Minecraft creator Markus ‘Notch’ Persson has released the above early test footage of his in-production space sim 0x10c and detailed some more of the concepts behind the game.
Notch named the game back in April, revealing that it would revolve around a fully programmable 16-bit computer, powered by a fixed-wattage generator, that controls your spaceship. Using different devices will place varying drains on the available power – the example given at the time being a cloaking device, which would require the shops lights to be dimmed and non-essential systems shut down in order to use.
“The goal is to have it feel a bit like Firefly,” Notch tells PC Gamer. “You can try to land on a planet but you mess up and, instead of having the ship just explode like it would in real life, the landing gear gets broken. Then you have to try to fix that by finding resources. Instead of the adventure being flying from here to here, it’s: I set the destination, oh god I hit a small asteroid and the cloaking device broke. I think they really nailed that kind of emergent aspect in FTL.”
It’s a tantalising proposal, and one that will be brought more fully to life by the fact that you control a character on board the ship, able to move around its interior and experience all those sci-fi television moments in firstperson, rather than tethered to the back of a ship as an impersonal floating camera.
“I’d really like for stuff to go wrong, but I think we’ve managed to establish a philosophy where things can go wrong and we’re not going to judge too much,” adds Tobias Möllstam, one of the devs working with Persson on the game. “Like you run something at 120 per cent and it catches fire, but you just about make it. It’s kind of cheesy but I like it. Having a programmable and customisable ship means that there’s a lot more investment, and the game should reflect that and allow you to have it for a long time.”
Unsurprisingly at this early stage, 0x10c has no multiplayer component, but it’s on the to-do list. Adding multiplayer to Minecraft came too late in that game’s development, Persson explains, so it will be an earlier consideration this time around in an effort to smooth the integration. But right now, “nothing in the game is fun,” so co-op space disasters will have to wait a little longer.
The basics are coming together, though, and there’s a surprisingly complex physics model underpinning the whole thing.
“The idea is if the gravity generator crashes and you accelerate, you kind of get pushed backwards,” explains Persson. “If you get hit by something, everything can go ‘Bonk!’ You have wires, you have attachment parts that kind of hang down, so you can see [the effects of gravity and inertia] in how the wires hang. That’s one thing I don’t like about space games: they focus on the ship instead of the people in the ship. I want this to feel a bit like Alien, where the ship has this personality.”