Sunday, January 25, 2015

Upcoming Space Sims and other stuff

Finalizing some games...(so here's an awesome Elite: Dangerous video courtesy of Ralfidue)

I tend to jump between games to get as much exposure to many genres as possible and lately it's been taking a toll. I know that I need to complete some of the games I've written about and I deserve to give others more attention. Likely that will take a while, so for now I'll be writing about interesting things that I see around the gaming community as I read news in my off-time. 

I remember about 10 years ago I picked up Freelancer for the first time. If you remember that title it probably brings with it very fond memories of hours upon hours spent drifting through space and collecting bounties or rare materials to sell later. After that game and it's cult following there was an unfilled hole in the market where developers dared not go. Making a space-simulator that appeals to the tech and science savvy audience requires lots of work and dedication to get right. Lash-back from the market would be unreal for games that were unrealistic or bare of features. 

That's why I am excited to see the development of Elite: Dangerous by developer Frontier ( It's very reminiscent of Freelancer but is definitely a step up. I haven't played it for fear that my computer can't handle it. I may have to do something about that soon. The game looks gorgeous first off. The stars and galactic bodies make wonderful backdrop for the space-based fighting and mining that you can do. It is either Single or Massively Multi-player based on the choice of the player. I know that many games rely on designing around the basic concept of either, but not both. So I hope there is enough to do in the world to keep a single person occupied and entertained as well as enough features to allow mutiplayer structures to develop. Eve Online is the ultimate example of this, allowing for corporations and internal political struggles to develop and then writing about them after events in the game happen. The players and their fights themselves determine the shape of the game, not the other way around. 

Now as excited as I am about the comparison to Freelancer I can't help but mention the spiritual sequel that the developers from that game are creating. Star Citizen is set to release in 2016 and from the early material released looks amazing as well ( Right now it's just in public testing with limited access to materials. It looks just as amazing though it has a greater focus on space based dog-fighting. I think that it looks great but in it's own way there are more features developed and demonstrated for Elite: Dangerous.

Just a couple examples: the extensive marketing campaign that they've developed to show that any career is viable, and during many of the scrap-based missions there is a physical structure to both the cockpit and objects floating in space with proper sounds and physics. You might argue that they are built in different ways with different play-styles in mind, but those two things stood out to me as details that might not indicate the game is better, but definitely indicates a particular interest in detail oriented development that I don't see in the action shots from Star Citizen

They are in completely different phases of development though, so there isn't really a way to compare them until both products are finally released. All I want though is the freedom to earn credits in my own way, even if that isn't reliant on twitch based space combat. Getting on in my years I find my reflexes aren't as great as they were when I played classic dog-fighters like X-wing vs. Tie Fighter.

Other than that I'm getting around to finally finishing some of the games that I've been playing. I also want to get into the modding game and try making a mod for Don't Starve by Klei games. Mostly for educations sake and also because I think it would be fun. I am creating an automatic Dice Roller with electronics and probably going to be making a campaign for a recent tabletop RPG that I picked up for myself called Kromore ( I like playing all these games but it wears on you after a while since I only get limited time per day and I can't spend 8 hours a day playing games and reviewing them. 

Let me know if you have any experience with modding! I'd love to get some suggestions. Let me know on my twitter at @simongolden.

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