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January 2022

Rank: Warmaster

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Developer: Laser Beams & Particle Streams Software
Release Date: Q2/Q3 2022

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'Rank: Warmaster' Available On Steam Early Access - Trailer

by Rainier on Dec. 2, 2021 @ 10:07 a.m. PST

Rank: Warmaster is an epic space game that combines real-time strategy, space combat simulation, and 4X gameplay.

In Rank: Warmaster, you must explore and conquer Mars and then the solar system to forge a new empire and bring peace to humanity.

In Rank: Warmaster, players create their own goals to help expand their fledgling empire: they decide when to attack or retreat, and where to place cities and structures for tactical purposes. The RTS interface facilitates efficient base building as well as commanding epic battles with its ease of movement and the ability to issue specific commands to a large number of ships. When the need for a more personal touch arises players can pilot their ships manually, experiencing the thrill and terror firsthand. If a player’s ship is destroyed in a large fleet battle, they can simply jump to another ship instantaneously. 

Rank: Warmaster features the tension and tactical decision making of an RTS game whose scope is limited only by your grand vision of cosmic conquest. When invaders attack, drop into a dogfight and put your space jockey skills to the test. Assemble and command a mighty fleet by leveraging the vast library of technologies to design and build your ships. Explore the territory around your bases, attack your enemies and enjoy the spoils of victory. Customize your experience by making the game as complex or as automated as you wish, and focus your talents on the areas of greatest interest while leaving the rest to your AI assistants, or team up with friends to defeat AI or human foes.

Rank: Warmaster smoothly combines the most exciting elements of RTS, space combat and 4X into a compelling experience.

Rank: Warmaster is now available on Steam Early Access for $29.99.

“As longtime fans of space games we wanted to create a game where players can take on any role, from the commander of an empire down to the pilot of a singular ship, where your choices have real consequences,” says Arthur Moyer, founder of LBPS and lead developer. “Rank: Warmaster retains the best from each genre and combines them into an exciting and thoroughly customizable experience in which you can pilot the units, an RTS without map limits, and the ability to command--as well as fly in--epic space battles.”

“At launch the player is limited to starting on Mars and cannot yet leave the planet during play. The player can build a city, research technologies and items, gather resources, custom build a ship/fleet, order said fleet to attack other ships or cities. The AI can do all these things too. The player can fly any ship they produce first person and order their fleet to fly beside them and attack what they wish. This works in single and multiplayer, Co-op, PvP, and PvE at the same time because of the ability of each player to play different roles in their empire, or other players to be their own empire with friends. There are three tutorials, labeled as Prologues, which cover first the flight simulator and RTS gameplay, and then the larger 4X-style empire management. These tutorials will familiarize the player with the many roles they can take on both in single and multiplayer. There are various screens needed to run your empire that are completed too, including the Navigation Screen, the Asset Screen, the Research Screen, the Factory Screen, and the Shipbuilder Screen. The Warmaster AI, Admiral AI, Mayor AI, Ship AI, and Turret AI are functional. The Storyteller AI that manages events is in early stages. Damage is done on a granular level, allowing satisfying disabling of ships as well as salvage. Players can instantly jump between ships in their fleets as ships are disabled, allowing them to stay in the fight during larger fleet engagements without worrying if their personal ship is lost.”

“We want to expand the game so much further to allow players to set up bases on Earth's moon and then on Jupiter and Saturn's moons all the way out to Pluto. We intend to add in a main campaign scenario that gives the game a more definitive and satisfying ending as well as smaller scenarios which occur over time as the player explores the solar system. We also want to add way more ships to the game to keep the variety interesting. There will be systems for salvaging and stealing technology, as well as interactions with the other Warmasters to change their view of you. There will be optimizations as well as visual fidelity improvements. We want to add a formation and even city builder to allow movements of fleets in specific formations, or ordering the Mayor AI to build a city a specific way. We also want to integrate the game into Steam’s workshop so that the community can create their own content for the game easily. There is of course of lot of other creature comforts and smaller features that are already being implemented that it isn’t practical to list them here.”

Features include:

  • A fully 3D RTS-style interface for managing fleets and city building lets players choose to “live” in the main first person simulation screen and/or the RTS (Navigation) screen to play as they prefer. If an RTS-style player doesn’t want to fly the ships, they don’t have to, or if a flight combat player doesn’t want to deal with fleets, they don’t have to, and may simply complete missions for other players or AI.
  • Players can jump quickly between ships in the fleet to stay on top of the action, and also switch between different customizable power profiles on ships, so they have buffs that can either increase weapon damage, improve engine thrust, or reinforce shields at the expense of other systems.
  • Ships are fully customizable: every component including the outer hull can be customized and switched out based on the technology web. The AI also makes their own custom ships allowing for unique challenges in each battle. A variety of weapons and a stealth system adds further customization options. 
  • The Precision Damage System allows for damage on a facet by facet basis: Once a facet is destroyed, it starts to destroy the component underneath (such as a weapon, engine, reactor, or even cockpit). Once a component is destroyed, it affects the ship’s performance appropriately and will explode internally, possibly taking out other components, creating potential chain reactions, and even damaging nearby ships. For example, a powerful weapon can shoot through one ship, exit the bulkhead on the opposite side, and strike an adjacent ship! 
  • The game features a realistic flight model based on assisted Newtonian physics, and the solar system is represented in real size with absolutely no loading zones. 
  • Each building in your city has its purpose and can be repaired and upgraded. (Mining, Refining, Research, Factories for ships, Turrets for defense, reactors for power, etc.). Cargo routes can be set up between cities.
  • Planets are covered in resource nodes that not only contain raw ore to make things with, but may have different buffs such as increased beam damage, or better armor, that may become rather strategic.
  • Research buildings can be used together and the researchable items and technologies are in a web, not a tree where everything is connected. Special items and technologies can be attained via capturing. Players can salvage both materials and research if the enemy has technology they don’t have yet.
  • Activate AI helpers to take care of the elements or tasks that you don’t have time or desire to manage: everything from handling cargo logistics, attacking or defending with a fleet, even making strategic decisions such as what to research or which cities to attack or defend. A budgeting system keeps the AI and/or other team members from overspending resources. 
  • Corporation customization system: Upon starting a game, each faction gets to choose or is assigned different buffs and debuffs, such as a tendency to have better shields or beam weapons, and may have a special component that their faction only gets unless an enemy captures it.
  • AI Warmasters have random or selected AI attributes to make them play differently for a new experience each game.
  • The Storyteller AI can decide which scenarios are presented to the player based on their current situation, including story-level events and random events, for a unique play session each game.
  • Support for modding as well as a scripting engine to create custom scenarios or even campaigns.

Rank: Warmaster is in development for PC (Steam), scheduled for Q2/Q3 2022.

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