Monad — an indie massively multiplayer strategy game
Updated: Jun 20, 2020
I think the world, at least momentarily, has had enough of mobile and browser games, spammed in our social feeds ruthlessly over the past 10 years, promising rich, online experiences where you are a king or warlord on the brink of cinematic battle scenes or intelligent intrigue. You’re the action hero in your own adventure. But then, in reality, you’re riding a tiny rollercoaster.
2020 is the year that doesn’t make sense
Games you play in a web browser — so 2005, right? Yuck.
Ever since mobile phone capabilities grew beyond Snake, there has not ever been a logical time to pitch the concept of playing a long-term, slow-paced game in your browser. But considering how this year has been looking so far, maybe the time is now? Stranger things have happened.
When I started developing Monad, I wanted to create a more serious alternative for core gamers; I wanted to build it for people who want to care a little bit more.
These days, games, more than ever, cater to the casual gamer without time or to the people with the deepest pockets. Matching rows of candies. Collecting daily drops. Buying premium currency. Great. For some.
Now is the time to, at the very least, nudge the definition of what a browser-based game is. I think it’s time we have some modern-ish alternatives to the old world’s Utopia or Imperial Conflict (I used to play those 20 years ago in school!).
I’m extremely biased, but wouldn’t it be nice if…
A new strategy game encouraged social interaction, cooperation, and friendships over time?
A new strategy game was more of a sandbox than a rigid rollercoaster?
A new strategy game was kind of cool-looking and required experimentation and planning to make progress?
A new strategy game would have a slightly higher mastery bar, flirting more with games like Civilization, Stellaris and Factorio than Flappy Bird?
A new strategy game was about development dialogue and continuous evolution, rather than gambling? (let’s not be naive, but I think there’s a fun-infused balance to be had)
A new strategy game was… uhm… about space and building and producing stuff!?
Building a vast experience as a solo developer
Most people seem to think that you need time, experience, and money to make a decent game.
Well, most people are right. This is really, really, taking a lot of time. And money that I don’t really have.
I started learning modern web technologies less than a year ago as an effort to challenge myself. I’ve slowly crawled past pinnacle after pinnacle of realizing that I “may just have bitten off a little bit more than I can chew”. But I have also learned, from my 8 years working in the games industry, and 10 years in marketing roles, that tenacity makes a lot of difference. And love.
Slowly, thanks to my anti-social lifestyle, tons of programming and designing, DevOps struggles and a couple freelance artists, things are starting to fall in place. And I’m finally about to show you what it’s really all about.
Monad— in a nutshell
Not that Haskell thing. Not strictly referring to the old philosophical concept, nor to the mathematical concept. This is all about Monad. The game. The game.
Players take on the role of entrepreneurs, pioneers in a distant galaxy, where the objective is to build a production and business empire in good, old 4X style.
Players start with one solar system and one planet under their control and, through system scanning and exploration, are able to control a lot more. I think getting up to 7–10 planets should be quite easy. 100+ is theoretically possible. I guess we’ll find out.
Players can build space ships, ground units, and defensive structures.
Players can form and join Networks. A Network is kind of a clan. You’ll cooperate, be able to trade some resources, and go to war together.
Players can attack and claim other players’ planets.
Galaxies (servers) will run in seasons of a few months. After each season, everything is reset, and only a few items of memorabilia and legacy carry over.
Players research technologies and ideas to progress. There is a tech tree that stretches from fundamental electricity generation through to GreenTech, political policies, and… um, air conditioning… because…
…weather and temperature shifts on planets require monitoring and adaptation if you want crops and people to survive. When freezing storms hit — you’ll want to have thermal pylons. In order to plant crops on a desert planet, you’ll want to have irrigation.
Don’t get me started on pollution and how it’s a problem and people will basically die if you build too many ugly smoke factories instead of lovely wind stations.
There is rich lore that continues to grow. I wrote a book, basically, that supports the game as a fundament, and it’s extremely exciting to extend the lore to encompass this futuristic universe beyond the originally intended fantasy setting. It’s the Warhammer 40k to Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
And just because i’m a bit of dick, all structures need to be connected by road. I learned that trick in Warcraft: Orcs & Humans.
Happily ever after!
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