Colony Ship: A Post-Earth Role Playing Game
Colony Ship is a turn-based, party-based role-playing game set aboard a generation ship launched to Proxima Centauri. The game features a detailed skill-based character system, multiple ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and branching dialogue trees.
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Release Date:
Fall 2020

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Available: Fall 2020


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December 23, 2018

First Look at Colony Ship's Combat

After nearly 2 years of work we finally have a playable build, which is very exciting. It's very rough, of course, as it's the First Iteration of the game and things will change a lot by the time the game is ready to be released.

Right now you can talk to people, fight, loot bodies, increase skills and equip new gear. The dialogue scripts are working like a charm, so you can go through all the fights and get one of 5 endings of the upcoming combat demo. The AI is doing a pretty good job seeking cover, flanking, and using different attacks, so overall things are moving in the right direction.

I'd say we need 2 months to get the combat system into shape before we start beta-testing, then another month before we release the combat demo and get some feedback.

Anyway, here are some screens (click to expand). Keep in mind, that's it's work in progress, as rough as the very first build can be:

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September 21, 2018

Welcome Aboard!

While the game is still in development and won't be released until 2020 (Early Access is planned for Fall 2019), design decisions we're making today will have the strongest impact. That's why we want to engage our core audience early, a year before we hit the Early Access, and get your feedback.

We've been posting monthly design updates since Jan 2016. To spare you the need to go through all of them, I'll outline and link the key updates:

Character System Overview

We didn’t have feats in AoD, so it’s an uncharted area and there are many ways to handle it. For example, Fallout had a traditional setup where you get crap feats like Toughness at level 3 and literally killer feats like Slayer or Sniper at level 18 (53 feats overall, although most guides think that only 6 feats are must-have). DnD favors prerequisites: to get Whirlwind, not only you must have higher INT but also Combat Expertise, Dodge, Mobility, and Spring Attack, which is a lot of feats you may or may not need to get the one you really want.

We started with a Fallout-like setup and about 80 feats (everything we could think of and then some), then removed all filler, reworked the rest and ended up with exactly 40 feats. We ditched the level requirements, leaving the stat and skill requirements for 12 feats. We will do our best to balance them and make sure they are all useful (at least to certain builds) but the list looks pretty good so far.

We’re aiming for 10 levels, meaning you get 10 feats out of 40. Some examples:

  • Lone Wolf (no party members): +10 to evasion, +5% CS chance
  • Adrenaline Rush: +10% CS chance, +20% CS damage when 5HP or less
  • Second Wind: +2AP on kill
  • Gunfighter: +25% chance to trigger a reaction attack
  • Overclocked: Double the implants' bonus, reduce HP by 15
  • Eye for an Eye: Chance to trigger a reaction attack equal to damage taken (stackable with other bonuses)

So the idea is that you don’t work your way up to killer feats but gain abilities and increase your bonuses. No single feat on its own will make you a killing machine. Take reaction fire, for example (think AoD’s interrupt and counter-attacks rolled into one). Your chance to “react” is determined by your PER, your weapon’s bonuses (revolvers have the highest bonus), and feats. Much like AoD’s passive bonuses that make a noticeable difference between a novice with a spear and a master capable of holding his enemies at bay, there will be a noticeable difference between a character with 5% reaction chance and 50%. Same goes for criticals or bonus AP or other stats and abilities.

Click here to read more

Weapons, Armor, Attack Types

Ranged combat. It’s a new design, so let’s go over the key concepts first

  • Unlike melee , your effort doesn’t modify damage, so fast, regular, and aimed attacks do the same damage, which puts the focus on accuracy (i.e. the longer you aim, the higher your accuracy). Thus unlike melee Fast attack that gives you a THC bonus, ranged Snap Shot gives you a THC penalty; similarly melee Aimed attacks give you a THC penalty as they are easier to dodge, whereas ranged Aimed Attacks give you a THC bonus, so the concepts are reversed.

  • Range is an important stat for balance purposes (shotguns do a lot of damage up close but lose their accuracy fast, rifles take longer to aim and fire than pistols but have a long range). For example, the famous Sten SMG was described as wildly inaccurate beyond 30 meters, so weapons with short effective ranges are certainly realistic.

  • Each tier (i.e quality) increases damage, accuracy, and modifiers, representing better quality and precision, but not by far. Whereas in Wasteland 2 the starting pistol does 5-8 points of damage and the endgame pistol does 100-135, in the game a pipe pistol does the same 5-8 points of damage and the best unique pistol does 9-14 points of damage, but the overall quality increases accuracy, range, penetration, which are equally important stats.

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Party System Design Goals

Typically, RPG party members serve a purely tactical role, giving your more bodies to control in combat and access to different combat abilities. In a sense, you’re role-playing an entire squad as outside of combat there is very little (if any) difference between the character you created and the characters you’ve recruited or created next.

It works great in RPGs that are mostly about combat, but calls for a different approach when it comes to non-combat gameplay. The main problem is that party members offer nothing but combat benefits (occasionally, freaky sex to relieve combat stress and party banter), giving you very few reasons to treat party members any differently than the main character.

In short, the problem is that in most RPGs party members are mindless zombies lacking any free will, agenda, goals, etc – the very qualities that separate an actual “character” from a zombie. Thus, our main design goal is to create proper characters that have a will of their own, as well as agendas, beliefs, goals, and other infuriating qualities.

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The Factory - one of 16 locations

You start the game in the Pit ('born and raised'). You can explore the nearby area but when you’re ready (or have a reason) to visit the Habitat, your options are:

1. Pay the fee and enjoy a scenic 'high above the ground' trip through the Factory, occasionally interrupted by different events to remind you that it's not a walk in the park. Those who played Dungeon Rats know how we handled the vertical aspect (as you climb up, you can see the area you explored earlier down below), so you’ll see the entire level from above.

2. Brave the dangers and climb down into the unknown, most likely to your untimely death:
  • Sneak through the level - infiltrator
  • Fight your way through the level - fighter
  • Exterminate the vermin; comes with two optional (meaning tough as nails) fights if you decide to clear both gang bases - combat specialist
  • Fight/Sneak past 'patrols', then inquire about employment opportunities (bonus points if you created a lot of vacancies) - fighter/talker or infiltrator/talker

3. You can also *try* to get into the Habitat via the Hydroponics but that’s a different story that puts an emphasis on an entirely different skillset (explorer) and gear.

Needless to say, the very fact that there is a toll road suggests that attempting to cross the Factory on your own is a bad idea. If most players would be able to do that regardless of their builds, it would damage the setting’s integrity so this option should be reserved for 25% of the players (1 in 4) and the difficulty will reflect that.

Wiping out both gangs is an epic feat reserved only for the natural born killers among you (1 in 10 players ). The first base is hard to enter but easy to leave. The second base is easy to enter (just take the elevator), but hard to leave so forget about attacking and falling back. You’ll have to be able to switch tactics on the fly and have good offensive and defensive gear and tactics.

The reward will be well worth it – the gangs have been preying on traders for a while and have accumulated quite a few relics.

If you decide to leave the gangs alone and come back later, be advised that both gangs will grow, both in number and firepower. It’s not level scaling as it won’t be tied to your level/skills but to the passage of time via ‘chapters’.

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As inevitably happens in dark and challenging times, some citizens turn to God for reassurance, the promise of an end to pain and hunger. Or failing an end, at least a purpose.

The Church of the Elect rejected both the Protectors of the Mission and the Brotherhood of Liberty as worldly fools distracted by politics and their own egos. Teaching their adherents that they were chosen by God, the Church frames the journey of the Ship as a centuries-long test of faith. We all face a series of difficult trials, yes, but with a very definite end.

When the Ship arrives at her destination, Judgement Day awaits every citizen. The righteous will be welcomed into the Promised Land of Proxima B, while the unrepentant will be returned to the Hell from which we fled -Earth- to suffer for all eternity.

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The Leaders of Tomorrow

A setting is defined by the factions it spawns. For example, 9th century England is not defined by dudes sporting swords and chainmail but by the warring kingdoms, Viking factions, puppet rulers, the Danelaw, and a clash of religions. In turn, the factions are defined by their leaders who reflect the current state of affairs, and the leaders are defined by the challenges they face.

Thus the time has come for you to meet the finest sons and daughters of the Starfarer: the elected, appointed, hand-picked, hereditary, and self-proclaimed leaders who hold the fate of the Ship’s inhabitants in their hands. Let’s start with the three main factions fighting for control over the Habitat – the central living complex housing 80% of the Ship’s population.

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Men of the Covenant - the mutant faction

When a small percentage of children in the Habitat were first born deformed, they were immediately shunned and rejected for men always fear that which is different. The young were abandoned, and those whose defects didn't manifest until later were branded Mutants and driven out of the Habitat. Yet the leaking reactor had to be looked after and who better to do it than those already touched by radiation?

Thus, out of necessity, the engine work and electronics were taught to the outcasts by Engineering Officers, and out of "charity" Christianity was introduced by the missionaries. As the number of outcast Mutants grew, they began to settle in what had come to be known as the Engine Room, the vast open space providing access to the Ship’s engines and reactor. With the condition of the fusion reactor degrading to dangerous levels, and the number of volunteers for jobs in areas exposed to radiation remaining few, the Mutants approached the Habitat to negotiate the Covenant, a pact granting the Mutants protection from harassment and violence in exchange for their maintenance of the engines and other vital ship systems.

Living and working in the radioactive umbra of the damaged reactor greatly increased mortality rates for the outcasts, but many generations of shortened lives, afflicted with mutations both minor and severe, have resulted in a people fully adapted to the toxic environment. The resemblance of this new lineage to their pure human ancestors grows more superficial with each passing generation.

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The Monks - cybernetically augmented descendants of the ECLSS (Environmental Control and Life Support System) crew

The answer lay buried in the Ship's databanks: augmentations meant only for the most extreme circumstances, for small or even individual deep-space maintenance missions, augmentations that would make a man more than a man, and less – able to survive alone, smart enough and strong enough to deal with any challenges that might arise on years-long expeditions.

These augmentations went beyond the artificial eyes and reinforced bones common to the Ship, and amounted to a fundamental reworking of the human body. Functions inessential for long space missions, such as reproduction or immune response, would be removed altogether, freeing the body’s resources for more practical needs. A person who underwent this process would not really be a human being at all any more, but something as much inorganic as organic.

With this transformation, the ECLSS crew would become what they needed to be: just as the God of Ecclesiastes was above human struggles for power, for fame, for wealth, so too would the superhumans of ECLSS be above the Ship’s passing struggles, devoted solely to its survival. Outsiders would be able to see them as something other than a foe or friend; and they would have the strength to carry out the heavy task before them.

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There Be Monsters

Losing Terran plants and crops to local pests and fungus would be catastrophic, so the Hydroponics Division was tasked with adapting the plants to the anticipated environment of Proxima B and developing biological forms of pest control (introducing predators from old Earth to change the native ecosystem and eliminate all local threats was the most cost-effective way to ensure that the colony would survive and grow).

Extensive gene-editing was employed to develop resistance to alien fungi and pests, and accelerated adaptation hacked into the plants' genetic code. Like many other critical systems, Hydroponics was abandoned during the Mutiny. The carefully cultivated flora and fauna was left on its own in harsh environs designed to propagate rapid and brutal evolutionary cycles.

When human beings finally decided to reclaim Hydroponics, they discovered an environment as wild and hostile as any Earth jungle...

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On Choices & Consequences

As you probably know by now, Choices & Consequences are more than just a feature for us. It’s the foundation on which the game is built and a concept we’ll continue exploring and evolving as long as we stay in business. The reason it’s so important to us –and hopefully to you – is that the players need a steady stream of choices to craft their own tales and it is the consequences that give meaning to those choices and alter the tale.

Essentially, there are 3 types of choices:
  • Multiple quest solutions to let you handle quests in a manner fitting your character. Keep in mind that you will not be able to handle every situation (aka side quest) with brute force or clever words, so some exceptions will apply, but you will be able to beat the game with combat, stealth, or diplomacy.

  • Taking sides in various conflicts, big and small, thus leaving your mark on the gameworld and defining your character through actions (aka role-playing). These decisions aren't based on skills but on your opinions, allegiances, beliefs, past decisions, etc. It works best when there’re plenty of double- and triple-crossing opportunities, like going to kill Lorenza in one of the assassins quest in Maadoran and letting her talk you into killing Darista and Gaelius instead, which affects your options with Hamza when you run into him in Ganezzar.

  • Big Decisions that alter the story (i.e. branching), affect the gameworld, and have far reaching consequences.

Since Big Decisions are appropriately rare (you can’t alter the storyline every 5 min) and multiple quests solutions are often determined by your build, the meat of the game is taking sides in conflicts, which is a lot more complex than pointing at some ruins and saying ‘there be monsters’.

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Should you wish to know more, visit our forums for more info (I listed 10 updates out of 30) or start discussions on our Steam forum. The next update will be dedicated to the party members and show how they'd affect your options.
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About This Game

It is the Year of Our Lord 2754…

You will never feel the sun’s warmth under a blue sky, never hear the wind in the branches of a tree, and never swim in the ocean, all because you had the misfortune to be born on the Ship, chained to a fate you didn’t choose. You have never seen Earth and you’ll never see Proxima Centauri either. You’re doomed to live and die on the Ship in the name of the Mission, like your father before you, like his father before him.

The Ship is old. She had already been twenty years in service when she was rechristened Starfarer - a pretty name for a retrofitted interplanetary freighter. No one is certain the Ship will actually reach its destination, and nobody much cares, since no one alive now will live to see it. Might as well get on with your life and try to make the best of it.


Colony Ship is an isometric, party-based RPG inspired by Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky. Your character's world is a “generation ship,” a massive spacecraft on a centuries long voyage to colonize a distant planet. The Ship's original government has been disbanded following a violent mutiny and you must negotiate a treacherous path among your fellow passengers and the contentious factions striving to dominate the Ship. Your choices alone will determine who your friends and enemies are.

  • Skill-based character system, with feats and biological implants.
  • Tactical turn-based combat, featuring standard as well as targeted attacks and weapon-specific special attacks such as Fanning and Long Burst.
  • Multiple quest solutions, mutually exclusive questlines, and a branching main storyline.
  • 12 recruitable party members with different personalities, agendas, and beliefs.
  • 3 main factions and a score of lesser factions and groups.
  • A large arsenal including melee weapons, firearms, energy pistols, grenades, and fancy electronic gadgets like the Reality Distortion Field.
  • Different environments to explore, from the Engine Room and Hydroponics to the dystopian cities of the Habitat and the Wasteland, the now uncharted corridors and decks that bore the brunt of the fighting during the Mutiny.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 10
    • Processor: 2 GHz Processor or better
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTS 450 / Radeon HD 4870 or better
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 5 GB available space
    • OS: Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 10
    • Processor: 2 GHz Processor or better
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTS 950 / AMD Radeon R7 370 or better
    • DirectX: Version 10
    • Storage: 5 GB available space

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