Miner Wars

By: Alehkhs

On: July 16th, 2009

If there is one game type that I love, it’s a free-roaming space sim. Games like Elite or Freelancer come to mind, where the player has the freedom to explore a universe unbounded, to etch out a living through trading, piracy, transportation, and even mining asteroid fields.

As much as I enjoy playing the miner route in these games, the experiences is hardly ever more than a 3D Asteroids clone, where you continually shoot spinning rocks into smaller and smaller chunks. I always wanted a game with a more detailed mining simulation; similar to the suddenly popular games Infiniminer or Minecraft.

Seems like Miner Wars is gonna be my kind of game.


Inspired by games like 1991’s Tunneler, where players dug tunnels to infiltrate their enemies base, and Descent, where they flew spaceships through cramped tunnels, Miner Wars allows players to dig their way through massive asteroids in an effort to uncover precious ores and investigate alien artifacts.

Don’t be afraid you’ll roam the stars alone though, Miner Wars is an MMO. Players will be able to join guilds and work together. Will your team mine ore from the kilometer-wide asteroids? or perhaps you will lie in ambush and snatch the ore out of the hands of another hard-working miner. You are free to make your living as you please, and there is a main plot to entertain you along the way, which will evolve with future game updates.

I talked briefly with Marek Rosa, Miner Wars Game Director, about this interesting project. “The player has several factions to choose from, and this choice determines who is his friend or enemy,” explains Rosa. “This faction’s bases also act as respawn locations for the player, and he can return to these bases to upgrade his ship with new weapons, engines, shields, etc.” I was told that currently there are ten ship-types for the player to choose from, varying in things like size, cargo capacity, armaments and power.

The factions also provide NPCs for the players to interact with, and Rosa gave a few examples of missions the player might receive, “It may be rescue, fighting, exploration, mining and harvesting ore, patrolling space, stealth missions or something else entirely.” Fighting will no doubt occur between players, and faction control of various sections of asteroid field will likely be one of the driving forces in the evolution of the game’s universe. “If you dig a tunnel, and the leave and go across the universe, another player can still come across your tunnel,” said Rosa. Every interaction you have with the physical world of the game will leave a permanent effect.

Although Miner Wars has an infinite world, with asteroid fields scattered forever in every direction, players don’t need to worry about flying for hours just to complete a mission. Rosa explained that players can travel instantaneously between various ‘transportation ships,’ which will be spread throughout the game’s universe. That’s not to say that players can’t strike out on their own though, and explore the places between these transport hubs. In fact, it’s this kind of exploration that will allow the player to discover alien artifacts among the asteroids, which can be collected and sold for a high profit.

The current distribution plan for Miner Wars is a release for PC in August, with updates and expansions of the game’s story and world expected to come every few months. Shortly after the PC release, it’s planned that Miner Wars will be coming to XBLA, and there are even whisperings of a 2D version headed to handheld devices like iPhone…

Game Website

  • Waltorious

    This looks pretty awesome… I wonder whether the flight mechanics will be more like Descent or more like a Space Sim (Freespace, etc.). And now I just remembered that the first Freespace was actually a Descent spinoff for some reason. Word.

    If you enjoy games like Freelancer, you might like Evochron Legends, made by Starwraith. I’m playing it now and it’s pretty awesome. It has fairly traditional mining, but it is very profitable in the early game. It currently feels like combat is more fleshed out than trade / mining, but there’s a lot of suggestions in the forums right now to add more “peaceful” features, and the guy that makes the game tends to update it quite frequently and is really responsive to suggestions.

  • Anvilfolk

    I’ve also usually ran away from games that require subscriptions… although not immediately visible, there’s a topic in the “forums” about this.

    The developers state that it is highly unlikely that it will be subscription based. They are tending towards an option where you buy the game and get “free” access to the online world for an X amount of months or years or whatever. Then a new version or expansion comes you, you buy it, and continue to get access, along with the new features.

    I don’t dislike this option :)

  • Data

    This gets huge thumbs up from me

  • Nikica

    Looks awesome and August isn’t that far away and it’s coming to PC not like other games…

  • AmnEn

    I know folks around here sneer at Flashgames but I really liked Motherload for that very reason. It’s not your usual Asteroids Clone and actually pretty fun too.

  • Al3xand3r

    Tunneler mining and Descent fighting? Sign me up.

  • tomelin

    “Miner Wars is an MMO.”


  • nullerator

    Seems there’s a heft single player bit too. Looks interesting.

  • http://0xdeadc0de.org Eclipse

    the description is interesting but the actual gameplay footagetrailer is pretty meh for me. Frankly the first time i saw the video i was like “meh, another xna game”, now i read it’s an MMO… so i hope they have a lot of different ships and so on thay they don’t want to show somehow… i’ll give it a go inform better when it will come out, the concept is interesting

  • __stdcall

    oh my god.
    I had exactly the same idea about a year ago, not only the idea but the overall theme, use of light, round tunnels etc.

    cool! a dream come true

  • Flamebait

    I would be interested but Infinity: the Quest for Earth seems better so far. And I wouldn’t play more than one MMO.

  • Al3xand3r

    Doesn’t look like a MMO to me. Also, um, it’s a small indie game guys, you expect it to take on Eve? YOu’re not posting on GameFaqs, this is TIGSource… The project looks interesting, and does many cool things… Voxel engine, destructible environments… It also clearly isn’t going for a space sim feel, it’s closer to an arcade game or something from the looks of it… Be glad it has any multiplayer at all? :S

  • Al3xand3r

    And it looks FAR more complete than Infinity, which looks cool, but not likely to show up this decade… I don’t see the comparison other than both being space games either :S

  • Flamebait

    It [i]is[/i] an MMO. Alehkhs said it in his post, and it’s stated on the frontpage of the site. However the nature of player interaction seems vague.

    Yes, Miner Wars is obviously at a more advanced stage of development than Infinity- unsurprising given the combination of having more developers and less to develop.

    They’re both **3D space MMOs with twitch combat**. How many games fit that description? While they’re obviously quite different, it’s an apples-to-apples comparison.

  • MasterShake

    Woulda’ put the icing on the cake if some giant space worm emerged from the tunnels at the end to devour the little miner ship.

    I don’t see anything that hints at Single Player or non P-v-P options like fighting AI controlled monsters. The miners need a nemesis, even if it’s one ripped straight out of the Star Wars universe.

    Don’t get me wrong, I do expect these things to be implemented on release, but it’s weird that an MMO doesn’t showcase a combat system in its trailer. Even Blade & Soul showed off theirs.

  • Al3xand3r

    No, it’s an apples to oranges comparison. This is what their front page says:

    “Miner Wars is a 6DOF underground and space shooter played in a fully destructible environment and is a combination of single player story game and MMO.”

    So, it’s a space shooter. With single player. And MMO elements. So, yeah, it remains to be seen if the MMO aspect is actually MMO-like or simply taking a FEW of their ideas and implementing them in a non-MMO environment, sort of like Guild Wars taking some of the social aspect and interactivity but providing it in an environment closer to Diablo-like than WoW-like.

    Not to dismiss the pull of the marketing term either… Hearing MMO will sure turn some heads… I wouldn’t blame them if they stretched the definition to use it. It doesn’t sound like it has a fee so, bonus points for that. Unless it does, in which case my expectations would certainly be higher for that aspect.

    Even if it’s a MMO it’s still an apples to oranges comparison. Being both set in space doesn’t make them similar. Just as R-type isn’t the same as Elite, though they’re both single player space games.

    All that’s sub-par in the video is the gun models in the first person view, but hey, I can live with that if the gameplay is there. And you guys are attacking them like they showed an abomination.

  • Al3xand3r

    Checked their forums, they say subscriptions are the least likely to go for, and the most likely is something like Guild Wars with new episodes released every year or two.

  • Foppy

    Looks good, “Worms” in space but with ships, and ehh without worms.

  • http://www.g4g.it Firesword

    i would add 3DRealms’Terminal Velocity too as a source (sauce) of ‘inspiration’…

  • Flamebait


    As for whether it’s an MMO, it’s too early to tell. Their descriptions give severely mixed messages- “cooperative, or you against everyone”, “The player can join any one of the existing factions”, and “Active internet connection needed!” denote an MMO-like structure. And the combination of the many pieces of equipment with moneymaking implies some kind of advancement. But it’s also sort of stated that it can be played alone (whatever the “single/multi-player game” means).

    Even if it’s an MMO, it’s apples-to-oranges, you say. Let me rephrase my original point: **MMO set in space using Newtonian dynamics with reflexive combat**. Think of the vast breadth of all games ever made. We’re talking, what, one in ten thousand? Infinity came *immediately* to mind when I first saw this- for good reason!

    Your last paragraph. I didn’t get bad vibes from this thread, so I checked again, and indeed they’re absent. Which comments exactly are you talking about?


    Fury^3, the cheap TV imitation using the same engine, is better.

  • http://www.puppybuckets.com Alehkhs

    About the multiplayer:

    You must play online, on a server. This populates the world with more interaction for the player, in the form of other players, and provides opportunities to cooperatively complete missions or personal objectives.

    However, a person can ‘play alone’ and run through the story or free-roam by themselves, but the world that they do this in will be populated by other players.

    So yes, it is a MMO, not in the sense that it forces interaction upon you, but rather in that it provides a more realistic/thriving world for you to play in through the use of real people.

    Think similar to the online system employed by Freelancer (which I still roam in): you can completely ignore other players and just run through the campaign by yourself, you you can play it alongside others, making the missions more team-work based, or you can simply ignore the campaign and just role-play. Except for Miner Wars, there is *only* this online mode.

  • Gutter

    A MMO where griding isn’t about killing endless respawning hordes?

    Where do I sign up?!

    (And yes, I consider this an MMO. But then again, we can’t even agree on the definition of “indie” around here, so it’s not surprising that some people don’t see it as such)

  • UnrealClock

    Oh boy, Red Faction: Online Edition!

  • v1510n

    Another 6DoF Space MMO with twitch combat: Vendetta Online.

    While I’ve never played EVE, I’ve heard the end game is like a screensaver. Select target, activate weapons, watch them go.

    VO is much more twitch. It also has mining, but no destructible asteroids. It’s focus is on twitch combat, which gets quite interesting with 6DoF, ships with thin front profiles, and roll.

  • Alex

    Freelancer wasn’t a MMO so that comparison doesn’t help your point…