An overview of gameplay in the upcoming game Zero Sum Future


The beginning of a new game of Zero Sum Future.

Starting a Game

When you first begin a game of Zero Sum Future, your first order of business is to land your Colony Vessel on a planet. You will see a blue build grid for the planet you're focused on, the sprite of the Colony Vessel, and a green footprint representing the space the Colony Vessel will occupy. To land, left click. If some terrain is impassible, that part of the footprint will be red and you will be unable to land. If you wish to change planets, double-click a different planet name in the Planet Menu in the top-left corner of the screen.

A bare planet with an open BUILD menu

Navigating the Menus

The top-left corner has the Planet Menu, giving details about the current planet. You can left-click a planet name in the list to view requests for that planet, or double-click to go to that planet. The top-right corner is the Player Menu, which gives your personal information, like how many of each resource you have on hand. The bottom-center of the screen is your Power Bar, which lets you use the player powers you have accumulated. The different tabs across the bottom of the screen let you BUILD buildings, interact with the CARRIER, or view your BUDGET.

A Colony Vessel on a new planet

Basic Gameplay

Zero Sum Future is about constructing buildings that produce what you need to survive. Periodically, inhabited planets will request goods. When a planet has an open request that you are not currently fulfilling, the name in the Planet Menu will turn red. Left-click the name to bring up that planet's request menu. To fulfill a request, left-click the FILL button. To toggle auto-fill, right-click the FILL button.

The last tab in the BUILD menu contains Illegal Buildings. These look like legal buildings, but have different (and powerful) effects.

A bare planet with an open CARRIER menu

The Carrier

Periodically, Carriers fly by. Carriers auction off Player Powers, which produce powerful effects. Players can also bid to supply the Carrier with a good that it's requesting. Carriers provide the INVESTIGATE power, which you use to check an opponent's building for illegal activity. If you're correct, the build is destroyed, they get fined a percentage of the money the building made over its lifetime, and you get a portion.

Every time it arrives, the Carrier imposes a tax on players. This tax increases over time, and eventually grows quite large.