Viva Forever: Captain Forever Again

By Kieron Gillen on January 7th, 2010 at 12:04 pm.

MINIMALIST CHIC

I’ve wanted to post about this again for a while, but it’s non-inclusion in the IGF has given me motivation. I’ve still not been able to totally put my back into it, but it’s the sort of game which strikes me is exactly what certain of you are looking for. It’s a Sinistar-esque shooter, but with a sandbox design based around constructing your own ship from the parts of your fallen opponents. You can go and look at it here play the sort of limited demo, consider throwing down money for access to Captain Successor, but there’s also some videos available which sort of show its vibe far better…

This one is a sped up version of more a sort of more-normal player. It’s worth clicking through and seeing the discussion around the video, where people are talking about what the player is doing “wrong”. Talking about your neat design and fiddling is part of the point.

This video shows the sort of monstrosity it is possible to build with a little (i.e. A lot) of dedication.

And this one shows someone sped-up burning right through the game, to show sort an efficient style of play.

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28 Comments »

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  1. Wulf says:

    I’ve been playing Captain Successor for quite a while, now. The first place I spotted it was on the 2DBoy (World of Goo) blog, where it was heartily recommended. I figured that if they’re recommending something then it has to be rather special.

    That assumption proved to be correct.

    I saw Captain Forever in early development and that was fun, I played it a lot, then I saw Captain Successor and that was even more fun. Not only that, but I’m fairly familiar with the guy behind it (Farbs), as he’s a member of a couple of indie communities and he’s famous for quitting job(s) spectacularly.

    I’d recommend it to anyone who likes top-down shooters, and I’d heartily recommend it to anyone who dug Tumiki Fighters.

  2. Lack_26 says:

    It’s a lovely game to play, but I keep coming back to it and spending too much time playing.
    I tend to for a longer ship which can do broadsides as you fly past (like the Giant Battles-cruiser shown, but not nearly so good), if this game ever comes out on something like steam, I’ll buy it, but I’m less willing to buy over a website, especially at $20.

  3. Glove says:

    I love the game as a whole almost as much as I love the song you gradually build from firing your symphony of laser cannons.

  4. Cooper says:

    The main reason I haven’t got the game is that it doesn’t allow for lots of time to fiddle with a design.

    There’s apparently a trick whereby if you ‘trap’ enemy command modules in your own ship, rather than destroying them, then only one AI will spawn at a time – allowing you to deisgn at will. But that seems like a fudge.

    I want to be able to pause the game at will and use that to build – When I build on the fly it tends to go quite wonky. But that may be because I’m curently limited to a track pad.

    • Wulf says:

      @Cooper

      To be honest, that’s one of the two things I’d like to see, but I’m worried that my ideas would dilute a game that’s all ready pure genius. If it isn’t broken and all…

      Still, my ideas for Successor read something like this:

      1.) The odd friendly outpost. Make them very rare, considering that this is a hostile sector of space, but when docked at one have the outpost defend all docked ships from invaders. That way, when one is docked at a friendly outpost, one can tinker to their heart’s content.

      2.) I always got the feeling that in Captain Forever/Successor, the fool had somehow gotten himself lost in pirate space, and that the drones left there were for anyone who’d be silly enough to blunder into that sector. So another thing I’d love to see is resources left behind to try and help anyone who isn’t, in fact, a pirate. Not too much, but at the very least perhaps the odd police drone who’ll join you for a while and fight by your side until it’s destroyed. Note: Police drones should make weeeoooeeeeooooeeeooo sounds.

      3.) Have some kind of end-game, beyond making the most impressive ship, such as finding a jump-bridge out of pirate space. The jump-bridge will attract nearby pirates who’ll try to take apart it and you for… well, parts. If you can defend it until it’s fully powered up, you can hyperjump (or whatever you want to call it) out of there and call that session a win.

    • Glove says:

      Wulf: I agree with you on the first two counts; I think they’d definitely slot smoothly into the Captain universe (well, sector). An endgame besides your inevitable death, though, would break the premise completely. Half of the joy I get from playing the game is playing with the terrible knowledge that the reason for each reset of the game world is that you have annihilated everyone around you against your will, so simply surviving means you are forced to sacrifice some of the lives around you, (bandit or no).

    • Wulf says:

      Fair enough, Glove. I am an idea guy, out there ideas are what I do, sometimes they’re good, sometimes not so good. I was wondering if perhaps 3 would undo the premise.

      Still, the first one seems a bit necessary, and the second one would be something of a laugh. With the second one, outfitting them with weapons might be a bit unbalancing, but I’ve been thinking still and what might be funny without unbalancing the game is if the police-drones were outfitted with stasis and tractor beams. Stasis beams would freeze enemies for a second, allowing you to get in some extra damage, and tractor beams would restrict a pirate’s movement. All police drones wouldn’t get all weapons though, which weapon a police drone gets would be randomised.

      OFF-TOPIC BIT

      Since we’re all talking about a nifty indie game, I thought I’d do the shameless plug thing for Wolfire and Unknown Worlds Entertainment.

      They’re now bundling Overgrowth and Natural Selection II together, for a greatly reduced price, which is really rather nifty.

      http://www.wolfire.com/pack

      Also, watch the video there, it’s good for a laugh or three.57

    • Glove says:

      Wulf:

      Topic: DISENGAGED
      I fucking love that video so much. Had I the means of purchase, I’d be playing around with the NS2 alpha right now. But alas! I do not. *shakes both fists slowly upwards like a tiny mech firing DUAL AUTOCANNONS*

      Topic: RE-ENGAGING
      I agree; the safe haven is an out-and-out necessity.
      I think you could really do something interesting with the police buddy: maybe you could add little characterisation quirks, such as the fact he’s not really officially supposed to be there, and if/when he randomly leaves you he offers a myriad of confounding, almost ridiculous excuses. Perhaps he’s searching for the source of the explosions, oblivious to your actual identity?

      Topic: ?MALFUNCTION?
      If you have any Saint Germain, I recommend it as the ideal accompaniment for fiddling with your very own neon-punk petri dish.

  5. TooNu says:

    I’ve been playing the demo, it’s awesome fun if only for a short while. What is really truly great about it is you can share your ship creations with other people. Here is one of mine for example.

    http://www.captainforever.com/captainforever.php?cfe=nqlbqnb3lgtxay5n4ww1n3c5dm2arczgomxp2khqvlttlp5tm2autogohx22ed1w1ttpps4hbhcckli3xb3zh1w4dtb0phmneiuvhirxb3jnqwvenc1qnmt2da3lkyw22yocwjyakps5garcp5lpyvp2fmpvldbkps1gbre2jllnwajfmswwy2qs54lafep2gszvajympwvcau14xltei22glzwb3jqsxzcbf1sqlaa4bylgcxoykn4vljn0p5imqa4ailozw32kosvldazpj2lqf5btht

    I really have no idea how to link here so apologies for that wall of code.

  6. Pod says:

    “Viva Forever: Captain Forever Again”

    Is this a new TrackMania?

    • Premium User Badge

      Fede says:

      Lol!

      or: “Viva Forever: Captain Forever Against United Nations Reunited DS”

  7. Freudian Trip says:

    I’ve had a lot of fun with this over the last few months after hearing Tyler Barber from Rebel FM incessantly talk about it. It’s a shame My only problem is not having time to make my ship as I would like. Surely thats half the fun but it’s impossible to get more than a 20 second gap to build in.

  8. KilgoreTrout XL says:

    This was my game of the year in the “turn your work PC monitor around for secrecy and waste a month of billable time” category.

  9. espy says:

    Played both, and still come back to Successor every couple of days. Brilliant game, very well made. Can’t wait to see what Farbs comes up with next.

  10. Jazmeister says:

    Said he’s doing more games in this vein that’ll be linked to the Successor purchase. Via email:

    “Captain Successor is the first in a series of premium products. Registered supporters get access to all the supporter-only games, so becoming a supporter isn’t so much like buying Captain Successor as it is buying Captain Successor and the promise of more games to come. I’ll definitely create at least one more title, but my goal is to develop quite a few, spending a few months on each over a period of several years. Rather than build a linear series I plan to meander around the design space, so each game should explore a special something that sets it apart from the others.”

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    yhancik says:

    it’s kinda confusing to play it on an AZERTY keyboard (but well, like most WASD flash games…) :/

  12. Tei says:

    I don’t think is as interesting as could be. Maybe is getting limited by flash itself. I could see how some enormeous-zoom-out, or parallax stars fx, or something like that could make the game much more interesting. The way is now, is not much more than a prototype for a flash game .. what make sense, since I played that. But other flash games don’t feel like that.

  13. A-Scale says:

    So it’s Geometry Spores.

    • Jakkar says:

      .. No-one else has responded to your wonderful pun. So I will. It made me smile.

  14. Zyrxil says:

    Eh, the problem with these types of games is that you always just end up with a ship made up of 40 guns, 4 engines, and 4 shields/armor. Also the sandbox thing is old. It’s only fun if you’re given a good objective and 30 ways of doing it.

  15. Adrian says:

    looks awesome tho i would appreciate more different shapes for the blocks
    this seems like its a lot of fun but the ship creating still looks kind of limited to various shapes

  16. Nox says:

    I mentioned this the last time Captain Forever was discussed: if you think you’d like this type of game (either due to its instant appeal or from playing the demo/beta), check out SpacePod.

    http://www.spacepod-game.com/

    It’s a nifty game with a similar premise released back in the first half of the last decade. Multiplayer is a particular, frenetic blast.