Social Hardwar

I would play the shit out of this game. Anyone remember hardwar, the sci-fi flight simulator game of yesteryear? I used to love this game. I only consistently played 3 PC games as a kid: Simcity / Maxis, Road rash, Hardwar. The theme of the video game incase you didn’t read the wiki article: It’s the distant future. Humanity has spread across the solar system. The game is set on Saturn’s moon Titan, a privately managed mining colony. Because of risks, costs and what not, the corporations back out leaving the colony in 200 years of isolation. Due to this neo feudalism emerges and a corrupt police force maintains law and order. Well, I say maintain, but you can pretty much go shoot down a couple of moths and steal their cargo and be perfectly ok. So moths. Moths are your basic flight unit with some customization options. There are lots of AI moths flitting about the place carrying (sometimes precious) cargo. You as a character could stay on the right side of the law, feed off of scraps of cargo dropped on part of the planet, ferry them over to another to sell them for a profit. You could also of course buy stuff from AI shops and sell them elsewhere or convert them into weapons for your moth.

So you’re in this virtual economy and things are running around relatively smoothly. There are two main factions and as long as you don’t piss them off, the police can be dealt with via bribes. Unfortunately though, this was released in a time before MMOs, so this is where the campaign comes in. Both the major factions, knowing that the colony is doomed, are hatching plans to escape. Your role as a player is to uncover that plot, use the tech the BigCos were planning to escape with to escape yourself. Dog eat dog.

My take on this is more analytical / EVEOnline + Zynga mixture than a simple single player game. We have a fictional universe, a spiral galaxy with various star systems. As a player, you set up shop on a home planet of your choice as a trader. You get to choose between a few varieties of ships (emphasizing either speed, defence or attack. You could probably add a few more parameters here). You have a base set of resources (food, natural gas, uranium, iron, copper, steel. We could make this endlessly complex). Each planet supports a varying amount of population. This population, depending on the planet they’re on creates a demand for various resources. Having access to the resources at cheap prices + a certain random factor enables the population to grow. Population growth is ticked over each hour. More population causes more demand etc. As the population grows and time ticks on, new colonies are established. (We could even have a Iain M Banks Culture style central governance and maybe even add a galactic war / taxes factor that causes the population to be cautious, consumerist etc.) and the game naturally flows with these params. The universe is initially populated by hundreds of AI moths, some better than the others, conducting trade. This keeps the economies ticking. As players join, we reduce the number of AI moths.

The gameplay itself is very simple graphically. As mentioned previously, the player picks up a starting planet, starts with a moth, a hangar and some cash. They get to load up their moths with goods and transport them to other planets to sell them there. This costs fuel, time and space on the ship. The point of the game is just to make money. Money lets you upgrade your moths, buy hangars, hoard resources and so-on. The game itself has no real end-point.

This could just be an iPad game with login via Facebook. Usual bonuses like cash / invite etc apply.


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