In a refreshing change of pace Special Circumstances, a small development team hoping to break into the Space RTS genre with Shallow Space: Insurgency, is creating a fully realized universe with complex, tactical space battles, a deep storyline with a fleshed out history, and room to battle across twelve star systems without any aliens in sight. Instead, players will experience the political strife and conflict between different human factions after a rapid expansion through the stars from a dying Earth.
Special Circumstances hopes to create multiple games in the Shallow Space universe, and this setting has been largely created by John Harper, author of Elite: And Here the Wheel, one of the novels based on the game Elite:Dangerous. Since becoming interested in Shallow Space, Harper has created a timeline as well as supporting literature, such as the short story The Gift.
This setting has been largely created by John Harper, author of Elite: And Here the Wheel, one of the novels based on the game Elite:Dangerous.
The game seeks to engage players with its deep tactical combat and intense space battles, and it more than delivers. In my time with the demo, I defended a station from approaching pirates, maneuvering around the map to get my fleet into position. Fleets, or flotillas, can operate on several different levels, enabling ships to fire down or up at enemies.
For when players need more time, they can slow down or pause the action, survey the scene, and issue orders before any shots are made. Or if they’re in place and waiting for the approaching enemy, speeding up gameplay is also an option. A few times I just slowed the action to watch it play out, with the fiery shots and smoking missiles speeding through space in slow motion.
Ship and flotilla customization is also going to be a huge feature. Ships range in size from 30m Light Corvettes to massive 650m Capital Transport ships. And each ship can be equipped with different gun types, missile, and both passive and active skills.
Before engaging the enemy, players can scout their opponents to get an idea of their numbers, weapons, and weaknesses. Using this will allow for creating the perfect armada, with Corvettes that zip around taking down Capital ship guns while Battleships tear smaller Cruisers to shreds.
After my time with Shallow Space: Insurgency, I’m eager to jump into a full game. Currently the game is available for preorder with several tiers, which will help to fund the rest of the game’s development. It’s slated for release on Steam Early Access in August 2015, with a 1.0 full release in August of 2016. On release it will also be available on GoG and Humble Bundle, for PC, Mac, and Linux.
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