Tryggvi Hakonarson on CERES

Tryggvi Hakonarson on CERES

Feature

Jötunn Games' lead developer talks to us about "the first cyber-tactical space combat game in the known universe"

What else can you tell us about the game’s setting and story?

The game takes place in the future, in our solar system. A space age. Wormhole gateways open up the galaxy for humans, Humans spread out from the Solar system to nearby systems. Then disaster struck, wormhole gates start to behave erratically and violently. A cataclysm. Earth is destroyed and many space structure and orbitals are destroyed or damaged. The Sol wormhole gate closes and the Sol system goes through changes as multiple minor wormholes open up all over the Sol System.

The game takes place some 60 years after that. Humanity lives among the stars and on Mars.
Pirates raid space ships and space station. Giant Space creatures prey on ships and space itself is littered with wormholes, gravity anomalies and other dangers.

You’ve stated that this is a squad based game. Tell us a bit more about the game’s mechanics and limitations.

When I started this project, it was meant to be a Homeworld clone, with resource gathering, ship building and slow paced combat. It quickly changed to a rather hectic combat system, no ship building but the resource gathering system grew more complex.

You control a maximum of six ships. I found that if you had more than six you tended to lose track of your ships. The game system actually fully supports control of tens or even hundreds of ships. You can move your ships like you do in Homeworld; move order movement, while you can also issue directional orders. Your ship will move into that direction indefinitely.

Ceres also uses an armor that is split into six parts, top/down, left/right, forward/back. So direction of attack matters. The game has a complex refitting system for your ships. The game currently has over 100 modules that you can install into your ships. Weapons, cargo holds, drone bays, energy plants, A.I.s, repair system, cannons, lasers, etc.

Each ship has its own A.I system and a captain. The A.I. and captain skills affect your ships performance. Heavy damage will also affect your ship along with energy distribution and critical damage.

The game calculates the damage done to the ship. It checks for any modules in the vicinity of the damage area and checks if that module should be damaged. It also checks for any critical damage chance, whether the crew should be hurt or killed. In general, it’s a complex system but it works.

The game is split in two parts. A solar system map and an area map. You travel to different areas using the Solar map stuck mostly in a 2D plane. Once in an area map, the game goes fully 3D.

At stations you can trade ships, mercantile, modules and A.I.s, hire captains and refit your ships. Each area also holds a number of points of interest to find and explore. Lost tech caches, recoverable ships, wormholes etc.

Ship customisation is also heavily emphasised in promotional material about the game. In addition to the structure of the ships, will the player be able to, for example, paint his own ship? What forms of customisation will the player have to make his squadron his or her own?

There is currently no feature to paint your own ship with a paint brush, but you can toggle between a number of different skins for each ship, so you can make you ship your own that way.

The player can choose all internal and external systems on his ships. The game has over 100 modules to install on your ships. Each ship is limited to both internal and external modules and each module comes in a variety of sizes.

There are over 30 different ships and the weapon systems are quite large on the ships, so each ship will have its unique look depending on your weapon layout.