TextSpaced is a text-based sci-fi MMORPG played in Facebook Messenger, where as a captain you attempt to survive and prosper in an infinite and hostile universe. TextSpaced blends the style of more traditional text adventures with modern principles to create a game where everyone coexists in the same expansive universe which is steeped in lore and intrigue. The entire universe is organic where everything is connected to everything else, every decision you make has a cascade of repercussions for you and your faction. The sandbox nature of the game leaves you, the player, the freedom to decide at any point what to do next. With 15 base skills each branching out to distinct master skills, the ability to realise hundreds of traits and specialities, every player can walk a path different to everyone else. The narrative and story of TextSpaced unfolds seamlessly, so you can choose to uncover the mysterious past of Old Earth, affiliate and forge relationships meeting both real and non-player characters - or simply pirate yourself to fame and fortune. With thousands of different ways to make a living and even the mechanics to make new things nobody has seen before, every players experience is different and personal. Your actions influence your skills, simply continue doing what you enjoy to unlock new career paths helping your faction gain more control over the universe.
Over 50% of people that play TextSpaced are blind or partially sighted.
TextSpaced is heavily faction focused encouraging players to work together for common goals but this doesn't preclude lone factions of pirates, traders or even bounty hunters from disrupting the universe. With a mission system based around crew members that generate tasks specifically for you, NPC ships powered by machine learning and local and global economies driven by real trade there is always something to do.
Unlike traditional MUDs or MOOs which TextSpaced bares a resemblance too, the primary interface is via menu options, although macros are present that can 'short-cut' many of these. Text is used to describe the universe and everything in it, however supporting art is often presented for things like ships and characters. This means it is always clear which options you have available and perfectly suited for screen readers.
5,055 players are currently playing TextSpaced
The main mantra of TextSpaced is "tactical, not technical" to this end the universe is uniform and one dimensional, operating essentially as an infinite ribbon. Each sector represents one light year of space and has a type from a selection of 71 in total; ranging from common types like empty space and stars to more exotic types such as black holes and gravity wells. Other systems also follow this mantra, such as combat being card-based and relations being represented as karma and reputation.
TextSpaced has a multitude of crafting mechanics and ways a faction and captain can customise what they own. This ranges from installing rooms in structures and ships and hiring a crew to more left-field ventures such as crafting mechs, turning planets to metal or keeping bird companions. It also features over 100 different structures to build ranging from buoys to Dyson Swarms and over 300 ships to purchase or craft ranging from a humble Shuttle to Destroyer.
TextSpaced was originally developed as a terminal based sci-fi arena game. The game was based on a 3 by 3 grid where the human player started in the top left and the AI player in the bottom right and the objective of the game was to destroy the opposing player upon which a new match would begin.
Each match the arena and loadout of each ship were procedurally generated with both players having a short-range, medium-range and long-range weapon equipped. Players would take turns using three action points where each action they could perform used one action point. The actions available were:
The game featured primitive points of interest such as alien civilisations and black holes that could sway the trajectory of combat.
The second version of TextSpaced was the first that was played via Facebook Messenger and built upon the ideas of the original. In this version, the arena size was increased to a 20 by 10 grid where two teams had the objective of destroying each other's homeworlds, with one team's world seeded at the top left of the arena and the other the bottom right.
The teams consisted of 3 captains and 1 admiral, where the captains could choose from three ship types (Scout, Fighter and Engineer) when the game started and the admiral would be static in-game at the team homeworld. The captain's role was to explore the arena, mine for commodities (which the admiral could use) and ultimately destroy the enemy team's homeworld. As the game progressed the captains could mine for resources at various sector types found in the arena, which the admiral could use to either upgrade the ship statistics by one level or upgrade the weapons these ship types had by one level. All levels were capped at 30 with the best weapon being the Omega Cannon a weapon that could only be yielded by the engineer class ship but could destroy a homeworld in four hits.
The different ship types played an important role in the game, with Scouts the fastest but most fragile ships, the fighter a heavily armoured and medium speed ship and the engineer ship the slowest, but had the best weapons against the homeworld structure.
Just like the original version, version 2 used an action point system, where a new action point was generated each minute in real-time, the commands were identical to the previous version with the addition of a mine command, salvage command and special command - that allowed the captain to perform a special action using all of their action points.
The current and final version of TextSpaced (since it's being continually updated) moved to a sandbox MMO model where the universe is infinite and procedurally generated and is still played via Facebook Messenger. In this version, the focus still remains on faction game-play but captains have far more freedom to explore, make credits and pursue skills of their interest as explained in the Wiki.
Launched as a closed alpha in July 2017 and then a public beta in October 2017 the game continues to be developed.