Infinity sandbox space sim to crowdfund combat spin-off

With Diablo III and Duke Nukem Forever released, for better or worse, who will teach our children the meaning of "vaporware?" Fear not, for we still have Infinity, the seamless sandbox spaceship MMO which lets you go all the way down to a planets's surface. Even that's maybe sort of coming in some form though, as developer I-Novae Studios plans to crowdfund a single-system shooter version. Once it's rolling, then we'll get the full game. Honestly.

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With Diablo III and Duke Nukem Forever released, who will teach our children the meaning of "vaporware?" Fear not, for we still have Infinity, the seamless sandbox spaceship MMO which lets you go all the way down to a planets's surface. Even that's maybe sort of coming in some form though, as developer I-Novae Studios plans to crowdfund a single-system shooter version. Once it's rolling, then we'll get the full game. Honestly.

Infinity began development in 2004 with the dream of a massively multiplayer Elite-like sandbox sim in a procedurally generated universe, where ships could seamlessly descend through planets' atmospheres. It's certainly a grand dream, but tech demos made it seem real.

Creator Flavien Brebion worked solo on Infinity at first, later joined by another full-time member and some part-time help. The community helps too, chipping in with everything from ship models to music. The recent crowdfunding craze seemed a possible way for the game to actually be finished, but I-Novae crunched the numbers and realized it couldn't crowdfund the full Infinity MMO. So last month, it announced plans to Kickstart a small, standalone combat game, Infinity: Battlescape.

After a month of mixed fan feedback, I-Novae has reassured people that it's not all that bad, and explained what it means for the MMO.

Battlescape is to offer "massive, Star Wars style fleet battles" with a persistent conflict across a single seamless solar system. As well as helping I-Novae start making a little money back to fund more MMO development, it'll give it a start on solving the huge technical hurdles of large-scale online combat at speeds of 1,000 kilometres per second.

The Kickstarter should launch later this year.

If any of this sounds familiar, it may be because I-Novae already released a limited combat-based version of Infinity in 2006. That was only a prototype for a spot of public testing, though, not the full-featured game Infinity: Battlescape should be.

"We are optimistic that, with your support, Infinity: Battlescape will be a great game and will provide us with the foundation we need to properly pursue a project as large and ambitious as Infinity," CEO Keith Newton said. "We also believe that getting a game that takes place in the Infinity universe into your hands sooner rather than later is an added bonus."

For now, the Evochron series--also started by one single person--delivers seamless sandbox space. Both Elite: Dangerous and Chris Roberts' Star Citizen are on their way too, thanks to Kickstarter backing, if you can do without descending into atmospheres and don't mind waiting.

Yes, yes, you may find scoff at such an overambitious project, but watch this 2010 tech demo with a shop journeying through a planet's rings to its surface and tell me you don't want it to happen:

From The Chatty

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    March 13, 2013 6:00 PM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Infinity sandbox space sim to crowdfund combat spin-off.

    With Diablo III and Duke Nukem Forever released, for better or worse, who will teach our children the meaning of "vaporware?" Fear not, for we still have Infinity, the seamless sandbox spaceship MMO which lets you go all the way down to a planets's surface. Even that's maybe sort of coming in some form though, as developer I-Novae Studios plans to crowdfund a single-system shooter version. Once it's rolling, then we'll get the full game. Honestly.

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      March 13, 2013 8:02 PM

      Reminds me of Starglider 2 from waaaay back in the late Eighties. Probably one of the earliest games offering seamless transition from space to a planetary surface.

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        March 14, 2013 1:54 AM

        SPACE WHALES that was such an interesting game. Wish there were more like it where you were in this universe and you had to explore just to figure out what your goal might be. X series does it a little bit, but it misses out on the weird exploration somehow.

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      March 13, 2013 9:17 PM

      Been watching this forever. Its vapor, pure vapor.

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        March 13, 2013 10:51 PM

        I remember being interested in this around 2005 I think.

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      March 13, 2013 9:19 PM

      Yeah, I wouldn't worry about that first part, Alice. Valve is still teaching us the meaning of vaporware, day by day.

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      March 13, 2013 11:18 PM

      ... Infinity, the seamless sandbox spaceship MMO which lets you go all the way down to a planets's surface....
      The premise sounds right from the mouth of Derek Smart.

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      March 14, 2013 2:13 AM

      Still waiting on Alliance: The Game. http://www.alliancethegame.com/screenshots.php?id=7
      in 2011, they were 'back!'.