Blog

The Tau Station Universe: Setting

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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Tau Station: It’s More Than a Game, It’s a Universe

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 Station Name?

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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Tau Station Status Report: October

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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Love Sci-fi? Tau Station is Hiring for a Narrative Designer

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.

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A Personal Message of Thanks to Bordeaux Games and Magelis

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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Tau Station’s User Interface

Our dream for Tau Station is to create a world you can explore and escape into, the way that we escaped into books as children. A world that you can picture yourself living in. But with more than two hundred stations to visit and explore, NPCs to talk to, missions to take, careers, combat, trading, politics, and more, how can we translate that onto the screen while also making it accessible to all players? It’s a challenge, but we have a team of very talented people working on it. By following web standards and design best practices, they’re building a user interface (UI) that is both good for gameplay and supports our overall vision for the game.

Our UI:
• Ties all the elements of the game together
• Is easy to use
• Provides you with information when and where you need it
• Contributes to the immersive atmosphere of the game
• Is accessible to all players
• Follows the principle of designing for mobile first

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Even Side Missions Should Provide Meaningful Choices

You’re exploring the shipyard of København Station when you bump into Kane, the distraught owner of Citizen Shipbuilders. He’s recently challenged his rival, Chamberlain, to a contest to prove who can build the fastest ship, but now the day of the race has come and he knows he’s going to lose. He doesn’t really care how you do it, but he needs you to get the race called off and will pay you a reward to make it happen.

As you navigate Tau Station, your character will be offered missions. There’s nothing really unusual there; missions are pretty common in MMOs. A non-player character (NPC) has a problem and hires you to solve it. You do the work, get your pay and experience points, and move on. But we see every mission, even the short ones, as a chance for the player to interact with the game world and make meaningful choices through their character.

A mission is a story, and Tau Station is a game built around stories.

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Developing Tau Station’s Mission Builder

Mission Builder is one of the most important components of Tau Station and yet, ironically, it’s one that not a single player will be directly exposed to at any point in time. So what is Mission Builder, and what makes it such a valuable part of Tau Station? It’s the most heavily used content creation tool in the game, used by our narrative designers to create jobs, missions, NPC dialogues, and more. While Mission Builder isn’t quite one-stop shopping for the narrative team, it’s the equivalent of a Swiss Army chainsaw hanging in the team’s toolshed.

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Tau Station Status Report: September

Welcome to the first edition of Tau Station: Status Report. We’ll be posting an update every month to share what we’ve recently accomplished and what we’ll be working on next. We appreciate everyone who supports our game and want to be transparent with you about how the development is going. Also, it can’t be denied that knowing we’ll be going public with our progress every few weeks is a great motivator! This is our first post of this kind and it’s going to be a long one, so grab a beverage of your choice, find someplace comfortable to sit, and come along for the ride.

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