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Sons of Sol

Sons of Sol is a single-player top down space shooter with realistic physics, challenging squadron-based combat, procedural missions, and a dynamic strategy layer.

Sons of Sol
VOTING RESULTS
Yes 77% No 23%

Genre: Action, Strategy

Developer: RetroNeo Games

PC

PITCH

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Platforms: PC

In Sons of Sol, take command of your family's private military company and defend Kolrir's colonies from pirate attacks.
Fight explosive battles with your intelligent wingmates, then return to manage the resources, contracts and missions of the company in a persistent strategy layer.

Carve your name into the stars!

The game is best described as "Asteroids meets Wing Commander with an XCOM-style strategy layer". Our unifying vision is to capture the essence of 90s space sims and present that in a new way.

We’re developing primarily for the PC and hope to release in Q1 2018.

At the heart of Sons of Sol is its unique form of space dogfighting. Not a twin-stick shooter, and not airplanes in space, but instead a proper Newtonian-style form of drift and thrust movement inspired by the classic Asteroids. This form of movement, combined with a simple dodge-move, presents a unique form of gameplay when trying to dogfight against skilled AI opponents.

Around this core gameplay we have your squadron. Build them up from a rag-tag bunch of rookies into an elite fighting force capable of advanced team tactics and manoeuvres. Drawing fire, covering, playing chicken and more will all be part of your combat playbook.

After a successful (or failed) mission, return to your flagship to regroup and plan your next move. You select what missions to undertake and how, all with the ultimate objective of hunting down your pirate nemesis ‘Crow’ and his Lieutenants before they can completely destabilise the solar system.

"Asteroids meets Wing Commander with an XCOM-style strategy layer".

After graduating with top honours from Kolrir’s prestigious military academy, you seek to make a name for yourself as a fierce defender of order and justice. You head out to the colonies to join your Aunt Zacha’s private security firm, Stellar Security, in protecting the miners, natives and colonists there from pirate activity.
However, after Zacha’s right hand man, Crow, betrays and murders her, defecting to the pirates, a devastating series of surprise attacks cripple the Kolrir colonial forces and it seems the pirates have the run of the system.

Still reeling from your loss, you’re tasked by the Colonial Governor to bring Crow and the other pirate leaders to justice. The only problem? You’re vastly outnumbered and woefully under equipped.

With bloody retribution as your endgame, you launch a hit and run guerrilla campaign on the pirate ships and bases in the region, seeking to disrupt their plans to capture the colonial capital, and to find the traitor Crow. But as you slowly learn the harsh lessons of war, will your thirst for revenge blind you as to its true first casualty?

  • Lead your forces through a non-linear strategic campaign, where the result of every battle matters.
  • Revel in an arcade-style space shooter for the 21st century, with Newtonian physics and detailed AI.
  • Grow with your squadron! Use training doctrines, equipment upgrades, and specific orders in battle to transform your ragtag squadron into an elite fighting unit!
  • Mourn your fallen comrades or rescue them from imprisonment. Permadeath, capture, and rescue are all in play.
  • React to adaptive enemy strategies. Don’t expect the same tactics to work every time, and don’t expect to win every battle.
  • Gain notoriety! As you grow more successful, challenging bounty hunters will be drawn to your engagements to hunt you down.
  • Be mindful of your short and long term objectives through a variety of mission types like Raid, Escort, Base assault/defense, Capture and Elimination.

We want our game to look great and to stand out from other space games, so we’ve decided to embrace our top-down gameplay and forego 3D models and neon lighting.
Instead we’re drawing all the ships top down and without dynamic lighting so as we can directly control how they’re presented in the scene.

For style, we’ve gone with an art deco aesthetic rarely seen in 2D games. One interesting aspect to this decision is that we knew we wanted a gritty, “realistic” sci-fi setting even before we knew what the game would look like. Art deco’s normally bright, sleek, chrome look seemed at odds with this goal, until we remembered how Batman: The Animated Series had mastered the dark side of dark deco already. 

After adopting classic noir and art deco themes into the concepts for ship design and interior shots, we knew we had our look.

One ongoing challenge is to maintain the physical believability of new ships and still have these elegant, elongated lines in the art deco design. Since we use physical forces in the game, the positioning of engines and thrusters matters, but it’s proven to be a very manageable (and enjoyable) challenge.

We have a free demo available at the Sons of Sol website or from this link here. 

It’s a pre-alpha build that shows a flavour mission mixed with a tutorial. It doesn’t represent any particular level in the game, but instead represents the movement, combat, squad commands, and story tone of the game. What it doesn’t show yet is the strategy layer.

In the demo, from the Main Menu, you can view the concept art for the home base (since it’s not a functional part of this demo).

You can also use our character creation tool. You can adjust the appearance, name, callsign, and even biography for your custom pilots and then share collections of pilots with your friends.

Two of the characters you create (if you choose to do so) will appear as your wingmates in this demo.

Our primary, and likely only mode is the single player campaign against the AI. This is very systems-based, with light story running through. That means that it’s very replayable. You’ll never get the same campaign twice!
We’re aiming for the campaign to take 10-20 hours, but this will depend on feedback during playtesting later in the process.
It involves flying a mission, making tactical decisions (eg. deciding to take the time to board a transport to gain intel when you know enemy reinforcements are incoming in moments), and, win or lose, coming pack to the strategy layer to promote your forces, buy upgrades, and plan your next mission.

Other modes are being considered, but the dynamic campaign is where we feel we can offer the most value.

One possibility is this: We already treat each pirate Lieutenant as a mini-boss, with their own procedurally generated attributes and strategic assets. Considering this, we’re inspired by Hitman’s ‘elusive targets’ mode, which could make for some interesting bonus content for Sons of Sol post-launch.

Local deathmatch, or wave-based co-op or even race modes would all be possible avenues for fun extra content, but they’re only likely to appear (if ever) as major updates or community events.

We’re developing primarily for the PC and hope to release in Q1 2018. 

We also have an eye on coming to consoles and the game already feels good on a controller. This will depend on support for the game. If there’s significant interest we may delay to launch on PC, PS4 and XB1 simultaneously, but otherwise we’ll play it by ear after an initial PC launch.

Game development is hard, and building a community can be even harder. If you’re interested in this game, do show some love by getting involved with the development process. We’d be ever so grateful for your help in these areas:

  • From our descriptions here, what do you like the sound of? What don’t you like? Any suggestions? Let us know!
  • You can play the demo at sonsofsol.com and leave your feedback on the game feel and general direction we’re taking.
  • You can sign up to our newsletter, which we’ll only use for major updates.
  • Follow @retroneogames on Twitter and retweet our screenshots and videos.
  • Let your favourite streamers and YouTubers know that they should try out our game, if you think it suits their channel.
  • Drop into the development livestreams on our Twitch, Beam, or YouTube channels and say hi. We stream Mondays at 3pm and Thursdays at 8pm, Ireland/UK time.
  • You can also check out the latest at sonsofsol.com where you’ll find links to all of the above, as well as our DevLog.

We think we’ve got a great game on our hands, but as we see all the time nowadays, the best games are made with great feedback from the community (whether they’re Early Access, or Kickstarter games, or other models). We don’t plan to go with these particular models, but we already provide the gameplay demo for free and take all feedback that we can from it. We want more opinions on the current demo, and on future ones that include the strategy layer.

We don’t plan to make all later demos available to the public all the way up until release, so we’re looking to stay in touch with people who’d like to keep trying builds and suggesting improvements right the way through the process. 

Most of all, we want to build a community around new followers and streamers who learn of the game through the Collective. We know that the game can go nowhere without an enthusiastic community to spread the word, so let people know that there’s an awesome new space game on the way, and that they can help make it the space game they’ve always wanted. 

We’re all stronger together!

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  • Kevin Murphy (@kmurphygames)
    Lead Developer With a career background in marketing, admin, accounts, and even tax roles Kevin’s transition into the games industry was perhaps, on paper, an unlikely one. However, when you add his side passions of music, gaming, performance, entrepreneurship, event management, production and writing it starts to make more sense. Add to that recipe a newfound joy for coding and you have a solid and well-rounded indie developer cake. Or is it the box for a cake and the game is the cake itself?.. We’re baking a space game! Kevin’s parents bought the family’s first PC when he was 7 years old, and Star Wars: X-Wing was the first game he owned, playing it to death! So when he founded RetroNeo Games in 2015 it was this love for 90s space games that determined the direction of the company’s first title, Sons of Sol.
  • Fred Mangan (@fredmangan)
    Art A painter, an illustrator, an animator, a film maker, a writer, it was only a matter of time before Fred made his way round to game artist. Bringing 15 years of creative advertising and design industry experience and a huge love of tabletop gaming to the team, he spends his time hunched over a sketchpad, scanning the expanse of his childhood imagination for strange creatures and exotic starships. Fred has previously won awards for his work on Guild of Dungeoneering, and is relishing the switch from high fantasy silliness to deep space sci-fi.
  • Steve Gregan (@stevegregan)
    Music & SFX Steve Gregan is a songwriter, composer, and sound designer who has over eighteen years experience writing and producing music. He uses his academic background in ethnomusicology, along with music technology, to create hybrid styles of music. He merges traditional music with modern, collaborating with internationally known Irish traditional musicians like Frankie Lane, Celtic Women and Kila to name a few. He has produced critically acclaimed and award winning game soundtracks, with the most notable being Guild of Dungeoneering by Gambrinous and The little Acre by Pewter Games.