Joined: Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:28 am
Simon Roth has been building worlds for quite some time now. It seems he has a talent for crafting game engines, for coding procedural generation routines and for modelling complex systems. As he shows me a very early build of Maia, he relates an interesting story about a certain game that never was, a project of his from a few years back.
"I came up with the idea of a voxel engine game, kind of like Dwarf Fortress but first person, where you can dig and you can build things," he says. I'm intrigued. "And then you'd have to defend your base from monsters. But everyone said 'Nobody will ever buy this game! No-one's interested in building stuff!'"
Undaunted, Roth has kept himself busy building many more worlds and modelling the systems within them, and right now he's telling me about how he wants to model liquids as accurately as possible. Not just any liquid, mind, but lava, so that when it burns its way through the underground, off-world colony that you've so carefully nurtured, you'll be able to appreciate just how realistically it's melting all your stuff.
There's an emphasis on a 70s-style (and very imperfect) future.
He describes Maia as "A God game in the mould of Bullfrog or Maxis," but set in a kooky, all-too-imperfect future, and primarily a sandbox game, something for players to fool around in. To this end, he's devoting much of his time to shaping the game's fundamentals, its AI routines, physics and world generation, so that everything in the game responds believably.
"The final game is going to be a lot of these complex systems," he explains, "Much like Dwarf Fortress is, but with an interface. I love the idea of Dwarf Fortress, and it's one of the things that inspired this game, because you can just play with it."
As well as crafting, construction and all sorts of critters, Roth wants to expand the scope of the game and model among many other things, including atmosphere, light and darkness. "Lights are an important part of the game, because not only do they affect your colonists' mood, but if you have a lot of lights, it's going to attract animals. Hostile animals."
Atmospheric considerations include things like a rise in compartment pressure caused by a build-up of steam, or a damaged airlock explosively decompressing and violently ejecting its contents, something that Roth gets a bit too excited about.
Early purchasers can have their names added to the game, then presumably kill themselves during play.
Actually, he revels in his descriptions of things going wrong and is desperate to throw a bit of chaos into the mix. He's been adding noise to his AI routines, he tells me, to make things a little less predictable, to keep players on their toes and constantly give them new problems they have to deal with. "I want randomness to be a big part of the game," he says "And some of it to be quite cruel randomness."
Roth works for Mode 7 Games, of Frozen Synapse fame, but Maia is a side project of his based on ideas he's been entertaining for some time. As we talk over different aspects of the game, including the many different things he wants to incorporate, it becomes apparent to me this isn't some idle venture, but in fact an ambitious and very carefully considered project.
The game engine, already slick and shiny, is capable of enormous things. It can handle 128,000 different lights in a frame, I'm told, and because Roth was always frustrated with the limited playing areas in games like Sim City, Maia's engine will procedurally generate a 2 kilometre cubed playing area. Roth takes me on a quick tour of one, trying to scroll to the edge. "It'll probably run out in a second," he says. It doesn't.
Maia is still in an early alpha stage, but it already looks like a fascinating game with a great deal of potential. It's official website can be found here.
Maia on DIYGamer http://www.diygamer.com/2012/05/the-hea ... announced/
For many gamers, the sense of empowerment granted to them via their virtual entertainment medium of choice acts as a resounding gripping point in their embracing of interactive video gaming. That, we’d guess, is where god games come in, and it’s apparently the basis of the newly-announced Maia, a project headed by Simon Roth of Machine Studios fame.
Set in a world embellished by the decadent trimmings of sci-fi lore, Maia looks set to evoke memories of Roth’s self-professed heroes Bullfrog, creators of the legendary Populous and Black and White. While Roth claims to have laid out a considerably detailed set of foundations for the game’s design, he’s nevertheless open to suggestions from the gaming community. As such, the game is set to be made available through the increasingly popular Alpha funding model, with a large proportion of the funds raised going towards the hiring of additional artists and designers.
Still, if the concept art shown off in the screenshot above is anything to go by, Maia has the potential to look like a fancy little piece of meat in its own right. Of course, it’s a trend well recognised that early footage is rarely indicative of a finished product in this wild, zany industry, but we’d like to think of the game’s preliminary graphical design as a signal of intent for what could easily become a barnstormer of monumental proportions.
For more information on Maia, tentatively slated for release on Windows PC and Linux, check out its official website.
Rock paper shotgun: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/07 ... tric-maia/
Simon Roth is best known as the newest recruit to Frozen Synapse creators Mode 7, but he’s also one of the most veteran developers in the entire history of the world, if my research is correct. And he’s moonlighting on a side-project all of his own, the Bullfrog/early Maxis-inspired sci-fi management game Maia. This isn’t a matter of keeping colonists happy with space ice cream and zero-grav toilets – we’re promised the likes of ‘up to 2KM X 2KM X 2KM of procedural world’, water and lava simulation, defensive structures to fend off hostile wildlife, bipolar robots and a first-person mode.
Oh, dare I dream ‘sci-fi Dungeon Keeper’?
It’s all about building an underground colony to protect intergalactic settlers from the dangers of the surface, with mining, construction and entertainment component parts of your base-building.
It uses its own render, which Simon Reckons means AAA-level visual quality is possible, plus this is no throwaway project for him. “The plan is to keep it as a on-going piece and to let it grow organically, over a long period, in the same way Dwarf Fortress did.” Imagine if Dungeon Keeper or Startopia had benefited from similar; imagine what they’d be by now.
I’ve roped Simon into joining the on-stage Gamejam at Rezzed tomorrow, so I shall do my best to collar him about plans for Maia at some time. This looks/sounds very promising indeed – revisiting the spirit of those inventive management games, before they collapsed into chintzy Theme x or x Tycoon, but without being a slavish recreation of something existent. More details on the site, but here’s some screenies. Click for embiggenation:
And here’s a never-before-seen third screenshot, just for you and your mum:
You’ll be able to pre-order it soon, for a variety of different pricing tiers and associated bonuses. You can check out what those will be here.
Play Sci-fi: http://www.blog.playscifi.com/god-in-space-maia/
Barring the inspired but initially DRM-riddled From Dust, it’s been ages since I’ve seen a good god game, and though I’m (sadly) not at Rezzed this weekend, I have been following the adventures of indie developer Simon Roth on Twitter for a while. He’s been teasing his followers with news of his in-development god-game ‘Maia‘, and the lucky visitors at the expo (and readers of RPS) have been given a glimpse of the work in progress.
Maia is inspired by ’70s sci-fi’, set in a future where Earth is making its first attempt to colonise extra-solar systems. You will excavate an underground colony, in the process mining minerals, building rooms and living space, and researching better technologies to improve the lives of your underlings. The world around you will be procedurally generated and Roth has developed his own render engine capable of ‘hundreds of thousands of light sources’, which despite being in alpha looks gorgeous already.
The new screens show off the mining, lava and interior design space and definitely have that 70′s retro feel, albeit with a modern polish. I can’t wait to get a look at a working build, and with multiple pre-order options on the way it looks like there won’t be too long to wait. Commencing excitement in three… two… one…
Beefjack announce Maia: http://beefjack.com/news/indie-god-game ... developer/
Maia is the Bullfrog-inspired side project of Simon Roth, whose name you likely do not know but whose hands have tinkered with the insides of both VVVVVV and Frozen Synapse.
The game features a super-clever graphics engine capable of delivering hundreds and thousands of lights, as well as a “layered compositing pipeline”, which sounds like the sort of thing you’re tasked with exploding in Just Cause 2.
Maia is currently in alpha, but will evolve and expand in line with community feedback a la Minecraft. Pre-orders are to be opened soon, and Roth hopes to fund the rest of development – and the hiring of extra staff - through the support of the PC gaming community.
In an upcoming BeefJack interview, Roth talks about the influence of Bullfrog games like Dungeon Keeper, which might give us an idea of what to expect from Maia: “A key aspect of Dungeon Keeper is that it allows the user space to play. The number of tiny interactions within the game goes into the hundreds.
“Many of them are an irrelevance to gameplay but they reward experimentation for the player. Giving the player unexpected feedback when they try things out is what makes a game really memorable.”
You can keep up with news on Maia here at BeefJack.
More at beefjack
Maia is a new indie game from developer Simon Roth, a talented young man whose previously worked on the rather excellent titles VVVVVV and Frozen Synapse. Inspired by the God game genre mined so well by Peter Molyneux in his Bullfrog days, Maia tasks you with managing your colonists on a distant planet, building a prospering community and most importantly of all trying not to get them killed.
BeefJack has an interview with Simon in the pipeline, but in the meantime a new set of screenshots and concept art have appeared for Maia, which you can cast your eyes over directly below this sentence:
Dual Shockers: http://www.dualshockers.com/2012/07/08/ ... d-artwork/
If you’ve been craving a good god game lately then Indie developer Simon Roth has something in store for you, Maia. In the game you must protect your colonists as they work to build and prosper on a faraway world. That one guy is clutching a bloody machete too, so you know there’s probably going to be zombies, aliens, or some combination of that. Good god games are hard to co by, but this one certainly looks enticing, take a look for yourself!
Futile Position: http://futileposition.com/2012/07/maia- ... topia.html
Several weeks ago, the rather mysterious Maia Game page came up with some green text on a black background and a picture of a planet announcing a new game from Simon Roth. It didn’t really tell much about the game, but we now have a lot more information thanks to an update to the official page. The newly updated page indicates that your job in Maia is to gain a foothold for Earth’s colonization efforts an unknown, hostile world called Maia (natch). The world’s surface is inhospitable, so the player will be required to build facilities underground to house, feed, and entertain your colonists while protecting them from the threats of the alien world. The world is procedurally generated. The game’s page indicates that the world will be 2KM x 2KM x 2KM, but I have no idea how large that really is (mostly because I’m American and have no scale for the metric system). The developers promise complex colonist AI, a first-person mode, water, lava, a setting inspired by 70′s science fiction, and a dark sense of humor. It certainly sounds an awful lot like taking Dwarf Fortress and mashing it up with Startopia, which sounds suspiciosuly like the best idea ever.
Maia will initially be released on Windows and Linux, with a Mac version to follow if there is demand. Pre-orders will be available soon, with multiple tiers available, from $15 (which is a copy of the game) all the way up to $1,999 (you get a one of a kind 3D printed figurine). You can check out official Maia page for the most up to date information on the upcoming game. There is no release date presently available for Maia, but I will certainyl be bringing you more coverage once it is available,