StarMates: I Made An RPS StarMade Server

By Craig Pearson on August 6th, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

As an admin, I reserve the right to spawn a Tardis whenever I choose to.
You might have heard of StarMade. It is the latest of Minecraft tribute games, this time set in space. I spent the weekend tooling around with it, trying to find its secret sauce. I have to say I’m quite impressed: it’s not quite the blocky Elite I’d hoped, because there are no missions and Newton is looking at the space physics and crying. But it does have a sense of space adventure, which is something I’ve been longing for lately. I can just hop in a lumpy ship and fly off to poke around the universe without worrying about fuel, food, or even finding my way home. What’s out there? Pirates, planets, and plunder. The game’s currently free, and Multiplay has given RPS a 64-player server. Who wants to play?

If you do, please do yourself a favour and play offline for a couple of hours to familiarise yourself with the controls. It’s an odd game, and requires a bit of fiddling to get comfortable, and that’s probably best done away from everyone. That way you can figure out how the shops work (those giant, needle structures floating in space), and how to place and destroy builds. The most basic thing I struggled with is the reversal of Minecraft’s control scheme, but there’s now an option to fix that. I’ve also turned off the sound.

You begin with a single cube, the ship core, and build out from that. In fact, the ship core is technically a ship. You can use it to fly around, but that’s an absolute last-resort. Better to add some power and thrusters. Each system has its own quirks. Handily, they’re explained in this “Basics” series from one of the game’s designers. I’m going to make you watch it. If you’re in-game and complaining about your power output, I’ll know why.

You earn money by mining asteroids, planets, and abandoned space stations, and selling what you’ve gathered to the shops. Plexiglass, the material in space station windows, is the best resource to gather. Grab enough and you’ll be rich. Your ship can be anything, and all you need is the raw materials. Don’t worry about aerodynamics.

It’s still clunky, and I struggled with basic building: you can fly around your ship placing blocks, but entering the ship and hitting Space shifts from direct control to build mode. Build mode allows you to connect computers to various parts, and also protects your ship so no-one can mess with it.

Right: sever talk.

We can’t promise your ships will survive. The game is still in alpha, so there are crashes to contend with that will wipe some progress, and I might have to reset the world to to fix the server. I’ve currently set it to restart ever 12 hours. That is price to pay for adventuring on the final frontier. I’d really like you to not upload ships, but turning that off means you won’t be able to save your builds for use elsewhere. So instead everyone has one catalog slot that you can use. Please don’t abuse it.

I’m not keen on enforcing too many rules. This is a game where factions can fight, so be prepared for fights. But don’t be a dick, eh? I’ll step in if there’s some horrendous hacking incident, or if there’s racist, homophobic, or misogynist chat or ship shapes happening. There will be bans. If there’s urgent, adminly duties required, ping me on Twitter. Try and get a screenshot. If I’m not off on an adventure elsewhere, I’ll pop on. If this becomes a well-populated server, we can add a few player admins that the community will be responsible for selecting.

Please have fun! That’s what it’s there for.

Server details.
IP: 85.236.101.238:4542
Admin email: craig@rockpapershotgun.com

I’ll pop in over the next few days, but let’s plan on being on around Thursday (August 8th) evening UK time from about 7pm for a couple of hours. I want to see some amazing ships when I log-in.

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33 Comments »

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  1. Timmeister says:

    Just a heads up – Thursday is August the 8th!

  2. The Random One says:

    You’re not supposed to use first person on journalistic texts! Imma tell the journalism police!

    I think I remember downloading an alpha for this and then forgetting about it. I’ll be there. I think I’ll play as a Freelance Corporate Battle-Lawyer and attack all ships without original designs.

  3. arcanine says:

    The server seems to be out of date compared to the latest client

  4. HexagonalBolts says:

    Is this game any good in single player?

    I live in Peru and the internet is bloody awful so both downloading it and playing it online would be a monumental effort

    • Tei says:

      You can use singleplayer like a “Editor mode”. Using the console commands to give you infinite resources. You can make ships aesthetically pleasant, or useful. Then you can do experiments, like a ship that can devour worlds, or a ship that can stay invisible.

      Singleplayer is the complete game, but maybe can be too lonely for a game of this type.

  5. Premium User Badge

    DrScuttles says:

    This is very tempting but having to learn new blocky systems is admittedly something of a turn off for me. That and wearing somebody else’s face on top of your own.
    But then I do kind of want to build the Defiant and zip around mumbling about what sort of day it is to die on.

  6. nimzy says:

    I think I’ll get in there and make a real planetcracker. That is, when the ship hits a planet it’s the planet that explodes.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Planetcracker? Pah.

      I’m talking about The Great Ship from Robert Reed’s Marrow, which has a planet the size of Mars anchored in the centre (and not discovered for 10,000 years of inhabitation and exploration of the Ship). The Great Ship collides with a (different) planet at the end of the book and just carries on with the planet embedded in its hull.

      I might need more blocks.

      • Premium User Badge

        Gap Gen says:

        For when buying a really fast car simply isn’t enough to assuage a midlife crisis.

  7. Baltech says:

    My word is this dense and a bit obtuse. Or shall I say unwieldy? Don’t get me wrong, the idea of building Culture vehicles, one or two Very Fast Pickets for exploration, a Rapid Offense Unit for pirate bothering and maybe even a GCU, makes me quiver with delight. But I just can’t make heads or tails out of the way the blocks have to be connected to be effective. I guess I’ll be sitting this one out on the sidelines, see where it goes.

    • kirby_freak says:

      It’s a bit confusing at first, as only the basics are explained in the tutorial, but my little brother and I managed to figure it out through experimenting. What seems to be causing you trouble? Maybe I could help you out. :)

      • Baltech says:

        Thanks for the offer but this seems like one of those games that take me ages to figure out and no amount of explaining or watching videos will change that. I have the same problem with Crusader Kings II. Or when I started playing Civ or GalCiv. Took me ages not only to grasp the mechanics but… well, how to properly play it. It’s more esoteric than academic I guess.

        • neonordnance says:

          It’s really not bad, the GUI is just scary. I picked up the basics in half an hour and a few hours in, I felt like a pro.

          Trust me, the more you play, the more the systems become obvious. It’s not a breathtakingly complex game. If you’re smart enough to read RPS and use words like obtuse, you’re smart enough to get Starmade.

        • hjd_uk says:

          Actually the blocks and systems are pretty easy, Press ‘R’ to activate (as ‘E’ is used for navigation ) blocks and open Doors. When in build-mode press ‘C’ on a hilighted block to connect it to things, then press ‘V’ on other highlighted blocks to link them to the first block.
          The only difficulty I had was accidentally leaving my ship by pressing ‘R’ then not realising I wasn’t in Flight or Build mode anymore. ( im sure that will get better in the future ).

  8. Tei says:

    aaargh.. server is 0.09382, but my client updated is 0.09383!

    I admit my defeat, before even starting :(

    wait!.. maybe I can downgrade!

  9. Tei says:

    After a two hours playing, I have made 1500 millions.
    With my first ship I have mined enough to build a specialized mining ship with 8 beams. With this ship I have find a ice planet, and selling the ice I have made my first million. With this million I have build a warship, and with this warship I have destroyed a NPC hostile base (8 turrets). The loot for this base is about 1500 millions.

    I am so filty rich, the money don’t fit in the UI. With this money maybe I sould build a dyson sphere around the spawn, but I don’t remember the coordinates of spawn (2,2,2 ?). My wealth completely exceed the current civilization parameters.

    • kirby_freak says:

      Sell ALL the cactus!

      • Tei says:

        Nah.. I think the thing worth more was a stack of 600 L5 Something. High quality mineral is worth a lot.

  10. Mario112 says:

    There are so many minecraft and terraria clones popping up these days, and quite a few on ios specifically. This looks like a cool game at least worth checking out.

    http://www.gmretro.ca

  11. Welshman says:

    I have broken off the shackles of the lurker to ask a hugely important technical question about this game;

    Can you ‘lock’ ships into position?

    Example; I’ve built a large ship with a hanger, can I land smaller craft in the hanger safely or will they ‘bump around’ in there when I move the carrier?

    This is a thinly veiled attempt to ask if it’s possible to build Galatica with Raptors if I get a few friends together. Better yet; a Space Marine Battle Barge with Thunderhawks or Stormbirds for you Horus Heresy fans.

    • Guerrero says:

      There’s a “Docking” block, I forget the precise name, but this is used to dock smaller ships into a hanger or space station. It’s a bit fiddly to use, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty neat to be able to fly around a huge ship with a handful of little deployable fighters! :D

  12. hjd_uk says:

    To Infinity And Beyond!

    See you in the stars.

  13. neonordnance says:

    I logged on and created a faction (“The Brave Companions”) with the aim of becoming a vicious pirate, but after I mined the materials and built a speedy pirate fighter, I found that nearly everyone either had a tiny ship not worth my attention, or a massive and beautiful one I didn’t want to destroy.

    People, please build some average ships. How about cargo freighters? I want to get my pirate on :-)

  14. hjd_uk says:

    When i try to connect It just hangs on the “Connecting to:” dialogue.

  15. JimBob says:

    Still can’t get on the server and couldn’t last night either. Is it working for anyone else?

  16. shofixti244 says:

    Also stuck on the connecting to … screen

  17. hjd_uk says:

    Got in, scav’d a bunch of building material from a station and built a Space-Squid. Saw some epic ships out there already.