There hasn’t been a lot of information released about Bigpoint’s Battlestar Galactica Online besides a couple of trailers and some hints as to voice talent, but I stumbled upon them on the first day of CES 2011 with a single monitor at the SyFy booth in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Working closely with NBC Universal and SyFy, Bigpoint describes Battlestar Galactica Online as a tactical space combat and adventure MMOG, one that takes place in the BSG world. The usual hallmarks of MMOs will all be present. The avatar creation and advancement system, the quest storylines, crafting, trading, guilds, PvE as well as PvP with players able to play both Cylons and Humans.
What’s interesting about Battlestar Galactica Online is that it is browser-based. Using the Unity 3-D engine which has come a long way since the Cartoon Network Universe: Fusion Fall MMO, it looked “freaking marvelous” on the big screen there at the Syfy booth. Instead of downloading and installing many gigabytes of data. All players will need to do is to install the Unity application on their web browser of choice and the game will be served to them through the cloud to their browser. Battlestar Galactica Online is a game of ships and skills. The roles that players choose to fill will depend on their ships, their equipment and the skills they choose to invest skill points in.
Human and Cylon avatars are your paper dolls. You get to create and customize one and walk around the bases, in fact the first thing you do as a human is speak to Adama on the Galactica, but your ships are your weapons of choice. You unlock new ships, buy them and upgrade them. You can give them more weapon and system slots, more durability, hull options, as well as a new coat of paint.
In general there are over 30 skills available to players and they fall into four broad categories: buff/debuff, mining, offense/defense and movement/maneuvering (ships). Depending on your rank, wallet and personal likes and dislikes, there are a variety of ships of different classes to requisition and upgrade. Are you the Viper type with light cannons and lightning fast or do you prefer the heavier ships with heavy armor and cannons?
Battlestar Galactica Online is set in the Second Season of the re-imagined series. During this time period, neither the Colonial or Cylon fleets have a traditional capitalist-style economy, and the events that lead up to the start of game place both sides in a situation where they are critically low on resources. Both sides will use a form of resource-based allocation system, where players can use the resources they collect for their fleet to requisition weapons, ammunition, equipment and ships. The various “currencies” in the game include Tylium, Cubits, Titanium and Water.
“Unlike some science fiction shows,” said Lead Game Designer Any Butcher, “Conflict and the struggle to survive are central elements in Battlestar Galactica. Most of the main human characters are military officers, and many of the climactic events in the show involve battles between the last survivors of the Twelve Colonies and the Cylons they created.”
“Battlestar Galactica Online is a space combat MMO in which we've focused on allowing players to take part in tense and exciting clashes between the two factions, from one-on-one encounters between small fighter craft to massive fleet battles involving dozens of ships.” Said Andy, when asked how closely the game would follow or reflect the feeling of the show.
“The game is set during the latter part of the second season of the TV show and takes the form of a previously 'untold chapter' in which both the Colonial and Cylon fleets become stranded in an uncharted area of space. Heavily damaged and low on critical supplies, both fleets fight for control of the resources in the nearby star systems as the Colonials desperately search for a way to escape before the Cylons regain enough strength to destroy them once and for all.”
During this time period, neither the Colonial or Cylon fleets have a traditional capitalist-style economy, and the events that lead up to the start of game place both sides in a situation where they are critically low on resources. Both sides will use a form of resource-based allocation system, where players can use the resources they collect for their fleet to requisition weapons, ammunition, equipment and ships. The various “currencies” in the game include Tylium, Cubits, Titanium and Water.
Resources are gathered through exploration, mission rewards, loot drops and mining, and will provide fuel and materials needed for upgrades. Fuel used by the ships of both sides will become the basic “currency” of the game as both fleets need as much as they can get. Fuel isn’t consumed in normal flying around, but is required for speed-boosts and jumps. Mined ores will be required for ship building and repair.
Cubits are the in-game “gold” but is also the micro-transaction currency of this game. Versions of most items and ships can be purchased with some combination of Cubits and Tylium (as well as versions that can be bought for Tylium alone and some that can be bought for Cubits alone). Some of the things that Cubits can buy include boosters which can speed things up, such as the learning of skills.
Players will find individual, group and convoy combat in Battlestar Galactica Online. They can participate in dog fights, travel in squadrons of five and in pre-set flight formations if they wish, and up to five player squadrons may be linked in a convoy. A likely scenario is an explorer finds a resource rich asteroid in contested space that will require a heavy industrial ship to mine. He calls it into fleet HQ and they mobilize, bringing in the ship as well as fighter escorts to protect the ship and drive off potential raiders while the mining takes place.
Battlestar Galactica Online looks really good and seems rife with the potential to be as deep as Eve Online albeit within the confines of the Battlestar Galactica world. It goes into Open Beta on February 8th and at launch, Syfy will be Bigpoint’s exclusive media partner for a period of six weeks and will have exclusive marketing rights in the US (http://www.syfy.com/) and UK (http://www.syfy.co.uk/battlestar-galactica-game) for a one week period.