Missions – Your Window Into Tau Station’s Universe

We love a good story. The art of storytelling predates even that of the written word, and we’re pretty sure humanity’s tales will be here long after we’re gone, possibly for some alien race to pore over and ponder what kind of weird and wonderful creatures we once were.

More specifically, the narrative is one of the core pillars of Tau Station and we consider it in every aspect of game development and universe building. Through Tau Station’s missions you’ll discover the stories of its universe – its histories, its people; the living, breathing, and evolving culture of a human civilization on life support. Below, we’ll give you a peek at three of these missions that deal with different aspects of a galactic post-apocalyptic society.

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The Tau Station Universe: Accessibility

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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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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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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Making Tau Station an Accessible Game

The inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, famously said:

“The power of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.”

We share Sir Berners-Lee’s vision. As we design Tau Station, we’re making sure we meet level AA of the W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, and are developing the game to be playable across a wide range of devices and browsers. We have some passionate developers on the team to help us reach our goal, and one shares their thoughts below.

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