This is a mini-PICO-8-edition of a much larger upcoming game. It's pay-what-you-want - all money earned here will go towards the development of the full version! If you'd really like to help out, I also have a Patreon where I accept recurring donations.

The PC version will add a replayable campaign mode, a military aspect, five philosophical factions with varying tech to choose from, revamped procedurally-generated graphics, and many other features - while still keeping the swift gameplay of this preview. If you'd like to stay up-to-date on the PC version's progress, check out the website or follow the game on Twitter/Facebook.

How to play

There is an animated quickstart guide, but here is the shortest possible version:

Drag the map around using the right mouse button or the SDFE keys. Click to drop a wormhole that will become your starting point. Then click and drag to find some planets, which you can colonize with your chosen industry type. Drag from planet to planet to connect them with a slipway. Try to connect planets that make stuff with planets that need it. Buy structures by dragging them from the bottom-right corner. Research technologies from the top-left corner. Click the heart symbol to check your score.

Make the biggest, baddest, most prosperous empire possible!

Credits

The game design, coding and graphics are all by me - Jakub Wasilewski. All things audio by Gruber.

This game would not be possible without the help of my Patreon supporters, including these top-tier heroes: Tomasz Bylina, Adam Kwapiński, Thorsten Schleinzer, Marc Holmes, Grzegorz Dałek, Andreas Bretteville, Carlos Pardo. Thank you!

Download

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Click download now to get access to the following files:

PICO-8 Cartridge 52 kB
PICO-8 Source Code (.p8) 112 kB
if you pay $5 USD or more
Downloadable version (Windows) 908 kB
if you pay $5 USD or more
Downloadable version (OS X) 1 MB
if you pay $5 USD or more
Downloadable version (Linux) 510 kB
if you pay $5 USD or more

Development log

Comments

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Viewing most recent comments 1 to 40 of 44 · Next page · Last page
(+2)

I've got to say, this is a good game, but the fact your time is limited has disueded my prefrence. I would love an endless version, since this is quite dull without it.

I agree

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I really like this game though I can't support you with the development of the full game,I hope you can get the full game up and running sooner or later.I will consider buying it.Overall, good job!

Don't know if this is in the Full Version or not, but could there be an endless mode for people who are just obsessed with optimization?

Hey, I know that you probably don't have time to answer, as I imagine you are quite busy, but is there any progress updates on this game? Sorry, I just would really like to buy it and was interested in the estimated release date.


Thanks! 

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You need to make this into a mobile game, i'd definitely play it for a really long time, its so fun

Can you add so you can choose how many years you want cause i think it is annoying that you only have 25 cause most of the time i have like 20% left of the time when i start doing well on a playtrhough on the easiest mode

(+1)

I'll have a little bit more flexibility in the PC version, where there is more space to experiment. The PICO-8 version is working under tight constraints, so there is only one mode - the 25 years was chosen to strike the right balance between sandboxy fun and challenge.

Very neat graphics and effects since Pico-8 limitations are very harsh!

I spotted that you managed to implement a custom mouse pointer.

May I ask you how you prevent system mouse cursor to be drawn on top of your mouse sprite?

Thank you.

Sure - it's just CSS styling. Adding {cursor: none;} on any element will turn off the cursor when the mouse is over it.

👍👍👍 It works! Thanks!

It would be nice if the how to play option was in the game, not on the web.

I wish there was an option for infinite mode! I always feel disappointed when my game ends. 

I'm hoping to address that in the PC version by offering a longer experience to those who want it.

Much longer games would be great, not sure infinite would be though? You need some kind of goal or end to the game. :)

https://prnt.sc/juojhs got a weird error while spamming probes.

Thanks for reporting this! I think it's actually an obscure and hard to track down bug in PICO-8, since I've seen a few different versions of this message reported, all happening in seemingly random places. As such, I'll try to raise the issue with PICO-8's creator, but unfortunately it's not a guarantee that we'll be able to reproduce it (let alone fix it). The one good thing about it is that it only happens very rarely.

(+2)


Strategy:

  • Start near a dense cluster of planets. Planet connection costs are your main early game expense.
  • Ruin - ocean - hive is the only good starting loop. Restart if you don't have one in your first few pings
  • Get Gold and Blue planets asap and whenver possible. These disproportionately boost revenue and happiness
  • Slip gates cost too much time and money to be worthwhile.
  • First lab around year 5, second science before year 10.

Tech:

  • Drillbots, space folding
  • Geneseeds, Forgeworld conversion tech
  • +15% money, 2 month world colonization, hiveworld conversion (didn't use)
  • Extra months per year(didn't use), ascention (Only had time for 1)

Feedback:

  • Great game :)))))
  • ^ Seriously, lots of fun.
  • It's annoying trying to figure out if a satalite will reveal a planet right at its edge
  • As above, slipways are the most fun to use, but are too time/money expensive if you're going for high score.
  • The trade-tree is a bit too limited. There are usually only one or two possible routes given any set of planets, which takes out some of the strategy. More wildcard type planets like the ruin-worlds might help with this.

Great game. The only feature I really miss is an undo - just an option to take back the last, single click that does not supply new information. It would also be nice to somehow reduce the influence of luck on the starting position.

My scores really improved when I stopped relying heavily on slipgates and infratech.


Impressive scores! The undo feature *is* definitely going to be there in the PC version - like you guessed, only for moves where no hidden information was revealed.

Could benefit from "Trading Outposts" or the like that you could purchase to extend the range of slipstreams.

You're in luck - the "slipgates" technology on the second tech level is exactly this. "Space folding" from the first level also gives you a bit more range, but is more limited.

(+2)

This game is astonishingly awesome!  Once one figures out a few preliminaries, gameplay is intuitive and yet difficult to master.

Some development observations, if you're still interested:

  • I second (third?) the requests to be able to destroy and/or move objects created by the player.  In particular, I find it frustrating when I do my best to position a slipgate or other space station only to find out an intended slipway to it just nicks a planet or barely fails to reach.  Building a slipway simultaneously when placing a space station (e.g. by clicking the space station button and then clicking and dragging from a planet) would resolve some of this.
  • I've also run into the problem (faced by others here) where large networks of slipgates fail to work as expected.  As noted, resources are distributed over networks according to the sequence of slipway creation, and as a result, the first planets and stations connected to the network tend to be oversupplied while everything else is starved.  This might be fixed if planets stopped accepting new resources once they've reached "rich", though I suspect resource allocation may need to be more subtle than that.  It might also help to prioritize more recently added slipways, but keep existing resource allocations in place.  An alternative is to limit the viability of slipgate network creation, e.g. by limiting the maximum network size to 2 or 3 slipgates, etc.
  • Another related issue I've spotted is that sometimes when connecting two planets such that the first needs X to produce more Y and the second needs Y to produce more X, neither sees an increase in production.  This only occurs when the planets are already connected to other slipways consuming their existing production.  Having connected the planets to each other first avoids the paradox.  Otherwise, such a system needs to be kickstarted (i.e. one of the planets needs to get resources from somewhere else) before it can work as expected (and even then, any slipgate networks they're connected to must not have dibs on their additional output).
  • Some techs increase the output of existing colonies, which may be immediately useful to their existing slipway connections, but the available resources are not properly displayed as being consumed until the next month.
  • Lastly, building a station at the extreme right edge of the map can result in its menu always being rendered off the edge of the screen.  This could be fixed if stations were restricted to being built within the same bounds as planets can occur, or if menus always rendered on screen (nudging to left, etc., as needed).

Thanks again for making such a great game.  I can't wait to see the PC version.  Please support Linux if you can, but I understand if that's infeasible.

Thank you for the detailed feedback. It's always appreciated, especially since many of the points apply to the upcoming PC version as well.

I'm building the engine of the PC version with the possibility of doing "undos" built-in from the very start. I also think I came up with a good UI solution for the slipway routing that would let you just drag exports from slipway to slipway - but we'll see how it works in practice. The "kickstarting" is "works as intended", but maybe not "works like it should". Will think about it when coding the new economy engine. The last two are bugs, but they're pretty minor - and at this moment I'm really focused on getting the PC version off the ground, so they might be left unfixed for a while.

I'm planning to have Linux build. Unity supports it, so it's only a question of a little extra elbow grease to get it done.

(9 edits) (+1)

My only wish is that the viewing area could be much larger so I could see more at once.

Very interesting game, loving it!

---

edit: a couple other thoughts since playing a bit.

1. I can see why not letting trade routes cross makes sense - maybe a tech upgrade would allow for this?  I missed that there is a tech for this

2. It would be helpful if right-click would exit a menu; as it is, I must left-click to exit a menu and often find myself firing off unnecessary probes.  It would also be helpful if right-click would allow for canceling a probe / in general be used as "no i dont wanna do that no more".

3. Twice I have accidentally right-clicked outside of the game area, dragged to the right, and accidentally selected "Back".

4. Alternatively to #2/#3, perhaps instead left-click should be for drag-move, menus, and exiting menus, while right-click is the launching button; used only for launching the wormhole at the beginning, and probes throughout the game (and not stacked with any not-launching functions).

5. Again, this is a really great concept and I am thoroughly enjoying it :)

I love it and wait for a pc version :D

Hey I just got thre Linux version but it goes into fullscreen. I

I don't have a Linux box at hand to test with, but I'm just using the default PICO-8 binary export. I'll check it out tomorrow and see if I can help. In the meantime, Alt+Enter toggles fullscreen on all the other platforms, so maybe it'll help here as well?

Oh yeah you are right, it does. So few games that I have played in the last years actually support that function that I completely forgot about it. Cheers!

Two notes for developer and I would definitely buy this game. 


1. Need bigger view-port. It is very tiring to scroll through all planets with small view-port.

2. Need ability to unlink the planets (even if it takes another turns).


I really enjoy this game. And the turn limit makes it very replay-able.

I love it.

(+1)

The PC version will definitely have a bigger viewport! :) This one is limited by PICO-8's capabilities.
The ability to take down slipways is also something often suggested by players, so I will definitely keep it in consideration for the PC version.

Great!
I'm looking forward to play the Linux version. :)

(1 edit)

This is a really fun, in-depth (and very addictive!) galactic empire game. I have been playing it for a few days now, and must say this PICO-8 version has way more depth to it than i first anticipated. Even when my score at the end of a 'run' is 6000+, I still feel like I havent seen a pretty big part of the Slipways universe, which is a good thing for me.

Can't wait to see the full PC game!

Really enjoying this game, just purchased it after having been playing it in the browser for a few hours the past couple of days. There are 2 things at the moment which I think could improve it  for me personally, the ability to unlink slipways at some point and being able to zoom out and get a better overall picture, or have a map you can open. Another feature that would be great would be preset maps so that it's not so random, having a defined goal or missions goals per level could be good too. You've probably already thought of all this but just thought i'd give my thoughts. I really enjoy the passive style of the game and the addition of military would probably ruin for me. Perhaps being able to choose a passive mode would be good too.

The only opther point I would add is longer play times, it always feels like the game is over too quickly. Maybe extended maps with open ended games (game ends when you reach a goal rather than time limit) so you can explore further would be cool too.

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Getting pretty addicted to this despite what I said above, been filling a lot of my spare time between work etc. Getting some nice results for tech and happiness but I still feel like the end result is quite dependant on pure luck. Sometimes you just can't do anything with the planets you're given... Much like real life I suppose. :)



"the ability to unlink slipways" 

I'm not sure about this. It would change the gameplay a lot.

It would change the gameplay in later game yes, but that's the point, it would be a late-game purchase so you can choose to buy it and clean up and mistakes you made early-game.

(1 edit)

I love this game, and the strategy is very fun. I've started developing a clone for android with vector graphics, and was wondering if you'd mind me putting such a thing on the internet when it's done (Giving you credit, of course!) I would change the controls, maybe the way the research works, and make the universe much bigger in both space and time.

Edit: I'll be honest, I was expecting this to be a simple enough thing to work on android, but I'm coming across framerate issues with the engine I'm using. I might still do this, but it's going to be a while.

I'll buy this on Android

Kinda reminded me of Ur-Quan Masters and Master of Orion.

Pretty neat game.

How do you use the Slip-gates?

(+1)

Drop a gate anywhere, then connect slipways to it. All planets connected to a gate work as if they were connected ditectly.

(1 edit)

The only criticism I have is that the win-state is ambiguous.   I think defining the goal better would benefit this game a lot.  That being said, I want this on a mobile platform and i'm willing to kiss any productivity goodbye once that's a thing. 

(+1)

Y tho.

(1 edit) (+1)

It was a bug in the trade system, thanks for reporting it! I think I found it and fixed it, so this shouldn't happen anymore.

Oh, okay then. But still, that was one of my best runs. T_T

(+1)

I've clocked 8 hours so far, and damn do I love it.  I really enjoy your plans for the HD Version as well, what with the militaristic aspects, and the campaign mode. only real suggestion I'd have would be to add the ability to destroy slipways, slipgates, and the other space-station type buildables. (Science pods, food processers, and trade hubs etc.)

Being able to tear down slipways is probably going a feature of one of the low-level techs in the HD edition - turns out, tunnels through timespace are not so easy to stop once they get going ;) 

I'm definitely going to get the full version in a week once I finish my pc, can't wait to see what it holds!

Theres something about this game that's kept me coming back again and again. I'm amazed you managed to squeeze three of the X's into such a tiny engine, and I'm excited to see where this goes - especially the PC version. Good work!

The game is so awesome, I love it a lot! Cant wait for the HD version. Tho, I really miss the full screen button. I know, that mouse doesn't work with default pico-8 plate, but someone on BBS made a plate that works really well. 

(+1)

There is a fullscreen button now - thanks for pointing me in the right direction :)

This game is fantastic! I only wish that there was more time allotted per playthrough. Sometimes I get to a really nice point in my empire right as the game ends. Or am I missing some strategy? Nevertheless, I love your game!

(+1)

I love your game!

(+2)

I just wanted to say that I am amazed by the artwork in this game.  So much richness and detail, everything looks unique (except Jungle/Xeno) that I was really truly shocked that you had drawn everything with only a 16 color palette!

I am still trying to master the optimal paths of developing my sector, but I've had a blast even in my struggles.

What does the difficulty level change?  Does it just increase the chance of star systems turning up empty?

No, the odds of dud signatures do not change. The biggest difference between levels is the income from trade. The only planet-related change is that on lower levels the odds are titlted a bit in your favor when generating starting planet types.

(+2)

please, please, please: let me maximize the window. zoom it in if you can't let me see more at once

There is now a fullscreen button in the bottom-right corner, should help - though it only zooms in, as PICO-8 only does 128x128 pixels.

(+1)(-1)


Well that is a fail. -__- Where the hell is my food now?

(+2)(-4)

I really don't appreciate the tone. 
From what I see in the screenshots, the food went to the planet you can see in the lower left corner in the first image. Planets are greedy and always take as much resources as possible - the planet with the oldest connection to the slipgate wins, currently. Ideally, I'd make it so the most "needy" planet wins, but that'd require big changes to the algorithm that assigns trade. Definitely will do it for the full version, but it likely won't fit in the PICO-8 edition.

(1 edit) (+1)

I hadn't intended to be harsh or something like that. Just my style of speech with plenty of profanity words. ^_^ Still the problem is a problem. The planet in the left corner in the first image already had a food. It's strange that they took more if it is the case. Also when I sent this post itch redirected me to comments page so I lost the progress. Not your fault but damn - that was my best run!

Even if you can't fit that to the pico-8 version can you make it so that labs have a limit on how many people they wil employ. In a run where I built a giant highway using slipgates a lab ended up getting 7 people while I had so many unsatisfied planets.

(+2)

Okay, I've been watching the development of this game for a while and it's looking super impressive. So polished and slick too.

So, I just HAD to buy it. I look forward to having a good play this evening. Great to see this released.

(+1)

--- GERMAN ---

Ein kleiner Space-Sim in dem man Anhand von gegebenen Planeten und Handelsrouten ein florierendes Reich zusammenklickt.

Pro:
- sehr simples, süchtig machendes Spielprinzip
- kurze Runden von ca. 30 Minuten
- sobald man versucht zu optimieren wird es richtig knifflig

Contra:
- kein Tutorial, Quickstart-Guide lesen für ganzen Spaß ist Pflicht (zum Glück nicht lang)
- keine Zoom-Funktion auf der Sternenkarte
- zu viele "Scheinplaneten"

_________________________________________________________________

--- ENGLISH ---

A little Space-Sim, were you build your empire with the given planets and setting up trading-routes (slipways).

Pro:
- very simple, addicting gameplay
- short rounds of arround 30minutes
- when you start to optimize, it get's really tricky

Con:
- no Tutorial, reading the quickstart-guide is obligatory for the most fun (luckily it's a short one)
- no zoom-option on the starmap
- to many "non-planets"

Thanks for the review! Watched it and enjoyed it to the extent my rusty high-school German permitted :)
I'm actually surprised it took this long for somebody to mention the lack of zoom. Couldn't do it in the PICO-8 edition due to technical constraints, but that's obviously one shortcoming I intend to remedy with the full version. Same goes for a comprehensive in-game tutorial. What do you mean by non-planets? The ones that turn out to be useless and disappear, or the hard-to-use ones (barren, iceball, etc.)?

(2 edits) (+1)

Heya!
Glad, you liked the video! - honestly, watching it makes me scream at myself, it is really hard to play this game while trying to focus also on talking about it ^^"

I already thought, that the lack of zoom is down to PICO-8 (even though I know nothing about it, but the comments show me it is very limited in what you can do with it). But since I tried to show the game of as what it is, I felt the need to at least address it as an issue (when you are able to build longer slipways it was more a problem then in the early phase of the game).

With "non-planets" I mean the ones dissappear after you scan them, aye. I had a lot of games where I started in the busiest sector and ended up with an earth-like, a water-planet and a barren and not many options. It feels like too many of them dissappear. I would feel more comfortable if it would be coded in a way, that the first x number of planets you scan have a bigger chance of being hospitable.


Oh by the way: For fun, I just tried to start the game on my iPhone and was able to at least colonize 3-4 planets and build slipways and I liked the way it looked and felt on a mobile device even though I wasn't able to move the map or use any other right-click or mouse-over actions.
Any plans for a mobile version after the full pc-version is out there? :) I pretty much enjoy the puzzle-like very light gameplay and I think this one would be a nice one to have for a 20min session on public transport.


bests,
Verg :)

(+1)

Kind of a weird thing to focus on, but... SDFE keys?

PICO-8 code space is very limited, and it was cheaper to do SDFE since these are PICO-8's default player 2 controls - and I figured it wasn't worth removing actual features from the game in order to be able to move this one key to the left ;)

It's kinda interesting but a big pain right into the brain because you can't cross routes at the beginning (a plain space or what, I don't get it) and there is no transit chains. Also - why there is possibility to make double route between planets in one direction?

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