New North Star Info Revealed


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#1 baby arm

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 06:02 AM

Kerberos Productions have slipped out some new information on their secretive North Star project, the unrelated follow-up to Sword of the Stars. Here's the scoop:

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• Countless RPG missions, nested with story-specific missions, that take place on ships, spacestations, planets, and moons! Shoot it out in ship-to-ship combat or shoot it out on the ground as you and your crew try and make a living!
• Faction-based reputation in dealing with various groups expanding throughout the stars, each modeled as the future, fictional version of Earth nations!
• Massive amounts of cargo that the you can trade, sell, or use for yourself, including combining items to produce new items to trade, sell or use! Map new planets in the air and then explore the surface with your crew for your own purposes or to make a little extra cash from land-hungry colonists!
• Dozens of ship classes, each with expandable levels of technology - which are reflected in the ship models, weapons and combat effects. Dozens of weapons and technology players can outfit their ship with in order to fly further, fast, carry more cargo, and protect themselves better!
And Kerberos honcho Martin Cirulis expanded further on what they're aiming for:

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To us, the essence of the space trader was Han Solo. Yes, the falcon was a hot ship, but it wasnt supposed to be fighting star destroyers all the time or taking on endless jobs to shoot down space pirates...it was about the dealing withlowlife scum, hidden cargo panels, taking odd jobs on the surface of worlds, gunfights as well as dogfights. Shooting up things in space is fun for a bit, but actually watching the cops wander by your hidden cargo panel and wondering whether you should dive for cover and start blasting now? Thats the feel, tension and gameplay we want to bring back to the genre.
Sounds like more fun than the time I melted my Greedo action figure on top of a lightbulb.

northstar1.jpg



#2 Space Voyager

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 07:45 AM

Martin Cirulis expanding even further...

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perspective will be 3'rd person Japanese Tactical RPG/X-Com view.

And yes, there will be full traditional RPG character stat and skill use and development.

You will be modding and upgrading and repairing the ships. Parts in various subsystems WILL degrade and breakdown. You WILL be swapping in a cheap generator bypass to keep the ships shields up in the middile of combat  

As for missions...Nstar will not just use a large amount of missions to infer replayability but will offer variablity in the missions themselves. For instance in a very recent high profile space RPG, what you have is basically a very large number of missions, but those missions are the same every time you play the game. The issue is just finding and playing through them all. In Nstart, say on one playthrough I guy offers you cash to deliver a box to his brother on alpha centauri. You take the job, it turns out to the be the family china and the brother is very happy and he pays you. The next time you play through the game the man giving you the mission is really an assassin and the package is really a cleverly disguised bomb. The next time it might be a drug sting and at the other end is a squad of security troops waiting to frame and arrest you.


As for the old ship...well in this case your Mother went from being an indy trader on the Northstar to working her way up the ranks of the Hudson's Bay Trade Corp to the point she was commanding a 2 mile long trade/factory ship touring the frontier when she dissappeared...the least you could do is live up to that career arc in her original ship.

Keep the faith...Do the work...jury-rig those parts....and the Nstar will bring you home safe every time.

He he he... I'm so buying this...

#3 Pete

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:09 AM

This sounds like the first game I may be able to ge excited about in a long while :oh:
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#4 flark

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 08:28 AM

This sounds bloody awesome guys!

From the description it reminds me of the massively underated MegaTraveller1 - The Zhodani Conspiarcy back from about 1990 or something. The graphics were terrible but that old game was crammed full of so much great gameplay and detail I have't seen anything like it since. It's about time someone took hold of that  idea and brought it back up to date. I'm really looking forward to this one now. :oh:

#5 Azrael Strife

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 11:41 AM

Sounds like a deeper Space Rangers game, nice!
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#6 Matri

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Posted 22 January 2008 - 09:46 PM

I agree, Pete. Good starship-based sci-fi RPGs are in such short supply.
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#7 hot22shot

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 03:06 PM

Looks good, btw it also sounds like a very old game : Star Flight : http://www.geocities...starflight.html

#8 Knan

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Posted 23 January 2008 - 05:13 PM

Ooh, Traveller-ish space rpg with Han Solo as the ideal? I'm in. No question.

#9 baby arm

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 09:49 PM

About the combat:

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I think looking at Nstar personal combat as being akin to fallout is not a bad abstraction at this point. In the end there will be some diffs but the general philosophy and structure will probably be pretty similar.

Space combat will be real time though. Think of a slightly more 2D forced version of SotS where the pacing and and situations lend themselves more to manouver and planning than a bazillion cool weapons flying through the air at once like in SotS. In situations where something dmages a ship system component, repairs or replacement will also have to be done in real-time. Somewhat akin to han solo workin on that hyperdrive

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#10 Space Voyager

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 07:44 AM

Some new info well worth telling you guys!

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Q:So i'm rather curious about the sorts of things you can do off your ship. If you find a nice patch of planet that someone just happened to forget to report, could you fly in building materials and specialists and build up your own little pad and start a business... maybe some kind of mining or farming operation, then use your ship to sell your produce?

A:There indeed will be side businesses/facilities to set up and run...look at this basic example.

You are surveying a planet off in the deep Scatter...No previous beacons, no Mapping Service registered flightplan in the data base, no other ships in system. As far as you can tell you are pulling a Columbus. Atmo is very close to standard, within parameters to walk around outside with a thick coat on. Nothing terrible popping up from orbit, you decide to use the Nstar itself for the low survey...you quickly fly zone to zone mapping the small details and, since your agenda right now is fuel for the fusion drives, you pick out a landing zone at the mouth of a river with low hills and enough open space to set down easily. You land, cut to RPG view and you wander out of the ship carefully...the spot beside the river is very nice and, after dispatching something resembling the love child of a bear and a rhino, you decide its safe enough to haul out a cracking station. It takes a day or so to generate enought dueterium for your tanks and in that time you decide you will leave the lil cracking station, builf a secure "Omni-Hut" ™ over it and a large storage tank. You then pull out a Landing beacon and "Omni-terminal" ™ out of storage and....

VIOLA!! Port AvSquadron is born! The galaxies newest Class F starport is born and you are its proud owner. The omni-terminal will log the arrival of any ship and auto charge them for any landing and fuel fees. Of course since you are not hiri9ng any personel to work way out here it is a fully automated starport and hence, pretty much works on the honor system. (Something actually well founded in the scatter since abusing or destroying what few facilities are out here harms EVERYONE and is very frowned on by other far traders, colonists and even pirates.)

Over the course of the game you would upgrade it perhaps with warehouses, a fully staff trade base, try and attract other merchants charging them rent, etc etc.

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Q:I have another question about surveying planets and such. Lets say you scout out a planet that looks like it would be good for colonization. You take this information and sell it to a party that would be interested in colonizing that planet. Will colonists go to that planet and start to build a settlement? If they do, is there a limit to how big that colony will get?

A:only limit is based on planet capacity really...but also keep in mind this game doesnt operate at 4X speeds...your operational existence is a few decades...and worlds dont go from 0 to 4 billion in that time in Nstar

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Q:Mec, will the building in Northstar be similar in scope to that in the X-series? Tradeposts, mines, farms, factories etc, and will structures be planet based only or will there be some stations we could have built as well?
If Northstar can be a cross between the awesomeness of Privateer and the empire building of X it will be the space game I've been dreaming of for ever. Wandering in and out the ship, exploring planets and pretending to be Malcolm Reynolds just makes it go off the charts.

A:Mmm it will be a combo of those things...though empire-building is a bit of a strong way of phrasing it. The player controlling dozens of starports and hundreds of facilities is not really the scope the game is aming for. It will always be a bit more...personal.

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Q:Could you tell me a little about interaction with different systems? For example, do you move your engineer to interact with the engine room equipment to fiddle with the engines, your navigator to the bridge to plot a course etc or is everything done via out of character menus?

A:physical movement aided by AI behaviour. As in odds are, in space combat, your engineer is at the reactor/drive system already. Com system will also allow you to order crew to different positions as well.

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Q:How is space represented in the game? Meaning do you ever get to see NS fly in 3D above planets, moons and asteroids (apart from a movie clip) or is it abstracted as in Knights of the old republic series, where only sites on planets exist game-wise and space is restricted to events like tie-fighters attacks?
If it is abstracted, what events can we expect to see in space?

A:full space engine...ship encounters...hiding amongst asteroids...the whole ball o wax. 3-D space, 2-D move commands to keep it fast and simple.


#11 Space Voyager

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 07:45 AM

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Q:What methods/strategies/tools will we have at our disposal in Nstar to avoid combat altogether? Say we're hauling some cargo of questionable legality, and somewhere out in the black we get unlucky and a military patrol pops-up on our sensors. Or heck, maybe we're carrying some really important, disreputable person and if they were merely seen by authorities, everyone on the ship would be up on charges. Can we, say, shut everything down save life support and hope to slip by undetected? Maybe there's a gas cloud nearby (lucky us), so we put us on course to enter the cloud and then shut everything down?
In short, how much is there that we can do hide and avoid combat?

A:indeed...often you will find yourself racing for cover of somekind...shutting down system against the dark side of an asteroid or trying to slip under a planetary ring... and a decoy drone is much cheaper and safer than a laser cannon


#12 rei1974

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 12:28 PM

Seems a very interesting title. I like the RPG elements and I agree, there are so FEW good sci-fi RPGs out there...! :)

#13 Matri

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 09:30 PM

Well, I just found out Space Rangers 2: Reboot is slated to be released sometime this month. Should tide me over until North Star gets out. :)
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#14 Space Voyager

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 09:51 AM

I don't need anything to "tide me over", I have no time for games anyway! I'm only able to play turn-based games, like two turns per day...  :)

#15 Space Voyager

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Posted 06 February 2009 - 07:14 AM

First in-game screenshot has surfaced. This is phenomenal news, it means the game is under way!

#16 Space Voyager

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 09:18 AM

A loooooong time since the last info trickle.

Q:

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Will we be able to name our ship in N* or is the name of the ship going to be Northstar?

A:

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Every ship in the Northstar universe will have a name painted on its hull, a black box recorder/distress beacon, a digital registration strip and papers. These three layers of ID identify the ship, and they are the core elements that are checked by any port official, docking authority, law enforcement or automated system that the ship may encounter.

If you want to change the name and registration of a vessel, you can take your paperwork in to a licensed office of the Earth Transport Authority (ETA), prove legal ownership of the vessel, and pay to have all of this altered to reflect the new name. It costs money, it takes time, and it will be just as expensive to change the name back if you don't like it.

There are other ways to "change" the name, registration and papers associated with your ship, but they are not legal and so they carry a certain amount of risk.

Painting a new name on your hull is a minor infraction/annoyance from the ETA's point of view, and will do nothing to change how you are hailed by anyone who is able to read your beacon/communications beam--like other ships, cops and people with a docking computer of any kind. You might be able to fool people whose idea of a "dock" is "a big enough field that the ship won't get hung up in tree branches".

Tampering with your black box and forging papers that change the name and registration of your ship is a more serious infraction. This is the sort of thing that will get you arrested, your cargo confiscated, and your ship impounded if you are caught--how badly that hurts you depends on why you broke the law, what you were carrying, and where you were going. Generally when you falsify your ID and papers, it's because you are trying to go somewhere that you shouldn't, or carry something you shouldn't, or pretending to be someone you aren't. The ETA doesn't care for that sort of thing.

Every ship that flies in the game is legally obligated to register with ETA, including military vessels and diplomatic envoys. There are always a few ships out there, however, that are built from the ground up to fly unregistered. These are called "black ships", and they are very rare--it's extremely difficult to build an entire shipyard that the ETA knows nothing about. Only certain super secret clandestine military/spy organizations and very high-end criminal cartels generally own a black ship. The penalties for a civilian ship that attempts to fly black are brutal and catastrophic; the ship will not only be confiscated but destroyed, and the people will face long term imprisonment (in peace time) or death (in times of war).

--Arinn

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#17 Pete

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Posted 03 December 2009 - 08:39 PM

This game is what appears next to the (mildly) amended Oxford Dictionary as the definition to the word "awesomeness". Sounds cooler with every new bit of info.
May your terror missions always be infested with Chrysalids.

#18 Matri

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Posted 06 December 2009 - 09:36 PM

I agree!
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#19 Space Voyager

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 07:53 AM

Did some answer merging...

Q

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This is an assumption, we will encounter such "Black Facilites" in the void? If so this could be useful :).
I can see why going sterile in some instances would help :). Since wars always bring a measure of opportunities :)
A

Arinn said:

There may be encounters with black ships or even black starbases in the game, but these encounters are unlikely to go well for the player. People who are able to build and operate black ships are very much the same sort of people who are able to run "black projects" in the world today.

I.e., they are "not very nice" people who have an uber whackload of money and power. They aren't "raging" against "the Man"; they are the people that "the Man" hates, fears...and obeys.
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Breaking the law is quite possible. So is bending the law, creative interpretation of the law, finding loopholes in the law, defying the law, and even, in some cases, laying down the law. :)

In fairness, though, there's also going to be a good deal of material about honoring and upholding laws from time to time.

Q

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is it a fair statement to say with the release of FZ development will go on for NorthStar?

A

Mecron said:

yes that's a pretty safe assumption, though other big projects will continue to eat into Nstar time while it remains a purely Kerberos project.
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lol if it weren't for FZ, Nstar would have truely ground to a halt so try to keep that in mind
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...and FZ has a publisher



Sadly it seems as though NS has yet to find a publisher. As it is it may even happen that some projects can take priority, even though they were slated for later.
While that could mean SotS2 coming earlier than expected (SotS seems to be a pretty BIG success) I would rather see NS ASAP. I already have SotS to play around with, after all. ;)

#20 Space Voyager

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 07:20 AM

Q

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Do the Corporations in Northstar own their own warships, or is it like the normal assumption of the future where the Governments are the only one with warships?

A

Mecron said:

Corporations will have security forces...but a warship is a WARSHIP





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