Welcome. To a lifelong dream.

In this post I talk about the beginnings of Halcyon Online, how it became a lifelong dream, and what inspired this mammoth project.

a year ago

Latest Post Infoslate #8 - April update by Kirk Bushell public

Well, a dream I've had since I was about 16 years old.

You see, in reality, this project has been on my mind and jotted down through various game design documents since the late 90s, when I built my first game - DroidsRPG. It has been a continually evolving process, that in 2020, I realised I had something that I was happy to start developing. And well, here we are :)

Droids, and many games like it were basic strategy games that attracted a cult following. My own game had a few thousand players, and I was barely 16 at the time. Other, much more popular games such as Starsphere and Planetarion a few years later, amassed hundreds of thousands of players. These were truly epic, massively multiplayer spectacles that dwarfed (at the time) any other game in terms of player size.

The goal of these games was to start building your empire on your homeworld, and then slowly expand to the stars, colonising other planets, attacking or defending other players, until a winner was decided after a set period of time (usually around 3 months).

Fast-forward to 2020 and I started putting together what I believe is my Magnum Opus - Halycon Online (HO). HO is a massive undertaking, leveraging 20+ years of Software Engineering experience, using the latest tools and methods within web and application development, as well as incorporating and hiring amazing artists from around the world to create truly gorgeous artwork that breathes life into a game that has been over 20 years in design.

This is the largest and most ambitious project I have ever decided to tackle to date, and I suspect it will take me many years before I consider a beta launch, but until then, if such a game appeals to you, please subscribe, and look out for updates once a month, where I'll be doing the following:

  1. Documenting my research into game design and the mechanics of Halcyon Online.
  2. Recording coding sessions showing (on Twitch, live) my challenges, solutions and approach to problem-solving.
  3. Posting regular lore updates to start painting the proverbial picture of the universe players will find themselves in and, finally;
  4. Showing off the various pieces of art that you'll be able to find throughout the game (such as the image at the top of this post).

Halcyon Online represents an undertaking that I'm still getting my head around. It involves game design, game development, novel approaches to web and application development to implement various game mechanics, artwork, beautiful UI designs, and a whole lot more - and I'm the only person tackling this (for now).

Games such as this still exist today (Planetarion is still live, albeit as a shadow of its former self), but other games such as OGame and Astro Empires are doing phenomenally well, with approximately 700,000 active visitors between them. The problem I see with these games is that well... they're old. They use old technology and are somewhat hampered by dated game design. They have a very loyal fanbase but rarely attract new players.

I believe Halcyon Online can not only compete with these larger titles, but actually show the broader gaming community that these games exist and are worth playing (in reality, they're simple - they're text-based, graphically-enriched games). In addition to that, I want to journal the entire experience, so that other game designers and developers can learn from my successes, but more importantly - my failures. Where I go wrong, what I learn and how they can leverage through this experience, the underpinnings of what I hope to be a great game.

Welcome, to Halcyon Online.

Kirk Bushell

Published a year ago