TextSpaced: An infinite and shared text-based universe.

Getting Started

The Basics

If you haven't played a text-based game before, you are not alone. Text-based games are not common today and certainly not those played in Facebook Messenger. We are hoping to change that however, by dragging text-based games into the present based on modern principles unshackled from the constraints of the past. Since the game is played in Messenger you can pick it up and play investing as little or as much time as you want, as the perfect companion where there is always something to do. Moreover, the text-based nature makes it accessible and we are pleased that a high percentage of players are blind, enjoying the game through use of screen-readers and other assisting technology. TextSpaced has many concepts you may not be familiar with and terms that are seeded from science ans science fiction. This basics section aims to help demystify much of this and explain the concepts from the ground-up.

TextSpaced is a sci-fi MMO, this means you are in one shared universe along with thousands of other players. When you start the game you were assigned a character and given a Shuttle as your starting ship. You play the role of the character within the ship and thus there will be circumstances where you can leave your current ship to interact with the world. The entire universe is a living entity with players and non player characters (NPCs or computer players) going about their business the same as you. When you started the game you chose to either be the leader of, or a member of a faction. Put simply, a faction is a collection of players operating under the same name. The general aim of TextSpaced is to make your faction successful in a way you see fit.

The universe itself is infinite but for ease of understanding is one dimensional - you can think of it as an infinite ribbon where the start is the centre of the universe and the end continues of into infinity. Since the universe is one dimensional when you travel you have the choice of travelling in the minus direction, which is to the left, or in the positive direction, which is towards the right. Heading to the left will move you closer to the the centre of the universe and to the right, further out into the frontier (space nobody has been to before). This is presented in the game by relative distance, so a distance of -1LY would be one 'jump' to the left, a distance of +2LYs would be a 'jump' of 2LYs towards the right. Movement in TextSpaced is measuring in light years, or LYs, and each ship has a maximum range it can travel in one 'jump' and how quickly it can regenerate travel charge used. The range is measured in LYs, such as the starting Shuttle having a range of 20LYs, meaning it can move 20 light years in a single jump. The charge cycle is measured in minutes, a charge cycle of 5 minutes for example means a ship can recharge 1LY every 5 minutes in real-time. The term jump is simply used as a way to describe travelling from one sector to another, as you can jump completely over sectors if you wish. This type of travel is called faster-than-light or FTL, however this is the primary method of travel in TextSpaced so you will nearly always be using FTL travel when you are moving from place to place.

an example of nearby sectors

A sector is a single light year of space, displayed as one block in the game (a box with an image, details and buttons). Sectors are the places you leave and enter with your ship and each have their own single classification. For example, a sector could be home to a planet, a star or nothing and is simply empty space. You as a person inside of a ship exist in a sector but so can structures, which are buildings that have been built by someone. A sector name is identified by a leading # symbol and uppercase text, for example #AMICI would be the name of a sector called Amici. As well as a name and type, a sector can have a owner which is simply dervived by the structures that are present. This means by building a structure in a sector, you would claim the sector on behalf of your faction.

Structures have different roles, the most common being a trade structure. They also serve different purposes, many of which are restricted to the owning faction only. To interact with a structure you can dock with it. This will most commonly occur with trading structures, like the Merchant Station, where you can choose to dock with the structure from the Helm menu and your character will proceed to dock your ship with the structure and disembark. Once you are within a structure there will be different crew members you can interact with. The crew members themselves have their own name and profession, therefore offer different services. An example of this is a miner on a Merchant Station who will offer services such as buying and selling commodities, such as metal.

Sectors, structures and ships are the main entities that comprise TextSpaced and cover the basics. Items such as cargo are added to the ship hold to be carried around but these concepts are explaining further in the game tutorials, which can be accessed by visiting the information menu.

Actually playing the game is achieved by using the menu options, these options are grouped semantically by station. For example, all controls around moving and docking are found within the Helm menu. Controls for sending messages or accessing your inbox are found within the communication menu. Most of the game is played by either choosing menu options or buttons within sections, sometimes however you will be promoted to enter free form text, such as sending a message to another player.

Don't die

Attacking other ships is a sure way to get destroyed and make enemies early in the game, however the universe is a hostile place and there are many other ways you can injure your character. Don't fret however, as getting destroyed in combat or becoming injured decreases your statistics and happiness but doesn't end your game in anyway. An important item to note however is that if you are a human or clone character you will need to ensure you have enough supplies (food, water and medical supplies) to keep your character nourished. To increase your supplies you can either land on and then gather on a planet (gathering can be done after a planet has been charted), or purchase rations from any merchant.

Getting started

The aim of TextSpaced is to create strong factions to help stabilise the universe bringing order to chaos, although this is not enforced. Whether you prefer to fight, gather commodities or complete missions the method you play is up to you.

When you first start TextSpaced you will be given a Shuttle and a handful of credits to your name, it’s also important to note the character you have been given, in particular the race.

Androids are great with anything technical or anything requiring accuracy, so expect improved repair times and higher battle accuracy - unfortunately they are poor at deceit, bluffing and bartering.

Clones start of with lower statistics, so are worse than other classes at the beginning of the game, however they have the unique ability of not suffering any reduction to these statistics other than the fighting skill if their ship is destroyed in battle.

Finally humans are in between, they have the opposite abilities of Androids but suffer reduction to statistics upon death.

Playing into the strengths of your character is an important part of TextSpaced, you may also find that if your character is revealed to not enjoy fighting that their happiness decreases as they do - but character statistics are something that are discussed later.

The core mechanic of the game is travelling to sectors, you do this by setting a location and creating an aperture into Null Space. Providing you have enough charge in your light drive and your chosen destination is within the maximum range of your ship you will arrive in less than one minute. To travel to other sectors you can access the FTL menu within Helm. Destinations are broken down in categories, but you should start off with only travelling to nearby sectors as your starting Shuttle only has a maximum range of 20 light years. The charge is replenished over time, with the Shuttle gaining a light year each minute.

Setting Out

The first goal you should set regardless of your race is to obtain a new ship, the Shuttle you start with is poor and will not stand up very well to anything other than another Shuttle. There are various ways you can obtain enough credits to buy a new ship, the easiest way is to mine a sector for commodities and then sell these commodities at a Merchant Station or Base. To mine for commodities, you use the Engineering menu in any sector except empty space. Mining is a time-based activity, and you will be notified each time commodities are added to your hold. Once you're full mining will stop and you can use the FTL menu within Helm to head to a Merchant Station or Base to sell the commodities - you will find these types of structures within 'structures' then 'trading'. Once you have arrived you can dock with the station or base using the Dock option within the Helm menu also.

The Shuttle you start with is poor and will not stand up very well to anything other than another Shuttle

If mining is not your thing you can check what missions are available under the Missions menu, however its best to stick to missions that don't involve fighting when starting out.

Once you have enough money to purchase a ship (15,000 credits for a Scout, the next ship up from a Shuttle) you need to find a Shipwright, docking with a Shipwright will show you the ships available for purchase. Shipwrights will also keep your old ship in storage, so you don’t have to worry about losing anything when upgrading - you just need to visit any Shipwright to switch ship.

The Factions

TextSpaced contains three main NPC factions, these being The Descendants, Transitional Government and Civilian Guild. The Descendants believe they are descended from Old Earth and attempt to continue the values of borders, states and the right to bare-arms and claim what you want to in the frontier. The Transitional Government believe that a unified galaxy is the only way mankind can proposer, hailing from Amici they attempt to enforce their laws and values in space they claim - which is in constant dispute with The Descendants. Finally, the Civilian Guild remains neutral and tries to shy away from conflict and politics whenever possible.

When you begin the game the space which is known will already be discovered for you, this known space is detailed in the chart below. The point in which The Descendant sectors and the TransGov sectors meet is always a hot-spot for battles, so worth steering clear from in the beginning. For quick reference, The Descendants tend to name their ships and sectors after planets from the Sol system or use references from Old Earth, such as ocean names, animal names or famous landmarks. The Transitional Government tend to be more pragmatic and name things using code names or greek letters.

Karma is tracked against each NPC faction, and doing missions aligned to a specific faction, dealing with weapons deemed illegal by TransGov or attacking ships or structures will change this. Its worth noting that the higher your karma with TransGov the less inclined the Descendants will be to help you and vice-versa. There is no right or wrong faction to align with, but whichever way you go you will be gaining favour with one faction and losing it with another.

In terms of statistics for your character, these can be improved by continuing to perform the skill you wish to increase - for example, if you want your mining skill to increase simply continue to mine, alternatively you can learn skills from books. You can purchase books from merchants which your character may decide to read, these books range in rarity and price. To review your top skills you can use the 'my stats' option with the settings menu.

How you go on from here is your own choice, and whether you follow this guide or carve your own path we hope you enjoy the journey (but we would advise getting a hideout as they are the only truly safe place in the TextSpaced universe).

reviews

  1. Roverto Renteria

    Roverto Renteria

    I've been playing this for hours and I can say this game, even if it is a command-line, it is one of my favorite games (actually) and it is so entertaining. Please keep supporting this game and giving maintenance.

  2. Karoly Hemm

    Harley Raven Cannon

    Great concept, beautiful artwork, great gameplay.

    I love it!

  3. Karoly Hemm

    Karoly Hemm

    It's the very best text-based game I ever played.

    It is totally, perfectly playable to blind, and visually impared gamers using screen readers too.

  4. Corey Bailey

    Corey Bailey

    I love Text Based Adventure games, I'm developing one myself. I recommend playing this game. It has an easy interface and very easy to learn how to move around and do things like mine for resources. It's a wonderful game you can play at home on your PC, or take it on the go on your phone and continue your adventure, anytime! I'm giving this game 5 star's simply because I love Text Adventure games, it's a very neat concept (Played through messenger), and it's very interactive. I will gladly share this with all my friends!

Related