This is how I imagine a game using this technology would look like:
“Dune: Spice Wars Hands-Off Preview – Desert Power and Politics” is a new video game that is being developed by the team at “Battlestate Games”. The game will be released on the PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.
There’s a lot riding on Dune: Spice Wars’ shoulders. Shiro Games’ effort to integrate 4X components into what seems to be a robust RTS core must appeal to both older fans and an audience used to current games, after a two-decade gap of computer games based in Frank Herbert’s world.
It’s not going to be easy, but based on a gameplay sample we witnessed at a recent press event, it seems to be on the right route.
The Arrakeen was enveloped by heavy fog that blocked view outside of a very limited region around it when I first saw Dune: Spice Wars. The first sensation is of plunging into the unknown, oblivious to the rewards and perils that lie beyond the yellow-brown shroud.
Thankfully, you may scout the map using Ornithopters, pushing back the fog and uncovering supplies and spots of interest that will aid your efforts.
Village control is essential for harvesting the resources they are related to, and you won’t be able to go inside one without first dealing with their defenses. Taking them by force is one option, but you’ll have to first wipe out the troops guarding them, which will take longer. Following then, it’s totally up to you to defend them.
The Atreides may also take over neutral settlements without violence by using their Peaceful Annex ability. This is a slower procedure, but it prevents the village’s defenders from being slaughtered by moving to your side.
According to the creator, Spice Wars is “clearly a 4X game,” and its real-time battle necessitates a considerable amount of micromanagement if you want your forces to cause as much damage as possible.
When you capture a hamlet near a spice field, you may construct a Refinery nearby to begin extracting the prized spice. After the task is completed, a Carrier transports a large harvester to the field to begin harvesting the lucrative resource.
“Building on sand is difficult,” the developer explains, “particularly since Arrakis is home to Sandworms.” That is why each community is built on solid rock.
Within this area of solid ground, structures may be built how they want. Some structures, such as military structures, have a direct influence on the region around them, therefore you may want to arrange others to take advantage of this.
Several resources must be kept track of throughout the course of every Dune: Spice Wars play.
Spice is likely the most important, since it requires you to manage spice crops all throughout the world. You may either sell this spice to the CHOAM or keep it in your inventory. Stockpiling is essential since you must pay the Imperial Spice Tax on a regular basis, which varies throughout the game. Failure to do so has serious ramifications.
Solaris is the primary money, which may be gained through selling spices, receiving CHOAM payouts, or exchanging resources with other players. Solaris is required to construct various structures, both within towns and at your main base, as well as to pay for your unit’s maintenance.
Plascrete is a kind of concrete that may be created in specific facilities or purchased from off-world marketplaces and is used to construct constructions.
As a result, manpower “represents the amount of persons willing to serve the player loyally.” You’ll need to recruit Arrakis’ native inhabitants via the Recruitment Office in order to make it. You may even infiltrate the Space Guild and import it from elsewhere in the Empire.
The resource is used to produce and sustain military units as well as train crews for freshly generated harvesters, as you would expect.
Then there’s water, which you’ll need in plenty to keep your populace satisfied. When you don’t have enough, the people in your villages revolt. It’s simple to understand how this may become an issue since they’re linked to resource output.
Water may be produced by windtraps, but it can also be extracted from the planet’s North Pole. Because of this, games generally include a race to the North Pole, according to the makers. Finally, in Arrakis, fuel cells are the primary energy source, limiting the number of vehicles you may build.
Dune: Spice Wars also has a tech tree, which divides the game’s many technologies into four categories: statecraft, expansion, military, and economics. The Atreides explored Survival Training technology to boost their army with the Heavy Weapons Squad unit, according to the film I viewed.
Each group has its own military forces that specialize in certain battle scenarios. They also have distinct passive powers that work in tandem with one another. Harkonnen Gunners, for example, do splash damage while Harkonnen Troopers fight harder when injured, allowing for a high-risk, high-reward gaming style.
You won’t constantly be on the offensive, either. Desert raiders, in addition to opposing houses, may assault your area and take your resources.
Main bases, like Arakeen, have their own close-range fortifications, making them difficult to take, but protecting smaller towns will need you to be more actively engaged in micromanaging your soldiers, according to the developer.
The desert, unsurprisingly, is a hazardous area in Dune: Spice Wars. When troops depart your zone, their supply begins to dwindle. If it approaches zero, they will perish. Whether they’re in a “normal” desert region – where they can travel, battle, and spy for a long period before needing to return – or the deep desert, the pace at which it goes down varies.
These are significantly more dangerous, with high gusts and frequent sandworm activity, as well as a quicker rate of resource depletion. They’ll be similar to oceans in previous 4X games, according to the creator, and will be especially difficult to traverse at first. However, as time goes on and you develop new technology, you’ll be able to march your soldiers through them without their dying.
In Dune: Spice Wars, politics play an important part, and you’ll need to pay careful attention to the Landsraad. All houses’ political power on Arrakis is determined by their alliances with various groups. This level, which ranges from 0 to 500, is tied to the player’s capacity to pay the Imperial Spice Tax.
It decides how many votes you have available at the next Landsraad session, although you may pay Influence to raise the amount of votes available. A new Landsraad session begins every 20 days, concentrating on three resolutions.
Players may either utilize all of their votes to guarantee that one resolution succeeds, or they can attempt to influence many resolutions. For all sides, their effects may be favorable or harmful, and the player can vote for or against each of them. They may also be directed against a single faction, with players voting on who they wish to be the target of the resolution. Obviously, all of the participants have a say, so you won’t be the only one tugging the strings.
Diplomacy is also important since it allows you to convey resources and form treaties with other houses.
Another tactic you might employ to ensure success is espionage. Your agents may roam the cosmos, doing various tasks. They may snoop on other factions and provide you with information on their resources, military units, controlled territory, and espionage activities.
They may also be allocated to other organizations. Having one in the Landsraad gives you more Influence, which might help you pass a resolution or fight the coup attempts of your opponents. Assigning them to the Spice Guild provides labor, while sending them to the CHOAM to perform their magic provides solaris.
Agents may also wander Arrakis, gaining authority with towns, guaranteeing that you can take them and extend your dominion, or obtaining information among wrecks and wreckages. Intel is a source of information that may be used to launch espionage operations including the theft of technology, sabotage, or even assassinations. Because of their high risk, high return nature, the latter stand out.
If they succeed, they will effectively eliminate the opposing leader from the game. It counts towards the Elimination win, which requires you to beat every other opponent, much like demolishing opposing big towns. If you don’t want to leave a path of devastation in your wake, there are two different victory styles to choose.
Wins in Hegemony are similar to victories in other 4X games. You’ll want to concentrate on expanding and accumulating cash to achieve it, but winning wars, studying technology, and capturing villages can also help you move closer. Furthermore, each house has its own system for earning Hegemony points.
The Atreides receive points anytime they contribute in passing a resolution in the Landsraad, as seasoned politicians they are. There’s also the Political triumph type, which is exceptionally difficult to accomplish due to the Landsraad requirement.
“Some of the resolutions that may be offered are charters, milestones in the search for Arrakis’ political authority,” the developer explains. “Each charter has its own set of restrictions that affect the player who desires to use it. The ‘Dune governorship’ is one among them.
“It requires the control of a huge portion of the globe, as well as the approval of the Landsraad smaller houses. The game is won by the person who maintains ‘Dune Governorship’ for three months. It’s not going to be an easy triumph.”
According to the creator, a game of Dune: Spice Wars may run anywhere from 3 to 5 hours, depending on the parameters you choose at the start.
You’ll acquire new means to move about the battlefield as the game progresses, such as airfields, which you may construct in occupied settlements. Instead of crossing the desert, troops may utilize shuttles to travel between airfields.
There’s also a day/night cycle that depicts the passage of time, serving as a reminder that the Imperial Spice Tax must be paid and that some resolves may be about to expire. Other gameplay components will be tied to this cycle in the future, particularly with some of the game’s undisclosed homes.
Players may also anticipate a lot of asymmetrical gameplay, according to the devs. The other two houses will approach “their connection with their core base” and growth in quite different ways.
Dune: Spice Wars seems to offer much for players to do and keep track of at any one moment, despite its sluggish pace. What I saw of the game looked exciting, from the Landsraad’s resolves to dispatching spies around the cosmos and conquering land by force.
I couldn’t help but note the absence of sandworms in the trailer, but maybe they’ll appear when Dune: Spice Worms comes in early access later this year.