahara Engine. The primary reason for developing and using this engine and self-developed toolset and utilities is our strong determination to create technology in order to support and benefit certain features of the game. We want to be free from the limitations and excessive functionality of the well known engine packages and companies who engineer them, keeping the mainstream and console market in their mind.

The second advantage of having our engine and tools is the ability to provide the most active and creative part of our community with all means for modding. You want to improve your Exoplanet: First Contact experience? Mod it! You want to create entirely new adventures and add some new features, maybe even make a total conversion or create your spinoff? Do it with our modkit, which is planned to be released with the final chapter of the game!

Last but not least comes the question of the performance and our targeted platforms. Our team always places more value on the living breathing world and immersive gameplay than on the sheer power of the engine, larger levels, polycount in scenes and fancy post-effects the modern developers are so fond of. So we decided to base our Sahara Engineon on the OpenGL API in order to make the game look as neat as possible, while being accessible to all players with all kinds of PCs. Using OpenGL allows us to port the game to MacOS, SteamOS and Linux in the future. However, the order and the terms of the development for each platform depends on how the gamers support us with these goals.




All members of our international team are professional developers and modders from Russia, Ukraine, Germany, and Great Britain with a high motivation for creating a great game. Being gamers with lifelong experience, we learn from the best, we study the games we had the most fun with, and we’re trying to recreate and enhance this experience in Exoplanet: First Contact. We consider ourselves a part of the community, and developing Exoplanet has become more than a hobby, it’s a way of life for us. Our team (team is the key word here) is not a typical company, but a collective of like-minded individuals who aren't satisfied with the course modern AAA titles are taking in the RPG genre and instead we are challenging mediocrity to make a game designed with brilliance in mind.




As passionate gamers ourselves, we are greatly inspired by games, movies, and fictional worlds that changed our vision of the RPG-experience. We decided to mix the best of TESIII: Morrowind, Gothic, Fallout, the Firefly TV-series, and Dune universe together – these are the main ingredients that define the setting and the gameplay or rather the “feeling” of the game we are making. However, nostalgia alone is not a good foundation for a new universe. That is why we season Exoplanet: First Contact with some modern technology and our hard-core game design.

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Edited by asbijou

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Looks nice, keep it up!


Looking really good so far.


Thank you.


Would love to see recoil animations in a future build.


At the moment we have no animator in the team, that is why all existing animation was made by a programmer. But we are definitely going to change it.

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Hello there!


Two more screenshots from alpha. These screenshots are old but I still believe they are beautiful, isn't it?





Edited by asbijou

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Nomads – another reason to fear for your life


People of Brennigan’s Landing who value their lives leave the city walls only when it is absolutely necessary and, of course, always armed. The reason for this precaution is not only wild animals, but also the Nomads.

Their culture was formed more than five hundred years ago. These freedom-loving inhabitants of the desert were among those who arrived to K’Tharsis during “the rush”, attracted by rumors of inexhaustible veins of antigravium, hoping to snatch a big jackpot. But, as often happens during the development of wild planets, Fortune favoured only the few luckyones, and other settlers became wage workers for the newly emerged magnates. Those, in their turn, could not survive the competition with organized machine of resource extraction corporations devouring human and natural resources at a frightening speed.

In pursuit of production increase at corporate mines high standards were introduced that were back-breaking for most of the workers. It led to the creation of a system of fines that allowed local authorities to save huge amounts of money. The situation was also aggravated by the fact that the production of antigravium was the only possible legal source of income on the planet where there was nothing but unbridled human greed. People worked till exhaustion in the musty mines, seeking to fulfill the standard or at least not to be deprived oflow-quality mining ration. Nightmarish conditions led to the workers’ daseases and outbreaks of epidemy. Since corporations were not too concerned about providing the miners with protective means, on average, after five standard years antigravium dust turned miners’ lungs into a bleeding sieve. Return ticket from K’Tharsis cost more than a dozen of poor fellows could earn in their short miner career. The living were replacing the dead, because those seeking for easy money were numerous and the machine was still working, benefiting some people and bringing pain and death to others.

Years were passing and the workers turned into slaves. Unable to perform an ever-increasing rate, destitute and hardly preserving human dignity, they worked for food and the ghostly opportunity to see tomorrow. There were the malcontents. A rebellion flushed — spontaneous and poorly organized, but it was brutally suppressed by the combined forces of corporations. They responded with demonstrative executions. Nevertheless, some slaves managed to escape, but they found their death in the desert or were captured by troops of mercenaries, designed to enhance the security of corporations. In addition, corporations began to implant GPS-trackers and «loyalty chips» in miners’ bodies, which affected nerve-endings at command from the control panel of any guard or manager. Going beyond the perimeter of the mine meant death — security had an order to shoot to kill every slave trying to escape.

But even these measures were no longer able to ensure former obedience. Number of rebellions began to grow. And one day, slaves working at one of the deepest mines — M39, nicknamed «Devil’s Throat» — killed the guards and got their weapons and then disappeared in the desert, having cut GPS-chips from their bodies. They were hiding from death squads and sleuths-drones in numerous caves and canyons, having only one goal — to survive. After they got used to the desert and learned to hide from the scorching sun in the oases, they began to attack the distant mines, taking other slaves and setting them free. Corporations attempted to repel those recurring raids but failed: former slaves became elusive ghosts. Their growing numbers allowed them to separate in several groups and strike in different places, confusing their former masters. Corporate machine became defensive, increasing the protection at their mines, that sobered former workers after a series of failed attacks and huge losses. They left the walled enclaves alone and went into the desert.


Subsequently separated squads became tribes and established their own laws and rules of conduct, created their folklore and even religion. Now they are in relative peace with each other and sometimes even unite for the sake of plundering raids and abduction of women, because former slaves were mostly male.

The largest tribes of nomads are Scarab Riders and Bones Collectors. The first one has a reputation of skillful tamers of animals. In most cases, they are friendly to strangers, unless, of course, they consider them to be an easy prey. It’s known that Scarab Riders even accepted a stranger to the tribe, the stranger who proved to be extremely useful. A wise traveler brings gifts and can count on a very profitable barter with Scarab Riders, holding a shotgun visible.

The complete opposite of Scarab Riders are Bones Collectors — brutal cannibals. It is hard to find survivors after meeting with them, but ruined settlements with marks of terrible massacre and typical bone totems provide a more comprehensive picture of their morals. According to rumors, they wear cloaks of human skin and create jewelry from the bones of their enemies. «If you meet Bones Collectors, leave the last bullet for yourself!» — succinctly says local proverb.

Number of people on K’Tharsis believe that nomads are uneducated savages, but this proposition is not true even for the most backward and cruel tribes. To feel at ease in endless sands, the nomad must be secretive and mobile, know the terrain better than their more advanced enemies and use natural resources to deal with them. In addition, many of them are naturalists, healers, thinkers and even singers and poets, preserving the heritage of the tribe in the detailed stories and songs.

Nomads’ clothes and equipment naturally combine high-tech gadgets and primitive materials, sometimes handicraft produced, and fabrics, animal skins and other valuable trophies. They are often wrapped in a thermal insulating overalls, with face protection from sand and wind. They prefer short shotguns and rifles with sniper scope, and always carry one or more of long knives, which they are able to throw with amazing accuracy. Nomads hardly use a heavy armor, trying to abandon all the excess that would prevent them from moving freely. Nevertheless, it is used in some tribes as a ceremonial vestment of ?arkhan — caravan-khan, a tribal chief.



Follow us

You can find more at social media. Also check out Steam Greenlight and YouTube channel for gameplay videos.


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Steel giants — Terraform's heritage


Wandering K’Tharsis a traveller could find a number of a traces of that incredible scope which had the process of initial colonization of the planet. Huge constructions and ingenious mechanisms created and abandoned by people are now slowly decaying monuments of excessive ambitions of the human race.

When reserves of antigravium were discovered on K’Tharsis, corporations turned their greedy eyes and decided to settle here permanently. The largest one — Terraform — created a programm named «Vita Nova», whose main aim was to turn this desert planet into a blooming paradise. One of the most important roles was played by atmospheric stations built by the corporation. It was a huge air-conditioners that used to reduce air temperature and to increase its humidity and also to change a composition of air for more familiar for humans. Around them was created workers settlements for service staff which wasn’t just watch the stations efficiency but planted around the base a samples of the most unpretentious and genetically modified plants from Terra.

However, when it became clear that readly available reserves of antigravium on the planet become poor fast enough, founding of the project was frozen. The corporation doesn’t want to waste its own resources for dismantling of the buildings: they took away the most valuable things — cold synthesis reactors and atmosphere converters made from rare-earth metals. The locals got the rest. They occupy abandoned workers settlements and pilfer the stations for the parts.

After about 300 years of vandalism made the most of this giant structurs unfit. And when one of the station placed on a slopes of Great Scar collapsed and buried under its ruins about 200 inhabitants of Outpost 23 many settlements become empty. Nowadays abandoned houses of little towns placed in the shadows of the giants are often become temporary havens for bandits or different kinds of strollers. According to the locals the towers setlling only insanes, idiots or insane idiots.

One of these towers surprisingly enough well-preserved stands next to Outpost 74. Residents says that there lives a hermit-inventor (obviously, equally brilliant and insane). He turned this place to his lab. Inhabitants of the Outpost are not very happy about this neighbor who terrorizing the entire town with his extravagant expirements. He used to change gravity in a several miles radius, created a strong earthquake and electromagnetic pulses spoiling any electronics and once he raised a real shower of small lightning balls that burn everything on its way. It is miracle that the population of the town were able to avoid of mass casualties and annihilating fire. However the most of the residents had condone when the hermit fixed a wind turbines eleminated power outages. Less pliant others cooled its ardor when the scientist repaired turret defence system and turned the lab into a fortress. Now the locals do not dare to approach to the tower closer than a hundred paces and the insane genius could easily prepare new experiments which undoubtedly will present people with new surprises.



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