The website for Galactic Command Online, the new MMOG in development at 3000 AD, is now online and like all the company's games, it promises an open-ended galaxy in which you can do absolutely anything - with a few limitations.
You can't talk about 3000 AD without talking about Derek Smart so we might as well get that out of the way. Smart, as most of you probably know, is the president and lead developer of 3000 AD, an independent game studio he founded in 1989. He is possibly more famous for his outspoken belligerence on internet forums than he is for his games, which are notorious for their incredible detail, complexity and inaccessibility; Smart's games make Falcon 4.0, with its lifelike physics and thicker-than-a-phone-book manual, seem about as complex as Peggle.
On the other hand, he must be doing well in that particular niche because he keeps hammering away at it and he also earns props for giving away the full versions of his games via the 3000 AD website once he feels their "shelf life" as sellable games has expired.
Anyway, Smart's games have always had a certain "massiveness" to them so the transition from single-player experiences like Universal Combat and All Aspect Warfare to a full-out MMOG seems like a natural move. Smart appears to be taking a page from the EVE Online manual, with plans for an open, non-instanced galaxy in which players do whatever they want and suffer the consequences thereof. Unlike EVE, however, Galactic Command Online will be primarily a military game; the game will have a "very basic player driven economy" for resource trading, but even that will take place primarily to support combat operations.
Much of what the game will offer will evolve directly from 3000 AD's earlier single-player games. "What we're doing now is creating a subscriber based version of our tried and proven IP and technologies but with even more advancements," the company said. "Rather than doing the usual two year song and dance risk of developing a new game, we decided to go the subscription route as it is easier to extend and advance a base product over the years with expansion add-ons than to keep starting from scratch each time."
The impact of piracy on the PC gaming market is also cited as a reason for the switch to a subscription-based system, in wonderfully typical Smart vernacular. "Pirates are bastards who have all but ruined the PC gaming landscape," it says. "Not that the average pirate has enough brain cells to even play our games, but that's another topic entirely."
Galactic Command Online is being developed for Windows and is currently targeted for release sometime between the final quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, although if I were you I'd mark that date on my calendar in pencil.