Beyond Sol is a massive space odyssey where you really can create your own empire. Founder/Art Director Eric Fagnan and Founder/President Zachary Beaudoin answered some questions about developing the game for us.
Nerd Age: Where did you get the idea for a top-down, living universe game? Along the same line of questioning, was Star Control an inspiration?
Praxia Developers: The Beyond Sol game we started developing in the summer of 2014 is a different game than what we ended up releasing in 2015. Originally we were making a space buccaneer game that was going to emphasize the same kind of ‘Han Solo’ fantasy fulfilment as classics did such as Escape Velocity or Freelancer. But this is in the time while Elite Dangerous, Star Citizen, and other similar space buccaneering games were in development so we decided we needed to do something different; something unique.
After a week of exploring a bunch of different ideas we hit the idea of taking the space ship combat we already had and making a strategy game out of it. For this we were inspired by Mount & Blade by TaleWorlds Entertainment. We found a way to blend action-based space combat in capitol ships into a dynamic strategy game and the Beyond Sol you play today was created.
NA: Beyond Sol is very event-driven as opposed to story-driven. Why did you decide to go with this format, considering your previous games?
Praxia Developers: We had made story-driven RPGs for years with BioWare and when we left we knew we wanted to do something different – otherwise we would have just stayed there. The problem with a story-driven game is that the player doesn’t actually get to shape the world – all outcomes are predetermined and developers create the illusion of consequence.
One of the things we wanted to do with Beyond Sol’s narrative was to create a living world for you that would evolve over time even if you weren’t there. But your actions in that world would matter not only to you but ultimately shape the world which would allow you to create your own narrative.
NA: After playing Beyond Sol we believe the random events are the best part of any game like this one. How did you go about designing these for Beyond Sol?
Praxia Developers: The events are a device that give the game flavor and gives you the opportunity to directly affect the game world without having to be at war with other cities. Doing events can impact your relationship with other cities.
When we want to design a new event we first try and think of something fun to do that fits in the context. Then we balance the difficulty or risk in doing the event with the potential reward and balance that against other existing events. We also like to find a way to tie events back into the strategy layer of the game by making the outcomes of events affect the world or affect your relationship with other cities.
NA: Are any expansions planned for the game?
Praxia Developers: We love Beyond Sol and we are going to continue working on it as long as our community continues to provide us with great ideas on how to improve it. Instead of working on big updates that come out months later we’ve decided to continue with our weekly update and just keep injecting more into the game over time. We’ve found that our players really like this so far because every week we do something that will change the way they play.
NA: Are you in the planning stages for any new titles, perhaps an RPG?
Praxia Developers: We are in the very early ideation phase of a new project but we can’t say any more at this time.
NA: Do you have any advice for upcoming developers?
Praxia Developers: I’m often approached by young people and people who already have schooling in programming or something similar who ask me how to get into game development. My advice is simple: if you want to work in games work on games. Start modding, or learn to use free engines such as Unity3d or Unreal, join an open source project, just work on game projects. There are three important things game companies will take into account when hiring a new entrant: experience in their craft, experience working in a team, and a passion for games.
NA: We want to thank Eric and Zachary for sharing their insights with us. You can buy Beyond Sol on Steam right now for $19.99. We highly recommend that you check it out.