By Adam Smith on September 26th, 2011 at 10:59 am.
It seems like everywhere I look there are games springing up with procedurally generated worlds and fully destructible environments. That’s partly because I spend most of my waking hours looking at websites for in development, ambitious indie projects, but I’m still surprised by how many of the things there are. There are 3D and 2D choices, there are more complex iterations and this one here is set in space. It’s called Blockade Runner, which is the headline gag I would have used if it had been called literally anything else. Although in pre-release at the moment, it is possible to preorder and play around with the ship designer while waiting for a more functional version next year. Video and more details below.
It’s not the prettiest thing in the world, but then who among us can claim to be? The moment in the video that made me realise what I wanted from this was seeing a laser tear through a ship, from the perspective of a crew member inside that ship. Imagine watching as an entire subsection is ripped away, drifting off into space with your friends spilling out into the void. OK, now stop imagining it because it’s potentially depressing, depending on how vivid your imagination and how much you care for your friends.
They will be real friends in most cases, from what I understand. The game is being designed to support multiple players, either crewing the same ship or fighting against each other. Sometimes both, depending on their numbers. I do wonder how exciting different jobs on board ship will be but manning guns and rushing around to fix breaches in the hull both seem like they’d be good times. For more specifics, check out the very helpful FAQ right here.
One potential snag at the moment is the pricing model. There are plenty of games looking for players eager to see early release versions, using that to fund their development. Everyone’s opinion on that structure will vary; personally, I think it’s a great way to support ambitious projects. However, in the case of Blockade Runner, the current plan is to have those who pay now pay again for each major milestone release, which are planned annually. They’ll get a discount but their early support won’t give them lifetime subscription.
I don’t mind paying what is essentially an annual subscription if the game becomes what it promises to be, but this model makes me much more hesitant to pay for anything right now. Why buy the first early release when you’ll have to pay again for something better? It may encourage people to wait rather than doing what is presumably intended, which is getting people on board the blockship as soon as possible.
Discussion already suggests this might change. In the meantime, who is already imagining a galaxy of Minecraft planets in a persistent online universe, with people piloting spaceships between them? YES.