MMORPG.COM: First off Richard, I would like to thank you for the opportunity of this interview with MMORPG.COM.
MMORPG.COM: Now DarkSpace possesses some unique qualities compared to other space sim Massive Multiplayer Online Games. How would you compare it to other games of the particular genre?
Richard: DarkSpace is in space, which is about the only similarity between it and the other MMOG space games available. The core of DarkSpace is the PvP tactical star ship combat, which occurs on a 2D plane (The game is rendered in full 3D) from a 3rd person perspective. Players can choose a ship based on their military rank in-game, no need to spend your hard-earned credits or mine ore for 2 weeks to take out a Heavy Cruiser, so long as you have the rank and the resources/shipyard is available you can get the ship.
Unlike other space MMOG, DarkSpace is also very team/fleet based, each player takes on a role (based on the ship type you choose) in the game such as scout, engineer, supply, transport, and lastly combat. No one role is really more important than the others, they are all needed for your fleet to be successful.
MMORPG.COM: Just recently you released a major patch for DarkSpace with some substantial improvements. What are these improvements to DarkSpace?Richard: It took us over a year to completely rewrite and re-engineer (3 different versions) the server backend. Although, we are still having a few problems with lag, those issues are getting resolved by weekly patches and updates. The new backend, is now a true MMOG backend with dynamic load-balancing and full distribution of the universe on our hardware.
Additionally, we changed how ships were spawned into the universe with the introduction of the shipyard structure. This allows players to spawn closer to the action, and not spend 15 minutes navigating jumpgates. Additionally, shipyards require the resources to build the ships, so trade routes are vital in bringing the necessary resources to the planets with the shipyards, plus limited resources means not everyone is flying around in dreadnaughts and stations.
Many more changes/fixes as well, full details can be viewed at http://www.darkspace.net/log.htm just look at version 1.481.
MMORPG.COM: With Earth and Beyond closing its doors, players are looking for a new game to play. What are you offering to these new players for DarkSpace?
Richard: Currently, we are running a full 2-week free trial. This means, any account can play on all servers with full rank/prestige gains. No credit card needed, just download the client (37MB) from http://www.darkspace.net/downloads.htm and start playing.
MMORPG.COM: As the DarkSpace community continues to grow, the game will be following suit. What glimpses of the future do you have planned for in the ongoing development of DarkSpace?
Richard: Currently, we have in design stage is "DarkSpace Assault", which will be a seperate client, but the same server backend. DSA, will be a first person shooter, allowing players to play as the marines/infantry fighting for control of the planets in the space side of DarkSpace. Currently, when you land ground units on a planet, the combat is resolved on a strategic scale. Once DSA is released, when troops get landed, a server zone gets spawned then the actual players in DSA will resolve the ground combat, those results would then get sent back to the space side of DarkSpace.
Ultimately, this will lead to DarkSpace II, which will be an intergration of DSA and DS, space combat will be in FULL 3D instead of a 2D plane. DS2 will be more like the traditional MMOG, in which you will start out on the surface of a planet and play the game entirely from the first person perspective including the tactical ship comabt and ground action.
Yes, I know this is ambitious for a small company like Palestar :)
MMORPG.COM: Thank you for taking this time to speak with us Richard. What concluding words do you wish to give to our readers?
Richard: Firstly, your readers should know, that we are currently running a free trial until April 4th. The game can be downloaded for FREE from http://www.darkspace.net/downloads.htm.
DarkSpace is a small game, done by a small company here in Austin, TX. Which is why most of you have not heard of our game before. We self-published DarkSpace ourselves, so we didn't have a massive advertising budget like some other MMOG's available, but that doesn't mean the game isn't any good. Many publishers are very afraid of taking risks now and days, so they keep releasing the same recloned products, I'm sure you'll find that DarkSpace is very unique and FUN if you give it a try and a chance.