So, Star Ruler is a game that’s coming out this weekend by a very tiny indie development outfit called Blind Mind Studios
Star Ruler is what is commonly known as a “4X” game. The 4 X’s are: eXplore, eXploit, eXpand, eXterminate. Basically, it’s a game where everyone begins quite small, explores the area nearby and claims in this case planets, builds up their economic might, and eventually bumps heads with other players and inevitably starts trying to murder. It’s like Risk if you couldn’t see the rest of the board to start with and you could do something to improve the countries you conquered. I find them a lot of fun, and they tend to become quite addictive quite quickly as you guide your tiny little empire into bowling over the universe.
But yes, you are very clever to point out that the name isn’t all that imaginative. Blind Mind was a bit too busy doing some amazing goddamn work to spend time thinking of a name that didn’t make people giggle. Here, I’m actually going to just quote the features list and highlight the things that stand out to me.
o Vast, Procedurally Generated Galaxies
o Intricate Ship Design and Exciting Combat
o Unique Research System
o Easy to use interface, complex gameplay
o Engaging AI Opponents
o Extensive Modding Support
o Multiplayer: Co-Op, Team, and Free-for-all
o Original Soundtrack
o Much more to come!
So the galaxies are “vast”? Ha! Who cares about some stupid marketing speak bulls-
In case you didn’t notice, that’s a sliding scale from 1 solar system to thousands. Apparently the number it can handle is based on how powerful your computer is and how long you want to wait, but still: impressive.
It also has simple dedicated multiplayer. And although turn-based games can always be weird about that it seems to really focus on allowing drop-in drop-out so that if you like you can play for an hour and then hand an AI the keys to your kingdom if you’ve got to go. Speaking of the AI, they emphasize that it’s quite granular. Rather than being a simple “easy/medium/hard”, you can select from a variety of variables to alter, including whether or not it will cheat.
In addition to that, they’ve made modding incredibly easy, requiring limited coding knowledge and a functioning Notepad. That’s always a good sign from a tiny developer with some ambitious ideas, because there’s much more of a chance that dedicated fans will fill in gaps that they weren’t able to.
Now obviously without actually playing I can’t tell if it’s going to be any good. But the fact that this team is dedicated enough to develop a stunningly scalable system, make multiplayer a priority as well as making a good AI, and make it reasonably pretty has made me sit up and take notice.