Released in January 2021, Dyson Sphere Program became a top-selling sci-fi management space game and now the developer is opening up about their game’s design. Chinese indie developer Youthcat Studio has released new data that allows players to better understand the difficulties in creating a new world with its own ruleset.
In Dev Log #3, the developers discussed the efforts behind setting up the scale of the game’s universe. One of the bigger game design issues behind Dyson Sphere Program are the numbers. A real world Dyson sphere would be 200 times the diameter of the sun. They game an example of a one square kilometer solar panel which in turn means that a Dyson sphere in reality would need 125.6 quadrillion panels to build.
Another issue was that the distances are too big between celestial bodies for a massive universe. The developers want players to build interstellar logistics to accomplish this task by harnessing resources from various galaxies. Plus there is an issue about planets being too big and the burden this size would place on CPUs.
A solution to these problems was to design a brand new scale for everything including new fundamental constants. The goal was to create planets close enough that players could see nearby celestial bodies as worlds and not as tiny stars. To achieve this the magical distance between two planets was roughly 20 to 80 times the diameter of the planet.
Other issues that cropped up were that planets of this size would look very different. The ratios for everything had to be worked to make the game feel right. For example the developers wonders how many facilities could be built on a planet’s surface and can the GPU or CPU handle everything. All of this was taken into account while still making players feel like they were in the shoes of their mech Icarus.
The developer log goes into more detail on numbers and the reasoning behind their game design decisions in Dev Log #3 which can be read on Steam here.
For those unfamiliar with the game, players take on the role of a space engineer that works for the international agency COSMO. Their task is to build a Dyson sphere megastructure that is capable of harnessing the output energy of a star in the 3D sandbox open universe. The task is accomplished by harnessing resources from numerous planets across the universe utilizing a giant mech called Icarus and create interstellar logistic networks.
Dyson Sphere Program is now available in early access on Steam for $19.99 USD. The Dyson Sphere Program Soundtrack is also available as a separate DLC for $4.99 USD on Steam. For more information about Dyson Sphere Program visit the game’s Steam page or follow @DysonProgram on Twitter.
Youthcat Studio is a small indie game development studio based in Chongqing, China. The five member team shares a passion for video games that has led them to explore and improve new concepts with a single goal in mind and that is to delight players.
Gamera Game (@game_gamera Twitter) is a Shanghai-based video game publisher. Founded in 2018 the company focuses on publishing services for indie games. The team aims to help game developers by viewing their role as a sidekick and because of that the company has worked with dozens of indie developers around the world.