I just wanted to throw in my 5 cents worth in regards to Battlescape’s future, especially when compared to other upcoming space sims/games. First I think we can all agree that Battlescape is incredibly unique and does things Star Citizen can only dream of with its never ending Engine development (i.e. fixing) and extremely limited number of players in any given system, not to mention a plethora of loading screens. No question, CIG has captured the imagination but sadly they are struggling to keep up with it.
Elite Dangerous however is starting to look more and more like the little Engine that could and is well on the way to landing on planets and driving in a buggy. Rumor also has it that Elite Dangerous will be introducing Avatars for first person sometime next year but again this is only rumor. If this is indeed the case then Star Citizen will look less and less appealing, especially given it’s never ending struggle to make their engine work - a stark contrast to the Elite Dangerous Engine which has already proven itself remarkably stable and reliable. Of course stability and reliability means little without content but Elite is heading in a more positive direction in this regard and as a result is leading the pack in Space-sim game development, in my opinion. However, Elite’s limitations, like Star Citizen’s, is a very small player count in any given instance so it remains to be seen whether Elite can capitalize on future development.
So what does the future hold for Infinity Battlescape? And should we as supporters even care about the direction of other Space-sims? After all, Battlescape is already incredibly unique and offers other things Star Citizen and Elite do not: it offers a large player count; it offers seamless transition/travel from planet to planet without loading screens; landing on planets with or without atmospheres; it offers amazing ships that are, in my opinion, far more aesthetically pleasing than either space sims, and lastly it offers the best visuals of any procedural engine out there.
So should we be worried? Unfortunately yes. Because even the best products can’t sell if they don’t keep up with market expectations. And market expectation are now looking towards a fully functioning universe with space battles, planet interaction and first person avatars. Of course we are all here to support Battlescape and see the DEVs visions through to the end, but as the Kick Starter clearly demonstrated, a great product needs more than great trailers and screen shots - it needs to inspire people to support it and it needs PR to make that happen. More importantly, however, it needs to keep up with the prevailing galactic winds and provide content beyond space battles and missions. It needs to think to the future and that future will include planet interaction and first person avatars.
Of course I don’t expect Battlescape’s DEVs to suddenly provide planet interaction and avatars, especially at this stage of development. But I think it is something they should seriously consider - preferably as an official stretch goal. Because as things stand, whether we like it or not, there will be competition for players in the coming years, and if Battlescape doesn’t take into account other developments in a highly competitive market, it will be very difficult to find players willing to spend their hard earned money to play Battlescape.
But I predict Battlescape, once it has upped its PR game, will begin to attract more and more players over the coming months, especially with the introduction of new ships and player inspired videos. And with large player counts potential supporters will most definitely sit up and take notice. But lets not ignore other space-sims and pretend we will not be competing with them. And lets not become complacent and expect people to fall all over themselves to play Battlescape. It’s a rough and tumble universe out there and DEVs are going to have to put on their game face - even with the best engine out there.