A game of trading in the far future

  status: cooking in the lab

Edgling is a single and multiplayer trading game set in a future where humanity has conquered the stars and colonised thousands of planets at the edge of the galaxy.

Players must create routes between planets for trading and then buy and customise starships that ply these routes to trade between star systems. Routes must be plotted carefully to avoid gravitational effects of intervening star systems if the risks of starship failure are to be minimised. Players can hire expert pilots who can navigate high risk routes more safely, decreasing travel times and increasing potential profits (remember the “kessel run”). Non player characters can also be hired into other starship roles to help with engineering, trade negotiations, scientific research or to enhance service on passenger or tourist route. Each npc has their own personaility and players will be in competition with one another to hire and retain the best staff.

Each star system has a deep automatically generated history and culture that affects the trades, behaviours and attitudes encountered. This history aids immersion in the game universe and can be customised for each server to tailor the universe to each community’s needs.

Players will initially use pre-existing spaceports but later in the game may build their own and open up star systems that have not yet been connected to other systems. Players have individual tech trees which they must research to give upgrades to their spaceships and spaceports. Players may survey star systems and use this information for their own trade routes or sell it onto other players.

Each player must balance investment of time and resources between trading, exploration and research but the game will be balanced to make it possible to specialise in an area and still stay ahead of players with other specialities. A player may choose to dedicate themselves to exploration and surveying of new worlds, earning their wealth by selling this information on to other trading players.

The game comes with a built-in server to enable multiplayer games. A player can simply start the game on their computer then other players on the same network can join in at any time. A server can be started on a computer exposed to the Internet to enable wider multiplayer games from across the world.

Key Features

Historical Background

In the desparate years of the late 21st Century the World Progress Council, newly formed from the impotent remains of the United Nations, began its program of forced migration and depopulation of planet Earth. The remains of the Human Race clawed its way out to the nearest planets and moons in a last bid for survival, leaving behind the wrecked and inhospitable birthplace of humanity. Within decades though, the pressures of scraping an existence on the airless worlds of the solar system led to the initiation of a second panuman program of expansion, this time looking to the stars for salvation. The first sleeper ship left the solar system in 2186, followed by one every 18 months for the next 40 years, each to a new destination and each larger than that which had gone before. This was seen by the majority as humanity’s last chance and the launches only ceased on the descent of the remaining peoples into the first and last interplanetary war around the Sun. Millions died in that last war and hundreds of millions more in the lost years that followed leaving the survivors to fall into savagery and isolation.

Many of the sleeper ships were lost or failed in their missions but equally many found new star systems to colonise and the lucky few found hospitable planets to settle. Gradually, through a period now known as the Great Expansion, the human race spread across the galaxy, a thousand colonies and a thousand histories. Many centuries later people finally entered star systems above the edge of the thin galactic disk and it was on one of these colonies in 4167 that the greatest breakthrough in interstellar travel was to be made. For over two centuries in the confines of Earth’s solar system physicists, mathematicians and engineers had searched fruitlessly for the holy grail of faster than light travel. From the new vantage point at the edge of the galaxy the missing physics became apparent: faster than light travel was possible but was highly sensitive to gravitational fields. In the dense stellar environment around Earth the interlaced gravitational effects of thousands of stars rendered faster than light travel impossible but at the edge of the galaxy it became feasible, reducing travel times from decades to months.

The led to the second Great Expansion of the human race. Although returning to the ancestral home of humanity was impossible, thousands of new star systems beckoned and this truly became a golden age of exploration and discovery. With the safety and stability that interstellar trade and communication brought, scientific progress resumed and a second revolution erupted, eclipsing the Industrial Revolution of a thousand years before. Societies were transformed once more through advances in terraforming, food production, healthcare, engineeeing and communications. This second industrial revolution continued for a further five centuries during which time efforts were made to contact and reunite as many of the original colonies seeded by the sleeper ships as possible.

Although no higher lifeforms had ever been discovered on any of the worlds humanity came to inhabit, there were several instances of single and extremely primitive multicelled lifeforms analagous to algaes. That higher exobiological life was possible was undisputed: very ancient remains of potential structures hinted at intelligence and civilisation in a number of systems but the most recent had been dated to several hundreds of thousands of years in the past and there were no remaining artefacts to give a more definitive view of these alien cultures. Fossils of plants and animals were found in a few locations but the vastness of the area to search across all the settled star systems made for slow progress. This was to be interrupted by the first stumble of the golden age which came with the emergence of a virulent and invasive microorganism ultimatelty traced to a newly settled planet. Infection by this microbe was ultimately fatal but this was compounded by the long incubation period: several years could pass before symptoms were exhibited by those infected and by that time the damage wrought within the body was subtle but extensive.

The outbreak became known as the Crying Plague or Plague of Tears, named for the most obvious sign of infection: the leaking of clear liquid from the corners of the eyes. The first few years after the first infection saw increasing numbers of sufferers and cases rose rapidly to epidemic proportions. The reaction across the settled worlds was mixed. Those worlds with authoritarian tendencies imposed movement restrictions on their own populations and quarantines on the more lassaiz-faire worlds and within months interstellar communication, travel and trade had ground to a virtual halt. Distrust and fear ruled as each system struggled to contain the plague. A series of tactical planetary sterilisations presaged a wider struggle for control of peoples and essential resources.

From the panic and chaos arose a faction known as the Uldera Pact united in the belief that only the eradication of the interstellar drive could save humanity from both the plague and from its own destructive tendency. In a highly coordinated day of attacks on an unprecedented scale the Pact seized control of every interstellar spaceport and shipyard throughout the settled worlds at the edge of the galaxy and a large number of the remaining starships that still braved travel through the conflicting worlds. The Pact imposed a blockade around every settled world and set about destroying any remaining starships that attempted to breach it. Within a year a third of the settled worlds had descended into anarchy born from famine and lack of resources. Within five years 50% of the former golden age worlds had fallen back to feudal systems and agrarian societies. Two decades later, with most of the Pact itself dead from plague or despair, the golden age was over and humanity’s ambitions had reverted to simple survival. The densest populated worlds had seen populations fall from the billions to millions in the space of a few years and much of their infrastructure had fallen into disuse and neglect.

After several centuries of recovery, humanity once again looked towards the stars and began to venture forth to rediscover the lost, almost legendary, colonies of the golden age. Step by step, with the fear of the Crying Plague still in mind, they began to reestablish links between planets and the flow of peoples, trade and information began once more. The great adaptibility of humanity had proceeded unabated in the intervening years and for every dead planet hundreds more were discovered with every possible variant of society and governance. The human race had been cocooned for half a millenia and now emerged more beautiful and diverse than ever before.

It is into this emerging interstellar society that you are thrust as a trader looking to establish new routes for commerce and seek out undiscovered opportunities. You have available to you enough money to purchase your first trading starship and you must use this wisely to increase your wealth and invest in additional routes. Every world you encounter will be unique and will have its own needs and products for sale. Each will be at a different technological level, some desparate to advance, others more conservative in their desires. It’s up to you to research each world and spot the potential money making trades with other systems. You must then plot safe routes between the star systems avoiding the gravitational influences of intervening star systems and set your starships on course to make the trades. To aid you in your quest for wealth you will encounter a host of characters, some of whom you will be able to hire to pilot your ships more skillfully, obtain better prices or even entertain your passengers.

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