It’s rocket science: meet the cosmonauts and engineers making Space Pioneer

By Matt Martin, Friday, 28 February 2014 14:06 GMT

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“Plausibility means that these aren’t just going to be generic green aliens. Their civilizations will be incredibly detailed and they’ll all have their own governmental structure and culture” – Aleksandr Zheleznyakov, rocket engineer

But once we begin talking about aliens and sci-fi we’re clearly in video game territory, albeit influenced by real-world science and theory.

“The core of Space Pioneer’s game-play can be jammed into a couple of traditional video game genres,” clarifies Maximillian Kovtun, director of Space Enigma Studios.

“You have the ability to command squadrons of spacecraft and build massive colonies via a top down RTS viewpoint, and you can also switch to a more personal third-person viewpoint, wherein you get to control a customizable and upgradable ‘command ship’ of sorts.

“I’d say that Space Pioneer is actually definitely closer to being a video game [than a simulation] – our priority is to give player’s awesome gameplay and a cool story to go with it, and do so in a way that will inspire people to find out more about our universe,” he adds.

“So while we have people who are incredibly experienced in making professional-grade space simulators, that’s not our mission with Space Pioneer. Don’t expect thousands of buttons in your spacecraft and no sound in space within our game.”

As with CCP’s EVE Online and the forthcoming Elite: Dangerous from Frontier Developments, Space Pioneer will give the players the option of peaceful or aggressive interaction with other players, where trade and other alliances can be brokered or broken on a player’s whim.

“You have a variety of choices on how you interact with other players,” offers Kovtun. “You can form a mutually beneficial symbiotic bond via trade routes and the sharing of units, resources and colonies. Or you can go lone wolf, and destroy on sight. It’s up to the player really – and we’re constantly thinking of new tools for the player to use in expanding his virtual empire/democracy.”

While players can interact with others during the game, there will also be alien races that will play a central role in the narrative of Space Pioneer.

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“Plausibility means that these aren’t just going to be generic green aliens or even more generic non-descript hostile aliens,” says Aleksandr Zheleznyakov, rocket engineer and author of multiple works covering the history of spaceflight.

“Their civilizations will be incredibly detailed and they’ll all have their own governmental structure and culture. It’s similar to what you see in the Mass Effect series – at least that’s the type of thing that we’re striving to accomplish,” he adds.

Space Enigma Studios is taking on a huge project with lofty ambitions on top of the creation of a regular video game. The project is currently on Kickstarter hoping for funding, although the numbers at the time of press aren’t encouraging.

Regardless of gameplay, the thing that makes Space Pioneer unique is the collection of people – the cosmonauts, the sci-fi authors, the engineer, the pilot, the journalist – trying to get their experiences, knowledge and creativity into playable form. That’s more interesting than any game developer’s take on what space exploration can be, and we have to be encouraged by the ambition of the team to reach for the stars.

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