Devastated Former Capital
The Imperial Realm
"Miranda was a Jewel. For twenty thousand seasons she was the seat of supreme power in The Imperial Realm. Until the Emperor burned her. Fool. But from the ash, the Emperor's Ridiil discovered something unexpected. Something immensely valuable. But the secret was not to be kept for long. Not even long enough for the Emperor to act. The race to retake Miranda and control its incalculable fortune was already underway."
- excerpt from Chronicles of The Imperial Realm 29,600-31,200 Y.O.E.
Holy_Master wanted to know more about Miranda's story, factions and units. I haven't written about that very much in the past because I don't like to talk about things that aren't done, but in the pursuit of fairness I've decided to try to summarize everything I've told anyone publicly about The Imperial Realm::Miranda here.
DisclaimerThis does not summarize the entire design for Miranda. I have a lot of other things I plan to put in the game that I haven't told anyone about yet. Some things I'm going to talk about here are not finished (or even started) or may be significantly changed or cut entirely as the game develops, so if you take everything here to heart, you may be disappointed.
Miranda is a massively multiplayer real-time strategy game very much in the tradition of Command and Conquer Red Alert 2. It is set on a single 300x300KM seamless open world map where everyone plays together (as many as 810,000 players.) I used to play a ton of co-op Red Alert 2 with my friends, and from the beginning, the game's design has reflected the desire to recreate that experience on a larger scale.
The game is exclusively PvP (player versus player) and there are no AI players. Where PvP games are traditionally very hard-core, Miranda is designed to be much more approachable to casual players. I have thought pretty seriously about doing a single-player campaign once the core game is complete but that is in the far future.
When you log in you are given the choice of putting your base back where it was the last time you played (provided nobody else currently has a base in the same location) or you can choose a new location and lay out a new base with the same units (which takes about a minute.) The world map shows where other players are, where combat is currently underway as well as resource locations so you can choose to be as close to or as far away from the action as you like.
When you log out your base will disappear from the world after 30 seconds, however if you are under attack, that is 30 seconds when nobody will be directing your forces.
Currently the world is 20x20KM which may not sound very big, but it still takes several minutes just to cross it. Often people mistake Miranda's deserts for snow, however Miranda actually has extensive white ash flats as well as black scorched areas which are a result of The Burning. There are also some unusually colorful flowers. The finished game will have a number of unique biomes spread out across its vastness. Unlike traditional RTS' Miranda's world is not entirely flat. If there's a mountain you will have to drive around it - or put a base on the top of it.
There are four planned factions in the game. Two are currently in-game: The Empire led by His Imperial Majesty The Emperor and The Independents inspired by Marvel. The Emperor's will is expressed through powerful, noisy, dominating units managed from the top with an iron fist. The Independents are a different breed, they value initiative and investment in the most advanced technology, and efficiency, but are not above infighting if it promises advantage. They also prefer the stealthy approach of hovertanks. The remaining two factions are unannounced.
As you play the game, you will capture areas for your faction. Map ownership gives bragging rights as well as faction perks. Area capture works like the game Qix where if you can capture all the areas around an area, you will gain control of all the areas inside as well.
Core PillarsBase building
- Each faction has a wide variety of buildings they can build each with their own special abilities. A base gives each player a centre for their economic and combat power.
Destruction of your base in Miranda is intended to be a setback, not a devastating loss. Bases are built and destroyed in minutes, not years. You may lose some cool units you won in previous battles, but you can always get back to fighting strength quickly. Your inventory, bank balance and progression are never lost. You can start a new base anywhere you like using your existing inventory and money or if you are completely wiped out, the game will give you a new construction yard and a small amount of money to start over.Resource Collection
- There are two types of resources on Miranda, each of which are collected and transported to the player's refinery by harvesters. There are also resource spikes which may be captured by an engineer to give ongoing income.Combat
- Combat is quite fast, two evenly matched units will take about 10 seconds to destroy each other. If the match is uneven... Each unit's weapons and defenses can be customized based on what components you win via combat or purchase from Vendors.
Miranda has a Homeworld style unit cap so that nobody can build 10,000 tanks and just drive across the map obliterating everyone. The unit cap is currently set at 150, but that value has already been adjusted twice as a result of testing.
Early in Miranda's development I decided that I didn't want to have to animate people, so the smallest unit in the game is the ATV. The ATV can carry any of a number of specialists including soldiers, engineers, spyhunters, commandos and more.
Currently there are no air units in the game. This is mainly due to schedule limitations rather than anything technical. Miranda is a desert so no naval units either, although I did have a cool idea...
If you liked the default game speed of Red Alert 2, you will be happy with Miranda.
Superweapons are a staple of RTS play and players who want to put a giant red target on their enemy's base and pull the trigger will find Miranda happy to oblige with a suitably large explosion. But building superweapons comes with its own dangers...
Matchmaking in Miranda will be done by the Nemesis System. Players will be able to be matched in 1v1 to 4v4 games where each team has a goal. There are a number of different goals including: destroy their construction yard, steal half their money, total destruction, survival, siege and more. Depending on their choices teams may or may not have the same goals so they may have to try to figure out what their opponent is doing and counter their strategy while simultaneously trying to accomplish their own goals. These matches will take place in the open world, so they will always be subject to unexpected events.
The progression curve in Miranda is intentionally very flat. It isn't like World of Warcraft where someone who has been playing for years is 1000x more powerful than a beginner. Experienced players in Miranda will have a lot more options for play than a new player, but in combat on a unit to unit basis, they will be fairly evenly matched. In fact, because loot values are based on experience difference, a group of novices attacking a veteran will get more loot than they would attacking other novices. Conversely, veterans attacking beginners will get less loot than they may expect.
Miranda's progression system is still to be built, but the design is based on the system in Skyrim where the more you use a skill, the more points you gain in that skill and the more perks you can choose to improve that skill. A few of the planned skills are: Infantry, Light Tank, Superweapons, Espionage, Shopping, and Repair. The current design has 9 primary player attributes, 21 skill areas, and 246 perks to choose from.
Miranda has a number of Achievements that can be won by players. 100%-ers are going to have trouble with a couple of them.
Miranda's map will have a shroud (a black covering over the entire map) which is removed only when the player's units explore new areas. Once an area's shroud is removed it is removed forever. Unlike Command and Conquer though, once the shroud is removed, you still need to have units nearby to see other players' units on the minimap. Each unit's sensor component determines how far away units can see other units as well as how much of the shroud they remove.
Players will discover named points of interest as they explore the world. The crashed Nautika spaceship and the Edmund Fitzgerald are just the first two. There are also a number of Monoliths that can be discovered on Miranda's surface.
Players can harvest resources or capture resource spikes to earn money. Players can also gain money, components and even full units as loot from combat. There are a number of NPC Vendors throughout Miranda where players can buy more common unit components to add to their inventory, or sell off unwanted components. Very successful players will be able to purchase exotic units like Mansion Sur Mont.
Each unit in the game is made up of a number of different components: chassis, shield, weapons, power plant, shields, enhancements etc. The player can combine components into designs and then assign them to construction buildings for manufacture. The player starts with a default inventory of components as well as a set of standard designs which will be very familiar to Command & Conquer players. The most exotic and powerful components can be won in combat, where more common ones can be purchased from a Vendor.
Schedule & Testing
I will be opening Miranda up to 40 or so additional players soon. Each tester will get two Secret Lair Codes so they can bring a friend to play with. I have three major game features (Shroud, Player Progression and The Nemesis System) still to finish plus a great deal of work on other partially complete features like factions, superweapons and the world. My single remaining big non-gameplay feature is scaling the simulation to thousands of simultaneous players - a prerequisite for adding large numbers of additional players.
To get started, players download a 1MB installer which then installs the core game which is currently about 500MB. That will grow significantly when more music and sound effects are added. The bulk of the game will stream from the cloud as you play and may be as large as 100GB.
Miranda will be buy-to-play like Guild Wars 2. If I can arrange it, it will be available on Steam.
The floor is now open for questions...