Two weeks ago, Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson revealed on Twitter and live on TV with BBC News that his next project would be a space adventure game of sorts. Players would play a person on a space ship and Notch later added that it would involve computers.
Even though he and the rest of the Mojang development team are working away on two other unannounced projects alongside Scrolls, the space adventure has grabbed Notch's creative attention and today he fully revealed what it's all about. Say hello to 0x10c, the subscription-based MMO.
That announcement sort of came earlier, when Notch posted his April Fool's joke: a website about Mars Effect. We now know that the title was a joke, but the details there were not, and they've been moved over to the real site for the real game: http://0x10c.com/.
What's with the whacky game title?
The game title references the future setting of the game, where a computer bug has players waking from a sleep state trillions of years in the future in an alternate universe where the space race never ended.
In a parallel universe where the space race never ended, space travel was gaining popularity amongst corporations and rich individuals.
In 1988, a brand new deep sleep cell was released, compatible with all popular 16 bit computers. Unfortunately, it used big endian, whereas the DCPU-16 specifications called for little endian. This led to a severe bug in the included drivers, causing a requested sleep of
0x0000 0000 0000 0001years to last for
0x0001 0000 0000 0000years.
It's now the year 281 474 976 712 644 AD, and the first lost people are starting to wake up to a universe on the brink of extinction, with all remote galaxies forever lost to red shift, star formation long since ended, and massive black holes dominating the galaxy.
Like Minecraft before it, an alpha build of the game will release early so the community can jump in and help improve the game before "launch." Unlike Minecraft however, the game's multiplayer will likely require a monthly subscription since the persistent world lives on even when players are not logged in. Playing single-player will not require that fee.
What makes the game unique is that each player's ship contains an actual, working 16-bit computer that they can program themselves. Players can share programs and because of that, players can even share viruses... This may put some of the EVE Online player scams to shame.
While we have absolutely no idea what the game will look like, the list of 0x10c features states that it'll be based around hard science fiction where everything is detailed and based on real or theoretical physics, there will be space battles, landing on planets, looting, mining, trading, an economy, exploration and more!
What about that customizable computer?
Each ship has a generator capable of producing a fixed wattage, and everything you connect to it drains wattage. A cloaking field, for example, might require almost all the power from the generator, forcing you to turn off all computers and dim all lights in order to successfully cloak.
The computer in the game is a fully functioning emulated 16 bit CPU that can be used to control your entire ship, or just to play games on while waiting for a large mining operation to finish.
Full specifications of the CPU will be released shortly, so the more programatically advanced of you can get a head start.
This is certainly ambitious and incredibly exciting, but as Notch reiterates, 0x10c is extremely early in development and anything is up for change. I'm curious as to how players can interact and play together online, or if it's going to be a mostly-solo adventure as we often see with EVE Online. Either way, it has better space content than Star Wars: The Old Republic...
Does Notch's next game interest you?
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