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Video Game / Celestus

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Yay, ships !

As Admiral Burlock said after destroying twelve allied colonies by accident: “We ain't going to get our panties in a twist”
– In-game crawl.

Celestus is a French web original, browser-based, massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game set IN SPACE! – that is to say, an O-Game-like. Players are in charge of their Nation as they try to carve a piece of the galactic cake for their Faction. With it comes a Role Playing forum, where players can further elaborate their stories. A second server opened in 2015.

Long ago the dominant (and indeed only) civilization in the Amatens Galaxy was the Lanthanian Civilization. Saddened by their solitude, they decided to bring life everywhere they could. From that era are left countless garden worlds and Gates. Their downfall is a tragic story of love, as one grief-stricken scientist tried to revive his beloved thanks to Brain Uploading. That went... poorly, and soon the galaxy found itself threatened by giant automatic fleets led by an insane semi-artificial intelligence wanting to bring everything back to nothingness. The Lanthanians were totally outmatched. On the brink of extinction, they released an experimental super-weapon using their Gate network : Eope's Anomaly. The effects were instantaneous and destructive, as they made electricity non-fonctional for the next thousands and thousands of years. Civilization fell, as each world regressed to barbarism – many were not self-sufficient and did not make it. Eventually, after more than 17000 years of darkness, electricity came back, and with it the light of advanced space civilization. Wars and alliances were common place as each planet rediscovered its neighborhood. Time passed and stabilization came, giving us the current situation and the Seven Factions : The Thelios Federation, the Adrean Corporatist Republic (usually shortened to RCA), the Ducal Domains, the Zetran Dominion, the Amaranth Empire, the Leanth Circle and the Melrehns – which all have a backstory too long to be put here.

You start with a meager planet under your control, and have to work your way up from there by building massive fleets and dominating your neighboors. Or by teaming up and making alliances. Or just quietly mining and using your economical strenght to create vaste trade networks. Or supplying the warmongering with hardware. Or developing new technologies that will let you shape space itself. It is a quite complete gameplay, offering things not usually seen in this type of game like ground troops or in-flight interception.

The game is notable for the fact that it was written, developped, designed, coded, drawn, administrated and more generally made by just one guy – actively working on it since 2006. Said creator is – depending on whom you ask – a pure genius or an irate megalomaniac. Or both.

No relation to the 2018 Platform Game Celeste.

Celestus provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 2-D Space: The galactic map gives us some 3-D, but that is purely cosmetic. The distance between stars is still calculated as if they were all on the same plane.
  • Absent Aliens: Humans are canonically the only intelligent species.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: The Lanthanians were the only civilization in the Galaxy before the Fall and Eope's Anomaly, and they were humans. Which explains why everyone is human too: you are just their descendants, once again getting access to Space.
  • After-Action Report: One of the most common type of text on the Forum.
  • The Alliance: You can create one with other people of your Faction, allowing you to create unique structures and use special tactics.
  • Allegedly Free Game: Averted. You can support the game, but throwing real money at it will only get you esthetical content.
  • Allowed Internal War: You can fight people in your own Faction – with or without penalty, depending on what the Chancellor of said Faction thinks of rebellion.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: Well, all habitable planets are Earth-like, since they were terraformed by the Precursors; but there are plently of absolutly not-Earthlike worlds.
  • Alternative Calendar: Because today is 33 of Pookahn(8), year 17045.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Cetyns want to conquer the galaxy, enslave most humans and purge the rest. All negotiations have failed.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: The biggest battles can involve millions of ships, and invading planets can easily cause tens of millions of civilian death, yet no one seems to care.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Technically speaking, you can have as many ships or troops as you want... as long as your economy can sustain them. Played Straight with the buildings, the number of which being limited by the size of the planet you're trying to build them on.
  • Artificial Gravity: Of the handwavium kind.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The event-AI have no problems with repeatedly crashing its fleet on your defenses.
  • Asteroid Miners: You can set up mines on asteroids, but it's not very useful from a long-term point of view.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Standard Zetran tactic.
  • Attack Drone: One of the defensive building works by creating thousands of little self-propelled machines coated in "plasma" that will then take off and go attack the ennemy fleet. Said building is aptly called "Defense Drones". On a more classic side, with the proper specializations, Space Fighters can be made pilot-less.
  • The Battlestar: Every ship can embark fighters, but Factional Fleet Flagships take the cake, being super-dreadnoughts ten kilometers long that can load thousands of small crafts.
  • Battle Thralls: One of the uses the Cetyns have for recently acquired population. Since they use cybernetics to control them, it falls in the "Enslaved Grunts" category.
  • Beam Spam: You can make ships equipped with laser weapons only – though it is far from being the optimal solution.
  • Binary Suns: Some systems are binary. And since with the right equipment you can create suns, it is possible to have sixteen stars in the same system.
  • Bold Explorer: As with most space-themed games, your first actions will usually involve sending exploration ships across the stars to find suitable planets to exploit.
  • Bottomless Fuel Tanks: Your ships (or tanks) do not even need fuel.
  • Brain Uploading: Last time someone tried it, the Galaxy was plunged into thousands years of darkness
  • Casual Interplanetary Travel: Obviously.
  • Casual Inter Stellar Travel: Not even harder than Interplanetary.
  • City Planet: All your colonies will eventually become this, thanks to méta-cités.
  • Colony Drop: How the Melrehns liberated Mohr.
  • Colony Ship: Used to found colonies.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The background of ship illustrations are of different colors depending on the Faction : Dark blue for the Republic, golden for the Domains, red for the Dominion, light blue for the Empire, green for the Circle, purple for the Melrehns and grey-ish for the Federation.
  • Command & Conquer Economy: You, as head of your Nation, must decide everything, from mining operations to population growth rates.
  • Continuity Snarl: Whether Genesis and Horizon (the two severs) share their continuity or not is not quite sure.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: Names and skins of (most) ships will change depending on your Faction, but their characteristics are strictly the same.
  • Crawl: There is one on the bottom on the screen, displaying advices, news and jokes.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Each ship has a defined targeting. You can thus build fleets made only of anti-whatever ships... And be wiped by someone who just happened to have ships with an other hull type. The reverse is also true : if you field only one type of hull, your fleet will be quickly destroyed.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Apparently, « Every Amaranth production must be validated by the Imperial Committee on Aesthetics »
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: The first (and only) attempt of Brain Uploading resulted in a amnesiac nihilist semi-AI focused on bringing back the Universe to the nothingness from which it was born.
  • Death World: Not every planet is habitable, far from it.
  • Defenseless Transports: Civilian ships (cargos, exploration ships, mining modules...) are not armed. Making them cross enemy territory unescorted is unadvised.
  • Deflector Shields: They exist, but only on planets.
  • Design-It-Yourself Equipment: You can create your own personalized ships – and give them names and descriptions.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: It is expensive, but ''satomisateurs'' are capable of this.
  • Easy Logistics: More like nonexistent logistics. Ships and troops does have an upkeep, but it is automatically taken from your production with no concern to where the troops are or what they are doing.
  • The Empire: While there is an Amaranth Empire, they are not evil. Which is not to say they're nice either.
  • Enemy Mine: The Cetyn Invasion forced a lot of old enemies to work together. Hilarity Ensued.
  • Energy Weapon:
    • Plasma and Lasers are used as weapons on ships and on ground-to-space defenses.
    • The Flavor Text gives us masers, grasers and xasers.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Of the "hyperspace" variety.
  • The Federation:
    • Of all the Factions, the Thelios Federation is said to be the one that cares most about the well-being of its citizens. The keyword here being its, as they are secretly purging anyone on their planets does not share their specific genetic marker.
    • The RCA started as an obvious expy of the Federation, called the United Planets Organization.
  • Feudal Future: « A feudal system in the space age ? The Duchies did it. »
  • Final Solution: What the Cetyns plan to do to the "impure". What the Thelios are doing to everything on their planets that is not them.
  • Flavor Text: Ships and buildings have them.
  • Forever War: Factions have existed for millennia, and waged on-and-off wars on each other since then.
  • Galactic Conquerer: While the Seven Factions were squabbling, the Cetyns conquered half the Galaxy... bringing them to our doorsteps.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Well, not the gameplay per se, but more what the players are doing of it. For instance, according to their backstories, the Duchies and the Thelios Federation are mortal enemies. And yet, in game, the players voted them into an alliance.
  • Genesis Effect: Sations also allows you to do that.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Thelios ships have Latin names. Their super-dreadnought is for instance named Ad Victoriam.
  • Hurl It into the Sun: One mission ask you to throw garbage into the nearest star, because it is "cheaper than recycling it".
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: Interceptions.
  • Inertial Dampening: Goes hand-in-hand with Artifical Gravity.
  • Jack of All Stats: The "versatile" targeting is less powerful than specialized ones, but can be used against everything.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: Downplayed. While present and useful in the begining, “conventional” weapons are less and less used as one upgrades the laser and plasma technologies.
  • Lemony Narrator: Some of the descriptions and event pop-ups can be somewhat sarcastic.
  • Loading Screen: There is one when you first connect to the game, brightened by a nice animation of your Faction blazon.
  • Longevity Treatment: Word of God is that they exist, at least for the most wealthy.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...: There is no Earth in this setting.
  • Lost Technology: The first Gates were this. The Flagships of both the Amaranth Empire and the Leanth Circle are also Lanthanians leftovers.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Missile Launchers are one of the first defense available, and as such are dirt cheap to build. Meaning that a well defended planet will usually have millions of them.
  • Magnetic Weapons: Of both the coilgun and railgun versions.
  • Master Race: The Melrehns are quick to consider anything that is not them as inferior.
  • Mercurial Base: You can put installation on any planet that you might fancy. Even if they are next to a black hole.
  • Mega-Corp: What else did you expected from the Adrean Corporatist Republic ?
  • Mile-Long Ship: Heavy cruisers are about one kilometer long. Then you have battleships. And battlecruisers. And super-dreadnoughts. And the Faction's Flagship, culminating at 80 km.
  • The Milky Way Is the Only Way: Or the local equivalent, Amatens. And even then, only four sectors (on the 19 that compose it) have been explored.
  • Mobile Factory: What Bases Spatiales are. They allow you to build ships right next to the frontlines.
  • New Tech Is Not Cheap: Each new level of a given tech is 1.7 times more expensive than the previous, meaning than very high tech will have absurdly high costs – we're speaking of the production of hundreds of planets for several in-game years.
  • Naming Your Colony World: You can name your colonies however you want, although there is now a random name generator – the Creator was fed up with the scores of "New Colony" that people were too lazy to name.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Justified, as every single habitable planet share the same biology – courtesy of the Lanthanians
  • No Recycling: Averted, thanks to a building called the Recycling Center that enables ship breaking.
  • One-Federation Limit: Played straight with the Factions' names (The titular being the Thelios Federation, while the others are the Adrean Corporatist Republic, the Ducal Domains, the Zetran Dominion, the Amaranth Empire, the Leanth Circle and the Melrehns). Averted when it comes to player names, with tons of Empires, Republics, (Con)Federations and what have you.
  • One Nation Under Copyright: The Republic. One of the chambers in their Parliament is there only to represent the Corporations.
  • Orbital Bombardment: Happens everytime a fleet attacks a planet with ground-to-orbit defenses.
  • Plasma Cannon: One of the three type of weapons.
  • Player Versus Player: The main focus of the game, although...
  • Player Versus Environment: ...there will occasionally be server-wide events (like the current Cetyn Invasion) facing everyone at once.
  • Portal Network: Thanks to the Gates – which are totally not the sames as the ones in that show.
  • Powered Armor: The "Crusader" land unit is shown wearing one.
  • Precursors: The Lanthanians.
  • Precursor Killers: Ophélia – see Robot War below.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Subverted: Buildings on industrialized planets can be completed in a few seconds IRL, but that scales to a few hours in-game. Inverted with the biggest ships: a super-heavy super-dreadnought can take 17 years to be completed (, of course. Though that's still two weeks of real time).
  • Robot War: Ophélia was a Brain Upload Gone Horribly Wrong, and decided as such to kill every single living thing using huge self-replicating fleets. The Lanthanians managed to stop her/it by unleashing Eope's Anomaly, which deleted electricity for tens of thousands of years – destroying their own civilization in the process.
  • Space Battles: The core of the game.
  • Space Clouds: Useful if you want to mine large amounts of tritium in a short time.
  • Space Cold War: There is always one or two going on.
  • Space Fighter: They come in three flavors: light, medium and heavy.
  • Space Navy: All those ships have to belong to something, don't they ?
  • Space Pirates: The Verdon Pirates are of the second type, rhum and Ahoy included.
  • Space Station: Military and commercial ones are present.
  • Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: The homepage has those.
  • Standard Human Spaceship: Some Factions play this straight (the Zetran Dominion, for instance, have quite boxy ships) and other downplay it (Imperial ships are more rounded. They are still grey, though).
  • Standard Sci-Fi Fleet: From corvettes to dreadnoughts, the whole Jutland lineup is there.
  • Standard Time Units: The TSU system. The meaning of the acronym is not known, though it is rumored to stand for Temps Standard Universel (Universal Standard Time) or Temps Stellaire Unifié (Unified Stellar Time)
  • Standard Starship Scuffle: Some take place in the supplementary videos.
  • Star Killing: Mastery of Sations will allow you of black-hole-ise stars.
  • Starship Luxurious: The ships shown in the illustrations are quite refined for warships.
  • Surveillance Drone: The spy probe.
  • Technology Levels: Quite litteraly: You have technologies, and you can upgrade them to the next level – one at a time.
  • Technology Uplift: Players in the Technologist Guild can upgrate other players techs.
  • Terraform: You can change wastelands into new edens, but also into gaz giants.
  • The Theocracy: The Leanth Circle started as this, and to this day they are still revering the words of Elliane, questing for Elendis – though nobody actually knows what the hell it is.
  • Ungovernable Galaxy: There is seven Faction made of hundreds of Nations... And only a fifth of the galaxy have been explored.
  • Video Game Time: One IRL day is equal to one TSU year.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The in-game status of Satomisateurs, as they can obliterate whole planets.
  • War Is Glorious: Standard Dominion philosophy.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: There are six different ressources in the game. Zircan (often shortened to "Zr C") serves as gold, as it represents the galactic exchange currency. Metal and tritium fit the "Lumber" bill, while power is, well, power. Population is also present, usually in such vast quantities that you'll never be concerned with it. The last one is Photopiles, which can be thought as giant batteries: they require lots of power (and time) to be made, and are used for powering grandiose feats (of the "accelerating time" or "creating mass from energy" variety).