Gem's Kickstarter campaign's purpose is to raise funds to hire artists to create additional art for the game.
The project will launch on March 30 and will run for 30 days.
I created Gem because I wanted to play a game that was immersive, causal, and free to play.
I've always been a fan of games like World of Warcraft, Civilization, Elite Dangerous, and the X3 series. And what I loved most about those games was how engaging they were––You could get lost exploring immersive worlds for endless hours at a time.
The struggle I found was that in order to get to the meat of those games, I had to dedicate a ton of time to them––Which is great... if you’ve got a ton of time.
But not everyone does. So I started to think about what an immersive game that also catered to causal play might look like. But I also I hate pay to win games, or games that hide all the good stuff behind a paywall. I wanted to make something that was accessible to anyone, something that you could play from your browser and access all the content.
And I came up with Gemini Station.
It's designed to be a casual game. You can play as little or as much as you want and still get the full experience.
I spent all of 2019 building the game and launched it on January 1st of 2020. The game is live, you can try it now. We’ve got a really cool small community of players. And over the last year, several clutch ideas have come directly from the player-base, turning Gem into something that I think is really special.
But I’m the only developer; Gemini Station is a team of...well...me. I’ve programmed all the game mechanics, I’ve written all of the stories, but one thing I’m not is an artist. And art is the one thing Gem needs a lot more of. Gem's existing art is beautiful...it's just lacking. I'd like the depth of the game's visuals to match the story and mechanics and replace stock artwork I've had to use with original work...more on that later. (See 'Art Plans' below).
Gemini Station is primarily a space trading game. The idea is, you’re a pilot with a ship and you visit various locations, buying and selling goods to earn money so you can buy gear/upgrades (mods) for your ship. Gem's dynamic supply and demand-driven economy, along with an illusive smuggling system, makes finding the best deals exciting and fulfilling. You can also acquire goods by stealing them, finding them floating in space, or by pillaging other ships, thus increasing your profit! Most of the game's non-trading aspects (combat, hacking, salvaging, interacting with other ships) are based off of classic d20 tabletop role playing games. Mechanics related to attack, defense, damage, and shield recharge are all tied to the d20 rolls with relevant modifiers.
The idea is that in the future Earth colonizes Mars. A few inventors set up shop on Eris, and a wealthy entrepreneur builds a gas harvesting station around Jupiter.
But Earth and Mars don’t get along...not even a little.
In fact, they go to war, and in the fallout, a space station is constructed to serve as a neutral meeting place for everyone. Its purpose is to centralize trade and commerce between the four major factions.
That station is Gemini Station.
The player comes on the scene twenty or so year after the conclusion of the war. You’re a pilot trying to make a name for yourself when the station’s caretaker starts detecting strange energy readings throughout the system and asks you to investigate. The player walks through a rich story and through a combination of trading, fighting, scavenging, and hacking, acquires specialized modifications for their ship, continues to level up, and uncovers the source of the mysterious energy readings.
I hired a number of artists to illustrate the ships, items, locations, and characters. But good artists aren't cheap, and as a free game, there really isn't an art budget...there really isn't any budget. The game runs on donations and as Gem is only a year old, the player base is small.
That’s where you come in.
If I’m going to bring Gem to the next level, visually, I need support. And one thing I’ve learned through this process is that quality artists come at a price. The cool thing is I’m not pitching a game idea––the game is live, and free. You can check it out for yourself. And if you do, I hope you'd consider partnering with me to help make Gemini Station a work of art. The funds raised will be spent exclusively on expanding the game's artwork. The order of execution will depend on the total amount raised.
These are some of the planned initiatives:
Cockpits - As it stands, there is a single cockpit design for each ship. Unique cockpit designs for each tier (3) of each ship class, as well as for the every unique faction ship the player can acquire will be designed. There are currently 13 unique ships and the each deserve their own unique cockpit.
Multiple Ship Views - Currently, there is only a single, top view of each ship. Additional side, front, offset, and interior views will give players a better view of the ships they pilot, and will be used in animations as well.
New Ships - There are a handful of new ships that need to be designed to accommodate future story and game mechanic plans. This includes capital ships, drones, minor space station designs, and alien tech.
More Characters - One of the most praised elements in Gem are the playable stories and associated lore. With more characters, I can expand the lore and write additional stories.
Animations - Events such as trading, entering and leaving locations will become animated events, giving the game a deeper sense of interactivity. These animations would feature the pilot’s ship and any other character interacted with the player.
Items & Mods - Additional artwork for both items and mods will be created, allowing for increased variety in mod design, and allow additional items to be added to the game.
More Locations - Players love exploring new locations whether it’s research station on Earth’s Moon, or SPOILER. The primary limitation to adding locations, is that location’s artwork. There are several new locations that pilots have been suggested, demanded, and or begged for.
Transaction Screens - Since so much of gem revolves around trade, I’d like to overhaul the current transaction screen with artwork of each location’s hangar with the shopkeeper, and animations of goods being loaded or unloaded onto your ship.
As an extra incentive, I'm going to expand the game, adding additional game mechanics for each stretch goal met.
$10,000 - Trainable Crew - Currently, players can hire NPC co-pilots who augment your ship's ability. These NPC units have static stats. I would like to expand that system to allow the player to train the crew, upgrading their abilities, adding new abilities, etc. Training would entail everything from sending them to 'crew school' to sending them on missions where they'd earn XP.
$25,000 - Special Abilities - Unique abilities will be added to each ship class, unique to each class. These abilities will further add to highlight the strengths of each class. Abilities will include class-based defensive/offensive actions, unique weapons, sensor jamming, cloaking, and more.
$50,000 - Guild Ships - As it stands, players can form guilds and play together. Guilds can invade and claim sectors of space, but there is no central guild base. With the addition of guild ships, guilds would be able to build large capital-type ships that would act as mobile a guild base, allowing guilds to travel as one throughout the system.
$100,000 - Grid-Based Combat - A new grid-based combat system will be developed and built. Grid-based combat will be a turn-based mechanic similar to XCOM or Final Fantasy Tactics.
Thank you for taking the time to explore my project!