Life Is Beta: Starbound Out Today

By Craig Pearson on December 4th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.


For what seems like years and years and *checks torn calendar pages* years (it was actually Feb 2012), the Starbound website has mockingly invited us to Play Starbound. But we couldn’t play, could we? It was not out, yet. That unfulfilled entreaty caused me to go into a bit of a emotional loop, where I’d click the site, get sad, leave, and then click it again. I’m doing it right now, but only as a final hurrah. The first part of the Starbound beta is out today. To whet your loins and gird your appetite, there is a trailer below.

Finally, we shall all have adventures in strange, procedurally-generated planets! We’ll heft jetpacks onto our backs, grab the nearest musical instrument, and bop till we drop.

This is the first of three major beta pushes the game will have. Expect bugs and potential save incompatibilities in tonight’s version, and it will have the sandbox mode but not the quest line. Stage two will be largely complete, and will be about squashing bugs. Still no quest, though. Stage three is all the quest all the time, baby! There’s no timeline to these events, but as long as the game runs I’ll be in there from the beginning.

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74 Comments »

  1. Steven Hutton says:

    Ok, this game is out today.

    But I also have Terraria sitting unplayed on my Steam account. (I couldn’t figure out what to do).

    Which one should I dig into first?

    • Loque says:

      I’d say Terraria, which is pretty good after the latest update. Starbound is still in the beta phase, meaning you will lose savegames, characters and so on. Start with Terraria, get used to it, play around with building stuff and have fun. Then move to Starbound, at least after beta phase 2.

      • Caiman says:

        The problem I have with Terreria is that I always get stuck for things to do. I start each game, get about 3 hours into building my house, exploring the world and stuff, but then I’m hit with a general sense of not really caring. I like open-ended games, but I need to have some kind of goal that I can set myself. I seem to end up not knowing what I can craft, and sit on Wikis looking at the gadzillion recipes that I’d have never discovered myself in a million years, and wonder why I’m bothering. I guess it’s just not for me really.

        • StarkeRealm says:

          Progression? There’s a bunch of stuff you can do… go hunting the bosses, go raid the dungeon… ect. Granted most of that does take a hefty time investment, but it does have some possible goals.

        • Richeh says:

          Ahh, sounds like you just need an itinerary. Go spelunking and get some iron, keep an eye out for chests. Then get gold level, get an eye of cthulhu (through crafting if you need to), kill the boss, collect some demonite, explore the deep caves / underground jungle / hell, if you get a gravitation potion you can hunt for flying islands.

          One of the great things about Terraria is that there’s a prodigious amount of content there; stuff to do, stuff to make, stuff to kill. It’d probably profit from some kind of narrative though, because there is none.

    • Harlander says:

      Might as well dip into Terraria – it’s feature-complete (and had shedloads of stuff added in multiple patches, in fact)

    • Kitsunin says:

      Yep, Terraria first. It is a great game on its own right and I doubt Starbound will render it obsolete, even if it is looking to top it in a huge number of ways. Also it means you’ll be moving from the earlier game to the later one so you shouldn’t feel like you’re taking a step back as you might if you played Starbound first. Get a good taste of the complete game before moving on to one in testing.

    • whexican says:

      Another vote for 2D Minecr…I mean Terraria!

    • RaveTurned says:

      Agreeing with the above comments for Terraria. Admittedly, the game that doesn’t offer a lot of information for new players. There are quite a few starter guides out there on various wikis. I’d recommend this one: http://terraria.wikia.com/wiki/Starter_Guide#Getting_started

      • warthog2k says:

        Terraria for all the reasons listed above. I would heartily recommend the first few vids in the TotalBiscuit/Jesse Cox Terraria playthrough (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89fW4MTJvRs&list=PLB26740E88DF1F615) as it’s an entertaining way to get a feel for what you’re supposed to be doing.

        • RedViv says:

          Indeed. Die repeatedly and be snarked upon. The only true way really.

        • Shakes999 says:

          That was suprisingly helpful.

          On a side note, I sincerely hope someone runs jesse cox over repeatedly with a school bus.

          • fish99 says:

            It’s basically an act, and they’ve said so many times themselves. Jesse plays up being annoying and TB plays up being annoyed. Jesse is actually pretty cool, and one of TBs best friends.

          • Shakes999 says:

            I dont doubt for a second that its a act. It doesn’t make him any less awful. I stand by my statement.

          • fish99 says:

            Oh well… as long as you understand he’s going out of his way to annoy TB and even sometimes TBs viewers in the Terraria vids. If you don’t like his other stuff either, then fair enough, he’s just not your cup of tea I guess, just like I can barely stand to watch TB anymore (and TBH I barely look at YT at all these days, I’d rather watch a good twitch stream).

    • dontnormally says:

      These people are crazy.

      If your primary complaint was “I don’t know what to do” then you want to play Starbound, not Terraria.

      Starbound has quests that at least begin to guide you in the correct direction. Terraria does not.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Nah. In the future that will very much be the case, but right now Starbound does a bit to point you in the right direction, then tells you to summon a boss that will two-shot you even if you crafted all the equipment you were taught to use. Telling you to summon said boss is the last thing it ever teaches you after smelting iron.

        Terraria is a bit easier to understand guideless after the very very beginning, and way way easier with a well written guide that should be succinct enough to only take a minute to read.

  2. whexican says:

    Pretty excited for this. I loved me some Terraria and the whole space aspect of Starbound speaks to me the same way glazed ham talks to to a fat person. I WILL CONSUME IT LIKE AN ANIMAL IN HEAT!

    • Kitsunin says:

      I’m really not much for sci-fi spaciness myself…unless it’s done in exactly the way Starbound does, in which case it’s right up there with creative sorts of fantasy.

      I love the whole future fantasy space adventure subgenre, where it’s less about being in spaceships and using zappy-guns and more about exploring crazy planets with all sorts of interesting flora and fauna, and lots of non-human humanoids.

    • hawken.grey says:

      I agree, I’d go for Starbound. I always found Terraria very clumsy to control… already Starbound seems to improve on controls and interface by a huge margin.

  3. sketchseven says:

    Really excited that the beta is finally here; have been excited ever since I first stumbled over this game months and months ago.

    Beta is beta of course – but getting a feel for the world is going to be great.

  4. Qazinsky says:

    Am I the only one that are bothered by the height of most characters in the Starbound?
    Of course, this is purely based on having played quite alot of Terraria, I just get the feeling building houses and dig tunnels are gonna get annoying with a 3-4 block high character, rather than 2.

    • Kitsunin says:

      From what I saw of the pre-release videos, it appears that you place and destroy groups of 4 blocks at once by default (Even more with upgraded tools), so it should actually be even more convenient.

    • Nevard says:

      I think this is meant to be counterbalanced by the blocks being 2×2 rather than 1×1 as in terraria, you mine 4 at a time and you can also place 4 at a time.

  5. Nevard says:

    Is there actually a purpose to building in this game? I liked how Terraria kind of forced you to make a house due to the NPCs. Makes me feel more like my work means something.
    I know I can use my imagination and all that but it always seems a bit sad building a house full of colourful objects if it’s just for me on my own and no NPCs, and a wooden box with a bed would work just as well.

    Especially if we’re visiting multiple planets in this game, that seems to make structures even less important…

    • Kits says:

      May have changed some since early design plans, but the intention was to have npc’s move into your buildings, as with Terraria, but the main point was to set up your bases on certain planets to be able to manufacture and deploy certain things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to, such as the mechs.

      • Nevard says:

        Manufacturing would do it, I suppose I should have wondered where that mech came from

    • tasteful says:

      you have to be a pretty dreadful person to not immediately prioritize making a pretty house in terraria, or presumably this.

  6. lowprices says:

    It might be heresy, but I’m probably going to get this for the Vita. I’m moving to a place where I won’t have much room for a console or gaming pc, so anything that runs on a Vita or my shitty laptop is going to get played that way. Anything that doesn’t, is unlikely to get bought. Also means I might have rung all the enjoyment from Terraria by then.

    • Leb says:

      You can run PC games on a Vita?

      • lowprices says:

        I am under the impression (possibly wrongly) that this is coming out on PS4/Vita.

        • Bobka says:

          It is, but long after the PC release. They promised to get the PC version released before moving on to the PS platforms.

  7. Kits says:

    I had intended to wait until actual release before playing…but that video just went and stomped all over my willpower. Guess I’ll be giving it a poke, despite having a million over things to do.

  8. DantronLesotho says:

    Well shit. There goes any hope of any productivity after work today or the rest of the week.

  9. Alfrederique says:

    I really wanna buy it and play, but no possibility to pay without using amazon/paypal? Too bad

  10. Kitsunin says:

    Between this and Frozen Endzone, I’m looking forward to the coming days of beta!

  11. strangeloup says:

    Oddly, I managed to get into Terraria not via the PC version, which I got on one of the fifty billion occasions it’s been on sale and bounced off repeatedly, but by playing on PS3. The UI is friendlier, it has a goddamn tutorial, and (although ymmv) I find the control system better.

    I still don’t know what I’m doing, but there’s the internet for that.

    As for Starbound, I keep getting it confused with another game that looks like Space Terraria, and I can never remember which one is the good one. I’m going to assume it’s this.

    • RedViv says:

      Edge of Space, maybe? The One With The Laser Sharks.
      It’s rather rough and will have very different goals from Starbound. They’ll probably peacefully coexist. Aside from a small but loud group of fanbois, that is.

    • lowprices says:

      You may be thinking of Edge of Space. I haven’t played it and so can’t speak about the gameplay, but it looks altogether wackier than Terraria, and the art style seems a bit all over the place. I’ve not heard flattering things about it, so Starbound may be the “good” one.

      EDIT: curse that Redviv! S/he’s always one step ahead!

  12. SRTie4k says:

    Blast across a galaxy in a hyper advanced space ship, commence landing procedure with intricately complicated vector math equations running on your landing computer, suit up in your state-of-the-art modular reactive armor and laser rifle…

    …and proceed to mine with a wood and iron pickaxe.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Well, you actually do start out using a beamy thingy! But it turns out that it is about 10x slower to use than an iron axe, who knew?

  13. hemmingjay says:

    Chuckelfish has probably done more damage to F5 keys than any other game developer. About a hundred thousand people sit on their page at least once a month hitting F5 for an inordinate amount of time for the last 6 months. It’s ridiculous.

    Now that the moment is upon us I hope two things:
    1) People remember that this is a ROUGH beta and prone to crashes right now.

    2) That I am lucky enough to have it run on at least one of my machines ok.

  14. Kitsunin says:

    It seems Starbound’s site has been overloaded by all the incessant checking of people waiting for the beta, whoof.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Oh, and the keys have been sent to the humblestore pages, it seems! Although when I activated mine it said it was steam app some numbers, it’s not on the list…looks like that isn’t working yet…hope I didn’t mess it up…

  15. Tycow says:

    I’ve just claimed my Starbound key through my HumbleBundle page, however the game isn’t showing up on my list after I’ve activated it. I’m assuming it’s not live yet, despite being redeemable. :)

    • JiminyJickers says:

      Yeah it is a bit confusing. I bought through humble store and it said that the key is activated on my account, but there is absolutely no record on steam of the key being activated.

      Edit: It has now shown up, downloading now. Yes!!

      • Kitsunin says:

        The keys are out and the game should be tied to your account, but it hasn’t been published quite yet on account of a last-minute change and needing to be authenticated by Steam. So it appears.

  16. dE says:

    If any of you are wondering why the game doesn’t yet show up, despite activation:
    https://twitter.com/StarboundGame/status/408289137440325632

    So even if it said “Sub Steam App #number” and there’s no new game entry, it works. Just takes time til they’re done uploading. I guess nowadays you really, really have to follow everyones twitter to actually get these kinda news.
    If any twitter savvy people could please tell me how to automatically sieve through piles of “do not care, will not ever care, why the hell are you talking about toilet breaks” and “important information about how and why this isn’t yet working”, I’d be grateful.

    • diamondmx says:

      I found I could go to the game’s page on Steam:

      http://store.steampowered.com/app/211820

      and click ‘install’ from there, even though it wasn’t visible on my game library.

      And now it’s downloading, so yay.

      • Kitsunin says:

        I like how on that page are two purchase options:

        “Buy Starbound” $14.99
        and
        “Buy Starbound” $44.99

        :P

    • Lanfranc says:

      1. Follow the people with the important information.
      2. Don’t follow the people with the toilet breaks.
      3. That’s all!

      • dE says:

        And what about people with important information that don’t shut up about their toilet breaks? That’s about almost all of them.
        Anways, I take your remark as saying: There’s no real way. Yay Web 2.0.

  17. Kitsunin says:

    It’s up for reals now!

    If only it would stay properly above 1008001,200 KBPS.

    Well…I’m in love with what I’ve seen thus far…

  18. hery8us says:

    Abby. although Denise`s story is flabbergasting… on wednesday I got themselves a Land Rover Defender from bringing in $9333 this last month an would you believe ten-grand this past month. it’s by-far the most-comfortable job I’ve ever had. I started this 9-months ago and pretty much straight away startad earning over $87… p/h. try here http://goo.gl/f6e95V

  19. Aiun says:

    Without hijacking the other post about comparing it to similar games… any stories on how this compares to DarkOut which looks incredibly similar and also launched today?

    • wu wei says:

      I haven’t played DarkOut since the most recent update, but I found it to be fairly sparse in terms of things to do when compared to Terraria. My first hour with Starbound has already been a lot deeper & more satisfying.

  20. DThor says:

    I hearby declare that “sandbox mode” shall join the pantheon of FPS and MMO categories and be heretofore be known as SPA games. Single Player Autism. Filling out one’s time with an avalanche of minutiae that signifies…nothing.
    I further predict that 10 years from now, it will be replacing FPS in the mainstream media and church basements as the Great Scourge of Gaming.

    Just sayin’. Check back in 10.

  21. hawken.grey says:

    I love all of the Terraria staff posting “you should try Terraria first!” comments on this article.

  22. Morcane says:

    Yawn, another paid beta aka useless game.

  23. bobgold says:

    It would be nice if they hade replaced the ol’ pickaxe, anvils, furnace, wooden crafting table with more space-agey stuff. It just feels like the middle ages rather than the space age.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Yeah. I think it’s kind of a neat idea that you start stranded in a system without any tools made for gathering resources so you need to use simple items, but it feels kind of weird when you’re making intergalactic leaps and robots with artificial brains, and yet diamond-on-a-stick is still the best tool you have. I imagine it will change in further tiers but the fact that it’s still like that in the beta sector seems a bit off.