Infinity (upcoming video game)
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Infinity is the postponed massively multiplayer online space simulation video game originally intended to be the first game built on the I-Novae engine by I-Novae Studios. While the I-Novae engine has been in development since 2004 (as a personal project until 2010), development of Infinity never started.
In Infinity, the player controls a spacecraft and travels throughout a galaxy trying to make a name for themselves. Players will be able to connect to an online server on which large numbers of other people are playing in a persistent world.
A pre-alpha combat prototype was launched in 2006 and a tech demo video was released in 2010. In 2013, the development team announced the postponement of Infinity the MMO and a new plan to fund Infinity: Battlescape, a space combat game, through Kickstarter.
Based on the original Infinity Timeline and Exegesis. Human descendants of planet Earth, who have long lost the knowledge of Earth's existence, inhabit a star by the name of Delta on planet Geodesa under the rule of Deltan Government. Scientists predict the collapse of the star within 500 years. Deltan government construct a massive evacuation vessel named the Ark Starship which may hold a few million occupants from the billions that are on Geodesa. As the filled Ark ship leaves Delta in search of a new home, remnants of the Deltan government call evacuation of the whole Delta star system. Only a few million people manage to escape before the collapse of the star. Deltan government reforms on nearby habitable stars growing into an interstellar civilization known as the Deltan Federation. Hundreds of years later the Ark Starship colonizes a star several thousand light years away from the collapsed Delta star forming the Centaurus culture. Thousands of years later Centaurus re-establish contact with the Deltan Federation. Centuries later distant Deltan colonies form the Star Fold Confederacy politico-economic union against the wishes of the Deltan Federation. Deltan Federation declares war on Star Fold Confederacy. Deltan Federation closes Hyper-spatial Interstellar Portal used for high speed travel between Deltan and Star Fold space. War lasts for decades at a seeming stalemate and is brought to end by Centaurus acting as peace negotiators. A thousand years later practically all humans develop a genetic malfunction that causes infertility. All interstellar governments blame each other and especially the Centaurus due to their Biogen gene manipulation program. A cold war sets in. A data file is received from an anonymous source that points that a cure may be found on Earth. From this point the game's players act as protagonists with the discovery of Earth as their main objective. I-Novae Studios noted that discovery of Earth would end the beta phase for the game, which corresponds to the subtitle 'The Quest for Earth'.
Gameplay is inspired by the 1984 space simulation game Elite by David Braben and Ian Bell. Like Elite, the player travels throughout the vast galaxy to fight, trade, explore and develop their character through missions, bounties, etc. However, both have different game features resulting in different gameplay. Infinity does not focus on combat as much as Elite. The combat and flight in Infinity is twitch-based (at least for smaller ships) and not at all similar to the point-and-click-based movement and combat in many other massively multiplayer online games set in space. Instead, the game is open-ended, and the player can engage in either aggressive or peaceful styles of playing. Also, unlike Elite, the player can land on planets and see their landscapes like in Elite's sequels Frontier: Elite II, Frontier: First Encounters (Elite 3) and Elite Dangerous: Horizons.
Planets and systems
Like Elite, Infinity will offer a vast number of systems and planets. The universe will consist of approximately 200 billion star systems each with an assortment of planets, moons, and smaller bodies in addition to other phenomena such as nebulae and black holes. Procedural generation is used to create this vast universe on the fly as the player moves throughout the galaxy. This does not mean that each player will generate a random universe to explore on their own, but rather that each player's client will generate a universe identical to everyone else's, creating an effect similar to the non-procedural design of most standard massively multiplayer online games. In addition, the engine has the ability to automatically adjust planetary level of detail so that the player can seamlessly move from orbit to ground level without loading screens. Unlike many space based computer games, realistic scales and distances are maintained, and planetary bodies move realistically about their stars.
Infinity Combat Prototype
The Infinity Combat Prototype is a standalone game that was released in May 2006 and improved upon until July 2007 as a way to test some components of Infinity before it was finished. It is a separate program that only shares the engine, and as such it does not represent what would be found in Infinity. Its goal was to test the graphics engine, the physics engine, and the networking engine, and to experiment with its controls, combat mechanics and balance, to measure performance, and to improve stability and fix bugs. The combat prototype does not include any form of planetary landing, and only ten ships are available to the players. The gameplay is arena (team vs team) based, as opposed to Infinity's intended open-ended, "sandbox" style of play.
In 2013 the game's developers announced that they would be attempting to raise funding on Kickstarter for a multiplayer combat game Infinity: Battlescape at some time in 2014. The development blog described the game to be an arena-based shooter in space. However, due to the capabilities of the I-Novae engine, this "arena" will take the form of a realistically scaled solar system. On a basic level, it is planned to focus on combat in the Infinity universe.
On October 21, 2015, the Infinity: Battlescape Kickstarter was launched. The campaign succeeded and raised a total of US$332,620. Lead developer Keith Newton announced in an update following the successful campaign that he had begun working full-time on the project.
In late August 2004, on video game development website GameDev.net, Flavien Brebion created a journal describing the progress of developing the 'Infinity' game engine, not to be mistaken for BioWare's Infinity Engine. The game engine's features creation of real scale planet terrain, star systems and galaxies using procedural generation. While it would be possible to create other game assets using a similar method. Brebion chose not to do so, as the quality of such assets was unsatisfactory. These assets included 3D models of ships and structures, textures, and music. So instead, contributors of the forum community offered their free time producing these assets.
In May 2006, Flavien released the freeware Infinity Combat Prototype meant to test networking code, as well as basic space combat gameplay. Game engine unrelated content was mostly provided by volunteer contributors from the community. Game consists of two teams fighting each other with the goal of earning credits and destroying the other team's NPC capital ships. Players earn credits from destroying enemy ships and are able to buy other types of ships and missiles. The prototype is still available for download on the official ModDB Infinity game page, though there are no longer any official servers set up.
Up until this point, the project was managed by Brebion as a part-time hobby project. In early 2010 Epic Games engine programmer Keith Newton left Epic to form I-Novae Studios along with Brebion with the initial goal of creating the commercial engine called I-Novae, proceeds of which were meant to fund development of the game. In March, Newton attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco and showed the engine privately to potential licensees. In April, I-Novae Studios uploaded a 14-minute technical demonstration video of I-Novae game engine on their website and in August also on their official YouTube channel.
I-Novae Studios failed to attract licensees for the engine and so in April 2013 announced that the Infinity: The Quest For Earth project has been put on hold for a reduced scope space combat game called Infinity: Battlescape. I-Novae Studios stated that game's full development would be funded through a Kickstarter campaign. I-Novae Studios stated that the same I-Novae game engine would be used and noting that development of the game engine meant progress towards the MMORPG.
It is important to note that development of Infinity (subtitled The Quest for Earth) never commenced. Until Battlescape, all development effort was purely on developing the I-Novae engine.
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