The Travails of TDZK

Back during ye olden days, this writer was the leader of the then multi-game clan Trex Mercenaries aka “Soldiers of Fortune for Fun & Profit” in the original Space Merchant game. Two of my recruits in that game were Jerle & Hotaru who went on to co-create the game of TDZK that eventually became an even bigger game than SM’s successor Space Merchant Realms.

As it happens, I played a role in the creation of TDZK. I told Hotaru point blank that his idea for a SM like MUD was a bad idea on the grounds that MUD’s were going the way of the dinosaur. Turns out that almost a decade later, MUD’s are still going great guns as are PBEM’s, another genre whose existence I was confident was going to Hell in a hen basket.

I also gave Hotaru the idea of not having dozens of different ship types as in the original SM, but instead have a much smaller number of basic ship types with numerous modifications available so that there could be many different variations on a basic model. As a result, whereas in SM the great majority of ship types were but rarely used, if at all, and there was not all that much variety in ships actually used, in TDZK the situation was that in both theory and actual practice, just about every player flew a ship that was in some way unique from the other ships. This gave TDZK a special flavor that no other space strategy game whether it be SM, SMR or whatever had.

However, despite eventually having a sizable playership, advertising revenues failed to sustain TDZK. And so, after a run of a half decade or so, the creators/developers of TDZK decided to take their game offline and retool it under the name of “TDZK Fleets.” Evidently, their desire was to take it from being a single ship game to being a Quest for Yap type game where you command a fleet of ships.

As such, there were periodic updates that kept the game’s loyal fans well informed on the progress towards a new version of TDZK that would hopefully prove to be more economically self sufficient than the original. Thus it came as a complete surprise when TDZK Fleets disappeared to be replaced on the screen by something called “Singularity” with a notation that it is being done by something called “Metaspace Studios 2009.”

Is Singularity to be anything like TDZK or TDZK Fleets or is it something else new altogether? Given the absence of new info, you can easily see why a lot of the loyal gamers are giving up hope that their favorite game will ever return in any form or under any name.

Hey Jerle and Hotaru, an update on your further plans, if any, would be greatly appreciated.

Just an idea.

Charles Rector aka crector

2 Responses to “The Travails of TDZK”

  1. Reue says:

    TDZK has lost the playerbase through a combination of constant delays and lack of communication. When (If) this new game gets released, It will be to an empty room.

  2. Jerle says:

    Fleets is an entirely different game than the original TDZK. A short summary from our internal documents reads “TDZK: Fleets is a massively multiplayer tick-based 4X strategy game. Players in Fleets will be able to explore vast, randomly generated star maps, construct outposts and fleets of starships, gather resources, research technology, sign treaties with other players, and fight other players for control of territory.”

    The game is set in the TDZK universe, but Fleets is not intended to be a replacement. TDZK will need some fundamental reworking if it’s ever to see the light of day again. We’re hopeful that if Fleets is successful and financially viable that we’ll be able to bring TDZK back someday, but right now we simply don’t have the resources to do that. We’re still limited to our spare time until Fleets launches and revenue starts coming in. So, unless you happen to know any investors who’d be interested in supporting a fledgling game company…it’ll be a while yet before the original TDZK returns.

    For information on what Singularity is, please refer to http://fleets.tdzk.com, which we restored last week. The news posts have a bit more information on what we’ve been up to.

    Also, my old email address does still work if you ever want to chat.