In the proudest tradition of the genre, Outlier: Open Skies will allow you to travel through space taking up odd jobs and hauling goods for a profit. You have the ship, and you have the freedom, to explore the universe and go where your adventure takes you. However, space is not for the faint of heart and even your trading habits will cause the factions of the galaxy to change their opinion of you for better or worse.

Upon release, this game will feature...

  • Dynamic universe populated by thousands of NPCs who are in direct competition with you. No matter where you go, or what you do, they will continue to go about their daily lives.
  • Challenging missions based on the current population of the dynamic universe.
  • Multiple story lines to complete.
  • Dynamic economy where all goods are manufactured from raw materials by stations.
  • Empire building features. Build space stations, own as many ships as you like, and use those ships to automate your trading or military empire.
  • Complex standing system that will go beyond the conventions of the genre to deliver a more varied and realistic experience. Faction relationships with you will be more complex than simple friend or foe.
  • Vast procedural universe filled with stars, planets, asteroids, and nebula.
  • Joystick support (naturally)!

Are you big enough?

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A More Varied Cosmos

5 months ago News 0 comments

Those of you who've played Outlier know that there are some things about the universe that are pretty predictable, specifically star textures and the rotations of celestial objects. I've taken a pass at adding some variety.

Axial Tilt
In real life, planets are tilted. In Outlier, planets never have any tilt. This seemed like a problem, so I took the time to gives planets some tilt. This helps break up the spacescape by not aligning everything with the plane of the system, which adds a nice touch.

As you can see, that blue planet is not tilted the same as everything else. Although a small touch, I believe it is an important one.

Station Tilt
In space, you'd expect stations to be at arbitrary rotations. In Outlier, they were always rotated the same way. I've added some variety to station rotation so they're rotated at random. This means that docking is more interesting to watch.

Once again, a small change that adds a nice graphical touch. It was kind of stupid how every station, everywhere, had the exact same orientation.

Star Variations
Every star was the same white blob. This is unrealistic, and lame. So, I've taken the time to add support for both star color and texture variations. The star color affects the lighting in the system, so you'll get color variations and brightness variations depending on the star.

This adds a lot of variety, and makes things look less same-ey. Like the previous improvements, this is a small but important touch of variety. It has the effect of making the whole universe a little bit darker too, since it's not an all-white light source.

These new visual touches will be released along with Alpha 4. I have some other art passes in mind, and if you can think of any effects to change, let me know.

The Development Branch
New development in Outlier is being done publicly in a new branch on GitHub. This branch allows you to pull the absolute latest (which would include these changes) to modify and test. Beware that this branch is under constant revision, so it might not always be as stable or polished as a release.

Remember, Outlier is now MIT licensed. You can use it to start your own project, and do pretty much whatever you want with the code. The development branch, besides, being bleeding edge, also has a lot of code cleanup and refactoring you might be interested in.

What Next?
I want to ask you, the community, what you want to see in Alpha 4. I have some ideas in mind, but feel free to suggest your own.

  • Carriers - Ships that carry other ships and command them.
  • Campaign Scripting - Like in High Albedo, support for writing branching story arcs. Due to the universe being in heavy flux, I wouldn't write anything but a basic example myself, but there would be support for others to write their own campaigns.
  • World Building - More factions, more wares, etc.
  • More Ships / Weapons - This would add a lot of variety, but require creating a lot of new art assets.
  • Claim Space - The ability for the player to claim solar systems and (attempt) to prevent the NPC factions from reclaiming them.
  • Documentation - What can you do, and how do you do it?

Feel free to suggest more, and include a reason why. I'd also like to know what you don't want to see, including why not. Your feedback is important to the future of this project. Try to prioritize suggestions since not everything will make it.

Fly safe!

Steam Greenlight And The MIT License

Steam Greenlight And The MIT License

5 months ago News 0 comments

Outlier has an exciting future coming up. It's not only being voted on in Steam Greenlight, it's also now under a new, even more open, license! These...

Alpha 3 Released

Alpha 3 Released

1 year ago News 3 comments

Alpha 3 covers a lot of ground. There have been fundamental gameplay changes, new features, bug fixes, and performance improvements. This is the most...

Alpha 2 Released

Alpha 2 Released

1 year ago News 2 comments

Deployment days are always fun, waiting for huge files to upload and videos to render, painstakingly finding good screenshots and dealing with unexpected...

Towards Alpha 2

Towards Alpha 2

1 year ago News 0 comments

With Alpha 1 in the wild, I can sleep a little easier. But not that much easier, because there is tons of work to be done before Alpha 2 is fit for release...

Outlier: Open Skies (Alpha 3.2)

Outlier: Open Skies (Alpha 3.2)

5 months ago Full Version 0 comments

Joystick dead zones and bug fixes. Requires Java 8 or higher.

Source Snapshot (Alpha 3.2)

Source Snapshot (Alpha 3.2)

5 months ago Source Code 0 comments

Everything you need to alter the game! Requires Java 8 or higher and Netbeans IDE. Now under the extremely permissive MIT license!

Outlier: Open Skies (Alpha 3.1 Patch)

Outlier: Open Skies (Alpha 3.1 Patch)

1 year ago Patch 0 comments

Requires downloading full version of Alpha 3. Fixes an issue preventing players from buying ships from busy shipyards.

Source Snapshot (Alpha 3)

Source Snapshot (Alpha 3)

1 year ago Source Code 0 comments

Everything you need to alter the game! Requires Java 8 or higher and Netbeans IDE.

Outlier: Open Skies (Alpha 3)

Outlier: Open Skies (Alpha 3)

1 year ago Full Version 1 comment

Missions, mining, turrets, and more. Requires Java 8 or higher. Not compatible with saves from Alpha 2

Source Snapshot (Alpha 2)

Source Snapshot (Alpha 2)

1 year ago Source Code 0 comments

Everything you need to alter the game! Requires Java 7 or higher and Netbeans IDE.

Post comment Comments  (0 - 10 of 15)
Vladiskov Nov 27 2014 says:

thanks, i did, but in both times i got a java exception

+1 vote     reply to comment
masternerdguy Creator
masternerdguy Dec 2 2014 replied:

You need to have Java 8.

+1 vote   reply to comment
Vladiskov Nov 27 2014 says:

tu puta madre y la peleas con el otro tipo i going to get this game too for the sake of it XD

+1 vote     reply to comment
masternerdguy Creator
masternerdguy Nov 7 2014 says:

Be sure to grab the Alpha 3.1 patch or you might have trouble buying a new ship if NPC traders are swarming the shipyard.

+1 vote   reply to comment
xinsavior Sep 9 2014 says:

Hey, this seems like an interesting game, I was brought here by your post at SpaceSimCentral and I really like the idea of mixing X3 and Freelancer, though those games seem pretty similar as it stands in my opinion haha

I just had a few questions to ask and I hope you do not take them as an attack on your game, just simply wondering about the direction you are planning to take with the game:

1. Now that there are many sandbox-esque sci-fi games coming out such as Elite: Dangerous and Star Citizen, to make the front runners, in which direction are you planning on taking this game's gameplay that will differentiate it from the rest of the games coming out in the next year or so?

2. You talk about the game being a blend of X3 and Freelancer, could you possibly expand on what exactly it is you are, and aren't, taking from the games that would help to expand your game into something greater?

3. Are there any gameplay aspects that are you really focusing on, whether initially or in general, that you hope to make the keystone feature of your project?

Thanks in advance and I will be keeping a close eye on this game to see how things progress! I have high hopes for a very cool game :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
masternerdguy Creator
masternerdguy Sep 9 2014 replied:

My reply was too long to post here, I've sent you a message.

Short version:

1. First and foremost, none of those are open source. Besides that, neither of those games are going to have the kind of economic simulation and empire building features I am working on. This game is also cross platform.

2. The games aren't really all that similar, although both are set in space they are quite different. In Freelancer you have faster paced action and a more open world than X3 but you don't have the ability to scale (you can't own more than one ship, build space stations, etc). In X sectors are just 200km grids, in Freelancer they are (not scaled realistically) solar systems to freely fly through. I want to combine the fast paced action and exploration in Freelancer with the economy features and scalability of X3.

3. I want to focus on the behind the scenes simulation. I want a universe that evolves over time because of the actions of individual NPCs interacting with each other, where all actions have consequences. I'd like to have a simulation complex and challenging enough that no matter how good the player gets the world is always a threat to them, and ideally they'd learn something new about it every time they play.

I want my factions to eventually be show don't tell. Instead of telling you that they are pirates / navy I want to show this by having the NPCs behave differently. I want factions to be more than just sliding standings bars with different ships.

Hope this helps!

+1 vote   reply to comment
Guest Jul 13 2014 says:

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masternerdguy Creator
masternerdguy Jul 17 2014 replied:

It starts with a seed number and generates planet textures on the fly. A simpler, less advanced, version of the algorithm can be found in High Albedo.

There's also a function that keeps the universe fresh by adding and removing NPCs as needed.

0 votes   reply to comment
darkhuntx7 Mar 27 2014 says:

Quite ambitious project of yours, but if I may ask why the jMonkey engine??

+1 vote     reply to comment
masternerdguy Creator
masternerdguy Mar 27 2014 replied:

It's the only decent 3D Java game engine. It's open source and I've been using it since it was in alpha so I've got a lot of practical experience with it.

It is capable of solid frame rates and scenes as detailed as any other major engine, you just have to play with it a little. And since it's open source I have a lot of freedom to modify it if needed to get something to work.

Java was also the language for my previous project High Albedo, but I wrote my own engine for that one.

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Outlier: Open Skies
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