‘Space Nation Online’ hopes to change what you think of this tech in gaming


‘Space Nation Online’ is a large-scale science fiction transmedia project that tracks humanity into the far future. Currently in beta, it will be released this summer on PC and mobile devices. — Image by DC Studio on Freepik

Mention blockchain and NFTs and it can scare people off. They don’t have the best reputation among gamers, but Space Nation Online is trying to change that.

The upcoming MMORPG has a fascinating pedigree. It’s co-founded by a group highlighted by Blizzard’s Jerome Wu, game industry veteran Tony Tang, Hollywood producer Marco Weber and director Roland Emmerich.

Together, they’re creating an ambitious transmedia sci-fi project that follows humanity in the distant future. Earth has been destroyed. Humans fled to the Telikos Cluster and many have gone under hibernation, until they’re woken up by the Parousians, a descendant of their race, according to the Space Nation Online.

A space opera and high-quality game

Players and the survivors will wade into a war with high stakes as all sentient life is in peril. Co-founder Jerome Wu said that though the project is built on promising technology, it doesn’t mean much without good gameplay, so he said his team’s goal is to “make a high-quality game” and one of the bigger pieces to that experience is the onboarding process.

He called it one of the keys with a complex game like this. From what he showed off, players start off with a ship and they fly around engaging in dog fights. To make it easier for players, they restricted some of the movement to keep players more focused on the action rather than doing fancy manoeuvres that could make them lose their sense of orientation.

From the sound of it, it sounds more like Star Fox-type experience rather than an Ace Combat. He said that was done to make Space Nation Online more playable to a wide range of people. It even incorporates aim assist for those who aren’t as skilled at targeting foes.

Three types of ships

Initially, the game features three types of ships: battleships, mining ships and exploration vessels. They're built for different types of gameplay.

The first is meant for attacking enemies while the second is designed to gather materials to sell on the market to other people. The third is built for exploring the unknown. They all cater to different play styles.

“It’s a little bit of Eve but more of World Of Warcraft with ships,” Wu said. “What we are trying to do is World Of Warcraft meets Guardians Of The Galaxy.”

When it comes to the social aspect of Space Nation Online, Wu said there will be guilds, and the most powerful ones will be able to build some of the larger motherships in the game. He showed off the different tiers of spacecrafts from Tier 0, which looks like a standard fighter-jet-type vehicle to larger ones that get enormous in scale. A guild can construct a Tier 5 or Tier 6 vessel, which basically looks like an invasion ship from Independence Day. They span 10 kilometres.

Again what separates Space Nation Online from other titles is the way the developers plan on monetising two things: ships and crews. Wu says his team has 85 ships designed so far. To get them, players must acquire the necessary resources and build them.

Once the ship is made, players own it because of the blockchain technology. He said it’s an NFT and can be traded. Ideally, players will be trading ships to each other. The same can be said for the player’s crew.

From the way Wu describes it, a player’s crew has traits and they can even be sent on quests to bring back resources and prizes that players need. All of this is designed to create a player-driven economy using NFTs.

Additionally, because Space Nation Online is touted as a transmedia project, the ships and crew can be used in other games that they have planned. “Once you have a ship, it’s not confined to one game,” Wu said. Players can even rent it out to others.

Throw on other planned efforts such as TV show that will be a prequel to the game, according to Wu, and Space Nation Online has a lot of projects that aim to change how people think about blockchain integration into gaming. The big question is if players are going to buy into it.

Right now, Space Nation Online has a closed beta starting, and it will release in early access this summer with plans for a full release for both PC and mobile platforms. – Silicon Valley, San Jose, Calif./Tribune News Service

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