We’ve always envisioned the Tau Station Universe as a place of escape and adventure, somewhere you can go when you want to step away from the world for a time. It’s important to us that we create it in such a way that everyone who wants to can explore and enjoy the universe with us. We’re doing our best to build a user interface that is accessible to as many people as possible, and in today’s post we’re going to share a little bit about the technical work that goes into that.
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Previously we discussed the tech stack that Tau Station runs on, but today we thought that we’d give some in-depth examples of the software hurdles we face. There will be Perl code in this blog entry, but the concepts should be generally familiar to anyone with a software engineering background.
As we mentioned in the tech stack post, we use Catalyst for our Web framework. For those unfamiliar with Perl, you could think of Catalyst as “Ruby on Rails” for Perl, but that’s not really accurate. What makes Catalyst so powerful is that unlike other Web MVC (model-view-controller) frameworks, it doesn’t have strong preferences for how you implement the various components. You’re not forced to choose a particular ORM for your model—you can even skip an ORM entirely—and you can choose whatever tools you wish for rendering your view (typically, the stuff you see in a Web browser). As a result, you can choose exactly the tools you need for each component of your system.
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It’s hard to believe that the end of the year is just around the corner! Work continues at steady pace here at Tau Station as we head into the final weeks of 2016.
We’ve been reviewing our gameplay over the last two months, and have come up with some additional features around Orwellian levels and resource scarcity that will bring a lot of richness to the universe. More features mean more work time is needed for implementation, though, which isn’t reflected in our current roadmap. So we’re calling a feature freeze in December, and from there we’ll reevaluate all our current and proposed gameplay elements to decide which ones we feel are critical to have in place for Alpha testing. Then we’ll estimate the workload and timeline to create a revised, final roadmap to Alpha launch.
More to come on that next month. This is what we’ve been working on in the meantime….
Continue reading "Tau Station Status Report: November"
In last week’s post, we explored Tau Station’s setting. This week we’re looking at some of the gameplay and mechanics we have in place. We’ll have posts in the future that look at each of these topics more in depth, but this will give you an idea of how all the components work together to create a rich, deep universe.
Who do you want to be? There are plenty of things to do from the first moment you set foot in the Tau Station Universe. Everything is there to help you create the person you want to be and achieve the goals you set for yourself. If you want to become a wealthy trader and start your own syndicate, then you’ll want to pay attention to what’s doing well in the markets and get your hands on some to sell. Someone else might want to become a mercenary and fight for a living. Right away they’ll want to improve their physical stats in the gym and start scavenging for weapons and armor in the ruins. Of course, these are only a few of the options available. A sly trader could start their career by mugging a few people and using those stolen credits to finance their market purchases. Similarly, the mercenary might start a medical career to save up enough to buy choice weapons and armor from the market. It’s all up to you.
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For us, the dream of Tau Station has always been about creating a universe. A place we can escape to. A real universe that has depth, that we can immerse ourselves in and explore. We’re building a universe with words, and we’re excited to show it to you through this series of blog posts.
In many ways, we’ve been pretty traditional in our approach to building this universe. We started with the theme and the physical characteristics of the setting. We considered the history and events that took place, and speculated about how they would shape the people and social organizations within it. We thought about the politics, the economy, and the customs and daily rituals. And then we added one more thing to the mix: the science of it all.
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A part of me believes that if Tau Station is one day described as a “good game” we will have failed.
We will have failed the vision; we will have failed the dream.
That’s a strong statement, isn’t it? A touch crazy for sure, but why not?
If we are really honest, from the beginning Tau Station has been about more than playing. It has been about creating a place you can escape to. A place where differences do not matter.
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What’s in a name?
You’ve saved up enough credits to take a shuttle to another station. You walk through Tau Station’s port which overflows with ships, cargo, and people. The departures board lists your available destinations: Sol Jump Gate, Taungoo Station, København, Nouveau Limoges, and Poul Anderson’s Legacy. What hints about where you’re going do you get from the name of each station? This is something the creative team thinks about each time we write a pitch for a new station in the universe.
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October was a busy month for Tau Station. We made good strides in all areas of the game’s development although our overall plan for the month was perhaps a bit ambitious. With several team members taking some much-needed vacation time we didn’t accomplish everything we’d listed on the October roadmap, but we’re adjusting and rearranging the work as we go. Now everyone is back and we’re heading into November well rested and ready to move full speed ahead.
This month our Managing Director, Leila, also attended Game Connection Europe. It was a great opportunity to meet with other game developers and folks in the industry, and to start showing Tau Station to the world. We know that this was just the first convention of many to come for us and will be hitting the road with the game more next year.
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Update: This position has been filled.
All Around The World, a France-based company, is looking for another Narrative Designer to join our game’s creative team. This is a part-time, remote contract position.
About the Game
Tau Station is a text-based science fiction MMORPG currently in development. We’re merging elements of choice-based interactive fiction with all the functions of a traditional MMO – trading, missions, crafting, combat, politics, skills, and more – and building something new. Our vision for Tau Station is to create a fully immersive, engaging game world that rests on the foundation of a quality science fiction plot.
Continue reading "Love Sci-fi? Tau Station is Hiring for a Narrative Designer"
A personal message of thanks to Bordeaux Games and Magelis,
Developing a first game is a lonely journey.
Knowing that the Tau Station team is currently more than 20 people, it might come across as a surprise to talk about loneliness.
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