Engines, Logos, Cool News

It’s been a while since we’ve written a post updating everyone with the goings-on in the Starry Expanse Project. Too long, says I. Read on, and discover what’s been going on behind the closed doors of the Starry Expanse Project.

59 Volt Entertainment

First of all, our group now has a real name! No longer are we simply “the Starry Expanse Project team”. Henceforth, we will be known as “59 Volt Entertainment”, or just “59 Volts”. If you’ve played Myst and have a mind for remembering details, you’ll probably know the significance of the name. Otherwise, go replay Myst! The project itself is still known as The Starry Expanse Project.



To go with our snazzy new name, we’ve whipped ourselves up a snazzy new logo. You may have seen it already, in the corner of our April Fool’s Images. Well, here it is in its full glory.


New Members

We’ve assimilated (as the Borg do) some great talent recently; check out the Team Roster for bios of all of our members, past and present.



We are once again accepting donations to help fund The Starry Expanse Project. If you’re interested in helping us on the road to completing an awesome game, please click the ‘Donate’ button below or on the sidebar of this page. Oh, by the way, anybody who donates will have their name put in the credits! For more details, check out the sidebar to the right, or shoot us an e-mail.



New Engine

“But Cho!” you may exclaim. “Why does 59 Volts need money? I thought Blender Game Engine was free… surely they aren’t going to be pocketing my money!” Rest assured – no, we aren’t taking your money for ourselves. While the Blender Game Engine is free, we are, in fact, no longer using Blender Game Engine to develop The Starry Expanse. Nay, we have moved on to bigger and better engines– namely, Unity!

Unity is awesome. It’s fast, powerful, and compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, PS3, Wii, and Xbox 360! It’s really spectacular. If you want an idea of how much better it is than the BGE, remember that at Mysterium last year, the demo Zib showed stuttered along at 10 frames per second (and we were lucky). In Unity, we have yet to see anything shy of 50fps for similarly detailed scenes… yeah.

There are only two big downsides to Unity.

  1. No Linux/OpenBSD/Solaris/HURD/etc. support. We’re looking into work-arounds for this, such as Cider-style wrappers, or simple WINE compatibility, similar to how MOUL became Mac-compatible. If you’re interested in helping us research these possibilities, please contact us.
  2. It ain’t free. Unity costs $1500 for a Pro license. We’ve been developing under an Indie license for a few months now, but we’re going to need the Pro license in order to make the best game possible. Trust us, it’s going to be amazing with those Pro features.

Apart from these two, Unity has bested BGE in every way that we have thought to compare the two. It has full compatibility with .blend files as well as a few other modeling programs, so we can all work in the environments we’re most accustomed to. This also means that very little work was needed to convert the existing resources into Unity-compatible ones. That said, we are currently re-working many of the existing assets to make them higher quality, more accurate, and more efficient.


The Future

So that’s where we are now. We’ve got a real name, a logo, new members, and a new engine. Our game is starting to take shape, albeit much more slowly than we would like. We still are not ready to start beta-testing, but rest assured that we are preparing for the day when we will be. If you have expressed an interest to us in beta testing, we still have your name – don’t worry.

Zib (and possibly other members of 59 Volt Entertainment) will be at Mysterium again this year. (He ought to be, as he’s helping to plan it.) If you want to find out more about The Starry Expanse Project, Mysterium 2011 is the place to be. Join us in early August, somewhere in the Boston area, for a weekend of awesome Myst-related activities. Keep an eye on the Mysterium Boston 2011 site for further details.