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AGC: Tim Greenhalgh

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Galaxylife: Interview from AGC

Aaron Roxby learns about this interesting project fro Tim Greenhalgh

Tim Greenhalgh is a soft-spoken but friendly English gentleman. He is also the Chief executive of the new casual social community game Galaxylife. I sat down with Tim and operations director Anne O’Rourke at AGC on Friday, to discuss the project. As the title implies, Galaxylife gives a science fiction spin to online community games, such as Second Life or A Tale in the Desert. In Galaxy life, you can create your avatar from one of seven different alien races. These range from strange cartoon-style beasts to the standard humanoid style.

Once you have chosen your avatar, each player is issued their own planet. You can choose what type of planet you would like, be it an arid, rocky wasteland, a lush jungle or one of many other options. Once you have created your planet, you can begin customizing it. Each planet will have a fully realized ecosystem, including wildlife, plant life, precious metals and other resources. You can construct buildings, build up entire cities and exploit the local ecosystem for resources that can be used to build items. Your interactions with the world will be reflected in the planet’s appearance. So if, for example, you have a planet that is rich in iron, you can mine that iron, but over-mining may cause the planet’s environment to change, becoming harsh and barren. The animals on the world react to each other as well, with predators actively hunting herds of herbivores. Wild animals on the planet may be tamed and turned into pets, if you purchase a special “zoo” structure. Players can then set up a farm to grow crops to feed their pets. The pets do not need to eat, but feeding them will allow them to learn new tricks.

In addition to the planet, each player will receive an orbital space station. The station houses shops, entertainment spaces and banks, as well as mini-games, hover-board races and lazer-tag matches. The station also serves as a platform to launch a player’s starship. The starship can be used for transportation to other players’ planets, to the game’s communal city-like space stations or for PVP, although only in specifically designated zones.

Galaxylife features clan system, in which groups of players can organize together with a leadership structure. One of the game’s other possible objectives, is to become President of your star-system. Players earn achievement points by expanding their social network and playing multiplayer games. After a set period of time, the person with the most achievement points will get to be president until the next election rolls around. The length of the term has yet to be finalized, but will most likely end up being somewhere between a week and a month. Besides recognition, the Galactic President will be allowed input into the development of the overall game.

A Galaxylife account will be free; however players can purchase in-game currency, which can be used to purchase things like clothing and tools for Terraforming their planet, for real-world money. In addition, Double Fusion will provide in game advertising that will supposedly be in line with the game’s science fiction feel. Galaxylife is currently beta-testing PC and Java Mobile versions and will be coming to Windows S Mobile, Linux, and Mac.

Social community games are not a new concept, however Galaxylife seems to be bringing more than a few new ideas to the genre. It will be interesting to see how the game turns out upon launch.

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Aaron Roxby