Boldly making its presence known last night during the Spike VGX Awards, No Man’s Sky is the latest project by indie studio Hello Games (Joe Danger), and the latest title to emerge in the apparent Space-Sim Revival of 2013. Alongside the gorgeous combat of Enemy Starfighter and the trade-and-fleet management of Limit Theory, No Man’s Sky looks to focus primarily on planetary discovery and exploration, offering the player endless solar systems of procedurally-generated planets that they can seamlessly land on and explore by foot.
I’m getting strong Noctis vibes from the concept and trailer, and I’m pleased to see yet another amazing-looking space sim coming from the indie community. It’s a good time to game.
Currently slated for a release in the spring of 2014, Clockwork Empires aims to provide players with a Dwarf Fortress-like experience with a Victorian-steampunk flavor. As citizens of “The Empire,” your colonists will each have unique personal histories, leading them to interact with one another, form social class structures, and work various jobs within the colony. Thrown into the mix for good measure will be elements of Lovecraftian cosmic horror as fishmen may attack from the sea or your citizens may become cultists under the spell of eldritch gods. Gaslamp Games plans to incorporate native support for “successive multiplayer” and save-game sharing, hopefully offering plenty of opportunities for Boatmurdered-like stories to emerge.
The 0.22 update for Kerbal Space Program is scheduled to launch tomorrow, and will bring with it a new research-and-development system.
This update will be the first version to allow players access to the structured “Campaign” mode, which attempts to provide more structured gameplay than the current “Sandbox” mode. Players will now be able to collect scientific data on their various missions, which can then be used to progress along a branched tech tree and unlock new, more advanced parts. The game’s development studio, Squad, has plans to add even more of a “tycoon-like” structure to the game in future updates, with a part-cost system and procedurally-generated missions.
Back in December of 2012, my radar lit up when a prototype gameplay video of something called Enemy Starfighter hit the web. I hadn’t heard of it before then, but I immediately knew it was something I had been waiting my life for: a dogfighting space simulator with an integrated “planning phase” akin to that seen in early Rainbow Six games. Select the ships for the job, customize their weapon loadouts, designate their targets, and begin the assault – then jump into the cockpit of the wing leader and engage the enemy directly. It all seemed like a game I would dream up while playing Wing Commander or Homeworld when I was younger, and it was real.
Today, Enemy Starfighter has come quite a way from that original prototype video. It is still far from complete, but developer Mike Tipul has seen fit to show us its current state in a new teaser trailer and several new screenshots over at the game’s website. Enemy Starfighter is the debut game for Tipul’s one-man dev studio Maurader Interactive, and he has been working on it non-stop for the past year. Both the intense dogfighting and the beautiful planning phase that we saw in the original video have been polished, and larger ships have been unveiled, including capital ships, carriers, and even beam frigates.
For the finished project, Tipul is planning to inject a bit of a roguelike element into the game by means of a procedurally-generated campaign. Players will be tasked with leading the Empire’s Harbinger Fleet from system to system, crushing any and all Federation forces that lie in your way. Every time you start a new campaign, the game will generate a new galaxy for you to conquer with different systems, different enemy forces, different missions, and – hopefully – different emergent stories for you to tell of how you crushed the Federation beneath your heel.
With a little less than a day to go, Lacuna Passage has met its Kickstarter funding goal of $40,000, but is seeking a little more for support of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Slated for a late 2014 release, the title promises realistic simulation of 25 square miles of Martian landscape in a believable hard science fiction setting.
Steam Greenlight: Lacuna Passage
The 0.21 update to Kerbal Space Program has arrived, bringing with it a slew of new parts for building rockets and planes.
Also added in this update are a terrain overhaul, a revamped Kerbal Space Center, and the ability to “hire” specific Kerbals and assign them to missions. While this hiring feature currently doesn’t offer much beyond more control over who’s on what mission, it lays some of the groundwork for KSP developer, Squad, to begin working on the eagerly awaited “Career Mode” for the game – which is planned to add mission contracts and funding rewards for players based on their progress, providing a more Kerbal Space “Tycoon” gameplay experience.
Banished is an upcoming city-building simulation where you manage the lives of exiled colonists in a remote wilderness. According to the game’s website: “The townspeople of Banished are your primary resource. They are born, grow older, work, have children of their own, and eventually die. Keeping them healthy, happy, and well-fed are essential to making your town grow. Building new homes is not enough—there must be enough people to move in and have families of their own.” Townspeople can have a variety of occupations, from hunting to blacksmithing, and sustainable practices will be necessary to survive the harsh environment.
Amazingly enough, Banished is being developed by a single person. The game is due on PC in the latter half of 2013.
Rocket-construction and space-exploration game Kerbal Space Program celebrated its two-year anniversary tonight, and version 0.18 has just launched.
The jump to 0.18 is the largest update KSP has seen and brings with it many new additions, including new resource and flight-planning systems, new parts like solar panels and unmanned probes, the ability to dock ships together, two new celestial bodies to explore, and more.
On a two-year anniversary stream, the team behind KSP also unveiled Kerbal SpacePort a new community hub for the sharing of user-created content. Future development plans were discussed as well, including aspects like weather, resource-mining, and rover creation.
Even with the genre showing that it is still alive and kicking with the recent return of two industry names, Chris Roberts (Star Citizen) and David Braben (Elite: Dangerous), it is especially exciting to see new, indie blood enter the space-sim scene.
Limit Theory is the newest space sim to launch a Kickstarter and, though it launches amid a wave of similar games, it has really caught my eye. Having been in development for only three months so far, the footage and screenshots that sole developer Josh Parnell is showing off on Kickstarter are already gorgeous. I don’t know if Mr. Parnell knew when he began this project just how much of a sucker I am for both open exploration in procedural worlds and spaceflight, but I feel like this game is fueled by my fever dreams.
A sandbox RPG/RTS in a procedurally-generated universe filled with procedurally-generated planets and traversed by procedurally-generated ships all fighting and trading across infinity. Limit Theory promises a lot, but also has substance to show and definite passion to drive it into the future. Go check out the project’s webpage for more information, and be sure to drop any questions in the Kickstarter’s comments section, where Mr. Parnell seems quite active in responding to the community.
Continuing the fine TIGSource tradition of posting old news… I’d like to mention that FTL came out earlier this month. The real-time spaceship simulation and “roguelikelike” was released just five months after its successful Kickstarter and is available on Steam, GOG.com, and directly from the developers.
Inspired by Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, and other sci-fi television shows, FTL puts you in control of a spaceship and its crew. The bulk of the game consists of flying from planet to planet and battling with enemy ships in real-time. Just like a proper spaceship captain, you’ll have to micromanage the battle and assign crew to tasks such as repairing damage, manning ship systems, or engaging in phaser shoot-outs with aliens that have beamed aboard. Winning these deadly duels garners you scrap (FTL’s currency) and other rewards, like fuel or weaponry.
I’ve only played a couple rounds so far, but there’s a lot of potential here for a great coffee break game!