Project History

I started this game, originally known as Alien Farm, as my undergraduate thesis project when I studied game AI. Two years later, I revisited the game, fixed bugs, added a 4-mission tutorial campaign, created a web site and got some people testing its Alpha 0.1.0 version. The name of the game changed to Stardust Colonies, based on ideas from a Facebook community. I meant to continue the development afterwards, but I started doing a PhD in swarm robotics and the first two years of that took almost all of my free time. I am now at a stage where I can plan my time and commitments better and I am ready to make this finally really happen.

The current state of the game is a working Alpha 0.1.0 demo version that gives you around 3-4 hours of game play in the campaign mode and unlimited play of randomly generated maps with randomised objectives. Anyone can download the game and play it for free on Windows. Try it now or watch some game play videos.

Immediate Plans Towards 0.2.0.

The current 0.1.0. version is strictly a game play demo. The entire graphics engine will be replaced in Alpha 0.2.0 to include 3D and to set the unique game mood. Your minions are trying to survive on a new, potentially hostile planet. The environments will be dark and scary and the player will gradually transform them into colonies full of life, colour and light. The GUI will also be replaced and more innovative - read more about it in my development blog. Improvements to the game play and cross-platform support are also a must.

I am planning to release the game on Steam, which I will use to fund my development further. The game will first be put on Steam Greenlight, a community where gamers vote for games that should be allowed on Steam. Once the game gains enough votes, it will be available as Early Access Alpha 0.2.0 version.

If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, the following steps will be executed:
  • Call for a 3D artist will be posted on Deviant Art and other art pages.
  • Game refactoring process will start. This will involve implementation of 3D environments and day and night cycle. 3D building and units will be added when ready. Windows and MacOS will be supported by the new game application.
  • When the basic looks of the game are done, it will be posted on Steam Greenlight.
  • The menu system will be completely redesigned to create a natural flow from off-game RPG to real-time strategy. Read more about it here
  • Units will move slower in the dark. Illuminating work areas will become important.
  • Creepy aliens. Build lamps to keep them away at night!
  • The random map objectives will be revisited to create better challenges that last longer.
  • Once the game is approved on Steam, work will start on Steam integration.

Plans for the Future

There are many possibilities where this game could go and opinions of the player community are very important in making decisions. The current plans and ideas include:
  • A Linux version is something that should happen in the early stages of development after 0.2.0 has been released on Steam
  • Log in system and storing your progress on-line. On-line Colonizator profile page to show off your progress.
  • You will have to generate power using power plants in order to support other buildings
  • Need for water: apart from having farms for food, you will need to build water generators like pumps or atmospheric condensators
  • Happiness boost buildings: adding decoration will make grumpy and lazy minions work better
  • Training engineers who will periodically inspect buildings so that they don't break. They will also repair broken buildings.
  • Building roads to speed up your units.
  • Realistic fog of war - units cannot see behind their back, so a Colonizator who possesses their eyes shouldn’t either. However, buildings will provide a stable area of sight.
  • Your minions can die of exhaustion if not let to rest for a long time
  • In-game combat: on top of taking care of the economy and happiness, your task will also be to protect your colony from hostile organisms on alien planets
  • Infectious mood: minions will affect each other's mood. Be careful or you might have a riot on your hands!
  • Multi-player, initially in form of trading resources and research. Getting two (or more) players into the same map, playing against each other or together against time also sounds very exciting
Read about more game feature ideas on the forum.
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Alpha 0.1.0
A basic tutorial campaign, random maps with randomized objectives
Kickstarter campaign
Solid plan. Web site re-design. Game play videos.
Steam Greenlight
Project posted on Steam Greenlight. Game refactoring, hiring artisits.
Alpha 0.2.0
Steam support. New interface, 3D graphics, multiple resolutions support. Game play improvements.
Alpha 0.3.0
User login, storing user data remotely. Linux support. More in-game objects.