Videogame: Shores of Hazeron
An indie massively multiplayer Wide Open Sandbox FourX
game played from the first person perspective, with gameplay mechanics similar to Spore
, Star Trek: Bridge Commander
, and Noctis
If you make a new empire, you start out on a wild world with nothing more than a knife and a torch. You make a flag and set up your first city, then start to build civilization - building stone mines, homes, and farms to attract new AI citizens. You explore your area for ore, crystals, and oil to help jump start your civilization, then begin building motorcycles and later, rockets to explore your solar system. After you begin mining your moon for resources to build your space ship, you can design your own totally unique space ship in any design using a simple block based construction technique (similar to MineCraft
). Crew your ship, then head through a wormhole to interact with other players and explore the universe. Other players can join your empire to help you manage everything, crew your ships, or help you go to war.
On August 15, 2014, Shores of Hazeron shut down, but in February 2015 the fans of the game were able to convince the creator to restart the servers, albeit now with a 10$/month subscription to carry the increasing server upkeep costs.
The Shores Of Hazeron contains examples of the following tropes:
- Artificial Stupidity: AI crews used to have huge problems avoiding stellar bodies like planets, gas giants and even suns. Patches have increased the AI so far that such "dives" have become rare, even if they still happen occasionally. Then collision damage was added and now the AI crews end up bumping into each other on a regular basis instead.
- Awesome but Impractical: Ships crewed entirely by players. It is a great source of hilarity to have all roles on a ship filled by players, but with the exception of the commander and possibly the helmsman all roles are more effective when assigned to the AI crew.
- Big Dumb Object: Ringworlds
- Banana Republic: One of the government options. Players can inherit the rank from other players by assassinating them (the assassinated respawn and loose their rank in the government)
- Beam Spam / More Dakka: It is possible to equip starships with a lot of small cannons or lasers instead of the usual single huge one. This makes it more likely to destroy enemy equipment while sacrificing weight efficiency and range.
- BFG: The way most players design their warships main weaponry. A single huge cannon/laser that offers high range and damage per shot.
- Boarding Party: Possible and depending on the target quite effective.
- Breakable Weapons: All handheld equipment has gradual wear-and-tear from repeated use or damage. Rifles, for example, will fall apart after a few dozen to a few hundred magazines depending on the tech level. Armor will degrade from damage. However, all handheld equipment can be repaired if you have the right tools; glue guns repair plastic, wrenches can fix moving components, et cetera.
- A Commander Is You
- Deflector Shields
- Design It Yourself Equipment: Players can design their empires ships and even buildings, giving empires vast visual differences.
- Early Game Hell: Sometimes when forming a new empire, you'll get placed in the middle of nowhere with a low amount of resources. Wild animals will kill you left and right when you make your town.
- Goddamned Bats: Aggressive flying animals. Interrupting your building process, kill you slowly with many low damage attacks, and worst of all they are nearly impossible to hit with the basic starter melee weapons.
- Faster-Than-Light Travel: Usually ships are limited to light speed and wormholes, but high-tech empires can gain access to warp drives that allow ships to reach between 10 to 90 times the speed of light.
- Inventory Management Puzzle: Players have a fairly large inventory - with about a dozen different slots (belt, arms, hands, back, etc) for carrying goods. However, they are low volume, requiring players to craft backpacks or crates in order to lug around high-volume goods (such as fuel canisters for ships or land vehicles). Micromanaging a crate-laden inventory allows a player to carry around a ridiculous amount of high-volume, low-weight goods.
- The Kingdom: One of the government type options
- Loophole Abuse: The game normally requires a ship to have thrusters in order to move, making "gun platforms" (a box covered in weapon systems) pretty useless. However, the Facepunch / NeoCAS empire found out that one can simply stuff the gun platforms inside a large ship's hangar - and still fire the ridiculously power cannons - with no reduction to the large ship's speed or capacitors. It was quickly fixed.
- Made of Explodium: Unarmored low tech space ships and stations will violently explode at the slightest provocation, including if you walk into them too fast.
- Older Is Better: After the disappearance of the Toucans (the largest player faction by far), their ships became extremely sought-after for their durability, speed, and firepower. A salvaged Toucan ship is far more valuable than most modern player ships.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Averted. No matter how advanced a civilization is, their worlds need churches or the population gets angry.
- Point Defenseless: Averted. Assuming roughly equal tech levels defensive turrets mounted on starships and stations offer protection from infantry assaults, boarding parties and hostile small craft.
- Used to be played straight. Before the march 2014 combat overhaul infantry armor used to absorb truly ridiculous amounts of damage, making infantry almost immune to any weapon that can be used against them.
- Portal Network: Naturally formed wormholes create shortcuts between star systems, usually with a range under 4 parsecs. Any ship with a wormhole drive (and enough capacitor) can use the wormholes to travel quickly between systems. The other alternative is to slowboat with standard engines - taking something like 8 hours to get 4 light years - or to build a ship advanced enough to use the warp drive.
- Power Armor: The aptly named Power Armors. Offering high defense values and the ability to survive in space.
- Ramming Always Works: Played straight. Collision damage ignores all shields and deals damage depending on the armor levels and velocities of the involved ships. Accelerating a small ship with heavy armor directly into an enemy ship is an effective, if wasteful, way to destroy them.
- Ring World Planet: Systems have a 2% chance of having a Ringworld in them. Ringworlds are extremely valuable for their massive potential population. Ringworlds come with 5, 10, 15 or 20 arcs, the total amount is depending on their diameter, and each arc counts as a separate planet offering 2 ressource zones with up to 1000 population and one potential officer per arc.
- Scenery Porn: While the game has graphics reminiscent of 1998, it definitely has its moments, especially while exploring planets on foot at night, when the stars and nebula are burning in the sky.
- Early 2013 an update overhauled the planets and created much smoother terrain with better textures. Subsequent patches over the next few months added more terrain features, diversity and changed the way clouds are rendered. The engine, while still simple in presentation and low-poly, is now capable of creating quite beautiful planets, especially when viewed from space.
- Schizo Tech: Your empire may have warp drives and an interstellar empire, but apparently the telephone hasn't been invented yet as you need to physically walk to a building to change what in produces.
- Telephones have finally been invented. Since the start of Universe 5 the capitol building has gained the ability to access the production lines of every building in the city.
- Space Fighter: The imaginatively titled Space Fighter F1 and F2. They're small, cannot be targeted by the main weapons of starships, and their weapons penetrate shields. The downsides to them being that they have no sensors (making them useless until you get visual on the enemy ship), and the manned turrets on starships will shoot at them.
- Space Pirates: Pirates starships will randomly spawn near ships that have a player on board and as part of their command roster. They take their designs from the published ship libraries, making it rare to see the same ship twice. Pirates will order any ship they find to open their doors (to steal their cargo) or be destroyed.
- Wide Open Sandbox