The Future of the MMORTS in the Universe of Novus Aeterno
The concept of an MMORTS (Massively Multiplayer Online Real Time Strategy) game is certainly a heavy one. Mixing the two genres of online gaming has been attempted many times before, but truly doing so in the definition of concept has escaped developers time after time. The goal of Taitále studios and their in-development game Novus Aeterno is to successfully merge the minutia of a MMO game with the community and universe manipulating feel of a RTS. It’s a hefty challenge indeed, as there are many elements and variable to consider. However, after meeting several times with the young minds behind the game, I’m convinced that not only have they collected the best talent in the world, but they are well on their way to completing something truly original and game changing.
Taitále was founded by Nick Tamlers Nieuwoudt when he was a mere 16 years old. Now 20, Nick has assembled a team of international developers & designers to realize his vision. The game has been in development for several years, but there have not been any delays. When you are dealing with realizing a complex vision and working with a team (and generally not paying them) located all over the globe, you have to have patience. Novus Aeterno will be worth the patience both the developers and the growing fan base has no choice but to maintain.
Recently at PAX East in Boston I caught up with Nick and the team and was able to finally get a good glimpse of the in-production game. While there was no playable demo, the game looked absolutely amazing. The space based Sci-fi persistent universe gave visitors a fantastic look at the expanding fleet of ships to control. These “units” were a key factor in building the game, as Taitále wanted to push the limits of active units by re-architecting the database design. This never-ending, completely pushed to the limits universe is testing the conventional limits in terms of graphic quality, game play and strategy.
The design in Novus Aeterno is meticulous and precise. The art is original and comes from the minds of great genius. Everything from the armor of the ships to the interior of your command post, to the alien and human design is hand drawn, then sculpted in professional design programs. There is nothing boilerplate about the design of this game, every detail no matter how minute is being thoughtfully designed and placed appropriately. To prove that the art is no fluke, game artist Rodrigo Vega was on hand at PAX East hand drawing one of a kind sketches for fans.
Along the way, Taitále has brought in the right kind of help. They partnered with then Trinigy (since acquired by Havok) to make use of their Vision Engine, then recruited Major General Jim Hunt (Ret. USAF) to serve as a military advisor, as space battles are similar to naval battles, adding in the multiple dimensions of course. Eventually, Major Hunt joined Taitále as COO, fully immersed in what Novus Aeterno was quickly becoming.
What Novus Aeterno is becoming could possibly be the white whale of a true MMORTS, something that has not truly been achieved up to this point. While many games (such as End of Nations and Age of Empires Online) are able to employ certain elements of both or aspire to, they have not been able to be able to integrate both aspects of the genres. Novus Aeterno is looking to break through that wall with its epic space battles between users focusing on the map as a whole war, rather than individual skirmishes.
But the universe of Novus Aeterno is not just about the epic space war raging on around you, it’s about avoiding the epic space wars as well. Diplomacy and negotiation with your neighbors plays a huge part in the game. Being a persistent RTS, that means that game keeps on going even when you have to do those pesky things like sleep, eat & go to work so you are going to have to make friends who will water your plants while you are out. Another great addition to the battle is positional armor, giving an advantage to an expert ship builder in battles when it appears as if they’d be outclassed. This lends an even keel to the game as a whole, to eliminate player advantages such as building a larger army, or ships with more guns. Anyone can win a battle if they play it right.
Looking for even more community involvement (or free labor) Taitále has opened up its severs to the gaming community. They are looking for hardcore and casual gamers to join their “Infiltrator” team. Members will have access to the inner workings of Novus Aeterno as quality assurance players. If you are even more talented than just a gamer, Taitále will be seeking to hire from the crop of core Infiltrator team members. If you are interested, shoot off an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nick Nieuwoudt is in the rare position of being able to fully realize his gaming dream. On a tight budget (compared to major studios) and with no set deadline, he can take his time developing the game that fits in with his complex vision. Novus Aeterno, when complete, may very well be the benchmark for both future MMO’s and RTS games or the combination of both. Be sure to check out Novus Aeterno at PAX Prime in Seattle later this year, they just might have something a bit more tangible for gamers, rather than just gameplay videos.
Header image: Taitále, additional image: C. Silver