Save World Space Week With Space Games?

By Jim Rossignol on October 4th, 2011 at 3:02 pm.


Rage might be all the news today, but I would also like to point out that World Space Week – which is like RPS Space Week, only more downbeat – is also a disappointment. I suppose one could blame the lack of panache in this United Nations-sponsored initiative’s website, but I blame the lack of private enterprise capitalising on Space Week. Only one single F2P company has sent us a press release regarding their space game’s celebration of World Space Week, and that’s Black Prophecy, who are doing some XP event or whatever. That’s pretty weak, Space Game Community. Hell, even Cliffski, designer of Gratuitous Space Battles said: “I have no deals to announce.” Cliff’s shocking disregard for World Space Week is emblematic of the attitude space game producers have to this fine, upstanding event, and I don’t like it one bit. So what we do about it? Not much, really. But if you have got a space game you could put on sale or do some other Space Week themed event with it, I suppose. Maybe I’ll even post about it. Not that I expect any of you to, because you all hate World Space Week, you monsters. I am going to have to make a nice cup of tea and commiserate by looking at pictures of spaceships.

[Disclaimer: Actually, I had no idea it was World Space Week until the Black Prophecy thing turned up, but now that I know I am ALL OVER IT.]

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106 Comments »

  1. Berzee says:

    I posted a comment what said “meh” as a topical joke, but now it won’t show up so that I can do what I originally planned which is edit it to say

    EDIT: WAIT I MEAN, thank you for bringing this woeful lack of attention to our attention. But it would have to be a good deal for me to want to play a space game, because wizards are cooler than space-ships. However, a wizards in space game; that would be alright.

  2. pagad says:

    Huh, I’ve been playing a lot of Freelancer and Sins of a Solar Empire over the past few days. COINCIDENCE? Almost certainly.

    • Makariel says:

      …and I installed Master of Orion 1 & 2. No way this is part of a worldwide conspiracy since correlation does not mean causation.

    • Tams80 says:

      I was just about to mention Freelancer. Just download it and some mods and World Space Week shall be fine.

      Related: That UN website looks like it is from the ’90s.

    • Dozer says:

      I accidentally discovered that I own a GOG account and it contains Freelancer two days ago! (Was capitalising on that ‘free download of allegedly good point-and-click adventure game’ deal.) Must properly set up my PC and X52 and play it… soon…

      edit: I think I’ve confused Freelancer with Freespace 2.

    • DarkNoghri says:

      Oh man, Dozer, I was just getting all excited because I didn’t know Freelancer was on GOG. And then you have to go and ruin it. :’(

  3. Cinnamon says:

    I see the problem with world space week from looking at their website. Their goal is to celebrate science and improvements to the human condition and not celebrating mass shootings. They should get on that and make it more appealing to us by emphasising the opportunities for murder in space.

  4. phanteh says:

    Damnit,

    I saw the title and got excited about ST:O going free to play.

    That would be the best way to celebrate Space Week!

  5. Nathan says:

    We should all play Freespace 2. Why aren’t we playing Freespace 2?

    • ThTa says:

      Because we’re playing Freelancer, clearly. (And because I lost my copy, something I’m certain isn’t an isolated incident but something experienced by everyone ever, save for you)

      And I may have to try Black Prophecy again, I recall it being very pretty and having Freelancer-esque controls, but also being tremendously buggy (I had to create an additional profile on my PC just to play it) and lacking in variety…

      …or I could just play some more Freelancer and The Binding of Isaac.

    • Dozer says:

      Wait, Freelancer and Freespace 2 aren’t the same thing? I get them confused.

      Freelancer is the Germans In Space mouseaim game, and Freespace 2 has the “IMMA FIRIN MAH LAZOR!” capital ships, right?

    • jamesgecko says:

      @Dozer My roommate and I had the biggest fight ever about this topic. He could not accept that the freeroaming Freelancer experience seems pale and shallow next to the rich, deep, focused capital ship that is Freespace 2.

      I mean, in one of them I’m moving cargo around and flying in circles taking pot shots at other ships and it’s really boring. In the other I’m doing a TRENCH RUN ON A SHIP THE SIZE OF MANHATTAN! TOO FAST TOO FAST! I’M TAKING HEAVY FIRE! FOCUS SHIELDS PORT SIDE! WE’RE AT FIFTY PERCENT POWER AND DROPPING! DESTROY THE CANNON ON THAT THING!

    • dolbysurnd says:

      I agree that the open-worldiness of Freelancer and its spin-offs is great but pales in comparison to the heated combat of the Freespace series.

      In fact, in honor of the momentus Space Week we should all play Freespace 2 source code project (free freespace 2) and take on the Sathanas (co-op multi style).

      And if you want a good mix of both then I really would recommend you try Evochron (there’s a demo available somewhere on Starwraith’s site)

      And if that doesn’t satisfy your itch to celebrate the why not dust off the old Star Wars: Tie Fighter disks and test you debris dodging skills.

      Cheers to Space Week

  6. JB says:

    Time to play Shores of Hazeron some more then.

    Or KSP. Or both.

  7. Nemrod says:

    Well, missing the space week thingy would be terrible!

    I wasn’t planning on marketing right now but heh.

    I’m currently working (immah programmer), on a Escape Velocity-ish game, here’s the presentation:

    Alcyon Infinity is a top-down 2D space shooter and RPG. Featuring a sandbox universe and multiple storylines, you are free to explore and act as you wish!

    - Complex non-anthropocentric universe with many races and forces. Old-school SF with mysteries and gorgeous aliens.

    - Encyclopedia system containing all the needed knowledge for a true space Captain. Plus, buy information to gain insights on missions.

    - No more stupid mission arrows and sub-mission details, you’ll have to find out how you want to do it.

    - Customize your ship to fit your game style, or buy another! Every civilization has its own technology specs.

    - Mature choices, love and epicness. As long as you’re in your ship you are free to go anywhere!

    But the main feature is the ability to edit the Universe to expand it or to make it anew, create new storylines and side missions, modify the races and forces in space, create new planets ships and objects. And make them available for all the players on the community website.

    We plan on releasing mission packs both free (community made) and …huh… DLC style (official work).

    But it’s just the beginning! If success lies ahead we already plan to make a multiplayer version for dedicated servers.

    - Join a community and make YOUR universe evolve!

    - Fully transform the universe with the community and make it Star Wars! (well that’s probably not a good idea…).

    - Fight against human squads and plan vicious traps using interdictors and Hyper path sniffers!

    More infos, devblog, some pictures and stuff here : http://sparklin.org/?tag=alcyon-infinity

    No open forum/site for the moment as I have some more features to code before opening a beta (ala Minecraft).

    :)

    • daraujo says:

      Looks promising.
      Keep going, bro.

    • Nemrod says:

      I’ll make some videos in the upcoming weeks, and make a little “press kit”. With a bit of luck it could be RPS’ed :)

    • Wooly Wugga Wugga says:

      Sounds promising. I look forward to seeing the end result.

    • Dozer says:

      This sounds a little like the game I keep designing in my head, although mine is more focussed on what it would be like to manage the crew of a ship and what a space-based economy might look like. That and digressions into what on earth hard-physics science fiction space combat might look like in a world without microprocessors but with constant-thrust engines that don’t burn significantly massive fuel.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ Dozer: That sounds a bit like the space game I keep imagining too. Basically real-world Newtonian physics, but with technology advanced enough to reach very high G thrust without smashing the crew. You’d have to actually match Delta-V with other ships, and distances would be large enough for lightspeed delay to matter. You don’t get to target a ship a few light-minutes away with a laser, because it might not actually be where it looks like it is, when you hit the fire button. Ships would be playing cat ‘n mouse stealth games with lightspeed delay fog. Could be interesting… more like a submarine sim than the way space games are handled now.

    • Nemrod says:

      Well, in fact I’m a maniac of Sci-Fi coherence too :D

      For exemple, your ship’s speed limit is set by your onboard computer to avoid unmanagable 2D-space-driving.. so if you get the onboard computer tweaky thing you get the ability to deactivate said speed-limit and keep accelerating ’till the maximum speed of the game-engine (which is, I may say quite a lot, as in unplayable). Then as you reactivate it the ship automatically slows down at the maximal the hull structure can take. Thus enabling hit and run hardcore game techniques which gives me a boner everytime.

      yes you heard well.

      As for krew team play, that would be awesome! You manage a big ship’s laser turret and you can switch to a boarding bay and go fight elsewhere in a fighter and then board again then hyperjump… that totally has to be in it if/when/please we do the multiplayer with community servers part.

      again.

  8. Jarenth says:

    That comic has single-handedly restored my faith in the human spirit.

    Also, Space Week. What’s your favourite thing about Space Week? Mine is Space Week.

  9. Scroll says:

    I’ve been playing a bit of Homeworld 2 this week but that’s the same as every week.

    Oh and where exactly is Sword of the stars 2?

  10. Cunzy1 1 says:

    I’m internationally obliged to play some Colony Wars: Red Sun and maybe RTX Red Rock.

    Okay and Mace Griffin Bounty Hunter.

  11. DiamondDog says:

    To celebrate World Space Week I’m just going to sit here and stare into space.

  12. zind says:

    I wholeheartedly approve of space games. I picked up Starscape when it was cheap on Steam the other day, and it was almost a fantastic space game, but it DESPERATELY needed to autosave between action-y segments. I died when I got to a boss and it had been a good 90 minutes of “mining” and exploring and fighting since the last time I had saved (since the menus are kind of clunky) and so I lost heart and do not know when I will get around to being that particular space captain again…

    Maybe it is finally time for me to buy Sins of a Solar Empire.

    • Nice Save says:

      I just noticed Sins is half off on Impulse this week. £6.40 for the whole thing with expansions.

      Doubt it has anything to do with the week of space though, considering Elemental is on sale too.

  13. Sheng-ji says:

    I’m going to be actively trawling these comments to find my next space game! If you have specific suggestions, be aware that I love a bit of storyline depth, plenty of building (On planets or space stations) or customisation options (For my ship) and for combat to not be the only focus. My all time fave has to be Elite, but it doesn’t have to be an Elite type game, I just get really turned off by mission based Space shooters. Oh and I don’t want to play with other people, so MMO’s are out.

    • Zenicetus says:

      The closest thing to what you’re describing in a current game is probably X3: Terran Conflict. It combines cockpit-level exploration and combat with commercial empire building (only in space with big station complexes, nothing on planets). There is a storyline but it’s optional. X3 is basically a sandbox game. The economic aspects can get pretty complex, and you’ll eventually own a bunch of different ships you can hop around in — fighters, freighters, and big capital ships.

      I didn’t enjoy it all that much, mainly because the cockpit stuff isn’t very well done. The ships move at relatively slow speeds, there are limited areas to move around in, and the AI in combat isn’t very smart or challenging. I prefer games that are either better cockpit experiences like Independence War 2 or Freespace 2 (with mods), or else have a more developed strategic side like GalCiv 2. But this may be your cup of tea.

    • deejayem says:

      It’s an oldie now, but have you tried Moonpod’s Starscape? The basic game is kind of shootery, but the customisation is excellent.

      PS Can we congratulate you, by the way?

      PSPS And also, Strange Adventures / Weird World in Infinite Space are both amazing. Bit like the Desktop Dungeons of space exploration.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Thanks for the suggestions, I have bought and got quite a bit of enjoyment from all of the X series, but I wouldn’t go back! I’m definately going to give Starscape, Strange Adventures and Independence War 2 a go, thanks for the suggestions.

      Oh and yes, I’m now a mum so congratulations are indeed in order, both myself and my little boy are healthy and are learning new things every hour!

  14. Casimir's Blake says:

    Mac Space Game fans would do well to have a butchers at action space-trade-and-merc-em-up Galaxy on Fire 2. Currently ploughing through it and having a lot of fun, despite the slightly over-sensitive mouse controls. No PC version yet though.

  15. Dominic White says:

    Independence War 2 is on GOG for $6, and was so amazingly well future-proofed that it has not aged at all in the past decade. Seriously, no joke. I even took some gameplay footage to illustrate just how amazingly well it holds up to this day:

    The only non-default thing I’ve got going there is an Xbox 360 controller profile of my own making, which I also provide the link to. Amazing game, with a much more realistic (but still easy to fly via gamepad) flight engine than 95% of other games in the genre.

    Have a modern gamepad? Get the damn game. It’s fantastic.

  16. sonofsanta says:

    You lot and your modern games nonsense.

    I’m off to play some STARS!

  17. Torgen says:

    Kerbal.
    Space.
    Program.

    or Buzz Aldrin’s Race to Space, either/both of which would be keeping with the spirit of the declaration of World Space Week.

  18. roguewombat says:

    Wait! You may be saved! It looks like Prospector, a space themed Roguelike, is free for the week. Go get your game on. ; )

    http://code.google.com/p/rlprospector/

    I’ve never beaten it, but it’s one of the few space themed Roguelikes out there, and it’s pretty enjoyable if you follow the tutorial your first time or two through the game.

    • Flunky says:

      Haven’t started it up yet, but Prospector looks fairly amazing. I had feared that starflight 2 was the end of the ‘space exploration’ (not to be confused with ‘shooting aliens in space’) genre. Thanks for bringing attention to it!

    • jamesgecko says:

      Here’s another space roguelike: Transcendence. http://www.neurohack.com/transcendence/

      It’s been a while since I played it, but it was pretty fun. Sort of like Spelunky meets Escape Velocity. It does have checkpoints and you can keep playing after you die, but there’s some sort of penalty I forget about.

      *Downloads*

  19. rustybroomhandle says:

    Looking forward to X Rebirth m’self. Almost more than Skyrim.

  20. Gundrea says:

    Two space games I can recommend.
    Startopia A fun theme park management game where you run a space station.

    Space Station 13 A fun tile based multiplayer mud where a space station runs YOU.

  21. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    HTML fail. Try again below.

  22. wccrawford says:

    Space Pirates and Zombies just gave away a bunch of Steam codes on Reddit yesterday… No idea if it was for space week or not.

    I actually wish I’d known about it earlier now. I’ll probably end up buying it at some point, even though I already got it for free.

    As for ‘World Space Week’, they do a rubbish job of promoting it. I had no clue, and I’m pretty into space. I don’t blame people for not celebrating something they’ve never heard of.

  23. kataras says:

    In honour of this excellent celebration of space and science, I am going to continue playing all the usual games I have but I will be going to work dressed as a spaceman and ignore my co-workers and boss, pretending I am all alone on the surface of the moon.

  24. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Alas the Spambot Eater ate my post. It isn’t spam, honest! The link is ever so relevant…

    This is what I call some space ship pictures.

  25. cliffski says:

    I’m saving up my announcements for World Tank Week.

  26. Tei says:

    Obligatory

  27. talon03 says:

    Clearly, this will be the week Lucasarts announce TIE Fighter 2.

  28. Jake says:

    I’m going to go read some old Eagle comics. Is that actually an image from Dan Dare? The art looks like Dan Dare by way of Tintin.

    • westyfield says:

      Apparently they’re making a Dan Dare movie. Starring Sam Worthington. As Dan Dare. American Sam Worthington. As Mancunian Dan Dare.
      It’s taking a while to process this information.

    • Jake says:

      Uh oh, who is playing Digby? Probably Jack Black.

      Garth Ennis wrote some new Dan Dare in 2008. Even though I am a fan of his writing and of Dan Dare I can’t really consider reading it because I have read his other stuff and don’t want to see the Mekon wielding dead horse genitals as a club.

  29. Rublore says:

    Been playing Mass Effect 2 again. Also, some Psychonauts. Inner space, bitches!

  30. dawfydd says:

    I-War 1 & 2 anyone?

    • Zenicetus says:

      Best cockpit-level space games ever made. Everything else flies like “WWII fighters in space!!!,” but I-War got the speeds right, and the feel of huge planetary systems right.

  31. Dominic White says:

    On a more recent spacy game note, Starfarer is officially only in alpha right now, but it’s already a very polished space combat/tactics game, and well worth the $10 asking price.

    http://fractalsoftworks.com/

  32. Persona Jet Rev says:

    I too have a ‘What a coincidence’ moment to share: I started playing Fragile Allegiance again two days ago

  33. Kollega says:

    With all this talk of space and space-based games, i’ve just had a thought. The X series is pretty good, right? So what if someone made the game like X, but with the emphasis on colonization? You’d have to set up spaceports, production, and all that jazz, but not just to sell junk you’ve made to the third parties – no, you’d do it so that you can establish and build colonies on the planets, with their own infrastructures and challenges. X meets SimCity, to put it in needlessly generalized terms. It could even be multiplayer, like EVE Online!

    Do tell me if such a thing already exists – i think i’d be all over that.

    • Scroll says:

      To be honest I’ve given up on the X series all together.

      When I think space, I think space ships firing lasers at each other, Space commerce doesn’t interest me in the slightest. Also terrible UI for the most part which they keep promising to improve and they never do.

    • Kollega says:

      And when i think space, in addition to “spaceships shooting lasers” i also think “building needlessly awesome megastructures. In space.” From what you say and what i read i’d guess that X series is more about hauling stuff through space than building stuff in space, but the latter – designing and building your own space stations and space colonies – still sounds like an exciting way to pass the time.

    • Dozer says:

      I loved X2 back in the day. Was hideously broken from a building-a-mega-corporation standpoint in that the most profitable factory to own was the one that produced the starting materials used by everything else. And from an immersive tech fiction standpoint as the defining characteristics of the five main races didn’t make any sense. (Every ship of the stereotype trader race is slow, well shielded and with large cargo capacity compared to the other races. Nevermind that trading ships need to travel as fast as possible.)

      I have ambitions to make an X-style game, possibly using seaships instead of spaceships – X-spacething crossed with Mount & Blade and Silent Hunter and the Yom Kippur War.

  34. Kollega says:

    EDIT: Sorry, that was a double post. I knew it would probably end up as such, but still double-posted. Stupid me. Could somebody please delete this?

    • Dozer says:

      You need to edit your comment to a link to a website selling shoes or something.

      Then your comment gets deleted, and this comment also gets deleted, and the good comment-readers of RPS don’t get distracted from posting pictures of F-15s In Space.

    • dadioflex says:

      @Dozer – thank you! Finally someone has explained the new system in terms I can understand.

  35. nimzy says:

    Space Station 13 lives on.

  36. Nallen says:

    You got KG in to write that comic, correct?

  37. mbp says:

    I had no idea it was World Space week until my 10 year old daughter told me that she had been picked from her class to an even where they will meet a real live moon astronaut.

    Apart from being proud of my daughter I am extremely jealous. I have taken the precaution of making her listen to “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” repeatedly on Youtube so that she will have some perception of what the world must feel like to an astronaut.

  38. BobsLawnService says:

    Nexus : The Jupiter Incident – The best tactical space combat game you never played and available for 10 US Bvuckazoids on Steam.

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      Is going into the loft to dig out the disc worth £5.99? I don’t know. It would certainly save me fidling with patches also.

      Though I would have to mess to get it into widescreen…

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Let W = your hourly wage in £/h
      L = time taken to find the disc in the loft in h
      P = size of patch in MB
      G = size of game in MB
      S = your connection speed in MB/h
      M = messing to get it in widescreen in h

      If:

      L + ( P / S ) > ( £5.99 / W ) + ( G / S )

      is true, then it is worth it.

      I hope this helps.

      Edit: The M term cancels, so can be disregarded. Also I’m assuming a perfectly spherical, frictionless vacuum in the loft.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ BobsLawnService: I was interested in Jupiter Incident at first, but then I read some reviews that said the missions were set up to be winnable only with one particular load-out, and you were screwed if you had picked something else. So the missions were basically trial-and-error, until you figured out the trick for configuring your ship for each major encounter.

      That didn’t seem like much fun, so I passed on it. Was your experience different? Maybe I should take another look…

    • PatrickSwayze says:

      I didn’t know about the loadout thing when I played through!

      I kind of blundered my way though while finding it somewhat difficult.

      That was such good winter of gaming when Nexus came out. I was hard pressed to choose between Nexus, Halflife 2, and Halo 2 for months…

      P.S. Thanks Custard. I may just be lazy and get it on steam :)

    • BobsLawnService says:

      The review is right. Right to a certain extent. There doesn’t seem to be one “right” loadout but missions are often trial and error. If this bugs you then you’re probably going to get frustrated.

      The game is also very slow paced and you need to be able to devote larhge chunks of time to it. I’m in this position at the mement so I’ve really enjoyed it.

  39. BobsLawnService says:

    OK, let me try that again

    I heartily recommend Nexus : The Jupiter incident. It’s the best space tactics game that you’ve never played. And it’s really cheap on Steam and looks great.

  40. Zenicetus says:

    Okay, thanks for the feedback. I like slow-paced tactical sims like Silent Hunter so I’ll probably pick this up when I have some free time.

    Edit: Reply Fail — that was in response to the Nexus : The Jupiter Incident posts.

  41. Stephen Roberts says:

    The pictures of spaceships link has just swallowed my evening.

    Looks like I’m the only one.

  42. sinister agent says:

    Ooh, what a happy coincidence. I was just about to tenuously link a current event with my next secret project in a transparent bid for page views, and this would be just the right level of tenuosnosity.

    Also does this mean there’ll be an RPS comic? There should be.

  43. cummerbund jackson says:

    All I want for Space Week is a modern version of Noctis. If I could get Noctis married to Kerbal Space Program, I’d never ask Santa (or the Ghost of Gargarin) for anything ever again. And if those two could then have a threesome with Minecraft, I’d probably never leave the house.

    I love space-based combat games from Escape Velocity to Freespace to GSB, but space really should be all about exploration and the world needs more combat-free or combat-optional freeform exploration sims.

    If I could be greedy, I’d want a fairly technical terraforming sim too. Just finished re-reading Red Mars and thought that would be a great simulation.

  44. godwin says:

    Aha, space! Here’s a little something I’ve been working on (not quite done yet) for Sins of a Solar Empire mod Dawn of Victory. You guys get to see it first!

    http://public.dawnofvictory.com/godwin/vega_counter207.jpg

  45. godwin says:

    Okay… it seems my comment is not liked by the server or somesuch, I was only trying to share a picture! Of ships! In space! Which I’m making! For a mod for Sins of a Solar Empire! Called Dawn of Victory! Alright I’ll stop shouting now.

  46. Josh W says:

    Space games are the main things that make me want a 3d monitor. At last those weird 3d radar screens would work, and I could have a 3d dual stick shooter with a sphere in the center of my screen showing my currenty direction of momentum as well as the direction to my current target.

  47. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    Also, Nexus is so fucking pretty.

  48. Spacewalk says:

    A week of playing Fraxy is what I will be doing. Or Doom, that’s kind of set in space isn’t it?

  49. Hoarr says:

    Really? 3 pages an no one has talked about EVE aside from a passing mention? FOR SHAAAAME. SRSBSNS internet spaceships is best spaceships. Come have fun space pewing with the fellows of RPSH, and who knows, you could be there . If you are one of the cool kids, you could alternatively be over there (very much NSFW if you don’t have really really good headphones) Come join the “RPS Community” Channel in game or look us up here: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?246-Eve-Online-RPS-Holdings-is-looking-for-new-pilots

  50. pertusaria says:

    I don’t have a cool space game to offer (sorry!) but people in Ireland can go stare at Jupiter for a bit on Thursday night: http://astronomy.ie/moonjupwatch2011.php. Hopefully it won’t be completely overcast.

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