Ever want to build your own galactic empire?

Well, the ICON Forge team lets you do just that in Project Nebula, their ICON blockchain-based science fiction strategy game where players can build civilizations on a truly inter-planetary scale.

Project Nebula is a sci-fi strategy game with valuable collectables where players can explore a vast universe, colonise planets, build up their industry and learn new technologies while advancing their space empires and competing with other players,” explains ICON Forge CEO and co-founder Holger Sundja.

The game’s collections feature high-definition digital artwork, their own musical scores and an intricate web of lore. an equal mix of strategic gameplay and NFT collecting.

Explore. Collect. Grow.

Project Nebula presents an ever-expanding hex-based universe players can explore. Planets are represented by increasingly trendy non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which players can claim, trade or sell through an in-game marketplace.

Like 4X games such as Civilization, Project Nebula incorporates open exploration, research and resource management.

Players can explore only a limited number of hexes a day, though you can boost that number by researching technologies and collecting resources.

To build their empire, players acquire planets through several means. They can purchase them from other players using the NFT marketplace, or they can do it the old-fashioned way by colonizing new worlds they discover on their own. What you’ll need to do to colonize new planets will depend on the planet in question — some require ICX, some require in-game resources, still others require no resources or fees at all.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are planetary colonies. Colonization takes time, and if two players are colonizing the same world, the first one to complete the colonization takes the planet.

The game takes its inspirations from a number of cinematic and gaming sources.

Thematically, we’ve drawn strong influence from pieces like the Expanse TV series, the RPG Stars Without Number, the Blade Runner movies and Dune,” says Sundja. “In terms of gameplay, we’ve always been drawn to strategic games and different RPGs, but we do have a weak spot for collectable games as well. Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, Heroes of Might and Magic III – these are just a few of the games we’ve played relentlessly and have proud arrays of collections to show off.” 

I guess when we started making Project Nebula, we naturally wanted to bring along the best parts of the games we’ve loved over the years,” he adds. “We believe this will ensure Project Nebula has something exciting for various types of players.

An empire built on NFTs

NFTs are at the heart of Project Nebula.

Sundja cites two reasons for this, the first being transparency.

Since Project Nebula is a collectible game, we needed a way of bringing transparency, authenticity and security into the digital world,” he says. “We are not aware of any better technology that would enable a fair and honest digital environment than a good blockchain. Using both a blockchain and NFTs makes it impossible for anyone to forge or secretly mint more assets and manipulate the market.

The second reason is to give players something back for their time and money.

We just plain love the idea of players getting something tangible back from all the time and money they invest in a game. Making our game pieces player-owned NFTs was a perfect solution for bringing this aspect into Project Nebula,” says Sundja.

The current main pieces of the game are unique digital planet and spaceship NFTs that players can collect, upgrade and trade with each other. NFT technology enables us to give full ownership and control over these digital assets to our players. Once a Project Nebula NFT lands in someone’s wallet, it’s up to the player to decide what they want to do with it.”

Of course, Project Nebula’s NFTs are built upon the ICON blockchain. Sundja cites “three very good reasons” why his team chose ICON.

“The ICON Community Grant system (which now has evolved into CPS) was our first round of funding that was critical for us in the early days,” he says. We also knew that the lightning fast and low-cost transactions of ICON blockchain are essential for providing a good gaming experience for the players. Add the future perspective (developments like Bridge for example) to this mix and there you have it.”

Discovery rights, too

Project Nebula rewards players in other ways, too.

The game’s recently revealed Discovery Rights mechanics allow players to earn ICX just by exploring.

“All the 157 GEN-1 Legendary planets that are waiting to be discovered, leave the finder with a choice of either claiming them immediately for an ICX price or sending them to a public auction and gaining 25% of the auction revenue to themselves,” says Sundja. We’re quite happy with these new mechanics, compared to the most common mining/staking approaches in other crypto games, we think this is a nice step forward.”

Art. Lore. Music.

Project Nebula’s stunning artwork, rich lore and beautiful interstellar soundscapes provide players with an immersive and altogether unforgettable experience.

Don’t believe me? Check out the game play demo video – think Vanegelis’s “Blade Runner” soundtrack meets a Roger Dean prog rock album cover meets David Lynch’s “Dune” (which I’ve always liked despite its flaws, though I fully admit the BBC miniseries from 2000 is a far better adaptation).

Best of all, the art, sounds and stories are collectable. God bless NFTs.

Players have the creative team of digital artist Elias Stern, writer Taavi Kusmin and composer Ewert Sundja largely to thank for Project Nebula’s captivating universe.

It did prove more difficult than initially expected, but we are truly grateful for the creative team we’ve managed to put together,” says Sundja. “There are a lot of cool platforms (artstation, deviantart, etc) where it’s quite easy to browse and find the creators that suit your style and vision, but quite often the people you want most are already occupied with some other projects or are unavailable for some other reasons.

ICON Forge is giving players a chance to take part in worldbuilding, too.

Right now, players have been given a few chances to participate directly in the storytelling,” says Sundja. “The GEN-0 Mythic planet’s story, then the Second Wind, were wonderfully fun constructions that our community really got behind. We hope to do these more often in the future.

Takeoff imminent

Though Project Nebula’s NFT marketplace has been up and running since the beginning of the year, the team is launching the full game today.

As a next step, they’ve also commenced work on building a complex crafting system into Project Nebula that would let players start building new NFT items, construct new spaceships and so much more.  Sundja says, “The NFT crafting system we’re building is a prerequisite for the next big step of bringing strategic space battles into the game with PvE and PvP being the next major developments in the works.

ICON Forge has something big planned later in the year, too. But they’re keeping tight-lipped about it.

Expect to see an epic collaboration project this September,” says Sundja. We can’t say any more than that at this point unfortunately, but it will be a truly interstellar partnership.