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Double Fine's new space roguelike comes backed by big indies
October 15, 2013 | By Kris Ligman




Double Fine has announced that Spacebase DF-9, a sci-fi roguelike, is heading into alpha release with the help of funding from some big names in the independent game development community.

Initially developed as part of Amnesia Fortnight 2012, Double Fine's annual internal game jam, Spacebase lists among its supporters Humble Bundle, make all LLC, Hemisphere Games, AppAbove Games, Adam Saltsman (Canabalt), The Behemoth (Castle Crashers), Morgan Webb (G4's X-Play) and Rob Reid (Listen.com).

"We are all very appreciative of the food and supplies sent by our generous indie benefactors," said Spacebase project lead J.P. LeBreton in a statement.

Double Fine announced in June that it would be receiving backing from Indie Fund and other professional sources for two then-unannounced projects. Spacebase represents one of these proposed titles. The other has not yet been named.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a larger feature on Spacebase DF-9, including the video presented above.


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Comments


Kujel s
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I've only watched a few minutes of this video but what I see I like so far.

Ramin Shokrizade
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A space roguelike sounds great but this seems like a space sim to me, I'm not seeing anything that looks like a roguelike to me.

Daneel Filimonov
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It's more "rogue-like" in the sense that it's inspired by Dwarf Fortress - amongst other games - wherein these games employ no sort of hand-holding and where anything can go wrong, I suppose.

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Ian Uniacke
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I played Rogue recently. It wasn't very roguelike to be honest.

Mike Higbee
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One of the more annoying traits in game marketing lately is anything with a smidgen of procedural generation is instantly marketed as a roguelike.
If only more people would refer to the Berlin Interpretation
http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=Berlin
_Interpretation

Reuben Smith
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Maybe I'm myopic and it's just the parts of the community that I've interacted with, but most people I speak with agree with you. The interface and usability is terrible. I'd be extremely happy with even an interface akin to Gnomoria, which I don't consider to be a super interface either.

That being said, I've yet to find anything else on the market that competes with it in terms of simulation depth, so I'm willing to struggle through it because I have no other options to scratch this itch. Gnomoria feels very shallow by comparison and most of the others I've tried are at the "That's neat." stage but will require quite a bit more effort before they catch my eye.

I'm hoping this succeeds, because I would love to have other options in this ...genre, I suppose?

Matt Rix
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No offence, but I honestly don't think you have much of a clue about Dwarf Fortress.

Dwarf Fortress is an early *alpha*. Version 1.0 is years away (the creator has said it is 20 years away). To complain about the UI or the difficulty at this early stage is just silly. The focus up to this point has been entirely on getting the game's underlying systems to work, and very little effort has been put into the UI or usability because the game is years and years from being feature complete.

To reiterate: what would be the point in creating a nice UI or tutorials for a game where vast amounts of the game are currently missing or are going to completely change before it is released?

Mike Weldon
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I first played it in 2007. My math says that was 6 years ago. You need to accept that this is a game that will never get the UI overhaul that it deserves.

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Michael Joseph
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDOu9RdeH2M

Whether it is or is not, Space Station 13 is often referred to as a roguelike. Spacebase DF-9 seems to want to conjure up memories of that game as well as Dwarf Fortress and Deep Space 9. Double Fine is showing again that marketing is a core competency of theirs. Hopefully it doesn't prove to be THE core competency. I'm sure they will release some of their kickstarted projects eventually, but how good will they be and how polished?

Kris Graft
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You almost make it sound like we should be wary of Double Fine because they're competent at marketing. The marketing competence is just a very nice (and deliberate) side-effect of the way Double Fine is including players early on in a game's development. More so than before, the process of creation is driving the marketing, not the other way around. When a developer does it this way, it holds itself accountable to its fans in a very public forum...anyhow, they've found a clear voice for speaking to their fans, and that's a good thing. I think they can pull it off!

nicholas ralabate
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I just learned about Space Station 13 last week then promptly forgot about it -- thanks for reminding me!

Michael Joseph
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I guess from what I see of Double Fine's speedy 7 month alpha of "Spacebase DF-9" it looks much less like a game built inside of a simulated ecosystem which is what we sometimes think of when we hear the term "roguelike" or titles such as Dwarf Fortress or Space Station 13 and looks more like a management game.

In a proper roguelike, the player exists in an ecosystem that they can learn about, perhaps master certain domains of it, but never entirely dominate. In "4D Management" games the player must Discover\Decipher the depth of the rules in order to uncover optimal strategies, Develop new units and or functionality, and then Direct those units towards the goal of Dominating the entire system. (I just made up these 4D terms and am not entirely happy with them.)

So it seems to to be the difference between a systems management simulation like Dungeon Keeper and Prison Architect versus an exploration and adventure game built inside of a simulated ecosystem like Dwarf Fortress and Space Station 13.

And typically the 4D Manager is a much simpler, more traditional (i.e. is a "true game") narrowly defined type of game compared to the Roguelike.

So what am I trying to say wrt being wary of Double Fine? Well.. this game it seems to me is not nearly as ambitious as we're being lead to believe. And if that's true, it would raise some red flags in my mind. For example, I might question if perhaps they are a bit more market driven than they are driven by a passion to see certain ambitious 2D games they love as gamers being remade in glorious 3D.

And I don't think that's an unfair thing to question if they are marketing themselves as being something they are not.

http://gamasutra.com/blogs/BorutPfeifer/20130813/198190/Building_
Simulations_Part_1.php

Stephen Chin
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"The player exists in an ecosystem that they can learn about, perhaps master certain domains of it, but never entirely dominate."

That's probably one of the most elegant descriptions of a roguelike and related genres, I've ever read.

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Mike Higbee
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I don't think you understand the scope of Dwarf Fortress nor what makes it such a running success.

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Matt Rix
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I replied with same response above but I might as well reply down here as well because you basically wrote the same thing a bunch of times too ;)

____

No offence, but I honestly don't think you have much of a clue about Dwarf Fortress.

Dwarf Fortress is an early *alpha*. Version 1.0 is years away (the creator has said it is 20 years away). To complain about the UI or the difficulty at this early stage is just silly. The focus up to this point has been entirely on getting the game's underlying systems to work, and very little effort has been put into the UI or usability because the game is years and years from being feature complete.

To reiterate: what would be the point in creating a nice UI or tutorials for a game where vast amounts of the game are currently missing or are going to completely change before it is released?

Mike Higbee
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@Ronny Germany
I play it plenty have for a good solid 5 years or so since I first came across it, have you ever touched it? Hell I'm even a fan of Toady's earlier efforts like Liberal Crime Squad.

"You will have to excuse me if I am disappointed that a developer could have inspired an entire genre of future games, and decided to make the game a massive failure."

What? For starters it's still an alpha, completely free and the creator eats and lives off donations and his occupation is purely working on his dream project and has a plan for it for the next couple decades. If you consider that a failure, then what are you doing on a site aimed for game developers?

The UI doesn't need to be touched simply because features are still being added, and it's functional for the stage the game is in.
Is there a bit of a learning curve? Sure, and beyond that curve is why you have people who praise and continue to play it, they can look past programmer assets and menus while a project is in development.

Funny you should mention Minecraft since Minecraft originally wanted to be a 3d Dwarf Fortress, yet ended up far from the mark.
Also your press analogy is exactly how the hype about Minecraft started, it snowballed from there or weren't you around during the indev and early alpha days of that?

No tutorial? There is an entire wiki and tons of tutorial videos out there with a simple google of "Dwarf Fortress tutorial".

What sense does it make to polish UI and add in a tutorial that would have to be changed with all the changes planned in the dev cycle so early on?
It would be an utter headache and waste of time with the various revisions Toady has planned and tweaks he may not.
You seem to be looking at it from a game in its final stages of developments and focusing on late stage elements.
Your picturing polishing the statue when there is a very rudimentary chiseled hunk of stone at this stage.

You seem to be very confused as to what an alpha is and the state of the game and it's goals, which makes me wonder, are you involved in development at all, or once again have you actually sat down and played it yourself?

The games actual quality can't be matched even in the state the alpha is simply because the clones and inspired games have barely scratched the surface of the depth and complexity of it, let alone the lore and history generation of the world.

Just taking a look at the Bay 12 Games Forum as far as players, close to 50,000 users and 300+ on at 4:30 am EST for me. I'd call that a pretty large base of people who have played it and just registered to the forums.

Scott Lavigne
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I don't understand why you're about half of the comments on this article, all of them discussing Dwarf Fortress. This article isn't about Dwarf Fortress. Write a blog.

Amir Barak
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But guys he said it's a fact! so it must be true... I mean, yeah, he has no idea what he's talking about and has derailed the entire discussion about Double Fine's game into his own distaste for Dwarf Fortress (Mr. Germany, maybe you want to show us on this teddy bear where the bad game touched you? obviously wasn't your heart). But IT'S A FACT, on the Internet, a FACT! that's just like, one letter away from FAT so clearly NTFS is superior to Dwarf Fortress as well.

Carter Gabriel
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It is interesting that the user's comments were removed, making this a one sided debate. However, if he insulted dwarf fortress i can see how that would make him into the enemy.

Honestly, you don't mess with Dwarf Fortress fans. They're fanatics about their game, lol. I mean, they still believe it's "in alpha" for the next decade. I would not want to mess with you guys like this person did, lol.

Dwarf Fortress is okay, but I hope Double Fine does something...uh...different. I didn't say better! Just "different"! Don't eat me! lol

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Scott Lavigne
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With every comment you post, your profile picture seems more and more appropriate. You tell someone to calm down when responding to your off-topic criticisms of a game that you assert as fact rather than opinion. How much more absurd can you get?

Hell, I even agree that Dwarf Fortress is a much, much better idea than it is a game and don't particularly enjoy playing it myself, but I can't relate to hating it so much that you feel the need to post seven comments about how terrible Dwarf Fortress is in an article not about Dwarf Fortress. Even if you're being genuine and not trying to instigate blind argument, you're preaching in the wrong place.

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Zach Lyle
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What on earth is wrong with you? So you don't like Dwarf Fortress and think it's overrated. Fine. Don't outright insult the developer and the game's fans because you think your ideas could make Dwarf Fortress better.

And don't try to take the high road and tell other people to "calm down" when your vitriolic posts incited the argument in the first place.

Jennis Kartens
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Played the Alpha yesterday.... pretty boring and, well, just unfinished.

No idea where "Dwarf Fortress" comes into all of this, but it just feels like any building simulation, just not polished or finished. The style is not quite my favorite either.

I'd rather stick to more original games which are a bit more advanced right now, like Prison Architect.

Also Double Fine is heavy overrated studio. Despite their great humor, their games often come with heavy usability/gameplay failures which is completely ignored by 99% of the interwebs. Why is this story even on Gamasutra? It's just another Kickstarter project and all in all, this is the ordinary games advertisement you'd rather expect from any ordinary gaming site.

Amir Barak
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I think RimWorld seems to be the more interesting game of the two to be honest.


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