Dev Diary #1: Vision by Boian Spasov from Haemimont Games

Hi everyone!

My name is Boian Spasov, and I've been working as a designer at Haemimont Games for more than ten years now. I have been a long time avid reader of the Paradox dev diaries, so I feel very excited to write the first dev diary for Surviving Mars. We've been teamed up with Paradox on this project for a while, but it was very hush-hush until a few months ago, so it feels really good to finally be able to talk openly about our baby.

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The survival city builder in space

Coming from the Tropico series we wanted to create something really different both in terms of theme and gameplay and I can confidently say that Surviving Mars ended up unique. Your task in Surviving Mars is to create a beautiful and functional colony on the surface of the red planet. The game is undoubtedly a city builder, but not your average city builder. It is an intimate experience focused on creating interconnected systems and testing them against the threats of the harsh environment.

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Abundant dangers

Elon Musk famously said that he'd like to 'die on Mars, just not on impact.' We took this statement to heart and turned it into a game.

Colonizing the red planet is and should be a tall order, and many things can go wrong, and there are plenty of ways for your colonists to perish. Just not on impact.

You will test your budding colony against the real problems and dangers that a potential Mars colonization mission will face - environmental hazards, scarcity of materials, failing systems and lack of vital resources. More details will be coming in a future dev diary!


The red sandbox

While all our previous city-builders created here at Haemimont are campaign-oriented, offering more of a "rollercoaster ride" kind of experience, we really wanted to focus on the sandbox potential of the genre this time. We strived to make Surviving Mars a game that inspires you to replay, experiment, try crazy stuff, fool around, set your own goals and come back to it for many months and years ahead!

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Science vs. fiction

Surviving Mars was inspired by the old, idealistic sci-fi stories. You know the ones - from the time when the Galaxy was full of mystery and wonder, and humanity was striving to build a better future among the stars, instead of fighting its own inner demons. This lighthearted and somewhat nostalgic source of inspiration shines both in the game aesthetics and narrative.

We wanted to keep the science in the game plausible without diving into minutiae. Barring some purely fantastic elements that are best saved for a future dev diary, the scientific aspect in Surviving Mars is realistic, but the game is not thematically centered on science. It is about the dream of the first human settlement on another planet.

It is time to wrap this up. In this diary I talked about the high-level vision of the game, teasing some details here and there without going into specifics, but fear not - the juicy features will be disclosed in detail in future dev diaries. What would you like to hear about next?

As my parting gift, here is a video in which some of our key team members explore Mars... from Earth:

P.S. You can also read a juicy interview with Gabi and find out more about the game here.
 

Zakath

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Nice first dev diary, keep sprinkling them with purdy pictures please :)
 

Emre Yigit

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Pretty! Will you be able to terraform?
 

mwyeoh

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First dev diary! Cant wait to see the features the game will have!
I hope there will be some sort of campaign/mission system like Tropico 4 & 5 had
They brought the game to life!
 

Stormcow

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looks interesting, please be careful you don't accidentally make ANNO 2079 because that game sucked!
 

Darksaber501st

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This looks like the kind of game I've been waiting for for a long time, so I will be eagerly following its development.

While all our previous city-builders created here at Haemimont are campaign-oriented, offering more of a "rollercoaster ride" kind of experience, we really wanted to focus on the sandbox potential of the genre this time. We strived to make Surviving Mars a game that inspires you to replay, experiment, try crazy stuff, fool around, set your own goals and come back to it for many months and years ahead!

While I do want the game to have a sandbox mode and feel, I sincerely hope that you do have a campaign of some sort. I think there's just as many opportunities here for excellent gameplay in a detailed campaign as there are for sandbox. Actual settlement of Mars and the development of what could be called "self-sufficiency" would probably require multiple colonies, with each quite possibly being very different. Not every colony can be located on ground with water, mineral resources, or sufficient space, and I think modeling the development of actual, fully-functioning civilization on Mars would be a great subject for a campaign.
 

DominusNovus

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How frequently will DDs be released?