Dev Diary #12 - Freighters, Research Vessels, and Battleships

Ships form the third leg of the tripod in ORG that begins with agents and continues on with ground and orbital facilities.

Like agents (and unlike facilities), ships are mobile. Also like agents, every ship as a single unalterable negative trait, possibly one or more fixed positive traits, and a number of open slots that the player can later slot (and re-slot) with acquirable ship traits as well.

But what makes ships different from agents? Why does an org even need them? (Or does an org need them?)

Let's take a deeper look...


Uranus is the home of the Outer World commercial and military juggernaut of the Alliance, which has begun carefully moving in on Saturn's Republic of Titan-Rhean Divisional Authority coalition.

  •  Alliance
    • Oberon
    • Ariel
    • Miranda
    • Caliban
    • Mab
    • Chariklo
  •  Dominion of Titania
    • Titania
    • Umbriel
    • Sycorax

The Alliance's powerful navy has begun setting up several military bases on isolated moons in Saturn's system, and has diplomatically isolated the coalition from the two smaller polities in the orbit.

Thus far the Trans-Jovian War has consisted purely of naval actions and marine assaults on outposts and military installations, but the time is coming soon where the Alliance will be ready to move directly on Titan and Rhea themselves.

The Alliance shares the orbit of Uranus with the potent Dominion of Titania which the Alliance has forced into a non-aggression treaty by virtue of the Alliance's commercial monopoly in Uranus' orbit on both Helium-3 and conventional hydrocarbon mining.


Neptune is the site of a protracted conflict between the expansive and xenophobic Protean League and the Democratic Republic of Triton.

Known popularly as The Long War, the conflict has simmered now for over fifteen years.

  •  Democratic Republic of Triton
    • Triton
  •  Protean League
    • Proteus
    • Nereid
    • Larissa
    • Galatea
    • Neptunian Trojan Belt
  •  Alliance
    • Neso
    • Psamanthe

Triton is far larger and more economically powerful, but is crippled with internal political gridlock rendering the polity incapable of effectively marshaling its superior resources.

Still, the Protean League is not powerful enough to launch an all-out attack on Triton, and so has - for now - confined itself to aggressive commerce raiding, capturing smaller colonies and research stations, and slowly but surely tightening an economic noose around its larger neighbor.

Dev Diary #11 - Designing Nations

We recently showcased some of our work on the flags of the 25th century, but one thing we didn't talk about is the process we go through.

We could simply just build off of what looks good, but let's be honest - a lot of flags in the real world aren't exactly works of art. But then, they aren't supposed to; flags are intended to be symbolic representatives of the national polities they represent. The stripes of the United States flag represent something very specific - the original thirteen colonies. The colors of many of Africa's flags were chosen deliberately because they refer back to colors symbolizing dreams of African unity. The symbol on India's flag, the Ashoka Chakra, a 24-spoke wheel, is rife with spiritual import.

So, instead, we decided to build flags kind of the way they are built in real life - from the ground up, with an eye to the symbolism. We also do a couple of cheaty design things intended to make your lives easier.

National Flags of the 25th Century

The universe of Org contains not only the powerful orgs controlled by players, but also the decadent and corrupt nations that are ultimately puppets on the strings of the player's orgs.

Despite this, the national polities of Org are potent and particular in their own ways. Some of these ways are brutally economic in the form of what resources are available to each, some manifest in the tasks available due to the petty political rivalries or cultural idiosyncrasies of each.

Head over to Flags of the Solar System to see more of the flags of Org's national polities.

User Interface Early Mockup

The development process for working up the user interface works by first putting together a set of wireframes that define the logic and decision-making tree; for Org, this consists of several dozen different screens, each one individually discussed, debated, and analyzed for issues of ease of use, data association, and game logic.

The next step is to give these wireframes real art - that's the stage we're on now. Like the first stage, we're going to go through a lot of iterations on this before it gets to where we want it to be, and what works for tablet may not work for the web version, so we're likely going to see some bifurcation of that as well. The first draft is rough, but will become increasingly refined with every draft as we finalize the individual art elements, make real icons, move things around and so on.

Want to comment? Head over to the thread on the forums and drop us a line.

Dev Diary #10 - Task Timing

Tasks in ORG are the fundamental unit of gameplay in that they are how players recruit new agents, build new ships, raid and bombard worlds as privateers in the service of national polities, research new technologies, and a hundred other things.

Of the various aspects of tasks, a task's duration interacts with trait bonuses and penalties in several ways that are useful for an aspiring director of an org to master.

Let's look at a few of these...

The Kuiper Belt

Beyond even the orbit of Neptune lies the solar system's second asteroid belt known as the Kuiper Belt. Masses of dwarf planets and asteroids reside in a distant belt that are often farther from each other than other inner worlds are even from each other.

  •  The Kuiper Compact
  •  Haumea - A refugee colony from the Botany Bay moon of Hyperion, exports its own brand of militarism and, some would say, terrorism.
  •  The Quorum - An isolated research state dedicated to the promotion of unbound science in ways that even the Europan Consortium has been unable to fully pursue.
  •  Orcus Directorate - Its orbit keeping it far from Pluto and the Kuiper Compact, has gone its own way with a blend of totalitarianism control its proponents argue is necessary to survive in its isolation.

Within this distant frontier lies an array of small polities and myriad orgs, some taking advantage of the isolation from the rest of the solar system, others looking to bind the scattered colonies together into various engines of commercial, political, or military power.

Forum Trait Contest

We're holding a forum contest for Best Negative Ship Trait, Best Negative Facility Trait, and Best Negative Agent Trait!

Winners get a purple quality ship, facility, or agent with their winning negative trait (tweaked as necessary to work with the game mechanics, of course.)

Dev Diary #9 - Another Look at Agents

We've talked a bit in the past about agents, one of the three types of slottable minions an org has at its disposal to accomplish tasks, but only really in generalities.

Both as a window into the development process (since this is actually what I have been working on this last week) as well as in service to a better understanding of how this critical element of gameplay works, let's take this opportunity to look at the kinds of traits and pieces that work together to make up the agents of ORG.

San Diego Comic-Con 2014

I will be at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 in late July in a generally unofficial capacity, but would be happy to field a Q&A and general chat over lunch one of the days if there is any interest.

Obviously, I am most interested in talking about Org, but to the degree that I can I would be happy to talk Marvel Heroes, Star Trek Online, or exchange zombie haiku.

Kidding about the zombie haiku. (Actually not kidding...)

Let me know what days there's interest for either on this thread or messaged to me so I can gauge interest and such.

Art Diary #1 - The Faces of ORG

When we started work on ORG last year, one of the early questions was how to handle the art? In the case of ORG, we knew we were going to eventually want not merely dozens, but hundreds of character images to represent the myriad pilots, scientists, executives, zealots, explorers, activists, and soldiers of the solar system of centuries hence.

Illustrating each one of these would simply be impossibly expensive for a venture of this scale, so how would we do it?

Dev Diary #8 - The Competitive Edge

ORG is fundamentally a game of organization, logistics, and strategy.

But what does that mean for player interactions, polite or...otherwise?

ORGcan be played essentially as a single player game, but there are also four powerful mechanics for competitive and cooperative gameplay:

  • Reputation Politics
  • Trading
  • Personal Rankings
  • Alliance Rankings

Let's talk about each one in turn.

Dev Diary #7 - Finessing the Polity Politics of the Solar System

While the corporations, privateers, institutes, trading consortiums, aid groups and secret societies controlled by players jockey for control and influence throughout the solar system, they are doing such against a backdrop of existing political entities.

The solar system of ORG is comprised of a large number of distinct national polities, each with technical sovereignty over one or more regions. "Technical" sovereignty because ultimately, it is the actions of the various player orgs that call the real shots.

(Be sure to check out the Solarian Encyclopedia if you are interested in learning about the background and political relationships in more detail).

So how do players' actions affect the national polities of Org, and vice versa?

Dev Diary #6 - Mining and Manufacturing

Crafting, like trading, is a mechanic that has emerged in innumerable games over the last couple of decades, and for good reason - it is a powerful mechanism to allow agency and progression on the part of a player.

In ORG, there are actually a wide array of crafting-like mechanics, but the most recognizable of these for most players lies in the operation of the Commercial category.

As with each of the five categories of Org - Commercial, Cultural, Political, Military, Research - the fundamental structure of the Commercial category lies in the execution of tasks.

Update to Website and Forum Migration Complete

As I am sure you have noticed by now, we have undergone a massive update to our website and forum.

One of the unfortunate side effects of this is we were unable to migrate accounts from the old website to the new website, so it will be necessary for you to create a new account. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience, and hope all the new fancy bells, whistles and information will make up for it.

We are incredibly excited to be entering into this phase of development, as we are approaching our pre-alpha milestone, which means we are finally in a position to start sharing with you a lot more about how the game works.


Dev Diary #5 - Shape of an Org

In previous dev diaries we have talked a bit about the organizations of ORG and the five categories to which tasks, ships, agents, and facilities in the game are all defined by.

One thing we haven't gone into much depth about, however, is the organizations - the orgs, if you will - themselves. What makes one player's org different from another player's? What are the various ways an org can be styled, and what are the implications of that?

Every player starting out must select one of the five categories - Commercial, Cultural, Military, Political, Research. - that is their org's preferred category, and one category that is their org's disadvantaged category.

Dev Diary #4 - Solar Astrography

Org takes place in the 25th century A.D., over four hundred years in our own future.

Despite two failed efforts, while the stars yet remain out of reach the planets and moons of our own solar system have not, and wide swathes of the solar system have been colonized. Efforts by political actors to dominate this colonization effort failed in the face of powerful corporate entities who, over time, themselves evolved into political entities in their own rights. Earth's nations remain divided, although more concentrated than in our own day, and still wield immense power in the struggles over dominance throughout the solar system.

Yet despite the might of Earth's great powers, the distances of space are beyond vast, and political divisions are enormous, and the ecological turmoil and devastation in adjusting to a world ravaged by resource exhaustion have meant that the influence of Earth's nations is thin at best past the asteroid belt.

Dev Diary #3 - Of Ships and Agents

The central mechanic of ORG is the task.

Most tasks consume certain resources, and virtually all tasks require one or more ships, agents, or facilities to be slotted - and it is the quality and traits of each of those ships, agents, or facilities that will determine the chance of success for a task.

The internal unofficial term for these slottable ships, agents, or facilities is "minions". This obviously isn't really a new concept, having been used in a number of other games, but it is something that for us was key to get right and to build off of the lessons of other games.

So what exactly did we decide we wanted to do differently?