Zoo Base

Zoo Base is the spiritual sequel to Star Zoo(2002) which was developed by Tarn Adams of Bay12 Games. In Zoo Base, the game takes place years following the events that occur at the ending of Star Zoo. Dr. Kozmo is tasked with creating a suitable habitat for displaced alien species. however, underfunded and overworked the frustrated doctor begins to question his morals and the viability of his research. This leads to conflict and an inevitable backlash both politically and locally.

The gameplay is built around an interactive-fiction game engine while also representing some elements of what a rogue-like is in essence. The premise is to unlock the secrets of 20 alien species while under siege from their various intelligent counterparts. All the while maintaining Zoo Base’s limited supplies and dwindling staff. Zoo Base is to be an ongoing project.





For more information please visit roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment. … e=Zoo_Base

This looks cool! Are you wrapping an existing IF engine in other stuff, or rolling your own?

Been rolling my own, it’s all proprietary and easy to port due to it being a native terminal application. The game is actually so flexible that its been tested to run on C64, Apple II, *nix, mac and Windows. Android and iOS are both being looked into for future versions of the game. We achieve the portability by writing exclusively in C and Asm as well as a custom scripting language I’ve developed to avoid making a program that relies on reading from .txt files.

It does look interesting, but give us a shout when there’s actually something to download. If there already is, please kindly point towards it as I can’t find it.

Absolutely, right now I just finished the name generator, working out the kinks in that. In Zoo Base each staff member works for a company, the largest being ConOrbitals “Always Around” who commissioned the base. The player works for this company but may lose or gain personnel as the game goes along. I’m leaving currency out till after the next release so folks can just play the game.

It is possible for personnel to defect because there’s a bit of a power struggle. The player is the base’s CO but not everyone in the staff is military, there are scientists, civilians and executives to account for as well and they don’t like taking orders. Once the game is self sufficient enough I’ll release 1.18.

So I finished the personnel generator which means a demo is on the horizon. I have to set jobs for these people and their locations still (these are, on-site and off-site which is a whole 'nother post at least). It’s not up to the player to decide exactly who goes and who stays. You can say things like “take less” or “more” people and supplies on expeditions (and skirmishes) but that’s the extent of your power on the matter. This brings an interesting dilemma to the table, having the player tread carefully is the point here after all. I finally added the companies to the mix, the jobs of individuals effect your standing with them as well as how they view you as far as an authority goes in general. By default you work for ConOrbitals which gives you say over what goes and stays on Zoo Base since they actually manufacture the ships. But again you have little say over how many or what exactly. Kozmo Labs is the dominant entity on the base at the beginning. Everything else is still sketchy from there on but once the system is fully integrated I’ll leave it alone and work on the game’s natural progression. Following that point I’ll be about ready to release 1.22.


There are several distinct gameplay modes:

Roguelike (RL): wherein the player wanders the base (and maybe other planets/asteroids/cyberworlds). Roguelike sections present a top-down view of the player’s avatar in the game world, and the player can freely move around and interact with things in the world.

Interactive Fiction (IF): for basically anything interactive, like terminal access, conversations, management of base personnel. If sections comprise a block of text and a series of options which the player can select to unlock the next bit of text.

Expeditions: Leave the comfort of the base to go on a long-term expedition into the unknown. Expeditions also comprise RL and IF sections, but they’re based on the ship (or other worlds), rather than the research facility. The player loses fine control of the base while away, but might be able to make some broad decisions (in the event of invasions, riots, research being completed, creatures escaping)

We’ve also recruited a talented new writer! In light of this, we’re hoping to share a demo by mid-January.

If you run Linux you can now download an early alpha build by visiting our homepage.

Checking in for a clarification.

When I first read your post, I thought you were saying here that you’re working with (or are) Tarn Adams, and you’re creating a sequel to an old game of yours.

But the correct reading is

Zoo Base is the spiritual sequel to Star Zoo (2002). Star Zoo was developed by Tarn Adams of Bay12 Games.

…is that right?

You’ve got it! Edited for clarification.

Thanks for clearing that up for me!

Version 1.24 is now available to download via our website.

I’ve posted a video update on our affilates channel for those interested. youtu.be/OWCN5nRnoRQ

I have not played it but looks great, keep going!

We’re pushing to get out a Windows build for v2.0, stay tuned! Much appreciated!

We’ve released a video focusing on some core mechanics that are being placed into v2.0, which can be found here:


That would be very welcome! I will keep an eye on this topic

There is a moon which orbits an otherwise lonely gas giant, just beyond the rimfield asteroid belt of the Arcturus system. It isn’t known by many, for it is overshadowed by the large Federation-owned space-station tethered to it; hovering just outside of moon’s thin atmosphere. Tzatziki Pirates and Tarnassian Merchant vessels alike pass close by as they decelerate from hyperspace en-route to Gaia, the new home of deep-space humanity.

It goes by the humble name of Bernard’s World: an innocuous enough handle, which belies both the curious nature of the moon itself, and the top-secret research facility which rests upon its surface. Zoo Base nestles within a rocky ravine, patiently ticking away, waiting until it is ready to change the face of the galaxy forever.

[center]Zoo Base: it’s basier than most zoos, and zooier than most bases.[/center]

Zoo Base is an intergalactic misadventure, set in a familiar, yet startlingly different place: the far future of our galaxy. It tasks the player with maintaining a top-secret research facility and managing the political hydra which runs its core service departments. The bases’ purpose is, ostensibly, ultimately to capture, maintain and research twenty animal species (ranging from the cute to the bizarre to the not-entirely animal). Its ultimate purpose, though, is unknown.

The future galaxy is a strange place indeed - where anything is possible and everything is for sale. Observe the humble Chronorabbit: the miraculous mammal with such a predictable life-span that it has become the de-facto standard for tracking time across a multitude of star systems. It is every bit as reliable as atomic decay, but far cuter. Now step into the swirling vortex of Cyberspace, humanity’s gift to the galactic community and a place which has increasingly fewer ties to the physical universe (and where not every avatar has a biological controller behind it). Then listen to the cracking whip of The Circle, the shadowy organisation which runs the giant corporation of ConOrbital, manipulating the very universe to its desires and driving Zoo Base to do its bidding.

[center]Concept Art for the highly improbable Chronorabbit[/center]

It is against this background that you awaken into a brightly lit room. Before you is a short man wearing black sunglasses, a red-and-blue New-Hawaiian shirt, and orange surfer shorts. Will you partake of the cup he offers? It fizzes deliciously, a green umbrella peeking cheekily over the top.

Zoo Base is played entirely in a console window, trading off graphical fidelity for complex simulation, rich interaction and limitless narrative possibility. The principle gameplay occurs through both top-down roguelike sections, in which the player wanders the base and embarks on missions to capture different animal species; and through Interactive Fiction sequences, wherein the player makes high-level decisions to navigate various situations, from simple conversations to complex scenarios, like fending off attacks from malevolent hackers.

[center]An early-alpha view of the the textual interface of Zoo Base. It’s texty stuff.[/center]

If the name Zoo Base rings a bell (or even sends a cold shiver of fear and frustration down your spine), it’s because it’s actually the spiritual successor to Bay12 Games’ Star Zoo (2002). In a time before Game Jams, Tarn Adams (of Dwarf Fortress infamy) wrote Zoo Base within a period of 36 hours whilst waiting to catch a train. The result is a collection of nostalgic, 8-bit coloured mini-games, glued together with short interactive-fiction sequences, and a story so far out it could only be set in space.

Star Zoo is famous for being a gruelling, challenging and unforgiving experience, broad in its imaginative range and obscure (even obtuse) its narrative canon. We’ve extended that canon for Zoo Base - but we’re aiming to retain the screwball humour, the dark themes, the persecuting difficulty and the compelling imaginative streak (er, wish us luck…- Ed).

The original Star Zoo is available for free from Bay12 Games’ website. Or, if Let’s Play’s are more your thing, the brave (and patient) YouTuber GrimithR has played through the whole game in a charmingly Seth Rogan-ish way. If you close your eyes and squint a little, you can almost pretend it’s Paul playing (as in, the alien from the eponymous movie).

[center]Space, man[/center]