Is There Space In Space For Ring Runner Footage

By Craig Pearson on March 27th, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

Space rogues do it from space behind
Ring Runner: Flight of the Sages does not sound like a space game, but then I’m often fooled by games that sound like am awesome space zap then turn out to be point and click adventure set inside a bin. Bins are my least favourite gaming environment. Space is my favourite. Ring Runner is set in space, so I’m drawn to it like matter to a black hole. It’s a mix of influences, from DotA to MMOs, with RPG archetypes battling in space under Newtonian movement rules. Top-down as well. I am space-intrigued.

In part because there’s something about pretending or appending “space” to descriptions that speaks to me. Ring Runner’s biggest boon is a willingness to take those fantasy archetypes and space-fying them. Taking the most recent example: the rogue mixes slick, slidey space movement, but with stealth skills like cloaking, decoys and illusions. I wonder why wrapping all this up in sci-fi makes it a whole lot more appealing to me than a fantasy game? Have a look.

You could make systemically the same game, and I probably wouldn’t be half as interested if there wasn’t lazers and a starfield. I’m trying to figure out if there is an easy way to explain Ring Runner, but it’s mix is making it tough to pin down. Action RPG for sure: the 65 ships pull from a pool of 300 skills to fight out in procedural galactic battles. An upcoming video will show off the Wizard analogue, where the previous video explained away the Warrior-ish Grapplers: they essentially joust in space. I’m really looking forward to how all these will compliment each other in battle: I’ve been looking for a space game to play with friends.

So it’s out towards the end of the year, and while the videos have Xbox Live all over them, it’s also on PC.

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33 Comments »

  1. Baboonanza says:

    What about hidden object games set in bins? Surely everyone has played that one in real life a few times.

  2. MrWolf says:

    Not to be *that guy* but: You had me hooked at “space,” but you lost me at “DoTA”.

  3. wodin says:

    Today we will be covering PIGS IN SPAAAAAAACE!!!!!!!.

  4. iZen says:

    Too spacey. Preferring low-fantasy (naturalistic) science fiction. See Battlestar Galactica.
    Also, how come most games set in space are top-down, kinda 2D strategy games? Isnt the whole thing about space the spacey combat (dogfights)? Top-down and RTS style games are better on a planetary basis. Space is about flying around, not pointin and clicking and let the AI do the fights. WTF?
    How about a mix of lunar lander and X-Wing-Alliance in the BSG or somewhat else universe? EVERYONES GONNA BUY!

    • Durkonkell says:

      Because 3D is expensive and takes bloody ages to make. Lots of people want to make space games, but they don’t often want to spend a million billion pounds and 20 years on doing so.

      Unfortunately.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Yeah, I gotta say I dropped off at the “2D” bit. Space is the only environment where games SHOULD be entirely 3D. Any other environment can be approximated quite well by 2D, but space? No, just… no.

      I can enjoy Space Pirates and Zombies and other such games, but I don’t consider them to be space games, merely genre X set on a starry backdrop with occasional circular objects in the background/foreground and a curious lack of breathable atmosphere.

    • wodin says:

      There is no up and down in space.

      I was trying to be funny, but when you really think about it doing a 3D space game (not first person more lie Homeworld\2) probably has never been done right yet as they’d be facing in all directions. most have 3D yet the all are the smae way up (even though thats not up).

      • Dreforian says:

        I’d be happy with more strategy games taking advantage of the third dimension, even if ships et. al. oriented the same way. In addition to the Homeworld games, Hegemonia took similar advantage of 3d space. Submarine Titans had a bit more mechanical approach by dividing the third dimension into discreet depths you could order your units to move to. You could avoid mines, sneak up on defensive turrets and travel paths that looked impassable from overhead and ships even dodged each other by bobbing up and down, making certain weapon types more effective than others.

        I think the main barrier to making the third dimension compelling is interface. I still haven’t met a mini-map for a 3d game that could give me complete accurate information at a glance, even in non-strategy games. (just an example)

      • Darloth says:

        Have you tried Flotilla? It was very 3d.

      • mickygor says:

        Can you imagine the nightmare of trying to coordinate a space fleet without using a single plane/orientation?

      • Mr. Mister says:

        Angels Fall First: Planetstorm seems to do the whole 3D, omnidirectional and axial-prejudice-free exceptionally right. There’s no way to tell wether your frigate, the enemy corvette under you or the wing of 1-man bombers surrounding you are upside-down, pointing left or going up.

    • Dreforian says:

      Not sure what you mean by “too spacey”, naturalistic or low-fantasy here, especially since there doesn’t seem to be any story revealed in the video. BSG is a lot of things (I’m assuming you mean the newer series) so it’s kinda hard for me to pin down your point. As far as universes go I find hard sci fi most satisfying, seeing how simple discoveries can transform civilization (seeing what changes and what doesn’t). The first Mass Effect did this well for me with element zero. That said, I also love Star Trek, Farscape and a certain old blue police box and those universes, to varying degrees, throw out plausibility for wonderment. Ring Runner seems to be closer to the latter’s end of the spectrum as the article describes. Is that what you meant by “too spacey”?

  5. MrUnimport says:

    I find there to be a worryingly trend of RPS articles that drop the title of an upcoming game, profess an inability to describe its mechanics, and then implore the reader to simply watch the embedded videos.

    • Torgen says:

      I think it’s just those strange/interesting games that they run across that no one else is covering. I take these as more a “lookit this curious thingamabob, that’s certainly different. Just letting you know it exists/is being made, in case you may be interested.”

      Then if there’s interest expressed, they try to get more info from the devs.

    • Craig Pearson says:

      Actually, I took that line from one of the developer’s videos. He’s also struggling.

    • Gilead says:

      Watching the video didn’t help either. :(

      At this point I think the nature of the game is either staggeringly unique or just really poorly communicated.

      On their forum the a developer says it’s ‘a blend of Defense of the Ancients, Diablo, Smash Bros., and Asteroids’. But without button mashing or targeted abilities, apparently. And then they say it’s both unlike any other action RPG we’ve ever played and also unlike any arcade game we’ve ever played.

      Splendid. I’m glad that’s clear.

      I’m just going to judge it on the video and say it’ll be similar to either Gratuitous Space Battles or AI War.

    • Reapy says:

      Whole reason I come to the site is because they filter and find this random stuff for me. Usually a gameplay video describes the game much better than words can.

      Back in the day our reviews were from a magazine with still shots, now we just youtube it and can see everything we need to know to make a judgment if the game is worth playing…but there is still a lot of filter that needs be done to get you to those videos, hence, stories like this.

    • Dreforian says:

      Speaking of which, a game called “Confrontation” just popped up on Steam and I could really use some random musings and a gameplay video that shows more of the game than the single trailer I found on Youtube!
      On topic I think I played a game that was similar in approach waaaay back in 9th grade. It was turn based and not an RPG but the weapons and physics of Ring Runner made me think of it. Can’t remember what it was called but it was a lot like a Worms game, but in space. You could buy the usual weapons like guns, missiles and bombs but then you’d get stuff like diggers to bore through planets, weapons that walked end over end across surfaces rather than flying and even a terraforming missile that placed planets (terrain) at wherever it struck. Crazy weapons and physics based fun.
      Ring Runner strikes me as a combination of that gameplay and something like Starscape. I’m interested but not sold. Hope there’s a solid singleplayer experience.

    • jamesgecko says:

      It reminds me of that old, networked MMO from 1995, SubSpace Continuum. With significantly fancier weapons. It’s still running today. Probably supports a higher server population then this will. Battles on large servers were chaotic and amazing.

      Someone seriously needs to remake it using HTML5 and WebSockets and such. Killer app.

  6. Rhin says:

    Space Dota has been done as a Starcraft custom map before.
    TB even covered it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBbVqR3Euf4

  7. grundus says:

    This does look interesting but I only really say that because I’m still waiting for an Escape Velocity game that is either 3D (this isn’t) or with online multiplayer, and this doesn’t look like it has it. Oh and it would need to otherwise be exactly the same as EV, which I don’t think this is. So really I’m actually not interested and will stick with EV Nova.

  8. Iskariot says:

    So.. this is another MMO?
    sigh….
    No thanks.

  9. MikoSquiz says:

    Come to think of it, I would totally play a lot of space-themed games I’ve otherwise ignored if they got even a perfunctory elves-and-dwarves reskin.

  10. thebigJ_A says:

    “Archetype” has three syllables.

    /pedant

  11. Dunk says:

    If you just want a top down space game to play with friends, you could always give void hunters a go ;)
    /shameless plug

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